Saturday, April 26, 2014

July nominations from Jordan: a study of people and their cults

I'm fascinated by people, relationships, and culture. Also, boundaries of belief and behavior. Cults and communes provide very nice contexts from which to examine these things and gives us insight into cultural and psychological forces that play on all of us. I've seen two of these movies and plan on seeing them again so don't let that deter you (they're probably the best two). Apparently, cult gazing is in the current indie zeitgeist, as the release dates of these films would indicate. I had to go against the grain of Josh and Brandon's old-timey films.

Mr. Lonely (2007) wr. & dir. by Harmony Korine - Diego Luna and Samantha Morton star in the most beautiful and watchable of Harmony Korine's films. The movie settles on a celebrity impersonator who joins a group of other celebrity impersonators that live on a commune together. Explores themes of authenticity/imitation, faith/doubt, self/community, and death. I've seen this one and highly recommend it.

Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011) wr. & dir. by Sean Durkin - from imdb, "Haunted by painful memories and increasing paranoia, a damaged woman struggles to re-assimilate with her family after fleeing an abusive cult." Co-starring John Hawkes - one of my favorite character actors.

Sound of My Voice (2011) wr. & dir. by Zal Batmanlglij - from imdb, "Two documentary filmmakers attempt to penetrate a cult who worships a woman who claims to be from the future."

The Master (2012) wr. & dir. by Paul Thomas Anderson - Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman are excellent as two men coping in the world in opposing ways. Can the crooked and ill-fitted Freddie Quell be tamed by community and cult-ure? Or will he find a way to make it on his own; rudderless and masterless? Paul Thomas Anderson is my favorite current director. I've seen this one and highly recommend it.

Electric Children (2012) wr. & dir. by Rebecca Thomas - fundamentalist Mormon girl, Rachel, listens to a forbidden cassette tape of modern music. She has an experience which she interprets as a type of immaculate conception. This brings consequences that cause her to leave her family and community and search the voice of the lead singer of the tape in the outside world.

God Willing (2010) dir. by Evangeliene Griego - From imdb, "The film examines the modern-day phenomenon of religious 'intentional communities,' or as they are often called, 'cults.' It takes as its focus 'The Church,' also known as 'The Brotherhood,' the 35-year-old ministry of messianic figure Jim Roberts."

Friday, April 25, 2014


I haven't seen any of these movies but most are well reviewed.
Also the trailers are pretty fun (though the one for Naked Prey gives away too much I think so be forewarned...)
also, vote for Brandon's nominations for May below.

The Ox-Bow Incident (1943) - Henry Fonda vs. lynch mob on the western frontier.

The Big Heat (1953) - Glenn Ford takes on vicious crime elements in hard-hitting noir.

Marty (1955) - Ernest Borgnine trying to get a date. This movie swept the Oscars and the trailer cracked me up.

The Naked Prey (1965) - Cornell Wilde ticks off the wrong people and becomes the title of this movie!

Electra Glide in Blue (1973) - Underdog motorcycle cop Robert Blake risks life and limb in line of duty.

Mr. Majestyk (1974) - Soft-spoken watermelon-farmer (!) Charles Bronson defends his melons from felons.