A down-and-out actor is coached by a fading star when he is offered a part in a play in London. One of dozens of director John Ford's silent films, this backstage comedy was thought lost until a complete copy turned up in New Zealand in 2009. Many of the plot elements are said to echo the real-life Barrymore acting dynasty. [more inside]
Best friends Marie and Alexia decide to spend a quiet weekend at Alexia's parents' secluded farmhouse. But on the night of their arrival, the girls' idyllic getaway turns into an endless night of horror. [spoilers inside] [more inside]
After being released from prison, Billy (Vincent Gallo) is set to visit his parents with his wife, whom he does not actually have. This provokes Billy to act out, as he kidnaps a girl (Christina Ricci) and forces her to act as his wife for the visit. [more inside]
The Found Footage Phenomenon is an independent documentary charting the origins of the found footage sub-genre, tracking it through to the technique's current form, and asking what the future is. [more inside]
Unhappily married Depression-era waitress Cecilia (Mia Farrow) earns the money while her inattentive husband, Monk (Danny Aiello), blows their meager income on getting drunk and gambling. To assuage her loneliness, Cecilia escapes to the picture show and becomes transfixed with the movie "The Purple Rose of Cairo," and especially with its lead character, archeologist Tom Baxter (Jeff Daniels). When Tom literally steps off of the screen and into her life, both realities are thrown into chaos. [more inside]
In the Southwest during the Civil War, a mysterious stranger, Joe (Clint Eastwood), and a Mexican outlaw, Tuco (Eli Wallach), form an uneasy partnership -- Joe turns in the bandit for the reward money, then rescues him just as he is being hanged. When Joe's shot at the noose goes awry during one escapade, a furious Tuco tries to have him murdered. The men re-team abruptly, however, to beat out a sadistic criminal (Lee Van Cleef) and the Union army and find $20,000 that a soldier has buried in the desert. [more inside]
Three mercenaries extracting a druglord out of Guinea-Bissau are forced to hide in the mystical region of Saloum, Senegal. The film is on Shudder, if that gives you any indication of how that goes. [more inside]
On the hottest day of the year on a street in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, everyone's hate and bigotry smolders and builds until it explodes into violence. [more inside]
In this documentary, filmmaker Penelope Spheeris captures the life of Los Angeles "gutter punks": homeless teenagers who prefer anarchy and chaos to organized society. Many of the film's subjects come from abusive households and have developed alcohol and drug problems. While living on the streets, they must panhandle, squat in abandoned apartment buildings, and fight off skinheads to survive. The film also includes performances by several notable Los Angeles punk bands. [more inside]
When an office full of Chicago real estate salesmen is given the news that all but the top two will be fired at the end of the week, the atmosphere begins to heat up. Shelley Levene, who has a sick daughter, does everything in his power to get better leads from his boss, John Williamson, but to no avail. When his coworker Dave Moss comes up with a plan to steal the leads, things get complicated for the tough-talking salesmen. [more inside]
in Nacho Vigalondo's time-travel thriller, a man accidentally gets into a time machine and travels back in time nearly an hour. Finding himself will be the first of a series of disasters of unforeseeable consequences. [more inside]
This psychological slasher and queer cult classic from 1982 tells the story of orphaned teen Billy (Jimmy McNichol) who becomes caught up in the twisted mind of his increasingly unhinged Aunt Cheryl (Susan Tyrrell, really going for it). It's driven by a surprisingly upfront queer subplot involving a bigoted detective who suspects Billy is part of a gay love triangle that ended in murder, and features a positive portrayal of a gay high school basketball coach along with some campy, gorey thrills. (It also lingers an awful lot on Jimmy McNichol's topless chest and butt, and includes a young Bill Paxton as a homophobic teammate.) Available on Shudder. [more inside]
Romulus and Remus, two shepherds and loyal brothers, end up taking part to a journey that will lead one of them to be the founder of the greatest nation ever seen. However, the fate of the chosen one will pass from killing his own brother. [more inside]
An exploration of the history of the Bee Gees, featuring revealing interviews with oldest brother Barry Gibb, and archival interviews with the late twin brothers Robin and Maurice. - IMDB. Trailer at HBO, YouTube, and Amazon. [more inside]
There may or may not be enough interest to talk about the films, but I just wanted to alert people to the upcoming Mother Tongue Film Festival. It will be free online February 21 to May 31, 2021. The theme for the Festival this year is "The Healing Power of Storytelling”. Main website link. [more inside]
I love making fun of movies. I love turning a piece of criticism into a piece of entertainment. I love pointing out a plot hole that makes a superfan write me an angry e-mail. I love turning my unsophistication into a tool. I love being hyperbolically, cathartically angry for no reason. I love being flippant and careless and earnest and meticulous all at once. Shit, Actually is inspired by a series of essays I started at Jezebel, in which I’d rewatch successful movies from the past to see how they hold up to our shifting modern sensibilities... What do we do now with beloved cultural works that don’t hold up?
Slasher films get remixed when a notorious serial killer (Vince Vaughn) and an awkward 17-year-old girl (Kathryn Newton) switch bodies. A new horror-comedy from Blumhouse Pictures and writer-director Christopher Landon (Happy Death Day). [more inside]
A young woman (Imogene Poots) and her fiancé (Jesse Eisenberg) are in search of the perfect starter home. After following a mysterious real estate agent to a new housing development, the couple finds themselves trapped in a maze of identical houses and forced to raise an otherworldly child. [more inside]
Hoping that self-employment through the gig economy can solve their financial woes, a hard-up UK delivery driver and his wife struggling to raise a family end up trapped in the vicious circle of this modern-day form of labour exploitation. The newest film from Ken Loach. [more inside]
But I'm a Cheerleader is a 1999 American satirical romantic comedy film directed by Jamie Babbit and written by Brian Wayne Peterson. Natasha Lyonne stars as Megan Bloomfield, a high school cheerleader whose parents send her to a residential inpatient conversion therapy camp to cure her lesbianism. There Megan soon comes to embrace her sexual orientation, despite the therapy, and falls in love. The supporting cast includes Melanie Lynskey, Dante Basco, Eddie Cibrian, Clea DuVall, Cathy Moriarty, Katrina Phillips, RuPaul, Richard Moll, Mink Stole, Kip Pardue, Michelle Williams, and Bud Cort.
In Moscow in 1983, an American journalist interviews Guy Bennett, who recalls his last year at public school, fifty years before, and how it contributed to him becoming a spy. It explores his homosexuality and exposure to Marxism, while examining the hypocrisy and snobbery of the English public school system.
“We live in an age of brutal manners, when people crudely say exactly what they mean, comedy is based on insult, tributes are roasts, and loud public obscenity passes without notice. Martin Scorsese's film "The Age of Innocence," which takes place in 1870, seems so alien it could be pure fantasy. [more inside]
Ove, an ill-tempered, isolated retiree who spends his days enforcing block association rules and visiting his wife's grave, has finally given up on life just as an unlikely friendship develops with his boisterous new neighbors.
Martin Scorsese's 3.5-hour long gangster film, released on Netflix this week and in a small number of theaters across the USA earlier this month, uses digital "de-aging" to follow the life of Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro), who claimed on his deathbed to have been a mob hitman responsible for many murders, including that of labor boss Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino). [more inside]
An Italian book seller of Jewish ancestry who lives in his own little fairy tale. His creative and happy life comes to an abrupt halt when his entire family is deported to a concentration camp during World War II. While locked up, he goes to great lengths to convince his son that the whole thing is just a game.
The final candidates for a highly desirable corporate job are locked together in an exam room and given a test so simple and confusing that tension begins to unravel.
Casey is attacked at random on the street and enlists in a local dojo led by a charismatic and mysterious Sensei in an effort to learn how to defend himself. What he uncovers is a sinister world of fraternity, violence and hypermasculinity and a woman fighting for her place in it.
A struggling musician realizes he's the only person on Earth who can remember The Beatles after waking up in an alternate timeline where they never existed.
Fosse/Verdon: All I Care About Is Love Season 1, Ep 6
As Bob edits "Lenny" and begins direction of "Chicago," the cost of his ongoing high-wire act becomes evident. While Bob deals with forced time to reflect, Gwen covers for Bob's absence and cleverly gets rid of a trying hospital roommate, while Ann looks after Bob in other ways. [more inside]
Fosse/Verdon: Where Am I Going Season 1, Ep 5
Bob appears to have bounced back from his recent psych hospitalization as he cozies up with new partner Ann Reinking, trades stories with Paddy Chayefsky and newly bereft Neil Simon, and welcomes Gwen and her new beau Ron for a very long weekend party on the Hamptons. Also, Nicole smokes her first cigarette. [more inside]
Devdas is an acclaimed 2002 Bollywood romantic drama film directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali. It is the third film based on Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay's 1917 novel. Set in the early 1900s, the film follows Devdas (Shah Rukh Khan), a wealthy law graduate who returns from London to marry his childhood sweetheart, Paro (Aishwarya Rai). When his own family rejects the marriage, he descends into alcohol, ultimately leading to his emotional deterioration and him seeking refuge with a courtesan.
In a suburban community, moms and dads, one after the other, mysteriously feel the irresistible impulse to attack and kill their own offspring. Stars Nicholas Cage and Selma Blair. From writer/director Brian Taylor (Crank).
Legendary marshal Wyatt Earp, now a weary gunfighter, joins his brothers Morgan and Virgil to pursue their collective fortune in the thriving mining town of Tombstone. But Earp is forced to don a badge again and get help from his notorious pal Doc Holliday when a gang of renegade brigands and rustlers begins terrorizing the town.
Follows Stevie, a thirteen-year-old in 1990s-era Los Angeles who spends his summer navigating between his troubled home life and a group of new friends that he meets at a Motor Avenue skate shop.
A group of students become trapped inside a mysterious cave where they discover time passes differently underground than on the surface.
When Pete and Ellie decide to start a family, they stumble into the world of foster care adoption. They hope to take in one small child but when they meet three siblings, including a rebellious 15 year old girl, they find themselves speeding from zero to three kids overnight.
A toymaker and his wife are terrorized by a demonized doll after their adopted child tries to summon her late mother's spirit using a spooky ritual. The third film in the Indonesian horror film series, The Doll. [more inside]
This offbeat action drama from Hong Kong stars Bin Shimada as Riki, a new prisoner at a high-tech penal institution of the future. Riki finds himself challenged by the prison's violent, corrupt guards, and when one of his friends is murdered by the jailers, Riki explodes into a fury of violence as he seeks bloody vengeance against all who would cross him. Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky has won a cult following for its deliberately outlandish martial arts violence, in which Riki displays the remarkable ability to punch through his victims -- and even blow them up. [more inside]
The megabudget sequel to the 2010 Tamil-language smash Enthiran brings back Rajinikanth in the dual role of Dr. Vaseegaran, government super scientist and Chitti, his AI/robot creation. All of the cell phones in Chennai have flown into the sky and coalesced into a bird-like monster. Only Chitti, Dr. Vaseegaran, and the doctor's newest robot Nila can save the city.
Frank and Lindsay are terrible people who end up at a destination wedding. They meet and, over the course of the weekend and against all odds, find themselves drawn to one another even as they are repulsed by one another.
This is a two and a half hour long Bollywood/Tamil musical/romantic comedy/sci-fi epic about Dr. Vasi, a brilliant scientist (Rajinikanth) who builds a robot named Chitti (also played by Rajinikanth) to protect mankind. Problems arise when Chitti falls in love with Dr. Vasi's girlfriend (Aishwarya Rai). This film's sequel, 2.0, is scheduled to hit theaters on 11/29/2018.
When old Mr. Lazarescu falls ill and needs medical treatment, but modern life has ways of ignoring the old, the sick, and the poor. It will take him all night to die, if anyone is even paying any attention. A dark comedy from Romania. [more inside]
Romeo Aldea is a doctor who regrets having settled in his native Romania, a country still teeming with corruption and back dealings. He channels his ambitions for a better life into his teenage daughter, Eliza, who is just one exam away from securing a scholarship to a prestigious British university. But when Eliza is attacked on the eve of her test, endangering her ability to pass, Romeo takes matters into his own hands to ensure her success. [more inside]
Romania, 1987, the brutal Ceausescu communist regime is in place; birth control is illegal and abortion is a crime punishable by death. Gabita is almost five months into an unwanted pregnancy and in meek desperation turns to her friend and roommate, Otilia for help in organizing an illegal termination. Unfortunate circumstances force the two women to use an unwanted male abortionist, Bebe. [more inside]
An anthology of four short horror films that are directed and written by women: "The Box," by Jovanka Vuckovic (former editor of Rue Morgue magazine); "Her Only Living Son" by Karyn Kusama (The Invitation, the upcoming Destroyer); "The Birthday Cake" by St. Vincent (aka rock musician Annie Clark); "Don't Fall" by Roxanne Benjamin (Southbound). [more inside]
A visually rich, gothic re-telling of an old Basque folk tale about a young girl caught in the middle of a battle between a blacksmith and the Devil. Available streaming in the original Basque or dubbed on Netflix.
As a mother and daughter struggle to cope with the terrors of the post-revolution, war torn Tehran of the 80s, a mysterious evil begins to haunt their home. A Farsi-language horror/drama currently streaming on US Netflix. 99% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.
Monthly? Dates and film selection suggestions? [more inside]
Near the end of the Russian Civil War, Countess Sophie fall in love with her brother's best friend as the men, German officers, return to the Latvian chateau where they spent their childhood. [more inside]
Anyone interested in a biweekly/monthly club where we watch something in German and chat? Open to any genre/theme/vintage. [more inside]
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