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William Friedkin – The French Connection (1971)

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Quote:

“The French Connection” is routinely included, along with “Bullitt,” “Diva” and “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” on the short list of movies with the greatest chase scenes of all time. What is not always remembered is what a good movie it is apart from the chase scene. It featured a great early Gene Hackman performance that won an Academy Award, and it also won Oscars for best picture, direction, screenplay and editing.

The movie is all surface, movement, violence and suspense.
Roger Ebert Read More »

Jay Duplass & Mark Duplass – The Puffy Chair (2005)

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From Time Out London
‘I’ve got about 50 fuckin’ thoughts and strategies about how some shit is and I don’t know fuckin’ shit.’ Such is the lament of Josh (Mark Duplass, who co-wrote the script with director brother Jay), a would-be indie rocker turned booking agent adrift in an indefinite state of petulant post-adolescence. Josh leads his doormat girlfriend, Emily (Kathryn Aselton), and his hippy-dippy brother, Rhett (Rhett Wilkins), on a quest to retrieve an eBay purchase: the titular piece of furniture, seemingly identical to one from Josh’s youth, and therefore a big red hint about the approximate end-point of everyone’s emotional development. Holding up a mirror to slacker-manqué solipsism isn’t necessarily much more intriguing than the thing in itself, but the Duplass brothers are merciless in digging pot holes and contriving road blocks for the claustrophobic, infuriating road trip that ensues. Josh and Emily’s curdled intimacy rings painfully true, and a memorably aborted dinner early on rhymes with the film’s perfectly abrupt ending; when everyone finally shuts up, the silence is startling. Read More »

Roland Kibbee – The Midnight Man (1974)

The Midnight Man is one of the eerier and more startling mystery films of its period, sustaining for nearly two hours a mood that veers very carefully between seductive, quiet lyricism and lurking violence and despair. It was something of a tour de force for Burt Lancaster, who not only starred in it, but also co-directed the movie (with Roland Kibbee, who did most of the directing) and co-authored the screenplay, also with Kibbee. The plot is one of the more violent and complex in a mystery of this era, hinged around a series of seemingly unrelated events, starting with a robbery that turns more vicious than it needs to for no good reason, and leading to a series of shootings, bludgeonings, and other mayhem that leaves a bloody stain across its small border-state college-town setting. Read More »

Edward H. Griffith – Another Language (1933)

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Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Given the usual pedestal upon which mothers were placed by MGM head Louis Mayer, it’s all the more amazing that Mayer gave the go-ahead for Another Language. Louise Closser Hale plays a domineering matriarch who controls the lives of her grown, married sons, using a fabricated heart condition to keep them in line. Helen Hayes marries youngest son Robert Montgomery, only to sit by in mute horror as Mother exerts her authority over her timorous offspring at a weekly family get-together. At the end, only Hayes and Montgomery’s nephew John Beal have the courage to break the apron strings, but not without the formidable opposition of Monster Mom. Based on the Broadway play by Rose Franken, Another Language represented the screen debut of Margaret Hamilton, recreating the supporting role she’d played on stage. Read More »

Jeff Feuerzeig – Half Japanese: The Band That Would Be King (1993)

Jad and David Fair are Half Japanese, “The World’s Greatest Underground Band” and the most unlikely pair of rock heroes as can be imagined. Half Japanese play their hearts out on rooftops and nursing home back porches while overzealous fans and rock critics plot the next Beatlemania that never comes. A conspiracy of the Corporate Rock world? Perhaps. Read More »

George C. Stoney – All My Babies (1952)

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Quote:
One of the first and most important films to treat child birth as a human event and to show it fully. This documentary of a compassionate Black midwife at work in the deep South remained restricted to medical personnel for many years. One cannot recall a more moving, humanist portrayal of the wonder and pain of the event. Read More »

Michael Tully – Silver Jew (2007)

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IMDB member description:
An intimate portrait of reclusive poet/musician David Berman and his band the Silver Jews. In the midst of their first ever world tour in the summer of 2006, David, his wife Cassie, and the rest of the band–Tony Crow (keyboards), Brian Kotzur (drums), Peyton Pinkerton (guitar), and William Tyler (guitar)–stopped off in Israel to play two shows in Tel Aviv and visit Jerusalem. Read More »