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Can't Stop the Movies

Patreon Post: 13 Reasons Why the Netflix series “Tape 3, Side B”

Hannah tries to rebound from Courtney's impulsive rumor by going on a Valentine's Day date while Clay continues his shambling quest to exact some kind of justice.  Though the two main plot lines are dragging badly, the rest of 13 Reasons Why amps up subtle character development of its side-players and the series hits a high visual storytelling point.

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Super Mario Odyssey (2017)

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

Super Mario Odyssey is the logical end-point of Mario's moral regression ever since he got the ability to abandon Yoshi to a bottomless pit for a boosted jump.  I could dig further than that, and think of how Mario imprisoned Donkey Kong, forcing Donkey Kong Jr. on a journey of revenge as Mario throws other creatures at the diaper-clad gorilla.  Manipulation has always been part of Mario's appeal, whether he's claiming natural resources to hurl fire or forcing poor attention starved Luigi to fend for himself.  The rest of us craft whatever narrative we need to make his platforming journey one of heroics instead of selfishness.

Sound deep?  Possibly! I just recall how many times Odyssey stopped to remind me I'm playing it incorrectly.  It never comes right out and says it, but all those little tidbits of extra movement are easier if I undock the controllers and play with wristbands.  I considered it for a moment then, out of spite, decided I would continue to play with both controllers firmly attached to the Nintendo Switch screen and get those moons without the help of all those passive-aggressive reminders ( I would prefer not to.)  I didn't need onscreen prompts to show me how to get through the maze of fortresses in Super Mario Bros., nor to get to 120 stars in Mario 64, so I took the needling reminders on as a challenge.


Lake Mungo (2008)

Alice Palmer, sixteen years old and seemingly happy with her life, drowns under mysterious circumstances.  Dissatisfied with official reports, her family begins taking unusual steps to find out what happened to their daughter.  A documentary crew follows, records, and leads the Palmers to revelations they might not want to know.  Joel Anderson wrote the screenplay for and directs Lake Mungo, and stars David Pledger, Rosie Traynor, Martin Sharpe, Talia Zucker, and Steve Jodrell.

Lake Mungo, in concept and execution, may be the most perfectly realized found footage film in existence.  Found footage is fascinating as a mode of cinematic expression because of the implications of its existence.  There's a fictional editor at the wheel, taking bits of people's lives and crafting a narrative for an audience to serve a purpose we can only speculate about.  Writer/director Joel Anderson understands this on an almost preternatural level, witnessing a family torn apart by the loss of their daughter, having those wounds freshly reopened because of technology, and creating a film where its existence relies on wounding the Palmer family one more time for our entertainment.

The affect of Lake Mungo is in its gaps.  Other found footage horror has played with our expectations of empty spaces, that anxiety that something needs to be in shots of empty halls or static bedrooms, then confirming that anxiety with horror.  The gap at the center of Lake Mungo contains no scares - at least not in the way other horror films have used them.  The absence of Alice Palmer (Talia Zucker) isn't some distraction so her ghost might pop out of the corners.  The absence is the horror, the realization that she is dead and never coming back, and that our constant need for entertainment and intrigue has put the Palmer family on a traumatic cycle where they'll be forced to relive the loss of their daughter for the rest of their lives.


Changing Reels Episode 30 – Train to Busan

A neglectful father attempts to reconnect with his young daughter by accompanying her on a train ride to see his ex-wife. What starts off as a simple journey soon turns into a harrowing fight for survival as a zombie virus rapidly spreads across South Korea. This week film critic and Blood in the Snow Film Festival programmer Caroyln Mauricette joins us to discuss Yeon Sang-ho’s Train to Busan, one of the best zombie films in the last decade. We also take time to highlight our short film picks: Waterborne by Ryan Coonan and Paranoia by Sandeepan Chanda, Nitesh Mishra, Amrita Mukhopadhyay, and Sunil Kumar Yadav.

Show notes:

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 ( You can also hear our show on SoundCloud or Stitcher!

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Martyrs (2008)

Lucie cannot escape her trauma.  It comes at night, when she rests, and in moments of peace.  With the help of her lover Anna, Lucie hopes that confronting the source of her suffering will bring it all to an end.  Pascal Laugier wrote the screenplay for and directs Martyrs, and stars Mylène Jampanoï and Morjana Alaoui.

We don't believe victims.  When victims come forward with stories of sexual assault or targeted harassment for their skin color, we do everything we can as a society to dull their truth.  How else could we get through the day if we accepted there is more trauma in a city block than any human has shouldered in recorded history.  But martyrs are an industry.  Martyrs give advertisers inspiration porn, stories of people who have every right to lash back at their aggressors while opting instead to forgive, and we get to comfort ourselves in the useful lie that what separates martyrs and victims is the strength to forgive.  Victims are weak, martyrs are inspirational.

Writer/director Pascal Laugier exposes this truth in brutal fashion.  In the propulsive first half of Martyrs, Laugier introduces young Lucie (Jessie Pham) as the sickening sound of her flesh pounds and scrapes against pavement while she runs away from unseen torturers.  The next moment, she's the subject of a television special with a warmly dressed presenter aimlessly speculating as to why Lucie suffered.  Without unearthing a reason and Lucie too traumatized to speculate, there's no martyrdom, and if Anna (Erika Scott) didn't become Lucie's friend she'd be just another victim lost to the orphanage system.