TMR 308 : Dr Strangelove (1964) (Movie Dialogue #16)

StrangeloveFor the 16th Movie Roundtable—or rather Dialogue this time—we are joined once again by our good friend Antony Rotunno, for a discussion on Stanley Kubrick's classic movie Dr Strangelove (1964), starring Peter Sellers, George C Scott and Sterling Hayden (among others).

Imagining the USA to be inflitrated by Soviet polluters of the domestic water supply, the deranged General Jack D Ripper, commander of Burpelson Air Force Base, initiates "Wing Attack Plan R"... and you probably know the rest! This one has been near the top of my "roundtable" list for some time, but it took Antony's particular fondness for it to nudge it into first place. And I'm very glad of that; it's a truly great film, and my enthusiasm for it has only continued to grow as I've rewatched, read and thought about it again over the last few weeks.

Some say Dr Strangelove is the darkest of all comedies. And maybe that's so. Could there be anything darker than a nuclear end to the world brought about by human madness, ignorance, stupidity and hubris? Or a "Mutually Assured Destruction" revealing itself to be exactly that—M.A.D.? And yet, somehow, Kubrick and his brilliant team manage to make us laugh. Almost in spite of ourselves. After all, no matter how "over the top" it all might seem, there's always been something very real about Dr Strangelove. And I think we know it.

Join us as we discuss the production, consider its themes, and reflect on (just some of) what the film might have to say to us today.

(Download Podcast HQ 128 kbps)

Read more: TMR 308 : Dr Strangelove (1964) (Movie Dialogue #16)

TMR 304 : Eraserhead (1977) (Movie Roundtable #15)

Eraserhead“It is a personal film, and no reviewer, or critic, or viewer has ever given an interpretation that is my interpretation.”—David Lynch

For the 15th Movie Roundtable here at TMR we welcome back our good friends Frank Johnson, Antony Rotunno and Mark Campbell for another four-way discussion, this time on David Lynch's cult surrealist "horror" film Eraserhead from 1977.

Or is that perhaps not quite right? Each of us in the discussion loves the film Eraserhead (for various reasons), but I don't think any of us finds it exactly horrifying. Certainly, my reaction is more one of bemusement plus amusement, and the feeling that I'm a fly on the wall inside someone else's nightmare. So perhaps it would be better (for me) to call Eraserhead a "cult surrealist dark comedy nightmare film"? Or maybe that's not quite right either. Perhaps: a "cult surrealist nightmare-that-is-somehow-also-dark-comedy-without-ceasing-to-be-a-nightmare film"? That works for me, but I'd be just as happy to say that this film—which seems as strange today as when it first came out back in 1977—simply defies description.

Join us as we discuss the film's production, ponder its meaning(s)—or lack thereof (?)—and consider what this "dream of dark and troubling things” might have to "say" to us today.

(Download Podcast HQ 128 kbps)

TMR 300 : Thirteen Days (2000) (Movie Roundtable #14)

Antony Rotunno, Mark Campbell, Frank Johnson and Yours TrulyFor episode 300 of TMR—the 14th of our Movie Roundtables—we welcome back our good friends Mark Campbell, Frank Johnson and Antony Rotunno for a four-way discussion on the historical political thriller Thirteen Days (2000), starring Bruce Greenwood, Stephen Culp, Dylan Baker and Kevin Costner, directed by Roger Donaldson.

Based upon the book The Kennedy Tapes : Inside the Cuban Missile Crisis by Ernest R May and Philip D Zelikow—(a massive work of over 700 pages containing transcripts of John F Kennedy's secret recordings of White House meetings during the Cuban Missile Crisis)—Thirteen Days retells and dramatises (with a mix of historical accuracy and artistic licence) the world-shaking events of 16th - 28th October 1962). Faced with photographic evidence of Russian nuclear missiles on Cuban soil during the height of the Cold War, Jack and Bobby Kennedy (along with various advisors) struggle to negotiate a peaceful resolution to the Crisis in the midst of fear, uncertainty and opposition from their military chiefs.

Join us as we discuss the film's production, ponder its historicity, and ask if there is anything to be learnt from it for the present time.

(Download Podcast HQ 128 kbps)

TMR 295 : DOWNFALL (2004) (Movie Roundtable #13)

Der UntergangFor the 13th TMR Movie Roundtable we welcome back our good friends Frank Johnson, Antony Rotunno and Mark Campbell for a discussion on the superb 2004 German-language war drama, Downfall ("Der Untergang") starring Bruno Ganz and directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel.

Based in part upon the memoirs of Hitler's last personal secretary, Gertraud "Traudl" Junge (Alexandra Maria Lara), Downfall tells the story of the final ten days of Adolf Hitler and his Nazi regime. As the Red Army closes in on Berlin in late April 1945, Hitler (Bruno Ganz) and those closest to him retreat to the Führerbunker, an elaborate air raid shelter next to the Reich Chancellery. Sitting in his Map Room, Hitler fantasises about a Third Reich victory and continues to make futile plans for his depleted forces. He berates his generals for cowardice and betrayal and ignores all advice that he should leave Berlin, preferring instead to die if the war is lost. As the realisation dawns that defeat is imminent, Hitler—still refusing to see fault in himself, but ony in those around him—swiftly marries his long-term partner Eva Braun (Juliane Köhler), and the two prepare a suicide pact. After the deadly deed is done (or is it?*), Joseph Goebbels (Ulrich Matthes) assumes the role of leader for one brief day, as he and his wife Magda (Corinna Harfouch) extend the insane ideology so far as to take the lives of their own six children in order to "save" them from a life without Hitler and the Third Reich, after which they too commit suicide. Swiftly thereafter comes unconditional surrender, as Traudl and others disappear into the Soviet lines and escape into the countryside.

Join us as we disuss the production, consider if there are any lessons to learn for today, * and talk briefly (without reaching any firm conclusions) about the possibility that Hitler and Eva escaped from the Bunker and fled to Argentina.

(Download Podcast HQ 128 kbps)

TMR 290 : A Very British Coup (Special TMR Roundtable) #12

SoylentFor this special TMR Movie Roundtable, we welcome back the veteran British journalist John Booth—who joins Mark Campbell, Antony Rotunno and Yours Truly—for an extended four-way conversation on the highly perceptive and well-made British TV series from 1988 entitled A Very British Coup.

Based upon the 1982 novel of the same name by journalist and Labour politician Chris Mullin, A Very British Coup follows the career-in-office of fictional UK Labour Prime Minister Harry Perkins (brilliantly played by Ray McAnally) whose radical policies ruffle the feathers of the Establishment. Opposed from its inception by deep-state actors in the media, intelligence services and civil service—and indeed by political and corporate interests on the other side of the Pond—Perkins' democratically elected left-wing government and Perkins himself quickly become the targets of smear campaigns and "dirty tricks" aimed at undermining him and reshaping his government along establishment lines. But Perkins is no fool; this working-class "man of the people" is also a shrewd observer of elite power, and the forces that oppose him find themselves locked in a contest for dominance that will not easily be won.

Join us as we discuss the series and consider similarities to, and differences from, the real-life Labour leaders Jeremy Corbyn (who referenced Harry Perkins in a recent interview) and Harold Wilson (against whom the "secret state" plotted in the 1970s).

(Download Podcast HQ 128 kbps)

TMR 287 : Soylent Green (1973) (Movie Roundtable #11)

SoylentFor the 11th of our TMR Movie Roundtables we welcome back our good friends Mark Campbell, Frank Johnson and Antony Rotunno for a four-way discussion on the 1973 eco-dystopian thriller movie Soylent Green, starring Charlton Heston, Leigh Taylor-Young and Edward G Robinson, directed by Richard Fleischer.

By 2022, the processes of industrialisation and consumerism have depleted the world's natural respources and led to extreme global warming, overpopulation and severe food shortages. To meet demand, the Soylent Corporation—a massive, government-connected enterprise supplying countless millions—has developed subsistence foodstuffs in the form of highly processed wafers known as Soylent Red and Soylent Yellow. But now, the inhabitants of New York City (numbering around 40,000,000) can look forward to a new product: Soylent Green, a highly nutritious wafer ostensibly made from plankton. But not all is as it seems, as detective Richard Thorn (Charlton Heston) and his researcher Sol Roth (Edward G Robinson) discover as they investigate the assassination of an influential board member of the Corporation. Soylent Green, it turns out, isn't quite as advertised. "Soylent Green is ******!" (Just in case you haven't seen it yet).

Joins us as we discuss the film's production and storyline and consider some of its messages in relation to the real world of 2022.

(Download Podcast HQ 128 kbps)

TMR 272 : Capricorn One (1978) (Movie Roundtable #10)

MarkFrankYoursTrulyFor the 10th of our TMR Movie Roundtables we welcome back our good friends Mark Campbell, Frank Johnson and Antony Rotunno for a four-way discussion on the 1978 conspiracy thriller, Capricorn One, starring Elliott Gould, James Brolin, Branda Vaccaro and Hal Holbrook, written and directed by Peter Hyams.

About to embark upon the first crewed mission to Mars, three NASA astronauts (played by James Brolin, Sam Waterston and OJ Simpson) find themselves suddenly removed from their command module, minutes before lift-off, and flown to a secret desert base. There they learn of an outrageous plan, hatched by establishment conspirators, to fake the Mars landing using a TV studio, props and themselves as actors—a deception in which they are forced to be complicit. Picking up on the trail of the conspiracy is news reporter Robert Caulfield (Elliott Gould), who goes further and further down the proverbial Rabbit Hole as he tries to make sense of the increasing anomalies. But not all goes well—(or, perhaps, not all seems to go well)—with the plan. Upon re-entry into Earth's atmosphere, the astronauts' (crewless) module breaks up. Now, they are officially dead—their existence a threat to the lying narrative. Their only hope is to escape and reveal the plot to an incredulous world.

Join us as we discuss the film's production, ponder its "conspiracy" themes, and ask the question: Did "we" really go to the Moon?

[Podcast theme music: "Crabs Up North" by KODOMASAN from the album "Capricorn One"; used with kind permission]

(Download Podcast HQ 128 kbps)

TMR 266 : Close Encounters (1977) (Movie Roundtable #9)


For the 9th of our TMR Movie Roundtables we welcome back our good friends Mark Campbell and Frank Johnson for a three-way discussion on Steven Spielberg's 1977 sci-fi classic, Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Inspired by the unlikely combination of "When You Wish Upon a Star" from Disney's Pinocchio and the Watergate Scandal, Spielberg's masterpiece tells a double-threaded story of "close encounters" with alien phenomena—in fly-on-the-wall style—that culminates in one of the most amazing cinematic experiences of all time.

In one thread, intergovernmental researchers find decades-old aircraft (still new) and a ship in the middle of a desert, and discover that people around the globe are hearing the same five-note melody from the sky. In the other thread, electrical linesman Roy Neary (Richard Dreyfuss)—among other "chosen" individuals—witnesses strange lights overhead and becomes obsessed with the shape of a particular geological formation. Eventually the two threads combine in a "close encounter of the third kind" in which human contact with extraterrestrial beings is established.

Join us as we reminisce about our experiences with the film, discuss the production and reflect theologically upon its themes.

[Podcast theme music: Moment of Green by Antony Raijekov (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0).]

(Download Podcast HQ 128 kbps)

TMR 258 : Groundhog Day (Movie Roundtable #8)

GroundhogDay smIn this special "swapcast" between TMR and Film Gold we are joined by our good friends Antony Rotunno (host of the new Film Gold podcast) and Jenifer Thyssen (classical singer) for the 8th in our Movie Roundtable series. This time our subject is the wonderful 1993 "fantasy romcom" (or is it "fantasy comrom"?) Groundhog Day, starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell, directed by Harold Ramis.

While on location filming the annual celebration of Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, cynical and jaded TV weather presenter Phil Connors (Bill Murray) finds himself inexplicably caught up in a mysterious time loop that forces him to re-live the same day—Grounhog Day (which he loaths)—over and over again for a seeming eternity. The inexorable repetition (which he alone experiences) thrusts him into a succession of psychological states—confusion, denial, nihilistic anger, extreme selfishishness, and finally acceptance—as he is forced to interact with the events and people of that seemingly endless February 2nd. Yet only at the point when he himself has changed inside, such that he gains the true affection of TV producer Rita Hanson (Andie MacDowell), does the time loop cease and his life begin again in a new way.

Join us as we discuss the production, and reflect theologically/psychologically on the film's messages and implications.

(Download Podcast - HQ 128 kbps)

Read more: TMR 258 : Groundhog Day (Movie Roundtable #8)

TMR 256 : The Shout (1978) (Movie Roundtable #7)

TheShoutArtyCropped smFor the 7th of our TMR Movie Roundtable podcasts we welcome back our good friends Frank Johnson (Ancient Aliens Debunked blog) and Mark Campbell (Bowler or Fez Film Reviews) for a three-way discussion on the 1978 "horror film" (or is it?) The Shout, starring Alan Bates, Susannah York and John Hurt.

Based upon a short story of the same name by the Twentieth-Century British poet and novelist Robert Graves, the The Shout tells an intriguing and many-layered tale about a strange and sinister traveller, Charles Crossley (Alan Bates), who claims to have used his magical powers to invade the lives of a married couple, Anthony and Rachel Fielding (John Hurt and Susannah York), in their isolated house in the Devon countryside. Elaborating on his story, Crossley describes how he seduced Rachel using sympathetic magic and almost killed Anthony by exposing him to The Shout, a terrifying skill that Crossley claims to have mastered while living with Aboriginal Australian shamans for eighteen years.

Listening patiently to Crossley's extravagant story is Robert Graves himself (played by Tim Curry), who wonders at this strange man's tale. Could it possibly be true? Or is it more likely just the fanciful product of an—admittedly intelligent and educated, but—unbalanced creative imagination? How is he to decide?

And how, asks the film, are we?

Join us as we consider the film's production, discuss its storyline, and reflect theologically upon the possible meanings of this most unusual film.

[Podcast theme music: Moment of Green by Antony Raijekov (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0).]

(Download Podcast - HQ 128 kbps)

Read more: TMR 256 : The Shout (1978) (Movie Roundtable #7)

TMR 252 : The Insider (Movie Roundtable #6)


For the 6th of our Movie Review podcasts here at TMR we welcome back our good friends Antony Rotunno (Freethinker75 blog), Frank Johnson (Ancient Aliens Debunked blog) and Mark Campbell (Bowler or Fez Film Reviews) for a roundtable discussion on the 1999 based-on-truth thriller The Insider directed by Michael Mann and starring Russell Crowe, Al Pacino and Christopher Plummer.

Unceremoniously ejected from the third largest tobacco company in the US, research scientist and high-up executive Jeffrey Wigand (Crowe) has a story to tell that 60 Minutes producer Lowell Bergman (Al Pacino) is desperate to get his hands on. But personal threats against Wigand and his family, and legal threats against CBS if they venture to air Wigand's story, almost succeed in silencing the whistleblower. In the end his words do become public, and his testimony has huge implications for the tobacco industry, but in the process we witness the wheels of power attempting to crush the Lone Voice and a media landscape compromised by the pressures of legal and financial challenges.

Join us as we discuss the film's production and consider some of the messages implied by the movie's storyline.

[Podcast theme music: Moment of Green by Antony Raijekov (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0).]

(Download Podcast - HQ 128 kbps)

LISTEN / DOWNLOAD : TMR 252 : The Insider (Movie Roundtable #6)

TMR 249 : Silent Running - (Movie Roundtable #5)


For the 5th of our Movie Review podcasts here at TMR we welcome back our good friends Frank Johnson (of the Ancient Aliens Debunked blog) and Mark Campbell (of Bowler or Fez Film Reviews) for a roundtable discussion on the 1972 classic sci-fi movie Silent Running, starring Bruce Dern and directed by Douglas Trumbull.

Having been tasked for years with preserving Earth's last remaining forests—now housed in large geodesic domes on the spaceship Valley Forge orbiting Saturn—botanist Freeman Lowell (played by Bruce Dern) at length receives orders to abandon the project, destroy the forests and return the spaceship to commercial service. Horrified by the callousness and insanity of the orders, Freeman takes matters into his own hands, kills his insouciant work colleagues and hijacks the Valley Forge in an attempt to rescue Earth's last ecological treasures. But from that moment on he has only the forests and the robots—"Huey", "Dewey" and "Louie"—for company in the lonely silence of space.

Join us as we discuss many aspects of the film's production and ponder some of the ethical and worldview questions thrown up by its storyline.

[Podcast theme music: Moment of Green by Antony Raijekov (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0).]

(Download Podcast - HQ 128 kbps)

Read more: TMR 249 : Silent Running - (Movie Roundtable #5)

TMR 243 : The Illustrated Man - (Movie Roundtable #4)

TIM sm"Each person who tries to see beyond his own time must face questions to which there cannot yet be proven answers."—from The Illustrated Man

For the fourth of our Movie Review podcasts here at TMR we welcome back our good friends Frank Johnson (of the Ancient Aliens Debunked blog) and Mark Campbell (of Bowler or Fez Film Reviews) for a roundtable discussion on the 1969 classic movie The Illustrated Man, starring Rod Steiger and Claire Bloom, based on Ray Bradbury's sci-fi short story collection of the same name.

Taking just three of Bradbury's stories—"The Veldt", "The Long Rain" and "The Last Night of the World"—the film ties them together, as does the book, with the framing device of "The Illustrated Man", a vagrant ex-circus-freak-show-performer with a heavily tattooed body, whose "body illustrations"—created by an allegedly time-travelling woman—seem to possess a supernatural power to transfix anyone who stares at the images and transport them into "the future".

But is this really about "the future", or is it something more like "possible worlds"? Are we looking at science fiction here, or is it closer to fanstasy? Indeed, does the film even know what it's doing?

Join us as we ponder these questions and more, and compare the film with the original short stories—thanks to our resident Ray Bradbury enthusiast, Mark Campbell—in an entertaining and thought-provoking three-way discussion.

[Podcast theme music: Moment of Green by Antony Raijekov (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0).]

(Download Podcast - HQ 128 kbps)

Read more: TMR 243 : The Illustrated Man - (Movie Roundtable #4)

TMR 241 : Twelve Monkeys (Movie Roundtable #3)

12Monkeys sm

"5 billion people will die from a deadly virus in 1997... the survivors will abandon the surface of the planet... once again the animals will rule the world..."—12 Monkeys

For the third of our Movie Review podcasts here at TMR we welcome back GK (of Like Flint Radio) and Frank Johnson (of the Ancient Aliens Debunked blog) for a roundtable discussion on Terry Gilliam's 1995 film Twelve Monkeys starring Bruce Willis and Madeleine Stowe.

In addition to commenting on the film itself, we use the movie as a springboard to discuss the current coronavirus pandemic, and note some of the trends we see developing as various vested interests jump on the fear bandwagon to try to reshape the world according to their various technocractic agendas.

[The music for this podcast—"Ken Copeland's Wind of God REMIX"—is Copyright © 2020 WTFBrahh, all rights reserved, and used here with kind permission.]

(Download Podcast - HQ 128 kbps)

Read more: TMR 241 : Twelve Monkeys (Movie Roundtable #3)

TMR 239 : Batman Decoded (Movie Roundtable #2)

BatmanDecode sm"The horse-shoe is the mystic symbol of the Wizard's Foot..."—Hargrave Jennings (1870)

As a welcome distraction from the media's wall-to-wall coverage of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, we present the second of TMR's new Movie Roundtable podcasts, in which we welcome back Frank Johnson and Mark Campbell for a lively, entertaining and revelatory discussion on the classic 1966 film Batman, starring Adam West and Burt Ward.

Well-known and well-loved, Batman : The Movie (as it's also known), continues to delight audiences around the world as, arguably, one of the finest comic movies of the 1960s. But what if—unknown to the vast majority of people—it turns out that this familiar movie also contains profound hermetic messages, buried deep within the thinly-veiled symbolism of its colourful screen play? The least likely candidate for such hidden doctrines, one might suppose; and yet maybe therein lies the secret of its power: to telegraph to The Powers That Should Not Be a Grand Plan—a blueprint for world domination ("Today Gotham City, Tomorrow The World" [?])—while the watching masses look on in ignorant bliss.

Applying some of the very principles of deduction depicted in the movie itself, and with careful reference to works by arch theosopher H. P. Blavatski, Rosicrucianism scholar Hargrave Jennings and classic anthropologist Sir James Frazer, we pick through the scenes of the movie and reveal much that has remained hidden (to the uninitiated) since its release in 1966.

(Download Podcast - HQ 128 kbps)

Read more: TMR 239 : Batman Decoded (Movie Roundtable #2)

TMR 237 : The Brotherhood of the Bell (Movie Roundtable #1)

MarkFrankYoursTrulyFor TMR's very first Movie Roundtable I am joined by Mark Campbell (of Bowler or Fez Film Reviews) and Frank Johnson (researcher for Chris White's Ancient Aliens Debuked) for a lively and entertaining conversation on the compelling 1970 made-for-TV movie The Brotherhood of the Bell, starring Glenn Ford and Rosemary Forsyth.

The Brotherhood of the Bell tells the story of college professor Dr. Andrew Patterson (Glenn Ford), who as a young student became involved with a mysterious secret society at college called “Beta, Epsilon, Lambda” (acronym “Bel”). Although this turned out well for him for years—his career benefited from his being a member in all kinds of ways, even beyond his knowledge—reality dawns when 22 years later he is called upon to initiate a new member into the Brotherhood and to receive an assignment that he must carry out as an act of loyalty to the Society. Patterson must try to persuade an academic colleague to turn down an important job offer—because the Brotherhood wants someone else in that position—and, in case that colleague should refuse, Patterson is provided with a dossier of information to blackmail that colleague into submission. Reluctantly Patterson carries out the assignment, but the colleague freaks out and commits suicide. Thus, filled with remorse, Patterson decides to break the story to world about the wickedness of the Society and its assignments, but the influence of the Society is much bigger than he realises. Every technique is used against him to undermine his credibility: he loses his job, his wife, his standing in society. Vainly he hopes that the media will help him to blow the whistle, yet the media ends up being manipulated against him. Eventually his boss believes his story, and there's a chink of light at the end of the film as they hit on the idea of persuading other members of the Society to come forward. But does it succeed?

(Download Podcast - HQ 128 kbps)

Read more: TMR 237 : The Brotherhood of the Bell (Movie Roundtable #1)

TMR 158 : Being There (1979) (Movie Discussion #0)

JimJoolzStrictly speaking this episode isn't one of the TMR Roundtables, but I thought I would add it here (as number 0) because it's a conversation about a film that very much fits with the series, and I thought a few more people might find it if I included it here. It's a conversation with James Corbett who invited me on to The Corbett Report to discuss the great film Being There as part of his podcast series, Film, Literature and the New World Order.

 "Julian Charles of joins us to discuss Being There, the 1979 film by director Hal Ashby that follows the story of Chance the Gardener, a simple man with no experience of the outside world who is suddenly thrust onto the national political stage. Despite his complete lack of knowledge and experience (or precisely because of it) the powers behind the scenes float him as a potential candidate for next president of the United States. So is this a reflection of political reality, or broad satire? What does the movie tell us about the way modern media shapes the political landscape? Find out in this edition of Film, Literature and the New World Order."—James Corbett

(Download Podcast HQ 128 kbps)



Copyright © 2024 The Mind Renewed : Thinking Christianly in a New World Order

All Rights Reserved