Archive for category: by Sean Axmaker

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Videophiled: ‘The Wild Angels’ and ‘Psych-Out’

28 February, 2015 (09:44) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

Before Easy Rider there was The Wild Angels (Olive, Blu-ray, DVD), directed by Roger Corman and starring Peter Fonda as Heavenly Blues, the leader of a California chapter of Hell’s Angles. This is a gang of disaffected drop-outs and scruffy road rats who live to ride in packs and parade their colors (black leather, mostly, […]

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The View Beyond Parallax… more reads for the week of February 27

27 February, 2015 (09:11) | by Bruce Reid, by Sean Axmaker, Links, screenings, Seattle Screens | By: Bruce Reid

“Yes, extras must meet a threshold level of professionalism; they must show up on time and do what they’re told; they must own a variety of clothing items (most bring their own wardrobe). But there are thousands of them, capable of showing up on time and walking when they’re supposed to walk. It’s unskilled labor […]

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Film Review: ‘Focus’

26 February, 2015 (04:55) | by Sean Axmaker, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

A good con-artist movie isn’t that much different from a good con. It’s all about distraction and sleight of hand, creating a false narrative to draw the viewer’s attention away from the real plot playing out behind the feint, and leaving behind a story that the mark can hang on to. In Focus, Will Smith […]

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Videophiled: Oscar winners ‘Whiplash’ and ‘Big Hero 6′ on disc and VOD

24 February, 2015 (17:00) | Animation, Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

Two freshly-anointed Oscar winners arrive on home video this week: Whiplash, which won awards for Supporting Actor J.K. Simmons and for editing, and sound mixing, and Big Hero 6, this year’s Best Animated Feature, debut on Blu-ray, DVD, and VOD. In Whiplash (Sony, Blu-ray, DVD, Digital HD, VOD), music competition is a bloodsport and J.K. […]

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Videophiled: Twilight Time’s bloody ‘Valentine’

21 February, 2015 (06:32) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, Film Reviews | By: Editor

The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre (Twilight Time, Blu-ray) gave Roger Corman the biggest budget of his career to date. After more than 40 films, most of them for the budget-challenged AIP, he was hired by 20th Century Fox and given the resources of their studio, casting department, and backlot for his recreation of 1929 Chicago […]

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The View Beyond Parallax… more reads for the week of February 20

20 February, 2015 (09:45) | by Bruce Reid, by Sean Axmaker, Links, Seattle Screens | By: Bruce Reid

Tough loners, intricate plots, and “irresistible” location work: Jonathan Kirshner takes a look at Melville’s Two Men in Manhattan, Le Doulos, and Le Deuxieme Souffle, three films that “can be dubbed [the director’s] “noir improvisations,” a nod to Bertrand Tavernier’s observation that Melville approaches filmmaking like a jazz musician, reinterpreting and experimenting with the standards—in […]

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Film Review: McFarland, USA

19 February, 2015 (05:39) | by Sean Axmaker, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

Disney has really carved out a genre for itself: the underdog sports story as cultural melting pot, complete with the Middle American white coach/scout/father figure whose preconceptions are overturned by scrappy kids who overcome every hurdle with heart and hard work. That guy was Jon Hamm in Million Dollar Arm and Josh Lucas in Glory […]

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Videophiled: Tommy Lee Jones is ‘The Homesman’

17 February, 2015 (08:30) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

The Homesman (Lionsgate, Blu-ray, DVD), one of my favorite films of the year, was overlooked by critics in the rush to praise more conventional and less resonant films. It deserves a second look. Tommy Lee Jones directs, co-writes, and stars in the film as George Briggs, a drifter saved from a lynching by Mary Bee […]

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The ‘Alt’ Oscars: The Silent Years

16 February, 2015 (16:30) | by Sean Axmaker, Commentary, Silent Cinema | By: Sean Axmaker

The Academy Awards were born in 1927, the brainchild of MGM’s Louis B. Mayer, a studio head whose original idea for an organization to negotiate labor disputes and industry conflicts evolved into the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. The awards themselves were an afterthought and initially more public relations gimmick than egalitarian celebration […]

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Videophiled: Jacques Rivette’s Paris in ‘Le Pont du Nord’

15 February, 2015 (17:37) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

Making its stateside home video debut on Tuesday, February 17, is Jacques Rivette’s Le Pont du Nord (Kino Lorber, Blu-ray, DVD), a dark sister film to his more buoyant and whimsical Celine and Julie Go Boating. Longtime collaborator Bulle Ogier stars with her daughter, Pascale Ogier, and they co-wrote the film with Rivette and Suzanne […]

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Videophiled: Jean Renoir takes ‘A Day in the Country’

15 February, 2015 (10:11) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

A Day in the Country (Criterion, Blu-ray, DVD) – Jean Renoir has long been called the cinematic successor to the French Impressionists—he is, after all, the son of Auguste Renoir, and his generosity and humanism and interest in the lives of working class folks is in the spirit of the movement. But while his style […]

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The View Beyond Parallax… more reads for the week of February 13

13 February, 2015 (10:05) | by Bruce Reid, by Sean Axmaker, Links | By: Editor

The new Offscreen focuses on Iranian film, from avant-garde beginnings to compromised present. Roxanne Varzi salutes the poetic ethnography of Forough Farrokhzad’s 1962 documentary The House Is Black. (“[A]s we look at it years later it is no longer a documentary of the Leper colony but a poetic, interior, native documentary about a woman artist […]

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Videophiled: Jake Gyllenhaal – ‘Nightcrawler’

10 February, 2015 (08:39) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

Nightcrawler (Universal, Blu-ray, DVD, VOD) earned an Oscar nomination for director Dan Gilroy’s screenplay, a wicked satire of the tabloid news television that chases sensationalistic stories for ratings (the cliché “if it bleeds, it leads” is the guiding philosophy). It should also have earned a nomination for Jake Gyllenhaal, whose Louis Bloom is a twisted […]

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Videophiled: Dear White People

8 February, 2015 (07:23) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Reviews | By: Editor

Dear White People (Lionsgate, Blu-ray, DVD, Digital HD), the feature debut of director / writer Justin Simien, is a sharp, smart, ambitious satire of race, racism, privilege, prejudice, and power at an Ivy League college that has drawn comparisons to Spike Lee. Which is fitting; Simien uses humor and provocation to explore issues of race […]

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TV / Streaming Review: ‘Black Mirror’

7 February, 2015 (07:42) | by Sean Axmaker, Science Fiction, streaming, Television | By: Sean Axmaker

Britain’s audacious answer to The Twilight Zone for our plugged-in world of social media and screen culture, Black Mirror seemed to come out of nowhere. The anthology show debuted on Netflix in December with “The National Anthem,” which caused a viral sensation. That first episode addressed hacking, cybercrime, political protest, and extortion with a savagely […]

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