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Brand Upon the Brain! (2006)
Director: Guy Maddin
Drama
Mystery
Comedy

Guy and his sister grow up on an island. His domineering mother keeps watch over everything from the tip of a lighthouse, his eccentric father experiments in the basement laboratory. Then there are the orphans, on whose heads the adoptive parents later find puzzling wounds. Another brother and sister pair is sent to the island: the Lightball Kids, two detectives that are meant to bring light into the darkness. The brothers and sisters are all yanked into the emotional roller coaster of first love, while something cryptic comes to light in the parents' house.

Jalapeno Water Here’s the problem: Maddin is an impressive filmmaker. He is important and has made at least two films that are important to me. But he is not a very interesting person. So when he applies his mastery to making a personal film - a...


Published February 16, 2024
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Silk (2007)
Come Back, or I Shall Die...
Director: François Girard
Drama
Romance

Based on the best-selling novel by Alessandro Baricco, this visually stunning film tells the story of a French trader who finds unexpected love far away from home.

The Folded Letter Gosh, yet another movie with a delicious idea, but mediocre execution. The thing is boring in a pretty way and vaguely calls up romantic notions of singular love. You may not make it until the end, but I urge you to, because the...


Published February 16, 2024
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Crop Circles: Quest for Truth (2002)

Space Between Circles The documentary is an elastic category that doesn’t know itself. Like the crop circles that are the subject of this one, they in more or less intriguing and attractive manner, secure that our need for a ‘message‘ will impose a narrative. Nominally, documentarians are...


Published February 16, 2024
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The Machinist (2004)
How do you wake up from a nightmare if you’re not asleep?
Director: Brad Anderson
Thriller
Drama

Trevor, an insomniac lathe operator, experiences unusual occurrences at work and home. A strange man follows him everywhere, but no one else seems to notice him.

One and a Half One can hope for good films. When preparing for the journey, one communicates with one‘s self about what to expect. If the construction is like this, a ‘puzzle film,‘ then the conversation continues through the film as it sustains two souls watching....


Published February 16, 2024
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The Brothers Bloom (2008)
They'd never let the truth come between them.
Director: Rian Johnson
Adventure
Comedy
Drama
Romance

The Brothers Bloom are the best con men in the world, swindling millionaires with complex scenarios of lust and intrigue. Now they've decided to take on one last job – showing a beautiful and eccentric heiress the time of her life with a romantic adventure that takes them around the world.

Yes I say, Yes Yes (No) The structure here selects one of the few models we have for dramatizing inner complexities. The grand problem is that people are fascinating, but we need a narrative skeleton to ‘see‘ into them. One choice is to take a standard...


Published February 16, 2024
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The Secret Life of Words (2005)
Director: Isabel Coixet
Romance
Drama

A touching story of a deaf girl who is sent to an oil rig to take care of a man who has been blinded in a terrible accident. The girl has a special ability to communicate with the men on board and especially with her patient as they share intimate moments together that will change their lives forever.

Blind Spots, Clarity This is what Cassavedes thinks of as simple and direct theatre, a pipeline to emotions. The idea is to simplify, presumably to purify. We have a remote oil rig with two full characters and a handful of surrounding beings. Our man (played by Tim...


Published February 16, 2024
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Me and Orson Welles (2008)
All's Fair in love and Theater.
Director: Richard Linklater
Drama
History

New York, 1937. A teenager hired to star in Orson Welles' production of Julius Caesar becomes attracted to a career-driven production assistant.

F is for Fake Okay, start with one of the most interesting and influential characters in film. Make a film that has him in it. Take one of the most interesting and theatrical productions in theatre, present it is as film and make the same film...


Published February 16, 2024
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Mother (2009)
She'll stop at nothing.
Director: Bong Joon-ho
Crime
Drama
Mystery

A mother lives quietly with her son. One day, a girl is brutally killed, and the boy is charged with the murder. Now, it's his mother's mission to prove him innocent.

Torque Sheer Most storytellers want to take you somewhere into the soul, but all they have to work with is the externalities, the actions of humans. You don’t have many strategies to work with. A common one is to place the examined soul in the midst...


Published February 15, 2024
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Cha no aji (2004)
We were all watching the sunset, at the edge of the universe.
Director: Katsuhito Ishii
Comedy
Drama

A spell of time in the life of a family in rural Tochigi prefecture. Yoshiko is not an ordinary housewife, instead working on an animated film project. Uncle Ayano, a successful music producer, is looking to get his head together after living in Tokyo. Meanwhile, Sachiko is concerned with why she seems to be followed by a giant version of herself. As the lazy days pass by, each member of the family is followed in a series of episodic vignettes.

Running Toward Touch It must be me. It seems that only Japanese filmmakers are able to find that light world where everything seems incidental, but every motion has cosmic force. So very many of these succeed. And again, we have a simple family who we observe, but...


Published February 15, 2024
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The Girlfriend Experience (2009)
See it with someone you ****
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Drama

Chelsea is an in-demand call girl whose $2,000 an hour price tag allows her to live in New York's lap of luxury. Besides her beauty and sexual skill, Chelsea offers her clients companionship and conversation, or, as she dubs it, "the girlfriend experience." With her successful business and a devoted, live-in boyfriend, Chelsea thinks she has it made... until a new client rocks her world.

Risks of Borrowed Eyes Soderbergh satisfies because he is fearless in a way that Herzog could never be. Herzog goes toward danger in order to capture experiences, but he relies on cinematic methods and narratives models that are safe. Indeed, he never innovates or experiments here....


Published February 14, 2024
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