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Criterion Prediction #94: Funeral Parade of Roses, by Alexander Miller

21 Jun

Title: Funeral Parade of Roses (Bara no Soretsu)

Year: 1969

Director: Toshio Matsumoto

Cast: Pîtâ, Yoshio Tsuchiya, Osamu Ogasawara,  Emiko Azuma

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Criterion Prediction #93: Velvet Goldmine, by Alexander Miller

15 Jun

Title: Velvet Goldmine

Year: 1998

Director: Todd Haynes

Cast: Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Toni Collette, Christian Bale, Eddie Izzard

Synopsis: Journalist Arthur Stuart (Bale) is enlisted to investigate the rise and fall of venerated rock idol Brian Slade (Meyers), who faked his assassination ten years prior.

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Home Video Hovel: Voodoo Black Exorcist, by Alexander Miller

8 Jun

With a title like Voodoo Black Exorcist, you might get the impression that this 1974 film would be a knock-off of Friedkin’s movie that came out a year prior. In a surprising turn, this is an oddball horror hybrid pursuing more mythical hallmarks than riding on the coattails of The Exorcist.

I have a genuine, unironic love for Blaxploitation cinema, and the horror films that followed are more credible than their reputations would indicate (though Blackenstein and the Blacula series are more reliable than their reputations would indicate). Voodoo Black Exorcist is a misleading title as the film is more of a vampiric mummy variation and a blaxploitation film by name only; so in the spirit of exploitation cinema, this title is either a cut above or cut below in that it exploits the genre of its namesake.

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Criterion Prediction #92: Effi Briest, by Alexander Miller

7 Jun

Title: Effi Briest

Year: 1974

Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder

Cast: Hanna Schygulla, Ulli Lommel, Wolfgang Schenck, Lilo Pempeit, Herbert Steinmetz

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Past Life: Noise and Strife, by Alexander Miller

2 Jun

In the seventies-set Past Life, writer-director Avi Nesher looks at the proverbial ‘war at home’ when sisters Nana and Sephi begin to question the mysteries that surround their father’s troubled experiences during the Nazi occupation of Poland. This is a film that tackles tough material, and such historically delicate content as the incalculable atrocities endured by the Jewish people will never cease to be haunting. In doing so, Past Life takes a position that dramatic license or narrative structure is going to have an air immediacy and significance; good intentions aside, the film feels as if it’s counting on its material instead of elaborating on it.

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Criterion Prediction #91: Sherman’s March, by Alexander Miller

31 May

Title: Sherman’s March

Year: 1985

Director: Ross McElwee

Cast: Ross McElwee, Charleen Swansea, DeDe McElwee, Patricia Rendleman, Burt Reynolds

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Criterion Prediction #90: Two by Brian De Palma, by Alexander Miller

24 May

Title: Greetings & Hi, Mom!

Year(s): 1968, 1970

Director: Brian De Palma

Cast: Robert De Niro, Jennifer Salt, Gerrit Graham, Jonathan Warden, Allen Garfield, Lara Parker, Paul Bartel
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Criterion Prediction #89: La Chinoise, by Alexander Miller

17 May

Title: La Chinoise

Year: 1967

Director: Jean-Luc Godard

Cast: Anne Wiazemsky, Jean-Pierre Léaud, Juliet Berto, Michel Semeniako, Lex De Bruijn, Omar Diop

Synopsis: A group of leftist students gathers and discusses their Marxist/Socialist ideals, applying them to the recently established Aden Arabie Cell, a Maoist revolutionary group. Around the time of Chairman Mao’s Cultural Revolution, mounting tensions in Vietnam, American imperialism and Brezhnev’s presiding over the Soviet Empire the five members of the Aden Arabie Cell debate the validity of violence and terrorism in their revolutionary cause.

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Criterion Prediction #88: A Matter of Life and Death, by Alexander Miller

10 May

Title: A Matter of Life and Death aka Stairway to Heaven

Year: 1946

Director: Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger

Cast: Kim Hunter, David Niven, Kathleen Byron, Roger Livesey, Richard Attenborough

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Criterion Prediction #87: The Wind, by Alexander Miller

3 May

Title: The Wind

Year: 1928

Director:  Victor Sjöström

Cast: Lillian Gish, Lars Hanson, Dorothy Cumming, Montague Love

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