Alright, let's see, only one film I didn't get around to reviewing, Philip Kaufman's 2000 film "Quills" about the Marquis de Sade; it's pretty good. I don't think it's one of Kaufman's very best, that would be either "The Right Stuff" or "The Unbearable Lightness of Being", but "Quills" certainly fits in his milieu, particularly on the "...Being" side of it. I can see how he would be most interested in the life of a writer who basically invented sexual vulgarity. It's worth a watch, although mostly I'm just glad to catch up on something from the early 2000s, that's the earlies peiod where I start to be a little weak in, years-wise. There's still quite a few things from that era that I've missed and got to catch up on, but that's for another day. The rest of my time is spent catching up on last year. Well, I'm definitely getting there, we got lots of major reviews this week, and a lot of good movies. So far, this has been a much better year than 2014, I'm quite happy about it, already.
(YAW-WWWWWWWWN) That said, watching this many movies can make me tired, so let's get right to it this week, so I can take a break/nap, before working some more. Let's get right to this week's "MOVIE REVIEWS"! Starting with reviews of the Oscar winning film, "ROOM" and the OSCAR-NOMINATED films "SICARIO", 'WINTER ON FIRE: UKRAINE'S FIGHT FOR FREEDOM", and "THE HUNTING GROUND"!
ROOM (2015) Director: Lenny Abrahamson
"Room". (Deep breath)
"Room". How to start this review? (Sigh) Well, let's get the obvious out of the way, no, I have not seen the damn Tommy Wiseau film with the similar title, "The Room", and I don't particularly plan on doing so, until I absolutely have to, and other than that, as far as I can tell, these two films have otherwise, absolutely nothing in common.
(Longer pause, deep breath)
Okay, now....- (Pause) Well, the reason I'm having such difficulty starting this review, is because, this is, just, a really difficult film to talk about. Not, plot wise, it's difficult emotionally. This is-, this is not an easy movie to watch, but it's definitely a movie worth watching. The movie takes place through the eyes of young Jack, (Jacob Tremblay) who's just turned five years old and the movie is, not necessarily narrated by him, but he does give voice over of his thoughts, or his perceptions of the world he inhabits. Unfortunately, the world he inhabits, is a, Room. One room, that he and his mother, Joy, although he calls her simply, Ma (Oscar-winner Brie Larson). Yeah, the movie, um,... I really don't know how else to say this, but Joy was a seventeen year old, who got tricked and kidnapped by somebody named Old Nick (Sean Bridgers) who trapped her in his shed, which she couldn't get out of, and, well, a year or so later Jack was born, and I'll let you fill in the blanks. The first half of the movie, we get a sense of Jack's world, which is basically Room. Joy, in an effort to, well, I guess the best way to describe it, unfortunately, is to shelter him, from the real pains of her being kept, is to make up a story about how "Room", is the entire world and universe, and that the people on the TV aren't real or something or another like that. They have enough accessories to get by, and Old Nick, comes at night to bring whatever else he can, or wants to. It's still, a shed and nothing else, and they're stuck behind a combination padlocked door however, with only a skylight, a slight glimpse into the possibilities of the unknown Space outside. That is until, Ma insists on Jack making a daring escape, which involves finally smartening him up to the situation, and then putting him in quite a dangerous and serious situation, but thankfully it works. The second half of the movie, is the afterwards for both Jack and Joy, who reunites with her parents, Nancy and Robert (Joan Allen and a devastating cameo from William H. Macy) although, Nancy is now living with Leo (Tom McCamus) and, there's clearly a huge number of obstacles to help them navigate the next level of waters as Joy is struggles to regain normalcy as she returns to a world that's passed her by and a home that's different from before (not to mention, she's now different than before) and poor Jack, well, he's still getting used to the concept that there actually exists another world outside of "Room", much less, used to having to now live in that world. It's not that he now has to get used to other people in his life, he has to get used to the idea that there's other people at all. I'll start with the director, Lenny Abrahamsom, who I've seen two other films from, another tragedy about youths and crime called "What Richard Did", about an afterschool fight that got out of hand. Rechecking my review of that film, it actually has a similar story path as "Room", it begins by setting up the universe of the movie, and then, something happens that completely alters the world of the characters and now the movie is about the aftereffects of that incident. He also directed the dark comedy "Frank" about a musician and his clinically insane band who wears a giant paper mache mask over his head. I-, I guess there's the same arc in that movie as well, but it's much different and more loosely structured, but I-eh, honestly I never really knew what the hell to do with that movie although I do think it's pretty good. That said, while the directing is really skillful here, having to really establish two different norms, one claustrophobic and literally enclosed and another that's so vast and huge that it engulfs his characters, but the story was based on a novel by Emma Donaghue that she adapted into this screenplay, and while Brie Larson did an amazing job, I think it's debatable to some extent, just how big a Lead Actress she is; this is really young Jack's story. Jacob Tremblay is in nearly every scene of the movie, and more importantly that that the whole movie takes place from his point of view. His voiceover narration of his thoughts, remind me of the narrator in "Days of Heaven" the great Terrence Malick movie, that also focused on a main character who didn't necessarily know everything that was going on around her but tried to explain it to us by showing her perception of the world at large, and that film is also about a journey from one world to another, although the movie that "Room" reminds me of, is a film from a couple years ago called "What Maisie Knew". That movie, some of you may recall made my Top Ten List and I actually just rewatched it not that long ago and it is a seriously underrated and overlooked masterpiece. That movie is shown entirely from the perspective of a little girl, who's caught up in the center of her parents' divorce and remarriages and struggles to fully understand why she's going from one new house to another, as new people begin entering her life as the world of her parents that she used to know, grows farther and farther away as they eventually start leading their own lives, just as another new home, is being forged around her. "What Maisie Knew" is for the most part, watchable, for lack of a better word, not that "Room" but it's relatively light, and the storytelling conceit of the story being told through only what the young girl sees and finds out about, was perfectly done, to give us more information that we learn, only as Maisie did, catching things that were sometimes only from the corners of the screen. "Room", isn't going for that, it's trying to tell a literal story, it's telling an emotional one. In one sense, it's a movie about, finding out your true emotions, as for the two main character, they've been suppressed, or in Jacob's case, not really allowed to be expressed until now. Were not getting a greater story, we're getting an emotional journey of two people who went through Hell, and are trying to not destroy themselves on the other side. It's probably the most empathetic film of the year, the one you feel for the most, the kind where you constantly find yourself muttering, "Poor girl", or "Poor kid", or "Poor mother" or Poor whoever, for all they go through. That's usually not a sign of a good movie, it's usually a sign of blatant audience manipulation, not here though.
SICARIO (2015) Director: Denis Villeneuve
The overwhelming praise for "Sicario" the latest from Denis Villeneuve, is kinda befuddling to me. It's not a bad movie, Villeneuve, might not be capable of a bad movie, even his worst films have too much skill behind the camera and storytelling expertise to make a bad film, but after his breakthrough feature the masterful "Incendies" which earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language film, I've found myself underwhelmed by the Canadian filmmaker's latest works. I admired "Prisoners" a lot, but I couldn't quite say that I was totally enamored with it the way others were and I barely, just barely gave "Enemy" a positive recommendation, despite the glowing praise that movie got in some circles of cinefiles, because of the supposed twist ending, which, I found to just be arbitrary and meant nothing in the grand scheme of the narrative. (Seriously, what the hell changed with that ending? Okay, the doppelganger, is an insect; did that really matter?) Yeah, after the twist in "Incendies" that one didn't nearly impress me; again, I only recommended it because of the technical filmmaking aspects, which as always with Villaneuve, are simply too impressive to dismiss, but still though....- I saw a review that really praised the movie calling it "Traffic" on steroids just now, looking up some of the reviews it got, which is a bit odd to me 'cause I was just about to call it, "Traffic"-light.
WINTER ON FIRE: UKRAINE'S FIGHT FOR FREEDOM (2015) Director: Evgeny Afineevsky
"Winter on Fire: Ukraine's Fight for Freedom", is the other Netflix documentary that earned an Oscar nomination for Best Documentary last year, along with "What Happened, Miss Simone", and that's about the only thing they have in common. The movie feels more like Netflix's previous successful foray into documentary features, "The Square", about the uprising in Egypt a couple years ago; that movie, literally and figuratively seems to keep growing since it first came out. "Winter on Fire..." is practically a first-hand account of the events that took place in 2014, as a peaceful demonstration, basically turned into Revolution. Ukraine's history is not a country who's history I'm overly familiar with, but a lot of shit's happened there recently, as has been happening. Basically, the President at the time, Viktor Yanukovych, was a Pro-Russian President, and one who was notorious for corruption. He had once already trying to steal an election before by stuffing the ballot box. Ukraine's trying to get into the European Union, and while Russia is trying to basically regain Ukraine as Putin's trying to rebuild the Soviet empire, Ukrainian's took to the streets, trying to make Yanukovych join the EU instead. He rejected their proposal, and eventually all was broke out, and in the square. The movie takes us, directly into the center of the streets, the fire, the protests. The movie does seem like news footage much of the time, much of it probably was, like the footage of Vitaly Klitchsko who vacated his World Heavyweight Championship, which he had held for over a decade, in order to focus more time as being a figure for the political left in Ukraine, and yes, he's in the middle of the clusterfuck as well. Not much in the middle, but he's there, and there's clearly bullets flying somewhere and he's there. The movie, focuses on a few of the people involve, but more importantly the movie focuses on the chaos and attempts at organization on the streets, as the protest grows into first a warzone, then a battlefield, and then again an evergrowing protest, and then to eventual revolution. Yanukovych, at one point, simply left the country after, probably behind the scenes, being usurped by his government and he found asylum in Russia, where he currently is. What does this mean for the future of "Ukraine"? Who knows for now. There's gonna be, who knows how much new maneuvering and adjusting afterwards as the revolution now requires reforming a new government out of the ashes. Go back to "The Square" and Egypt to see how messy that can be, and with Putin still in power, this situation is ever tenser than before. "Winter on Fire..." is a documentary is more entertaining than probably it's real intention of outlining the events of the 93 days, really should be, which is a benefit of the movie, although all it really does is document, a heavily one-sided documentation of the events at that. That's still pretty impressive though, and as a piece of modern history being documented, the film is undeniably important. If for no other reason, documenting the uprising, will at least leave a historical piece, of what to avoid and how to avoid such an event happening in the future.
THE HUNTING GROUND (2015) Director: Kirby Dick
Oh boy, this topic again. (Rubs sides of nose, pause, sighs, deep breath) Well, some of you may already know that I've tackled the subject of rape on college campuses before on this blog, I devoted a whole blogpost to look at Emma Sulkovich's controversial short film, "C'est N'est Pas un Viol (This is Not a Rape)", that blogpost is at the link below:
If you aren't familiar with Sulkovich, she's the famous performance artist who was raped as a student at Columbia University, and in response to the University and law enforcement's lack of action against her accused rapist, started a performance piece called "Carry That Weight", where she carried around a mattress, everywhere for at least, a semester, maybe longer, I'm not sure how long now, but it was a major piece of protest and performance art, one of the most provocative and noteworthy in recent years, which I why when she released a short film, shortly after her graduation, that, if not depicted her own experience, confronted us head on with a depiction of, how a rape at a college campus could and probably does happen occasionally. I got a lot of shit for that blog btw. The thing is though, um, this is a problem a major problem.
THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL (2015) Director: Marielle Heller
Holy fuck, is this an amazing film. How did Bel Powley, who I never heard of before and found out later that yes, she is confortably older than the 15-year-old Minnie, play this role and not even remotely get considered for an Oscar nomination? Jesus Christ! Okay, "The Diary of a Teenage Girl", overly generic title aside, is one of the year's best films. It's one of-, if not, the best film ever about growing up and the sexual awakening of a teenage girl. Actually that's,- that's way too limiting a description. It's a coming-of-age movie, but a coming-of-age that feels fast, real, and full of life. It's hard to describe this movie in one shot, most movies are impossible to simplify, but this one, this one....
MAGIC MIKE XXL (2015) Director: Gregory Jacobs
I hate to say this about a movie, but "Magic Mike XXL", is way better than it has any right to be. I know that's a weird thing to say, but in this case, it's completely true. I honestly can't really justify this positive review, much less, such a positive one, other than, well, it's just a lot of fun to watch. Well, that's not true, there's plenty of reasons why "Magic Mike XXL" is awesome to watch. I really don't recall watching the first one too well, but checking my review, I also brought up how fun the movie is, and apparently the movie was more of a mentor-mentee relationship film between Mike (Channing Tatum) and Adam, who's not in this movie. Neither is Dallas, Matthew McConaughey's emcee character that partially reignited his career. I was more impressed with Tatum's work than McConaughey's and we're a few years later and now, he's left the chippendale team abandoned. Magic Mike, has also left the team, focusing on his career as a furniture maker, but occasionally when Genuwine's "Pony" plays, he's still capable of drifting himself back into old form, like a trained dancer who's stepped away for a few years, but is still so talented and in great enough shape, that he can pull off a routine on the spot. By the way, there's something about the music in these movies. I didn't notice that before, but now that I think about it, the music choices are awesome, especially in this film. Well, not awesome, I don't really think Genuwine's somebody I'm gonna go out to defend, but it works here. I never noticed that before, but they make a point of it here, there's such strange and amazing uses of everything from Bruno Mars, to Barry White, to D'Angelo, to Backstreet Boys, to even Nine Inch Nails.
PHOENIX (2015) Director: Christian Petzold
The broad outlines of "Phoenix" may sound a little familiar to you, but don't let that stop you, This is a German film from Director Christian Petzold; I haven't seen any of his previous works, but I've definitely seen some of the films that this movie is inspired by, most notably, Alfred Hitchcock's "Vertigo". Which, had me worried a bit because I've never felt that film should be as acclaimed as it has been in recent years. (Okay, look, I don't think it's bad; you can read my Canon of Film post on it if you want; I agree it's an essential, I just don't rank it as one of Hitchcock's very best films, okay!?) Anyway, this re-working of that idea for a story, is quite inventive. The movie takes place shortly after WWII, and two women, Nelly (Nina Hoss) and Lene (Nina Kunzendorf) are coming back to Berlin by way of Switzerland. Nelly, is covered in blankets and bandages, having spent the last year in the camps, her face is royally disfigured. Her family's been killed, and she's unable to have her original face entirely replicated, which Lene says is a good thing, in this situation. I happen to agree, especially since, she herself is presumed dead. She's supposed to stay away from the American side of town, (Yes, Berlin is separated into sections at this time, a la, Vienna in "The Third Man") but she's looking for her husband Johnny (Ronald Zehrfeld) who's a pianist, so she suspects, correctly that he's in one of those cabaret club, the kind that, yes, similar to "Cabaret", have a somewhat androgynous main performance, this one involves two singing girls who I swear seem like a chorus with the songs they choose. Music is important to this film, the score invokes Bernard Hermann, and a really old Tony Bennett song "Speak Low", which is a bit anachronistic, he didn't record that song until '59, I'm guessing they either couldn't use a more appropriately-timed recording, like the Guy Lombardo version. Johnny, now known as Johannes, finally approaches Nelly, after she's come in a couple times. He, doesn't recognize her, which is bad enough, but he's also under the impression that she's dead, but she looks similar enough, that he believes that, with a little training, she can pass as Nelly, and divorce her so that she can get her family's inheritance. So, she moves in with him, but not as lovers, as him trying to train her to pose as Nelly. If you're wondering why he's so convinced that she's dead btw, it's because he was the one who turned her in, at least it seems likely so, although that doesn't necessarily mean that he doesn't love her; a lot of people did some things they may have regretted. As I always say, you never actually know what you're going to do until you're actually in that situation and sometimes, a fight or flight situation, leads to doing what you can for your survival, even if that means sacrificing the lives of ones you love. Besides, we don't know that for sure, but the evidence that Lene provides does insinuate it enough, but Nelly wants to let Johnny go through this anyway. The most brilliant twist on this narrative, on top of creating a scenario where this situation makes logical sense, is that the movie is shown from the woman's point of view, not the man's. We see and understand why she goes forward with this, and see her suffering as she's living with a husband who doesn't recognize her, but is trying to turn her, into, herself. It's a pretty complex performance by Hoss, an emotional one, even though, I do think she seems a little too weak at times, it's understandable. I mean, she just survived the Holocaust, so she's already in a poor state of mind. So is he, of course. "Phoenix" is surprisingly emotional and absorbingly tense film, about the struggles of returning to a normal life after going through such a horror and presents us with many questions about one's identity, both personal and in many ways, national, there's definitely a theme of trying to understand the more conflicting nationalist natures of this film as well, if you want to read that parable into it as well.
DIGGING FOR FIRE (2015) Director: Joe Swanberg
Oh my god, here's a few terms I never thought I'd use in the same sentence, pointless, Mumblecore, cameofest, and it's boring on top of that. Joe Swanberg, is probably not the best of the Mumblecore movement, but he's definitely the most prolific. Not counting his acting credits, which would be a lot more than this, and only counting feature film credits, except for "V/H/S" which he only co-directed, Swanberg has directed, twelve feature films. and he's got a thirteenth in post-production that will come out later this year, and that's only, this decade! I'm not counting what he's done before 2010. That's insane, even for low-budget indy directors. Edward Burns hasn't directed that many features, in his 20+ Year career and that's probably the only other indy director I can think of who's even close to the rate and pace of Swanberg. It's not that his films are bad, either, I consider "Drinking Buddies" to be pretty damn good, and I guess I didn't outright hate "Happy Christmas", but honestly, I'm starting to think he's starting to lose it. He's never been a favorite of mine, but there's a pattern and the pattern is that, more and more of his films, come off as, unfinished. Like, there's an idea here, and he just sorta plants a few things in the movie, but he never really goes anywhere with them. Now when it's done well, since most of his films are relationship pieces, you can kinda take the often-improvised dialogue and sorta find some greater truths below the surface, that's the real reason why "Drinking Buddies" does hold up, but here, um... well, I think here there's an idea for a subtext-filled tale about a couple, but, where he went wrong with it, um, I don't think he ended up anywhere near John Cheever or anything.
CREEP (2015) Director: Patrick Brice
Oh, the other Mumblecore disappointment this week.
HOW TO CHANGE THE WORLD (2015) Director: Jerry Rothwell
So, in 1971, the U.S. Government was preparing for a test of a nuclear bomb on a small island off the coast of Vancouver called Amchitka, it's part of the Aleutian Islands, anyway a boat of protesters made up of a strangely eclectic group of hippies, ecologists, a journalist, a few environmentalists, and others and took a boat to the island, and got the U.S. to delay the exercise, and they continued to stand in the way as long as they could. There boat, was called, "Greenpeace", a made up word after somebody said "Peace out" and they replied, that let's hope it's a green peace.
WINNING: THE RACING LIFE OF PAUL NEWMAN (2015) Directors: Adam Corolla and Nate Adams
It's commonly known that Paul Newman was a race car driver. I mean, we all know that firstly, he was an actor, and a great one at that, and I think the general populace in Hollywood understand that he indeed had a fascination with auto racing in his spare time, but I don't necessarily think they all, actually get it. I mean, not only is it not just a passing fad for him, like, say the Hollywood poker boom of the 2000s, where any and all celebrities seemed to be trying their luck to win tournaments and bracelets at the W.S.O.P., but Newman, was a race car driver. A damn good one at that.
1971 (2015) Director: Joanna Hamilton
On March 8th, "1971", the night Joe Frazier knocked out Muhammad Ali, the FBI offices in Media, Pennsylvania were broken into and over a thousand documents were filed, the contents of which, revealed numerous programs that the FBI had been enacting in, against hippies, the Black Panthers, and numerous other domestic organizations, in an effort t undermine and destroy the counter-culture movement from within. Okay, first thought, where the Media, Pennsylvania, and why the hell do they have an FBI office? I mean, I-, okay it's thirteen miles west of Philadelphia; I don't know what or why someplace has an FBI office, it's not like a local police station, from what I understand they're usually divided by areas, but I would've thought, that some place that would have an FBI office, would be a place I had heard of. It definitely helped, because, while it wasn't unguarded, the place was surprisingly easy to steal from. More importantly, is the aftermath of the break-in, at least in terms of American history, since, when the pages started getting sent to newspapers, and this predates, both Watergate and The Pentagon Papers btw, once the Washington Post decided to publish the stolen documents, this lead to the first time the government began investigating the FBI. (This was right at the end of J. Edgar Hoover's reign by the way) The movie is about the actual break-in itself, and the people behind it, who by the way, were never caught and there were rarely, if ever any suspects directly linked to the case, although a couple members of the Camden 28 might've been suspected, (especially since, one or two of them actually did it) This is the first time that the culprits have revealed themselves. There were eight people involved, and we see interviews with the surviving members of the crew, who were originally, just planning on stealing from a next-door draft board, which a few others had tried to do in other cities, as a way to at least slow down the draft and essentially protest the Vietnam War. But it was obvious to people in the local Philadelphia radicals who were interested in civil disobedience as a course of protest. We see reenactments cut in with interview, similar to Errol Morris's work, and it interesting how they pulled it off, correctly predicting that the office would be abandoned and that anybody who would've been on guard, would be too busy watching the fight that night. They had known that there were some pretty obvious plants in many of the local groups that they suspected for years had been CIA. Apparently the undercover department was about as subtle as a Senior transferring to an ethnic high school, with a generic name, hippies who seemed to have just now grown their hair out, and had tye-dye shirts that read, "Kill the Pigs", caused all kinds of alarms. Apparently either the CIA was stupid or they just thought the kids were. While numerous files they stole were important in showing the out-of-control ways the CIA was spying on its own citizens, without due cause or purpose, It was only one random document with the words COINTELPRO that led, eventually to the revelations of just how long and how elaborate Counter intelligent programs the CIA had been running. "1971" is an interesting little piece of history that's worth documenting. It's not a grand or great one, but at only 70+ minutes it's a quick one. And it could've used a better title, naming it after the year it happened is really generic, but it's worth a watch for those interested in this forgotten piece of modern American history.
ANNIE (2014) Director: Will Gluck
Okay, once in a while, there's a problem that Hollywood has to try and deal with, and then when a star that's very talented is finally recognized for his/her work, usually with an Oscar nomination or something akin to that, or something of that nature, but for reason or another, they're unbelievably talented, but they don't necessarily fit the mold of what we think of as stars, so finding projects for them to be in and showcase their talents can be difficult. Whoopi Goldberg faced this problem constantly throughout her career, Melissa McCarthy is dealing with it presently, Peter Dinklage, Paul Giamatti in recent years, Eddie Murphy to some extent, over his career, all really talented people, who can do a lot, but it's a bit finding parts for them, especially in lead roles. It's not their fault by any means, but you don't necessarily see scripts written for them, so what happens a lot, and this happened quite a bit with Whoopi in particular, is that, they take a script that maybe was designed for somebody else, that hasn't been made, 'cause, usually it was crap, but they hope by putting Whoopi in it and reworking the script towards her sensibilities it might then start working, but it usually didn't. But, you have a star, and they're too talented not to use, that.... but those actors have reinvented themselves several times and have found a few niches and some continue to get work and acclaim, even if that means writing the material themselves, and despite the #Oscarcontroversy, there's still a more diverse Hollywood now than ever before, there's certainly gonna be jobs for whatever incoming talent comes along...-
(January 10th, 2013)
...and Quvenzhane Wallis for Beasts of the Southern Wild"
...Quvenzhane Wallis is the youngest Best Actress nominee, ever, she's nine.
Oh, fu-uuuuuuuck. An overly talented but untrained nine-year-old African-Ameican girl. Um, what do we have for you, um... (Sorting through pile of screenplays, throwing each out as he realizes it's not for her) No, no, no,um, no, no, not that, not that, no part for you, um, not that, not that, too adult, not that.. um, not that,....
(FIVE HOURS LATER, sweating onto back cover of the blacklist)
Hey, we haven't done a remake of "Annie" in a while, maybe we should do that?!
Yeah, that's pretty much why this movie exists.
THE GIVER (2015) Director: Philip Noyce
Ugh, "The Giver". I-eh-, this movie. This film is kindly like, if Ed Wood, tried to make "Pleasantville", and no, not as cool as that might sound.
(David goes onto Facebook for a few minutes.)
Okay, I just posted this in about a half a dozen FB film groups:
I'm looking for a list of SCI-FI and/or FANTASY FILMS/PIECES OF LITERATURE where it turns out that the future world that all the characters live in, and everybody accepts, turns out to not be as ideal, moral, truthful, real, or is in any other way deceptive, and turns out to be a bunch of lies, that usually one or more characters discovers. Just keep listing them, and GO!
Alright, and so far, after five minutes, which includes being smacked around for my bad grammar, which wasn't true. (Okay, it was, I used "turns out" twice. I fixed it, don't, worry, that's not what his complaint was.) I've gotten, let's see, it's been four minutes let me list the responses I've gotten so far:
"World on a Wire"
"Escape from New York"
Anything by Philip K. Dick, specifically "The Tree Stigmatas of Palmer Edlritch",
Novellas by Leigh Brackett
"Stranger in a Strange Land"
"The Mirror", the Tarkovsky one
"On the Silver Globe"
"A Scanner Darkly"
"How to Live in a Science Fiction Universe"
Shorts stories by George Saunders, specifically, "Escape from Spiderhead"
"A Clockwork Orange"
"The Running Man"
"The Hunger Games"
"The Sixth Day"
"Star Trek VI"
"The Matrix" Trilogy
"Planet of the Apes"
"V for Vendetta"
"The Truman Show"
"The President's Analyst"
"Dead and Buried"
By the way, the first response I got was, and I quote, "All of them". I don't think that's quite true, but yeah, you see my point, this basically works, maybe if it's your first of these, but, otherwise, especially in film, you better pull this off so amazingly well. And besides, why the hell is it always, the future world has to be some conspiratorial sham being pulled on the rest of the world? Can't the future ever just be good on the outside, and actually just be better than it was before? Like I'm not saying it has to be perfect, but why does it always have to be, this?
(Sigh) Anyway, "The Giver". What's this world about? Well, apparently, there's no emotions. Or, I don't know, it's just an overly-planned community. To the point where, certain tough-to-describe concepts have basically been eliminated from the vocabulary for being to arcane. Oh, it's a black-and-white world too btw. At least in the beginning. I told you this was like "Pleasantville". Okay, the main character are graduating, to... I forget the word they used, but the three main friends are eighteen now, Jonas (Brenton Thwaites) is the main one, and he's unsure of what his future will be. I know that sounds normal, but he's about to find out, because now that they've graduated to, whatever-the-terms they used, the children of his block, find out their career that's been specifically designed for them by the elder scrolls, who have been watching them their entire life and have come up with their ideal professions. Jonas's friend Fiona (Odeya Rush) turns out to be a nurturer they're friend Asher (Cameron Monahan) is told he'll be a pilot, which is kinda weird in this universe actually, but it leads to revealing a major plot point about what's outside the community. (Yeah, this is really like "Pleasantville", I can't stress that enough, and strangely, nobody's said that one in any of the FB groups yet, huh, weird.) but when the Chief Elder (Meryl Str-, oh c'mon, what-the-hell- Meryl!?! What are you doing here?! Really?!) skips his spot, he then finds out that his job, is to be, something called the "Keeper of Memory", which means, he is going to learn about the secret of life, and he's to keep that knowledge to himself.