Musical

Wim Wenders – Buena Vista Social Club (1999)


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A group of legendary Cuban musicians, some as old as their nineties, were brought together by Ry Cooder to record a CD. In this film, we see and hear some of the songs being recorded in Havana. There is also footage from concerts in Amsterdam and New York City’s Carnegie Hall. In addition, many of the individual musicians talk about their lives in Cuba and about how they got started in music. Read More »

John Carney – Once (2006)

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An (unnamed) Guy is a Dublin guitarist/singer-songwriter who makes a living by fixing vacuum cleaners in his Dad’s Hoover repair shop by day, and singing and playing for money on the Dublin streets by night. An (unnamed) Girl is a Czech who plays piano when she gets a chance, and does odd jobs by day and takes care of her mom and her daughter by night. Guy meets Girl, and they get to know each other as the Girl helps the Guy to put together a demo disc that he can take to London in hope of landing a music contract. During the same several day period, the Guy and the Girl work through their past loves, and reveal their budding love for one another, through their songs.

Charles Delacroix Read More »

Saman Moghaddam – Maxx [+Extras] (2005)

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Plot summary:
A smash hit in Iran, MAXX is a delightful musical comedy starring a cast of fresh faces, including Farhad Ayish in the title role. In this hilarious tale of mistaken identity, Maxx, a performer in a Los Angeles nightclub, receives an invitation to participate in a musical festival in Tehran. Upon arriving in Iran, Maxx is astounded by the warm welcome and at the many invitations to important cultural events. Little does he know that his invitation was originally intended for a prominent symphony conductor with a similar name. When authorities in Tehran discover Maxx is a rapper, chaos erupts. Read More »

Woody Allen – Everyone Says I Love You (1996)

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Roger Ebert says this:

“Here is a movie that had me with a goofy grin plastered on my face for most of its length. A movie that remembers the innocence of the old Hollywood musicals and combines it with one of Allen’s funniest and most labyrinthine plots, in which complicated New Yorkers try to recapture the simplicity of first love. It would take a heart of stone to resist this movie.

…The story involves a lot of Allen’s familiar elements. His character, named Joe, is unlucky in love; he’s a writer who lives in Paris, where his French girlfriend Giselle has just dumped him. He contemplates suicide, and debates the wisdom of taking the Concorde to New York before killing himself (with the time gain, he could get an extra three hours of stuff done and still be dead on schedule). Read More »

Woody Allen – Sweet and Lowdown (1999)


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A comedic biopic focused on the life of fictional jazz guitarist Emmett Ray. Ray was an irresponsible, free-spending, arrogant, obnoxious, alcohol-abusing, miserable human being, who was also arguably the best guitarist in the world. We follow Ray’s life: bouts of getting drunk, his bizzare hobbies of shooting rats and watching passing trains, his dreams of fame and fortune, his strange obsession with the better-known guitarist Django Reinhardt, and of course, playing his beautiful music. Read More »

Vincente Minnelli – Bells Are Ringing [+Extras] (1960)

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Judy Holliday’s final film, Bells Are Ringing, is a tailor-made vehicle
for her brassy talent. She’d won a Tony for the Broadway version of
the show, playing an overly sympathetic telephone receptionist who
gets involved in her customers’ lives. Betty Comden and Adolph Green
adapted their stage musical. Director Vincente Minnelli seems content
to showcase Holliday’s crack comic timing. Despite the somewhat muted
tone, there are delightful bits: a typical Comden & Green showbiz party
(with a number about name-dropping), Frank Gorshin’s send-up of a
Brando-inflected actor, and Dean Martin’s crooning. “The Party’s Over,”
that unforgettable end-of-the-evening lament, and “Just in Time” are
the Jule Styne standards from the score – – – Amazon.com Read More »

Alan Crosland – Big Boy (1930)


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Plot: If faithful Gus can only help the racehorse BIG BOY to win the Kentucky Derby the white folks who employ him will be saved from financial ruin.
Strange, offbeat, bizarre, unique. All of these terms can describe this film which features legendary entertainer Al Jolson in blackface, playing a black man. While acted with tongue very firmly planted in cheek, and meant solely for lighthearted entertainment, this movie will definitely not be to every viewer’s taste. Not until the final minutes does Jolson appear as himself, joking with the audience and reprising the film’s dullest song yet once again. Read More »