A to Z Challenge Theme

During the month of April this blog will feature some of my favorite films that are surrealistic or dreamlike as well as movies about dreaming or that have dream sequences that are essential to the film. I hope you will join me here and maybe find some films that will interest you.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning #atozchallenge

Official Poster (Wikipedia)

           My wife and I are both fans of the films of Jean-Claude Van Damme.   We especially enjoyed the "Universal Soldier" series.  Though they don't receive the highest critical accolades, for me they're all a lot of science fiction action fun.

           Of the films in this series, the last one, Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning (2012) is probably my favorite as far as depth and intensity of theme.  This film is also the most dream-like.  In this film the cyborg soldiers begin to look within themselves and question what they are doing.  Issues regarding age and religion are explored.

           It's still an action film with violent physical combat, but there is more exploration into philosophy and the things that drive us from a psychological standpoint.  I found it to be a very different Van Damme film in keeping with the fact that he is aging in real life as an actor.

        Have you seen Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning?   How about the other "Universal Soldier" films?  Do you see Van Damme as a superficial screen actor or do you like his work?   

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Twelve Monkeys #atozchallenge

12 Monkeys
12 Monkeys (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

         Twelve Monkeys (1995) is a dystopian science-fiction film by Terry Gilliam.  In this film Bruce Willis plays James Cole, a convicted criminal who in order to gain pardon is sent back in time to find the source of a virus which has devastated the world and bring back a sample so that a cure can be developed.  Throughout his life Cole has been tormented by a mysterious dream.   He discovers the meaning of the dream when he travels back in time.

         Brad Pitt was nominated for a best supporting actor Oscar for his role in this film.  The film was nominated for a number of other awards and is highly regarded by critics.  Twelve Monkeys is an outstanding science fiction thriller and well worth viewing by anyone who appreciates this genre.

        Have you seen Twelve Monkeys?    Do you enjoy dystopian films that are more entrenched in the drama and action than the intricacies of the science?     Have you ever been visited by recurring dreams that you can't understand why you dream them?

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Science of Sleep #atozchallenge

Cover of "The Science of Sleep"
Cover of The Science of Sleep

         As the name implies The Science of Sleep (2006) is about the dreaming activity during sleep time.  This is a French film that is in French, Spanish, and English with subtitles so that will be an immediate turn-off to some.   The film is a very quirky surrealistic romp that can be classified as a romantic comedy, but it is so offbeat that fans of that genre might also be taken aback.  The bottom line is that if you enjoy weird movies that explore the phenomena of dreaming this might be something you might enjoy.

        The film uses animation and live action.   There are sequences that occur on very cheap homemade looking sets in order to create the effect of a child-like television show--think Pee Wee's Playhouse.  The storyline weaves back and forth in and out of reality and dreams so that at some points we don't know what is real and what is dream.

        For the most part the film has received good reviews and has a relatively high rating on internet film sites.  I've included a music video that includes scenes from the film to give an idea of what to expect.


          Have you seen The Science of Sleep?    Do you enjoy a multi-lingual film?   What is your favorite theory that explains the origins of dreams?  

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Monday, April 21, 2014

Repulsion & Roma #atozchallenge

Cover of "Repulsion- (The Criterion Colle...
Cover via Amazon

           I'm going to start the week off with another two fer.   With these two films in the running I couldn't  pick just one.

         Repulsion (1965) is a psychological horror film by director Roman Polanski.  Catherine Deneuve plays a psychologically unbalanced young woman who is left alone while her sister goes on vacation.  The film explores the mental deterioration and unravelling of the woman as she becomes delusional and hallucinatory.   There are some very subtle dreamlike effects.  The film is in black and white and has minimal dialogue.

        The horror and violence is not graphic and there is much that is merely insinuated, but the film has several good shock moments that may take you by surprise.   The ending is among my favorites in film.  It's simple with a subtlety like the film itself presents.

Cover of "Fellini's Roma"
Cover of Fellini's Roma

          For me Fellini's Roma (1972) is one of the ultimate dreamlike films.   Though there is a sort of a story or series of connected stories based on the life of Federico Fellini, the memoir aspect is used more to illustrate the story of the history the origins of Rome and the spirit of twentieth century Rome.  The film is an affectionate travelogue of sorts albeit a very unorthodox one.  In Roma the movie, the city is seen through the eyes of memory and the analysis of what the city has become, where it may be going, and what it might remain for many years to come.

         The often bizarre images of the film are likely to stay with the viewer for a very long time.  Some segments seem as though they are actual recreations of dreams.   Whatever the case this is one of the most magical, often funny, always thought-provoking films that I have seen.  For those who can deal with subtitles I highly recommend Roma, though due to the visual experience I think the film can be enjoyed without paying attention to the subtitles.

           Have you seen Repulsion or Roma?   Do you enjoy non-graphic mind-bending horror films?    Do you enjoy travelogue films?

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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Quest for Fire

Quest for Fire (movie poster).jpg
Theatrical Release Poster (Wikipedia)

             Quest for Fire (1981) is a film about "cavemen" which gives it a dreamlike atmosphere from that perspective alone.  This is a film with no understandable dialog and primitive tribes coming into contact with each other as well as prehistoric animals.   The main story consists of members of one tribe searching for a source of fire to replace the fire that has been stolen from them.  Since they didn't have matches and didn't know how to make their own fire they have to find naturally occurring fire.  They embark upon an epic journey filled with adventure and discovery.

             Filmed in exotic-looking locations in Iceland, Scotland, Kenya, and Canada; the film takes on a fantastical look that is not unlike a place in dreams.  The actions of the storyline are very rudimentary as would be expected of primitive peoples.  

            This film was nominated for several international awards winning several and  it also won an Oscar for best makeup.  Quest for Fire is rated highly by many critics.   This is among the better films of the prehistoric humans genre.

            Have you seen Quest for Fire?   Do you enjoy "caveman" films?   Would you be likely to avoid a film with no understandable dialog?

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