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Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)
She Passed Out On Cary! No Wonder . . . She's just discovered his favorite aunts have poisoned their 13th gentleman friend!
Filmmaker(s): Frank Capra

Mortimer Brewster, a newspaper drama critic, playwright, and author known for his diatribes against marriage, suddenly falls in love and gets married; but when he makes a quick trip home to tell his two maiden aunts, he finds out his aunts' hobby - killing lonely old men and burying them in the cellar!

Playing with Plays Adapted for the screen by the same folks who next did “Casablanca,” incidentally with Lorre. Filmed by someone known for his light touch. I’m not of a fan of Capra’s, as he values the little quirky hooks in the story and dialog and depends...

Published May 16, 2023
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Around the World in 80 Days (1956)
It's a wonderful world, if you'll only take the time to go around it!
Filmmaker(s): Michael Anderson

Based on the famous book by Jules Verne the movie follows Phileas Fogg on his journey around the world. Which has to be completed within 80 days, a very short period for those days.

Short Story Long What astounds me is how things change. Here’s a film that was celebrated in its day. In fact, I remember my third grade class in the DC area taking the day off to go to this. (The year previously, we had gone to see...

Published May 16, 2023
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Archangel (1990)
A Tragedy of the Great War
Filmmaker(s): Guy Maddin

At the height of the October Revolution during the 1919 allied intervention in Arkhangelsk, the exploits of one-legged Canadian soldier Lt. John Boles are told, after he is taken in from the cold by a dysfunctional Russian family and mistakes a local woman for his presumed dead lover.

Eisenstein’s Smooth Stones of Forgetfulness I only know a few of Maddin’s projects. This seems to be the earliest available. I’m really beginning a deep appreciation of this man’s visual soul. While this project didn’t change my life, it demonstrated the power to do so, like a...

Published May 16, 2023
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Arabian Nights (1974)
Pier Paolo Pasolini unfolds the Sensual and Erotic tales of the fabled... 1001 Arabian Nights
Filmmaker(s): Pier Paolo Pasolini

The final part of Pasolini's Trilogy of Life series is rich with exotic tales of slaves and kings, potions, betrayals, demons and, most of all, love and lovemaking in all its myriad forms. Mysterious and liberating, this is an exquisitely dreamlike and adult interpretation of the original folk tales.

The Story of the Story Pasolini is a wonderful, wonderful adventure. Welcoming him into your heart is not without cost; he's a friend who is brilliant on one side and captive to banality on the other. The bad? Well, its tolerable for me because it is so...

Published May 1, 2023
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After the Thin Man (1936)
Continuing the fun in their NEW hit!
Filmmaker(s): W.S. Van Dyke

Nick and Nora Charles investigate when Nora's cousin reports her disreputable husband is missing, and find themselves in a mystery involving the shady owners of a popular nightclub, a singer and her dark brother, the cousin's forsaken true love, and Nora's bombastic and controlling aunt.

Walk this Way The conventional wisdom is that a classic is something that is so well formed initially that it serves well for a long time. So classic films, for instance, are seen like classic car engines, well engineered things that still work. But I think with...

Published April 4, 2023
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Island of Lost Souls (1932)
TERROR! Stalked the Brush-Choked Island...Where Men Who Were Animals Sought the Girl Who Was All-Human!
Filmmaker(s): Erle C. Kenton

An obsessed scientist conducts profane experiments in evolution, eventually establishing himself as the self-styled demigod to a race of mutated, half-human abominations.

The Soul of the Movie Sometimes a movie enters you while you watch it. These days a movie often enters you well before you pay to see it, the soul of the thing having been conveyed to you by too-long trailers and saturation advertising. But is...

Published March 24, 2023
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Inside Deep Throat (2005)
It was filmed in 6 days for 25 thousand dollars. The government didn't want you to see it. It was banned in 23 states. It has grossed over 600 million dollars. And it is the most profitable film in motion picture history.

In 1972, a seemingly typical shoestring budget pornographic film was made in a Florida hotel: "Deep Throat," starring Linda Lovelace. This film would surpass the wildest expectation of everyone involved to become one of the most successful independent films of all time. It caught the public imagination which met the spirit of the times, even as the self-appointed guardians of public morality struggled to suppress it, and created, for a brief moment, a possible future where sexuality in film had a bold artistic potential. This film covers the story of the making of this controversial film, its stunning success, its hysterical opposition along with its dark side of mob influence and allegations of the on set mistreatment of the film's star.

Momentus “Deep Throat“ is an incompetent movie that had a phenomenal effect. So I guess it is appropriate that a documentary on some of those effects be less than competent as well. Here’s the interesting thing. No one should live without understanding a few basic things about...

Published March 13, 2023
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Kinsey (2004)
Let's talk about sex
Filmmaker(s): Bill Condon

Kinsey is a portrait of researcher Alfred Kinsey, driven to uncover the most private secrets of a nation. What begins for Kinsey as a scientific endeavor soon takes on an intensely personal relevance, ultimately becoming an unexpected journey into the mystery of human behavior.

The Wrong Interview Here’s a major problem in drama: you want to deal with big issues, great disembodied, cosmic sweeps of things. Things that people love or make them suffer. This is why people come. But the tools we have to display these things are humans, usually....

Published March 4, 2023
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Flightplan (2005)
If someone took everything you live for... how far would you go to get it back?
Filmmaker(s): Robert Schwentke

Flying at 40,000 feet in a state-of-the art aircraft that she helped design, Kyle Pratt's 6-year-old daughter Julia vanishes without a trace. Or did she? No one on the plane believes Julia was ever onboard. And now Kyle, desperate and alone, can only count on her own wits to unravel the mystery and save her daughter.

Oceans 2 Well, I suppose we all have to decide what it means to be a powerful or effective actress. And whether Jody is capable of delivering this. In this case, the project, at least the first half, depends on us believing her panic and resulting...

Published February 18, 2023
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A Walk on the Moon (1999)
It was the summer of Woodstock... when she became the woman she always wanted to be.
Filmmaker(s): Tony Goldwyn

The world of a young housewife is turned upside down when she has an affair with a free-spirited blouse salesman.

Nixon Wins This is a huge failure as a movie, but an interesting one in a way. At least for someone my age who lived through the period appropriated here. Here’s the basic challenge in showing a love story: how do you cinematically show the pulls on...

Published December 25, 2022
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