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Cinema Aficiona

Cinema Aficiona

Welcome to Cinema Aficiona: A celebration of great films that have withstood the test of time and remained in the general anthropological library of brilliantly communicated human experience. 

These meetings were originally hosted on Akira the Don's Discord server as part of a weekly event to celebrate meaningful stories. I recorded the sessions, commissioned original music from Billy the Bard 11th, artwork from Bellvonartsy, and had them edited by Hailey Lain for my Locals supporters. Now that more than a year has passed, I've begun re-releasing the episodes for free. This page contains links my original Locals uploads, while all future updates will be featured within The Works newsletter, Mondays at 0800 EST. 

When is the next live Cinema Aficiona?

Anime Matsuri, Houston TX from 10-13 August 2023

01 January 2023

Yojimbo (1961) Akira Kurosawa's 1961 classic "Yojimbo". This is a phenomenal movie that inspired Sergio Leone's Fistful of Dollars trilogy along with countless other remakes and homages, most notably for me, Genndy Tartakovsky's animated series "Samurai Jack". Look forward to a master class in framing and show-don't-tell with Toshiro Mifune's iconic portrayal of a wandering Samurai who plays two rival gangs against each other as a bodyguard for hire.

08 January 2023

A Fistful of Dollars (1964) Last week we watched "Yojimbo" from Akira Kurosawa, and this week we'll be seeing the best known remake of that movie, Sergio Leone's "A Fistful of Dollars". Made in 1964, starring the fantastic Clint Eastwood, and featuring music from one of my favorite composers, Ennio Morricone. This film was one of many that coined the term "Spaghetti Western" due to its production and filming being based in Italy. Sergio Leone's direction and framing in this film were so iconic that nearly every "western" since has pulled at least one scene from this trilogy in homage or imitation.

15 January 2023

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (1966) Sergio Leone’s final movie of the Dollars Trilogy: "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly." This film, released in 1966, and was the most successful of the Dollars Trilogy in America. The iconic theme from Ennio Morricone has been imprinted in the Western genre ever since, such that even people who have never seen the movie likely have heard the two-note trill from the recorder followed by a “Wahh wahh wahhh~” lampooned somewhere. Get ready to enjoy the Western that put the capstone on the trilogy that defined what a “Western” was.

22 January 2023

Airplane! (1980) Now that we've finished our 5 week run of "Yojimbo", "Yojimbo the Fanfiction" parts 1-3, and "I Can't Believe It's Not A Western", I think it's time we take a bit of a turn on the subject matter and present an iconic and timeless movie that falls squarely in the realm of the Comedic: The classic 1980 film, Airplane!
This parody of the popular disaster film genre of the 1970's took a near 1-for-1 base from the 1950's drama "Zero Hour" and turned the tension-drenched plot on its head with slapstick, visual gags, word play, and unexpected joke resolutions.
Airplane! was once "proven" to be the funniest movie of all time with a laughs-per-minute calculation of 3 per minute in 2012, incredible considering it just turned 40 in 2020. Likely a target for the current cancel cult these days, we'll be watching the original and uncensored version. If you've seen it before, you know you're in for a solid 90 minutes of entertainment. For the newcomers, prepare to reset your baseline for what constitutes a proper comedy.

29 January 2023

The Naked Gun 33 1/3 (1994) 8 years following the release of Airplane!, David and Jerry Zucker, along with Jim Abrahams, cast Leslie as the star of their latest straight-played comedy movie which was based off their wildly popular Television series "Police Squad!" that started back in 1982. The lampoon of the Dragnet, Chips style cop shows of the late 70's went on to garner 2 additional sequels, and a plethora of similar movies parodying Spy flicks, Action films, and even Horror movies of the era, all with Leslie playing the titular role no matter what the genre called for. We'll be watching the final movie of the Naked Gun series because it's not only the funniest of the trio, but I also completely forgot that it's the only one I have available in digital copy. Please enjoy a good laugh with one of Canada's finest actor's in what was arguably his most well-known role!

05 February 2023

Make Mine Music (1946)  6 years after the premier of Fantasia, this feature represented the realization of what Walt had always envisioned for Fantasia's theatrical existence: A constantly evolving presentation of animation set to classic and contemporary music shorts. While a completely separate release wasn't exactly what he had in mind originally, the passion for music and storytelling is palpable in this collection of dramatic and comedic shorts. These films featured great singers and musicians of their time such as the Andrews Sisters, Benny Goodman and his Orchestra, and the King's Men choir. It was also directed by three of Disney's best in the day: Robert Cormack (Bambi, Fantasia), Jack Kinney (Pinocchio, Dumbo), and Clyde Geronimi (Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty).

12 February 2023

The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967) Directed by Jaques Demy with music by the late great Michel Legrand, this musical pulled a lot of inspiration from the 1961 film production of "West Side Story", one of the actors from WSS actually stars in TYGoR, which features a fantastic international cast including Catherine Deneuve, Fancoise Deloreac, George Chakiris, and the renowned Gene Kelly. This movie takes a very simple message and expresses it through color, sound, and motion with incredible poignancy, and remains one of my favorite musicals to-date. Please enjoy this deep dive into the unforgettable musical celebration of the joys, struggles, and passions that give meaning to our lives.

19 February 2023

Robin Hood (1973) This is the 1973 animated classic "Robin Hood", directed by two of Disney's OG greats: Wolfgang Reitherman and David Hand. The animation team on this film has every great name in the annals of the craft's history, including three of the best known character-animators to ever grace the silver screen: Milt Kahl, Ollie Johnson, and Frank Thomas. They are all directing animators of the comparatively tiny animation team that worked on this film, and do a phenomenal job with what little time and budget they had. Tune in to what's sure to be an eye-opening glimpse into what made Disney great, and what that company has long forgotten since its golden years making timeless modern mythos for the masses.

05 March 2023

Giant Robo: The Day The Earth Stood Still (1992-1998) Part 1, Directed by Yasuhiro Imagawa, based off of the works of Mitsuteru Yokoyama. Inspired by Osamu Tezuka's "Metropolis" at an early age, Yokoyama went on to create some of the most iconic early anime series, most of which defined their genre's. "Tetsujin 28", "Babel II", Giant Robo", and adaptations of famous Chinese folktales such as "The Water Margin" and "Romance of the Three Kingdoms" are still beloved, regularly getting remakes and special events even 50+ years later.
This 7 episode OVA was originally meant to be the first part of a 7 part series, but suffered massive delays, budget shortfalls, and ultimately did not make nearly enough money to keep the project going. Even so, people still reference this specific series over two decades later, and most fans of Japanese animation consider it a benchmark in the culture for its pervasive influence.

12 March 2023

Giant Robo: The Day The Earth Stood Still (1992-1998) Part 2 The conclusion!

19 March 2023

The Lion King (1994) This morning we're presenting the 1994 animated feature "The Lion King" directed by Rob Minkoff and Roger Allers. For the directors, this was a bit of a flash in the pan, as I haven't found anything else in their repertoire worth pointing out, and based off of stories of how this movie shifted and evolved during the production phase, I'd say it's very fair to call this a "lightning in a bottle" scenario, and the last worthwhile animated feature that would be created by the studio. With a fantastic soundtrack by the incomparable Hans Zimmer, and story supervision at the hands of Ms. Brenda Chapman (fresh off her work on The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast), this weekend's event is sure to knock your nostalgic socks off. And for those who have never seen it, prepare to witness the greatest achievement in featured animation history. We will be watching an unedited, unrestored, laserdisc version of the movie, as most every modern copy has significant animation, color, and story edits that have become the hallmark of modern Disney's ineptitude and creative rot.

26 March 2023

Cinema Aficiona Double Feature: The 1982 Rankin Bass animated movie "The Flight of Dragons", and the 2008 independent film "The Gamers: Dorkness Rising" For "The Flight of Dragons", this made-for-TV movie was based off of a book of the same title, published in 1979 by Peter Dickinson and illustrated marvelously by Wayne Anderson. The film tagged Don McLean to sing the opening theme, lending his bardic style of folk music to a lovely opening that frames our plot simply: As mankind moves into the modern era, they will have to choose between living in a world of science, or a world of magic. This story takes some time-tested tropes, including one of my personal favorites, a Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, and plays with the ever present clash between the genres of Science Fiction and Fantasy in a way that elevates both. Following "The Flight of Dragons", we will roll into "Dorkness Rising" which follows the story of a DM with writer's block and how he deals with a DnD party more interested in murder-hobo shenanigans than telling a meaningful story. Though this film never got a theatrical release, it remains one of my favorite depictions of a game-oriented group of friends. More importantly, with its bad acting, sub-par special effects, and clearly-painted-cardboard sets, "Dorkness Rising" perfectly illustrates Dr. Jordan B. Peterson's assertion that you can be garish with money, and you can be tasteful with nothing.

02 April 2023

Once Upon A Time in the West (1968) We closed out our Sergio Leone streak with his best film: Once Upon A Time in the West. Released near Christmastime in 1968, this spaghetti Western was the ultimate realization of the story Sergio had been trying to tell ever since being inspired by Yojimbo nearly a decade earlier. Ennio Morricone reprises his masterful soundtrack sculpting, and sends us off with a long, unnerving harmonica note drifting on the desert breeze.

09 April 2023

The Lord of The Rings: The Fellowship of The Ring (2001) Until this premier, fantasy themed movies had been squarely in the realm of "Oddly animated Rankin Bass Kid's Hour" or "Hyper-dark, Vaguely Threatening Nightmare Starring Warwick Davis" without much deviation. There hadn't really been a well put together and sincere foray into the high fantasy genre that was good enough to survive the decades, until Peter Jackson came along with this gem that surprised fans and the general public alike. This film is over 20 years old and hasn't aged a day thanks to the dedication of the production team and their ingenuity in utilizing miniatures and practical effects whenever possible. The crowd shots and CGI, while unbelievably complex for the day, are still passable now, and at the time had been made using all-new software specifically for the purpose of creating massive battles. The detail and love put into the wardrobe is a whole other discussion, as even parts of the costume props that would never see the camera had meticulous forethought and design applied at every stage of their creation. Theoden's armor had engravings within and without, such that Bernard Hill claimed he "felt like a King" whenever he donned his wardrobe. Please enjoy this analysis and discussion surrounding the first of three outstanding high fantasy films!

16 April 2023

The Lord of The Rings: The Two Towers (2002) The high-fantasy heroic marathon continues with Christopher Lee's brilliant performance as Saruman taking center stage as he joins Sauron's forces to lay siege against the free peoples of Middle Earth. This film held the Guinness Record for longest battle scene in film as of 2017. It took 120 days to film The Battle at Helm's Deep, and for comparison, the entire movie "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" took 110 days to film. Pop some corn and prepare for a real fun venture into the best entertainment that high fantasy Christian themes can offer!

23 April 2023

Cinema Aficiona: The Return of The King (2003) Today is the final installment of Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings interpretation with "The Return of The King". This conclusion to the classic Good vs. Evil high fantasy epic brings our three week presentation to a close.

30 April 2023

The Shining (1980) Today we'll be watching Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining". This movie is based on the horror novel by Stephen King, but Kubrick clearly makes it his own with a number of liberties taken with the story and characters. It's a fantastic and horrifying dive into the capabilities of the human psyche when driven to the extreme, and the dangers of ignoring resentment and unresolved conflict between people. This supernatural horror is fantastic for the very fact that if you remove the supernatural elements, the story remains unscathed. I hope you enjoy this discussion around a classic horror that set the standard for decades after.

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