Five for the Fifth: JANUARY 2017 Edition


Welcome to FlixChatter’s primary blog series! As is customary for this monthly feature, I get to post five random news item/observation/poster, etc. and then turn it over to you to share your take on that given topic. You can see the previous five-for-the-fifth posts here.

1. Well HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone! (I think you can still say this for at least another week 😉 ) Hope you had a great Christmas break. I barely had any vacation left but I did take the last Friday of the year off, and since Monday was a company holiday it was nice to get four days off. It ended up being a pretty productive time as we were able to binge on Westworld! So yeah we’re done with all of season 1 and boy that season finale is phenomenal!!

We got a free trial month subscription on HBO, but since we already got Netflix and Amazon Prime, we’re not gonna pay another $15 bucks to continue. But since we still have 3 weeks left, we’re hoping to catch up on season 1 of True Detective. We’re 2 episodes in so far and we loved it.

So did you binge on any TV show(s) this holiday season?  

2. It seems easy to poke fun at the superhero genre. Veteran filmmaker Ridley Scott’s recently quoted as saying “Superhero movies are not my kind of thing — that’s why I’ve never really done one… [I’ve been asked] several times, but I can’t believe in the thin, gossamer tightrope of the non-reality of the situation of the superhero.” [per The Wrap] He went on to say, “I’ve done that kind of movie: ‘Blade Runner’ really is a comic strip when you think about it. It’s a dark story told in an unreal world. You could almost put Batman or Superman in that world, that atmosphere, except I’d have a f—ing good story, as opposed to no story!”


No story. Ouch! Though it made me laugh when he said about the non-reality bit, I mean Alien and Prometheus aren’t exactly steeped in realism now are they? I agree BVS is shiat but he clearly hasn’t seen the Captain America trilogy.

Another slam to DC superhero universe comes from the Batman himself. It seems Ben Affleck isn’t too sure about directing the Batman films for DC. Asked by The Guardian about directing The Batman, he replied “That’s the idea. But it’s not a set thing and there’s no script. If it doesn’t come together in a way I think is really great I’m not going to do it.” Heh, he certainly doesn’t sound like he’s clamoring to save the DC universe, does he?

Thoughts on Scott’s and Affleck’s comments?

3. After seeing Knight Of Cups, I felt inclined to just give up on Terence Malick altogether. I mean, a visual poetry should not be confused with feature films, and I bet even poetry has more to say than a film with no script. But dayum, does the guy knows how to get actors to star in his films, even despite not knowing if they’d actually end up in the final cut!

So apparently his latest film Song To Song (previously titled Weightless) is scheduled to be released in mid March. Here’s a first look image courtesy of Collider:


“In this modern love story set against the Austin, Texas music scene, two entangled couples — struggling songwriters Faye (Rooney Mara) and BV (Ryan Gosling), and music mogul Cook (Michael Fassbender) and the waitress whom he ensnares (Natalie Portman) — chase success through a rock ‘n’ roll landscape of seduction and betrayal.”

I also found this image from IMDb … is Bale wearing the same black shirt from Knight of Cups??


The film also stars Val Kilmer, Christian Bale, Benicio Del Toro, Cate Blanchett, Haley Bennett, and a slew of music artists: Patti Smith, Iggy Pop, Florence Welch of Florence And The Machine, and all of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Are you a Malick fan? Whether or not you are, thoughts on Song To Song?

4. It’s just my luck that I always fall for actors whose work aren’t readily available in the US :\ I’ve been waiting for this BBC series for over a year now, and there’s barely any news on it! Well finally I got a glimpse of my darling Sam Riley on this BBC trailer…

RadioTimes also posted this article 17 TV dramas everyone will be talking about in 2017. Thrilled to see SS-GB on there. I’ve read the book, as I’ve mentioned about it here, and I knew Sam would be perfect in the role!

Based on the 1978 novel by Len Deighton, SS-GB is a dystopian thriller set in an alternative 1940s London, where the Germans have won the Battle of Britain, and the capital is under Nazi occupation. Sam Riley stars as Douglas Archer, a Scotland Yard detective who’s torn between co-operating with the SS or joining the resistance. He becomes embroiled in a sinister underworld while investigating what appears to be a simple black-market murder.

Joining Riley is Kate Bosworth, as American journalist Barbara Barga, who finds herself linked to the case Archer is working on. SS-GB is written by James Bond movie writers Robert Wade and Neal Purvis, and other cast members include Jason Flemyng, James Cosmo, Aneurin Barnard and Maeve Dermody.

What do you think of SS-GB? What new/returning show(s) are you most looking forward to in 2017?

5. This month Five for the Fifth’s guest is Jordan from Epileptic Moondancer Blog! Well, given US/Russia relations seem to harken back to the Cold War era, his question is ever so timely.

I love cold-war era films, with that paranoia always in the background. Some of my favorite cold war era paranoia/thrillers are ‘The Conversation’, ‘Seconds’, and to a more obvious extent, stuff like ‘The Spy Who Came In From the Cold.’
Richard Burton in 'The Spy Who Came In From The Cold'
Richard Burton in ‘The Spy Who Came In From The Cold’

So what do you think is the best cold-war film that was made during the cold-war?

Well, that’s it for the JANUARY edition of Five for the Fifth, folks. Take part by picking a question out of the five above or better yet, do ‘em all! 

45 thoughts on “Five for the Fifth: JANUARY 2017 Edition

    1. Ah, my boss was just talking about it two days ago. I might check it out just to see what it’s about, esp. since it’s free on Netflix.

    1. Hello Shivani! So are you a big fan of Malick? I’m still curious about Song To Song, but I sure hope there’s actually a script he’s working off of, unlike Knight of Cups.

      As for Affleck, yeah I think any director should always make sure a script is decent before committing to it, so you’re right it’s definitely a good attitude to have.

  1. Happy New Year Ruth! I’m not sure I can tackle all 5 but I’m going to try:
    1 – I binged watched almost the entire 2nd season of 3rd Rock from the Sun after my brother recommended it. I loved it!
    2 – I think Ridley Scott came over quite harsh. You make a good point with Aliens! I do feel sorry for Ben Affleck though, he really should walk away!
    3 – I’ve never seen a Terence Malick movie, but what an amazing cast Song to Song has! I will absolutely give that a go.
    4 – I’m such a terrible Brit, I haven’t heard about SS-GB! It does sound interesting though. I can’t wait for the new season of Game of Thrones. Will we be getting Stranger Things Season 2 this year?

    1. Happy New Year Allie!

      Oooh 3rd Rock is fun, I used to watch that when it still aired, amazing how young JGL was, and so darn cute!

      Yeah I think Scott comes off as being curmudgeon, I mean seriously, it’s not like all his films are so grounded in realism. But for Ben, I think it’s wise that he treads carefully before committing to the DC universe.

      You’ve never seen a Malick movie? Well, I’m curious what you think of Song of Song then. His film can be narratively um, challenging, despite the stellar cast.

      Ahah, no you’re not a terrible Brit. I think SS-GB hasn’t been marketed well AT ALL by the BBC, not sure why as it’s got the Bond writers behind it… AND the great Sam Riley who so deserved his own series! Oh good question about Stranger Things 2, I hope we do get it later this year.

      1. I had to Google Malick just to be sure, but no, I haven’t seen a single one! I nearly watched Knight of Cups, but I read a lot of bad reviews which put me off. I’ll definitely see Song of Song though!
        I feel like a lot of BBC shows end up going on for a year or so before the hype kicks in and they actually start advertising properly…they’re a strange bunch!

        1. Well, Tree of Life, Days of Heaven and The Thin Red Line are my fave of his work. I just think lately he’s too experimental. I mean Knight of Cups had NO SCRIPT! The actors pretty much were given a description of their characters and run with it. But he always gets such stellar cast for his movies, so I’m always intrigued.

          Hmmm, that is so odd about the BBC’s process. I mean in the US they tend to advertise things waaaay in advance which can also be annoying too if you don’t care for certain shows. I sure hope they’d advertise SS-GB more, and that we’d see a trailer soon!

    1. Well hello Kim! What series is 3%? I’ve never heard of that one. I’ve never seen Gilmore Girls but I can certainly get the appeal 😉

      1. 3% is a Netflix Originals Brazilian series. Its pretty good. Set in dystopian world where the rich live in the Offshore and the only way that the Inland people that get there is through an event that takes place on the Inland in a facility for the chosen group. The tests eliminates them to the final 3% that get to head to the luxurious Offshore. Its a nice concept with some generic ideas since dystopian is so overdone but the performances are great. 🙂

        1. A Brazilian dystopian series? I like the sound of that! Boy Netflix has a ton of new series don’t they? That might be one to check out more than The OA. Thanks Kim!

          1. I’ll probably check out The OA eventually. Brit Marling is the selling point for me. Although I’m probably the only person in the universe that hasn’t seen Stranger Things and I should get on that. Haha!

            1. Hey that’s ok, I still haven’t seen Game of Thrones and probably never get around to it as there are too many eps to catch up on! But Stranger Things is good, and it’s only one season so far 🙂

  2. If you don’t get to finish True Detective on HBO by the time your free trail is over, I’ll lend you my Bluray discs.

    1. Didn’t binge watch anything during the holiday, watched a couple of more episodes of the new season of Black Mirror. I think this season is the best one yet and I two more episodes left to watch.

    2. Ridley Scott sounds like a grumpy old man now, he said he only makes smart movies? Even though I enjoyed Prometheus, the writing and some of the characters’ behavior were pretty dumb to me.

    As for Affleck, my guess is that he’s negotiating for a bigger paycheck if Warner wants him to direct The Batman. Movie stars and directors always say they’re not sure about doing certain film even though they’ve attached to the project, so I won’t be surprised when they make official announcement once all parties agreed on the paycheck numbers plus box office number earning percentage.

    3. I kind of turned off my all these new Malick’s films, he doesn’t seem to care about telling a story anymore, he’s doing whatever he wants now. I’ll wait and see about this new film. After To The Wonder, I don’t want to see actors walking around narrating non sense on the screen.

    4. Never heard of SS-GB before but it looks interesting. I’m looking forward to the new season of The Americans and mid season premiere of The Walking Dead. As for the new show, Iron Fist on Netflix looks good even though it’s weird seeing a super yuppy looking white dude doing kung fu. Lol!

    5. Definitely the original Manchurian Candidate and of course the early Bond films.

    1. Ah ok, thanks Ted!

      Yep, grumpy old Scott. I didn’t think much of Prometheus and it’s not the only stinker in his resume either. You’re right about Affleck, I’m sure on top of script being *great* there’s always the bargaining to get more greens.

      I hear ya about Malick. I’m always astonished how he managed to get SO MANY great actors to work w/ him for no money and no guarantee they’d even be IN the movie!

      If you’re curious to read the book, I can lend SS-GB to you Ted. It’s similar to Man in the High Castle but set in the UK. I like that stuff and it’s by the Bond writers with Sam Riley, so I’m SO there!

      1. Yeah, I can name a few stinkers from Scott’s resume: A Good Year, Legend, Hannibal, 1492: Conquest of Paradise, Body of Lies, Kingdom of Heaven (theatrical cut), Exodus: Gods & Kings and Robin Hood. Those were pretty dumb to me. He just sounded so full of himself by essentially saying super hero films are beneath him.

        I think these actors wanted to be in his films so they can say they’ve worked with a well respected (use to be anyway) director like Malick. If Stanley Kubrick, David Lean and Sam Peckinpah were still alive, they too would attract A-list actors to star in their films.

        Okay sounds good, I haven’t read any good books in a long time. Well actually I haven’t been reading anything much lately, just don’t have the time anymore.

        1. My friend just mentioned GI Jane on Twitter, I had no idea he directed that! I actually didn’t mind A Good Year so much, but that’s probably ’cause I like Crowe. Yep, sounds very cocky to me, but then he’s an old fart, ahah.

          Btw, SS-GB is not a very big book, but I know what you mean, who has time to read these days!

          1. I actually enjoyed GI Jane, I almost put it on the list that you’ve just posted but decided against it because Disney heavily promoted that film and it failed miserably. It’s supposed to be a comeback for Demi Moore after the disastrous Strip Tease but she never recovered. I thought she was very good in the film and Viggo Mortensen was pretty great as sort of the villain.

  3. I’m about to start ‘Stranger Things’. Binged on ‘The Crown’ over the holiday. A mini-binge. Only 3 episodes. It’s good so far. I was just thinking of watching a Malick oldie, ‘The Thin Red Line’. I was so excited for ‘Knight of Cups’ but it was limited and I still haven’t seen it. I’ve only heard mixed reviews.
    Jordan, I agree with Ted–Manchurian Candidate and early Bond.

    1. Hey Cindy, hope you enjoy Stranger Things. I love the 80s throwback and the music.

      Did you like The Crown so far? I might get into that as I love period dramas and anything British-related 😉

      I’m curious if you’d like Knight of Cups. I really want to like it but it’s tough when there’s NO SCRIPT so the actors seemed to just wander around aimlessly.

  4. 1. Stranger Things, but that was around Thanksgiving time.

    2. Yes, Sir Ridley’s comments don’t entirely stand up to scrutiny. Affleck, as a filmmaker, sounds very pragmatic to me. I like that.

    3. Some Malick, not all.

    4. Familiar of SS-GB, in general, primarily through the novels and only on the periphery. Haven’t read them. Sounds intriguing.

    5. I’d have to go with The Manchurian Candidate (1962), myself. Director John Frankenheimer at the top of his game with this adaptation of the Richard Condon novel.

    1. Hi Michael, you’ve seen Westworld right? If not, I think you’d love it.

      Yep, I think he’s getting a bit cocky if I’m honest. Affleck is a good filmmaker, if I were him I’d rather do other projects than The Batman.

      Well I prefer Malick’s work that have a script behind it 😉

      I really like the book of SS-GB, Len Deighton’s such a meticulous writer. I think the series should be right up your alley if you like WWII stuff.

  5. Happy New Year Ruth (again)! I’m an ashamed Mallick fan and will forgive him just about anything – sorry! As a U.K. Chap we’re getting some good stuff on the Beeb at the moment, what with Sherlock and the upcoming Tom Hardy show Taboo. The trailer for SS-GB looks like it’ll be another must see!

    1. Hey, nothing to be ashamed of in your love for Malick. I just wish he’d be less experimental in his films, as I think Knight of Cups has some intriguing story in there but it’s totally lost without a script.

      You are lucky to live in the UK! Man I feel like I should move there being such an Anglophile 😉 Yeah Taboo sounds really intriguing and um, different. As for SS-GB, well you know how I feel about Riley and it’s about time he gets his own series!

  6. 1. Unless you count the 30 for 30 ESPN doc series, I’d have to say no.

    2. I think the genre has gotten over-saturated though Marvel has been consistent in making very solid films which is something DC seems to be struggling with.

    3. Terrence Malick puts my ass in seat. He could make someone sitting in a toilet for 2 hours and make it feel like cinematic poetry so I’m definitely going to see Song to Song as I heard it’s kind of a transition film of sorts of what he had been doing recently and a return to more traditionally-based narrative with his earlier films.

    4. I don’t have BBC at the moment and…. why do they choose such awful music for these trailers?

    5. Dr. Strangelove.

    1. Hi Steven! Yeah I agree the genre is over-saturated but Ridley’s comment is as if the genre is beneath him. Heh, even Chris Nolan tackled that genre and made a masterpiece.

      Ahah, so you’re a huge Malick fan. Well, I don’t think I’d want to watch someone sitting in a toilet for 2 hours even if it stars my fave actors! In any case, I hope there is an actual script for Song To Song with an actual story and character development.

      I don’t have BBC either, I have to wait until they’re on PBS :\

      1. Actually, I heard that Malick w/ his recent films only uses guidelines rather than a real script where he allows his actors to improvise. Plus, those films are actually based on aspects of his life so they’re more based on memories and recollections rather than plot. That is probably why casual viewers don’t like those films as I’m sure they won’t like Song to Song.

  7. I’m pretty excited for Song to Song. I’m still a TM fan and hope he does something with this intriguing cast. But you never know. I love Ridley Scott but those were some weird comments. I love the majority of his films but he’s had a clunker or two and (as you mentioned) he’s not beyond bucking realism. As for Affleck’s, I’m not reading too much into that. I can completely see him or any conscience filmmaker taking that position if there is no script. That would be blindly attaching yourself and your career to something unknown.

    1. Hello Keith! I sure hope Song To Song has a story and real characters unlike Knight of Cups. I mean, those are amazing actors Malick’s assembled, please give them something to do!

      I think Ridley is in need of a dose of realism himself, and a little [or a lot] of humility. As for Affleck, I think as a writer himself, it’s wise of him to focus on making a strong script first before committing to doing anything. I feel like w/ a lot of superhero movies, they set a release date first and work backwards so writing/filmmaking is pretty much secondary to the process. Go figure!

  8. I watched almost entire Black Mirror this week and it was fantastic so I’m eagerly waiting for next season this year. Scott has been making ridiculous comments for years now and really given how many bad movies he made since early 2000 he really shouldn’t criticize anyone

    1. Man, I watched one episode of Black Mirror and was really astonished!! It’s rare to see such a bold and utterly thought-provoking to the point of making your skin crawl! I got sidetracked by Westworld but will definitely go back and finish all three seasons of Black Mirror. There are so many good British actors on it, too.

      Amen about Ridley, heh just focus on making good movies instead of slamming others.

      1. You should watch San Junipero, it’s one of the most positive ones. Though I think maybe you should go chronologically in order of release. I know some people start with those hyped episodes and think the show is getting predictable in it’s format but it’s wrong assumption since it’s just them watching the episodes out of order 🙂

        1. Oh yeah we’re watching it chronologically. Just saw a second episode from season 1, but we’re definitely gonna keep watching it. It’s such an unsettling but very bold & thought provoking commentary on our relationship w/ technology. Love it!

  9. Tom

    Not sure I’ve said it to you yet, but a belated Happy New Year’s! (I think it should we entitled to share that sentiment throughout the entire year. How weird would that be?)

    I don’t actually binge-watch any TV. I just can’t do it. I’ll jump around here and there but a 2+ hour movie tends to test my patience so I can’t watch back-to-back episodes of stuff, even if that stuff is brilliant. Closest I’ve ever come is to watch three back-to-back epi’s of House of Cards.

    Those are some pretty interesting quotes from two people I have a lot of respect for. Ridley strikes me as a bit pretentious with his comments. I think you said it best. It’s not exactly like his oeuvre is completely free of material set in un-realistic environs. I’d love to see how he’d explain projects like Alien and Prometheus in the language he just used. As for Batfleck’s directorial decisions here, . . . yeah, It’s not looking too good for DC right now is it? If he’s got a certain sense of hesitation about committing to something then that says something about the state of that studio. I do really feel for DC. It goes to show you that Marvel didn’t just stumble upon success by accident, nor is it something that should ever be expected of a studio. That level of mega-success.

    Knight of Cups really bored me, but visually it was as dazzling as anything Malick has done. I think the visual component is what keeps luring me back in to his world. I’m sort of on the fence when it comes to how he addresses “story.” Perhaps no other filmmaker challenges the traditional definition of what a story is or should be than Terrence Malick. Can a story be simply a collection of images? Or, can a GOOD story be simply a collection of images. . .

    As I don’t watch a lot of TV or shows on Netflix, one thing I am looking forward to returning is Netflix’s House of Cards. given the political climate we’re in right now, somehow that show seems like a light-hearted escape from reality. Ha!

    That’s a really great question from Jordan. I honestly don’t think I have a response though, I haven’t seen very many Cold War-set films that were made in the actual Cold War era.

    1. Hi ya Tom! Ahah yes you can say Happy New Year for at least another month I think 😉

      I can only handle 3 eps max, which we did the first time we saw Westworld, SO addictive!

      I just think Ridley’s comes across as grumpy and cocky with his comment, and it’s not like he’s been consistently great anyway as a filmmaker. I’m just astonished how far behind DC is compared to Marvel, who gets so much support from the filmmakers/actors involved in their projects. But like you said, it’s not like they didn’t work hard and have good strategy. Success like that don’t just happen.

      I feel the same about Knight of Cups… SO tedious I almost fell asleep. There were only 4 or 5 people at the screening! I think a story can be simply a collection of images, but I don’t know if you can make a GOOD movie just by visuals and atmosphere alone. As a writer I always yearn for a good story and good dialogue.

      Yeah, it seems our political climate now is scarier than what’s on TV/movie!

  10. 1. First season of True Detective is terrific, hope you like it. I don’t think I’ve binged watch this holiday, but I finished Westworld a bit earlier in Dec.

    5. Off the top of my head, No Way Out is pretty good.

  11. Pingback: Belated Birthday Tribute to Sam Riley

  12. Pingback: Spotlight on BBC One’s miniseries SS-GB + Interview with actor Maximilian Dirr – FlixChatter Film Blog

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