2020’s been a crazy year so far, and I like to think of Cinema Crazed as one of the few safe havens from the anxiety and stress from reality. That said though, I couldn’t help but think over some great movies about isolation and quarantining and thought I’d mention five great movies set in one room or setting that enhances the feelings of isolation.
Be sure to let us know some of your favorites, and be safe out there.
There isn’t really an overall narrative or story arc present in Charles Burnett’s “Killer of Sheep,” and that’s the point. There’s really nothing more dramatic meant to be expressed in “Killer of Sheep” beyond the experience of drudgery of poverty, and the inevitability of committing and experiencing crime in the throes of poverty. “Killer of Sheep” is a tightly paced and often compelling urban drama about life in the LA ghettos, and it’s worth the watch as a piece of film history nearly lost to the ages. It’s held up in the face of age, more so than many other classics as its managed to represent overtones and themes that are still relevant today.
When Victor Gruen invented the mall, it’s explained that he envisioned them being small metropolitans allowing people to commune and live. They became tax shelters and giant symbols of American consumerism until finally suffering slow deaths in the aughts. “Jasper Mall” is a somber and engaging tale of one of the last dying mega malls in America that is suffering a slow, painful death and is resuscitated, ironically, by the loyalty of its patrons and the sense of community that’s attracted to what was once a pantheon of consumerism.
It’s hard to imagine a more bizarre experimental movie I’ve come across in years. Jack Henry Robbins’ film “VHYes” at its best is a funny, smart, experiment with nostalgia, while at its worst, it feels like a weak pilot for Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim expanded in to a near feature length movie. Some might appreciate the jarring changes in tone and bite size comedy that is peppered throughout “VHYes” and while I thought it left much to be desired, it also had a lot going for it, with some fascinating commentary about nostalgia and memories. It really wants to be “Amazon Women on the Moon,” at the end of the day, but it ends as a mildly fascinating meshing of genres, and comedic bits.
I think that when the smoke clears, director Todd Phillips’ “Joker” is going to be a lesson to Hollywood that—people want dark, violent comic book movies… which shouldn’t be what’s learned, if you ask me. “Joker” lends credence to the long held opinion that comic books are art and not just pop fodder for adults that refuse to grow up. Comic book movies, much like comic books, can be compelling art, and “Joker” proves that, even in spite of its inherent flaws. “Joker” is a shockingly good movie, even though it really wants to be a Scorsese film.
As with every single year, we try to cover as much indies as possible, but we just never have the time to see them all, sadly. As with previous years, this top five comprises five of the best indies I saw all year. It’s not to say the films that didn’t make the list are terrible films, or that the films the other writers on Cinema Crazed enjoyed aren’t good, either. This is merely my own subjective list of five independent film shorts I highly recommend to you that I saw this year. It’s good to remember this is opinion, and not gospel.
If you want to see what films the Cinema Crazed collective consider A+ Indies, visit the link included!
Also, be sure to let us know some of the best indie films you saw all year!
The thing about cinema is that it’s an often very literal art form that takes what is often very metaphorical or performance art about stage productions and has a hard time supplanting it for the audience. For “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” it’s a very good cult rock film that often feels like it has to be seen on stage in order to soak in the true experience. I’m not trying to take away what a cult classic John Cameron Mitchell’s musical drama is, but I couldn’t quite help but feel that “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” could have been much more appreciated as a live show.