Archive for category: by Sean Axmaker

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Chet Baker, Choppy Waters: ‘Let’s Get Lost’

20 December, 2014 (07:39) | by Sean Axmaker, Documentary, Essays, Musicals | By: Sean Axmaker

1987, Santa Monica. Chet Baker is weathered and worn. Filmed in black and white in the back of a convertible at night, framed by a pair of lovely young models, with street lights and headlights catching his features in a slash or a flash, his once smooth cheeks are leathery with age beyond his years […]

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The View Beyond Parallax… more reads for the week of December 19

19 December, 2014 (08:51) | by Bruce Reid, by Sean Axmaker, Links | By: Bruce Reid

“How many times is the word “love” uttered in Day of Wrath (1943), Ordet and Gertrud? Many, more than many—it is voiced so much one can’t look away, because when love is the overt subject of art (we should assume it is always the implicit subject) we know the artist is not afraid and certainly […]

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Videophiled: Barbara Steele and ‘The Long Hair of Death’

16 December, 2014 (14:31) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Reviews, Horror | By: Sean Axmaker

The Long Hair of Death (Raro, Blu-ray, DVD) – Raro Video, the American arm of an Italian home video company, is one of only a couple of disc labels with a tightly-defined mission, in this case a focus on classics of Italian cinema that ranges from auteur masterworks to genre landmarks and cult items. The […]

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Presenting Thanhouser, the Greatest American Independent Studio of the 1910s

15 December, 2014 (16:04) | by Sean Axmaker, Essays, Silent Cinema | By: Sean Axmaker

The title to Ned Thanhouser‘s documentary, The Thanhouser Studio and the Birth of American Cinema, isn’t mere hyperbole. Veteran stage actor and theater manager Edwin Thanhouser (the director’s grandfather) made his move from live theater to making movies for the growing market of cinema in 1909. By 1918, as the industry grew beyond Thanhouser’s ability […]

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Videophiled: ‘Out of the Past’ on Blu-ray

14 December, 2014 (18:43) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, Film Noir, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

Out of the Past (Warner Archive, Blu-ray) – In a genre full of desperate characters scrambling and plotting to grab their slice of the American dream, Jacques Tourneur’s Out of the Past (1947) is a hard-boiled tale of betrayal with an unusually haunting quality. Jeff Bailey (Robert Mitchum) is the classic doomed not-so-innocent of the […]

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

12 December, 2014 (10:29) | by Bruce Reid, by Sean Axmaker, Links | By: Bruce Reid

Grantland’s series of articles on Paul Thomas Anderson are timed to the release of Inherent Vice, but most are good enough to prompt the question: Why can’t every week be Paul Thomas Anderson week? In fact that’s already so; most of the articles getting attention (like Alex French and Howie Kahn’s oral history of Boogie Nights, […]

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Videophiled: ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ versus ‘Time Bandits’

9 December, 2014 (16:59) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Reviews, Science Fiction | By: Sean Axmaker

Guardians of the Galaxy (Disney, Blu-ray+Blu-ray 3D, DVD, VOD) is based on one of the more obscure Marvel Comics to get the big screen treatment, but everything about the film suggests a filmmaker trying to recapture the sense of energy and color and sheer fun of Star Wars and the pop space opera. That’s a […]

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Ten Silent Movies to Make You a Silent Movie Fan

8 December, 2014 (12:49) | by Sean Axmaker, Essays, lists, Silent Cinema | By: Sean Axmaker

“We didn’t need dialogue. We had faces.” —Norma Desmond, Sunset Blvd. You say that you’re really into old movies and you can’t get enough of the classics but you just haven’t found a way to love silent cinema? You say that all your friends are doing the silents and you feel left out? You say […]

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Videophiled Landmarks: ‘The Conformist’ restored and reinvigorated

7 December, 2014 (12:49) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

The Conformist (Raro, Blu-ray, DVD) opens in the deep blue of dawn, an intense, vibrant azure with a hint of ultramarine that blankets the city like an ocean. Marcello Clerici (Jean-Louis Trintignant), a petty bourgeois Italian who just wants to disappear into the fabric of his society, specifically Mussolini’s Italy in the 1930s, has volunteered […]

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

5 December, 2014 (12:02) | by Bruce Reid, by Sean Axmaker, Links | By: Bruce Reid

“But look, most movies suck. Absolutely suck. They just do. Most TV shows suck. Most books suck. If most things were good, I’d make $15 an hour. I don’t live the way I live because most things are even remotely good. But when you have a system where you probably only see three movies with […]

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Videophiled: ‘Dawn’ of ‘The Hundred-Foot Journey’

4 December, 2014 (16:45) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

The Hundred-Foot Journey (Touchstone, Blu-ray, DVD, Digital HD, VOD) is a film for our culture: a feel-foodie drama of racial tolerance, cross-cultural acceptance, and fusion cuisine. It’s produced by Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey and directed by Lasse Hallstrom (the classiest of contemporary feel-good filmmakers) and it stars Helen Mirren as the bastion of fine […]

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Videophiled Collection: ‘Stanley Kubrick: The Masterpiece Collection’

2 December, 2014 (23:24) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, Film Reviews, Stanley Kubrick | By: Editor

Stanley Kubrick: The Masterpiece Collection (Warner, Blu-ray) – There are no remastered editions or new-to-Blu-ray discs in this box set of eight Kubrick classics, from the 1962 Lolita to his final film, Eyes Wide Shut (1999), but this ten-disc set does include the previously-released supplements on each film plus it features two new-to-disc documentaries and […]

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Videophiled Landmarks: ‘The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari’ and ‘Verdun’ restored

30 November, 2014 (09:50) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Reviews, Silent Cinema | By: Editor

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Kino Lorber, Blu-ray, DVD, streaming) is the grandfather and the godfather of German Expressionist cinema and one of the most influential films of its era. Directed by Robert Weine, it features Werner Kraus as the tyrannical Dr. Caligari, a sideshow barker in cape and top hat who commands the sleeping […]

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The View Beyond Parallax… more reads for the week of November 28

28 November, 2014 (10:19) | by Bruce Reid, by Sean Axmaker, Links | By: Bruce Reid

While the recent career of Nastassja Kinski has taken some odd, intriguing turns worthy of attention, the Film Society at Lincoln Center’s retrospective of her early work has writers remembering that decade or so when she was the most consistently surprising of It Girls, walking through her movies with an erotic air so languorous you […]

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Videophiled: Joe Sarno’s ‘Dirty Movie’ and ‘What is Cinema?’

26 November, 2014 (00:37) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, Documentary, DVD, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

A Life in Dirty Movies (Film Movement, DVD) – The work of Joe Sarno is little known outside of cinephile and cult cinema circles, and not widely seen even among cineastes. That’s because he, with the support and collaboration of his wife Peggy, made his low-budget explorations of adult sexuality within the confines of the […]

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