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Mozjoukine

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526 reviews in total 
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Maligned Italian curiosity., 20 September 2014

Gianni Amelio has always been one of the most interesting Italian film-makers. His silent movie compilation is the best thing about the wasted opportunity represented by the Turin film museum.

The current production is not as imposing as OPEN DOORS or L'America. I can't honestly say I understand it. However it held my attention and I became engaged with Antonio Albanese it's leading man, who is better know in Italy. He's the traffic cop in FROM ROME WITH LOVE. The character's variety of fill-in jobs give us an intriguing cross section of Italian life and that's clearly the reason they've been shown. The personal story is another matter and the puzzling ending is unsatisfying. People who write about the film don't seem to be able to handle that.

I'd watch it again if I got the chance and I thought it would give me a better handle on what Amelio wants us to take away from the film.

Luca Bigazzi's 'scope images are as always impeccable and the score is best Euro film music.

Among the many obsessive personal stories on film this one stands out, 7 September 2014

I guess I've now been around to see the two craziest movie projects of all time take shape - Kevin Brownlow's IT HAPPENED HERE begun when it's creator was 14, and Andrew Leavold's THE SEARCH FOR WENG WENG.

Brisbane video store proprietor Leavold stumbled across a dubbed copy of Phillipino trash movie FOR YOUR HEIGHT ONLY, featuring a three and a half foot Pinoy composite of Bruce Lee and James Bond. Unravelling the lead's forgotten story got to consume Leavold's life. Eight years, three mortgages on the store and a model exercise in cloud funding later, Leavold is touring the planet showing his documentary representing Weng Weng as action hero become tragic victim of exploitation become Catholic icon. The highlight of his attention getting live introductions is always Leavold showing the tattoo he had done on his shoulder in Manilla, showing Weng Weng in a religious aura.

The film itself is a shrewd mix of clips, interviews and accounts of its makers'adventures in the Philippines, which included being guest of honour at Imelda Marcos' 81st birthday party. Slowly Leavold finds his way to the star's low cost plot in the cemetery where the Manilla homeless live among the grave markers.

The result is surprisingly involving. It's remarkable that this one summons the know how to convince audiences that it's not a put on, not an unhealthy cash-in on it's sad little man subject and not something you should pass over for another look at GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY.

Superior Vietnam war doc., 2 September 2014

This film is a companion to the the same lot's WINTER SOLDIER which remains one of the most imposing of the many excellent non fiction films the Vietnam Wat produced - possibly the last major conflict to be documented on celluloid - MILLS of the GODS, SAME BLOOD SAME MUD, SAD SONG OF YELLOW SKIN, SONS and DAUGHTERS.

This one also deals with the ex military protesters focusing on Scott Camil, who was won over to their cause from his hawkish stance.

Production values are plain but adequate - a mix of colour interviews and B&W actuality of demonstrations.

It's the content that impresses.

Superior doco., 30 August 2014

The idea of name film makers on a pilgrimage to Ingmar Bergman's Faro Island home is enough to strike a chill into the heart of any seasoned viewer. Surprisingly, this proves to have room for a large slice of irreverent material without decrying Bergman's status as the heavyweight champion of sixties Euro Art cinema.

The over-all impression is that of a swarm of talented individuals who like to talk about the influences that shaped their own work and for whom Bergman represented one of the high achievers of their craft. The interviews are remarkably skillful - Woody Allen playing it straight, Lars Von Trier getting laughs, Robert De Niro, who is notoriously awkward in interviews, at ease and making valid comment. Technical aspects are good large screen standard and the clips are well chosen and reasonably reproduced - WINTER LIGHT conspicuously absent.

The photos of The Great Man with Ang Lee are a strong finale but I must admit Beat Takashi's encounter with VIRGIN SPRING is the part I tell friends about.

1987 (2014)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Montreal coming of age piece., 7 August 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Boucher, as director Trogi at 17, narrates this autobiographical account of leaving high school, losing it and trying to avoid awful career choices like those his dad made.

Opens with him berating the suits on the human resources committee, where he is the voice of youth, about their strategy but we lose track of that.

His family (Italian immigrant, garage booze making, accordion player dad, weight loss freak mum and reclusive sister) are more stressful than the friends he starts a petty crime wave with. Events conspire to break up his relationship with his prom date, who is about to put out and get him thrown in the slammer but things end appealingly.

We've seen most of this before (American Pie, American Graffiti etc.) but this occasionally has a harder edge (Boucher expressing his contempt for his dad's life) and it's delivered with some charm and conviction. Professional finished.

Curiosity, 30 July 2014

The short films of the movies' greatest designer, William Cameron Menzies are miserably under documented. Yes, he wanted to direct and his two reelers made for Post Productions gave him a chance.

This is probably the least of them. His TERRIBLY STRANGE BED would have to be at the top of that list.

The current film is a murder mystery with a silhouette presentation as the climax and only element of interest.

A cast of half familiar players go through their paces in a slackly filmed and slow paced production.

That's enough comment.

Outstanding Japanese Silent, 27 July 2014
10/10

Of the surviving Japanese silent films, this superior costume drama is among the most accomplished. It involves some of the personnel of PAGE OF MADNESS but is realised on a large scale and it has the star of GATE OF HELL here at his peak.

The plot resembles that of the later film - warrior unable to have the woman he wants because of her court status - and it anticipates the kung fu films of the seventies in it's choreographed fight scenes, in one of which the hero defeats the squads of proto ninjas, armed only with a flute.

The design and camera are superior. Only the men's make up suggests it's age.

Pioneer Indian Feature., 24 July 2014

Like most national industries, India has a candidate for the status of first feature film - this 1913 hit, seen as the departure point of Hindi cinema and it's mythological cycle. Both time and culture separate outside viewers from it. Even so, it is disappointing as a piece of film history.

While hunting, King Harishchandra disturbs the sage who is upset, so to atone our hero gives him his kingdom. It looks like this will precipitate a tragic outcome but Shiva intervenes.

Photographer turned filmmaker Phalke took two years to get his first film made. The technique is basic - jump cut disposal of the three women deities that the sage has summoned is as adventurous as it gets.

The mime in the style of regional theater is broad and having boys play the female parts is disturbing now.

Early comedy short., 19 July 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Better than the other surviving Gale Henry vehicle The DETECTRESS.

In the future, men and women have changed roles. Henry runs for Fire Chief, against sturdy rival Allen, who has all the voters going through the door that admits people to her ballot box but Henry wins by stuffing her box in a variety of disguises, including black face.

There's a fire & Henry's all girl brigade is called. The members get there faster by walking than she does repairing the flat tire on the fire wagon. The her loved one is rescued and rival Allen is defeated. Happy end.

The sex inversion premise is mildly interesting. Technique is just adequate. So so Alpha DVD quality.

Routine silent comedy., 21 June 2014

Formula two reel comedy with Louis Fazenda in comic outfit failing to gain acceptance at Palm Beach, where the fish in her washed out in the tide shoe attracts a seal. Her hard case dad sends her off to apply for a maid's job in a mansion, (pull out bath gag) which turns out to be the headquarters of a gang who abduct a toff to invite his society friends to the reception, where the lights go off and they are robbed. Louise recovers the jewelry starting a horse-car-launch chase with the crooks the toffs and the cops all falling in the water.

Elaborate but not very funny gags.Short on characterisation with the star having little to work with.


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