LOST WEEKEND II: Young Ones

source: www.newdvdreleasedates.com/m2503/young-ones-dvd-release-date
source: http://www.newdvdreleasedates.com/m2503/young-ones-dvd-release-date

Young ones is a Western in the greatest sense of sci-fi. To boiling down the plot, it’s a tale of a son’s revenge where the offending event happens 40 minutes in, once the viewer is adjusted to their surroundings. Set in a future where once fertile farmland is now a desert, and where it’s perfectly normal to wash your dishes with dust.

source: collider.com/young-ones-review/
source: collider.com/young-ones-review/

Ernest Holm (strongly played by Michael Shannon) is a father with an unknown past who is doing the best he can for his family.

source: www.promicabana.de/elle-fanning-nicholas-hoult-young-ones-trailer/
source: http://www.promicabana.de/elle-fanning-nicholas-hoult-young-ones-trailer/

His daughter named Mary (played by the quietly better Fanning sister Elle) questions everything about what’s happening instead of adapting.

source: www.audienceseverywhere.net/young-ones/
source: http://www.audienceseverywhere.net/young-ones/

His son named Jerome (played incredibly well by Kodi Smit-McPhee) looks to his father for direction, but still covers his bedroom walls with sketches of birds in flight, critters seen around the homestead, and the mysterious woman his father had seen on a weekly supply run the city. Oh, I forgot to mention, Jerome watches EVERYTHING.

Ernest has the critical job of making moonshine for the workers constructing a water pipeline, and controlling it’s supply of water to the local farmers.

source: nowtoronto.com/movies/reviews/young-ones/
source: nowtoronto.com/movies/reviews/young-ones/

After a supply run to the water men, the family’s pack mule is crippled and so the family buys a second hand robotic mule, even though the auctioneer’s son, Flem (played angelically & devilishly by Nicholas Hoult), has designs on steeling Ernest’s supply contract, and his daughter.

source:www.thelocationguide.com/blog/2014/10/ng-film-dystopian-movie-young-ones-films-south-africa-with-vfx-work-in-ireland/
source:www.thelocationguide.com/blog/2014/10/ng-film-dystopian-movie-young-ones-films-south-africa-with-vfx-work-in-ireland/

 

Thus the central conflict starts to ferment between the generations, old and young. It might be because I’m in my mid-30’s with a young family, but I related most to Ernest and felt his longing for the young to just wait for it and quit insisting on their brighter tomorrow right now.

Once things start getting better, the younger generation’s sins eventually lead to mortal consequences, Jerome discovers what REALLY happened to ‘dear old dad’, and the film climaxes in retribution for the betrayal of the first act.

Overall, Young Ones is one of those movies that is just as much about the details built into it from a wide plethora of Western and sci-fi influences than it is about the primary story along with a good measure of other details that help enrich and explain the world of the film. When I first heard about the Lost Weekend III line-up, Young Ones was a film I was immediately interested in, and at the same time a hopeful & apprehensive that it would be as good as expected. I’m happy to report that it was as good, if not better. It’s one that I would instantly recommend for both a Western & sci-fi film.

Now I realize that I’ve only talked about the first act, and that’s for good reason. So much of the appeal about this film is in how the story unfolds and runs its course in a world that feels lived-in. It really is a Western plot with futuristic elements which heighten and expose the conflict that would otherwise have been a hidden mystery.

Young Ones is also the kind of film that is incredibly smart in its use of budget and special effects. So much if the film is economical, from simple music and orchestration to the principal cast made up of experienced actors and actresses, but only one big name.

source: www.impawards.com/2014/young_ones_ver3.html
source: http://www.impawards.com/2014/young_ones_ver3.html

Even though it is still one of my favorite Film Club screenings, there were pockets of the film I had forgotten and got to relive again. So good. Bottom line, is it worth hunting down a copy of Young Ones and see this modernized western?? Yes, without reservation.

source:awardswatch.com/forums/showthread.php?37141-Official-Movie-Poster-Thread-2015-The-Beginininining-(I)/page26
source:awardswatch.com/forums/showthread.php?37141-Official-Movie-Poster-Thread-2015-The-Beginininining-(I)/page26

As a funny aside, when Mad Max: Fury Road was killing at the box office and garnering so much attention, Young One’s distributor tried to get more viewers by re-titling and re-branding the film as Badlands: Road to Fury. I’m fine with it, because it’s just changing the title, and wasn’t made strickly as a cash grab like it seems most films from The Asylum.

When he’s not driving to work, has his hands in his car and/or house, or is attending Film Club events as an #Awesome13, #Sweet16, and #Terrific20 alum, Benjamin can be found listening to podcasts and hoping to start his own one day. Reformed Trekker; self-identified Anglophile; and Anime fan by way of Akira, Ghibli, & Gundam. You can find him on the Film Club Facebook page asking for more ‘classics’ as well as right here planning his next meta review.
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LOST WEEKEND II: Young Ones

Lost Weekend II: The Zero Theorem

Terry Gilliam has done it again – created a story that has a heavy message but yet manages to turn it into an enjoyable movie where the common person can grasp a seemingly complex issue. What’s the heavy message – complex issue here? One that Monty Python has grappled with – The Meaning of Life.

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Lost Weekend II: The Zero Theorem

LOST WEEKEND II: LIFE ITSELF

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I tried to start writing this review about twelve times over the past four days.  It’s hard to know where to begin, because it’s a film that reached me on so many personal levels; as a lover of films, a proponent of independent cinema, I feel …  No, that’s not how I’ll start this.

Life Itself is a documentary about the life and final days of Roger Ebert, celebrated film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times, author, screenwriter, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, and erstwhile bon vivant.  Directed by Steve James (Hoop Dreams), it shares its title with Ebert’s 2011 memoir, and while it covers a lot of the same ground as the book, the film also picks up where Ebert left off – dealing with, among other things, the ravages of the countless surgeries Ebert endured in order to bring the jigsaw puzzle of his face back to what it looked like on the box.

The film starts out with a nice in-depth look at the chubby cub reporter and altar boy who grew up wanting so badly to be a newsman that, as a young teen, he started his own newspaper, which he also delivered to the neighbors.  From there, he wrote for his college (University of Illinois at Urbana) newspaper.  He found himself buried in his doctoral work at the University of Chicago and the job he had taken as a reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times to help pay for his doctorate, and decided to put his doctorate on hold in order to devote more attention to his work as a movie critic.

cbThroughout the documentary, we are shown Ebert in many versions throughout the ensuing years – partier, two-fisted drinker, pugnacious adversary, recovering alcoholic, sparring partner for Gene Siskel, husband, step-father, and finally cancer patient.  All of these pictures of Ebert are fleshed out through anecdotes and reminiscences from former colleagues, friends, family, and most notably, his wife Chaz.

Roger’s own reminiscences are provided through excerpts from his memoir.  One excellent device the director adopts is using Roger’s robotic synthesized voice during the real-time events of the movie, and employing “voicematch actor” Stephen Stanton for the narration.  Stanton was a brilliant find – a man capable of mimicking Ebert’s Midwest voice and cadence so perfectly, I initially wondered how the hell Ebert’s vocal chords were restored for these pieces of the film.

Ebert’s battles with cancer of the thyroid and salivary glands, and the subsequent loss of his lower jaw (and, consequently, his ability to speak, eat, or drink) have already been fairly well-documented, but Ebert allows director James to force us to look at the startling exterior.  Seeing the 2013 version of Ebert’s face filling the screen for the first time in the theater left many of us reflexively gasping or unintentionally whispering a soft “oh my God” into our popcorn.  We are shown a brutally long shot of Roger’s throat being suctioned clean after a feeding, which appears to be agonizing for the patient.  After the technician has finished the procedure, which Ebert obviously must endure many times a day, we try to settle back into our seats, having found ourselves somehow clenching our entire bodies into fists.  Ebert looks through the camera at James, indicating that he is proud to have had a part in committing that torture to film.  Roger’s good friend Bill Nack noted that “Roger was not just the chief character and star of the movie that was his life, he was also the director.”

caSeeing Ebert in this way, victim of the constant indignity of his boneless lower jaw lying agape, at times looking all the world like a startled puppet: it’s a good starting point for trying to allow the audience to more fully comprehend how much Ebert had suffered over the 12 years since his cancer was detected, and how, in spite of that, he was able to dedicate his time and efforts to mentoring young directors and young writers, all the while maintaining his wit and charm and love for his wife Chaz, and for life itself.

It’s a solid two hours, none of it wasted on fluff.  Because the time flies so quickly during the viewing, this viewer was hoping for more – there were still missing elements unfilled, Ebert’s relationship with Siskel’s “replacement” Roeper (who inexplicably never appears in the film) for just one example.  When it was over, I felt happy to hear many other pieces I never knew, and although I felt I had lost an old friend all over again, I felt I had enjoyed a celebration rather than a two-hour eulogy.  It’s a movie that I would highly recommend to any lover of cinema, and I would suggest that a perfect gift for a film lover would be the DVD of this documentary, packaged with the memoir.

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LOST WEEKEND II: LIFE ITSELF

Lost Weekend II: Obvious Child

(there will be talk of abortion, so if this is a sensitive subject for you, perhaps skip this review…)

I was absolutely thrilled to receive my first rom-com to review for Film Club 3.0. I generally have the mentality of a 16 year old boy in my choice of movies so romantic comedies are pretty far off of my radar. Not that I don’t enjoy a good sap-fest every now and again, but it’s not my go-to genre.

This film was a lovely little homage to a one night stand gone wrong. Let me rephrase that-it did go wrong, but in light of the situation, many things went right.

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Lost Weekend II: Obvious Child

Lost Weeekend II: Frank

I’ll admit it, I knew little to nothing about this movie before seeing it the first time. It was packaged up in a lovely little film festival in between dozens of other movies I was excited to see. I had seen the trailer and I thought to myself, ‘I like music, I like weird and quirky, and Michael Fassbender is not to bad to look at’. Instead what I got was so much more. Frank ended up being one of the best movies of that little film festival. I have watched and re-watched it. I have told my family and friends to watch it. It is a movie with heart and soul, a movie that stays with you. It is silly and fun, it is heart breaking and thought provoking. It’s almost perfect.

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Lost Weeekend II: Frank

Lost Weekend II: Housebound

HOUSEBOUND opens as Kylie Bucknell (Morgana O’Reilly) and her partner are caught during a smash and grab apparently planned by Larry, Moe or Curly. It sets the tone for the movie: bitterly funny with great emotional depth. For her role in the crime, she is sentenced to a surprisingly lenient eight months of house arrest with dear old mum and dad.

housebound-kylie-mom

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Lost Weekend II: Housebound