Mark Rappaport – Our Stars (2015)

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Stars of the 1940s and 1950s, were they cast for their mutual affinities or for their commercial appeal? If and when they were re-starred years later, did the magic still work? Did sparks still fly? The movie business, a machine that manufactured romance and desire at the same time that it documented the process of aging. A meditation on youth and beauty, aging and box office. Continue reading

Robert Altman – 3 Women (1977)

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David Kehr, Chicago Reader wrote:
Robert Altman’s would-be American art film (1977) is murky, snide, and sloppy, but the director’s off the hook because he dreamed it all. Sissy Spacek and Shelley Duvall are two Texas girls who meet while working in a California sanatorium (courtesy of 81/2) and exchange identities while Altman struggles with feminism and the American dream. As usual, the director plainly despises his characters but offers no alternative to their pettiness, although his sneaky jokes at their expense give the film its only glimmer of style. Continue reading

Lee Frost – The Defilers (1965)

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Quote:
When it came to 1960s schlocky drive-in exploitation fare, there was no more prolific purveyor than producer David F. Friedman. This new Something Weird disc marries two of his seminal ‘roughies’ on DVD, together with some very amusing extras. The roughie was intended as the next step beyond the “nudie cutie”, which was shot in color and might, if you were lucky, show some female breast. The activity was decidedly nonsexual most of the time. The roughie not only went to a grittier black and white presentation, but because of relaxing standards, was able to present more frank nudity and sexual contact than was possible in the nudie cutie, as well as presenting a more violent and exploitative read on sexuality. Done on an ultra-cheap basis, the results are often highly unpleasant to today’s viewer. Yet they do have some appeal as historical artifacts and examples of exploitation at its nastiest. Continue reading

John Cromwell – Jalna (1935)

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In this adaptation of author de la Roche’s chronicle of the passionate lives of the strange Whiteoaks of Jalna, their beautiful family estate located in souther Ontario. The story begins as a young Whiteoak, a novelist travels to New York where he encounters a charming woman, marries her, and takes her back to Jalna. There she encounters many difficulties as she attempts to adjust to life with his odd family. It does not help that several soap-operatic events transpired while he was gone when his brother married the illegitimate daughter of a despised neighbor. One day a “sexy dame” suddenly shows up on the family porch. Soon she and the novelist are trysting away, but before he can consummate their affair he is killed during a terrible fall. The new widow then realizes that it is a different brother that she loves. They soon marry. ~ Sandra Brennan, All Movie Guide Continue reading

Brian de Palma – The Wedding Party (1969)

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This independent film was a joint effort by Sarah Lawrence theatre professor Wilford Leach and two of his students, protégé Brian De Palma and wealthy Cynthia Monroe, who bankrolled the project. The trio shared screen credit as writers, directors, and producers, although it is De Palma’s touch that is most evident in the film’s technical aspects, while Leach’s theatrical background suggests he was responsible for supervising the performances of the ensemble cast.
The film was made in 1963 but not released until six years later, after one of its supporting players, Robert De Niro, had begun to draw notice for his work in off-Broadway theatre and De Palma’s 1968 release Greetings. Also in the cast were Jennifer Salt and William Finley, both of whom were De Palma regulars, and fellow Sarah Lawrence student Jill Clayburgh as the bride-to-be.
(from wiki) Continue reading

Jack Conway – Arsène Lupin (1932)

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Synopsis by Mark Deming
John Barrymore plays a burglar and his brother Lionel Barrymore is the detective trying to catch him in this cleverly cast drama. An upscale thief who works under the name of Arsene Lupin is making the rounds of the homes of the wealthy and privileged, and Detective Guerchard (Lionel Barrymore) is determined to track him down. What he doesn’t know is that the suave and sophisticated Duke of Charmerace (John Barrymore) is actually the man behind the robberies. Will Guerchard find out the thief’s true identity before he can execute a daring theft from the Louvre Museum? Karen Morely co-stars as Sonia, the Duke’s love interest. Continue reading