Drama

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 »

Claude Lelouch – Vivre pour vivre AKA Live for Life (1967)

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The film won the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

Description: Robert Colomb, a famous TV newscaster, is married to Catherine, but is continually unfaithful. He is about to replace his current mistress, Mireille, with Jacqueline when he meets, and becomes fascinated with Candice. He takes her along on an assignment in Kenya and later establishes an “arrangement” with her in Amsterdam. When he tells Catherine about the affair, she is silent. He is assigned to Viet Nam, tells Candice their affair is over and, to his astonishment, discovers that is more than acceptable to her as she as tired of him. Returning from a Vietnamese prison he decides to return also to Catherine, but discovers she has made a new life for herself. He ponders whether he should break into her life again, rekindle their old love or just disappear from her life. While he is pondering, Catherine—a big hand for the little lady—makes the decision for this selfish and conceited ass. Written by Les Adams (IMDB). Read More »

Don Askarian – Avetik (1992)

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“Avetik” is very much in tradition of the cinema of dreams. A gorgeous and mesmerizing film, “Avetik” both thrills the eye and boggles the mind. It takes you on a journey of the mind that leads to heaven or hell – a succulent garden full of bare-breasted goddesses or a frozen step of devastation and death”. “Askarian is capable of producing images that are unlike anything ever seen before, yet hit you with a primal immediacy”.Hovering between the realms of poetry and history, this stunningly photographed, elegiac work-hot mostly in long takes-mixes cryptic metaphor and fantastic symbolism to tell the story of Avetik, an Armenian filmmaker exiled in Berlin. Director Askarian employs dreamlike images-a crumbling, ancient stone chapel gradually reduced to nothing by the rumbling vibrations of passing military vehicles; a ghostly cemetery of carved tombstones in which a woman takes a starving sheep in her arm and breast-feeds it back to life-to reflect the history of his homeland and shades of his own exile in Germany. In sensuous, lyric tableaux, Askarian explores German racism, the 1915 Armenian genocide, the disastrous earthquake of 1989, tranquil childhood memories, and images inspired by erotic medieval poetry. Read More »

Marco Ferreri – Liza AKA La Cagna [+Extra] (1972)

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synopsis:
This dark offbeat comedy from Marco Ferreri features Marcello Mastroianni and Catherine Deneuve. Mastroianni plays Giorgio, who lives on a island somewhere off the Mediterranean coast of France. He lives there with his dog, and the remains of an old German World War II airbase.

He earns his living drawing cartoons. Liza (Deneuve) swims to the island from a rich man’s yacht, and the yacht’s crew confirm the end of her relationship with the owner by bringing her luggage to the island. She and Giorgio meet and become involved. She is jealous of his relationship with the dog and kills her rival while assuming its duties: wearing a collar, fetching sticks, etc. Read More »