/Filmcast Ep. 214 – Gangster Squad

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Dave, Adam, and Devindra discuss this year’s Oscar nominations, and explain why you should watch LA Confidential instead of Gangster Squad.

You can always e-mail us at slashfilmcast(AT)gmail(DOT)com, or call and leave a voicemail at 781-583-1993.
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In this episode, Dave, Devindra, and Adam chat about the spate of hot new sci-fi film trailers, lament the preachiness of Flight, and get really troubled by Compliance. Special guest Joanna Robinson joins us from Pajiba. Be sure to check out the bad language in Lincolnthe science of high framerates, and how Tolkein retconned his own books.

You can always e-mail us at slashfilmcast(AT)gmail(DOT)com, or call and leave a voicemail at 781-583-1993.
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A cornerstone story aspect of the thriller, codified on film by Alfred Hitchcock, is fear of persecution. Hitch was famously afraid of police, and a constant element in his films was the horror of being pursued and/or persecuted for an infraction real or imagined. The Law — the “capital-L” version — can seem like an unfathomable force that guides our behavior, and the persuasive power of that force can make one feel incredibly vulnerable.

The power of that particular perception of Law is at the heart of Compliance, too. The indie became notorious at Sundance this past January for expanding on real-life stories in which an anonymous caller impersonated police officers and talked business managers into strip-searching and violating employees. The instigating factor would be a reported infraction of the law, with the caller reasoning that the fastest way to deal with the situation was for the manager to do some of the work of the cops before officers were able to arrive. Inevitably, the caller would push the situation deep into scary territory, and those on the other end of the line would comply.

The real-life stories are chilling, in part because it is horrifying to consider that anyone would follow the instructions of someone who purports to be a law officer without attempting to verify the caller’s identity. Compliance seems to exploit that horrifying behavior quite well, and now you can get a glimpse of just how weird things get in a new trailer for the movie. Read More »

The Best of the 2012 Sundance Film Festival

For ten days each January, in the snowy town of Park City, Utah, the year in independent cinema is set. The 2012 Sundance Film Festival was true to that promise and provided attendees with a slew of films that are sure to be not only among the year’s best, but in the hunt for awards come Oscar time next year.

Along with Peter Sciretta, I was once again deep in the trenches of Park City –  battling bus schedules, lack of sleep, snow, slush and more – to see as many movies as possible to try and get an idea of what the rest of 2012 holds. And it’s looking good.

We all know that the next few months hold an unprecedented offering of big budget blockbusters but companies like Fox Searchlight, Sony Pictures Classics, IFC, Magnolia and more all bolstered their upcoming release schedules by purchasing some of the best films of the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. The official awards have been handed out, but what were our favorites?

After the jump read about the best films of the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. Read More »

Craig Zobel‘s Compliance made me want to walk out of the theater. Not as a reaction to the film’s quality, however. On the contrary, Compliance is actually quite accomplished. Actually, it’s so effective it made me want to walk out because the real life events portrayed were so enraging, so unbelievable, so easily avoidable and painted such a bad light on humanity that I could almost not stomach sitting in the theater.

In the film, a man posing as a police officer calls a local fast food restaurant and accuses an employee named Becky (Dreama Walker) of stealing from a customer. The man asks her manager Sandra (Ann Dowd) to at first detain, and later search her employee. From there things devolve to almost unbelievable and upsetting depths. I say “almost unbelievable” because the film is based on true events that happened at a Kentucky McDonald’s in 2004. (In the film, however, McDonald’s isn’t mentioned for obvious reasons.)

At the first public screening of Compliance, Zobel was screamed at by audience members and accused of misogyny. Other Q&A’s also featured awkward and uncomfortable questions/comments as people wrestled with the disturbing events in the film. Read more about the film and its purpose after the jump. Read More »

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