Archive for category: by Sean Axmaker

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Blu-ray: ‘Performance’

22 July, 2014 (08:37) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, Film Festivals | By: Sean Axmaker

To many fans, Performance (1970) is legendary as the dramatic feature film debut of Mick Jagger. Though released in 1970, the film–about a short-fused punk of a London gangster named Chas (James Fox) who hides out from the cops and the crooks alike in the basement flat of a reclusive rock stars’ (Jagger) dilapidated mansion–was […]

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Blu-ray: ‘The Big Gundown’

20 July, 2014 (10:15) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, Film Reviews, Westerns | By: Sean Axmaker

Sergio Leone is unarguably the godfather of spaghetti westerns. He directed its first international smash of the genre, defined the spare, savage style and mercenary sensibility, and made stars of journeymen actors Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef. But he was far from the only director who made his mark in the genre. Among the […]

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Blu-ray: ‘The Wind and the Lion’

19 July, 2014 (17:17) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

John Milius occupies a curious place in the culture of American filmmakers of the seventies. In the age of new, young, maverick voices, he’s the rugged American individualist with conservative politics and iconoclastic heroes. He’s fascinated with military culture and imperialist adventure, caught up in the tension between American isolation and intervention, in debt to […]

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Blu-ray: ‘The Man From Laramie’

19 July, 2014 (12:15) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

James Stewart roughed up his all-American nice guy image in five westerns he made with director Anthony Mann, the best of the seven films they made together in the 1950s, most of them for Universal Studios. The Man From Laramie (1955), their final collaboration, was made for Columbia and it was the first film that […]

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The View Beyond Parallax… more reads for the week of July 18

18 July, 2014 (10:28) | by Bruce Reid, by Sean Axmaker, Links | By: Sean Axmaker

The new (and newly re-designed) Senses of Cinema offers plenty to explore, including Stuart Bender on how Gravity’s sound design convincingly fakes reality and, sticking with Cuarón, Ben Ogrodnik trying to free Children of Men’s narrative use of the camera from overly politicized critical readings; Marc Saint-Cyr describing the humanist sympathy for the underclass that […]

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Videophiled: Scarlett Johansson gets ‘Under the Skin’

15 July, 2014 (18:08) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Reviews, Science Fiction | By: Sean Axmaker

Under the Skin (Lionsgate, Blu-ray, DVD, Cable VOD) isn’t a film that wants to make things easy for the viewer. The experience is not unlike that which I suppose its unnamed protagonist, an alien reborn in the body of a human host (Scarlett Johansson), goes through as it (she?) settles in to its new body […]

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Barry Jenkins: Long Story Short

15 July, 2014 (08:45) | by Sean Axmaker, Interviews | By: Sean Axmaker

Barry Jenkins currently calls San Francisco home but he was born and raised in Florida and attended the filmmaking program at Florida State University, where he made his first films. Inspired by his friend and collaborator James Claxton, the director of photography on most of his films, he moved to San Francisco after graduation. That’s […]

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Blu-ray: ‘Sleep My Love’

14 July, 2014 (22:46) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, Douglas Sirk, DVD, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

A romantic thriller in the Gaslight vein, Sleep, My Love (1948) is a shadowy melodrama with an atmosphere of Gothic thriller by way of high society film noir, and it grabs your attention immediately with a kicker of an opening: a train speeding through the night, Claudette Colbert waking up in a sleeping car with […]

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Blu-ray: ‘The Nutty Professor’ 50th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition

12 July, 2014 (17:18) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

Whether you believe Jerry Lewis is a comic genius, a braying clown, a shrewd show-biz pro who carefully cultivated a popular stage and screen persona, a hopeless egotist with a cringing need for attention, or simply a comic with a gift for manic physical humor that clicked with audiences in the fifties and sixties, most […]

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DVD: ‘The People vs. Paul Crump’

12 July, 2014 (13:16) | by Sean Axmaker, Documentary, DVD, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

Paul Crump, an African American Chicago man convicted of murdering a security guard during the robbery of a meatpacking plant and sentenced to death in 1953, had faced 14 stays of execution when William Friedkin, a young television producer, took on his story. The People vs. Paul Crump became his directorial debut, a documentary that […]

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The View Beyond Parallax… more reads for the week of July 11

11 July, 2014 (09:32) | by Bruce Reid, by Sean Axmaker, Links | By: Bruce Reid

After a sensible warning against film critics drawing too many real-world implications they barely understand from movies that maybe have politics less on the brains than they’d like, Nick Pinkerton proceeds to a fine analysis of 1970s Italian politics based on Anthology Film Archives series The Italian Connection: Poliziotteschi and Other Italo-Crime Films of the […]

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Blu-ray: ‘Il Sorpasso’

9 July, 2014 (19:00) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

Vittorio Gassman is a force of nature in Dino Risi’s 1962 road movie Il Soprasso, an odd couple odyssey that begins on a whim and drives off into one long detour from the staid, serious, self-repressed life of a bookish law student. Gassman’s Bruno roars into the film, screeching his Lancia Aurelia convertible through the […]

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Videophiled: Imagining ‘Jodorowsky’s Dune’

8 July, 2014 (17:33) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, Documentary, DVD, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

Jodorowsky’s Dune (Sony, Blu-ray+DVD Combo, Cable VOD) is probably not “the greatest science film never made,” as the movie poster tagline insists, but this journey through the most improbable screen epic embarked upon in the seventies isn’t really about mourning what could have been. Alejandro Jodorowsky, director of the aggressively trippy cult classics El Topo […]

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Uncertainty and the Making of ‘Boyhood’ – Richard Linklater interviewed

7 July, 2014 (17:21) | by Sean Axmaker, Interviews | By: Sean Axmaker

“I’ve been lucky. I’ve made a lot of what, on paper, looks like a wide range of different type of things but they were just all stories I was really interested in telling. It’s a storytelling medium and I’m lucky to tell a variety of stories. But I never put a limit on myself. We’re […]

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Fab film at 50: ‘A Hard Day’s Night’

7 July, 2014 (08:41) | by Sean Axmaker, Essays, Musicals | By: Sean Axmaker

The rock movie was never the same after A Hard Day’s Night opened 50 years ago, on July 6, 1964. The Beatles black-and-white comedy, which is being re-released in theaters for the anniversary, immediately became the cheekiest, wittiest, most inventive film in the then-fledgling rock and roll movie genre. Before A Hard Day’s Night, there […]

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