Howard Spence (Sam Shepard) has seen better days. Once a big Western movie star, he now drowns his disgust for his selfish and failed life with alcohol, drugs and young women. If he were to... See full summary »
After the wild life-style of a famous young German photographer almost gets him killed, he goes to Palermo, Sicily to take a break. Can the beautiful city and a beautiful local woman help him calm himself down?
Mike Max is a Hollywood producer who became powerful and rich thanks to brutal and bloody action films. His ignored wife Paige is close to leaving him. Suddenly Mike is kidnapped by two ... See full summary »
The director Friedrich Monroe has trouble with finishing a silent b&w movie about Lisbon. He calls his friend, the sound engineer Phillip Winter, for help. As Winter arrives Lisbon weeks ... See full summary »
Aging Cuban musicians whose talents had been virtually forgotten following Castro's takeover of Cuba, are brought out of retirement by Ry Cooder, who travelled to Havana in order to bring the musicians together, resulting in triumphant performances of extraordinary music, and resurrecting the musicians' careers.
On location in Portugal, a film crew runs out of film while making their own version of Roger Corman's Day the World Ended (1955). The producer is nowhere to be found and director Friedrich... See full summary »
A traveling projection-equipment mechanic works in Western Germany along the East-German border, visiting worn-out film-theatres. He meets up with a depressed young man whose marriage has just broken up, and the two decide to travel together.
Howard Spence (Sam Shepard) has seen better days. Once a big Western movie star, he now drowns his disgust for his selfish and failed life with alcohol, drugs and young women. If he were to die now, nobody would shed a tear over him, that's the sad truth. Until one day Howard learns that he might have a child somewhere out there. The very idea seems like a ray of hope that his life wasn't all in vain. So he sets out to find that young man or woman. He discovers an entire life that he has missed ... Written by
As the camera pans away from the trash pile the next morning, a head of a crew member is visible in the lower left corner See more »
Mind if I turn the radio on?
Yes, I do, as a matter of fact. I don't like outside influence.
That's right. The world at large. It's a nasty place. Why allow it in? Livestalk reports, Navajo chanting, beheadings, bestiality. Nothing's changed. Black Death, the Inquisition, the Crusades, conquest of Mexico. What's changed?
I was thinking...
I don't know.
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A slow, beautiful, meandering, improbable, poorly written, beautifully filmed film...
Don't Come Knocking (2005)
A disappointing attempt at gritty Western aura, movie insider savvy, and creative parallel plotting and editing. It has elements of camp, of post-modern drama (references to earlier movies or movie types), and even some genuine sincerity.
There is a terrific George Kennedy, who is still active and very much making movies with his over-sized persona. There are smaller roles by several women, including a wan and frankly dull if pretty Sarah Polley. And mostly there is Sam Shepard being Sam Shepard, which is pretty good stuff. But he plays a famous actor who walks off a cheesy movie shoot into reality, and for the rest of the movie is walking as if in a dream through a reality he never quite knew existed.
I think this looked great on paper. At least until someone read the script. It just doesn't hold water, partly for the simple fact that we couldn't care less about most of these folk. In particular, the movie makers, the directors and execs are playing meaningless roles that might mean something to insiders, but to the rest of us (I'm not an insider, thankfully), it's self-indulgent and, well, boring.
What works best? Well, since the story pushes you out you look at the performances straight up, and some, like Shepard's, are strong (he reminds me of Woody Harrelson in this film, for some reason). There's the music (by T-Bone Burnett), an often used electric guitar sound with a country twang that is appealing and sometimes even evocative. And there is the filming, which is unadorned and very nice, depending on some amazing scenes, and the light and color in them. If there is ever an Oscar for scouting, for period sets that hype up the truth of a certain period, this is a good candidate. Certainly the light is romantically appealing.
But I'm stretching to see the best in a plodding film that had potential and lost its velocity very early on.
It has to be added that the director, Wim Wenders, has done some amazing work, and has his own following. But he might be trying to cash in on "Paris, Texas" which has its own small cult following, and which at least has a quirky and disturbing element to it. Here it is mostly a matter of wandering in the modern wilderness, and Wenders, I really believe, is not quite in touch with what makes America America. It feels cold and superficial. See his "Wings of Desire" for a masterpiece. Here? Have patience. Oh...and enjoy the scenery!
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