Archive for category: by Sean Axmaker

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Blu-ray / DVD: ‘Cemetery Without Crosses’

1 August, 2015 (02:46) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Reviews, Westerns | By: Sean Axmaker

A spaghetti western with French seasonings, Cemetery Without Crosses (1969) is a Franco-Italian co-production shot in Almeria, Spain, the definitive badlands landscape of the Euro-western. The director, screenwriters, two stars, and even composer are French and the supporting cast largely Italian. And while this is not shot in the widescreen dimension of CinemaScope, de rigueur […]

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The View Beyond Parallax… more reads for the week of July 31

31 July, 2015 (10:52) | by Bruce Reid, by Sean Axmaker, Links, Obituary / Remembrance | By: Bruce Reid

“‘I die in Iron Man,’ says Sayed Badreya, an Egyptian man with a salt-and-pepper beard. ‘I die in Executive Decision. I get shot at by—what’s his name?—Kurt Russell. I get shot by everyone. George Clooney kills me in Three Kings. Arnold blows me up in True Lies…’ As Sayed and Waleed and the others describe […]

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Blu-ray / DVD: ‘Here Is Your Life’

26 July, 2015 (17:32) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD | By: Sean Axmaker

Here Is Your Life (Criterion, Blu-ray, DVD), the 1966 feature debut of Swedish director Jan Troell, is ambitious by any measure: an epic (over two-and-a-half hours long) coming of age drama based on the semi-autobiographical novels by Nobel Prize-winning author Eyvind Johnson set in rural Sweden during the years of World War I. It was […]

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The View Beyond Parallax… more reads for the week of July 24

24 July, 2015 (10:36) | by Bruce Reid, by Sean Axmaker, Links, Obituary / Remembrance, Seattle Screens | By: Bruce Reid

“Dickey wrote a long speech for himself to give as the sheriff. And Boorman was such a clever man and brilliant filmmaker he told him, ‘When you start this speech, you have to come to the front of the hood of the car and say that paragraph. Then come over to the window and talk […]

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The View Beyond Parallax… more reads for the week of July 17

17 July, 2015 (11:17) | by Bruce Reid, by Sean Axmaker, Links, Obituary / Remembrance | By: Bruce Reid

“It’s important to read the first lines of the 1933 Maurice Walsh story on which the movie was based in light of the preceding two decades of revolutionary violence, and the generational curse of silence, disillusion, and suspicion that violence inspired…. The tone of those first lines muffles the triumphant peal of the story’s last […]

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DVD: ‘Clouds of Sils Maria’

14 July, 2015 (22:50) | by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

Olivier Assayas wrote this drama about a veteran actress facing a transition in her career after Juliette Binoche, arguably France’s greatest and certainly most ambitious actress working today, challenged him to write a film centered on women. It was a friendly challenge—she had already starred in two films he wrote for director André Téchiné and […]

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The View Beyond Parallax… more reads for the week of July 10

10 July, 2015 (09:59) | by Bruce Reid, by Sean Axmaker, Links, Obituary / Remembrance | By: Bruce Reid

“At any given moment, the Packard labs are working on several different titles, all at varying stages of completion. During my visit, this list included Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein; a one-reel sound film called Old Man Trouble; a 1951 commercial for Durkee’s Famous Sauce (starring Buster Keaton); and Fred Wiseman’s 1967 documentary about the […]

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Blu-ray: Two takes on Ernest Hemingway’s ‘The Killers’

7 July, 2015 (09:29) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Noir, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

The Killers (Criterion, Blu-ray, DVD) is an ingenious double feature: Two crime classics inspired by the Ernest Hemingway short story. Criterion originally released a DVD double feature over a decade ago. Both films have been remastered in HD for the set’s Blu-ray debut and a new DVD edition. The first 15 minutes of Robert Siodmak’s […]

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Blu-ray: Jack Hill’s ‘Spider Baby’ and ‘Pit Stop’

5 July, 2015 (16:30) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD | By: Sean Axmaker

Spider Baby (Arrow, Blu-ray+DVD) is one of the greatest blasts of creative B-movie inspiration to hit American drive-ins and grindhouses. It was the solo directorial debut of Jack Hill (whose Coffy and Foxy Brown both recently hit Blu-ray from Olive), a low-budget film that was financed by real estate developers who wanted to get into […]

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The View Beyond Parallax… more reads for the week of July 3

3 July, 2015 (09:40) | by Bruce Reid, by Sean Axmaker, Links, Obituary / Remembrance | By: Bruce Reid

A pair of legendary Hollywood hotels have their colorful history recounted. Kirk Silsbee runs down the scandalous past of Alla Nazimova’s Garden of Allah retreat, where the parties were so constant John Barrymore used to ride between the bungalows on a bike, lest the walk take time away from his drinking. (“New York drama critic […]

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Film Review: ‘Aloft’

2 July, 2015 (03:55) | by Sean Axmaker, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

Aloft opens in a desolate desert of ice and snow where caravans of pilgrims, traveling in big rigs and camper vans, converge at the end of the world as if it’s the promised land. One of those desperate souls is Jennifer Connelly, cinema’s contemporary face of the female and almost holy capacity for sacrificing, suffering, […]

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The View Beyond Parallax… more reads for the week of June 26

26 June, 2015 (09:54) | by Bruce Reid, by Sean Axmaker, Links, Obituary / Remembrance | By: Bruce Reid

When he first suggested I come to Ghana, I was too weak to climb stairs and said, ‘Do you want a corpse on your hands?’ Later I decided I’d be fit to travel, with one proviso: if I brought a wheelchair, someone would push me around. The answer came back: ‘A wheelchair will get you […]

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Blu-ray / DVD: ‘The Bridge’ – Germany confronts the legacy of World War II

23 June, 2015 (22:44) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

The Bridge (1959) (Criterion, Blu-ray, DVD) is a landmark film of post-war German cinema. Filmmakers (and perhaps audiences as well) were reluctant to confront World War II and its legacy in the years after the surrender to the Allies. Bernhard Wicki’s 1959 film, adapted from the semi-autobiographical novel by Manfred Gregor (the pen name of […]

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Videophiled: ‘Killer Cop’

20 June, 2015 (11:25) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

Given the title of Killer Cop (Raro / Kino Lorber, Blu-ray, DVD) a 1975 poliziotteschi from Italy, you might expect a rogue cop thriller, and ambitious young Commissario Matteo Rolandi (Claudio Cassinelli), a rising officer on a major drug case, certainly has good reason to go rogue. His case gets caught up in a major […]

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The View Beyond Parallax… more reads for the week of June 19

19 June, 2015 (08:13) | by Bruce Reid, by Sean Axmaker, Links, Obituary / Remembrance | By: Bruce Reid

“James Agee, Harold Lloyd, and John Ford all named it as one of their favorites, although they couldn’t agree on the title or director, and no one remembered the boxing match, just the pie fight. As Henry Miller (yes, that Henry Miller) put it, ‘There was nothing but pie throwing in it, nothing but pies, […]

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