Æon Flux : The Purge (1995)

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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.

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Demonlover (2002)

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David: We actually fulfil our brief this time and bring you a genuinely overlooked film. Connie Nielsen is a high flying minion of anime porn merchants by day and cat-burglar by night, who wanders out of her depth into a world of corporate play and counter play. She discovers the company ladder that goes all the way to the top also goes all the way to the bottom.

Jules: The best, late period William Gibson film adaptation not actually adapted from a William Gibson novel, Demonlover intersects oblique characters and narratives to produce an aesthetically integrated nightmare of Postmodern fragmentation. When unconscious entities (like corporations, nationalities, and religious movements before them) evolve djinn-like abilities to tempt, trap, and consume their human constituents in the sociopathic pursuit of marketshare, do they signal a future when identity, self-awareness and morality are as irrelevant as ‘junk’ DNA?

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Play Misty For Me (1971)

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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.

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Eyes Wide Shut (1999)

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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.

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Black Narcissus (1947)

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Jules: The clash of cultures, faiths, races, and civilisations entire was hardly ever so agreeable as it is in this 1947, somewhat-forgotten classic. See vertiginous, mountain-perched bordellos revamped to serve as nunneries! See lanky actors in too-short short-shorts attempt to maintain their gravitas whilst riding Shetland ponies! See skin-tinted occidental girls reinvented as oriental firebrands!

David: One ought not to rebel against nature, it seems. Nor the nature of things. A gaggle of nuns embark on a girl’s own Heart of Darkness.

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The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988)

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Our first podcast! And it sounds like it!

Jules: Problems (and beauty) abound in this characteristically Gilliamesque romp through the Enlightenment, and its cultural upheavals. Marvels to delight the eye accompany the misadventures of our titular hero as he attempts to establish how the war began.

David: Beautiful ladies, beautiful ladies!

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