87th Academy Awards post mortem

Best Supporting Actor

J. K. Simmons deserved to win and if he’d been nominated for Best Actor (he’s really a co-lead), he might have still won. Terrence Fletcher was the best performance of the year and will be one of the most talked about and analyzed performances for some time.

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Whatever happened to train robbers

The Great Train Robbery (1903)

After robbing a train, four bandits are killed in a shootout.

In one of the first films to tell a conventional narrative, Edwin Porter, a former cameraman for Thomas Edison, created many of the editing techniques we now take for granted, including cross-cutting.

The final image of Justus D. Barnes firing a gun directly at the camera has echoed for generations, inspiring the recurring opening sequences of the James Bond films and the ending of Goodfellas (1990).

This film was succeeded as my favorite film released in 1903 by Fairyland: Kingdom of Fairies.

Lemmy Caution says hello


Alphaville (1965)

Alpha 60, Professor von Braun’s hyper-intelligent computer, took over the city, creating a cold, rational paradise where weeping for a deceased loved one is a capital offense and emotional words are outlawed.

Secret agent Lemmy Caution (Eddie Constantine) arrives in “Alphaville” on a mission to find missing agent Henry Dickson, kill Professor von Braun, and destroy the computer.

Despite originating in a series of novels by British novelist, Peter Cheyney, Caution is clearly modeled on Humphrey Bogart’s interpretation of Sam Spade and would be at home in a Marlowe novel or a Hawks noir.

Godard’s meshing of two disparate genres, film noir and dystopian fiction, laid the groundwork for more recent work like Blade Runner (1982), and Terminator (1984). His film is effective and haunting, but his tendency towards inscrutability dampens the enjoyment of this film.

Don’t forget your mementos

215px-Memento_posterMemento (2000)

Leonard was viciously attacked and now suffers from anterograde amnesia.   Deprived of the ability to make new memories, every day he has to start over while the world around him changes.   He can’t develop new relationships, he can’t get a job; the only thing he can do is obsess and despair over his unfortunate predicament.

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Gleaning Miracles from the Edges of the Future

The Gleaners and I (2000)


The Gleaners and I: Two Years Later (2002)

Varda’s follow-up to her seminal film is too self-aggrandizing. Instead of revisiting the people or places she met in the first movie, she reads congratulatory postcards from viewers. This pretentious film almost cheapens the power of the original.

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Kubrick’s Order

Killer's Kiss (1955)13) Killer’s Kiss (1955)

One night, unlucky boxer Davey hears screams coming from the home of his attractive neighbor Gloria.

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The Stellar Mr. Arkadin Crawls at Night in Indochina

Interstellar (2014)

Interstellar (2014)

In the not so distant future, a planet-wide blight has hurled humanity backwards into a semi-agrarian society.

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Santa’s Theory of the Girl in a Cage — a film by Bergman

La Cage aux Folles (1978)

La Cage aux Folles (1978)

Renato owns a nightclub featuring his longtime lover, and accomplished drag performer, Albin. This creates complications when Laurent, Renato’s son from a previous relationship, brings his fiancée and her conservative parents home.

After watching Robin Williams and Nathan Lane enthusiastically two-step their way through an energetic love affair alongside the perfectly cast Gene Hackman in the American remake, this was a major disappointment.

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