Filmmaker & film curator Jeff M. Giordano watched the following films in 2012 -- both for personal interest and research for the Free Film Series that he curates.
NOTE: The documentary "Who is Bozo Texino?" (2005) was also watched, but couldn't be added because an IMDb page does not exist for the film.
The list includes recently released films and also films made prior to 2012. In an effort to offer impressions of each films, Jeff will give capsule reviews for each film. With every film -- when in doubt see it for yourself despite any reviews!
*** Most recently watched films appear at the bottom of the list.***
Look at his other lists:
Enjoy and please notify Jeff if you discovered a film from seeing this list!
***Free Film Series in NJ*** http://freelibraryfilms.wordpress.com/
The Skin I Live In
A brilliant plastic surgeon, haunted by past tragedies, creates a type of synthetic skin that withstands any kind of damage. His guinea pig: a mysterious and volatile woman who holds the key to his obsession. (120 mins.)
“ Entertaining story with plenty of twists to keep you guessing.
In short, stylish set design and elegant cinematography.
While there may not be a lot of substance or deep meanings in "The Skin I Live In," one can't resist Antonio Banderas' outstanding, sinister performance. Kudos to the production team and all performers. ” - JMG_Films
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest
Lisbeth is recovering in a hospital and awaiting trial for three murders when she is released. Mikael must prove her innocence, but Lisbeth must be willing to share the details of her sordid experiences with the court. (147 mins.)
“ An excellent conclusion to the original Swedish trilogy.
There's much action, suspense, and overall bravura filmmaking.
You should watch all 3 films. ” - JMG_Films
Death Takes a Holiday
Death decides to take a holiday from his usual business to see what it is like to be a mortal. Posing as Prince Sirki... (79 mins.)
“ A brisk portrait of the grim reaper's perspective of humans, as he briefly takes on a human form and spends 3 days with a group of wealthy people.
With touches of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol," "Death Takes a Holiday" is very enjoyable and offbeat for 1934. ” - JMG_Films
The Girl Who Played with Fire
As computer hacker Lisbeth and journalist Mikael investigate a sex-trafficking ring, Lisbeth is accused of three murders, causing her to go on the run while Mikael works to clear her name. (129 mins.)
“ More enjoyable than the first film in the trilogy ("The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo"). Very well made on all levels.
Superior to many contemporary Hollywood films that aim to utilize a neo-noir style, mixed with action, suspense, character development, and an innovative story.
It's a real shame that neither this film nor the original "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" were not nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
One of the best posters in recent memory. ” - JMG_Films
I Will Walk Like a Crazy Horse
Running away from the police, Aden goes to the desert where he meets an uncivilized man who has a special link with Mother-Earth. He ends up by convincing the hermit to come along with him into another desert... the big town! (100 mins.)
“ Similar to the most extreme films by Luis Buñuel, Alejandro Jodorowsky, and Dušan Makavejev. "I Will Walk Like a Crazy Horse" is surreal and highly symbolic with its in-your-face imagery and gross-out sequences. Was it shocking when first released in 1973? Yes. Is it still shocking now? Somewhat.
In short, it feels like the meaning has been lost over time because this film is too concerned with vulgarity rather than substance.
Not recommended; especially not for weak stomachs.
For successful effective surreal and symbolic films, start with "Un Chien Andalou" (1929) by Luis Buñuel, then "The Milky Way" (1969) by Luis Buñuel, and later watch "The Holy Mountain" (1973) by Alejandro Jodorowsky. ” - JMG_Films
A New Leaf
Henry Graham lives the life of a playboy. When his lawyer tells him one day that his lifestyle has consumed all his funds, he needs an idea to avoid climbing down the social ladder. So he intends to marry a rich woman and - murder her. (102 mins.)
“ One of the funniest films ever made and one of the strongest first-films by a director ever created!
"A New Leaf" is a film that Criterion should consider releasing on DVD, because as of April 2012 the film is only available on VHS.
Update: July 2012
The film will be released on DVD and Blu-ray on September 4, 2012 by Olive Films. ” - JMG_Films
In order to finance his law studies, Martin starts as a night watchman in a mortuary. When the victims... (107 mins.)
“ This out of print on DVD Danish thriller predates the popularity of Danish cinema which resulted from the Dogme 95 films of the late 1990's.
In short, while "Nightwatch" is slickly made and successful in its setup -- the last third of the film felt underwhelming, especially the surprises. See it for yourself.
Interestingly, "Nightwatch" was remade by its director in 1997 with Ewan McGregor. ” - JMG_Films
A police detective falls in love with the woman whose murder he is investigating. (88 mins.)
“ Very dated film noir shows its age. In short, overrated and drawn out story. ” - JMG_Films
The Turin Horse
A rural farmer is forced to confront the mortality of his faithful horse. (146 mins.)
“ Jeff took a road trip with some friends to watch Bela Tarr's "Satantago" in 2006. He has viewed all of Tarr's films. Although "The Turin Horse" is Tarr's swan song, it is also his worst. Very redundant and too hopeless for its own good. ” - JMG_Films
When the wife of the Shogun's Decapitator is murdered and he is ordered to commit suicide by the paranoid Shogun, he and his four-year-old son escape and become assassins for hire, embarking on a journey of blood and violent death. (85 mins.)
“ Fantastic! Better than expected…lives up to the hype. See it as soon as you can. Big influence on the "Kill Bill" films. ” - JMG_Films
A look at an eclectic international group of people who gather at a hip Beijing nightclub, Neo-Lounge. (86 mins.)
“ One of the best documentaries in recent memory!
A testament to the future of independent filmmaking.
More people should see this film.
You can buy it through Amazon. ” - JMG_Films
(1989 TV Series)
This documentary short, produced for West Virginia public TV's "Different Drummer" series, introduces us to Jesco White... (30 mins.)
“ The prefect balance of respect and honesty to its subject Jesco White -- this Emmy-winning documentary is a deserved cult classic!
Very wild and pure. ” - JMG_Films
“ Not as powerful as the original "Dancing Outlaw," but worth a look after you're introduced to Jesco White. Also, the scenes with Tom Arnold and Jesco on the set of the "Roseanne" TV show are gold! ” - JMG_Films
An elderly farmer lives out his final days with his wife and a loyal ox in the Korean countryside. (78 mins.)
“ Visceral portrait of an elderly Korean couple and their relationship to their elderly ox, which lives on their farm. Featuring stunning scenes in rural Korea and more emotion than most scripted films today!
Also, "Old Partner" is the highest grossing independent Korean film at the Korean box office. ” - JMG_Films
When Union spies steal an engineer's beloved locomotive, he pursues it single-handedly and straight through enemy lines. (67 mins.)
“ Buster Keaton's magnum opus deserves every bit of acclaim that is has garnered through the years. ” - JMG_Films
Two sisters find their already strained relationship challenged as a mysterious new planet threatens to collide with Earth. (130 mins.)
“ The best visuals are shown in the trailer and first 5 minutes of the film. Usually, gritty handheld camerawork is terrific in a Lars von Trier film, but in "Melancholia" it's dizzying and sloppy.
In short, the story is a big letdown when it ventures into family drama territory (middle third) and takes too long to get back to the end of the world! Fans of Lars von Trier will feel frustrated and want to like this film more.
if you see it, the ending is very satisfying. ” - JMG_Films
The Pope of Greenwich Village
Charlie and his troublesome cousin Paulie decide to steal $150000 in order to back a "sure thing" race horse that Paulie has inside information on... (121 mins.)
“ Decent little film with Mickey Rourke and Eric Roberts (who gives a riveting performance). The ending was disappointing. ” - JMG_Films
A down on his luck gambler links up with free spirit Elliot Gould at first to have some fun on, but... (108 mins.)
“ A great buddy movie for friends who have gambled together. Others may find it too existential at its conclusion. But stay with it if you check out it -- the ending packs a punch! ” - JMG_Films
The Marx Brothers in a Nutshell
This salute to the famous comedy team of the Marx Brothers shows clips from many of their best-known films... (94 mins.)
“ Fans of the Marx Brothers rejoice! This documentary has it all...really; archival footage, narration by Gene Kelly, interviews with friends, relatives (ex-wives, children), and acquaintances (including Woody Allen). ” - JMG_Films
On the night of the discovery of a duplicate Earth in the Solar system, an ambitious young student and an accomplished composer cross paths in a tragic accident. (92 mins.)
“ A decent first film, but unsatisfying film on its own.
In short, the film shifts from a promising moody sci-fi experience to near melodrama.
However, expect great things from Mike Cahill and the filmmakers in the future. ” - JMG_Films
Kinawi, a physically challenged peddler who makes his living selling newspapers in the central Cairo train station... (77 mins.)
“ A brisk, unusual film from Egypt with sporadic film-nior elements.
In short, not a masterpiece but worth seeing! ” - JMG_Films
Standard Operating Procedure
Errol Morris examines the incidents of abuse and torture of suspected terrorists at the hands of U.S. forces at the Abu Ghraib prison. (116 mins.)
“ Given the sensitive nature of the controversial event in question, one will wonder how director Errol Morris convinced the subjects to appear in this film!
In short...quite compelling, disturbing, slick re-enactments, and required for all serious documentary audiences and filmmakers. ” - JMG_Films
Wesley Willis's Joyrides
A look at the life and work of controversial rock musician and cult hero, Wesley Willis. (77 mins.)
“ A respectful and honest portrait of the controversial Chicago musician and celebrated artist. Although the production value is not pristine, one should look past this and focus on the raw gaze into Wesley Willis that is beautifully rendered by his close friends (the filmmakers).
In short, the best introduction to Wesley Willis (if you've never heard of him). Check it out! ” - JMG_Films
Looking for Mr. Goodbar
A dedicated schoolteacher spends her nights cruising bars, looking for abusive men with whom she can engage in progressively violent sexual encounters. (136 mins.)
“ If there exists a film that's desperately waiting for a Criterion DVD release, it is "Looking for Mr. Goodbar"! One of Jeff's favorite films. In short...emotionally explicit, sexually unhinged, and brave filmmaking!
Sorry...as of April 2012 this film is only available on VHS (starting at $27.00)! ” - JMG_Films
The Magnificent Ambersons
The spoiled young heir to the decaying Amberson fortune comes between his widowed mother and the man she has always loved. (88 mins.)
“ Very well-made film by Orson Welles that was intercepted by the studio during editing and modified against Welle's wishes. Although not as fantastic as "Citizen Kane," it's worth a look for Joesph Cotton alone.
Hopefully, Orson's "The Other Side of the Wind" (shot between 1969 and 1976) will be available to the public one day. Peter Bogdanovich has been working on releasing the film, which has been in legal limbo for years. ” - JMG_Films
A.I. Artificial Intelligence
A highly advanced robotic boy longs to become "real" so that he can regain the love of his human mother. (146 mins.)
“ One of Spielberg's best and definitely Jude Law's greatest performance to date! It's a crime that Law didn't get nominated for an Oscar. In short, the film can be seen as a fascinating metaphor of where we could be as a society if cloning becomes part of our daily lives.
People thought Spielberg added the softer, emotional scenes. They got it wrong, because ironically Kubrick was responsible for these scenes (from his original script). Spielberg added the darker scenes. ” - JMG_Films
A mortally wounded female gangster recounts how she and her gang revived an executed killer from the gas chamber, to try and find out where he buried a fortune in cash. (76 mins.)
“ A bit overlong, even at 76 minutes but an offbeat film-noir considering when it was released. Released on DVD in July 2007; it was never released on VHS.
In short, for film-noir buffs only. ” - JMG_Films
Reformed parolee Steve Lacey is caught in the middle when a wounded former cellmate seeks him out for shelter. (73 mins.)
“ An underseen film-noir gem! In short, Sterling Hayden shines and does the story in this 73 minute experience. Look for a very young Charles Bronson (billed as Charles Buchinsky). Released on DVD (along with "Decoy") in July 2007; it was never released on VHS.
A The late, great film print collector/film buff Ray Regis probably loved this film.
May Ray Regis and Charles Bronson rest in peace. ” - JMG_Films
An American man marries a Serbian immigrant who fears that she will turn into the cat person of her homeland's fables if they are intimate together. (73 mins.)
“ 73 minute subtle horror film which utilizes the unseen as frightening. Very enjoyable -- even with no visible gore. The sexual tension alone makes "Cat People" worth watching.
In short, quite radical compared with horror films of its day.
Worth watching. ” - JMG_Films
My Life to Live
Twelve episodic tales in the life of a Parisian woman and her slow descent into prostitution. (80 mins.)
“ Having watched "Contempt," "Breathless," and Weekend" this film stands out as very stimulating on a different level. One of Godard's most straight forward stories and stylistically pure films.
Highly recommended. Non-art film audiences should see this if they've never watched a Jean-Luc Godard film. ” - JMG_Films
Carnival of Souls
After a traumatic accident, a woman becomes drawn to a mysterious abandoned carnival. (78 mins.)
“ Big influence on David Lynch and other famous filmmakers.
In short, a great little story that utilizes atmosphere to its maximum potential.
Also, one of the first notable American independent films of the 1960's. ” - JMG_Films
The Silent Revolution of Truth
The documented true life story on the only proved UFO contactee showing much of his amazing photographic, film, video, sound and metal evidence, as well as his amazing prophecies and testimony from other witnesses and experts. (94 mins.)
“ So many questions remain about this controversial man!
Although the film is conventional and safe in its style, it's worth checking out if you've never heard of Billy Meier. ” - JMG_Films
Bill and Coo
The feathered residents of Chirpendale are terrorized by an evil black crow by the name of "The Black Menace". But to the citizen's rescue comes a brave young taxi puller named Bill! (61 mins.)
“ A charming film consisting of an all-animal cast that most likely influenced early Disney and children's films. You need to experience "Bill and Coo"!
The film won a special Academy Award in 1948. ” - JMG_Films
“ Even without the hype of being Heath Ledger's final film role (technically after "The Dark Knight"), this is a highly entertaining and outrageous romp.
There's something in this film for everyone. ” - JMG_Films
Michel Negroponte, a documentary filmmaker, meets Maggie one day in Central Park. Maggie claims to be... (87 mins.)
“ A mysterious exploration into the mind and identity of a homeless woman in New York City. Respectfully well-made and honest.
Sundance Grand Jury Prize nominee.
Winner of a Sundance Special Jury Award. ” - JMG_Films
Chance events trap hitch-hiker Al Roberts in a tightening net of film noir trouble. (67 mins.)
“ Awesome little film-noir that was light years ahead of its time.
One of Errol Morris' favorite films. ” - JMG_Films
“ Almodóvar's first art-house breakthrough feels dated and drawn out. It's still has some great moments, but loses momentum as it progresses.
In short, see it for yourself. ” - JMG_Films
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
A journalist is aided in his search for a woman who has been missing -- or dead -- for forty years by a young female hacker. (152 mins.)
“ Well-made thriller that is more about the subplot than the plot; and it works. Looking forward to watching the sequels.
Relieved that there's no plans for Hollywood to remake the sequels. ” - JMG_Films
Plan 10 from Outer Space
A woman accidentally discovers the Plaque of Kolob which leads her to discover an insidous alien plot... (80 mins.)
“ Neither a remake, nor sequel to Ed Wood's "Plan 9 from Outer Space" -- yet even more bizarre and outrageous!
In short, impressively made...this independent nugget needs to be seen by more people. Co-starring Karen Black!
Official selection at the Sundance Film Festival. ” - JMG_Films
The story of Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata, who led a rebellion against the corrupt, oppressive dictatorship of president Porfirio Diaz in the early 20th century. (113 mins.)
“ One of Werner Herzog's favorites, this film needs an official release on DVD in America because it's a well told and entertaining film about the real-life revolutionary.
Herzog on Marlon Brando's performance in "Viva Zapata!":
"An enormous, virile power is lurking; he talks very, very quietly, [but] you know this is going to be big ... something which only occurs in myth, which only occurs in collective dreams, but completely convincingly. That's where cinema is at its best — when it is able to transform history into something mythical." ” - JMG_Films
A dysfunctional young man is pulled between loyalties to his Italian mob-connected loan shark father and his mentally disturbed Jewish concert pianist mother. (90 mins.)
“ Frustrating first-feature by James Toback. One will feel the urge to like this film more, but fall short on reasons why.
Although Keitel's performance shines, it is the way events unfold and the overall direction that causes the film to suffer.
"The Beat My Heart Skipped" (2005) is a remake of this film. ” - JMG_Films
A Normal Life Please
Workers employed under unacceptable conditions are increasing in Japan after the Japanese government's easing of labor regulations...
“ One of the best documentaries in recent years to be made anywhere! If you're a fan of Kazuo Hara's documentaries, see this film!
Hopefully, it will be released in the USA soon for more people to experience. ” - JMG_Films
With aerial footage from fifty-four countries, 'Home' is a depiction of how Earth's problems are all interlinked. (120 mins.)
“ Imagine "Koyaanisqatsi" (1982) and "Baraka" (1992) fused together, but add a narration by Glenn Close (for the English version) that focuses on immediate environmental problems.
In short, there's more to like than dislike and the visuals are truly astounding. One is forced to reflect on the film days after viewing. ” - JMG_Films
Leprechaun in the Hood
When three rappers want to get even with a pimp, they accidentally unleash a leprechaun who goes on a killing rampage in the 'hood. (90 mins.)
“ Purely a guilty pleasure and for completists of the Leprechaun franchise. Much fun will be experienced if you're watching with friends.
Check out Jeff's "Guilty Pleasures Galore" list! ” - JMG_Films
Kung Fu Panda 2
Po and his friends fight to stop a peacock villain from conquering China with a deadly new weapon, but first the Dragon Warrior must come to terms with his past. (90 mins.)
“ A fantastic sequel to a fantastic part one. Very funny.
In short, fun for all ages! ” - JMG_Films
A young woman's sexual awakening brings horror when she discovers her urges transform her into a monstrous black leopard. (118 mins.)
“ Not a direct remake of the 1942 film "Cat People;" director Paul Schrader has publicly stated he would've changed the title if he could go back in time.
In short, a gem of the horror genre that is sensual, violent, and stylistically slick. ” - JMG_Films
A tribute to the late German choreographer, Pina Bausch, as her dancers perform her most famous creations. (103 mins.)
“ Experienced in 3D at IFC in NYC. Wenders worked wonders with Pina's dancers. Excellent introduction to Bausch's world of dance that feels quite magical.
"Pina" will cause you to look at modern dance from a fresh perspective. ” - JMG_Films
A boy inadvertently breaks three important rules concerning his new pet and unleashes a horde of malevolently mischievous monsters on a small town. (106 mins.)
“ They don't make films like this anymore...a dark, funny, offbeat, Hollywood classic that may not be suitable for all ages! ” - JMG_Films
Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence
In the year 2032, Batô, a cyborg detective for the anti-terrorist unit Public Security Section 9, investigates the case of a female robot--one created solely for sexual pleasure--who slaughtered her owner. (100 mins.)
“ A very different film than the original from 1995 (which clearly inspired "The Matrix") by the same director.
There's so much happening (intellectually, emotionally, visually, sonically) that the frame can barely contain it all; and that's a positive!
At the end of the day, the original "Ghost in the Shell" is a superior film. However, there's much to enjoy in the sequel.
Oshii has stated that he makes films that people will want to watch multiple times:
"I'm happier if 10,000 people see the film 10 times each than if 1 million people see it once. I'm not making it for the general public, but for a core group of fans -- I hope it will make a big impression on them. If I can do that, I'm happy." ” - JMG_Films
I Walked with a Zombie
A Canadian nurse is hired to care for the wife of a sugar plantation owner, who has been acting strangely, on a Caribbean island. (69 mins.)
“ Similar in style and tone to director Tourneur's "Cat People" (1942).
In short, an intriguing subtle horror film that is simple and brisk at only 70 minutes long. Zombie film fans would appreciate this classic. ” - JMG_Films
“ Caveh...where would documentary cinema be without you?
Fans of autobiographical documentaries will rejoice with this super low-budget, controversial treat of Zahedi's first foray into the realm of autobiography documentary.
While some may be turned off, others will find the film worth experiencing. ” - JMG_Films
The boss of a major crime syndicate orders his lieutenant to bring a rogue gang of drug traffickers in line, a job that gets passed on to his long-suffering subordinate. (109 mins.)
“ Released on DVD in the USA in January 2012.
Kitano is the best living director working in Japan. Jeff as viewed all of Takeshi Kitano’s films. Although this film is a return to his gangster story roots, it’s one of his worst. The most redeeming part of the film was that one of the gangsters looks like the Japanese Hunter S. Thompson — due to his bald head, tinted 1970′s subscription eyeglasses, facial features, and build. Look up the trailer to catch a glimpse. ” - JMG_Films
Hellboy II: The Golden Army
The mythical world starts a rebellion against humanity in order to rule the Earth, so Hellboy and his team must save the world from the rebellious creatures. (120 mins.)
“ Just as great as the first “Hellboy” — perhaps better. Del Toro is one of the best filmmakers alive. In order to devote his full creative energy to “Hellboy 2,” Guillermo turned down directing offers for “I am Legend” (with Will Smith), “One Missed Call” (remake of the 2003 Japanese film), and “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.” Jeff has yet to view a film by him that he didn’t like by Del Toro.
Jeff has watched “Pans Labyrinth” (his favorite), “The Devil’s Backbone” (second favorite), “Blade II,” and “Mimic” (a long time ago). Jeff needs to watch “Cronos,” Del Toro’s first feature from 1993.
Del Toro’s next film “Pacific Rim” (slated for release in 2013) is from a screenplay by University of North Carolina: School of the Arts alumni, Travis Beacham. This film sounds great! ” - JMG_Films
Deadly Is the Female
A well meaning crack shot husband is pressured by his beautiful marksman wife to go on an interstate robbery spree, where he finds out just how depraved and deadly she really is. (86 mins.)
“ "We go together, Laurie. I don't know why. Maybe like guns and ammunition go together."
Predating Arthur Penn's "Bonnie and Clyde" (1967), this underseen film noir is loosely based on the real Bonnie and Clyde couple. It offers a great ending and was selected for the National Film Registry in 1998 as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."
Also, "Gun Crazy" appears on many AFI 100 Years Movie Lists, including the lists for Movie Quotes, Thrills, Passions, and Gangster films. ” - JMG_Films
A silent movie star meets a young dancer, but the arrival of talking pictures sends their careers in opposite directions. (100 mins.)
“ Viewed in the theatre, which was ultimately the best format to view this silent film; very charming and enjoyable. But will this Best Picture at the Oscars hold up in 10 years as a significant film? ” - JMG_Films
A young boy murders his mother and her lover with a hammer. Ten years later, a wave of teenage murders plagues the same area. (87 mins.)
“ Unavailable in any format until May 2011...and perhaps the world could have waited a little longer. This direct-to-video, low-budget excursion wears thin fast -- even for those with an itch for a guilty pleasure experience.
"Sledgehammer" should only be viewed by aspiring horror filmmakers...as an inspiration that anyone is capable of making a film. ” - JMG_Films
A revenge tale about a desperate C.I.A. agent on a mission to find the man who murdered his wife. (80 mins.)
“ Great music and low-fi 8mm visual style but too drawn out and too violent to enjoy the sexy retro B-movie groove that it establishes so well in the beginning.
In short, a great first-feature but unsatisfying on its own.
Expect great things from Frankie Latina in the future when he gets his hands on a big budget. ” - JMG_Films
Gold Diggers of 1933
Millionaire turned composer Dick Powell rescues unemployed Broadway people with a new play. (97 mins.)
“ Truly Overrated. Dance sequences are too spread apart and there's not enough! ” - JMG_Films
The Ninth Configuration
A new commanding officer arrives at a remote castle serving as an insane asylum for crazy and AWOL U.S... (118 mins.)
“ This was William Peter Blatty's first directed film. As a first-film, it is satisfying. Blatty wrote the novel for "The Exorcist" and also directed "The Exorcist III" in 1990 (his only other directing credit).
By the synopsis, this film felt promising!
In short, it feels like a story better left in novel form (which is adapted from a novel by the director) -- due to a lot of dialogue and symbolic scenes better left to the imagination of a reader of the book.
When released in 1980, one can imagine it was very striking.
One of the best DVD covers. ” - JMG_Films
Two obsessive-compulsives, a chef and an anorexic writer, are neighbors in an apartment building. The... (100 mins.)
“ Rented on a whim with no prior knowledge of the film. In short, "301, 302" is strictly for fans of extreme Korean cinema.
For most viewers, the film will be too disturbing and twisted.
There's much sinister behavior going on here that doesn't make the film enjoyable. ” - JMG_Films
Young and impulsive Rosetta lives with her alcoholic mother and, moved by despair, she will do anything to maintain a job. (95 mins.)
“ A gritty character study that Robert Bresson fans will like because of its thematic similarities to "Mouchette" (1967). In short, one has to wonder could "Rosetta" appeal to mainstream audiences or is it simply for the art house crowd?
"The Son" (2002) also directed by the Dardennes is a superior experience. ” - JMG_Films
A woman gets involved in an impersonal affair with a man. She barely knows about his life, only about the sex games they play, so the relationship begins to get complicated. (117 mins.)
“ Very dated. Rourke and Basinger are fine; it's the story that lacks and never really develops. These intimate scenes are not very interesting. In 1997, Director Adrian Lyne helmed a remake of "Lolita" that's worth seeing.
Perhaps the filmmakers were influenced too much by Bertolucci's "Last Tango in Paris" (1972) which features Marlon Brando's bravest performance.
"Wild Orchid" (1989) with Mickey Rourke is thematically similar to "Nine 1/2 Weeks" and a bit better. ” - JMG_Films
A cemetery man must kill the dead a second time when they become zombies. (105 mins.)
“ One of the best trailers for a film gives one much promise going into "Cemetery Man." While it starts off as a strong story and big budget entertaining ride, the film quickly loses its comedic charm and proceeds through drawn out, redundant scenes with disappointing results.
There's much technical flare showcased in cinematography and special effects -- but it's not enough for those familiar with Peter Jackson's "Dead Alive" (1992) and other epic horror comedies. ” - JMG_Films
Showdown in Arizona between the Bonnell brothers, U.S.Marshals, and Jessica Drummond, the iron-fist rancher who controls the territory. (79 mins.)
“ You need to check out this underseen gem directed by Samuel Fuller! This is an off-beat western with fast-pacing and beautiful cinematography. ” - JMG_Films
The Day of the Locust
An art director in the 1930s falls in love and attempts to make a young woman an actress despite Hollywood who wants nothing to do with her because of her problems with an estranged man and her alcoholic father. (144 mins.)
“ While the film contains one of the best endings you can ask for, as a whole it is very drawn out and quite disturbing in some parts.
Look at "The Day of the Locust" for its sobering depiction of Hollywood during the Great Depression.
The main actors offer some very off-beat performances based on people existing on the fringes of the movie industry, and autobiographical experiences by the novel's author (Nathanael West).
Lastly, you can imagine that the novel is more powerful, as some of the film's themes and ideas don't feel compelling until you actually read about the film. ” - JMG_Films
Pickup on South Street
A pickpocket unwittingly lifts a message destined for enemy agents and becomes a target for a Communist spy ring. (80 mins.)
“ What you've heard about this film is true:
it's one of the best films of the 1950's and one of the best American films ever made.
Such a tight, well-executed creation.
80 minutes of pure artistry. ” - JMG_Films
The Bliss of Mrs. Blossom
Harriet Blossom, the lonely wife of a workaholic brassiere manufacturer, breaks her sewing machine and ends up in bed with the repairman... (93 mins.)
“ Pure zany, madcap fun!
One of the best comedies ever made.
Performances shine like platinum.
This film needs to be released on DVD! ” - JMG_Films
The Devil's Sword
The DEVIL'S SWORD lies hidden in a secret cave inside Devils Mountain, everything evil will fight to the death for it... (90 mins.)
“ All of the crew and cast get an "A" for effort.
While the story may leave much to be desired, this Indonesian fantasy epic (heavily influenced by American action films) should be viewed with a group of friends looking for an entertaining film that's off the grid. ” - JMG_Films
Earth's mightiest heroes must come together and learn to fight as a team if they are to stop the mischievous Loki and his alien army from enslaving humanity. (143 mins.)
“ This movie reminds us why it's most pleasurable to experience a film in the theatre.
Although most of the emotional substance is saved for the last third, "The Avengers" is very entertaining. ” - JMG_Films
A mysterious Hollywood stuntman and mechanic moonlights as a getaway driver and finds himself trouble when he helps out his neighbor. (100 mins.)
“ Viewed for a second time.
First experienced in theatres.
"Drive" was the best film made in 2011.
Unfortunately, it was only nominated for one Academy Award. ” - JMG_Films
An unconventional documentary that lifts the veil on what's really going on in our world by following the money upstream... (132 mins.)
“ Stimulating viewing on issues that affect us all.
You can legally watch it for free online. ” - JMG_Films
Price of Gold
Mongolia is known for its original Nomad culture as well as the spectacular natural landscape. Since gold deposits have been discovered however... (87 mins.)
“ Viewed at the Brooklyn Film Festival in NYC.
Gritty, striking first-feature about a determined group of Mongolian DIY gold miners, digging for gold in Mongolia's Gobi Desert.
The cinematography stays intimate with the diggers, with always remaining close to the action -- no matter how dangerous! ” - JMG_Films
A compilation of many of the stories from the 'George the Hedgehog' comics sees two Nazi scientists create a clone of George in an attempt to defeat him. (90 mins.)
“ Viewed at the Brooklyn Film Festival in NYC.
The english title is "George The Hedgehog."
Animated feature film for adults only.
Based on a popular Polish comic book.
While the film offers some statements on Polish politics and society, the vulgar sexuality and graphic violence overpowers any notions of intellectual substance. In short, a future stoner film.
Screened at SXSW in 2011. ” - JMG_Films
'Gut Renovation' charts the destruction of Williamsburg - a neighborhood in Brooklyn, NY - after the... (81 mins.)
“ Viewed at the Brooklyn Film Festival in NYC.
An exciting personal essay documentary that is for all audiences.
Filmed over the course of many years, director Su Friedrich has made a thought-provoking and timely film about the neighborhood of Williamsburg in Brooklyn, NY. ” - JMG_Films
Last Kind Words
17-year-old Eli has just moved with his family deep into the backwoods of Kentucky to work on the isolated farm of a local recluse... (87 mins.)
“ Viewed at the Brooklyn Film Festival in NYC.
This southern gothic ghost story is a treat for those looking for an indie film that's not about romantic relationships. Veteran actor Brad Dourif shines, among a cast of rising stars. ” - JMG_Films
Cat Scratch Fever
CAT SCRATCH FEVER is a madcap caper following two young women's adventures in alternate realities. Lisa and Ashley... (73 mins.)
“ Viewed at the Brooklyn Film Festival in NYC.
Part sci-fi, part indie buddy film...the story offers a myriad of metaphors by utilizing two women obsessed with viewing themselves in parallel universes. ” - JMG_Films
Intangible Asset Number 82
The search for an enigmatic South Korean shaman, and the inspiration found on the journey, renews a jazz musician's faith in the power of music. (90 mins.)
“ This offbeat music documentary offers a compelling trip into the mind of a musician, determined to deepen his skills. South Korean shamans fill the screen. Let yourself be immersed in this unknown musical world, deep in rural landscapes. Check it out! ” - JMG_Films
“ Spike struck gold with this film -- his first feature-length outing. At once sexy, funny, and entertaining. Read the book about his experiences making "She's Gotta Have It." ” - JMG_Films
Rock of Ages
A small town girl and a city boy meet on the Sunset Strip, while pursuing their Hollywood dreams. (123 mins.)
“ It feels like they made an exact replica of the musical stage show, and forgot to insert a story for the film version. This gives "Rock of Ages" a strange awkwardness that may have worked if the premise was taken to the extreme with a different creative team.
Far too sexual and vulgar for a PG-13 rating.
Should've been rated R.
Not a good movie by any means, yet it has to be seen to be believed. At times, you won't believe your eyes and ears -- it's quite surreal.
If marketed correctly, when it comes to DVD and Blu-ray "Rock of Ages" is destined to be a cult movie that people will watch together at parties.
Not "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" (1975)...imagine "The Wiz" (1978) meets "Showgirls" (1995). ” - JMG_Films
Shoot the Piano Player
Charlie Kohler is a piano player in a bar. The waitress Lena is in love with him. One of Charlie's brother... (81 mins.)
“ Truffaut's most wild, free-form film -- made after his directorial debut "The 400 Blows (1959).
Film buffs will be entertained by the similarities to Scorsese (cinematography and editing), Tarantino (gangster dialogue), and Coen Brothers (portrayal of the kidnappers in "Fargo").
Also, Paul Thomas Anderson is reportedly a big fan of "Shoot the Piano Player."
Non-film buffs may feel lost by the improvisational scenes and overwhelmed by the mixture of genres (gangster, slapstick, thriller). ” - JMG_Films
“ A charming, upbeat look inside the world of wild Peruvian and Argentinian parrots living in San Francisco -- and the man who cares for them. ” - JMG_Films
Set in 1930s Paris, an orphan who lives in the walls of a train station is wrapped up in a mystery involving his late father and an automaton. (126 mins.)
“ A pure delight.
Scorsese's best film since "The Aviator" (2004). ” - JMG_Films
Blast of Silence
A hired killer from Cleveland has a job to do on a second-string mob boss in New York. But a special girl from his past, and a fat gun dealer with pet rats, each gets in his way. (77 mins.)
“ 77 gritty minutes of low-budget glory, packed with offbeat narration in great success. ” - JMG_Films
The Strange Case of Señor Computer
A lonely computer wiz creates a robot with human-like intelligence. They will influence and teach each other as their lives spin out of control. (91 mins.)
“ Extremely offbeat, low-budget indie version of Spielberg's "A.I." (but made before "A.I.") that has much charm and will one day rise up to be more well known among the indie crowd. ” - JMG_Films
Gate of Hell
A samurai pursues a married lady-in-waiting. (86 mins.)
“ Meticulous detail and a beautifully simple story. Within a mere 86 minutes, "Gate of Hell" delivers a success. Filmmakers will learn much from the tight and succinct "Gate of Hell." ” - JMG_Films
Jonathan Demme directs this joyous relentlessly kitschy celebration of 50's America: opportunity, rock'n'roll... (83 mins.)
“ Jonathan Demme's second directed film. This is a freewheeling, entertaining trip through California, Nevada, and Arkansas. A brave role for Cloris Leachman! Features mostly a female-driven cast. Very offbeat and fun.
Low budget, but there's plenty of car chases and action. ” - JMG_Films
Fantastic Mr. Fox
An urbane fox cannot resist returning to his farm raiding ways and then must help his community survive the farmers' retaliation. (87 mins.)
“ Second viewing. First viewed in 2009. Selected and presented for a Summer Film Series in Cape May, NJ that began on July 20.
Such a tight story with painstaking design crafted by hand! The old school stop-motion animation is beautiful. Films like this are only made once in 10 years. ” - JMG_Films
A stern Russian woman sent to Paris on official business finds herself attracted to a man who represents everything she is supposed to detest. (110 mins.)
“ "They can't censor your memories."
This was an uplifting experience. ” - JMG_Films
A pair of young lovers flee their New England town, which causes a local search party to fan out to find them. (94 mins.)
“ Wes' best!
He didn't make film a here; he created a planet of his own. ” - JMG_Films
The Gold Rush
A prospector goes to the Klondike in search of gold and finds it and more. (95 mins.)
“ 1942 version.
The new Criterion version is crisp.
Watching the film a second time, felt better than the first. ” - JMG_Films
And Everything Is Going Fine
A look at the art of Spalding Gray who drew from real life experience to create a compelling and deeply personal series of monologues. (89 mins.)
“ Spalding Gray's last monologue...a careful dance of wordplay beautifully edited from pre-existing footage.
Soderbergh and Gray go way back to "King of The Hill" (1993). ” - JMG_Films
Kinawi, a physically challenged peddler who makes his living selling newspapers in the central Cairo train station... (77 mins.)
“ Also known as "Cairo Station."
A sensual, unusual Egyptian thriller from 1958 that any serious film buff should see.
General audiences might not be as affected. ” - JMG_Films
East of Eden
A wilful young man contends against his brother for the attention of their religious father while reconnecting with his estranged mother and falling for his brother's girlfriend. (115 mins.)
“ James Dean steals the show. Overall, the structure and story feel too loose and perhaps dated. "East of Eden" doesn't hold up well through time, compared to "Rebel Without a Cause" or the underseen "Giant." Not the best film to experience Dean's magic. ” - JMG_Films
Two young nuns explore Chicago--from a supermart to the Art Institute and in front of churches on Sunday--confronting people with the crucial question... (60 mins.)
“ An underseen documentary gem from the 1960's! There's a special feature on the DVD with modern interviews with both of the nuns. Be sure to check it out, along with the film. ” - JMG_Films
Roxie Hart signs a murder confession in order to attract publicity for her dancing career as dames don't swing in Cook County. Will everything go as planned? (75 mins.)
“ A brisk comedic satire showcasing a grand performance by Ginger Rogers. There's something for everyone in this film -- even a scene that feels like it was borrowed for "Basic Instinct" (1992).
One of Stanley Kubrick's favorite films. ” - JMG_Films
A circus' beautiful trapeze artist agrees to marry the leader of side-show performers, but his deformed friends discover she is only marrying him for his inheritance. (64 mins.)
“ Lives up to its reputation as the ultimate cult film. A very human story at its core. ” - JMG_Films
The Dark Knight Rises
Eight years after the Joker's reign of anarchy, the Dark Knight, with the help of the enigmatic Catwoman, is forced from his imposed exile to save Gotham City, now on the edge of total annihilation, from the brutal guerrilla terrorist Bane. (164 mins.)
“ Entertaining, but to be a great film -- it needed to be 30 minutes longer. Hopefully, the home video release will contain an extended version. ” - JMG_Films
Black Dynamite is the greatest African-American action star of the 1970s. When his only brother is killed by The Man it's up to him to find justice. (84 mins.)
“ Viewed again from two years ago. Quite possibly, best laugh-out loud film ever made. ” - JMG_Films
Age of Champions
Athletes prepare for the 2009 National Senior Games: a 100-year old tennis player from Cape Cod, brothers from Washington... (71 mins.)
“ A well-made portrait of senior-citizens who can teach us all about the qualities of health and fitness. ” - JMG_Films
Hand of Death
Alex Marsh has just created a serum combining hypnotic drug and nerve gas. Unfortunately he uses himself as a guinea pig and the drug transform him into a murderous monster. (60 mins.)
“ Viewed in Alameda, CA at Forbidden Island presented by Will "the Thrill" Viharo. If you like old B- movies, this is just for you. Stan Lee may have been inspired by appearance of the villain in this film, for the character of The Thing. ” - JMG_Films