Archive for category: by Sean Axmaker

Contributor

Videophiled: Mohammad Rasoulof’s ‘Manuscripts Don’t Burn’

25 November, 2014 (14:23) | by Sean Axmaker, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

What’s most startling about Mohammad Rasoulof’s 2013 Iranian thriller Manuscripts Don’t Burn (Kino Lorber, DVD, Netflix) is its audacity. Iranian filmmakers have a history of couching its criticisms of life in Iran in metaphor. This film puts its portrait of authoritarian oppression out in the open. We open on a contract murder that plays like […]

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Restorations, Revelations and Debuts of 2014

23 November, 2014 (12:40) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD, lists, streaming | By: Sean Axmaker

Film history discovered and rediscovered on Blu-ray, DVD and digital formats. We never stop recovering our film history. In 2014 alone we found a 1916 version of Sherlock Holmes starring the legendary stage actor William Gillette (the only known footage of the man considered the definitive Holmes of his era in character) and an unfinished […]

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That’s not Art, that’s Smut!

22 November, 2014 (12:41) | by Sean Axmaker, Essays, lists | By: Sean Axmaker

Sex sells, as the saying goes, and movie producers, distributors and exhibitors have known this since pictures began to move. In That’s Sexploitation, filmmaker Frank Henenlotter and exploitation legend David Friedman celebrate the freewheeling culture of sexploitation, the sensationalistic underground of independent filmmakers and studios who cashed in on promises of carnal thrills and forbidden […]

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The View Beyond Parallax… more reads for the week of November 21

21 November, 2014 (10:35) | by Bruce Reid, by Sean Axmaker, Links | By: Bruce Reid

“What a fitting end to your life’s pursuits.” One of the most charming details of Eric Zala, Chris Strompolos, and Jayson Lamb’s Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation—I mean, aside from the terrier standing in for the monkey pulling off the Nazi salute—is how the filmmakers just skipped right over the fight at the […]

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Videophiled Classics: Otto Preminger’s ‘Bunny Lake is Missing’

20 November, 2014 (09:54) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

Bunny Lake Is Missing (Twilight Time, Blu-ray) – In the late 1950s and early 1960s, no American director melded classic Hollywood style and cool modern European elegance better than producer/director Otto Preminger. His handsome films are celebrations of introspection and stylistic remove and his best work defined not by heroes and villains but complex, flawed, […]

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Videophiled: ‘The Wind Rises’ for Hayao Miyazaki’s swan song

18 November, 2014 (09:58) | Animation, Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

The Wind Rises (Disney, Blu-ray, VOD) – Hayao Miyazaki is a national treasure in Japan, the director of beloved animated features and a filmmaker dedicated to preserving the art of hand-drawn animation. The Wind Rises, which was released in 2013 and earned an Oscar nomination as Best Animated Feature, was a passion project for the […]

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Orson Welles: The Enigmatic Independent

16 November, 2014 (17:11) | by Sean Axmaker, Essays, Orson Welles | By: Sean Axmaker

[Originally published on Greencine in 2003] “And now I’m going to tell you a story about a scorpion. A scorpion wanted to cross a river, so he asked a frog to carry him. ‘No,’ said the frog. ‘No, thank you. If I let you on my back you may sting me, and the sting of […]

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Interview: Jonathan Romney on ‘L’assenza’

15 November, 2014 (06:09) | by Sean Axmaker, Interviews, streaming | By: Editor

Jonathan Romney is a film critic for The Independent and a regular contributor to Sight & Sound, Film Comment, Screen International and other publications. He’s also a filmmaker and most recently he wrote and directed L’assenza, a twenty-minute short about an everyday guy named Martin (Stephen Mangan) who watches an obscure Italian film (called, of course, […]

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The View Beyond Parallax… more reads for the week of November 14

14 November, 2014 (11:29) | by Bruce Reid, by Sean Axmaker, Links | By: Editor

“Grizzled, furrow-browed, full-lipped, toothy, sensual, goofy; laser-eyed and softly observing. Empathetic, angry, insane, proud, humble, stupid, intelligent; sexy, uniquely handsome and sometimes ugly, but ugly in a way that made him more beautiful. A face with history and innocence; future and failure. A face with dreams but a face that knows dreams are often just […]

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Videophiled Classic: ‘Fedora’ – Billy Wilder’s memorial for old Hollywood

13 November, 2014 (14:14) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Reviews | By: Editor

Fedora (Olive, Blu-ray, DVD) opens with a moment right out of Anna Karenina: a woman throws herself in front of an oncoming train, a steam engine puffing out white clouds against the night sky. A grand, glorious, powerfully melodramatic suicide right out of a glamorous tragic Hollywood romance. It’s a fitting in many ways, but […]

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Videophiled: Monty Python’s Swan Song (or, if you prefer, Dead Parrot) and Shirley Clarke’s ‘Portrait of Jason’

11 November, 2014 (11:30) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, Documentary, DVD | By: Sean Axmaker

Monty Python Live (Mostly) – One Down, Five to Go (Eagle Rock, Blu-ray, DVD, Digital) puts to disc the stage performance that was previously shown via satellite in select theaters around the world for one night only earlier in 2014. The first live show sold out with 30 seconds of the moment tickets went on […]

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The Dialectics of Humor: Russian Silent Comedy

10 November, 2014 (16:16) | by Sean Axmaker, Essays, Silent Cinema | By: Sean Axmaker

Let’s face it, Soviet silent cinema isn’t renowned for its sense of humor. And that’s a shame. Most of us were introduced to the silent era of Russian film through the dialectic exercises of Sergei Eisenstein, who combined the intellectual and the visceral in such films as Strike (1925) and Battleship Potemkin (1925) or the dazzling montage […]

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The View Beyond Parallax… more reads for the week of November 7

7 November, 2014 (09:43) | by Bruce Reid, by Sean Axmaker, Links | By: Bruce Reid

“If you men only knew.” Adam Nayman defends the films of Stanley Kubrick from charges of misogyny by pointing out these aren’t films about women ruining things, but of “male self-absorption, and its dire consequences.” Via Mubi. Kalefa Sanneh’s profile of Chris Rock does a good job explaining movie stardom by counter-example, as pretty much […]

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Videophiled: Angelina Jolie is ‘Maleficent’ and Philip Seymour Hoffman is ‘A Most Wanted Man’

4 November, 2014 (10:12) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

Maleficent (Disney, Blu-ray, DVD, Digital, VOD) does sort of a “Wicked” number on the story of Sleeping Beauty’s evil sorceress, casting her as the tragic figure of a dark fantasy (but not too dark for children—barely) of a revisionist fairy tale. Angelina Jolie plays the adult Maleficent, a fairy who watches over and defends the […]

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VHS Obsessed: ‘Adjust Your Tracking’

3 November, 2014 (16:48) | by Sean Axmaker, Horror, Industry, Technology | By: Sean Axmaker

Perhaps you need to be of a certain generation to get nostalgic over the low-fidelity, awkward, more-fragile-than-it-looks technology of movies on VHS tape. Those little plastic movie bricks storing reels of magnetic tape aren’t just outmoded twentieth-century technology, they’re downright archaic, not to mention fatally impermanent. That’s not to say that DVD is forever, but […]

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