(Welcome to Not Dead Yet, a feature dedicated to new Blu-ray releases and what special features you should be excited about. Because yes, some of us still like to own physical copies of our movies.)
What physical media awaits you this week? Why, it’s one of the best films of last year – Phantom Thread! Also: a musical featuring Hugh Jackman and CGI elephants; a Ridley Scott thriller more known for its reshoots than its story; the supposedly last entry in a horror franchise; and two very different indie films.
Here are the new Blu-ray releases and their special features you should check out this week.
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Whoever still generalizes January as a cinematic wasteland has clearly not watched Robert Mockler’s Like Me. This is an introspective timebomb that bursts with ambition, execution and payoff, all the while told through a lens that burns with the vibrant fluorescence of this first timer’s splash-making debut. Mockler has a vision that’s never sacrificed; boundaries are tested by setting the screen ablaze with neon tragedies. January is for phoned-in franchise five-quels – what’s this cautionary social media takedown think it‘s doing around these parts?
The film’s star, Addison Timlin, manipulates her way through a gonzo road trip fueled by “likes” and “shares” on internet posts. The crazier her stunts – from robberies to kidnappings – the more people discuss her abstract artistry. She craves attention like a drug, caught up in a sea of endorphins that spike whenever content goes viral. Unfortunately for her latest muse, a schlubby motel owner played by indie horror legend Larry Fessenden (who also produced the film), this means there’s no telling when her antics will stop.
I had the pleasure of moderating a post-screening Q&A of Like Me alongside Mockler and Fessenden in New York City this past week, which we primed with an interview at a local diner beforehand. The three of us sat and chatted about our views on social media, tried not to gag while recalling some thematic food usage, and grappled with the business ins-and-outs of indie filmmaking. Here are two honest creators talking about how Like Me came to form – and how nothing was going to stop them.
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Robert Mockler’s Like Me is a surreal “loner with a web page” meltdown starring Addison Timlin as the filmmaker’s millennial muse. It is, with title wordplay intended, very much a commentary on finding comfort in today’s technofied age and how civilization now measures happiness in status “likes” or hot-take “retweets.” As you might expect, some find this to be an unhealthy trend. Thus the Molotov cocktail that is Like Me was hurled with incendiary intent – quite a daring and flashy debut feature, I might add.
Mockler’s isn’t the first social media thriller to rock glazed-over audiences (and based on cinematic adaptations of appropriate social trends, it certainly won’t be the last). This inspired me to compile an accompanying list of movies so you can see how other filmmakers interpret the same thematic fears. From slashers to found footage to educational indies, there’s plenty worth an introspective wince as you witness how our new(ish) handheld habits exploit age-old insecurities. Let’s just try to make sure life doesn’t imitate this particular brand of art? Like, more than it already does.
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