Archive for category: Film Reviews

Film Review: ‘Digging for Fire’

27 August, 2015 (03:49) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

The final credit on Digging for Fire is a dedication to the late Paul Mazursky, the director of Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice and An Unmarried Woman and other bittersweet comedies of manners. It can be presumptuous for a young filmmaker—here mumblecore maven Joe Swanberg—to invoke a predecessor. But in this case, fair […]

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Film Review: ‘7 Chinese Brothers’

27 August, 2015 (03:43) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

I wonder whether Jason Schwartzman will have the career vault that Johnny Depp and Robert Downey, Jr., had—whether years of being glorious in non-mainstream roles will suddenly make Hollywood (and the audience) decide that Yes, we always loved this actor and now we want to see more of him because he’s our guy, somehow, right […]

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Film Review: ‘Ten Thousand Saints’

27 August, 2015 (03:39) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

“This would make a great movie,” all of us have sighed while mind-directing a film from the novel we’re reading. But most of the time it wouldn’t really make a great movie, because a movie is a different animal entirely. Ten Thousand Saints conveys a passionate desire to capture a 2011 novel by Eleanor Henderson, […]

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Film Review: Wedding in Blood

26 August, 2015 (09:17) | by Rick Hermann, Claude Chabrol, Film Reviews | By: Rick Hermann

[Originally published in Movietone News 37, November 1974] Claude Chabrol’s self-consciously amused but ominous portrayals of the foibles of les petits bourgeois, aside from reminding us of the director’s acute filmic awareness indicate an atmosphere which borders on a kind of noir fantasy. Like Luis Buñuel (especially in his later films), Chabrol is ambiguous in […]

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Savoir-être: Josef von Sternberg’s ‘Morocco’

24 August, 2015 (08:47) | by Richard T. Jameson, Film Reviews | By: Richard T. Jameson

[Originally published in Movietone News 37, November 1974] Marlene Dietrich first appeared to American audiences as a dark figure browsing over the deck of a ship in the fog somewhere off the coast of Morocco. Her visual treatment on this occasion is worth noting. Dietrich, as Amy Jolly, assumes a position at the rail and […]

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Blu-ray: ‘Face to Face’ and ‘A Reason to Live’ – The spaghetti western beyond Leone

23 August, 2015 (19:21) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, Film Reviews, Westerns | By: Sean Axmaker

The spaghetti western was not an inherently political genre but in the 600+ Italo-Westerns that poured out in the decade or so of its brief reign, among the shamelessly derivative pictures cranked out to cash in on the boom started by Sergio Leone’s international hit A Fistful of Dollars are a handful that draw upon […]

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‘Days of Being Wild’ and Hong Kong’s New Wave

22 August, 2015 (02:57) | by Sean Axmaker, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

Hong Kong was the Hollywood of East Asia through the sixties and seventies, cranking out romances, melodramas, costume pictures, and especially martial arts action films. In the 1980s, the familiar style got an adrenaline boost when Tsui Hark returned from American film school with new ideas on moviemaking, and other young directors eager to make […]

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Film Review: ‘Listen to Me Marlon’ (1)

20 August, 2015 (04:08) | Actors, by Kathleen Murphy, Documentary, Film Reviews | By: Kathleen Murphy

One summer evening, while visiting the shooting set of Sam Peckinpah’s The Osterman Weekend, I found myself chatting with John Hurt, never a knockout in looks but always a terrific actor. The easy banter, the charming way he leaned to light my cigarette, the suggestive slide of his eyes—suddenly there was a spotlit place where […]

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Film Review: ‘Jellyfish Eyes’

20 August, 2015 (02:59) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

In the post-Pokémon era in which we all reside, one is accustomed to battles between bizarre mutant cartoon characters. So there isn’t much surprising about the creatures that pop out of the backpacks of the grade-school students in Jellyfish Eyes??; the children themselves take it mostly as a matter of course that, by virtue of […]

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Film Review: ‘Listen to Me Marlon’ (2)

20 August, 2015 (02:56) | by Robert Horton, Documentary, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

His parents were Midwestern Gothic: the father a bitter drunk who settled things with violence, the mother a poetic type who couldn’t lay off the booze. Yet in the way of strange, sad American stories, these two souls created a combination of DNA and childhood trauma that birthed one of the definitive actors—why not say […]

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Review: Black Christmas

17 August, 2015 (11:00) | by Ken Eisler, Film Reviews, Horror | By: Movietone News contributor

[Originally published in Movietone News 38, January 1975] “The Film Funding Corporation Limited in association with Vision IV” has produced a serviceable-enough Canadian low-budget shocker in Black Christmas and pitched it at the end-of-year trade. Unless I’ve missed some subtle subtext, the tie to Christmas is tenuous: an establishing shot of wassail seen through the […]

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Summer of ’90: ‘Wild at Heart’

14 August, 2015 (16:30) | by Robert C. Cumbow, Film Reviews | By: Robert C. Cumbow

The power of David Lynch’s Wild at Heart is the endurance of an Elvis Presley song (or two), the staying power of a children’s movie, and the sight and sound of a match being struck: romantically mellow, wackily comic, and deadly, darkly serious. Lynch gets more and scarier mileage out of fire in Wild at […]

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Film Review: ‘Phoenix’

13 August, 2015 (03:20) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

Taking most of its plot from Hubert Monteilhet’s 1961 novel Return From the Ashes, the new movie by German filmmaker Christian Petzold feels like something out of that era. With its contrived plot and high-gloss possibilities, Phoenix would have been an ideal project for Lana Turner and director Douglas Sirk after Imitation of Life. It […]

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Film Review: ‘People Places Things’

13 August, 2015 (03:15) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

Unlike, say, six-foot-six Vince Vaughn, who has a jazzy physical grace that makes him deft at comedy, the New Zealand performer Jemaine Clement is a big guy who looks uncomfortable in his skin. Or maybe he’s not that big (IMDb says he’s six-foot-one) and he just looks like a hulk—large facial features, arms that hang […]

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Film Review: ‘Tom at the Farm’

13 August, 2015 (03:12) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

Not every 25-year-old filmmaker comes out fully formed, as Orson Welles did with Citizen Kane. Xavier Dolan, born in 1989 and already with five features as a director, is less protean in his talent, less wise, less articulate, than wunderkind Welles. But there’s something urgent going on with this French-Canadian director, and youth has a […]

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