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Ballerina (2006)
An intimate portrait of five ballerinas from the Kirov.
Filmmaker(s): Bertrand Normand

Ballerina is a 2006 documentary film that follows the training sessions, rehearsals, and everyday lives of five Russian ballerinas at different stages in their career.

Control There are no films like dance films. Dance is one of the few things that is inherently cinematic, especially when the camera moves, perhaps with energy. Ballet on the other hand is not friendly to film, at least the classical Russian model. The choreography is designed...


Published May 16, 2023
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Bad Taste (1987)
Watch out Aliens... here comes Derek!
Filmmaker(s): Peter Jackson

A team from the intergalactic fast food chain Crumb's Crunchy Delights descends on Earth, planning to make human flesh the newest taste sensation. After they wipe out the New Zealand town Kaihoro, the country’s Astro-Investigation and Defense Service (AIaDS) is called in to deal with the problem. Things are complicated due to Giles, an aid worker who comes to Kaihoro the same day to collect change from the residents. He is captured by the aliens, and AIaDS stages a rescue mission that quickly becomes an all-out assault on the aliens’ headquarters.

The World as Hamburger Sometimes, if we are lucky, a film plants itself deep in our souls and thrives there. Other times, a film is something different: an invitation to a party in the world of the filmmaker. In that case, it cannot touch you and...


Published May 16, 2023
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Bad Santa (2003)
He doesn't care if you're naughty or nice.
Filmmaker(s): Terry Zwigoff

A miserable conman and his partner pose as Santa and his Little Helper to rob department stores on Christmas Eve. But they run into problems when the conman befriends a troubled kid.

Inversion It is a simple idea: exploit the sweetness of Christmas by being mean to kids. Superimpose this on the old genre of bad man turns good through an unwanted role as parent. This works only because of extensive script doctoring, thanks to the Coen brothers. If...


Published May 16, 2023
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Bad Influence (1990)
When fantasy becomes a fatal distraction.
Filmmaker(s): Curtis Hanson

Wimpy young executive Michael is about to get pulverized by a jealous boyfriend in a bar when a handsome, mysterious stranger steps in—and then disappears. Later that night, Michael runs into a stranger on a pier, who wheedles his way into Michael's life and turns it upside down.

A Failed Experiment When you encounter a bad movie, the tendency is to just blow it off. After all, most folks are largely incompetent at what they do. But if you check the credentials of the people involved, you have to think again. The writer has written...


Published May 16, 2023
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Bacon Grabbers (1929)
Filmmaker(s): Lewis R. Foster

Laurel and Hardy are debt collectors trying to repossess a console radio.

Destruction This was the 25th short as a team. I’m only now dipping into Laurel and Hardy in a serious way, but the whole 20 year collaboration seems to be based on two things: the comedy of destruction, and a sort of flummoxed humiliation. We laugh at...


Published May 16, 2023
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Baby Daze (1939)
Filmmaker(s): Charles E. Roberts

Edgar starts out in a non-unfamiliar grumpy mood and tells some people off obnoxiously, then becomes overcome with joy and kindheartedness when he discovers that his wife is about to have a baby.

Slow Burn This is included as an extra on the “The Southerner” DVD and is much the better experience. Both films represent a lost attitude in film. This one is worth re-experiencing: the Slow Burn flummox that was invented by this guy, continued in many radio...


Published May 16, 2023
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Ayurveda – Art of Being (2001)
Filmmaker(s): Pan Nalin

Ayurveda is a science of life and a healing art, where body, mind and spirit are given equal importance. This voyage of thousands of miles across India and abroad takes you on a unique poetic journey, where we encounter remarkable men of medicine or simply a villager who lives in harmony with nature. "Hope is nature's way of enabling us to survive so that we can discover nature itself."

Cinematic Cosmologies I suppose there are an infinite number of coherent structures that pockets of people have invented to explain the world to themselves. All of these will be of deep sophistication. All will be constrained by the hard wiring in the human mind and what...


Published May 16, 2023
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Storm Boy (1976)
Wild things should be free.
Filmmaker(s): Henri Safran

Mike is a lonely Australian boy living in a coastal wilderness with his reclusive father. In search of friendship he encounters an Aboriginal native loner and the two form a bond in the care of orphaned pelicans.

Mockingbird I’ve had the advantage of being old, and living in both the US and Australia and raising kids in each. That gives me a perspective on the book before seeing the film. Every so often, a young adult book hits a sweet spot in the...


Published May 16, 2023
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Assault on Precinct 13 (2005)
Unite and fight.
Filmmaker(s): Jean-François Richet

On New Year's Eve, inside a police station that's about to be closed for good, officer Jake Roenick must cobble together a force made up cops and criminals to save themselves from a mob looking to kill mobster Marion Bishop.

Acting by Surrounding This movie is easy to describe. It is a zombie movie. Carpenter’s world is one in which everyone is besieged by demons. It is only a matter of what shape the refuge takes. So he seamlessly maps strong movie situations to this form....


Published May 16, 2023
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Arthur (2011)
Meet the world's only loveable billionaire.
Filmmaker(s): Jason Winer

A drunken playboy stands to lose a wealthy inheritance when he falls for a woman that his family doesn't like.

A Matter of Worlds Remakes embed a history of abstraction, so even though both the concerned films may be trivial and uninteresting, the story of their difference can be quite engaging. The original was simply constructed based on the drunk redemption story spliced onto the flexible rubber...


Published May 16, 2023
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