Saturday, 27 May 2017

Nirgendwo in Afrika (2001)

The Beguiled (1971)

While imprisoned in a Confederate girls' boarding school, an injured Union soldier cons his way into each of the lonely women's hearts, causing them to turn on each other, and eventually, on him.

Unusual misanthropic psychodrama, effectively staged in a Southern period setting and with some good performances.

Halliwell*: "Eccentric melodrama which does not really work despite its credentials and patient work all round."

Maltin***: "Offbeat, methodically paced story...Unusual Eastwood fare, but for patient viewers. a rich, rewarding film."

Carrie Fisher

Beyond the Reach (2014)

A high-rolling corporate shark and his impoverished young guide play the most dangerous game during a hunting trip in the Mojave Desert.

Effective, modern variation of The Most Dangerous Game has some great landscape photography, and Michael Douglas is good as the Donald Trump-like madman millionaire, but the ending is highly disappointing.

Friday, 26 May 2017

Mulholland Dr. (2001)

Lincoln (2012)

As the War continues to rage, America's president struggles with continuing carnage on the battlefield as he fights with many inside his own cabinet on the decision to emancipate the slaves.

Despite depicting a short historic episode, the is movie convincingly creates a complex study of Abraham Lincoln, the political and social situation of the time and some good portrayals of other protagonists concerning the fight for the 13th Amendment; Daniel Day-Lewis' performance is spectacular, but the rest of the cast is great, too.

Maltin***1/2: "Day-Lewis miraculously disappears into the role of Lincoln, while the filmmakers persuasively create the look and feel of Washington in 1865.Thoughtful screenplay...and great casting from top to bottom make this a piece of American history come to vivid life."

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Lilli Palmer

Silent Running (1972)

In a future where all flora is extinct on Earth, an astronaut is given orders to destroy the last of Earth's botany, kept in a greenhouse aboard a spacecraft.

Dark, well-crafted sci-fi drama with excellent special effects and a laudable ecological message, but Bruce Dern's madman character is unnerving and muddles the whole movie.

Halliwell*: "Sombre futuristic fantasy, well made but slow and muddled in development."

Maltin***: "Space-age ecology tale...Interesting film..."

Monday, 22 May 2017

The Danish Girl (2015)

Passengers (2016)

A spacecraft traveling to a distant colony planet and transporting thousands of people has a malfunction in its sleep chambers and two passengers are awakened 90 years too early.

Above.average sci-fi movie, for once not an action-laden shoot-em-up, but an original and interesting tale with a small cast of two (although one would love to see the main story after the film's finale); nevertheless, it's enteratining, suspenseful and offers the goods concerning the effects and visuals.

Lou de Laâge

Supremacy (2014)

A just paroled white neo-nazi and his ruthless girlfriend kill a cop and takes an African American family hostage.

Well staged drama with a capable cast and simple anti-racist message, the narrative a bit marred by flashbacks filling in for some ellipses.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Devil's Knot (2013)

The savage murders of three young children sparks a controversial trial of three teenagers accused of killing the kids as part of a satanic ritual.

Well produced and well cast true crime story only hints undecidedly at the upsetting aspects of this case and somehow ends in mid-air.

Maltin**1/2: "Straightforward (if arguably unnecessary) dramatization...Witherspoon and Nivola are especially good as the heartbroken mother and aloof stepfather of a young victim. If you've seen the three PARADISE LOST documentaries or WEST OF MEMPHIS this will all be familiar, though it's only the first chapter of the saga. This film ends in 1994 and provides terse postscripts for all that's occurred since then."

Shutter Island (2010)

Jaws (1975)

When a gigantic great white shark begins to menace the small island community of Amity, a police chief, a marine scientist and grizzled fisherman set out to stop it.

A brilliantly executed monster movie that launched the director's even more brilliant career.

On renewed viewing: it is remarkable how an old-hat exploitation story is surehandedly turned into an exciting and highly entertaining movie, perfectly balancing humor and shocks.

Halliwell**: "In the exploitation-hungry seventies this film took more money than any other. In itself, despite genuinely suspenseful and frightening sequences, it is a slackly narrated and sometimes flatly handled thriller with an over-abundance of dialogue and, when it finally appears, a pretty unconvincing monster."

Maltin****: "A rare case of a bubble-gum story...scoring as a terrific movie...Hold on to your seats!"

Friday, 19 May 2017

Clara Bow

New acquisition: Bone Tomahawk (2015)

Pierrot le fou (1965)

On the set: Anna Karina, Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean-Luc Godard

Deep Impact (1998)

Unless a comet can be destroyed before colliding with Earth, only those allowed into shelters will survive.

Mediocre and quite tedious doomsday movie that makes one long for the apocalypse - and disappoints in that aspect, too.

On renewed viewing: If you don't take it too seriously, the movie can be mildly entertaining.

Halliwell*: "Something of a feel-bad disaster movie, in which the world is almost destroyed, while the audience is slowly drowned in the sticky syrup of sentimentality. What is truly striking is the poverty of imagination: the end of all life is a theme worth more than the trivial psychodramas on display."

Maltin***: "Exciting yarn...Freeman is the rock-solid U.S. president, Duvall a veteran astronaut on a space mission to explode the comet; their authorative presence adds weight to this saga, while Leoni seems a bit of a flyweight as the ambitious TV newswoman who breaks the story."

Louise Lovely

New acquisition: Passengers (2016)

Jack Lemmon & Billy Wilder

Afraid to Talk (1932)

Corrupt politicians resort to murder and blackmail when a young boy accidentally witnesses them taking payoffs.

Lively, fast-paced drama that relentlessly decries political corruption, a message still valid to this day.

Maltin***: "Eye-opening pre-Code melodrama...Sparks fly in this unsubtle shocker..."

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Love Among the Millionaires (1930)

On the set: Clara Bow

Something Evil (1972)

A young couple moves into a farmhouse in rural Pennsylvania, but they don't know that there is an unseen presence in the house, and that it wants to take possession of the wife.

Above-average TV horror thriller, effectively staged with a good central performance by Sandy Dennis.

Barbara Bel Geddes

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

A group of intergalactic criminals are forced to work together to stop a fanatical warrior from taking control of the universe.

Basically another sci-fi actioner with a motley crew of superheroes and good effects, but made more likable by adding some humor; however, the raccoon steals the show.