Category Archives: Movies

Vintage Tomorrows (2015)

vintage_tomorrows-poster

Director: Byrd McDonald

Recommended? Yes.

Vintage Tomorrows, currently streaming on Netflix, is a feature-length documentary about the steampunk movement. It is based on the book of the same name. It is a very personal film for me. I was a steampunk event organizer, DJ, blogger, and maker from 2007 until about 2013. I was such a fanatic that the large bureaucracy I worked for wrote a memorandum about hats in the workplace just to get the bowlers off my head. I know many of the people interviewed in this film personally. Full disclosure, one of the interviewees is Margaret Killjoy of this website. The film has clearly been in post-production a long time: none of these interviews or events took place any later than 2012, so this film is unintentionally a retrospective of steampunk at its peak.
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MRA Pissbabies Should Be Even Madder About Ghostbusters Than They Are

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Director: Paul Feig

Screenplay: Katie Dippold, Paul Feig

Recommended? Yes.

We don’t really do hot takes here at AGR, apparently. Now that you’re all done talking about Ghostbusters and probably never want to hear about it again, here are some thoughts.

MRA pissbabies should be even madder about Ghostbusters than they are. Though that would probably kill them. Which, I mean, ok, if they have to go, literally burning up in a column of incandescent rage over a movie that has girls in it is probably how they’d want to go.
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Captain America is a Big Screen Anarchist Superhero, How Fucking Weird is That?

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Directors: Joe Russo, Anthony Russo

Screenplay: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely

Recommended? Yes.

Is it weird to call Captain America an anarchist? Yes, yes it is. Of course, there’s a ton of different versions of the character throughout the canon, from the hyperpatriotic and jingoistic to the I-hereby-renounce-my-US-citizenship-because-I-am-so-disgusted-with-this-government. “Captain America” is not so much an embodiment of America as he is an embodiment of whatever version of America the creators who are working on him at whatever moment think would be the ideal. So even though yeah, we’re talking about a guy called Captain America who wears a red white and blue costume, we’re not talking about AMERICA.
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Jurassic World (2015)

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Director: Colin Trevorrow

Writers: Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Colin Trevorrow, Derek Connolly, Michael Crichton

Recommended? This movie has dinosaurs in it.

So I know for people who go to movie theaters this movie is old already or whatever, but as far as I’m concerned it’s a new release because I just found it on The Pirate Bay.

Jurassic World is full of hot dinosaurs I’d totally love to know in the biblical sense and they all run around this island and go totally jurassic on all these fucking tourists. There are like, flying velociraptors and shit. If you want to watch that happen, which you do, you’re going to have to turn your pop-culture blinders up to 11.

The protagonist is this action hero dude who was probably genetically engineered to be part velociraptor which is why he’s as smart as one, and the antagonist is this giant T-Rex who was definitely genetically engineered to be part velociraptor which is why he’s as smart as one too.

And these two guys — the human guy and the dinosaur guy — they’re fighting over who gets to be the alpha of the pack of actual velociraptors.
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The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 (2014)

Mockingjay

Directed by: Francis Lawrence

Screenplay by: Danny Strong and Peter Craig

Based on: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Recommended? Sure

I’ve only read the first Hunger Games book. That either makes me the perfect reviewer for the movies, or maybe a woefully incompetent one. It does mean, however, that I’m taking the movies one at a time, because I don’t know what happens.

I know it makes me a bad anarchist to say this, but the worst thing about the third part of the Hunger Games is that there aren’t any hunger games. It’s just a movie about revolution instead. Considering that the hunger games are an awful thing and revolutions are something us anarchists are known for encouraging, this is a strange statement. But frankly, the battle royale under the omniscient gaze of an evil dictator made for good fiction.

Revolution can too, it turns out. I liked the movie, but it was decidedly less fun, and in so many ways less spectacular, than the first two. It was just, well, a completely different thing. Which is better than just making the same movie three times, I suppose, from a storytelling point of view. So I’ll forgive it.
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Land and Freedom (1995)

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Land and Freedom

Director: Ken Loach

Writer: Jim Allen

Recommended? Definitely.

Fucking Stalinists.

Fuck.

Fucking Stalinists are the worst.

Land and Freedom is an emotional tale of the Spanish Civil War, one that’s based loosely on George Orwell’s experiences as recounted in his book Homage to Catalonia. It follows a young unemployed communist from England who heads off to volunteer his life for the Spanish revolution, fighting at the Aragon front alongside the men and women of the POUM, a Marxist militia. There, despite poor training and poorer equipment, they liberate a village from fascists and hold the line.

The most important scene in the movie, twelve minutes long, is the argument in the liberated village whether to collectivize all of the land around the village immediately or to only collectivize the land of the Franco supporters at first. Everyone speaks passionately, everyone’s opinions are given weight and consideration by the filmmaker.
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The Anarchist Cookbook (2002)

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The Anarchist Cookbook
Directed and written by: Jordan Susman
Recommended? hahaha no

It’s a good thing most of the movies about us are absolute crap and no one watches them.

What if someone took everything awful about Fight Club (the machismo and misogyny, the too-easy political nihilism, the cliche masochistic bromance) and mixed it with everything awful about SLC Punk (the oversimplification of anarchism, the obvious fact that youth doesn’t last, the yay-for-selling-out ending), amplified it, and turned it into a movie?

You’d have The Anarchist Cookbook.

The Anarchist Cookbook is the worst movie about anarchists that has ever been made. Some movies misunderstand us (SLC Punk). Some movies vilify us (El Bosc). Some movies condescend to us (The East, No God, No Master). This movie intentionally warps our words and practices, alternately mocking us and reviling us.
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Slacker (1991)

Slacker

Slacker

Directed and written by: Richard Linklater

Recommended? Sure

Kevin Smith says that Slacker was the inspiration for his film Clerks. It shows. And more than that, it shows what happens time and time again in art and media: first, political radicals and engaged philosophers create new styles and genres; then, derivative work picks up the aesthetics and surface-level ephemera and leaves the core behind.
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The Anarchist’s Wife (2008)

la mujer del anarquista

The Anarchist’s Wife

Directed by: Peter Sehr, Marie Noëlle

Screenplay by: Marie Noëlle, Ray Loriga

Spanish title: La mujer del anarquista

Recommended? Yes

“Sing softly for love, sing loudly for freedom.”

Some of the best films use war and politics as backdrop to tell a story that isn’t about war. The Anarchist’s Wife is one such film.

I heard about this movie when it came out, but with a title like The Anarchist’s Wife, I wasn’t hopping up and down to go see it. Why is the film about the wife but she’s only known in relation to her husband? Why is he the anarchist and her just a wife?
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The East (2013)

The East

Director: Zal Batmanglij

Writers: Brit Marling, Zal Batmanglij

Recommended? Maybe

Among anarchists, my informal poll shows three responses to The East. Most people hate it. They feel it grossly, and perhaps dangerously, misrepresents us. Other people would prefer to ignore it—it’s a minor film, after all, and seems to have had no lasting effect on the broader culture, so lets just ignore it and hope it goes away. And then there’s the minority who, well, kind of love it, for all its flaws.

I’m in the latter camp.
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