Category Archives: Movies

The Sound Of My Voice (2012)

Directed by Zal Batmanglij
Starring Christopher Denham, Nicole Vicius and Brit Marling

The Sound Of My VoiceIt’s hard to talk about this little flick from Zal Batmanglij (don’t worry if you’ve never heard of him, he has only made one other indie film besides this) without giving away too much. A young couple are trying to make a documentary about an underground cult in Los Angeles, led by a woman named Maggie who claims to be from the future. To say more would ruin the experience of watching it.

Brit Marling is a wonderful standout as Maggie, the beautiful and beguiling cult leader. She is charming, mysterious and has an infectious personality about her, able to hold the attention of the room effortlessly, but also intense as she both lifts her followers up and breaks them down. I’m surprised she hasn’t had a more visible career. This film is one of only a few film credits (the other being The East, also directed by Batmanglij, and an episode of Community).

The Sound Of My Voice is slow but intriguing right from the first minute. Who is this woman? What are her goals? Is she for real or just a con woman preying on desperate people looking for answers? These questions will keep you guessing and engaged, as do other seemingly unconnected events shown throughout the film.

Unfortunately, a lot of these questions won’t be answered, and you will come away feeling somewhat unsatisfied. The film feels incomplete. As though either through lack of time, budget, inexperience on the part of the director or some other reason, it has more to say. Many threads are left hanging. Whether that was intentional by the filmmaker to force you to examine the film more thoroughly and make your own conclusion, I cannot say.

So don’t expect definitive answers. The ending, which is actually quite jarring when it comes, is left almost entirely open to your own interpretation. It’s a film that bares examination and rumination to arrive at any kind of conclusion, if any at all. Is it worth your time? I think in this case the journey is worth more than the destination.

Incidentally, if you like films about cults that keep you guessing as to their nature check out Believers, directed by Daniel Myrick (of The Blair Witch Project fame).


License to Watch – Dr No (1962)

Dr No PosterI was one of the primary instigators of the whole License to Watch project, having not really seen any of the older Bond movies. Really, I’ve only seen in full the films from Timothy Dalton onwards. I admit to have no small amount of trepidation going into Dr No, but I was pleasantly surprised. I expected this to be a much more dry, noir cold war type spy film, with none of the goofy Bond trappings that I expect from the later films.

Sean Connery does indeed make an excellent Bond, really encapsulating those qualities when you think of the character, suave, charming, rough around the edges. A rogue. Cool, calm and collected. You can see how his early portrayal here really informed the character going forward.

The 60s setting is great, having that really stylized look and feel that you can only recognize with 50 years of hindsight. The fashion, the hair, everything really sets this apart from the other films I’ve seen and I found it really colorful, something I wasn’t expecting.

I was involved with the story too. I figured there would be some espionage plot twists but I was really engaged, moving forward with the story waiting to see where it was going next, and I was pleasantly surprised to see it end up with a secret underground island lair, henchmen, escapes through air ducts (that inexplicably contain electrified grates (but only some), rushing water AND heated panels) and atomic power used for nefarious purposes by an evil doctor, in a poorly thought out plan for… something. I never imagined that was all there from the very first film. I figured it only emerged with the later, sillier Roger Moore films.

Ursula Andres - Yowsa!And of course you can’t go past the first Bond girl of them all, Honey Ryder played by Ursula Andress. In that bikini, wow. If I’d seen this as a kid, she definitely would have been my first celebrity crush.

I really really enjoyed this flick. I have read this is one of the better early Bond films, but if the next few are even halfway as enjoyable as this, I figure I’m in for a great time.

Licence To Watch (#LicenceToWatch)

It. Is. Coming!

Next week I start watching all the James Bond films starting with the first, “Dr No”. I haven’t seen most of them, especially the early ones. Should fun. I’ll be posting my short form reviews here.