Tuesday, 22 August 2017

The Nutty Professor (1963)

Hail, Caesar! (2016)

A Hollywood fixer in the 1950s works to keep the studio's stars in line.

Tongue-in-cheek homage to 50s Hollywood is especially convincing in its meticulous recreation of film scenes of diverse genres; in fact, the settings are all excellent, but the story with several subplots doesn't quite thrill, and the humour is sparse.

The Man from Planet X (1951)

Rushmore (1998)

A homely 10th-grade scholarship boy at Rushmore, a private school where he fails classes but constantly organizes clubs and plays, befriends a depressed local factory magnate and falls for a recently widowed teacher.

Nerdy and off-kilter, but likable comedy-drama; the plot is patchy, but it's all nicely staged and the performances of the motley cast are enjoyable as well.

Halliwell*: "Quirky comedy of adolescent ambition and adult resignation that has its moments, but loses its way long before the end."

Maltin***1/2: "A genuine original, full of keen observational humor and detail, with characters that always ring true. Remarkable debut by Schwartzman..., and a perfect showcase for Murray."

Sunday, 20 August 2017

The Quiet Man (1952)

On the set: John Ford, the cast & crew, and the local population

The Intruder (1962)

A man in a gleaming white suit comes to a small Southern town on the eve of integration, calls himself a social reformer, but what he does is stir up trouble--trouble he soon finds he can't control.

Quite effective low-budget anti-racism drama must have been audacious at its time; Shatner is very credible in the title role; one of Corman's best.

Halliwell*: "Cheaply-made social melodrama with many effective moments."

Maltin***: "Corman's only "message" film - and one of his few box-office flops - still packs a punch; low budget and location filming aid authenticity."

Psychotronic/Michael weldon: "A well-made, serious look at integration in the South..."

The Born Losers (1967)

X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

The X-Men send Wolverine to the past in a desperate effort to change history and prevent an event that results in doom for both humans and mutants.

Visually pleasing and action-ridden installment in the X-Men series is unfortunately over-populated with mutants and stuffed with so many sub-plots that it's difficult to comprehend the individual intentions and rivalries.

Maltin***: "Provocative idea is overcome at times by visual bombast, but the ticking-clock structure works well. New mutants in the future segments don't get much to do;..Not quite a bull's-eye, but still highly watchable for devoted fans, who will also cheer a handful of cameos."

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Starcrash (1978)

New acquisition: Paterson (2016)

Planet of the Apes (1968)

On the set: Kim Hunter and Buck Kartalian

North West Frontier (1959)

In British India, a young prince must be taken to safety across rebel-held territory, and an old train is the only way to do it.

Imperialist gung-ho entertains as a Western-style train adventure with some good settings.

Halliwell**: "Thoroughly enjoyable Boys Own Paper adventure with excellent set-pieces and a sot-the-villain mystery."

Maltin***: "Fast-paced actioner..."


2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

On the set: Stanley Kubrick

36 Quai des Orfèvres (2004)

In the underbelly of the Parisian criminal world, the police are frustrated by a gang committing a series of violent robberies, while two cops are seeking promotion, and the imminent departure of the Chief of Police sets the scene for them to compete for the vacant throne.

Excellent tough and very bleak policier exposes police corruption as just as terrifying as the criminal world.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Robert Bresson

SoulBoy (2010)

A coming-of-age drama set in the 1970s Northern Soul underground music scene.
Fairly entertaining period drama is likable for its realistic depiction of 70s English youth and its celebration of Northern Soul. 

Nastassja Kinski

The Devil's Violinist (2013)

The life story of Italian violinist and composer, Niccolò Paganini, who rose to fame as a virtuoso in the early 19th Century.

Trashy bio-pic has some good period details, but a lot of miserable performances;  true, David Garrett knows how to play the violin, but obviously never learnt how to act.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Turhan Bey

The Challenger (2013)

Richard Feynman participates in the Rogers Commission investigation into the 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger disaster.

Excellent TV drama manages to hold one's attention while revealing the bureaucratic obstacles that marred the investigation William Hurt is perfectly as Richard Feynman.

King Kong (1933)

New acquisition: Hail, Caesar! (2016)

Day of the Woman (1978)

Wonder Women (1973)

An insurance investigator battles Dr. Tsu and her sexy all-girl army.

Pure 70s Grindhouse trash that somehow combines all the elements you'd expect from such a product: a bizarre plot with some shock value, exotic setting, bad acting, low production value, nudity, violence and even some risible mutants plus a funky soundtrack.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)

Xiao cheng zhi chun (1948)

A lonely housewife finds her monotonous life altered when her childhood sweetheart returns to town.

Poetic and intense study of a complex relational entanglement; a mature and timeless masterpiece on par with the best similar achievements by Ozu or Bergman.

Alma Bennett