Ken Russell – Mahler (1974)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Director Ken Russell made a number of biographical films of composers’ lives including The Music Lovers, (about Tchaikovsky) and Lisztomania. Russell embellished the other films with certain characteristic flourishes, which include a focus on the composers’ sexual obsessions, poetically telling anachronisms, and scenes which show Richard Wagner in a bad light. The story of Mahler is recounted in a much less complex and flamboyant manner and is a relatively reverent study of the life and work of Austrian composer Gustav Mahler, here played by Robert Powell. The film tackles the touchy dilemma of Mahler’s Jewishness in the anti-Semitic atmosphere of 19th-century Vienna. He converts to Christianity, which has no effect on his brilliant musical output but which eats away at his physical and mental well-being. Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) was a conductor and composer of the late Romantic era and specialized in huge symphonic works. Though his works were performed widely during his lifetime, they were less and less-often played until Leonard Bernstein’s active campaign on their behalf brought him renewed recognition as a composer of the first rank, every bit the peer of Brahms or Stravinsky. Continue reading

Júlio Bressane – O Mandarim aka The Mandarin (1995)

http://img403.imageshack.us/img403/1147/posteromandarim.jpg

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Quote:
The history of Brazilian popular music in the 20th Century, focusing specially on the life and works of intriguing singer Mário Reis, a loner who, with his special way of singing – whispering and softly saying the words – in a time when singers with potent voices ruled, was in a way a forerunner of Bossa Nova style. Continue reading

Frank Tashlin – The Girl Can’t Help It (1956)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Description:
The Alphabet Murders is a 1965 British detective film based on the novel The A.B.C. Murders by Agatha Christie, starring Tony Randall as Hercule Poirot. The part of Poirot had originally been intended for Zero Mostel but the film was delayed because Agatha Christie objected to the script. The film varies significantly from the novel and emphasises comedy. Continue reading

Frank Tashlin – Artists and Models (1955)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Jonathan Rosenbaum of the Chicago Reader wrote:

Quote:
The best Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis movie (1955) is also Frank Tashlin’s best feature at Paramount, a satire about the comic book craze with explosive uses of color and VistaVision, better-than-average songs, and much-better-than-average costars, especially Dorothy Malone and Shirley MacLaine (the latter giving Lewis a run for his money in terms of goofy mugging). Martin and Malone are comic book artists, MacLaine is a model for the Bat Lady, and Lewis is a deranged fan whose dreams wind up inspiring (or is it duplicating?) comic book stories and the coded messages of communist spies—or something like that. Five cowriters are credited along with Tashlin, but the stylistic exuberance is seamless, and this film eventually wound up providing the inspirational spark for Jacques Rivette’s late, great New Wave extravaganza Celine and Julie Go Boating (1974). With Eva Gabor and Anita Ekberg. 109 min. Continue reading

Anton Corbijn – Linear (2009)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Quote:
“Late May 2008 – at a band meeting I was introduced to the new songs. The reason for letting me in so early on this sonically and lyrically different U2 record is that the band have this idea for me to make some kind of moving imagery to go with the record. The thinking is that as a lot of people buy music from the internet and are likely to hear this on a computer or mp3 player, their listening pleasure could be heightened by visuals. Instead of just seeing a pack shot of the record sleeve, or a still photograph of the band for 45 plus minutes, as is often the case now, why not have a moving image for the duration of the record? It is not essential to the record, you can either watch it or ignore it. Brilliant! As always, U2 are thinking ahead, not so much having one foot in tomorrow’s door, as having built the house to which that door is the entrance. Continue reading

W.S. Van Dyke – Rose-Marie (1936)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Comment from IMDb:
This was the 2nd film venture for Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald. Nelson, the former opera star, as a stalwart Mountie and Jeanette, playing the opera star, she never was in real life. Coasting on the phenomenal success of their first film, this set the tone for their next ones–the formula, great singing, gorgeous setting, supposedly in Canada, but actually filmed in the rustic pre tourist attraction of Lake Tahoe. The 2 stars complemented each other perfectly, a love match on screen as well as off. Jimmy Stewart featured in an early role, and David Niven, wasted as a suitor. Gilda Grey, a famous stripper, managed to wear a revealing dress, that escaped the censors. Allan Jones appeared in 2 opera sequences with Jeanette, and proved once more, he was no threat to Nelson Eddy. Beautiful music, some laughs some tears, and always Nelson and Jeanette–together. Continue reading

Chantal Akerman – Les Années 80 AKA The Eighties (1983)

http://img189.imageshack.us/img189/1103/akerman.png

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

IMDB:
Another Masterpiece by Chantal Akerman, 18 November 2009
10/10
Author: kubrick2899 from Concord, North Carolina

THE EIGHTIES marks the turning point in Chantal Akerman’s career. It stands as the end of her more experimental films of previous years and as the beginning of her more mainstream efforts of later years. The bulk of the film consists of auditions and rehearsals for a musical. In the final act, we get to see some segments of that musical. It’s a wholly original and brilliant motion picture experience. Like most of Akerman’s films, though, it’s not for everyone. Her films are experiences for those who aren’t into mainstream cinema. The songs in the film are catchy and unforgettable, and it’s a special treat to see Akerman herself pop in a few times and give the performers some direction. The only downside of this film is that it’s only available on an old VHS. The Criterion Collection has gotten a hold on her earlier films; maybe some day they’ll get a hold of this one, as well. Another interesting aspect to this film is that it serves as a prelude to her next feature film, GOLDEN EIGHTIES or WINDOW SHOPPING. Continue reading