Sunday, 31 May 2015

The Wind Cannot Read (1958)

An RAF pilot sent to India falls tragically in love with the girl who teaches him Japanese.

Monica Vitti

Witness (1985)

A young Amish boy is sole witness to a murder; policeman John Book goes into hiding in Amish country to protect him until the trial.

If you forget the negligible crime story (and ignore the inept soundtrack by Maurice Jarre), this is a perfectly executed and well-balanced depction of a clash of cultures. 

Halliwell****: "As much about the meeting of cultures as about cops and robbers, this is one of those lucky movies which works out well on all counts and shows that there are still craftsmen lurking in Hollywood."

Maltin***: "Entertaining film is marred by jarring shifts in tone, especially toward the end."


Ms .45 (1981)

The Third Man (1949)

A pulp novelist travels to shadowy, postwar Vienna, only to find himself investigating the mysterious death of an old friend,  a black-market opportunist.

A true classic, meticulously executed post-war drama with extraordinary expressionist cinematography and a plot which echoes on many levels.

On another view: have nothing to add; it's a joy to watch this movie every so often.

Halliwell****: "Totally memorable and irresistible romantic thriller. Stylish from the first to the last, with inimitable backgrounds of zither music and war-torn buildings pointing up a then-topical black market story full of cynical characters but not without humour. Hitchcock with feeling, if you like."

Maltin****: "...a bona fide classic..."


Teen-Age Crime Wave (1955)

A delinquent girl involves an innocent friend in an armed robbery followed by a jail-break and hostage-taking with her equally delinquent boyfriend.

The Godfather: Part II (1974)

On the set: Robert De Niro and Francis Ford Coppola

Saturday, 30 May 2015

Maryjane (1968)

A teacher trying to break up a local drug ring is framed and arrested for possession of marijuana.

Annette Funicello

I Drink Your Blood (1970)

A band of satanist hippies roll into a town and begin terrorizing the local folk.

Jean-Pierre Léaud

Solitary Man (2009)

A car magnate watches his personal and professional life hit the skids because of his business and romantic indiscretions.

Basically a well-played and produced tragicomedy (or rather just a touch humour) about a quite unnerving and disagreeable character.

Maltin***: "Provocative character study of a louse, played with charismatic bravado by Douglas, who's surrounded by good actors in similarly three-dimensional roles."

Friday, 29 May 2015

I Was a Teenage Zombie (1987)

Six high school buddies accidentally kill a drug pusher and dump his body in toxic waters.

Natalie Portman

Romy Schneider

New acquisition: Bara no sôretsu (1969)

An underground classic from Japan: "A feverish collision of avant-garde aesthetics and grind-house shocks (not to mention a direct influence on Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange), Funeral Parade of Roses takes us on an electrifying journey into the nether-regions of the late-'60s Tokyo underworld."

The Manchurian Candidate (1962)

Zui hao de shi guang (2005)

Three love stories set in three times, 1911, 1966 and 2005, the two main characters in each story played by the same actors.

Masterfully elegiac study of the complexity of communicating love througout different ages.

Maltin***: "Although the last part is its weakest, this languid and lyrical film, which is shot in varying styles reflecting each of its time periods, is an accomplished and moving mood piece."

Les Quatre cents coups (1959)

On the set: FrançoisTruffaut and crew filming the last shot

New acquisition: Kenji Mizoguchi

A nice 4 movie set from Kenji Mizoguchi's middle phase, still need to find Ugetsu monogatari.

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Martin Scorsese

(ph: Denis Rouvre)

Band of Angels (1957)

A young woman grows up as a privileged southern Belle in the ante-bellum South but after her father dies broke, her world is destroyed when she discovers her mother was black.

Lush production of an otherwise long-winding and absurd story.

Halliwell (no star): "Long-winded romantic adventure, rather lamely scripted and developed. The star's presence reinforces the impression of sitting through the ghost of Gone With the Wind."

Maltin**1/2: "Flat costume epic..."

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

La Fille coupée en deux (2007)

A TV weather girl is pursued by two very different men.

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)

On the set: James Stewart

Messo comunale praticamente spione (1982)

When Emanuelle arrives in the small Italian village heads start turning and eyes start popping.

Hedy Lamarr

Gojira (1954)

American nuclear weapons testing results in the creation of a seemingly unstoppable, dinosaur-like beast.

Barbarella (1968)

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Mamma Roma (1962)

After many years working in the streets of Roma, the middle-age whore Mamma Roma saves money to buy an upper class apartment, a fruit stand and retires from the prostitution

King Kong (1933)

The Beatniks (1960)

A young singer's chance at fame is threatened by his hoodlum pals.

Charlotte Greenwood

Lost Planet Airmen (1951)

Young member of scientific group uses new rocket-powered flying suit to thwart a shadowy saboteur known only as "Dr. Vulcan".

Way Down East (1920)

Suzy (1936)

An American showgirl in London in 1914 loves an Irish inventor who works for an engineering firm owned by a German woman.

Per qualche dollaro in più (1965)

On the set: Sergio Leone, Lee Van Cleef and Clint Eastwood

Golden Boy (1939)

Despite his musical talent, a young man wants to be a boxer.

Jennifer Connelly

(ph: Victor Demarchelier)


Monday, 25 May 2015

Driftwood (2006)

Riddled with guilt over the loss of his rock star older brother a16-year-old becomes obsessed with death, leading his misguided parents to send him to Driftwood, an attitude-adjustment Camp for troubled youths.

OK as a youth prison camp drama led by a corrupt and sadistic ex-marine, but the supernatural conclusion ruins it.

On second view: I still agree with my original assessment.


Louise Brooks

Les Misérables (1935)

In early 19th Century France an ex-convict who failed to report to parole is relentlessly pursued over a 20 year period by an obsessive policeman.

Nearly perfect Hollywood adaptation of the classic novel, fast-paced and straightforward, with excellence in all departments, especially cast, photography and settings.

Halliwell****: "Solid, telling, intelligent version of a much-filmed classic novel; in adaptation and performance it is hard to see how this film could be bettered."

Maltin***1/2: "Meticulous production..."

Heaven Can Wait (1943)

An old roué arrives in Hades to review his life with Satan, who will rule on his eligibility to enter the Underworld.

Veronica Lake