Robert Wise – Odds against tomorrow (1959)

oddsagainsttomorrow1959 Robert Wise   Odds against tomorrow (1959)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 Robert Wise   Odds against tomorrow (1959)

SYNOPSIS
ODDS AGAINST TOMORROW, a crackling crime caper with an undercurrent of racial tension, combines the desperation of three men–two of whom hate each other–and the culmination of that desperation in the form of a robbery. The film, which includes a fantastic jazz score by pianist John Lewis of the Modern Jazz Quartet, is a film noir gem. David Burke (Ed Begley), a former policeman who once served a prison sentence, has asked bigoted southerner Earl Slater (Robert Ryan) to rob an upstate bank with him, promising him $50,000 in small bills if the robbery is successful. Burke also recruits Johnny Ingram (Harry Belafonte, who also helped produce the film), a nightclub entertainer who doesn’t want the job but who is hopelessly addicted to gambling and is in debt. At first Slater, who is supported by his girlfriend, Lorry (Shelley Winters), finds out Ingram is black and refuses the job but, realizing he needs the money, decides after all to join Ingram and Burke in the venture. When they embark on the robbery, however, all hell breaks loose as danger–and the tension between Ingram and Slater–mount. Continue reading

Robert Bresson – L’Argent (1983)

UWvA9T Robert Bresson   LArgent (1983)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 Robert Bresson   LArgent (1983)

Dave Kehr of the Chicago Reader wrote:
Robert Bresson’s 1983 film returns to some of the themes of his earlier work–the notion of stolen grace from Pickpocket, the suppression of scenes in favor of a continuous flow of action from A Man Escaped–but there is also a new passion and electricity in Bresson’s minimalist images; it nowhere feels like the work of an 80-year-old man. Among the violent events are a bank robbery, a car chase, a prison insurrection, and a series of brutal murders; the world is ready to explode into chaos, but Bresson retains his contemplative distance, searching for the sense in which this “avalanche of evil” can lead to the ultimate spiritual victory of his protagonist. Bresson, working his sound track as assiduously as his visuals, once again makes us realize how little use most films make of the resources of the cinema. A masterpiece. 90 min. Continue reading

Lucas Belvaux – 38 témoins AKA One Night (2012)

LS6KQu Lucas Belvaux   38 témoins AKA One Night (2012)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 Lucas Belvaux   38 témoins AKA One Night (2012)

A brutal murder in Le Havre: 38 people must have noticed, but say they heard or saw nothing. A claustrophobic, moving, beautifully shot film with a strong cast including Yvan Attal, Sophie Quinton and Nicole Garcia. A clear picture of what fear and shame do to people.

Outside an apartment complex in the French port city of Le Havre, a female student is gruesomely murdered in the middle of the night. The complex’s 38 inhabitants say they heard or saw nothing. Until one of them, the introverted pilot Pierre (Yvan Attal), decides to break the silence. He admits to the police that he was awakened by a desperate, primeval cry. A cry that cannot have escaped his neighbours’ attention. Continue reading

Howard Hawks & W.S. Van Dyke – The Prizefighter and the Lady (1933)

BAMe6w Howard Hawks & W.S. Van Dyke   The Prizefighter and the Lady (1933)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 Howard Hawks & W.S. Van Dyke   The Prizefighter and the Lady (1933)

Plot: Steve is just a heavy duty bartender when Edwin J. Bennett, known as the Professor, starts training him for the ring. While doing road work, he is almost killed by a speeding car which crashes into a ditch. In the car is Belle Mercer and her driver. Steve takes Belle to a farmhouse and is smitten by her, but she is Willie Ryan’s Girl. The fight is a breeze and later, Steve again meets Belle with Willie. That night, Steve and Belle disappear and return married, much to the disappointment of Ryan. Then Steve starts training in ernest and is 19 for 19 in the ring. However, he has an eye for the women and an expanding ego to match. Written by Tony Fontana Continue reading

Brian Knappenberger – The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz (2014)

babLWt Brian Knappenberger   The Internets Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz (2014)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 Brian Knappenberger   The Internets Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz (2014)

The Internet’s Own Boy follows the story of programming prodigy and information activist Aaron Swartz. From Swartz’s help in the development of the basic internet protocol RSS to his co-founding of Reddit, his fingerprints are all over the internet. But it was Swartz’s groundbreaking work in social justice and political organizing combined with his aggressive approach to information access that ensnared him in a two-year legal nightmare. It was a battle that ended with the taking of his own life at the age of 26. Aaron’s story touched a nerve with people far beyond the online communities in which he was a celebrity. This film is a personal story about what we lose when we are tone deaf about technology and its relationship to our civil liberties. Continue reading

Michel Deville & Charles Gérard – Une Balle dans le Canon AKA A Bullet in the Gun Barrel (1958)

Zo6KOH Michel Deville & Charles Gérard   Une Balle dans le Canon AKA A Bullet in the Gun Barrel (1958)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 Michel Deville & Charles Gérard   Une Balle dans le Canon AKA A Bullet in the Gun Barrel (1958)

Synopsis
The story concerns a couple of ex-servicemen who engineer a robbery, only to run afoul of professional criminals.

Dick et Tony, parachutistes rapatriés d’Indochine ont accepté de rendre un petit service au Maltais. Pour une commission de deux millions de francs, ils ont fait transiter 25 millions, mais au moment de rendre l’argent, le Maltais n’est pas là. Ils investissent alors cet argent dans une boîte de nuit.
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James Foley – After Dark, My Sweet (1990)

C8nvE0 James Foley   After Dark, My Sweet (1990)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 James Foley   After Dark, My Sweet (1990)

The movie, based on a novel by Jim Thompson, the poet of circa-1950 pulp noir, has a stubborn, sullen truth to it, focusing on its handful of characters during the course of a particularly incompetent kidnapping. The story is so intimate that everything depends on the performances, and Jason Patric, Rachel Ward and Bruce Dern, and a character actor named George Dickerson, bring a grim, poetic sadness to the story. Film noir, we are reminded, is not about action and victory, but about incompetence and defeat. If it has a happy ending, something went wrong…
“After Dark, My Sweet” is the movie that eluded audiences; it grossed less than $3 million, has been almost forgotten, and remains one of the purest and most uncompromising of modern films noir. It captures above all the lonely, exhausted lives of its characters…
It begins with exhaustion and despair, stirs itself into half-hearted evil, and then in a final desperate sequence finds barely
enough heroism to bring itself to a stop again. I have seen “After Dark, My Sweet” four times, and it only deepens with the retelling.–Roger Ebert
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pixel James Foley   After Dark, My Sweet (1990)