Archive for category: Film Reviews

Film Review: ‘Serena’

26 March, 2015 (08:22) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

A movie starring Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper was made available through Video On Demand before it played theaters in the U.S. This might lead to conclusions about a) how dramatically the release model for Hollywood films is changing, or b) how quickly superstars can drop from the stratosphere. Neither is true. Serena is simply […]

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Film Review: ‘Spring’

26 March, 2015 (08:15) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

Until the female lead is revealed to be a grossly mutating shapeshifter who devours animals in order to keep her human appearance from dissolving into gooey ick, Spring could be mistaken for a relaxed little indie about budding love. In fact, the film’s idea seems to come from a jokey proposition: What if you were […]

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Videophiled: Battling ‘The Hobbit’

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

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (Warner, Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, DVD, VOD), the third and final installment of Peter Jackson’s supersized take on J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy, opens with a spectacular dragon attack on Laketown and tops it with a battle that nearly dwarfs the Middle Earth-shattering war Lord of the Rings trilogy (pun […]

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The bars on the window: Antonioni’s ‘The Passenger’ makes an overdue return voyage

23 March, 2015 (05:10) | by Richard T. Jameson, Essays, Film Reviews | By: Richard T. Jameson

[Originally published in Queen Anne News, Nov. 16, 2005] [The Passenger screens at the Seattle Art Museum on Tuesday, March 24; details here] My wife and I saw Michelangelo Antonioni’s The Passenger at a matinee in 1975 and went straight to the studios of KRAB-FM to talk about it. There we discovered—on the air—that one […]

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Review: Réjeanne Padovani

22 March, 2015 (08:42) | by Ken Eisler, Film Reviews | By: Movietone News contributor

[Originally published in Movietone News 40, April 1975] Vivid reds dominate this Quebec-made study of corruption, from its cruising opening night shot of a sleek black car, taillights aglow, arriving at contractor Vincent Padovani’s chic Montreal home, to the grayish morning-after tableau, wide-angle, in which bored dignitaries wait in the rain, under black umbrellas, for […]

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Film Review: ‘It Follows’

19 March, 2015 (05:53) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews, Horror | By: Robert Horton

One measure of a good horror movie is not how often you jump when the monster bangs out from behind a door, but how often you find yourself nervously peering at dark corners of the screen. It takes only a few minutes of John Carpenter’s Halloween or Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Pulse to make you dread what […]

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Film Review: ‘An Honest Liar’

19 March, 2015 (05:49) | by Robert Horton, Documentary, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

For people of a certain age, these names may act as a time machine back to the 1970s: The Amazing Randi, Uri Geller, Peter Popoff. All come tumbling back to life in An Honest Liar, an unexpectedly fun (but sneakily forceful) portrait of a rationalist. That’s not the way James Randi would have been described […]

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Review: Shaolin Martial Arts

18 March, 2015 (09:43) | by Ken Eisler, Film Reviews | By: Movietone News contributor

[Originally published in Movietone News 41, May 1975] Is the making of many potboilers a prime way to fashion an auteur? If so, a veritable Pantheon of those critics’ darlings must have matriculated by now at the humming factories of Run Run Shaw and Raymond Chow. Plenty of scope over there for that magical tension […]

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Review: Love among the Ruins

16 March, 2015 (08:16) | by Richard T. Jameson, Film Reviews, Television | By: Richard T. Jameson

[Originally published in Movietone News 40, April 1975] The first of the best films of 1975 has been and gone, and won’t be back, at least at your naborhood theatre. Love among the Ruins appeared on ABC-TV on March 6; reportedly, an agreement with Sir Laurence Olivier ensures that it will never be released theatrically. […]

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Rene Clair’s Hat Trick

15 March, 2015 (13:53) | by Sean Axmaker, Essays, Film Reviews, Silent Cinema | By: Sean Axmaker

A triumvirate of early sound comedies—Under the Roofs of Paris (1930), Le Million (1931), and À Nous la Liberté (1931)—made René Clair’s reputation as France’s master of modern screen comedy. They explored the possibilities of the new audio dimension as an expressive element without sacrificing the fluid style and creative imagery of the height of […]

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Review: The Reincarnation of Peter Proud

15 March, 2015 (10:00) | by Richard T. Jameson, Film Reviews, Science Fiction | By: Richard T. Jameson

[Originally published in Movietone News 41, May 1975] Memory and mortality are, almost by structural definition, the two cloutiest themes movies can tackle. Memory is implicit in any film with the least vestige of form and design: we recognize correspondences between shots, scenes, movements, colors, lines of dialogue, inflections, intonations, anything, and something goes ding!, […]

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Film Review: ‘Wild Tales’

12 March, 2015 (05:27) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

The opening sequence of Wild Tales sets up a Twilight Zone-style series of revelations, compressed into just a few minutes. Passengers riding on a suspiciously underfilled plane begin to realize that there might be a reason for their presence there, beyond the obvious business of getting to a destination. Writer/director Damián Szifrón wants to get […]

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Film Review: ‘Beloved Sisters’

12 March, 2015 (05:22) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

Last year brought a lot of chatter about cinema’s obligations to historical accuracy. Did Selma distort Lyndon Johnson’s role in the civil-rights struggle? Did American Sniper sanitize the Iraq War’s most lethal sharpshooter? Whatever the answers, we can conclude that the further we get from the historical period in question, the less discrepancies seem to […]

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Film Review: ‘Kung Fu Elliot’

12 March, 2015 (05:14) | by Robert Horton, Documentary, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

In the geek-show school of documentary, strange pockets of humanity are uncovered so we can laugh at the foibles of people who are not us. Either you feel bad for laughing, or you reject that sort of condescending approach altogether. (Or you feel superior to other people, I guess.) Kung Fu Elliot invites audience mirth […]

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Review: Antonia: A Portrait of the Woman

11 March, 2015 (10:01) | by Claudia Gorbman, Documentary, Film Reviews | By: Movietone News contributor

[Originally published in slightly different form in Movietone News 41, May 1975] “My stepmother and I used to go to these … spiritualistic meetings, and get messages from …”—a little hand gesture—”yonder. They went into trances and said that Liszt was standing in back of me.” The 73-year-old reminisces about her childhood in California: receiving […]

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