Sunday, 28 February 2016

Frank Sinatra

Deadfall (2012)

Two siblings decide to fend for themselves in the wake of a botched casino heist. 
Well-cast and suspenseful thriller marred by a quite unlikely plot. 

Maltin**: "Unpleasant characters propel this well-plotted but extremely violent crime thriller."

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Virginia Biddle

Conviction (2010)

A working mother puts herself through law school in an effort to represent her brother, who has been wrongfully convicted of murder and has exhausted his chances to appeal his conviction through public defenders.

Straightforward, unspectacular crime drama which convinces due to its great cast.

Maltin***: "Trumps many films based on true stories by avoiding cliches and spotlighting its two talented stars, who give sincere and solid performances. What's more, the saga turns out to have more surprises than you might expect."

Amanda Seyfried

The Ruins (2008)

A group of friends whose leisurely Mexican holiday takes a turn for the worse when they, along with a fellow tourist, embark on a remote archaeological dig in the jungle where something evil lives among the ruins.

A silly premise is good for some unsavory scenes, but otherwise this is standard horror fare.

Maltin**: "LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS meets THE DESCENT...Gory scenes will have you squirming in your seat, although watching the characters take themselves too seriously is more funny than scary."

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Honor Blackman

Ich denke oft an Piroschka (1955)

A German exchange student on his way to Hungary falls in love with a girl he meets in Budapest. Arriving at his destiny, a small Hungarian village, he falls for the station master's daughter, who takes his attention more seriously than he intends. Eventually the two girls find out about each other, and the student should make a decision...

This movie is a typical example and is considered a classic of the German genre of Heimatfilm. Therefore the story is deeply steeped in a whole world of shoddiness, false sentimenality and racial and cultural bias which has made this genre often unbearable for me to watch. The German student appears to origin from a superior culture, and the Hungarian people are colourful and lovable for all their fallacies, but are also shown as backward, unreliable and lazy, and more interested in wine, drink and dance than in anything 'substantial'. Likewise, this German student is actually just having a summer affair between his studies, a forgivable 'adventure' before he becomes a full member of the hard-working German 'civilization'. All through this movie you feel the reverberations of the Nazi ideology hardly overcome just a decade before this movie was made. In several scenes I consider the student's behaviour downright despicable.

But what makes this movie not quite so unbearable as my words above make it sound is Liselotte Pulver! You quickly forget the falsehood of a Swiss woman playing a pagan Hungarian girl (with a fake accent on top of that!), cause she just radiates beauty and a personal naturalness that's all hers and kind of transcends the blunt cliches of the whole story. She's also the most complex and therefore realistic character in the movie, and all throughout you yearn to take her by the hand and free her from that Aryan imbecile...

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Tang Wei

(ph: Peter Lindbergh)

New acquisition: Twin Peaks. Season 2 (1991)

And I got season 2 as well, of course.


New Stuff: Twin Peaks. Season 1 (1990)

Before the new season is shown I'll need to watch the original series.

Bruce Cabot

New acquisition: The Killing. Season 2 (2012)

Since season 1 left us with a giant cliffhanger, we cetainly need to see the continuation of the story.

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Jacques Tati

Jacques Tati in New York

Tank (1984)

A sergeant major believes in Truth, Justice and America, until the sheriff of a little town puts his only son into jail of a crime he hadn't done.

Politically dubious and unfunny "feel-good" movie on the level of an average TV production.

Halliwell (no star): "Fairly lively if predictable American fantasy in which one just man stands up against the uncaring and/or corrupt mob."

Maltin**: "One-dimensional rehash of  SUPPOSE THEY GAVE A WAR AND NOBODY CAME? turns that film's shades of gray into simplistic good-guy/bad-guy story...Odd to find Garner in such a cornball movie."

Jeanne Moreau

Quicksand (2003)

The workaholic head of the compliance section of a New York bank flies to Monaco to investigate unusual deposits from an offshore bank and meets a down-on-his-luck international film star who has become embroiled in criminal activities.

To be honest, don't let the credentials fool you: directed by John MacKenzie and starring Michael Keaton and Michael Caine this is nevertheless just an average (and very predictable) late night thriller.

Friday, 5 February 2016

Kinuyo Tanaka

Species (1995)

A group of four specialists are given the task of tracking down Sil. "She" is part human, part alien, beautiful, strong, very dangerous and desperate to mate with a human.

I'd suggest to avoid this one unless you're desperate and have nothing better to do...

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Yasujirô Ozu

American Buffalo (1996)

Long-repressed feelings of bitterness and betrayal explode when three inner-city losers plot the robbery of a valuable coin in a seedy second-hand junk shop.

A feast for the actors, but the movie itself is very stagebound and nerve–rackingly talkative.

Halliwell**: "A conversation piece that shows its theatrical origins, but survives the transition to the screen thanks to Mamet's demotic dialogue and the expert performances it receives."



Pauline Frederick

American Sniper (2014)

Navy S.E.A.L. sniper Chris Kyle's pinpoint accuracy saves countless lives on the battlefield and turns him into a legend.

Professionally directed, but quite unpolitical and cursory study of a war hero's life; the (many) conventional war scenes are staged as timeless and with hardly context to the actual conflict.