Rashomon

Rashomon

Looking for any excuse, Landon Palmer and Scott Beggs are using the 2012 Sight & Sound poll results as a reason to take different angles on the best movies of all time. Every week, they’ll discuss another entry in the list, dissecting old favorites from odd angles, discovering movies they haven’t seen before and asking you to join in on the conversation. Of course it helps if you’ve seen the movie because there will be plenty of spoilers. This week, they take 4 different views on Akira Kurosawa‘s Rashomon because they think they’re clever. In the #24 (tied) movie on the list, a bandit, a samurai, his wife, and a woodcutter each tell their version of a violent encounter on a forest road. With each new entry, conflicts and distortions arise, ultimately bending and challenging what we think of as the truth in storytelling and in life.

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Jumpview

You’re about to be eaten by a pterodactyl. Do you climb down the cliffside using a vine or try to hide out in a small cave? Your answer is important because it’ll determine whether you end up in a Jurassic beast’s bowels or not. But you can always hold the page with your finger while you check to see if your choice gets you digested to death. In the 80s and 90s, “Choose Your Own Adventure” books were insanely popular. They were the mainstream, socially acceptable version of D&D where you could be a spaceman, a knight, or a spaceknight who went on highly descriptive adventures of your own design. The draw was the power it gave the reader to make decisions that directly influenced the experience of the book, to convert a passive activity into an active one. More than a few have tried to translate the model into movies (including the “Choose Your Own Adventure” brand with the help of William H. Macy and a yeti), but there are inherent difficulties in doing so — specifically the group-based nature of movie-going. YouTube solves many of those issues, but now a program called JumpView seeks to create a truly immersive movie-watching experience complete with the digital ability to hold your finger on the page. They’ve even made their own movie for users to experiment with. Here are the basics.

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Welcome back to This Week In Discs! As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Your Sister’s Sister Jack (Mark Duplass) is still suffering bouts of depression a year after the death of his brother, so when his best friend Iris (Emily Blunt), who happens to be his brother’s ex, offers up her family’s cabin for a few days of rest he jumps at the chance. Unbeknownst to both of them Iris’ sister Hannah (Rosemarie DeWitt) has also holed up in the cabin after a rough breakup with her girlfriend. Hilarity and romantic complications ensue. Writer/director Lynn Shelton has moved beyond the confines of her early mumblecore career and delivered a film filled with humor, honesty and a compelling romantic triangle. The three leads are at the top of their game and form a trio I would happily marry. Also available on DVD. [Extras: Trailer, commentaries]

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While today certainly feels like a slow news day, the Internet has provided a ton of great links to share with you all. I’ve felt compelled to keep my links strictly film related over the past couple of days, but I think you’ll appreciate some of the geeky, non-film stuff today.

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In 1950, Akira Kurosawa released a film based on two stories, told from four perspectives. Rashomon is a gorgeous exercise in minimalism with courageous acting from Toshiro Mifune, Masayuki Mori, Machiko Kyo and Takashi Shimura. This iconic movie tells the tale of the rape of a woman and the murder of a man, but the details and actions change depending on who’s telling the story. For those who haven’t seen it, it’s high time they did. For those that have, they know how infinitely rewatchable it is. It is, without hyperbole, one of the best movies ever made, which is why we’re honored to be hosting a very special online screening of this masterpiece on Wednesday, March 28th at 7pm Central. It’s our first, powered by our new partnership with Constellation, and the perks are undeniable: The site works like a box office, but the movie comes to you. Which means you don’t have to leave the house or put on pants to enjoy the movie. There’s an interactive chat room during the screening where we’ll be tossing out trivia and conducting viewer polls… …but you can turn it off if you just want to see the movie purely. Plus, we’ll be hosting a Q and A after the movie with Kurosawa fan/expert Landon Palmer. Tickets to the event are as low as $3.99 and you can get discounts for sharing the event on Facebook and inviting friends. Plus, we have 10 free tickets to give away, so if you […]

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Culture Warrior

You hear the phrase “This movie could never be made today” quite often, and it’s typically a thinly veiled means by which a creative team allows themselves to administer loving pats on their own backs. But in the context of at a 35th anniversary exhibition of the restoration of Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver with a justifiably disgruntled Paul Schrader in attendance, such a sentence rings profoundly and depressingly true. Like many of you, I’ve seen Taxi Driver many times before. For many, it’s a formative moment in becoming a cinephile. But I had never until last weekend seen the film outside of a private setting. And in a public screening, on the big screen, I’m happy to say the film still has the potential to shock and profoundly affect viewers so many decades on. For me personally it was the most disturbing of any time I’d ever seen the film, and I was appropriately uncomfortable despite anticipating the film’s every beat. Perhaps it was because I was sharing the film’s stakes with a crowd instead of by myself or with a small group of people, or perhaps the content comes across as so much more subversive when projected onto a giant screen, or perhaps it was because the aura of a room always feels different when the creative talent involved is in attendance. For whatever reason, I found the film to be more upsetting than in any other context of viewing. But one of the most appalling moments of Taxi […]

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This week, Landon uses a trip to the bar to watch the World Cup as a catalyst for discussing nationality (and a lack of it) in films throughout the last 60 years – culminating in a look of the broad, international flavor (and financing) of modern films.

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cultwarrior_decadeinreview

This week’s Culture Warrior gives an exhaustive review of the decade that you won’t find anywhere else on the Interwebs.

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This week, Old Ass Movies examines the subjectivity of truth and human nature in Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon.

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