The Century of the Self, 2002 - ★★★★★

The Century of the Self, 2002 - ★★★★★

REVIEWED


..::Dissociative December - A Cold Month Of Mind Control::..



“He attempted to erase inner fears from their past, to have a clean slate to create a new person.” - Canadian Neuropsychologist Laughlin Taylor



In order to fit with my theme month I only caught the 2nd part of this fascinating four hour documentary. I fully intend to check out the remaining segments at some period.

#2 The Engineering of Consent ★★★★★

How the US govt and global corporations applied Sigmund Freud & his daughter Anna's studies in psychoanalysis, to use Americans unconscious anxieties against them. In order to control the masses and how they consume. Also how Anna Freud's nephew Edward Bernays was drafted in to create propaganda for the CIA, to use peoples cold war fears against them.


Adam Curtis's eye opening doc about mass human control, covers so much ground in just an hour. Uses talking heads, archive interviews, vintage commercials, news reels and medical/military footage to cover the history of psychoanalysis. Most profound segment was Arthur Millers early views on psychoanalysis being a sham, after his former wife Marilyn Monroe's suspicious death. They're more interested in controlling and empowering minds, instead of freeing them.


Bookmarked to see: #1 Happiness Machines/#3 There Is a Policeman Inside All Our Heads: He Must Be Destroyed/#4 Eight People Sipping Wine in Kettering


[Personal Reasons For OBEYING]

Like covered at the start of Ninth Configuration, the first excessive use of mind control experiments was brought about when psychoanalysis was used en masse on troops returning from overseas conflicts.

[x] Canadian CIA funded mind control Dr. Ewen Cameron gets mentioned, including an interview with one of his patients who recalls her time in his notorious Sleep Room.






Originally taken from Letterboxd

The Manchurian Candidate, 1962 - ★★★★ (contains spoilers)

The Manchurian Candidate, 1962 - ★★★★ (contains spoilers)

REVIEWED


This review reportedly contains spoilers.


..::Dissociative December - A Cold Month Of Mind Control::..



“How about passing the time by playing a little solitaire... right, lets start opening some doors.” - Major Marco (Frank Sinatra)



Exhuming McCarthy... way ahead of its time political thriller/cold war slice of paranoia from the massively gifted John Frankenheimer. On returning back in the US after fighting in Korea Staff Captain Raymond Shaw gets awarded the medal of honor for seemingly saving his platoon. Only his Major in charge Marco and few other of his troops get recurring unsettling dreams that Shaw isn't totally deserving of his distinction at being treated a war hero, and that something underhand possibly went on. Turns out their platoon had got captured by enemies, and sent to a mind control unit in Manchuria, China. And Raymond had gotten himself brainwashed by Chinese & Russian communists into becoming a sleeping assassin, who can be remotely controlled by 2 simple triggers.


Far from being perfect, and undeniably a little kooky at times The Manchurian Candidate is none the less an entertaining rewarding suspense story. That must have blown people away back in the early 60's, and opened many viewers eyes to the prospect that world governments could possibly control minds of citizens. Even though old blue eyes Sinatra gets top billing, hes really second fiddle to Laurence Harvey as the unlikely lone(r) gunman Shaw. Janet Leigh's character is a total waste of screen time, that merely serves as a kinda red herring (guess shes good eye candy at least). Angela Lansbury's really cast against type as the queen of diamonds/incestuous mother from hell Eleanor Shaw Iselin. She does a darn good job too, but I'll be honest I kinda longed for someone like Joan Crawford in the role who would have done devious a little more effortlessly. Leslie Parrish is a real knock out as Raymonds love interest Jocelyn. Really sad seeing him vacantly killing her, because she'd clearly been the only person hes ever felt love towards.


Like I said theres a few flaws and pet peeves like the deliberately goofy way Rays stepfather and governor candidate John Iselin McCarthy rants are handled, even a puppet politician like George W. Bush would score higher in IQ tests. The odd Inspector Clouseau vs Cato like fight scene between Sinatra & Henry Silva, fun but seemed far too cheesy. And not to mention the dubious racially naive way the hypnosis hallucination/nightmare scene changes depending on the colour of whose remembering it.


[Personal Reasons For OBEYING]

Unquestionably the granddaddy of mind control movies...

[x] The troop under hypnosis scene is kind silly very reminiscent of a stage one done by a comedy hypnotist.

[x] 2 post-hypnotic triggers - being told to play solitaire, viewing the queen of diamonds.

[x] The cards clearly a reference to his rich red commie domineering mother.

[x] The most basic form of mind control is repetition - Raymond being told repeatedly what part of a speech to shoot “My life before my liberty... my life before my liberty.”

[x] Freud gets hinted at few times, once even mentioned when Jocelyn cuts open a snake bite on Rays leg. And the Oedipus Complex between Ray and his mother “I didn't always hate my mother, as a child I only kinda disliked her”. Audaciously the book contains incestuous sex between Eleanor and Ray while hes under her control, which was deemed too shocking for the film. She merely kisses him repeatedly.

[x] Heinz 57 gets a product placement, John Iselin uses a bottle of ketchup to quickly come up with a random number of communists he falsely claims holds places in office.

[x] Iselin's oddly an anagram of Sileni, those half human half horse legged humans from Greek mythology.

[x] The not so good shepherd - Eleanor wears a little bo peep costume at the costumed ball, shes of course shepherding the fates of both her husband and son.

[x] Jocelyn wears a saucy playgirl like queen of diamonds playing card costume, its never known though if Eleanor had an hand in her wearing it, but you kinda of suspect she did.






Originally taken from Letterboxd

Videodrome, 1983 - ★★★★★

Videodrome, 1983 - ★★★★★

REVIEWED


..::Dissociative December - A Cold Month Of Mind Control::..



“Whats in the box?” - Max Renn (James Woods)

“Your head, your heads in the box.” - Harlan (Peter Dvorsky)



Television, The Drug Of The Nation... while searching for new sleaze for his grotty low rent cable station CIVIC TV, Max Renn stumbles onto a pirate feed of an S&M torture snuff show named Videodrome. Thinking hes found the next big thing in sexual violence, he tries to seek out its makers and purchase the show. As Max watches more and more he starts to hallucinate and gets drawn into its illicit conspiracy, and he becomes a pawn in Videodromes developers Spectacular Optical Corporations plan to control the minds of North America.


Baring in mind that Videodromes really showing its age, and Debbie Harry isn't the most natural actress to have graced the silver screen, its still a daringly bold movie. Alongside Dead Ringers its Cronenbergs crowning achievement, hes always been on top of his game when working on his own material. James Woods is perfect as the sleazeball cable boss. I love Peter Dvorsky character Harlan, and legendary Rick Bakers over the top effects work, including the infamous vaginal stomach slit, pulsating television bursting with intestines, throbbing betamax cassettes and fleshed guns & grenades. Life long Cronenberg composer Howard Shore delivers the frenzied organ heavy score. My personal highlights always been the Samurai Dreams dildo scene, which probably does nothing to dissuade DC's critiques who often label him a voyeur or even a pornographer. Its amusing when Cronenberg says if the movie had been shot like he'd originally intended, it would have been given a triple X by censors.


[Personal Reasons For OBEYING]

Max Renn becomes a controlled dissociative assassin by subliminal video images hidden within the snuff like show Videodrome. He later gets reprogrammed by Brian O'Blivion's daughter Bianca to kill the developers of the show. Cronenberg cleverly manages to tie both religious and secretive corporate power as being behind Videodrome. O'Blivion's clearly the religious nut as we see with his Cathode Ray Mission, and office filled with religious iconography. While Barry Convex is the scheming shady corporate guy who shifts units of specs, develops secretive weapons for nato, while creating a world of illusions to control the public.

[x] Gleefully plays on the old concept that TV will rot your brain.

[x] They're stealing our thoughts - The virtual reality like headset known as the Image Accumulator can record hallucinations.

[x] Videodrome has a philosophy - Cronenberg using old Freud & Carl Jung again with Renns statement about Brands provocative red dress.






Originally taken from Letterboxd

Insidious: Chapter 2, 2013 - ★★½

Insidious: Chapter 2, 2013 - ★★½

REVIEWED



“Now feel yourself getting sleeper, and sleeper and let the darkness drift further and further away.” - Carl (Steve Coulter)



James Wan single handed saved the horror genre (at least made 2013 not totally worthless) earlier this year with his excellent The Conjuring. Even though he's far from my favorite director, one thing I've always respected him for was showing integrity to his own work, like refusing to direct the shoddy cash-in sequels to Saw for instance, well all that changes with Insidious 2: Electric Ghoulaoo... he turns in a lackluster by numbers PG-13 sequel, thats a poor excuse to hire TV quality actors, dust down old Barbara Hershey and rent a smoke machine. It uses the same basic plot as the original in that the gifted few can subconsciously leave their bodies and enter the dreamlike spirit world. This time because a malevolent spirit is pissed her boy cross dress (or something along those lines).


Its painfully mediocre kid friendly horror, which is in such a bleak state when you get more genuine scares in TV shows like the amazing 'American Horror Story' than you do in mainstream popular efforts like this. Still my personal negativity aside, I did jump a few times mostly though exceptional placing of sudden noise, and at least it was a better horror sequel than we usually get (but please Hollow-wood we don't want a 3rd).


[Personal Reasons For Remembering]

The ever hilarious Lin Shaye returning as Elise Rainier, she always seems like a female Leslie Nielsen to me. Even when trying to do serious, I just imagine her with her tongue through her fingers simulating oral sex. Ohh and I enjoyed the lettered dice scenes, wonder if they sell those on amazon.






Originally taken from Letterboxd

The Act of Killing, 2013 - ★★½

The Act of Killing, 2013 - ★★½

REVIEWED



“Born free, as free as the wind blows, as free as the grass grows” - Ragtag ensemble cast singing along



!WARNING! Before I start, and for those with polar opposite views on this documentary than me. I honestly get what the film was attempting to achieve but for me it never came close - you want a true example of a mass genocide murder captured on film without the Mary Poppins spoonful of sugar, so that us dumb westerners can consume it. Go watch something like Walter Heynowski's The Laughing Man 1966 ...go on I dare ya.


The Act of Killing must be amazing because its got documentary heavy weights Werner Herzog & Errol Morris on-board as executive producers, two guys I highly respect. I must give it an instant 5 stars and deem it the best film of the year because it creatively shows how people with blood on their hands after mass genocide justify to themselves, preach to others and ultimately live after doing such horrendous things to fellow men/women/and cuddly teddies, all be it men of differing social viewpoints.


But I simply can't rate it so highly, the documentary though interesting at times especially during its more surreal moments of exuberance, made me feel absolutely nothing. The slight payoff at the end with central protagonist Anwar Congo showing signs of regret at his atrocities, did little to change my view. I actually found it tasteless doing 'Springtime for Hitler' styled propaganda musical pastiches knowing 2.5 million had died at the hands of maniacs like the ones featured in the film. Not sure watching the close to 3 hour Directors Cut version helped me either, because it was painfully overlong and chocked full of superfluous filler. I was expecting this to be one my films of the year, with no small part resting on Herzog's statement that its the most ground breaking film hes seen in years... sadly it shed little light on its outrageous subjects, who in the manner of Josef Mengele show no true regret of their apparent crimes.


[Personal Reasons For OBEYING]

The over the top re-enactment of the bloodied faced crying Communist whose fathers just been murdered, complete with a little cannibalistic liver munching. Ohh and amusingly trying to figure out who the anonymous 3rd director is, my moneys on either Mel Brooks or Trey Parker/Matt Stone.






Originally taken from Letterboxd

Cutie and the Boxer, 2013 - ★★★½

Cutie and the Boxer, 2013 - ★★★½

REVIEWED



“Life is wonderful, it should be positive. When its blown to pieces, that's when it becomes art. Art is messy and dirty when it pours out of you.” - Ushio Shinohara aka Gyu-chan



Fascinating glimpse into the turbulent life and career of avante-garde artist Ushio Shinohara, featuring intimate glimpses into his unique approach to art, and his personal life with his wife and loyal assistant of 40 years Noriko Shinohara.


Zachary Heinzerling's documentary was so damn easy to lose myself in, the 80 minutes breezed by so quick. Ushio's such an interestingly odd figure, even though hes now in his 80s hes a vibrant old geezer, still full of beans. His often suffering wife Noriko, whose 20+ years younger, is an absolute rock. Not only that she's put up with his slightly chequered history of drunken, womanizing and bullying antics. But also that shes managed to shine throughout and become an interesting person and artist herself. This is how I wanna see elderly couples not like Haneke's torturous Amour.


[Personal Reasons For Remembering]

I liked it all, but personally enjoyed the archive footage most. Like the segment hes drunk and in tears defending his contemporary art style. And especially the 60s footage shot around New York streets and exhibits including a scene hes sat with Andy Warhol.






Originally taken from Letterboxd

Blue Sunshine, 1978 - ★★★

Blue Sunshine, 1978 - ★★★

REVIEWED


..::Dissociative December - A Cold Month Of Mind Control::..



“You've got to squeeze the trigger and don't jerk it. Because if you jerk, it won't work.” - Jerry Zipkin (Zalman King)



A batch of highly volatile military bound LSD went missing in the late 60s, and somehow wound up being sold to Stanford's students. Cut forward 10 years and the now grown up acid heads are losing their hair and marbles. And have started turning into uncontrollable killers. Jerry Zipkin the best friend of the first balding killer, slowly uncovers the hair raising truth. Which link a current congress candidate Edward Flemming, with high school drug dealing.


Wow another 70's movie I remember being far better when I was a teen, still NY horror genre director Jeff Lieberman managed to craft an enjoyable low budget cheesy no brainer with Blue Sunshine. Sadly it isn't half as psychedelic as the LSD induced balding crazies drugsploitation plot would suggests.


Sean Penn's body double Zalman King plays central hero Jerry Zipkin, I couldn't decide if hes a poor actor or the characters was just so poorly written. He acts like hes a member of Scooby Doo's Mystery Inc, only its not fake face masks he pulls off, but wigs. The dumbest and probably most entertaining scene features an ex college football player Wayne Mulligan Ray Young, freaking out in a shopping mall, then being suppressed in a cheesy disco by loud music. He was like a cross between 'Back to the Futures' Biff and 'The Goonies' Sloth.


[Personal Reasons For OBEYING]

The plots much less about person control than I remembered it being... but screw it, too late now

[x] The most basic form of mind control is repetition - Kids drive their babysitter Wendy Flemming over the edge while watching commercials on TV, they keep asking her “I want Dr Pepper, Dr Pepper, Dr Pepper....”

[x] Thrills'n'pills - End credits mention LSD trials on US soldiers.

[x] wtf moment - Barbra Streisand & Frank Sinatra singing puppets ?






Originally taken from Letterboxd