Joe D’Amato – The Emporer Caligula: The Untold Story AKA Caligula 2 (1982)

from IMDB:
The deranged Roman emperor Gainus ‘Caligula’ (Little Boots) Caesar (12-41 A.D.) rules Rome with an iron fist and has anyone tortured and exectued for even the slightest insubordination. Mostly set during his last year of his reign, as Caligula loses support due to his brutal and crazed excess, a young Moor woman, named Miriam, becomes his lover while ploting to kill him to avenge the murder of a friend which Caligula was responsible for. But Miriam is torn between her personal vandeda against Caligula and her own personal feelings towards him despite his madness and debauched lifestyle of orgies and bloody torture murders. Written by Matthew Patay Read More »

Miguel Gomes – Aquele Querido Mes de Agosto AKA Our Beloved Month of August (2008)

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Despite a complete lack of financing and cast, driven young director Miguel Gomes is hell-bent on making a film and dives headlong into a cinematic kaleidoscope. With a camera and a small crew, Gomez travels to a remote Portuguese mountainside, where the Pardieiros music festival is under way, and begins filming the townsfolk. While the festival sets one’s eyes ablaze and toes tapping, Gomes finds a narrative slowly and sneakily emerging. Locations, songs, and characters from the documentary are recast as echoes of their former selves. Townspeople are reincarnated as members of a family band and incestuous subplots unfold. These colliding realities beg the question: Is the beginning of the film merely research for following fiction? Is truth a rehearsal for fiction here, or is it the other way around? This one-of-a-kind diptych probes the intersection of documentary and fiction filmmaking, suggesting that story and reality are echoes of one another. Ravishingly photographed and brilliantly assembled, Our Beloved Month of August is a travelogue to get lost in, an indigenous film created by tourists. It’s also a window into a fascinating filmmaking process that continues to unravel long after the credits roll. Read More »

Elia Kazan – The Sea of Grass (1947)

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This western begins with St. Louis resident Lutie Cameron (Katharine Hepburn) marrying New Mexico cattleman Col. James B. ‘Jim’ Brewton (Spencer Tracy) after a short courtship. When she arrives in “Salt Fork, NM” she finds that her new husband is considered by the locals to be a tyrant who uses force to keep homesteaders off the government owned land he uses for grazing his cattle–the so-called Sea of Grass. Lutie, has difficulty reconciling her husband’s beliefs and passions with her own. Written by kzmckeown Read More »

Catherine Breillat – Sex Is Comedy (2002)

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From The New York Times:

By A. O. SCOTT

Published: October 20, 2004

Thanks to movies like “36 Fillette,” “Romance” and “Fat Girl,” Catherine Breillat has acquired a reputation for both fearlessness and perversity. Her two most recent movies, “Anatomy of Hell” and “Sex Is Comedy,” arriving in New York theaters within a week of each other, will no doubt extend that reputation, though in different ways. The newer movie, “Anatomy of Hell,” which opened last Friday, takes her fascination with female sexuality to a new extreme of literal-minded explicitness. “Sex Is Comedy,” which was completed in 2002 and which opens at Film Forum in Manhattan today, is much less graphic than “Anatomy,” and it is probably Ms. Breillat’s most restrained and self-critical film. There is less nudity and less on-screen sex than in her previous movies, but a good deal more self-exposure. Read More »

Jay Duplass – Baghead (2008)

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Quote:
Following up on the surprise success of their micro-budget production THE PUFFY CHAIR (2005), brothers Jay and Mark Duplass turn their handheld DV camera toward skewering the pretentiousness of the independent film world while tossing in a few horror film scares for good measure. The result is entertaining and unique, with enough laughs, insight, and excitement for adventurous viewers. After seeing the accolades heaped up on a colleague for his laughable film (WE ARE NAKED) at a Los Angeles film festival, Matt (Ross Partridge) decides that he can do better. With his sometime girlfriend, Catherine (Elise Muller), and friends Michelle (Greta Gerwig, HANNAH TAKES THE STAIRS) and Chad (Steve Zissis) in tow, they immediately set off to a cabin in the woods for the weekend to create the film that will make them all famous on the festival circuit. While Chad focuses his energy on winning the affections of uninterested Michelle, Matt comes up with the cinematic construct of a stranger with a paper bag on his head terrorizing a group of people in the woods. After the initial evening of alcoholic brainstorming, though, the idea becomes reality, and the friends’ relationships are tested as they find themselves in a truly scary situation. The idea for BAGHEAD was hatched on the set of the THE PUFFY CHAIR when, during a discussion requesting those involved to think of the scariest thing imaginable, someone said, “A guy with a bag on his head staring into your window.” Though it may be a flimsy starting point for a film, the Duplasses surround the idea with a believable cast, truthful insight into relationships, and a few genuine chills. The result is clever, funny, and refreshingly difficult to classify. Read More »

Atom Egoyan – Calendar [+Extras] (1993)

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Atom Egoyan directs and stars in this painfully honest account of an Armenian photographer’s search for love in spite of himself. His marriage in tatters, he starts dating again, but can’t quite jump in with both feet, and his heart, first. With every date, he puts the women through the paces, asking them to make sexually charged phone calls to others. When he finally meets his match, his ex suddenly comes back into the already murky picture.
-netflix synopsis Read More »

Yasujirô Ozu – Shukujo to hige aka The Lady And The Beard [+Extras] (1931)

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The Lady and the Beard, directed by Yasujiro Ozu and starring Tokihiko Okada, is a charming light comedy about a young man who graduates from college, falls in love, shaves his beard at his lady’s suggestion, and finds a job. It’s very charming, and very light. Even my brief summary suggests more plot than actually exists. The film is largely a series of comic vignettes about a vibrant young man and three young women of differing temperaments who take an interest in him. [commentarytrack.com]
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