P. P. Rider is a Japanese film dealing with three teenagers who set out to recover a kidnapped schoolmate. This capsule description, while accurate enough, makes the film sound rather like something Disney used to make to fill a couple spare weeks on his TV show. P. P. Rider isn’t that at all. It certainly wasn’t made for children.
Written by Leonard Schrader and his wife Chieko Schrader. Continue reading
This spellbinding documentary follows Aisholpan, a 13-year-old nomadic Mongolian girl who is fighting to become the first female eagle hunter in twelve generations of her Kazakh family. Through breathtaking aerial cinematography and intimate verite footage, the film captures her personal journey while also addressing universal themes like female empowerment, the natural world, coming of age and the onset of modernity. Continue reading
The biblical tale of Joseph is told from an Egyptian perspective in this interesting character study. In this film, Joseph is called Ram. Ram, tired of his family’s backward superstitious life, and tired of being picked on by his brothers, wants to go to Egypt to study agriculture. His brothers travel with him across Sinai, but then suddenly sell him to Ozir, an Egyptian who works for a Theban military leader, Amihar. Amihar is impressed by Ram’s drive and personal charm and so grants Ram some desolate land outside the capital. Ram soon finds himself a pawn in the political and sexual games between Amihar and his wife Simihit, a high priestess of the Cult of Amun. Continue reading
From Reel Film Reviews:
The Mosquito Coast, based on the novel by Paul Theroux, manages to do the impossible: It makes Harrison Ford come off as a jerk. But despite this (or maybe because of this), The Mosquito Coast is a compelling little movie.
Ford stars as Allie, a brilliant inventor who’s never really put his talents to good use. He spends much of his time lamenting the current state of America, which is chock full of fast food joints and welfare leeches. Along with his wife and three kids, he lives a fairly comfortable life – taking odd jobs repairing things. In his spare time, he just happens to invent things like a machine that can instantly make ice using fire as fuel. But one day, he gets sick of the American way of life and convinces his family to move to a place called the Mosquito Coast somewhere in South America. He’s actually purchased a small area of land in that vicinity, which basically makes him mayor with a constituency of around 20 people. Allie and family proceed to turn the villagers lives upside down, initially for the better (they build quite an impressive little town, complete with a gigantic ice-making machine), but eventually, Allie begins to relish the power a bit too much and it’s all downhill from there. Continue reading
While enjoying a romantic stay in a remote mountain cabin, Maria and Hans (Leni Riefenstahl and Ernst Petersen) discover a logbook revealing the tragic tale of Dr. Johannes Krafft (Gustav Diessl). He lost his wife in an avalanche, and wanders the faces of Pitz Palu seeking to reclaim her frozen corpse. On the anniversary of her death, Krafft appears at the cabin, and Maria and Hans volunteer to join him on the next leg of his grim expedition. A series of unfortunate events leaves the three stranded on the dreaded north face without shelter or supplies. While Johannes’s loyal friend (Otto Spring) leads a spectacular torch-lit rescue effort through the icy glacial caves, Johannes, Maria and Hans face the realization that they cannot all survive, and someone is fated to perish in The White Hell of Pitz Palu. Continue reading
Plot Synopsis by Hal Erickson:
No relation to the 1928 Lon Chaney vehicle of the same name, the British West of Zanzibar was filmed on location in East Africa. Game ranger Bob Payton (Anthony Steel) makes it his mission in life to capture the head of a vicious ivory-smuggling racket. Payton tracks his quarry through some of the most treacherous passages of the Zanzibar territory. Despite such obstacles as crocodiles and rhinos, Steel finally corners the villain, who turns out to be. . . Well, the ending needn’t be spoiled here. The most fascinating aspect of West of Zanzibar is its accuracy in depicting native customs and values. Continue reading
For much of the time, the location consisted of three differently-sized rafts slowly gliding down the head-waters of the mighty Amazon river: one for the action proper, a second to set up the camera on, and a third one, dangling a few miles behind so as not to be in frame, providing basic accommodation and meals. Scorching sun, high humidity and mosquitoes galore took their toll. At one point Kinski, forever true to his reputation, insisted on the fulfilment of his contract: if no air-con room at night, no work. With this luxury about 1,000 km away, Herzog saw only one chance to save his film: at gunpoint he threatened to kill Kinski and later explain his disappearance with an unfortunate incident in the perilous waters. As we all know, Kinski kept on working. Continue reading