Movie Stream Cast 75: Citizen Four (2014) and Invisible Ink and our Top 5 Paranoid Thrillers

msc-citizenfour-bannerOn episode 075 of Movie Stream Cast, video artist and Tyrone Davies joins Josh to discuss his docu-series Invisible Ink: Surveillance and Secrecy, which you can help crowd-fund right now on IndieGoGo, as well as review the Academy Award-winning Laura Poitras documentary Citizenfour (2014), which is streaming for a subscription on Amazon Prime and for a $3.99 digital rental  on most platforms. Rachel also joins the show briefly when Josh gives you his “Top 5 Paranoid Thriller” lists.

STREAMING NEXT: Mascots (2016)

Check out Tyrone’s IndieGoGo campaign for Invisible Ink!

We’d like to thank Sharon Rowan for our podcast artwork and Chris Ohran for our music. If you enjoyed the podcast, please don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @MovieStreamCast and subscribe on iTunes. You can also reach us by email at

47 thoughts on “Movie Stream Cast 75: Citizen Four (2014) and Invisible Ink and our Top 5 Paranoid Thrillers


    1. All the President’s Men (1976)
    2. Blow Out (1981)
    3. The Lives of Others (2006)
    4. The Conversation (1974)
    5. 3 Days of the Condor (1975)

    Honorable Mentions: Chinatown (1974), The Game (1997), The Parallax View (1974)

    I had to cheat and add Chinatown because it is another of my very favorite movies and it fits right into that ’70s groove. I liked all of Rachel’s picks for “film noir as paranoid thriller” as well. The Maltese Falcon (1941) and The Big Sleep (1946) are easily my favorite. Interestingly, some of those noir novels were adapted quite successfully in the ’70s during the height of the paranoid thriller, The Long Goodby (1973) being a great example. And The Big Lebowski (1998) is a great example of re-adapting those classic noir storylines for ’90s sensibilities.

    Also mostly from the ’90s, I didn’t mention John Grisham adaptations, but I quite like those as well. My favorites in this category are probably Runaway Jury (2003) and The Firm (1993). Either could have made my honorable mentions. The Pelican Brief (1993) is fun too. And just in case Rachel is reading this, I love the movie adaptations of A Time to Kill (1996), and The Chamber (1996) has its moments, but those probably would not qualify as paranoid thrillers.

    And there are so many great Hitchcock films in this vein, as I mentioned. I’m looking forward to covering Hitchcock in-depth in 2017 with the video podcasting, but to drop just a few key titles now, The Lady Vanishes (1938), The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956), Vertigo (1958), and North by Northwest (1959) are great places to start.

    • I’m a huge fan of the ’90s courtroom dramas and paranoid thrillers. Many of the ones you mentioned, as well as The Game and Conspiracy Theory. Also, would you classify The Fugitive as a paranoid thriller?

      When are you planning on starting your Hitchcock deep dive? Doing a watch-through of his filmography is on my 2017 cinematic resolutions.

      • I’m hoping to start the Hitchcock video podcast in Jan. The only person brave enough to do it with me is Joel from Retro Movie Geek, but I’ve only podcasted with him once before, so it could be interesting.

        The Fugitive is a great pull. I was just thinking about that today, oddly.

        Not a big fan of the movie Conspiracy Theory.

        • WHAT?! BLASPHEMY! Is it the horse at the end?

          There’s another one I like from that time, but always blank on its name. It’s about a medical/pharmaceutical company that’s developing a spinal cord regeneration drug and kidnapping homeless people for testing. I think it started Hugh Grant. Anyone know that one?

            • This is great. I posted this question as a comment to your list over there, but is this ranking based on how you think they work as a paranoid thriller? I’m assuming this is the case…

              I hope you’re able to keep your Letterboxd updated, but it’s understandable if you can’t.

            • That’s a good question. I suppose it’s more of a “best films within the genre” than “best examples of the genre” but it’s a mix. For instance, Conspiracy Theory, Eagle Eye, and Enemy of the State are very good examples, but I think they are bad movies.

              Dino, have you seen Absolute Power or Murder at 1600? Really curious what you’d think of those. Especially since you like crap like Conspiracy Theory. Haha. Those are technically a bit on the shoddy side, but I think they are SO much fun. Absolute Power is directed by Eastwood, written by Goldman and feels like Grisham. I’d love to hear your thoughts on those guilty pleasures.

              It shouldn’t be too hard to keep up if I just remember. I’m mostly just linking back to my podcast reviews. I’m just trying to wait until AFTER the podcasts post (both to keep my ratings secret and to have something to link back to), so then it slips my mind. Working on it.

            • Huh, that’s interesting. So then you consider Blow Out to be a better film than Vertigo? 😉

              Joking aside, I think I understand what you’re saying even if I’m being too literal in interpreting your response.

              I have not seen Absolute Power and have seen Murder at 1600 so long ago that I barely remember it. I’ll have to check them out… but Citizenfour is definitely next up on my list.



    Just getting going on this. It is pretty funny so far. Really interesting character scenes with Adam, Taylor, Hannah, and Jay. Pretty weird configuration. No David, Ken, or Zeke. Could Hannah be going home or making a push? ****

    • ****REWARD CHALLENGE****

      Why are they showing Hannah so damn much when she’s not even in the challenge? It must be between her and Taylor. It’s really weird to just be the Hannah show all of the sudden.****

    • ****REWARD TRIP****

      And it’s all Taylor at the start of the reward. Why? This editing seems so on the nose.

      Man, I love a reward like this, though. Awesome food. Nice location. Somebody get blasted. And now a little Sunday action? Hmmm … curious that she doesn’t trust David.****

      • ************Ep. 9***************

        Yeah, I was surprised a little by that. I knew that there were different factions within the Gen X group, but I didn’t realize the rift was so extreme. Should be interesting moving forward.

      • One of the main things I find myself vehemently disagreeing with the Know it All’s on is the coverage of food rewards, They’re always claiming that we don’t need to see the cast enjoying the rewards and everyone’s just apparently bored by them but to me it’s an important part of the game. There’s a vicarious sense of satisfaction from seeing folks deprived of food and modern comforts being given some of those things and appreciating what we would normally take for granted so much. And that magnified level of appreciation for such everyday stuff helps to remind us of the hardships they’re all facing and the psychological effect those hardships might have on the game. Ultimately it’s a game about surviving in the wilderness with next to nothing. Sure the strategic elements have taken over and become the most prominent and interesting part but that doesn’t mean we should eject the survival narrative altogether. The food rewards add an extra emotional dynamic to the show and also often serve to lighten the tension and mood a little which serves to enhance the drama through contrast.


      It’s weird when there are these big differences between what we’re seeing and the contestants are saying. Yes, Adam is a little all over the place, but Zeke is really talking about a guy we haven’t seen on the show when he’s talked about Adam on the last few episodes.

      I didn’t really feel like Adam was being unduly rude to Jay, either. It seemed like he was just giving the same back to him.

      • ******Ep. 9******

        I agree that Jay totally mistook Adam’s words in the water as gloating, but Adam has proven he isn’t the best at delivery. So maybe there was some carryover from previous conversations, or maybe there was something we didn’t see. Who knows… I really feel like Adam’s been in a huge downward spiral over the last few weeks. He seems to understand how the game works (as a super duper fan), but he doesn’t really understand how to actually play the game well.

      • ****Ep. 9****

        Another development to come out of this episode is that I think Adam further cemented what I already felt, that he can’t win this season. Even if he gets to the end, there’s no way he’ll get the jury votes.

      • Yeah, I feel like Jay took that the wrong way. To me it just looked like Adam was trying honest, though a little blunt, with Jay. Maybe there was a bit of satisfaction from the nerds turning the tables on the jocks creeping in, but at the end of the day letting him know that he’s on the bottom is better than lying and pretending everything’s just fine.

        I feel like Adam is being painted as worse than we’re seeing in the edit by the confessionals. He’s definitely made some bad moves though.

        • Yeah, I agree. It’s not great for Adam’s future in the game that we’re seeing EVERYONE trash-talking this loveable guy with a heart-wrenching story. That feels more like Cochran 1.0 to me. He’s just WAY overplaying and it’s too wild, I fear.

    • ****THE NEXT MORNING****

      Why this Sunday drama? This is interesting. First Hannah. Then Sunday and Jessica. I thought all three could coast for a long time. This is some stupid stirring-up of unnecessary trouble.

      • I don’t know if I agree that it’s unnecessary. Maybe in the end it’ll just be smoke and mirrors. But, I like that this season, more than any other I can remember, the producers seem to be trying to give every player a little something in the edit. Making it a point to show that the Hannah’s and Sunday’s ARE actually playing the game is a good thing.

        • I think Josh is saying that it’s unnecessary on Sunday’s part to be stoking trouble when she could happily coast for a good few votes at the moment. That definitely seems like the safest option but she’s also right to be vigilante and coasting won’t put much on her resume. I’m glad to see these “cracks” as Chris put it because I think the next few episodes of the season have a lot of potential for some crazy drama and game changing dynamics.

          • Ok, yeah. I can agree that it was unnecessary for her at this point, but I also think it’s a credit to her gameplay that she’s thinking ahead to that and that she chose to only go to Bret, her closest ally in the game, with the idea. And another credit to her game that even though it’s what she wants to do, she had the sense to pull out the moment she realized she wouldn’t have the numbers (rather than try to force the matter).

            Essentially, whether or not this would have been too early to make that move, I think this was a good look for Sunday and worthwhile for the producers to show us. It could also be elaborate build up for misdirection on the edit moving forward. Either way, I think it’s good for the show.

            • I definitely think it’s building towards a split in the majority alliance. And I agree that although the edit showed us Sunday considering a potentially dangerous move, she showed a lot of restraint and self awareness in her approach. A lesser player would have blundered forward trying to convince everyone to vote their way and possibly ended up stirring so much shit that they got themselves voted out. We’ve definitely seen that scenario before. Put personal differences/suspicions aside until the opportune moment. And correctly calculating that moment is a huge part of the game.

          • I just don’t think we’ve seen why the cracks are happening. Jess is tight w Ken. Ken is tight with David. David is tight with Chris. Chris is tight with Bret. Bret is tight with Sunday. They can just take these Millennials out if they can keep it together. If they can’t, it’s going to get messy. Seems like it’s going to get messy. I’m glad from a TV POV, but it’s also frustrating from a game POV.

      • ****TRIBAL****

        Well that was intense / awkward. These people are too young It’s weird.

        Woah, woah, woah, woah?! Did Jay not play his idol?! Ahhhh! ****

        • ****TRIBAL****

          Ahhh … whew! That was TENSE! I can’t believe Jay and Adam didn’t play their idols. Balls of steel. I’m having a heart attack. How did they do that? Both playing for their sick moms. Both are on the chopping block. Both have idols. Geez.

          • ******Ep. 9*****

            I was thinking the same thing, but then I realized that the vote very rarely changes at tribal council. So, the drama during tribal was just that – drama. The vote was already decided at that point.

            I’m surprised, though, that Will voted against Jay. I thought for sure Jay didn’t play his idol because he knew that he had his vote and Will’s vote against Taylor, therefore ensuring that he wasn’t going anywhere.

            This leads to what I was saying earlier last night after the episode. Ep. 9 was good enough, but I’m really interested to see where the season goes from here. You have Sunday gunning for Jessica, (from the preview) others gunning for Chris, and maybe Will gunning for Jay?…

            • ******
              Yes, the Will vote for Jay was a bit perplexing. That could have been a situation where a Zeke or a David said, “vote how we tell you and we’ll consider trusting you in the future.” Or maybe Will just wanted to blindside Jay to flush that idol. Idk. I can’t tell whether Will has any idea what is going on or not. He said he was a superfan in the pregame, but we haven’t seen a ton of evidence.

            • Ishani’s theory post-show was that maybe Will wants to try and get out of Jay’s shadow. I think that’s possible. Given what we saw in the preview for next week, it does seem like Will wants to blow up Jay’s spot.

            • I was interested that David said “someone just sealed their fate” and I wonder if he dumped his vote on Taylor over the stolen food situation. We also know that Sunday wanted to keep Jay, so I wonder if she didn’t vote the way she was supposed to.

      • I don’t think Taylor made a single move that was motivated by strategy this whole season. Everything he did was either dictated by his cock, his boneheaded lust for revenge or his “I just don’t care braaoh” millennial solipsism. He definitely made for some interesting moments but I’d much rather have seen someone actually willing to play the game on the show so I’m kind of glad he’s gone.

        • *******
          I didn’t hate him bc he was a unique type on the show, but I think he overstayed his welcome and I’m definitely glad he’s gone. I really enjoyed Fabio, but Taylor is a bit much. Jay is the perfect amount of surfer dude for my tastes. I really liked that he used his opportunity to blow up the game a bit, despite still loving Adam.

    • ***SPOILERS for Ep 9***

      Re: Hannah… no and no. Despite what she says or thinks or hopes, Hannah is the ultimate goat. She’s not going anywhere, anytime soon. And she’s going nowhere fast.

      • ****Yeah, I’m listening to Know it Alls right now and Sophie (who I loathe the more I hear her) is saying that Hannah is falling into “The Cochran Trap” which I think we saw with Aubry a bit last season when Debbie wouldn’t give her a vote bc she comforted her once. I think Rob is right that Hannah could very well be a no-vote finalist.

  3. WOAH! You guys go hard! It’s crazy to rank at 42nd with 13 dang points. Jenifer tied for 1st place this week! 27 points! What?! A couple more like this and it’s anyone’s game. Dino and Cody going for it as well and Dino holding the #1 overall spot in The Tribe! Wow!


    The Tribe: A Survivor Podcast (Fun Office Pools):

    105 – Dino-Machino (23 this week)
    78 – jeffprobstshairpiece (23 this week)
    78 – icarusarts (13 this week)
    69 – juan_the_one (3 this week)
    57 – JeniferP (27 this week)
    47 – Soccer10 (9 this week)
    39 – Sal Roma (9 this week)

    Dino holding down JSFL too. Damn, son!

    Survivor Fans Podcast (JSFL):

    42 – Dino (full 5 points this week!)
    40 – IcarusArts (full 5 points this week!)
    38 – juan_the_one (3 points this week – with Tay safe and a Jay pick)
    36 – Cody (full 5 points this week!)
    35 – JeniferP (full 5 points this week!)
    33 – Sal Roma (3 points this week – with Tay safe and a Will pick)

  4. A few more paranoid thrillers: Marathon Man (1976) and Zodiac (2007). A real sleeper is Cutter’s Way (1981). If you are a fan of paranoid thrillers, go watch Cutter’s Way immediately. Based on the novel Cutter and Bone, the film really suits the mood of 2016. Jeff Bridges, John Heard, and Lisa Eichhorn deliver great performances.

  5. Josh –

    When talking about De Palma’s 1981 “Blow Out”, it seems worth mentioning the original it was “cribbed” (to put it nicely) heavily from: Antonioni’s classic 1966 film, “Blow-Up”.

    Also, I thought you might have one film in your list from John Frankenheimer’s “paranoia trilogy” (The Manchurian Candidate, Seven Days in May, and Seconds).
    Personally, I think Seconds (1966) is not only Frankenheimer’s best film; it’s one of the great films of the 1960’s – an obscure masterpiece that hardly anyone knows about it. It was decades ahead of it’s time in both subject matter and direction (James Wong Howe’s cinematography is astounding), but as mentioned in a review, “the dystopian sci-fi/psychedelic noir is easily one of the darkest, loneliest films ever funded by a Hollywood studio.” And damn, it is dark – pitch black to the core (including it’s humor) – much too dark for American audiences of the time – so it immediately vanished from view – only to become a cult film years later. It was only finally released on BluRay and DVD by Criterion in 2013.

    The film is a mix of social commentary, paranoid thriller, and psychological horror all mixed into one (extremely prescient in both content and form), and if you haven’t seen it, I strongly recommend watching it – I guarantee you won’t be disappointed (but try to avoid reading too much about it beforehand – the less you know the better). It’s possible it might even push one of those other films (all of whom it predates) out of your Top 5 list and claim a spot.

Comments are closed.