Robert Altman – Secret Honor (1984)


Robert Altman’s electric 1984 filmed version of the play by Donald Freed and Arnold M. Stone, starring the inimitable Philip Baker Hall as Tricky Dick, in a one-man show.

From Time Out London:
Alone in his study late at night, Richard Milhouse Nixon ponders the pardon he’s been offered for the Watergate scandal, and contrasts his secret honour with his public shame. Cue for raving resentment galore and perceptive insights into the politics of power and money. Made with a student crew at the University of Michigan, Altman’s one-man theatrical adaptation, for all its dense verbosity, is resolutely cinematic, employing a prowling camera to illuminate the dark areas of its melancholy, megalomaniac hero’s soul. While Baker Hall, ranting with drunken fervour at presidential portraits and a bank of security videos, suggests nothing less than a sometimes lucid, sometimes lunatic incarnation of mediocrity, irredeemably tainted by fame and failure. Fascinating stuff. –Geoff Andrew Continue reading

Kelly Reichardt – Certain Women (2016)


Three strong-willed women (Kristen Stewart, Laura Dern, Michelle Williams) strive to forge their own paths amidst the wide-open plains of the American Northwest: a lawyer who finds herself contending with both office sexism and a hostage situation; a wife and mother whose determination to build her dream home puts her at odds with the men in her life; and a young law student who forms an ambiguous bond with a lonely ranch hand. Continue reading

Étienne Faure – Bizarre (2015)


If there was one feature that lived up to its title in Berlin this year, it’s Bizarre, French director Etienne Faure’s squiggle of a film about a directionless and taciturn French teenager — with the prerequisite pout, hard abs and studiedly nonchalant way of always being semi-disrobed — who finds refuge in a Bushwick burlesque bar run by two girlfriends who are into (rather explicit) sex with other guys. Often indeed too bizarre for words, this collection of sounds and images in desperate need of a plot, or even just some recognizable human behavior, will appeal to that shady part of the queer market where young cuties plus the promise of nudity are enough for at least some VOD and DVD sales. Continue reading

Max Nosseck – Dillinger (1945)


Willie Sutton robbed banks during the Depression because, he explained, “That’s where the money is.” Former Indiana farmboy John Dillinger also knew where the money was. And his string of early-1930s heists, murders and daring jailbreaks were so bold and notorious he became Public Enemy #1. Dillinger, Oscar-nominated* for its screenplay, is the bullet-paced story of the man whose crimes captivated and terrified the nation. Lawrence Tierney plays the title role, breaking free of screen anonymity and moving into a 50-year tough-guy career that would include 1947’s Born to Kill and 1992’s Reservoir Dogs. Perhaps it was a brutal early prison stretch that turned Dillinger from kid to killer. Perhaps he was a murderous thug to his core. Either way, Dillinger presents his story with Film noir style and lets you decide.

— dvdbeaver Continue reading