2013 Archives - Can't Stop the Movies
Can't Stop the Movies

The Shivah: Kosher Edition (2013)

If this is your first time reading Pixels in Praxis or are averse to spoilers, check out our FAQ before proceeding.

There are two questions guiding the gameplay of The Shivah: Kosher Edition (TS:KE moving forward), the remake of the 2006 adventure game The Shivah.  First question, "Why would former synagogue member Jack Lauder leave Rabbi Russell Stone money in his will?"  The second, "Who killed Jack Lauder and why?"  That first question, which has grave implications for who Rabbi Stone is as a person, forms the intriguing web of long-held grudges and questions about the usefulness of faith in initial acts of TS:KE.  The second question brings TS:KE to the sort of bog-standard conspiracy thriller that feels out-of-place in the grounded struggle with faith that comes before.

While TS:KE is grappling with the first question it's excellent.  I was raised on a steady diet of Sierra adventure games with their varying degrees of punishment for using specific items or information in ways that would prevent a no-win state.  TS:KE is considerably more forgiving than those poorly aging titles, and - to my surprise - if you're studious in surveying the information and items available then you can solve the mystery using logical connections made through one of TS:KE's great investigative gameplay tools.


Changing Reels Episode 14 – Upstream Color

In episode 14 of Changing Reels, we dive into Shane Carruth’s experimental science fiction drama Upstream Color. The film is a love story revolving around two individuals who find themselves inexplicably drawn together after being the victim of an unthinkable crime. Exploring themes of memory and identity, and featuring brilliant sound design, there is plenty to discuss in this film. As is custom, we also take a few minutes to highlight our two short film picks of the week: Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi’s Giant God Warrior Appears in Tokyo and Alberto Roldán’s Everything & Everything & Everything.

Show Notes:

  • 5:22 – Giant God Warrior Appears In Tokyo by Shinji Higuchi
  • 15:43 – Everything and Everything and Everything by Alberto Roldán
  • 26:09 – Upstream Color by Shane Carruth

If you like what you hear, or want to offer some constructive criticism, please take a moment to rate our show on iTunes! If you have a comment on this episode, or want to suggest a film for us to discuss, feel free to contact us via twitter (@ChangingReelsAC), follow us on Facebook and reach out to us by email (Changing.Reels.AC@gmail.com). You can also hear our show on SoundCloud or Stitcher!

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Changing Reels Episode 5 – The Bling Ring

It can be argued that Sofia Coppola is easily one of the most respected female directors of this generation.  Growing up within the film industry, it is no surprise that many of her films touch on themes regarding the nature of fame.  In episode five of Changing Reels we weigh the merits of The Bling Ring, Coppola’s 2013 ripped from the headlines film about celebrity obsessed teens whose love of fame leads to them stealing from the very same stars they adore.  We also discuss our short films picks of the week:  Hiro Murai’s Clapping for the Wrong Reasons and David Raboy’s The Giant.

You can subscribe and rate our show on both iTunes or Stitcher!

Show notes:

  • 1:22 – Clapping for the Wrong Reasons by Hiro Murai
  • 10:05 – The Giant by David Raboy
  • 22:13 – The Bling Ring by Sofia Coppola


Denis Villeneuve Podcast: Prisoners (2013)


Courtney Small of Cinema Axis joins Andrew for a conversation on the moral complexity and gorgeous photography of Denis Villeneuve's Prisoners.

Both the introduction and outro on the podcast come from composer Jóhann Jóhannsson for Sicario ("The Beast") and Prisoners ("Through Falling Snow").


Claire Denis: Bastards (2013)

Marco's family needs him.  His brother-in-law committed suicide, a creditor holding his estranged family in debt may be to blame, and his niece was found after surviving a brutal sexual assault.  Marco returns home, sets his eye on the creditors wife, and begins to unravel what poison is killing his family.  Claire Denis directs Bastards from a screenplay co-written by Jean-Pol Fargeau and stars Vincent Lindon and Chiara Mastroianni.

See me nowIt didn’t strike me until halfway through Claire DenisBastards just what is the crowning achievement of her films. They’ve been rooted in different genres, ranging from horror with the hypnotic Trouble Every Day to the languid near-ethnographic work of White Material. With a skill I’ve rarely seen outside the films of Andrei Tarkovsky, Denis edits to emotional beats within the story instead of on specific actions. I think of the moment when her camera lingers on Protée long enough to see him weep under a shower, or when Dr. Brown stops to hungrily smell a woman’s hair as he stands too close to her in the train.

So it makes perfect sense that Denis would come to noir at some point. As the latest film in her work it also stands as one of the most narratively obscure, hiding the truth of the poisoned family history which plays out in those little emotional moments which propel the story. As an intellectual exercise I’m intrigued, especially since noir is defined as much by its evocative photography as it is by the characters who must insist to themselves or others they are doing the right thing.

Denis, who cowrote the screenplay with frequent partner Jean-Pol Fargeau, does not leave the characters of Bastards much room to explain themselves. This makes for wonderful imagery, and a stunning opening chapter which worked so well the rest was almost certain to be a disappointment. But the narrative cohesion is stretched to the limit, partly because of Denis’ editing style and also casting all the relevant women in the movie as slight variations on the same look. I was entranced by the visuals, but when I started thinking about where I was in the story I’d get lost.