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36 Hours to Kill (1936)
Filmmaker(s): Eugene Forde

Duke and Jeanie Benson, an outlaw couple hiding out under assumed names. Duke realizes that he has a winning sweepstake ticket and will win $150,000 if he can cash it in without getting apprehended

Making Your Bed I watched this in preparation for “Europa”. Both are essentially railroad movies. This is about a gangster who has come out of hiding to take a train trip to from Los Angeles to Chicago to collect on a sweepstakes ticket. On the train, several...


Published December 8, 2022
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Jacob’s Ladder (1990)
The most frightening thing about Jacob Singer's nightmare is that he isn't dreaming.
Filmmaker(s): Adrian Lyne

After returning home from the Vietnam War, veteran Jacob Singer struggles to maintain his sanity. Plagued by hallucinations and flashbacks, Singer rapidly falls apart as the world and people around him morph and twist into disturbing images. His girlfriend, Jezzie, and ex-wife, Sarah, try to help, but to little avail. Even Singer's chiropractor friend, Louis, fails to reach him as he descends into madness.

Basement Steps When a film plays with the narrator’s credulity, and if it is essentially cinematic then I am predisposed to like it. This film has the additional benefit of some competent actors. Plus, we all like to dump on government lying during the Nixon era. I...


Published December 1, 2022
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Iron Man 2 (2010)
It's not the armor that makes the hero, but the man inside.
Filmmaker(s): Jon Favreau

With the world now aware of his dual life as the armored superhero Iron Man, billionaire inventor Tony Stark faces pressure from the government, the press and the public to share his technology with the military. Unwilling to let go of his invention, Stark, with Pepper Potts and James 'Rhodey' Rhodes at his side, must forge new alliances – and confront powerful enemies.

Dimension Common sense hits the front office at Marvel’s adventure in moviemaking. Until now, they’ve just made bad films. Bad. The basic problem, I believe, is that the rest of the world is out exploiting the third dimension and Marvel insists on making flat movies. Even Spidermen,...


Published December 1, 2022
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How Art Made the World (2005-)
Filmmaker(s): Donald F. Glut

Nigel Spivey reveals how the images which surround us today come from the ancient world. It's an epic journey spanning five continents and a hundred thousand years of history.

The Skull in the Livingroom Here is a strange idea for a documentary. Make a movie about why movies work, why we cling to them and how they invent our humanity. Tell a story about storytelling. It is put together by a man who himself is a good...


Published November 29, 2022
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Hereafter (2010)
Touched by death. Changed by life.
Filmmaker(s): Clint Eastwood

Three people — a blue-collar American, a French journalist and a London school boy — are touched by death in different ways.

Chabrolet At a certain point in some filmmakers’ careers, the films cease being discrete works of art and start becoming chapters in an engaging life. Eastwood is not the most weighty artist out there. He has made a couple worthwhile films and much chaff but has...


Published November 28, 2022
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Fast, Cheap and Out of Control (1997)
Filmmaker(s): Errol Morris

Errol Morris’s Fast, Cheap & Out of Control interweaves the stories of four men, each driven to create eccentric worlds from their unique obsessions, all of which involve animals. There’s a lion tamer who shares his theories on the mental processes of wild animals; a topiary gardener who has devoted a lifetime to shaping bears and giraffes out of hedges and trees; a man fascinated with hairless mole rats; and an MIT scientist who has designed complex, autonomous robots that can crawl like bugs.

Architecture Machine My small survey of documentary types has brought me to this, and what a celebration! This is complex, meaningful cinema that just happens to be a documentary. It is intelligent, complex, deliberate and deeply thought provoking. I think it communicates something that isn’t quite right,...


Published November 28, 2022
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I Am Love (2009)
Filmmaker(s): Luca Guadagnino

Emma has left Russia to live with her husband in Italy. Now a member of a powerful industrial family, she is the respected mother of three, but feels unfulfilled. One day, Antonio, a talented chef and her son's friend, makes her senses kindle.

Outsides That Penetrate This is an amazing construction, turned to profound and lasting effect. Rarely do sophisticated technique and human insight coincide, and I think we have producer/actress Tilda Swinton to thank. Quite apart from everything else, the woman learned Italian for this, with a Russian...


Published November 27, 2022
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An Education (2009)
An education isn't always by the book.
Filmmaker(s): Lone Scherfig

Despite her sheltered upbringing, Jenny is a teen with a bright future; she's smart, pretty, and has aspirations of attending Oxford University. When David, a charming but much older suitor, motors into her life in a shiny automobile, Jenny gets a taste of adult life that she won't soon forget.

Wonderful Soul, Unwonderful World The story happens all the time, I suppose. A young woman is bright, much brighter than her peers. She deeply understands the forces and passions in novels, real literature. That means that she is not only smart, that she understands life, but...


Published November 25, 2022
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Doctor Who The Unicorn and the Wasp (2008)

Minority Report A reader suggested that I watch this. So I engaged with a few episodes, enough to find the most appealing ones to me. The supposed attraction is the extended magical journey, sort of a cross between “Doctor Strange,” the best Marvel comic character and “Hitchhiker’s...


Published November 25, 2022
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Bad Timing: A Sensual Obsession (1980)
His terrifying obsession took them to the brink of death and beyond.
Filmmaker(s): Nicolas Roeg

Alex Linden is a psychiatrist living in Vienna who meets Milena Flaherty though a mutual friend. Though Alex is quite a bit older than Milena, he's attracted to her young, carefree spirit. Despite the fact that Milena is already married, their friendship quickly turns into a deeply passionate love affair that threatens to overtake them both. When Milena ends up in the hospital from an overdose, Alex is taken into custody by Inspector Netusil.

Doubts that Bind Love is internal. It is sustained by questions of doubt, tension, expectation. The solidity of the hand is strengthened by the slipperiness underfoot. So suppose you wanted to make a film about the fields that animate your anchor relationships. You couldn’t do what everyone...


Published November 25, 2022
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