Archive for category: by Sean Axmaker

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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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Film Review: ‘Marie’s Story’

18 June, 2015 (04:05) | by Sean Axmaker, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

Marie Heurtin was born deaf and blind to loving but overworked parents in 19th-century rural France. Kept at home because no institution but the asylum would take her in, she lived in sensory isolation, loved but untutored and unrestrained. The stubborn girl refused to change her clothes, wear shoes, or bathe. When her father brings […]

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Videophiled: ‘Run All Night’ with Liam Neeson

17 June, 2015 (08:56) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

Liam Neeson is back in action in the gritty crime thriller Run All Night (Warner, Blu-ray, DVD, VOD), his third and most satisfying collaboration with filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown, Non-Stop). Neeson once again has a very specific skill set—his nickname isn’t Jimmy the Gravedigger for nothing—but he’s been pickling it in booze for years to […]

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Videophiled Classics: Dziga Vertov – ‘The Man with the Movie Camera’

13 June, 2015 (11:44) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, Film Reviews, Silent Cinema | By: Sean Axmaker

Dziga Vertov: The Man with the Movie Camera and Other Newly-Restored Works (Flicker Alley, Blu-ray) presents four features (and one newsreel short) by the great Soviet filmmaker, all making their American Blu-ray debut. They have been newly scanned from the best sources available and digitally remastered by Lobster Films in France. The collection is a […]

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The View Beyond Parallax… more reads for the week of June 12

12 June, 2015 (08:57) | by Bruce Reid, by Sean Axmaker, Links, Obituary / Remembrance | By: Bruce Reid

“The Western is a genre that, more than any other, has been connected to white chauvinism, but it’s also the only genre that, during its heyday, consistently gave the impression of the United States being what it actually was and is—an ethnically diverse polyglot experiment in democracy in which misunderstandings and outrages abounded and violence […]

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Film Review: ‘Saint Laurent’

11 June, 2015 (03:57) | by Sean Axmaker, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

You get only fleeting views of Yves Saint Laurent (Gaspard Ulliel) sketching designs and perfecting his fashions on his models—no mannequins in his house, only living bodies—in Bertrand Bonello’s biopic. In fact, most of the familiar beats are either trimmed or completely snipped out of this languorous, luxurious film. Bonello focuses on just a few […]

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Videophiled: Politics on ice in ‘Red Army’

10 June, 2015 (09:12) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, Documentary, DVD, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

Red Army (Sony, Blu-ray, DVD, VOD) – Director Gabe Polsky, the Chicago-born son of Russian immigrants, dreamed of playing pro hockey and ended up making movies. This documentary, his directorial debut, finds the intersection of sports triumph, political gamesmanship, and personal sacrifice in the story of the powerhouse Soviet national hockey team of the eighties, […]

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The View Beyond Parallax… more reads for the week of June 5

5 June, 2015 (10:29) | by Bruce Reid, by Sean Axmaker, Links | By: Bruce Reid

“Watching all this, Hersh would note how savvy Ryan was politically; [Paul] Newman was always seeking advice on how to handle certain questions, but not Ryan. ‘He didn’t have to be educated about what the best thing to say about the draft was. And there was never blowback on anything he said. Newman would sometimes […]

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Film Review: ‘Love & Mercy’

4 June, 2015 (04:51) | by Sean Axmaker, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

There was a time when you’d have gotten blank stares if you’d declared Brian Wilson, original Beach Boy and surf-sound hitmaker, a musical genius. That changed a couple of decades ago, about the time he was freed from the smothering control of the “radical psychotherapist” Dr. Eugene Landy, and when the 1966 album Pet Sounds […]

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