Musical

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 »

      Franco Zeffirelli – The Taming of the Shrew (1967)

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      Quote:
      Liz and Dick (a.k.a. Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton) almost seemed to be importing the psychodramas of their marriage into this 1967 film (of course, the same was true of every film they made together). Adapted from Shakespeare’s play and directed by Franco Zeffirelli (Romeo and Juliet) with his usual eye for sumptuousness, this version of Taming features a particularly boisterous, bawdy, fun performance by its stars. Composer Nino Rota–best known for scoring several of Fellini’s best-known works–received a National Board of Reviews award for his vivid soundtrack. –Tom Keogh Read More »

        Carlos Saura – Tango [+Extras] (1998)

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        When the idea of a film about the tango was proposed to director Carlos Saura by a producer, the director spent several months hammering out a scenario that used dance to propel the story about a dancer, Mario Suárez (Miguel Ángel Solá), injured in a recent car accident and freshly divorced, using a film about the tango to heal some deep personal wounds.

        Woven into the dances-within-a-film-within-a-film are pieces evoking the tango as the social glue of Argentinian culture, as well as the music’s function during the dark years under Juan Peron, when tango music was played loud by the secret service to smother the cries of torture sessions.

        Repression is more or less linked through Mario’s own need to repress his still-broiling feelings for ex-wife Laura Fuentes (Cecilia Narova) who’s a key dancer in his film, as well as emerging feelings for Elena Flores (Mía Maestro), the young dancer he casts at the behest of the production’s biggest financier, a major mafia figure. Read More »

          Abdellatif Kechiche – Sueur (2008)

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          Filmed in a reformed train Wagon, sueur follows the performance as a belly
          dancer of The secret of the Grain lead actress, Hafsia Herzi, who dances on
          hot and popular musics. Read More »

            Malcolm J. Thomson – David Bowie – Love You Till Tuesday (1969)

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            Love You till Tuesday was a promotional film designed to showcase the talents of David Bowie, made in 1969. The film was the latest attempt by his manager, Kenneth Pitt, to bring Bowie to a wider audience. Pitt had undertaken the film after a suggestion by Gunther Schnedier, producer of German TV show ‘4-3-2-1 Musik Für Junge Leute’ for the ZDF network. Read More »

              Garin Nugroho – Opera Jawa aka Requiem from Java [+Extras] (2006)

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              Quote:

              Inspired by ‘The Abduction of Sita’ from the ancient Indian and South East-Asian literary classic The Ramayana, OPERA JAWA is a unique musical tale of love, lust and tragedy. Setio and his wife Siti, own a pottery business in a small village ran by Ludiro, a powerful and ruthless businessman. Ludiro, who is in love with Siti, seizes his chance when the couple’s business collapses. He abducts and tries to seduce Siti. The two men fight and inevitably jealousy spills over into violence and tragedy. Read More »