Drama

Jules Dassin – 10:30 P.M. Summer (1966)

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Description: During a terrible thunderstorm, a married couple, Maria and Paul, travelling with their friend, Claire, take refuge in a small Spanish hotel. That night, while witnessing Paul and Claire making love, a distraught Maria spots a young man wanted for a crime of passion hiding on a rooftop. Compelled to help the murderer elude the authorities, Maria embarks on a dangerous journey that will change her life… forever. Read More »

Jules Dassin – Celui qui doit mourir AKA He Who Must Die (1957)

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Plot Synopsis by Hal Erickson

Celu Qui Doit Mourir (He Who Must Die) represented director Jules Dassin’s first professional collaboration with his future wife, Greek actress Melina Mercouri. Filmed on the island of Crete, the story concerns the efforts by the townspeople to stage their annual Passion Play. The priest in charge of the play, anxious not to rock the boat with the occupying Turks, refuses aid and comfort to a rebellious priest from a battle-scarred village. But three townspeople do their best to help the visiting cleric, an act that splits the town right down the middle and forces the previously benevolent Turkish overlord to take decisive action. Melina Mercouri offers a dry run of her Never on Sunday character as the town trollop. Read More »

Leonardo Di Cesare – Buena vida (Delivery) aka Good Life Delivery (2004)

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Plot
This black comedy is about average people who live in Buenos Aires and are having a hard time making a living.

In the beginning, Hernán (Ignacio Toselli) helps his brother and his wife get ready for a their big move to Spain. His parents are forced to leave Argentina in order to escape the ravages of the country’s economic crisis.
Ignacio Toselli as Hernán..

Hernán is left alone in the Buenos Aires suburbs. He works at an agency delivering messages on a small motorcycle. One day, at a gas station, he meets Pato (Mariana Anghileri), an attractive woman working the pumps. Hernán invites Pato to rent the room his brother vacated.

Pato is a mysterious young woman. She realizes Hernán likes her and she decides to go along in returning his advances.

Yet, Hernán is quite surprised when he comes home one night. Pato’s parents and her young daughter have moved in without giving Hernán a warning. The father, Venancio (Oscar Nuñez), a slick character, thanks Hernán, who thinks the move-in is temporary. Read More »

David Cronenberg – A History of Violence [+Extras] (2005)

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Description: David Cronenberg directed this screen adaptation of a graphic novel by John Wagner and Vince Locke which explores how an act of heroism unexpectedly changes a man’s life. Tom Stall (Viggo Mortensen) lives a quiet life in a small Indiana town, running the local diner with his wife, Edie (Maria Bello), and raising their two children. But the quiet is shattered one day when a pair of criminals on the run from the police walk into his diner just before closing time. After they attack one of the customers and seem ready to kill several of the people inside, Tom jumps to the fore, grabbing a gun from one of the criminals and killing the invaders. Tom is immediately hailed as a hero by his employees and the community at large, but Tom seems less than comfortable with his new notoriety. One day, a man with severe facial scars, Carl Fogarty (Ed Harris), sits down at the counter and begins addressing Tom as Joey, and begins asking him questions about the old days in Philadelphia. While Tom seems puzzled, Carl’s actions suggest that the quiet man pouring coffee at the diner may have a dark and violent past he isn’t eager to share with others — as well as some old scores that haven’t been settled. Read More »

Lloyd Bacon – Marked Woman [+Extras] (1937)

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Bette Davis’ famous walk-out from her home studio of Warner Bros. may have hurt her financially, but in the long run it paid off with bigger parts in better films. Like many Warners films of the period, Marked Woman was “torn from today’s headlines.” Specifically, it was inspired by the recent downfall of gangster Lucky Luciano, who at one time controlled all prostitution activities in New York.

The ladies herein are euphemistically characterized as “night club hostesses,” but when Luciano look-alike Johnny Vanning (Eduardo Cianelli) shows up at a fancy clip-joint to give the girls their marching orders, the audience can tell exactly what’s going on. Read More »

David Cronenberg – Crash (1996)

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Quote:

Adapted from the controversial novel by J.G. Ballard, Crash will either repel or amaze you, with little or no room for a neutral reaction. The film is perfectly matched to the artistic and intellectual proclivities of director David Cronenberg, who has used the inspiration of Ballard’s novel to create what critic Roger Ebert has described as “a dissection of the mechanics of pornography.” Filmed with a metallic color scheme and a dominant tone of emotional detachment, the story focuses on a close-knit group of people who have developed a sexual fetish around the collision of automobiles. They use cars as a tool of arousal, in which orgasm is directly connected to death-defying temptations of fate at high speeds. Ballard wrote his book to illustrate the connections between sex and technology–the ultimate postmodern melding of flesh and machine–and Cronenberg takes this theme to the final frontier of sexual expression. Holly Hunter, James Spader, and Deborah Unger are utterly fearless in roles that few actors would dare to play, and their surrender to Cronenberg’s vision makes Crash an utterly unique and challenging film experience. Read More »

Joseph Cedar – Hearat Shulayim aka Footnote (2011)

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*Nominated for Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 2012.

*Best Screenplay at Cannes 2011.

The story of a great rivalry between a father and son, both eccentric professors in the Talmud department of Hebrew University in Jerusalem. The son has an addictive dependency on the embrace and accolades that the establishment provides, while his father is a stubborn purist with a fear and profound revulsion for what the establishment stands for, yet beneath his contempt lies a desperate thirst for some kind of recognition. The Israel Prize, Israel’s most prestigious national award, is the jewel that brings these two to a final, bitter confrontation. Read More »