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Monday Movie: Nobody Knows, by David Bax

27 Mar

With After the Storm, yet another grand achievement from director Koreeda Hirokazu, currently in theaters, I thought it worth turning my attention back to Nobody Knows, the 2004 film that first made me aware of the director and one that has remained indelible.


BP’s Top 100 Movie Challenge: The Bridge on the River Kwai, by Sarah Brinks

25 Mar

I decided to undertake a movie challenge in 2017. This seemed like a good way to see some classic movies that I have unfortunately never seen – the Battleship Pretension Top 100 provided just that challenge.

One of the reasons I undertook this challenge was to see films I have never seen before but always wanted too. The Bridge of the River Kwai is one of those films. It was also a film that I knew a surprising amount about despite never having seen it. I had seen the big train crash before and the classic whistling soldier’s scene.


Home Video Hovel: The Executioner, by David Bax

24 Mar

Luis García Berlanga’s The Executioner is a dark comedy, all the darker for the fact that it doesn’t, on the surface, feel like one. It’s sunny and frothy, with a predilection for mild physical comedy. But make no mistake, this is a heady yet farcical look at what it means to take another human’s life.


The L.A. Rep-port: 3/24 to 3/30, by Scott Nye

24 Mar

The big happening this week is undoubtedly the annual Noir City series happening at the Egyptian over the next ten days, full of seedy crime films both rare and popular, some virtually unseen and not available on DVD and some standard-bearing classics. This year has an interesting twist – they’re pairing the films by year, showing an A-picture and a B-picture for each night, much as they would have been shown upon release, and proceeding chronologically. They won’t be hitting every year between 1942 and 1953, but they’re getting most of them.

You’re better off just going to the Cinematheque site and browsing the schedule yourself, but my experience with the series over the years has been that it’s hard to really go wrong on any given night. Eddie Muller and Alan Rode of the Film Noir Foundation assemble the program, and they know their stuff, which partially means knowing what plays to an audience. And baby, these films play. I can certainly vouch for This Gun for Hire (1942, 35mm), Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950, DCP), and The Big Heat (1953, DCP), but with titles like Quiet Please, Murder (1942, 35mm), Escape in the Fog (1945, 35mm), Behind Green Lights (1946, 35mm), and I Was a Shoplifter (1949, 35mm), I’m excited to see what’s in store for us.


Prevenge: Baby Bump In the Night, by Tyler Smith

24 Mar

Alice Lowe’s Prevenge is the latest in a recent line of horror movies about women attempting to navigate the difficult paths of motherhood and loss. Films like The Descent and The Babadook explored the emotional terror of trying to hold oneself together in the midst of agonizing grief. Prevenge seems to pay homage to these films – along with a heavy dose of Rosemary’s Baby, for good measure – but adds in a big helping of glib humor that doesn’t always land, but always keeps the film interesting.


The Chicago Rep-port: 3/24 to 3/30, by Aaron Pinkston

23 Mar

Repertory screenings may not be as abundant in Chicago as they are in LA/NY, but when you look around, there are many theatergoing delights. The Chicago Rep-port is a weekly(ish) series highlighting the best and most compelling repertory screenings in the Second City.

For over a decade, the Movieside Film Festival has put on fantastic marathons with the Massacre and Sci-Fi Spectacular, and this weekend they’ll fully venture into the fantasy genre for the first time. The Fantastic Fantasy Film Festival takes place on Saturday, March 25 from noon to 11 pm at the Brew & View at The Vic. The lineup includes:

The Dark Crystal (Jim Henson & Frank Oz, 1982, format unknown)

Flash Gordon (Mike Hodges, 1980, format unknown)

Director’s cut of Legend (Ridley Scott, 1985, format unknown)

Masters of the Universe (Gary Goddard, 1987, format unknown)

Dune (David Lynch, 1984, format unknown)


A Woman, a Part: All Just an Act, by Mat Bradley-Tschirgi

22 Mar

Acting is a tough gig. You go up for auditions trying to score a part, and you fail left and right. Even when you find success, you can feel locked into a certain role because that’s what people expect of you. In A Woman, a Part, writer-director Elisabeth Subrin’s feature debut, we get the tale of an actress stuck in a rut who goes back to her New York digs for some rest and relaxation. What she discovers is not at all what she expected.


Wilson: Cast Away, by David Bax

22 Mar

Craig Johnson’s Wilson (based on the graphic novel by Daniel Clowes and adapted by the author) begins with a sequence of its protagonist awakening to a new day while musing in voiceover narration about his quirky take on the world we live in and life in general. It’s not unlike the opening scenes of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Sure, Wilson (Woody Harrelson) is a middle-aged loner and not a charismatic high schooler. And, yes, his philosophy is less “Life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it” and more “Life is lonely and miserable.” And Wilson unfolds over the course of painful years, not one wacky day. But, at their core, both movies are about oddballs who are resolute in their outlook despite external influences. And both movies are a bit uneven.


Criterion Prediction #81: The Limey, by Alexander Miller

22 Mar

Title: The Limey

Year: 1999

Director: Steven Soderbergh

Cast: Terence Stamp, Peter Fonda, Lesley Ann Warren, Luis Guzman, Barry Newman


Shout!/Scream Factory Prediction #1: The Dead Zone, by Alexander Miller

21 Mar

Title: The Dead Zone

Year: 1983

Director: David Cronenberg

Cast: Christopher Walken, Brooke Adams, Tom Skerritt, Herbert Lom, Colleen Dewhurst, Anthony Zerbe, Martin Sheen