Thursday Movie Picks: Cults/Secret Societies

This week's theme from Wandering Through the Shelves is cults. I've talked about my weird obsession with religious cults before. It's morbidly fascinating. It was easy to find three films that I love for this theme. In fact, It was hard settling on the 3rd choice.

1) Martha Marcy May Marlene

Lizzie Olsen's debut movie is about a girl who escapes from a cult and goes to live with her sister after having zero contact with her family for over two years. The ending of this film is left open, but just imaging what could happen next is very terrifying in itself. 

2) The Master

Freddie is kind of a drunken mess when he happens upon Lancaster Dodd and his very persuasive Cause. Paul Thomas Anderson took inspiration from Scientology for this film and it features amazing performances from Phililp Seymour Hoffman, Joaquin Phoenix and Amy Adams. 

3) Red State

This is the least "Kevin Smith" movie Kevin Smith has ever made. It's about three guys who answer an online ad for sex and wind up in the hands of a religious fundamentalist cult. It's so different and very surprising. It was tough for me to narrow it down between this, Sound of my Voice, and Faults, two other cult films I really enjoy.

26 comments:

  1. I've seen your first two picks, one of which I picked myself, which I like very much

    I haven't seen Red State, but I do like the sound of it. I also considered Sound my Voice but went with MMMM instead.

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    1. Red State is so good. I was really surprised by it.

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  2. I have t seen any of these which is typical but would like to see The Master for what they talk about and the lead actor.

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    1. I think you'd really enjoy The Master. The film and cast was amazing.

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  3. I really need to see Martha Marcy...I meant too when it was getting all the acclaim for Olsen and then it slipped my mind but I've seen it all over today.

    I HATED The Master, just found it excruciating.

    I've vaguely heard of Red State but never paid it much mind not being much of a Kevin Smith fan.

    I went for a mix of cults & secret societies. I had expected to see my first much more than I have.

    12 Monkeys (1995)-In the future a deadly virus has wiped out most of mankind forcing those who remain to formulate a society underground while animals roam free on the desolate surface. James Cole (Bruce Willis), one of the workers in the underground world, has been selected by the ruling body to travel back in time and try to stop the secret society of the Twelve Monkeys who are believed to have instigated the plague. After a few misplacements in time he arrives in the present day and tries to find answers all the time pursued by people who think he’s insane. Potent, grim and fascinating with a completely unhinged performance by Brad Pitt that landed him an Oscar nomination.

    Ticket to Heaven (1981)-Reeling at the end of a long-time relationship with his girlfriend a young man (Nick Mancuso) seeking a change unwittingly falls in with a cult and is soon brainwashed and isolated. His best friend goes to great lengths to rescue him from their clutches and assist in his deprogramming but the cult does not let go easily. Intense, brutal low budget Canadian drama is loaded with now familiar faces including Kim Cattrall, Meg Foster and Saul Rubinek.

    The Brotherhood of the Bell (1970)-For the last 20 plus years a successful college professor (Glenn Ford) has belonged to a secret Ivy League society, The Brotherhood of the Bell, without being asked to actively participate in its inner workings. At the latest initiation a request is made of him with which he is leery to comply but does so against his better judgment leading to tragedy. Disgusted he attempts to exit the group but only as his life is systemically destroyed does he come to realize how insidious and far reaching the power of The Bell is. Premiered on television in the US but shown theatrically abroad.

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    1. The only one I'm familiar with is 12 Monkeys, and I've never seen it. This is my first time hearing of the other two, but they sound interesting!

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  4. Martha Marcy May Marlene is popular this week! I heard good things about it but hadn't had the chance to watch it yet. Great list!

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  5. Loved this list, I desperately need to see Martha Marcy May Marlene now just to see that ending!

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    1. I loved the ending. My husband hated it, I thought it was perfect.

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  6. I haven't seen Red State as I'm hit/miss on Kevin Smith but I have seen The Master and Martha Marcy May Marlene. How come no one's mentioned.... The Holy Mountain by Alejandro Jodorowsky?

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    1. I've never heard of that. I'll have to look it up.

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  7. MMMM is just amazing. It is very deservedly popular this week. I also really like The Master. Great call in those. Haven't seen Red State, but I have heard good things about it. Guess I should give it a go.

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    1. I think you'd like it. It's a very different kind of Kevin Smith film.

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  8. oh The Master is such a good call!! I thought the film was mediocre but the whole cult subplot was very well written

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    1. I loved it. It's one of my favorite PTA's.

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  9. Ugh @ The Master. That movie had some great acting, but what a bore and chore to watch. MMM is super underrated...love Lizzie in it.

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    1. lol I loved The Master. I want to watch it again now.

      Lizzie is so great, such a natural talent

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  10. I haven't seen any of these but they sound like three interesting films. Especially Martha Marcy May Marlene.

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  11. I started with The Master and I never made it past the first act. Don't know why, it wasn't that it was bad but yeah.

    The last one rings a bell, but I can't place it. I probably haven't seen it.

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    1. It was a Sundance movie, maybe you remember it from festival coverage?

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  12. Oh The Master is such a great disturbing film. MMMM was also brilliant - great performances from both films. Red State disturbs me so much that I could never bring myself to watch it...

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    1. You should watch it! It's not that scary, but it's definitely ridiculous.

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  13. The Master has some great actors in it, so I definitely like to check it out one day.

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