Archive for category: Film Reviews

Film Review: Black or White

30 January, 2015 (08:30) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Editor

Have you noticed that Kevin Costner gives good speeches? He deftly handled his classic “I believe in …” speech in Bull Durham and his courtroom summations in JFK. He recently got a lifetime achievement award at the Critics Choice Awards, where he spoke pointedly about remembering to be grateful. His Oscar acceptance speeches for Dances […]

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Film Review: Two Days, One Night

29 January, 2015 (05:32) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

There is only one situation in Two Days, One Night—no subplots, no vast canvas. But filmmaking brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne (The Kid With the Bike) need only this one situation to somehow speak of the entire world and what it means to be human in the early 21st century. The situation is this: Sandra […]

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Film Review: When Evening Falls on Bucharest, or Metabolism

29 January, 2015 (05:27) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

Movies about moviemaking don’t come much drier than this new one from Romania. It has the usual elements of backstage stories—the director is sleeping with a cast member, professional rivalry rears its head, the movie’s gone over budget—but When Evening Falls approaches these things in an extremely off-center way. We never do see the film […]

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Review: Race with the Devil

28 January, 2015 (08:05) | by Rick Hermann, Film Reviews, Horror | By: Rick Hermann

[Originally published in Movietone News 43, September 1975] After witnessing a satanic episode of black rites and human sacrifice in some out-of-the-way Texas campsite and then trying in vain to get some action on the matter from the local police force, Peter Fonda remarks to Warren Oates, “Frank, they’re trying to screw with our brains.” […]

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Videophiled: The mad passion of ‘Why Don’t You Play in Hell?’

27 January, 2015 (15:31) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

Why Don’t You Play in Hell? (Drafthouse, Blu-ray, DVD, Digital), Sion Sono’s filmmaking freakout about making a movie in the midst of a Yakuza war, is actually far more insane than that description suggests. For one thing, it takes almost 90 minutes to get to that filmmaking part and the sheer absurdity of the plotting […]

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Review: Day of the Locust

26 January, 2015 (08:46) | by Rick Hermann, Film Reviews | By: Rick Hermann

[Originally published in Movietone News 43, September 1975] Maybe one of the reasons I don’t much care for the John Schlesinger film of Day of the Locust is an attitude towards his characters—Nathanael West’s characters in this case—which he has avoided in other films. In Sunday Bloody Sunday there was no overt judgment, no condescension […]

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Videophiled: Liliana Cavani’s ‘The Skin’

24 January, 2015 (06:35) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

The Skin (aka La Pelle, Cohen, Blu-ray, DVD), directed by Liliana Cavani in 1981 from the novel by Curzio Malaparte, is ostensibly a war drama, set during the American liberation of Sicily from the Fascists, but it’s really about the politics and economics of occupation. As the Allied forces (led by Burt Lancaster’s General Mark […]

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Film Review: ‘A Most Violent Year’

22 January, 2015 (05:55) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

In the wintry air of A Most Violent Year, a would-be business magnate named Abel Morales (Oscar Isaac) sports a handsome camel-hair topcoat. He’d like to achieve success the honest way, and that immaculate coat is like his shining armor. Problem is, this is 1981-era New York, the business is heating oil, and nothing stays […]

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Film Review: ‘Song One’

22 January, 2015 (05:50) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

People who don’t like musicals always fall back on the Realism Argument, contending that in real life we don’t start singing during conversations or solo walks in the Alps or whenever. This argument can be answered in a variety of ways: Don’t most of us have a soundtrack on shuffle in our heads? More important, […]

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Review: Night Moves

21 January, 2015 (08:01) | by Rick Hermann, Film Noir, Film Reviews | By: Rick Hermann

[Originally published in Movietone News 43, September 1975] Films dealing with crises of identity, as opposed to celebrations of identity, in films by Peckinpah and perhaps Mazursky, are beginning to come out with a frequency that reflects a genuine urge to explore the phenomenon of contemporary selfconsciousness. Karel Reisz’ confused but curiously honest The Gambler, […]

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Videophiled: Preston Sturges’ ‘The Palm Beach Story’

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

The Palm Beach Story (Criterion, Blu-ray, DVD) – Leave it to Preston Sturges to create the sexiest and most grown-up romantic comedy of his day. Claudette Colbert has never been more desirable as Gerry Jeffers, the flirtatious pragmatist with a clear-eyed take on the realities of men, women, and sex, and Sturges turns Joel McCrea’s […]

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Caliban in Bodega Bay

19 January, 2015 (05:37) | Alfred Hitchcock, by Robert C. Cumbow, Essays, Film Reviews, Horror | By: Robert C. Cumbow

[Originally published in Movietone News 41, May 1975] The birds have really made a mess of Bodega Bay. Smoke from a gasoline fire hangs heavy over the city; bodies lie in the streets: abandoned automobiles, smashed windows, and ripped woodwork are grim evidence that the human beings have not won this battle. With Mitch Brenner’s […]

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Videophiled: ‘The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant’

18 January, 2015 (16:53) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant (Criterion, Blu-ray, DVD) – Rainer Werner Fassbinder adapted his own stage play for this modern twist on The Women, the great all-woman Hollywood classic of sex and social conventions in high society. Margit Carstensen is successful fashion designer Petra von Kant, who lives alone in her stark apartment […]

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Videophiled: ‘Kinoshita and World War II’

17 January, 2015 (09:27) | by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Reviews | By: Editor

Japanese director Keisuke Kinoshita made 50 films in a 50-year career, including Twenty-Four Eyes (1954) and the original The Ballad of Narayama (1958), both of which Criterion has released on disc. Kinoshita and World War II (Eclipse, DVD) presents his first five films and offers a rare glimpse into the propaganda films made in Japan […]

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Film Review: ‘Blackhat’

16 January, 2015 (10:15) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

Given a junky script and inert lead actors, director Michael Mann does what he can with Blackhat. The result is an occasionally intoxicating mess of a movie. It’s about a world-class hacker. Which means the whole thing takes place as he sits at his keyboard and never leaves his parents’ basement. Just kidding. However, it […]

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