The Last Jedi and Brazil

(Welcome to The Movies That Made Star Wars, a series where we explore the films and television properties that inspired or help us better understand George Lucas’ iconic universe. In this edition: Brazil.)

The 1985 release of Terry Gilliam’s Brazil was nothing short of a miracle. The executives at Universal were so disappointed with Gilliam’s grim vision of the future that they wanted to recut it and give it a happy ending, but Gilliam refused to be beaten down by the system. He fought and fought and fought until the executives were forced to relent. Ironic that a film about trying to beat the system from within and losing (mostly) was only released because a filmmaker fought the system and actually won.

Brazil tells the story of Sam Lowry (Jonathan Pryce) as he navigates an Orwellian hellscape with bliss until his dreams become too much. When he decides he needs to follow those dreams, the society he’s lived in with aplomb actively works to destroy him. While they might destroy his body, though, they’d never destroy his spirit.

Arguably, Brazil is Gilliam’s definitive masterpiece, evoking everything he is as a filmmaker and storyteller and boiling it into one dystopian nightmare. It’s a study in stark contrasts as well. In one particularly funny (and disturbing scene) Sam Lowry is dining with his mother (Katherine Helmond) and her rich and decadent friends when a terrorist’s bomb explodes in the background. None of the rich folks seem to notice and the restaurant staff erects accordion walls around them so they don’t have to witness the world literally falling apart around them. For as big as the film is, it’s always oppressively personal. For as funny as it is, each laugh threatens to become a sob as you realize just how bleak the universe really is.

This is Terry Gilliam’s view of the human condition, it seems, and it’s as hilarious as it is terrifying.

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Jacob Hall’s Favorite Movies of All Time

jacob favorite movies header

Hi, /Film. My name is Jacob Hall and my favorite movies are part of me on a molecular level. Cut me open and the films that have defined my life come spilling out in a great, red heap. So when I was asked to introduce myself to you guys, the community, via a list of my favorite movies of all time, I prepared myself for some gritty, Robert-De-Niro-in-Ronin-style surgery. This list is me being cut open for your amusement.

Read on all about my favorite movies after the jump.

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Watch A Brief History of Movie Title Designs

As part of the screening put together in relation to the SXSW Title Design Competition, Ian Albinson from the website The Art of the Title Sequence put together a nice two and a half minute compendium of excellent film titles. (That features an occasional piece of television, too.) For any long-time film lover, this little video will probably elicit quite a few responses simply on the strength of the title cards on display. I queued several films to re-watch after exposure to just a few seconds of their titles.

Check out the collection after the jump. Read More »

The New Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles is one of those movie theaters that film fans must visit at some point in their life. Maybe it’s not the prettiest theater in the world, but the tickets are cheap, the popcorn is cheap, and it regularly has some of the best, if not the best, repertory screenings imaginable, mostly in double features. Now, for their 2011 season, they’ve decided to kick it off the Wright way. The Edgar Wright way.

The New Bev will play host to over two weeks of films programmed by director Edgar Wright. They did it three years ago and now, the director of Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (which will screen as one marathon) is back for The Wright Stuff II. Wright has chosen twenty films to play over 18 days beginning January 14 and most of the films are specially themed double features. Want to know what’s playing when, with what and whom? Then hit the jump. Read More »