Archive for category: by Sean Axmaker

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Silents Please!: ‘Silent Ozu – Three Crime Dramas’

26 April, 2015 (08:23) | by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Reviews, Silent Cinema | By: Editor

Silent Ozu – Three Crime Dramas (Eclipse 42) (Criterion, DVD) is an apt companion piece to Criterion’s previous set of silent Yasujiro Ozu films on their Eclipse line. The artist called the most “Japanese” of Japanese directors, famous for the quiet restraint and rigorous simplicity of his sound films, was a voracious film buff more […]

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Silents Please!: ‘The House of Mystery’ from Flicker Alley

25 April, 2015 (08:11) | by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Reviews, Silent Cinema | By: Sean Axmaker

The House of Mystery (La Maison du Mystère) (Flicker Alley, DVD) – Serials—the adventure cliffhangers what would play out in theaters before the main feature at a chapter a week—are commonly dismissed as kid stuff, glorified B-movies cranked out with little thought for story or character. France, however, produced some serials with high production values […]

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

24 April, 2015 (09:49) | by Bruce Reid, by Sean Axmaker, Links | By: Sean Axmaker

“Nobody’s more responsible for the final outcome of the recording than Harry, just as nobody was more responsible for the final shape that The Conversation took than Murch. As an editor, he magicks emotional tone out of thin air.” Charles Bramesco plunks for alternate authorship of one of Coppola’s masterpieces, finding The Conversation’s themes so […]

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Videophiled: ‘A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night’

23 April, 2015 (17:25) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Reviews, Horror | By: Sean Axmaker

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (Kino Lorber, Blu-ray, DVD, Netflix), written and directed by California-based and Iranian-born filmmaker Ana Lily Amirpour, is a genre film with a fresh approach and a distinctive cultural texture: a vampire movie from a female director who stirs American movie references into her stylized Iranian street drama. The […]

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Film Review: ‘Little Boy’

23 April, 2015 (04:51) | by Sean Axmaker, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

This home-front family drama of hope, friendship, and faith, shot through the sepia-tinged light and faded hues of nostalgia, is part of a new trend. Faith-based movies are increasingly breaking out of niche theaters and into wide release. Roma Downey and Mark Burnett, prior stewards of The Bible and Son of God, are executive producers […]

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Orson Welles: The Enigmatic Independent

22 April, 2015 (15:48) | by Sean Axmaker, Essays, Orson Welles | By: Sean Axmaker

The legend of Orson Welles looms so large it overtakes the man, a legend partly engineered by Welles himself from his beginnings in the theater. Welles was the enfant terrible of Broadway, the Depression-era hope of American Theater, the radical genius of radio. He came to Hollywood in grand style and on his own terms, a […]

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Videophiled: ‘Day of Anger’ and ‘Massacre Gun’ – Two from Arrow U.S.

18 April, 2015 (08:32) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Reviews, Westerns | By: Sean Axmaker

Day of Anger (Arrow / MVD, Blu-ray, DVD) is another reminder of why Lee Van Cleef became a major spaghetti western star. He doesn’t just dominate Day of Anger (1967), he owns the film as a Frank Talby, a smiling gunman who rides into the thoroughly corrupt town of Clifton, Arizona (which, of course, is […]

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

17 April, 2015 (11:03) | by Bruce Reid, by Sean Axmaker, Links | By: Bruce Reid

“‘We’re going to shoot it without a script,’ he said, his face lighting up with excitement. ‘I know the whole story…. But what I’m going to do is get the actors in every situation, tell them what has happened up to this moment … and I believe they will find what is true and inevitable.’ […]

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Film Review: ‘Jauja’

16 April, 2015 (05:18) | by Sean Axmaker, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

Back in 2009, Argentine filmmaker Lisandro Alonso came to Seattle for a retrospective of his still-young career, including his new film Liverpool, which NWFF subsequently distributed in the U.S. Jauja is his first feature since that critical breakout, and his most commercial to date—though still with plenty of space for Alonso-ian mysteries. The title, pronounced […]

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Videophiled: ‘The Babadook’

14 April, 2015 (17:58) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Horror | By: Sean Axmaker

The Babadook (Scream Factory, Blu-ray, DVD), one of the best and most original horror films in years, raises goosebumps with old-fashioned scares, relatable characters, and a provocative psychological foundation. Amelia (Essie Kent) is a single mother who is still in mourning for her dead husband—she barely seems to be able to rouse herself to face […]

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Videophiled: ‘Ride the Pink Horse’

11 April, 2015 (06:55) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Noir, Film Reviews | By: Editor

Ride the Pink Horse (Criterion, Blu-ray, DVD) – It wouldn’t be fair to call this film unknown—ask any die-hard film noir fan—but outside of classic movie buffs and noir aficionados, Ride the Pink Horse (1947) simply isn’t a familiar title. The film’s debut on DVD and Blu-ray should help change things, and the Criterion imprint […]

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

10 April, 2015 (09:25) | by Bruce Reid, by Sean Axmaker, Links | By: Bruce Reid

“But few, then or now, seem to have noticed that the plot of Hell’s Angels is essentially Wings viewed in a fun-house mirror. Where Wings presents the Great War through the lens of bravery, gallantry, romance, and tragedy, Hell’s Angels unfalteringly inverts those themes: romance morphs into lust, cowardice into realism, and idealism into nihilism. […]

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Videophiled: ‘The Immigrant’

7 April, 2015 (16:28) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Reviews | By: Editor

The Immigrant (Anchor Bay, Blu-ray, DVD) – Marion Cotillard earned an Oscar nomination for her performance in the Dardenne Brothers’s Two Days, One Night but I think her best performance of 2014 is in this film. She plays Ewa, a Polish immigrant in 1921 New York who, turned away by relatives, is dependent on a […]

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No Hiding: Mohammad Rasoulof

4 April, 2015 (10:59) | by Sean Axmaker, Essays, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

Mohammad Rasoulof is the very model of the filmmaker as defiant activist, an Iranian artist who confronts injustice and repression through his cinema knowing full well the consequences of such an act. In the 1990s, when Iranian cinema first broke out of film festivals and museum programs and started appearing in arthouses, filmmakers like Abbas […]

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

3 April, 2015 (10:40) | by Bruce Reid, by Sean Axmaker, Links | By: Bruce Reid

“In 1932, he landed a job shooting posed promotional stills from a film-in-progress called “The Shadow of Pancho Villa.” The results were the quick-and-dirty products of many hands, but a few were strikingly staged: panoramic tableaus of peasant-revolutionaries, their faces half-hidden by sombreros, standing in low-horizon landscapes under towering, cloud-filled skies. They looked better than […]

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