Flicker Alley, a leading curator, restorer and distributor of lost and forgotten cinema gems, digs up a particularly niche bunch for its latest collection. Under Full Sail: Silent Cinema on the High Seas details early celluloid depictions of the grand vessels that sailed the world’s waterways at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries. The five films (one full-length and four shorts, all excellent transfers) are snapshots of a forgotten time when mammoth ships with masts to the heavens took seafarers to adventure.
Maybe it’s because the fad hasn’t worn off, but prequels seem to be far less objectionable than sequels. It makes sense in that with a prequel you have to be somewhat loyal to an end point, whereas a sequel has to make up a bunch of new stuff that might or might not live up to the original. So is the situation the producers of Battlestar Galactica found themselves in when their series recently wrapped up. The notion of Carpica telling the back-story to BSG was formulated in the latter’s second season and came to fruition late last year.
It’s tempting to label this melancholy wisp of a film as a wake-up call for a nation gone bankrupt (in more ways than one). But Wendy and Lucy is far too subtle for that: It makes Marley and Me look like Porky’s. Kelly Reichardt’s follow-up to the excellent Old Joy tells the simple story of a girl, Wendy (Michelle Williams, whose compelling, vanity-free performance is the film’s glue), and her dog, Lucy (Reichardt’s own dog).
Japanese filmmaker Seijun Suzuki opens his 1963 yakuza actioner with a literal bang as sharply dressed gangsters battle on a dark backcountry road in the Tokyo outskirts. Bullets fly. Autos careen off the road. Bodies pile up. A glorious screen-engulfing car explosion ends this out-of-control melee but kick-starts a dirty Rock & Roll number.
The macho superstars of the 1950s and 1960s had a tough go of it in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Times were changing, they were too old for the hip youth culture of the New Hollywood and their kind of virile, iconic acting had lost favor for the more eccentric and idiosyncratic approaches of Dustin Hoffman, Jack Nicholson and Al Pacino.
A piece of legendary television history, long considered lost but discovered and restored by the Archive of American Television, makes its DVD debut with its crackling, electrifying energy intact. Budd Schulberg wrote What Makes Sammy Run?, a portrait of venal and ignorant but desperately striving, hustling Hollywood studio boss Sammy Glick, way back in 1941.
Herk Harvey’s classic 1962 low-budget horror flick Carnival of Souls is twisted into an odd, disquieting but ultimately unsatisfying thriller in the new effort from German filmmaker Christian Petzold. Nina Hoss stars as the titular Yella, who decides to flee her abusive husband in the countryside for a new life and job in the city.
Walt Disney ran into roadblocks with Bambi. Struggling with the script and overall structure, he delayed its release and began work on Pinocchio — a story from Italian author Carlo Collodi about the adventures of a wooden puppet who becomes a real boy. But Disney again strained over the script, revising and tweaking a story that was episodic in nature.
I wish that I didn’t have to review Timecrimes. Not that I didn’t like it — quite the opposite. This Spanish sci-fi thriller is one of the most original films released in years. Why the hesitation? Simple. In order to experience this intense mind-fuck puzzle to its fullest, confronting it blank is essential.
Another holocaust film? Hollywood has riddled us with dozens of
Another holocaust film? Hollywood has riddled us with dozens of these movies since the release of Schindler’s List back in 1993. Mark Herman’s The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is set apart due to the perspective in which we are placed throughout the film.
Herman’s The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is set apart d
Steven Sebring spent 11 years working on this film about Rock icon/poet/activist Patti Smith, as worthy a subject for a documentary as anyone in Pop music. But his project at some point overwhelmed him.