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Showing posts from 2014

12 Years A Slave (2013) ****

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Big Eyes (2014) ***

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I can see why Tim Burton would be attracted to this project, having started as an animator for Disney and being unfulfilled. The irony is that this film about art is terribly by-the-book. The double irony is that it completely and utterly lacks any kind of Burton stamp. This is like Burton's THE STRAIGHT STORY but without the gravitas. The writing duo of ED WOODfail to capture the same magic here (and frankly some of the script is just flat out bad) and Danny Elfman's score is vanilla and forgettable. Amy Adams gives an expressive performance (particularly with her eyes, because duh), but I found Christoph Waltztoo OTT at times and Danny Huston is wasted here (much like he was in HITCHCOCK - give the man another role like the one in THE PROPOSITION!). All that said, it's an entertaining film, but one probably not worth revisiting.

Kingpin - R-rated Version (1996) ***1/2

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Point Blank (1967) ****1/2

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Damn, the 60s really was one the best decades ever for film. Lee Marvin as Walker is easily one of the most badass characters in any film ever. The dreamy psychedelic sequences, the jazzy Schifrin-like score by Johnny Mandel, the great supporting roles (Keenan Wynn, Carroll O'Connor, Michael Strong, John Vernon), the style, the time shifts/jump cuts, the economy of Boorman's filmmaking - there is so much to savor here. POINT BLANKwas a huge influence on Soderbergh'sTHE LIMEY (another favorite film) and was remade, as a lesser but still great film called PAYBACK, both based on Donald E. Westlake's (writing as Richard Stark) novel 'The Hunter'.

The Blues Brothers (1980) ***

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Babes In Toyland (1961) ***1/2

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A Countess From Hong Kong (1967) **1/2

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Black Christmas (1974) **** [Christmas Horror Double Feature Pt. 2]

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Christmas Evil (aka You Better Watch Out) (1980) ***1/2 [Christmas Horror Double Feature Pt. 1]

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Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas (1977) ***** [Muppet Christmas Triple Feature Pt. 3]

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The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992) *** [Muppet Christmas Triple Feature Pt. 2]

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A Muppet Family Christmas (1987) **** [Muppet Christmas Triple Feature Pt. 1]

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Princess Mononoke (1997) ****1/2

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Lord Of Illusions - Director's Cut (1995) ***

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A Horrible Way To Die (2010) *1/2

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Focus On Film: Episode 24 – March 2015 Criterion Titles

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Focus On FilmEpisode 24 is up!
Download the MP3 HERE.

In this episode: March 2015 Criterion CollectionTitles AnnouncementBest/Worst Of The Month – PARADE (1974), CURTAINS(1983), HELL BABY (2013), PRINCESS MONONOKE(1997), INTERSTELLAR(2014), LOLITA(1997)"Criterion Most Wanted"
"Focus On Film Theme" & commercial music: Daniel Sardella

The Vanishing (1993) **

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Game Of Death (1978) ** [Dragonthon Pt. 4]

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The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies (2014) ***

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The Way Of The Dragon (1972) **** [Dragonthon Pt. 3]

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Frank (2014) ***

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Fist Of Fury (aka The Chinese Connection) (1972) ***1/2 [Dragonthon Pt. 2]

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Candyman (1992) ***1/2

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The Big Boss (aka Fists Of Fury) (1971) *** [Dragonthon Pt. 1]

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The Strange Color Of Your Body's Tears (2013) ****1/2

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Maps To The Stars (2014) ***

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Spies (1928) ***

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The Guest (2014) ***1/2

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The Naked Kiss (1964) ***1/2 [Fuller Double Feature Pt. 2]

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Shock Corridor (1963) ***1/2 [Fuller Double Feature Pt. 1]

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Ride In The Whirlwind (1966) ** [Monte Hellman Western Double Feature Pt. 2]

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The Shooting (1966) *** [Monte Hellman Western Double Feature Pt. 1]

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Hell Baby (2013) **1/2

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The Picture Of Dorian Gray (1945) ****

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Un 32 août sur terre (August 32nd On Earth) (1998) ***1/2

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I've now seen all the solo credited feature-length films by director Denis Villeneuve and I can safely say that he is one of my current favorites. This was his feature debut and it's the most humorous of his films (a bit reminiscent of BOTTLE ROCKET at times). All his films are completely different from each other in tone and scope and in that way he reminds me a bit of Steven Soderberghbut their styles are nothing alike. I can't wait for his next film SICARIO!

Santa Claus (1959) (RiffTrax) ***

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I wasn't sure if I should post and rate this one on the blog because I'd never seen it before and this was a RiffTrax screening (my first). So I suppose my rating is more based on the total experience, which was a blast. If I were to rate the experience alone, based on laughter, it'd be more of a ***1/2 and the film itself would be a ** or **1/2. Anyway, it's bonkers.

Maelström (2000) ***1/2

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By far the strangest of Villeneuve's films that I've seen. The DVD is pretty abysmal quality; I would love to see a proper Blu-ray. This one was like a cross between Zulawski and Jeunet.  As far as I can see there is only one other feature film of his that I have yet to see and it doesn't appear to be easy to find. I can't wait to see what else the future holds in store for this filmmaker.

Lolita (1997) ****

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What a beautiful and sad film. I love the book and I highly enjoy the Kubrickfilm (he's my favorite director), but I think I may just like this film version better. I think Jeremy Irons makes a better Humbert than James Masonand Dominique Swain is perfect as Dolores. Which isn't to say that Sue Lyonwasn't a great choice in the 1962 film, but it's my opinion that Carrol Bakerrivaled her in a similar role in the earlier film Baby Doll. I will say that Shelley Winterswas a better Charlotte though. Morricone's score is gorgeous as well and reminds me most of his Once Upon A Time In America score.



Polytechnique (2009) ****

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Incendies (2010) ****

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William Peter Blatty 'Legion' (1983) ****1/2

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Rushmore (1998) *****

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Angelic.
Dr. Nelson Guggenheim: We're putting you on what we call sudden death academic probation.
Max Fischer: And what does that entail?
Dr. Nelson Guggenheim: It entails that if you fail another class, you'll be asked to leave Rushmore.
Max Fischer: In other words, I'll be expelled.
Dr. Nelson Guggenheim: That's correct.
Max Fischer: Can I see some documentation on that, please? 
Max Fischer: Sic transit gloria. Glory fades. I'm Max Fischer.
Rosemary Cross: Hi.
Max Fischer: Hi. 
Max Fischer: So you were in Vietnam?
Herman Blume: Yeah.
Max Fischer: Were you in the shit?
Herman Blume: Yeah, I was in the shit.
Max Fischer: I like your nurse's uniform, guy.  Dr. Peter Flynn: These are O.R. scrubs.  Max Fischer: O, R they?
 "UNLOCK IT!!"
Max Fischer:The killing's gotta stop, esse. It's getting too loco. No more gats. 40 Ounce: Nigga, you the crazy one. People be tryin' to kill you and you talkin' about you're gonna get rid of your gun? Max Fischer: I…