Michael Tully – Septien (2011)

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Sydney Film Festival wrote:
If Ingmar Bergman had wandered into rural Tennessee and downed a few too many shots of moonshine he might have made something like this bizarre and compelling family drama. Mixing elements of Southern Gothic, sports drama, situation comedy and backwoods horror with biblical overtones, Septien takes us to the very strange farmhouse of the Rawlings brothers. Cornelius (played by writer-director Michael Tully), a Christlike figure and brilliant sportsman, has returned after an 18-year absence. Amos creates grotesque art in the barn, while Ezra dons a frock and does the housework. Then there’s Wilbur Cunningham, who lives in a tyre in the backyard. When a plumbing problem needs fixing the you-know-what really hits the fan. A disturbing, fascinating and darkly comic portrait of family ties, obsession and redemption, Tully’s movie is an American original that’s not to be missed. Continue reading

Coline Serreau – La Belle verte (1996)

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Quote:
Mila (Serreau) lives in a leafy utopia in another neck of the galaxy but, with her part Earth ancestry, has a hankering to look the old place over. She’s dismayed to find inedible food, unbreathable air, noise and a bad idea called money. With her superior mental powers, though, she easily copes with bad tempered motorists, heartless social workers and the like, brainwashing them until they can appreciate the beauty in a lettuce leaf. The film offers acrobats, kittens, an orphan Serbian baby and an unwittingly offputting account of the Green Party line. Continue reading

Hitoshi Matsumoto – Saya zamurai aka Scabbard Samurai (2010)

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Recently widowed samurai Kanjūrō (Nomi Takaaki) puts down his sword and abandons his master, with nine-year-old daughter Tae (Kumada Sea) in tow. Now wanted for desertion, Kanjūrō is captured by a rival lord (Kunimura Jun), who makes an unusual offer. Kanjūrō will be released if he can bring a grin to the lord’s son (Shimizu Shūma), who hasn’t smiled since his mother’s death. If Kanjūrō can’t succeed within thirty days, he must commit seppuku. With the help of his jailers — and some harsh reinforcement from his daughter — the humorless Kanjūrō devises comically desperate (or desperately comic) methods to save his skin and crack the son’s stony exterior. Though more sentimental than writer/director Matsumoto Hitoshi’s previous films (Big Man Japan, Symbol), Scabbard Samurai is unmistakably in the same spirit, with deadpan absurdism and bizarre stunts recalling the variety shows that made his name.) Continue reading

Glenn Gordon Caron – Wilder Napalm (1993)

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Wilder and Wallace are brothers and pyrokinetics. Ever since childhood they’ve been able to start fires with their minds but following a tragedy in which they accidentally killed a man, the brothers have grown up very differently. Wilder has become a regular 9-5 workaday joe but Wallace performs his feats with a traveling circus. When the circus comes to Wilder’s home town Wallace starts coming on strong to Wilder’s wife, Vida who, ironically, is a slight pyromaniac. Written by Stefan Halldorsson Continue reading

Jean-Luc Perreard – Itineraire bis (2011)

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Synopsis:
‘Jean is 35 and still lives with his mother in the small Corsican town where he was born. His future is clearly mapped out for him – to take over the running of the family restaurant. But one day something happens that sets him on new and unexpected course. He meets Nora, a young woman who has just been thrown into the sea from her racing yacht. Nora awakens something in Jean, a sense of adventure, a yearning for new experiences. Jean’s life has only just begun…’
– Films de France Continue reading

W.S. Van Dyke – The Feminine Touch (1941)

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Disgusted by having to pass “pinhead” football heroes in order for his college to soar to football victory, Professor John Hathaway (Don Ameche) takes his leave of Digby College. With his wife Julie (Rosalind Russell) in tow, Hathaway sets out to conquer Manhattan’s literary circles, his scholarly manuscript on the subject of “jealousy” tucked under his arm in the romantic comedy The Feminine Touch (1941). Continue reading

W.S. Van Dyke – I Live My Life (1935)

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Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A brisk romantic/comedy Joan Crawford vehicle capably directed by W.S. Van Dyke and gamely written but not one of the better scripts by Joseph L. Mankiewicz. It’s from the short story “Claustrophobia” by A. Carter Goodloe. It’s the usual class warfare Joan Crawford film of that era with the good looking actress dressed chic and defending her free-spirited upper-class superficial lifestyle in her argumentative romance with the commoner Brian Aherne, who thinks the high society crowd are idlers and lightweights.

Bored heiress Kay Bentley (Joan Crawford) travelling with her dad (Frank Morgan) on his yacht meets on the Greek island of Naxos handsome Irish archaeologist Terry O’Neill (Brian Aherne), who’s on an archaeological dig for the Pygmalion statue. Learning that he thinks very little of the society jet set Kay tells Terry she’s Ann Morrison, the secretary of Mr. Bentley. They kiss and he falls madly in love, surpisingly following the attractive secretary to New York where he hopes to marry her. Learning the truth, the two have a spat but nevertheless grow fonder of each other. Continue reading