On this episode of Almost Arthouse, host Ty Landis welcomes friend Sydney Taylor to the show to discuss the recent Goosebumps movie and some Colin Farrell dream scenarios. Please subscribe to the show on iTunes and leave us a rating as well.
directed by Gus Van Sant, 1991
To watch My Own Private Idaho (1991) is to bask in the freedom and horror of the open road and its unpredictable rhythms and patterns. Molded by an imperfect, rough conceit, writer-director Gus Van Sant’s third directorial effort stands as an obvious precursor to what the director would later tackle thematically during the late 1990s and well into the aughts. Though films such as Gerry (2002), Elephant (2003) and Last Days (2005) signify an unofficial trilogy of death, My Own Private Idaho captures Van Sant working within the revisionist road movie genre and without the clinical control seen in his aforementioned efforts; instead, Van Sant’s treatise on youth and queer culture remains delicate and empathetic, clear substitutes and early placeholders for what would come to define Van Sant’s work as it continued to evolve.
directed by Abel Ferrara, 1990
Released in the same year as Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas and Joel and Ethan Coen’s Miller’s Crossing, Abel Ferrara’s King of New York has shamefully slipped through the cracks when it comes to charting and discussing great early-1990s crime films. While comparing certain films in a given genre is often fun and interesting, Ferrara’s film resists such easy categorization because of its mean streak of violence, vibrant New York energy, and general disinterest in “cool” ’90s iconography. That the film has largely remained unnoticed by many among its genre contemporaries signals the unfair populist dismissal of Ferrara, a filmmaker who remains one of our most fearless American talents.
directed by Damon Gameau, 2014
The Australian doc That Sugar Film comes ten years after Morgan Spurlock’s novel Sundance hit Super Size Me, the sobering and darkly comedic expose on the fast food industry that took audiences by storm and spurred change in regards to how high profile companies like McDonald’s portioned some of their meal options; it also charted the effect of said company’s product on the body, an experiment that now feels cheap and dated in the hands of writer-director and test subject Damon Gameau, who not only copies Spurlock’s approach to test and trial, but finds little reason to keep us intrigued.
directed by David Gordon Green, 2014
Manglehorn dabbles in the strange and peculiar, but at its core, it may be director David Gordon Green’s safest and least rewarding drama yet. The film contains weird scribbles in its margins, but the narrative is thin and contains little to chew on. A.J. Manglehorn (Al Pacino) is a grizzled locksmith and wounded soul living in small-town Texas, still aching for a woman named Clara who got away many years ago. He sends regretful letters to her like clockwork but they always find a way back to his mailbox unread. Manglehorn now spends his days cutting locks, looking after his ill cat and making kind, flirty conversation with Dawn (Holly Hunter), the friendly bank teller he visits each week.
directed by Jean Renoir, 1951
The iconography most commonly associated with Jean Renoir’s The River (1951) can be linked, in most cases, not only to the film’s startling use of color, location, and exotic capability, but also to the immense difficulty of its production in the late forties. There also exists a proper devotion to memory, a sense of vivid recollection that concerns itself less with the politics of India, but one primarily centered on reflections of youth and how we interpret and misinterpret love. In this manner, The River, Renoir’s first color feature – shot entirely in India – is a delicate balance of simplicity and beauty, a wise coming-of-age tale that captures life’s transient nature in full effect.
Movie Mezzanine: Buzzard is the third film in your “animal trilogy,” as you’ve called it. Were these always the three stories you wanted to tell in succession?
Joel Potrykus: Well, not exactly. Coyote [his short from 2010] just kind of happened on its own, and then once I started writing Ape (2012) and decided, yeah, it needs to be called Ape, we all kind of sat around and [decided] we need to do make this an official trilogy. So the trilogy idea didn’t start to happen until we were writing Ape, and I didn’t want to make something where if someone didn’t see Ape, they wouldn’t understand Buzzard. I feel like I told less of a story in the trilogy but more of an emotion, an idea, a feeling. It’s more just kind of a study on…I wouldn’t want to say politics, but a study on human nature from my perspective.