Thursday, 31 March 2016

Nastassja Kinski

La chambre des morts (2007)

While on a joyride with the headlights turned off, two men hit and kill another man carrying a satchel full of money...

Very competently produced crime thriller with a good cast, but the plot is a series of improbable coincidences, and the finale is a full ripoff from The Silence of the Lambs.

On second view: still agree with my initial impression, nevertheless watchable.

Lauren Bacall

New acquisition: Suffragette (2015)

We missed watching this movie while in Berlin, so I got the Blu-ray.

Harry Carey, Sr.

The Good Shepherd (2006)

The tumultuous early history of the Central Intelligence Agency is viewed through the prism of one man's life.

A detailed history lesson exemplified through the biography of a tragic anti-hero.

On second view: subtle and atmospheric, and the cast is impressive.

Maltin***1/2: "Gripping story...De Niro's treatment uses THE GODFATHER as its dramatic template, quite successfully. Damon is excellent and surrounded by well-chosen actors in every part, no matter how small."

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Masculin féminin (1966)

The Night of the Generals (1967)

In 1942, a Polish prostitute is murdered in Warsaw, and suspicion falls on three generals, and a major of German Intelligence seeks justice despite the ongoing atrocities committed during WWII.

Despite good pruduction value the movie goes on way too long at a slow pace, mixes too much historic events with the plot and never really arouses much interest for its crime mystery.

Halliwell**: "A curiously bumpy narrative which is neither mystery nor characzer study but does provide a few effective sequences and impressive performances. The big budget seems well spent."

Maltin*1/2: "A WW2 whodunit, film has potential but gets lost in murky script, lifeless performances. A dud."

Monday, 28 March 2016

Frank Capra

Blue Velvet (1986)

(Italian movie poster by Esciotti) 

The discovery of a severed human ear found in a field leads a young man on an investigation related to a beautiful, mysterious nightclub singer and a group of psychopathic criminals who have kidnapped her child.

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Shirley Eaton

Cave of Forgotten Dreams (2010)

Werner Herzog gains exclusive access to film inside the Chauvet caves of Southern France, capturing the oldest known pictorial creations of humankind in their astonishing natural setting.

Fascinating and mind-boggling documentary about mankind's oldest known art.

On second view: wins through repeated viewings; an what would it be without Werner Herzog's Teutonic intellectual speculations?

Maltin***: "Compelling documentary...capture a sense of genuine physical and historic wonder. Herzog's philosophical naarative maunderings sometimes veer into the obtrusive but mostly he lets the spectacular images speak for themselves."

Loretta Young

Crash (1996)

After getting into a serious car accident, a TV director discovers an underground sub-culture of scarred, omnisexual car-crash victims who use car accidents and the raw sexual energy they produce to try to rejuvenate his sex life with his wife.

Friday, 25 March 2016

Francoise Dorleac

Orphan (2009)

A husband and wife who recently lost their baby adopt a 9-year-old girl who is not nearly as innocent as she claims to be.

OK horror thriller with a great cast is at times suspenseful, but the story is old hat and the actual resolution something of a letdown.

Maltin**1/2: "Formulaic "bad-seed"-type horror movie still manages to offer up plenty of creepy Gran Guignol moments and sports a genuine you-won't see-it-coming twist that sets it apart from others in the overworn genre...Some of this goes way over the top, yet remains a gulty pleasure for genre fans."

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

La jetée (1962)

The Woods (2006)

Set in 1965 New England, a troubled girl encounters mysterious happenings in the woods surrounding an isolated girls school that she was sent to by her estranged parents.

Above-average horror movie which offers some spooky atmosphere, but disappoints with its solution:  a haunted forest.

Maltin BOMB: "One-note horror film is thoroughly unpleasant, when it's not dull or idiotic. A real ordeal to sit through."

Eddie Cantor

Blue Jasmine (2013)

A New York socialite, deeply troubled and in denial, arrives in San Francisco to impose upon her sister.

Intense variation on A Streetcar Named Desire convinces thanks to subtle direction, a great ensemble and a spectacularly good performance by Cate Blanchett.

Maltin***1/2: "Fascinating can't take you eyes off her, especially in Blanchett's riveting, Oscar-winning portrayal. Allen's sharp-edged screenplay offers food for though about ethics, morals, friendship, family, and our consumerist society. It also provides great parts to a superb ensemble of actors, with an especially eye-opening performance by Clay as Hawkin's ex. Many people see this as a variation on A Streetcar Named Desire."

Monday, 21 March 2016

Lana Wood

Due volte Giuda (1969)

A wealthy amnesiac becomes aware of a con man's attempts to kill off his family and separate him from his estate.

Stylish, above-average Spaghetti Western that unfolds its story like an antique Greek drama.

Friday, 18 March 2016

Jeanne Eagels

The Ballad of Josie (1967)

A young woman stirs things up in a western town by raising sheep instead of cattle, and organizing the local women to demonstrate for women's suffrage.

Likable gender comedy typical for its star, this time staged as a Western, convinces thanks to Doris Day's professionalism; the male chauvinism presented, however, is hardly bearable by today's standards.

Halliwell (no star): "Tediously whimsical, unsuitably cast women's lib comedy with so few laughs that it may require to be taken seriously."

Maltin**1/2: "Uninspired Western spoof..."

Brigitte Bardot

Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story (2005)

A young girl catalyzes the rescue and rehabilitation of Sonador, a race horse with a broken leg.

Feel-good family movie, all tastefully done, but just not adding anything new to the often-told story.

Maltin**1/2: "Routine account...Pleasant enough family film, although it's corny and awfully predictable."

Le voyage dans la lune (1902)

Queen of the Desert (2015)

A chronicle of Gertrude Bell's life, a traveler, writer, archaeologist, explorer, cartographer, and political attaché for the British Empire at the dawn of the twentieth century.
Strangely stodgy and undramatic illustration of an otherwise highly fascinating biography; at least, first-rate production and some wonderful photography compensate for the tedium.