David: Science fiction has been crowded from our movie screens by a plethora of comic strip adaptation. Sunshine raised the flag for serious sci-fi cinema in a very lean decade. It recalls Kubrick’s 2001 in positing space as a spiritual destination, with the sun, the source and nurturer of life, not unlike a god to its hapless progeny, who are on a precarious mission to keep its dying light alive. In the end one of Sunshine’s revealled truths is that a film cannot transcend its script. Much vision and beauty unravels as the story switches genres and loses its way in the third act. But for all that it stands tall, because it dared to dream.
Jules: Our commentary expands to include the small(er) screen in this episode, namely the stellar Æon Flux series of MTV short films from the 1990s. Are we all the self-deluding victims of deterministic circumstance, or can we freely choose between possible outcomes as truly moral agents? We examine the cases brought forward by arch-provocatrix Æon, dictator-for-life Trevor, and gonzo-comedian-psychopath Bambara.
David: We attempt to bring our rational thoughts to bear upon the mind-mangling dream logic of Æon Flux, and observe the absolute power of Trevor Goodchild corrupted by absolute existential quandry. The spidery form of his nemesis-love-idol weaves a web of irony around him and all the while sticky pleasure traps to snare them both abound.
Right-click to download mp3.
Jules: Like many first-time directors, Clint Eastwood turned to thriller/horror, via this story about the intersection of fame and obsession. The film is more interesting for the fact that the fame is moderate, and the obsession is feminine. Jessica Walter’s anti-heroine somehow seems objectionable more for her actions than her sentiments in this rare example of a genre film dealing thoughtfully with uncontainable female mental dysfunction.
David: A great popcorn-munching, psycho-watching, knife-wielding suburban thriller that precedes and outclasses the bunny boiling Fatal Attraction – ’cause look, back in the day, who drove women crazier, Clint or Michael Douglas? There’s interesting debate to be had on whether it’s feminist, misogynist or just… from the 70s. Clint tries to do the right thing by minorities and the apposite gender as well as the local artisans, interior decorators and haberdashers of Carmel By the Sea, the pacific hamlet which in a later decade he would rule as Mayor.
Warning: May contain traces of impromptu and poorly thought out advice for dealing with stalker behaviour.
Right-click to download mp3.
Jules: It seems Kubrick’s last film (excluding conspiracy theories, or Spielberg public relations) disappointed, riled, puzzled, or otherwise stymied almost everyone who saw it upon first release. A publicity campaign that teased a salacious treatment of the hottest Hollywood couple at the time didn’t altogether help. But has the passage of time, and the rumors that surround the film, suggested a re-reading? Is it a cynical, last gesture of a cool-minded technician? A plodding attempt by a blocked artist to reconnect with fading emotions? A final confession by a regretful propagandist? Or the closest thing to a love story Kubrick could make?
David: A film that punctuates the lives of both its stars and and its director, marking the end of Kubrick’s life and the end of Tom and Nicole’s marriage. Is this about too much honesty or too much mendacity? Intimations of infidelity send Tom on a walking tour of a hitherto undiscovered hell populated by lost women, to ends and threats obscure.