Tony Stone – Peter and the Farm (2016)

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Synopsis:
Peter Dunning is the proud proprietor of Mile Hill Farm, which sits on 187 acres in Vermont. The land’s 38 harvests have seen the arrivals and departures of three wives and four children, leaving Peter with only animals and memories. The arrival of a film crew causes him to confront his history and his legacy, passing along hard-won agricultural wisdom even as he doubts the meaning of the work he is fated to perform until death. Haunted by alcoholism and regret, Peter veers between elation and despair, often suggesting to the filmmakers his own suicide as a narrative device. He is a tragedian on a stage it has taken him most of his life to build, and which now threatens to collapse from under him. At once a postcard from paradise and a cautionary tale for our times, Peter and The Farm sifts through the potential energy of a human life, that which is used and that which is squandered. Continue reading

Ted Bourne & Mary Robertson & Banks Tarver – Trumped: Inside the Greatest Political Upset of All Time (2017)

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In a behind-the-scenes look at the biggest political upset in recent history, Mark Halperin, John Heilemann and Mark McKinnon offer unprecedented access and never-before-seen footage of candidate Trump, from the primaries through the debates to the dawning realization that the controversial businessman will become the 45th President of the United States. Continue reading

Hal Ashby – The Landlord (1970)

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Quote:
At the age of twenty-nine, Elgar Enders “runs away” from home. This running away consists of buying a building in a black ghetto in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn. Initially his intention is to evict the black tenants and convert it into a posh flat. But Elgar is not one to be bound by yesterday’s urges, and soon he has other thoughts on his mind. He’s grown fond of the black tenants and particularly of Fanny, the wife of a black radical; he’s maybe fallen in love with Lanie, a mulatto girl; he’s lost interest in redecorating his home. Joyce, his mother has not relinquished this interest and in one of the film’s most hilarious sequences gives her Master Charge card to Marge, a black tenant and appoints her decorator. Continue reading

Wes Craven – The Hills Have Eyes (1977)

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Sandwiched between his notorious saga of rape, revenge, and realist horror, Last House on the Left (1972), and his franchise-initiating fairytale of supernatural serial killing, A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), Wes Craven’s The Hills Have Eyes tends to get lost in critical discussion of America’s reigning horror auteur. This may be truer today than ever, considering Craven’s meteoric rise to mainstream respectability after the staggering box office success of his Scream trilogy (1996, 1997, 2000), for which he was ‘rewarded’ with the opportunity to direct a Miramax melodrama (Music of the Heart, 1999). A relentless chronicle of violence against and within the bourgeois family unit, Hills usually occupies the role of Craven’s ‘cult classic’ – celebrated by the director’s hardcore fans, appreciated for its low-budget aesthetic, generating semi-ironic readings which praise its archetypal allusions as well as its exploitation movie themes. Continue reading

Phil Karlson – 5 Against the House (1955)

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Synopsis:
Four college buddies enjoy a night at a Reno casino and overhear a cop saying that robbing the casino “cannot be done.” That gets the brainiest rich kid among them thinking up a plan for the perfect robbery. He convinces the others to join in when they hear that it will only be a college hoax, his plan being to let the police know where the money is afterwards. The thing is, one of his friends has a head injury from the war, and has no intention of returning a dime. Continue reading

Hy Hirsh – Gyromorphosis (1954)

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The inherent kinetic qualities are brought into actuality in GYROMORPHOSIS, as seen in the construction-sculpture of Constant Nieuwenhuys of Amsterdam. To realize this aim I have put into motion, one by one, pieces of this sculpture and, with color lighting, filmed them in various detail, overlaying the images on the film as they appear and disappear. In this way I have hoped to produce sensations of acceleration and suspension which are suggested to me by the sculpture itself. – Hy Hirsh Continue reading