Your Alternate Essential List of Best Films to Watch This Fall

Waking up to sheets damped by thousands of droplets of sweat as a fan hums off in the distance, and waking up to the sound of wind rustling through leaves on the sidewalk as you shiver to pull yourself under the covers, are two entirely different sensations that leave two vastly distinct impacts on our psyche throughout the day. From the moment you awake, there’s a change that lingers through and penetrates our waking hours as the seasons rotate, and when it comes to fall—the best season by far—it’s a very welcome change of pace. We’re now able to rid ourselves of the anxious and torrid thrill of summer and return to our more hermetic selves, enjoying the richer tastes of the chillier months. Our lives become a little more insular, we may grow a little melancholy but it’s certainly the most beautiful time of the year and for all the nostalgic feelings that sweep in, basking in them is more of a pleasure than a burden.  

And as we don our knee-highs, sweaters, and boots and change our playlists to the darker and heavier notes, our cinematic preferences alter as well. But what makes a film distinctly a “fall film” has little do with the time in which its set but about a tone and texture of the film, a certain emotional through line that’s tethered to a certain seasonal state of being. And although a generous number of fantastic films are set to premiere this autumn—from McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave and Scorsese’s Wolf of Wall Street to Kechiche’s Blue is the Warmest Color and Spike Jonze’s Her—if you’re looking for something timeless, something that feels distinctly in tune with the season—I’ve got you covered.  

Just as and 3 Women and Dog Day Afternoon were certainly summer films, I’ve put together a list of films that possess something that mirrors that seasonal affect of fall—from the smirkingly violent to the tragically romantic and the existentially wandering to the psychologically possessed. So here’s your alternate list of fall movies to watch over the next few months. Enjoy.  

Interiors


Funny Games

Buffalo ’66

Until the End of the World

Magnolia

Amour

Lost in Translation

Dogville

Hunger

An Autumn Afternoon

La Haine

Taste of Cherry

The Double Life of Veronique

Pina


Adaptation

The Ice Storm

Lost Highway

Three Colors Red

Husbands and Wives

Kicking and Screaming

Antichrist

Days of Heaven

Good Will Hunting

Fire Walk With Me

35 Shots of Rum

House of the Devil


Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Carnival of Souls


Holy Motors

 

 

Sans Soleil

 

 

Performance

Production Begins on Wim Wenders’ ‘Every Thing Will Be Fine’

To fall in love with a film is no small matter. And to then fall in love with a director’s entire body of work only amplifies anticipation for their next project. So when it comes to cinematic announcements, few have pleased me more than back in May when we learned that iconic German director Wim Wenders was preparing to begin production on his follow-up to 2011’s brilliant ode to Pina Bausch, Pina.

There are a rare few directors who fall into the category of unconditional love, knowing you’ll probably find yourself infatuated with anything they create, but with the sound of Wim’s latest, we needn’t worry. Set to star the man of far too many hyphenates to name, James Franco, Every Thing Will Be Fine appears to have begun principal photography in Montreal—and not only that, but Charlotte Gainsbourg has been added to the leading cast. 
 
As we noted back in May:
With a script penned by Bjørn Olaf Johannessen, the film will star Franco as Tomas, a writer whom we follow for twelve years after he accidentally causes the death of a child and is forced to examine his life, as well as that of Kate, the child’s mother. But this will not be your typical family drama fare, considering Wenders will be shooting the film in 3-D. An odd choice, you’d assume, but if this works at all in way that Pina did, it could truly be something groundbreaking and incredible. Rather than conventional 3-D, which I usually tend to avoid, the figures in Pina do not pop out or invade your space—rather, you invade theirs. It’s as if you’re transported onto the stage with them and surround their world, getting a immersive look into the world that he’s created in a way that truly enhaces everything about what you’re seeing. Using Steadicams rigs, Wenders dissolves the distance between character and spectator, and if he can manage to do that with a structured narrative such as this, well, just hand me the box of Kleenex now.
 
Speaking to the project Wenders has said, "Every Thing Will Be Fine is a family drama, unravelling over the course of 12 years. A story of guilt and forgiveness, and of accepting things you cannot change anymore. We wrote it with 3D in mind, and I’m convinced that the medium lends itself really well to an intimate story." 
So in the meantime, let’s all begin counting down to 2014 when the film has its German and Canadian releases and hopefully will hit the states sooner rather than later. 

Floating Through the Spirit of Wim Wenders’ ‘Wings of Desire’

When it comes to Wings of Desire, it is a film whose spirit is much better served to be expressed through any other medium than words. Perhaps I could paint your a picture or play you an instrumental number with more ease than explaining the ineffable essence of what makes Wim Wender’s late-1980s film such a profoundly beautiful masterpiece. I’m not a religious person by any means, nor particularly spiritual, but there’s a very specific feeing emitted by Wings of Desire that feels touched by a divine presence—both hauntingly meditative and wonderfully enrapturing. The romantic fantasy of a film tells the tale of immortal angels who reside over Berlin, listening in on the thoughts of humans, comforting those in distress, and longing for their own ability to taste the pleasures of the living. In an article which originally appeared in The Logic of Images in 1987, Wenders said: 

I really don’t know what gave me the idea of angels. One day I wrote “angels” in my notebook, and the next day “the unemployed.” Maybe it was because I was reading Rilke at the time—nothing to do with films—and realizing as I read how much of his writing is inhabited by angels. Reading Rilke every night, perhaps I got used to the idea of angels being around.
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And if you look at his original treatment for the film, you’ll see he begins  with the Rilke quote from The Eighth Elegy:
And we, spectators always, everywhere,
looking at, never out of, everything!
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Written in 1986, the treatment going to say:
You have a wish.
 
You wish that something might exist, and then you work on it until it does. You want to give something to the world, something truer, more beautiful, more painstaking, more serviceable, or simply something other than what already exists. And right at the start, simultaneous with the wish, you imagine what that “something other” might be like, or at least you see something flash by. And then you set off in the direction of the flash, and you hope you don’t lose your orientation, or forget or betray the wish you had at the beginning.
 
And in the end, you have a picture or pictures of something, you have music, or something that operates in some new way, or a story, or this quite extraordinary combination of all these things: a film. Only with a film—as opposed to paintings, novels, music, or inventions—you have to present an account of your desire; more, you even have to describe in advance the path you want to go with your film. No wonder, then, that so many films lose their first flash, their comet.
The thing I wished for and saw flashing was a film in and about Berlin.
 
A film that might convey something of the history of the city since 1945. A film that might succeed in capturing what I miss in so many films that are set here, something that seems to be so palpably there when you arrive in Berlin: a feeling in the air and under your feet and in people’s faces that makes life in this city so different from life in other cities.
 
To explain and clarify my wish, I should add: it’s the desire of someone who’s been away from Germany for a long time, and who could only ever experience “Germanness” in this one city. I should say I’m no Berliner. Who is nowadays? But for over twenty years now, visits to this city have given me my only genuine experiences of Germany, because the (hi)story that elsewhere in the country is suppressed or denied is physically and emotionally present here.
 
Of course I didn’t want just to make a film about the place, Berlin. What I wanted to make was a film about people—people here in Berlin—that considered the one perennial question: how to live?
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Before starting in on what his prologue might offer:
When God, endlessly disappointed, finally prepared to turn his back on the world forever, it happened that some of his angels disagreed with him and took the side of man, saying he deserved to be given another chance.
 
Angry at being crossed, god banished them to what was then the most terrible place on earth: berlin.
 
And then he turned away.
 
All this happened at the time that we today call: “the end of the second world war.”
 
Since that time, these fallen angels from “the second angelic rebellion” have been imprisoned in the city, with no prospect of release, let alone of being readmitted to heaven. they are condemned to be witnesses, forever nothing but onlookers, unable to affect men in the slightest, or to intervene in the course of history. they are unable to so much as move a grain of sand . . .
And when you look at the whole of Wenders’ work, the Andre Breton quote, “All my life, my heart has yearned for a thing I cannot name,” seems to resonate throughout. His characters are "all so hungry for love and connection and something to make them feel alive. Some of them find it in others and then some of them realize even if they did—would it even make them feel better? Or are they destined to eternally feel that hole inside?" In Wenders’ Pina, Bausch says, "What are we longing for? Where does all this yearning come from?" And in hearing her say those words, I realized the essence of that question was the through-line for all of Wenders’ work as an artist—this precise and deeply specific feeling for something you can’t taste or touch but know like the back of your teeth and crave and search for without end. 
 
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And as we anticipate Wenders’ next feature Every Thing Will Be Fine, a 3D drama starring James Franco, we wonder where that film will land on his spectrum of work. But in the meantime, let’s all do ourselves a favor and re-watch Wings of Desire, or at least read the rest of his treatment for the film HERE, his own take on the film’s production HERE, or watch Nick Cave’s perfect concert scene below and Peter Falk in one of his finest roles.
 

 

Early Summer’s Best: This Week on Hulu

If you spent your weekend frolicking around outdoors basking in the start of summer, it’s entirely understandable if your movie watching suffered as a result. But never to fear, with the huge host of Criterion Collection films available on Hulu, you can catch up on a lifetime’s cinematic education from the comfort of your bed. And this season, the collection will be highlighting a different film everyday as part of their 101 days of Summer. And although they’ve been making free some of the best and rare gems from Wim Wenders’ Alice in the Cities to Hiroshi Matsuno’s The Living Skeleton, their entire range of films on Hulu is truly nothing to be missed.

So this week, rather than simply illustrating what’s for fre,e I’ve rounded up some of the best films on available to watch on the site perfectly fit for summer viewings. From Chris Marker’s achingly wonderful Sans Soleil to John Cassavetes’ lens flared and color-drenched sizzler The Killing of  Chinese Bookie, there’s surely something new and brilliant to watch every night. Enjoy.

The Circus, Charlie Chaplin

   

Walkabout, Nicolas Roeg

   

The Living Skeleton, Hiroshi Matsuno

Alice in the Ctities, Wim Wenders

   

George Washington, David Gordon Green

 

Garlic is as Good as Ten Mothers, Les Blank

 

Secret Honor, Robert Altman

   

Yoyo, Pierre Etaix

   

Sans Soleil, Chris Marker

 

Chinese Roulette, RW Fassbinder

 

Daisies, Věra Chytilová’

 

Stranger Than Paradise, Jim Jarmusch

 

 

Scenes from a Marriage, Igmar Bergman

 

Pale Flower, Masahiro Shinoda

 

News From Home, Chantal Akerman

 

 

Elevator to the Gallows, Louis Malle

 

Wings of Desire, Wim Wenders

 

I Am Curious Yellow, Vilgot Sjöman

   

The Killing of a Chinese Bookie, John Cassavetes

Looking Back on Our Favorite Palme d’Or Winners of Years Past

Of course, awards don’t mean everything. A beautiful masterpiece can be overlooked just as simply as a vapid disaster can be praised for the wrong reasons. However, if there’s one award that tends to hold its weight, it’s the Cannes Film Festival’s Palme d’Or. Introduced in 1955, if nothing else, the award has been indicative of a film’s lasting power and the sustained and wonderful career if its director. From David Lynch and Wim Wenders to Bunuel and Antonioni to Coppola and Scorsese to Tarantino and Kiarostami, to Haneke and Malick, the Palme d’Or winning films of the last 66 years have been some of the most influential and beloved pieces of modern filmmaking around the world. So with Cannes in full swing, here’s a look at some of the best films to win the coveted award over the years. Enjoy.

 

Rome Open City, 1946

"Marking a watershed moment in Italian cinema, this galvanic work garnered awards around the globe and left the beginnings of a new film movement in its wake."

 
 

The Third Man, 1949

"Thanks to brilliant performances by Joseph Cotten, Alida Valli, and Orson Welles; Anton Karas’s evocative zither score; Graham Greene’s razor-sharp dialogue; and Robert Krasker’s dramatic use of light and shadow, The Third Man, directed by the inimitable Carol Reed, only grows in stature as the years pass."

 

 

The Wages of Fear, 1953

"…one of the greatest thrillers ever committed to celluloid, a white-knuckle ride from France’s legendary master of suspense, Henri-Georges Clouzot."
 
 

Viridiana, 1961

"Banned in Spain and denounced by the Vatican, Luis Buñuel’s irreverent vision of life as a beggar’s banquet is regarded by many as his masterpiece."
 
 
 
 

Blowup, 1967

"If you’ve never seen Blowup before, prepare yourself for one of the cinema’s most unique experiences. If you have seen it before, prepare as well for rediscovering—much like the film’s hero—something you only thought you knew."

 
 

 

The Conversation, 1974

"It’s also about deeper issues such as guilt, paranoia, responsibility, absolution and redemption, themes that were common to American cinema in the 1970’s during the Watergate scandal and the Vietnam era. What is even more amazing is the fact that The Conversation is a film that most contemporary audiences have never even heard of. "

 
 

Taxi Driver, 1976

"To paraphrase Schrader, if you put Penn and Antonioni in bed together, put a gun to their heads and told them to fuck while Bresson watched through the keyhole, you got Taxi Driver."

 
 

Apocalypse Now, 1979

"…Apocalypse Now" is the best Vietnam film, one of the greatest of all films, because it pushes beyond the others, into the dark places of the soul. It is not about war so much as about how war reveals truths we would be happy never to discover."

Paris, Texas, 1984

"And what makes the film so emotionally and cinematically rich is the juxtaposition between Shepard and Wenders—the German with a fantastical pastiche obsession with Americana and the rough-tongued “rock and roll Jesus with a cowboy mouth” himself, whose words are engrained in the sprawling western landscape. The two have collaborated many times since, but this holds as by far their best work—creating something that speaks to the human condition so effortlessly in a way that few films have been able to. No one does melancholic American isolation like a misanthropic German. "

 
 

Wild at Heart, 1990

"A bizarre, fast-moving, occasionally erotic road movie, best enjoyed by those whose tongues rest firmly in their cheeks."

 

 

Pulp Fiction, 1994

 

"But it isn’t the structure that makes "Pulp Fiction” a great film. Its greatness comes from its marriage of vividly original characters with a series of vivid and half-fanciful events and from the dialogue. The dialogue is the foundation of everything else."
 

Taste of Cherry, 1997

"…an emotionally complex meditation on life and death. Middle-aged Mr. Badii (Homayoun Ershadi) drives through the hilly outskirts of Tehran—searching for someone to rescue or bury him. 

 

The White Ribbon, 2009

"Haneke’s genius is to embed these possibilities in films rooted in the daily lives of ordinary people. He denies us the simple solutions of most films, in which everything is settled by the violent victory of one side. His films are like parables, teaching that bad things sometimes happen simply because they . . . happen. The universe laughs at man’s laws and does what it will."

 

 

The Tree of Life, 2011

"The Tree of Life" has awe-inspiring visuals suggesting the birth and expansion of the universe, the appearance of life on a microscopic level and the evolution of species. This process leads to the present moment, and to all of us. We were created in the Big Bang and over untold millions of years, molecules formed themselves into, well, you and me."

 

Amour, 2012

"A film like "Amour" has a lesson for us that only the cinema can teach: the cinema, with its heedless ability to leap across time and transcend lives and dramatize what it means to be a member of humankind’s eternal audience."

Treasures of Cannes Past: This Week on Hulu

This Wednesday, Baz Luhrmann’s cinematic re-visioning of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby will Charleston its way into Cannes, kicking off the most anticipated film festival of the year. And with premieres by everyone from Nicolas Winding Refn and James Franco to Claire Denis and the Coen brothers, there’s more than enough to ignite plenty of excitement. But for those of us that will, sadly, not be in attendance, we can still celebrate with our own at home festival, looking back on some of the most beloved Cannes winners from the past.

And this week on Hulu, the Criterion Collection has made some of their greatest works of film available for your viewing pleasure. From Wim Wenders’ absolutely perfect existential romantic yearning masterpiece Paris, Texas to MIchaelangelo Antonioni’s iconic and breathtakingly beautiful L’Avventura and many a goody in between, see what took home top prizes at festivals of yore. So in case you just cannot decide where to start, here are some brief previews of the cinematic magic in store. Enjoy.

Wim Wenders’ Paris, Texas (Palme d’Or, 1984)

"Wenders and Shepard produce a powerful statement on codes of masculinity and the myth of the American family, as well as an exquisite visual exploration of a vast, crumbling world of canyons and neon."

 

Luis Bunuel’s Viridiana (Palme d’Or, 1961)

"Banned in Spain and denounced by the Vatican, Luis Buñuel’s irreverent vision of life as a beggar’s banquet is regarded by many as his masterpiece."

 

Lars von Trier’s Europa (Jury Prize, 1991)

"With its gorgeous black-and-white and color imagery and meticulously recreated (if then nightmarishly deconstructed) costumes and sets, Europa is one of the great Danish filmmaker’s weirdest and most wonderful works, a runaway-train ride to an oddly futuristic past."

 

Masaki Kobayashi’s Harakiri (Jury Prize, 1963)

"A fierce evocation of individual agency in the face of a corrupt and hypocritical system."

 

Abbas Kiarostami’s Taste of Cherry (Palme d’Or, 1997)

"An emotionally complex meditation on life and death. Middle-aged Mr. Badii drives through the hilly outskirts of Tehran—searching for someone to rescue or bury him."

 

Hiroshi Teshigahara’s Woman in the Dunes (Jury Prize, 1964)

"One of cinema’s most bristling, unnerving, and palpably erotic battles of the sexes, as well as a nightmarish depiction of everyday Sisyphean struggle, for which Teshigahara received an Academy Award nomination for best director.

 

Michelangelo Antonioni’s L’avventura (Jury Prize, 1960)

"Antonioni’s penetrating study of the idle upper class offers stinging observations on spiritual isolation and the many meanings of love."

 

 

Kon Ichikawa’s Odd Obsession (Jury Prize, 1960)

"Less known today and currently unavailable on DVD or Blu-ray, is Kon Ichikawa’s Odd Obsession. The latter is an absorbing tale of adultery, jealousy, and a quest for eternal youth, starring Tatsuya Nakadai, Ganjiro Nakamura, and Machiko Kyo."

Joachim Trier’s English-Language Debut is Set to Head Into Production With Isabelle Huppert & More

Earlier this week, we were pleased to report that iconic German director Wim Wenders was set to begin production on his latest film, Every Thing Will Be Fine, starting this summer with James Franco leading the picture. On that note, we spoke about the excitement of discovering your favorite filmmaker had something new underway—that childlike sense of thrill from only imagining what the feature could be. And when it comes to a younger set of directors, there are more than a plethora of people whose careers I’m quite excited for and anticipating to watch develop as they establish themselves in a new generation of cinematic masters. But in the last half-decade or so, there have been few filmmakers whose work has moved me as strongly as that of Norwegian director Joachim Trier. His two films Repirse and Oslo, August 31st are not only two of my favorite films of their respective years, but two of my most beloved films ever.

Trier’s work is poetic and haunting, visceral and honest, telling stories of friendship, illness, love, ambition, foolishness, and intellect that are both playful in style and striking in frankness. His films are melancholic and at times deeply saddening, yet always with a tinge of hope that penetrates through. There’s a quality to Reprise and Oslo that feels reminiscent of Wenders—a refreshing and almost spiritual exploration of existential quandaries and what it means to simply exist. (Sidenote: you haven’t seen either one of them, I would suggest heading to Netlfix or Hulu immediately and doing so.) And since Oslo‘s release last year, there’s been talk of Louder Than Bombs, Trier’s next feature, his English-language debut. But now, it’s been announced that the film is officially set to go into production.

To my absolute delight, Screen Daily tells us that the family drama will star Isabelle Huppert, Gabriel Byrne, and Jesse Eisenberg in a story that revolves around the character of a famous, late war photographer (played by Huppert). Going on to explain that the film will center around, "the eve of a retrospective of her work, some three years after her untimely death, [when] her husband and two sons discover an unsettling secret from her past" with Eisenberg  taking on the role of the son with Byrne as the father. Co-written with his long-time collaborator Eskil Vogt, the film will shoot in Germany and the US beginning this fall. And speaking about Louder Than Bombs, Trier has said that it is, "a character-driven piece so I am obviously thrilled to have such incredible actors working with me on this…Isabelle, Jesse, and Gabriel are all actors I have wanted to work with for a long time, so having them play together as one family feels remarkable.” 

Well now, if this means Wenders and Trier will both have films debuting on the festival circuit in 2014, we’re sure to be in for quite a treat. So stay tuned for more coverage on Louder Than Bombs—we’ll be keeping a close eye. In the meantime, check out our in-depth look at the quiet allure of Oslo, August 31st.

Wim Wenders Begins Production on His Next Film ‘Every Thing Will Be Fine’ Starring James Franco

Discovering that your favorite director is heading into production on a new film holds excitement akin to waking up as a child on Christmas morning—for me at least. It’s the dreamy time when you can only imagine what the film would be—before the inundation of set photos, stills, trailers, etc.—of course, it never disappoints in your mind.

But when Wim Wenders released Pina, his 2011 docuementary—ode to his dear friend Pina Bausch—the iconic German director far exceeded any expections of wonder and grace I coud have imagined. And as the filmmaker whose body work has given me an entirely new world, I was more than pleased to hear that his next film, Every Thing Will Be Fine is currently underway. Yes, but not only that—it was announced yesterday that somehow between writing, directing, acting, breathing, etc., James Franco will be taking the lead in the picture. 
 
With a script penned by Bjørn Olaf Johannessen, the film will star Franco as Tomas, a writer whom we follow for twelve years after he accidentally causes the death of a child and is forced to examine his life, as well as that of Kate, the child’s mother. But this will not be your typical family drama fare, considering Wenders will be shooting the film in 3-D. An odd choice, you’d assume, but if this works at all in way that Pina did, it could truly be something groundbreaking and incredible. Rather than conventional 3-D, which I usually tend to avoid, the figures in Pina do not pop out or invade your space—rather, you invade theirs. It’s as if you’re transported onto the stage with them and surround their world, getting a immersive look into the world that he’s created in a way that truly enhaces everything about what you’re seeing. Using Steadicams rigs, Wenders dissolves the distance between character and spectator, and if he can manage to do that with a structured narrative such as this, well, just hand me the box of Kleenex now.
 
Speaking to the project Wenders has said, "Every Thing Will Be Fine is a family drama, unravelling over the course of 12 years. A story of guilt and forgiveness, and of accepting things you cannot change anymore. We wrote it with 3D in mind, and I’m convinced that the medium lends itself really well to an intimate story." 
 
Production is said to begin this August in Montreal and run in January, so perhaps by the fall of 2014 we’ll be seeing the film starting to make it’s rounds. Either way, we’ll be keeping a very close eye on this one. And in the meantime, let’s watch some videos of Wenders being the greatest man.
 

Get Excited for the Criterion Collection’s ‘Repo Man’ Release With Three Reasons

1984 was a good year for Harry Dean Stanton. Not only did he lead Wim Wenders existential romantic yearning masterpiece Paris, Texas, but he also starred as Bud in Alex Cox’s classic Repo Man alongside a young and spritely Emilio Estevez . And whereas Paris, Texas has been a Criterion Collection staple for some time now, Repo Man gets its collection release today, and with it comes Three Reasons why you’ll love this movie. Their reasons are simple: it’s a punk classic, a sci-fi classic, and a cult classic all wrapped in one.

In his article Repo Man: A Lattice of Coincidence, Sam McPheeters writes:

…Like Billy Wilder and so many others, Cox saw Los Angeles through the eyes of a foreigner. Perhaps this perspective helped him gauge the weight of the city’s car culture. There is a boxy, sinister element to all the key autos: Bud’s Chevy Impala, Otto’s heisted AMC Matador, the Chevy Malibu that really did get stolen during filming. Actors auditioned in cars. The film’s only glamorous ride, the Rodriguez brothers’ 1964 Ford Falcon convertible, felt the wrath of Stanton’s baseball bat— during an on-set argument over his right to wield a real baseball bat in place of a prop one. And as a car film, Repo Man faithfully captures the terrors of its era. In Grease—a movie with a similar magic-chariot finale— the paved L.A. River is a private racetrack for gleaming hot rods. Here, it’s Bud’s doomsday escape route.

…I was lucky enough to see Repo Man in its first theatrical run. I was fifteen and just attempting the jump from the illicit grubbiness of sci-fi fandom to the illicit prestige of hardcore punk. The movie seemed perfectly targeted to my demographic. I remember my shock that someone in a position of any authority knew enough about this subculture to make such an uncondescending film, one that so gracefully captured the scene’s fluid silliness. The moment when the sheet is removed from Kevin in the hospital scene was a revelation; I simply didn’t know movies could work like that. Of course, I still don’t.

So if you weren’t already excited for Repo Man‘s release, check out the Three Reasons below, read the rest of McPheeters article, and get your copy now.

 

 

repo

 

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