Monday, June 05, 2017

National Velvet

1944, US, directed by Clarence Brown

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

L'Affaire SK1

2014, France, directed by Frédéric Tellier

Frédéric Tellier's first feature, a well-paced, fact-based procedural that some reviewers characterized as a Gallic Zodiac; however, while there are certain tonal similarities the narration, which proceeds along two tracks, is very different, and we're well aware of the identity of the killer. Indeed, the more apt comparison in some ways is with Bertrand Tavernier's very fine 1992 film L.627, or the multi-year TV series Engrenages, at least in terms of the depiction of the inner workings of a French police unit -- there's even a poster for the earlier film on the wall in the station at one point, as if to underline the connection (or signal the film's aspirations). 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Taking of Pelham One Two Three

1974, US, directed by Joseph Sargent

Saturday, May 13, 2017

The Dressmaker

2015, Australia, directed by Jocelyn Moorhouse

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

A Summer at Grandpa's

1984, Taiwan, directed by Hou Hsiao-Hsien

The mid-1980s produced some very fine coming-of-age films from very varied locations -- Bille August's Zappa and Twist and Shout, Lasse Hallström's My Life as a Dog, or Hou's delicate film, based in part on his screenwriter's memories of a summer spent away from home. As with My Life as a Dog, there's a parental illness in the background, casting an immediate shadow over events, though for the most part the carefree overrides the storm clouds, with the children testing the boundaries of their independence while gathering an understanding of the somewhat different boundaries that apply to adults. Like all of Hou's films, the pace is quite leisurely, with the director allowing scenes to expand in ways that permit the viewer to spend a good deal of time contemplating scenery, sound, and the often picturesque details of small-town life in which the kids make their own schedules. Absolutely absorbing throughout, with Hou drawing lovely performances from the younger cast members.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017


2016, US, directed by Tim Miller

Monday, April 24, 2017


1950, US, directed by Rudolph Maté

A noir with an intriguing narrative strategy, beginning, indelibly, with the protagonist reporting his own murder to the police, before the film switches to flashback mode to fill in the gaps in our understanding. These prove to be many and varied in this rather byzantine plot centered on an incriminating document related to the sale of a quantity of iridium, with our protagonist, Edmond O'Brien, simultaneously trying to unravel his own murder while doing what he can to manage his medical situation. O'Brien plays the role with a suitable sense of urgency, although director Rudolph Maté sometimes undercuts the gathering tension by intercutting conversations with O'Brien's secretary and love interest that don't seem to materially advance the plotline to any great degree. Still, a fine, mostly brisk noir suffused with the sense of paranoia that we've come to associate with the time period/genre.


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Most of the images here are either studio publicity stills or screen captures I've made myself; if I've taken your image without giving you credit, please let me know.

About Me

Boston, Massachusetts, United States