I’m So Excited

discs the act of killing

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! If you see something you like, click on the title to buy it from Amazon. The Act of Killing Indonesia, like many countries, has a dark and bloody past filled with brutal death squads and mass killings. The difference is that unlike those others the people of Indonesia continue to celebrate the murderers, and many of those killers still walk the streets as heroes of a cruel and sadistic history. This documentary puts us in the killers’ midst as they tell their story using the medium they love so much, film. Joshua Oppenheimer‘s film is an absolute marvel both in what it sets out to do and in what it accomplishes. The “characters” here are madmen in charge of their own fates and world, and the view they have of their shared history is more disturbing than any horror film. The only thing more terrifying than hearing them talk about what they’ve done and how they feel about it now is watching their efforts to recreate it all in front of the camera. [Blu-ray/DVD extras: Theatrical and director's cuts, interview, commentary with Oppenheimer and Werner Herzog, featurette, deleted scenes, trailers, booklet]

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review im so excited2

Pedro Almodóvar’s late career is revealing him to be a contemporary Alfred Hitchcock. For those whose perception of the Spanish director is filtered through his campy, punk-y early work, that may come as a surprise. But no other director working today has such a command of form, also Hitchcock’s true artistic medium. Hitchcock deployed his talent for pacing, timing and suspense in the service of the horror genre, though his films were leavened with comedic passages. Almodóvar displays the same control over the heartbeat of his films, and his nominal comedies all have tragic, horrifying premises. His latest, I’m So Excited!, is another of these tragicomedies masquerading as a farce, and it marks a return to form for one of the greatest directors working today. Its premise is not unlike a Hitchcock classic — Rope or Strangers on a Train — but inverted and in the air. In fact, its Spanish title, Los amantes pasajeros, could equally have been translated as Rakes on a Plane. Though he consistently nods to the current economic crisis rending Spanish society apart, Almodovar cares more about a well-executed farce than a timely piece of commentary. He’s more interested in narrative uplift, and his airplane comedy delivers that in spades. I’m So Excited! is a return to form, a maturation of his distinctive style, and a thoroughly enjoyable romp in the sky.

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I

Anyone who’s flown on a Southwest flight knows the flight attendants can get a bit silly. But hopefully the reason is not because they are taking pulls from hidden bottles of alcohol behind the privacy curtains. Unfortunately the passengers of Peninsula Flight 2549 in I’m So Excited are not so lucky, but their flight attendants have a good reason to try and take the edge off. A mistake that happened before the flight took off (thanks to the antics of a few grounds crew members plus two funny cameo appearances) damaged the landing equipment and now the pilots are trying to find a free runway to try and make an emergency landing. While the crew drugged the passengers in coach to keep them from noticing they had been flying in circles for hours (and nowhere near their intended destination), those in business class end up finding out the truth, and the results are not what you would expect.

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THE WAY, WAY BACK

The Los Angeles Film Festival has finally rolled out their full lineup for the upcoming summer fest, and it’s packed with a number of Sundance picks, the return of Ryan Gosling and Nicolas Winding Refn, and everyone’s favorite film that hasn’t been released just yet, You’re Next. Basically, you should probably start making your schedule now, because this is easily one of LAFF’s best lineups yet. The festival will open with Pedro Almodovar‘s I’m So Excited (Almodovar is a Los Angeles favorite, as he’s also served as guest artistic director for LA’s other big festival, AFI FEST), close with Nat Faxon and Jim Rash‘s The Way, Way Back, and include special gala presentations in the middle of both Refn’s Only God Forgives and Ryan Coogler‘s Sundance winner Fruitvale Station (formerly known as Fruitvale). Didn’t think you could get a large portion of your awards season movie-viewing out of the way in June? Bummed you missed out on Sundance? You were so wrong. Check out the full lineup after the break.

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I

Hey, there, sweet reader. Today hasn’t been the sunshiniest of Fridays, so let’s take a break and watch something sure to elevate your mood. Pedro Almodovar‘s latest film, I’m So Excited (which was once referred to as The Standby Lovers, and has now clearly been renamed in honor of The Pointer Sisters’ song), has just sent out its first teaser trailer, and it is a delight. Drugs! Dancing! Lip-syncing! All on a jet hurdling through the sky! Get your tickets now. (Get it?) Back in June, we learned a bit about the film when Antonio Banderas and Penelope Cruz joined the cast, including its apparent plot: “a comedy…that’s about a plane full of people who reveal their most guarded secrets to one another when the aircraft starts to go down.” And that’s just about all we know at this point, though it’s certainly not essential for enjoying said first teaser. Get excited with the teaser trailer after the break.

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