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In addition to contributing film reviews of World Cinema classics to Alt Film Guide, Dan Schneider is the editor of Cosmoetica (http://www.cosmoetica.com/).


Author Archives: Dan Schneider


'Mildred Pierce' 1945: Joan Crawford 'Terrific' in Film Noir or Melodrama?

Joan Crawford in 'Mildred Pierce': Best Actress Oscar winner enjoyed a triumphant comeback. 'Mildred Pierce' 1945 movie review: Very entertaining 'soap opera' Time has a way of making some films seem grander than they really are. A good example is Mildred Pierce, the 1945 black-and-white melodrama directed by Casablanca's Michael […]


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'Mildred Pierce' 1945: Joan Crawford 'Terrific' in Film Noir or Melodrama?



'Fanny and Alexander' Review: Ingmar Bergman Brilliant & Disturbing Film

'Fanny and Alexander' movie: Ingmar Bergman brilliant classic with Bertil Guve as Alexander Ekdahl. 'Fanny and Alexander' movie review: Last Ingmar Bergman 'filmic film' Why Ingmar Bergman's Fanny and Alexander / Fanny och Alexander bears its appellation is a mystery – one of many in the director's final 'filmic film' […]


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'Fanny and Alexander' Review: Ingmar Bergman Brilliant & Disturbing Film



'Little Caesar' Movie: Edward G. Robinson Iconic - But Badly Dated - Gangster

Edward G. Robinson, Little Caesar Little Caesar is a good example of a film that is historically important, but that has dated very poorly. Tony Gaudio's camera work is mediocre, Warner Bros. musical director Erno Rapee's spare soundtrack is garbled, and the acting is for the most part wooden. Even […]


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'Little Caesar' Movie: Edward G. Robinson Iconic - But Badly Dated - Gangster



'Husbands' Movie Review: John Cassavetes 'Men-Boys' Drama

Ben Gazzara, Peter Falk in John Cassavetes' Husbands John Cassavetes was a filmmaker who made his independent films in two primary modes: brilliant character-driven masterpieces like Faces, The Killing of a Chinese Bookie, and Opening Night, or character-driven mediocrities with “moments,” like Shadows, A Woman Under the Influence, and Gloria. […]


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'Husbands' Movie Review: John Cassavetes 'Men-Boys' Drama



'A Face in the Crowd': Script Mars Cautionary Tale About Dangers of Populism

Patricia Neal and Andy Griffith, A Face in the Crowd Elia Kazan's 1957 drama A Face in the Crowd, written by Kazan's On the Waterfront collaborator Budd Schulberg, is neither the forgotten masterpiece its champions claim it to be nor a minor work to be disregarded as it was for […]


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'A Face in the Crowd': Script Mars Cautionary Tale About Dangers of Populism



'Ulysses Gaze' Movie: Harvey Keitel Stars for Theo Angelopoulos

Harvey Keitel, Ulysses' Gaze Greek filmmaker Theo Angelopoulos' 1995 effort To Vlemma tou Odyssea / Ulysses' Gaze is the first of that director's four films that I have seen that is not unequivocally a great work of art. Although there are arguments that can be made in favor of that […]


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'Ulysses Gaze' Movie: Harvey Keitel Stars for Theo Angelopoulos



'Capturing Reality: The Art of Documentary': Truth vs. Reality on Film

Pepita Ferrari's Capturing Reality: The Art of Documentary Pepita Ferrari's 2008 documentary on the insights of the documentarian's craft, Capturing Reality: The Art of Documentary, is a solid effort. However, despite its nature, Capturing Reality never does what it celebrates in the works of others: it fails to innovate and […]


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'Capturing Reality: The Art of Documentary': Truth vs. Reality on Film



Muhammad Ali: 'The Greatest,' 'A.k.a. Cassius Clay' & 'Made in Miami'

Muhammad Ali Growing up in the 1970s, the specter of heavyweight boxer Muhammad Ali – whom I could never stand – was everywhere. Contrary to opinions voiced about him post-Parkinson's Disease, Ali was the most despised athlete of that era. The most beloved was actually soccer superstar Pelé. Nonetheless, from […]


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Muhammad Ali: 'The Greatest,' 'A.k.a. Cassius Clay' & 'Made in Miami'



'Close-Up' Review: Abbas Kiarostami Movie in Pantheon of Quasi-Documentaries

Abbas Kiarostami's Close-Up Abbas Kiarostami is one of those “name” non-American directors who is looked to as a god. The low-budget Nema-ye Nazdik / Close-Up is the second Kiarostami effort I have seen and it is an excellent film. [Note: spoilers ahead] Close-Up is a pseudo-documentary – not a mockumentary, […]


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'Close-Up' Review: Abbas Kiarostami Movie in Pantheon of Quasi-Documentaries



'Ran': Akira Kurosawa Classic

Akira Kurosawa's Ran “Critical cribbing” is a term I coined in regard to the tendency of critics, in all fields, to not engage a work of art directly, but rather to fall back on lazily repeating claims that have been made by others about the work they are reviewing. Sometimes, […]


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'Ran': Akira Kurosawa Classic



'The Sweet Hereafter' Movie Review: Surprisingly Oscar-Nominated Atom Egoyan

Ian Holm, Sarah Polley, The Sweet Hereafter Some films are well crafted but lifeless. Others err by believing they can too readily make an audience care for a character just by having a traumatic situation beset him early on. Director and screenwriter Atom Egoyan's 1997 drama The Sweet Hereafter suffers […]


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'The Sweet Hereafter' Movie Review: Surprisingly Oscar-Nominated Atom Egoyan



'The War Game' Movie Review: Nuclear Holocaust in England

'The War Game.' For anyone who thinks that those 50-pack mega-DVD sets of public domain films put out by several different video companies are worthless, I would argue that the amount of films you get for the money is worth it, even if all were mediocre. I would also add […]


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'The War Game' Movie Review: Nuclear Holocaust in England



'Blade Runner' Analysis: No Single Vision

Harrison Ford in Ridley Scott's Blade Runner There is simply no scene in Blade Runner that approaches that moment in Au hasard Balthazar. Indeed, Scott doesn't even try, for Blade Runner is one of those movies whose reputation rests almost entirely upon the “criticism of intent”: a noxious reiteration of […]


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'Blade Runner' Analysis: No Single Vision



'Blade Runner' Review: Ridley Scott-Harrison Ford Sci-Fier

Ridley Scott's dystopian 1982 sci-fi drama Blade Runner is one of those Hollywood productions whose initially mixed reviews were actually closer to the mark than the decades of hagiography that followed. That's not to say that Blade Runner is a bad film; it's only a much-ballyhooed mediocrity chiefly due to […]


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'Blade Runner' Review: Ridley Scott-Harrison Ford Sci-Fier



'Casablanca': Humprey Bogart-Ingrid Bergman Classic 'Nowhere Near Greatness'

Ingrid Bergman, Humphrey Bogart, Casablanca About three years ago, I finally gave in to watch Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life (1946) for the first time. I had hesitated because of the five- and ten-minute snippets of the film I had seen, and for its reputation as a hokey Christmas […]


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'Casablanca': Humprey Bogart-Ingrid Bergman Classic 'Nowhere Near Greatness'



'Last Year at Marienbad' Review: Alain Resnais' Film Masterpiece

Alain Resnais' Last Year at Marienbad: Intertextuality via cinematic 'touchstone.' Forget all prior claims you've read about Alain Resnais,” 90-minute, black-and-white effort L'année dernière à Marienbad / Last Year at Marienbad (1961) – from the bad to the good, from publicity nonsense which declaims the three main characters are named […]


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'Last Year at Marienbad' Review: Alain Resnais' Film Masterpiece



'The Fallen Idol' Review: Carol Reed Before 'The Third Man'

Michèle Morgan, Ralph Richardson, The Fallen Idol The 1948 drama The Fallen Idol is the third film I've seen by British filmmaker Carol Reed. I'd previously watched the dreadful Oscar-winning musical Oliver! (1968) and the stolid biopic The Agony and the Ecstasy (1965), featuring Charlton Heston as Michelangelo. I've also […]


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'The Fallen Idol' Review: Carol Reed Before 'The Third Man'



'Mr. Deeds Goes to Town' Review: Frank Capra Classic

Gary Cooper, Jean Arthur, Frank Capra There is a tendency among some to think that all the art produced by a great artist is great. This is false, but it gives cover for bad critics who just recycle old blurbs about said artist. Think of the fawning that goes on […]


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'Mr. Deeds Goes to Town' Review: Frank Capra Classic



'It Happened One Night' Review: Frank Capra Directs Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert to Oscars

Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert, It Happened One Night It is a very rare thing when a light-hearted comedy, something that is quintessentially the stuff of a “good movie,” breaches into that territory where the term “good film” can also be applied, but Frank Capra's It Happened One Night (1934), adapted […]


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'It Happened One Night' Review: Frank Capra Directs Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert to Oscars



'The 400 Blows': François Truffaut Classic

Jean Pierre Léaud, The 400 Blows In 1959, a pair of newly released French films were instantly hailed as classics, going on to become the twin pillars of the Nouvelle Vague, or New Wave. One, Jean-Luc Godard's À bout de souffle / Breathless, was bad; the other, François Truffaut's Les […]


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'The 400 Blows': François Truffaut Classic



'Straw Dogs' Review: Infamous Rape Scene

Dustin Hoffman, Susan George, Straw Dogs If there has ever been a more over-interpreted and misinterpreted film than director Sam Peckinpah's 1971 drama Straw Dogs, I've yet to encounter it. Citizen Kane and 2001: A Space Odyssey have had more ink spilled over them, but most of the ideas tossed […]


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'Straw Dogs' Review: Infamous Rape Scene



'Amarcord' Review: Federico Fellini Classic

Federico Fellini's Amarcord has often been linked with Ingmar Bergman's Fanny and Alexander as films made by old men looking back on their youth. While this is true, Amarcord has a loose narrative structure in which the lives of many characters are detailed in comic vignettes, whereas Fanny and Alexander […]


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'Amarcord' Review: Federico Fellini Classic



'Forbidden Planet' Review: Classic Science-Fiction Movie

Leslie Nielsen, Anne Francis, Robby the Robot, Forbidden Planet When one thinks of 1950s science-fiction films, one thinks of the sort of schlocky black-and-white B movies that were parodied on the old Mystery Science Theater 3000 television show. Yet, while there were a whole lot of films like Plan 9 […]


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'Forbidden Planet' Review: Classic Science-Fiction Movie



'The Conversation': Francis Ford Coppola Paranoid Classic

Gene Hackman, The Conversation There are some works of art that are both obviously derivative and just as obviously inferior to the originals. Those simply ape the earlier work, tweak a few minor things, and try to pass off their theft as an “homage.” The Conversation (1974), written and directed […]


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'The Conversation': Francis Ford Coppola Paranoid Classic



'Breathless' Review: Jean-Luc Godard Wildly Overrated Classic?

Jean-Paul Belmondo, Jean Seberg, Breathless The fact that an artist writes boringly to convey boredom, or childishly to convey puerility, has no effect on the resultant work being neither boring nor puerile. Self-awareness of a flaw does not alleviate the flaw. For that to not be true, intent in art […]


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'Breathless' Review: Jean-Luc Godard Wildly Overrated Classic?



'Umberto D.' Review: Vittorio De Sica and Indifference to Human Suffering

Flike, Carlo Battisti, Umberto D. Lost between the glare of The Bicycle Thief (1948) and his later films with Sophia Loren, Vittorio De Sica's 1952 drama Umberto D. stands as an almost forgotten masterpiece of Italian neorealism and one of the last films that could claim to be of that […]


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'Umberto D.' Review: Vittorio De Sica and Indifference to Human Suffering



'Blow-Up' Movie Analysis: Michelangelo Antonioni Great Work of Art

'Blow-Up' with David Hemmings and Veruschka. 'Blow-Up' movie analysis: Michelangelo Antonioni creates great work of art and philosophy Made in Great Britain in 1966, the flat-out great Blow-Up (in the U.K., Blow-Up) was Michelangelo Antonioni's first English-language effort. “Inspired” by Argentinean writer Julio Cortázar's 1959 short story Las babas del […]


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'Blow-Up' Movie Analysis: Michelangelo Antonioni Great Work of Art



'Red' Movie Review: Brilliant Film with Career-Capping Performance

'Red' movie: Jean-Louis Trintignant and Irène Jacob. 'Red' movie review: 'Brilliant' Krzysztof Kieslowski film The final film in Krzysztof Kieslowski's Three Colors (“Trois couleurs”) trilogy, the 1994 release Three Colors: Red / Trois couleurs: Rouge, is almost universally acclaimed as the best of the three. For once, the general consensus […]


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'Red' Movie Review: Brilliant Film with Career-Capping Performance



'Seven Samurai' Analysis: Akira Kurosawa Classic Keeps Improving

'Seven Samurai' analysis: Akira Kurosawa movie gets better after repeated viewings (image: Toshiro Mifune in 'Seven Samurai') Some films get better after repeated viewings. Akira Kurosawa's 1954 black-and-white drama Seven Samurai / Shichinin no samurai is one of them. It fully deserved winning that year's Silver Lion at the Venice […]


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'Seven Samurai' Analysis: Akira Kurosawa Classic Keeps Improving



'The Trip to Bountiful' Review: Geraldine Page Best Actress

Geraldine Page, The Trip to Bountiful Greatness in one medium does not assure greatness in another. One need only look at Peter Masterson's 1985 film version of Horton Foote's play The Trip to Bountiful to realize this. Yes, there are great elements to be found in the film's direction, acting, […]


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'The Trip to Bountiful' Review: Geraldine Page Best Actress



'Drunken Angel': Akira Kurosawa in 'Unformed' Pre-Masterpiece Stage

Watching Akira Kurosawa's 1948 black-and-white effort Yoidore Tenshi / Drunken Angel is an interesting experience, for he clearly had not mastered the art form, yet. Even so, there is so much that is good in Drunken Angel – touches that would become great in just a few years. It's like […]


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'Drunken Angel': Akira Kurosawa in 'Unformed' Pre-Masterpiece Stage



'The End of Summer' Movie Review: Yasujiro Ozu Classic

Yasujiro Ozu classic When an artist has reached a level of such high art that he and his work can be spoken of as being in the top tier of his art form, something terrible happens: often brilliant – but not quite ineffably so – work is looked upon with […]


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'The End of Summer' Movie Review: Yasujiro Ozu Classic



'The Sacrifice': Andrei Tarkovsky 'Exercise in Cinema Appreciation

Watching Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky's final work, Offret / The Sacrifice (1986), is an exercise in cinema appreciation. That's not because The Sacrifice is a great film, but because it has great moments interspersed with moments of sheer boredom. In fact, The Sacrifice is one of those rare films that […]


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'The Sacrifice': Andrei Tarkovsky 'Exercise in Cinema Appreciation



'The Man from London' Review: Béla Tarr Film Noir

'The Man from London' analysis Style over substance. That is the plaint of many a critic when they come across a film or book or any work of art they do not like, but which has undeniable merit, at least technically, if not in a few other measures as well. […]


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'The Man from London' Review: Béla Tarr Film Noir



'It Came from Beneath the Sea': Cult Horror Classic

I looked through one of my DVD sets, Columbia Pictures' “The Fantastic Films of Ray Harryhausen, Legendary Science Fiction Series,” and plucked an old fave of mine to rewatch: the 78-minute, black-and-white, 1955 classic It Came from Beneath the Sea. While not one of the more hyped Ray Harryhausen productions, […]


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'It Came from Beneath the Sea': Cult Horror Classic



'The Limey': Steven Soderbergh Thriller

Director Steven Soderbergh's 1999 so-called crime drama The Limey is easily the best Soderbergh effort I've seen. That's partly due to the innovative narrative structure, which makes all but the last few minutes of this great film a flashback. The rest is due to an excellent script by Lem Dobbs, […]


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'The Limey': Steven Soderbergh Thriller



'My Kid Could Paint That' Review: Art or Con Art?

In a real sense, the 83-minute documentary My Kid Could Paint That is one of the most disgusting films of all time. It disgusts because a) it so vividly displays the utter nonsense and stupidity of the modern art scamming that has gone on for the last half century or […]


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'My Kid Could Paint That' Review: Art or Con Art?



'Days of '36' Theo Angelopoulos

Greek film director Theo Angelopoulos' 1972 effort Meres Tou '36 / Days of '36, winner of the International Federation of Film Critics award at the Berlin Film Festival, is the least of the several films of his that I've seen. It is also, by over a decade and a half, […]


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'Days of '36' Theo Angelopoulos



'Man Bites Dog' Review: Benoît Poelvoorde

The 1992 Belgian mockumentary C'est arrivé près de chez vous / Man Bites Dog (or, somewhat literally, It Happened in Your Neighborhood) is one of those films that is neither bad nor good, and not really its own “thing,” either. By that I mean that it is manifestly influenced by […]


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'Man Bites Dog' Review: Benoît Poelvoorde



'Fire' Movie Review: Deepa Mehta Tackles Lesbian Relationship

Fire (1996) Dir. / Scr.: Deepa Mehta. Cast: Shabana Azmi, Nandita Das, Jaaved Jaaferi, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Ranjit Chowdhry, Kushal Rekhi, Alice Poon   I watched the 1996 Canadian film Fire by Indian filmmaker Deepa Mehta after having long heard of its taboo nature based mainly on its depiction of lesbianism. […]


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'Fire' Movie Review: Deepa Mehta Tackles Lesbian Relationship



'Stardust Memories' Review: Woody Allen, Charlotte Rampling

One of the interesting things about a great work of art is how, upon re-experience a) it holds up and/or b) deepens into something even better. From the first time I saw Woody Allen's 88-minute black-and-white 1980 effort Stardust Memories (made early on in Woody's Golden Era of 1977-1992) on […]


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'Stardust Memories' Review: Woody Allen, Charlotte Rampling



'Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom' Review: Pier Paolo Pasolini vs. Fascism

Why is it that bad artists always try to justify their garbage by claiming to be experimental, political, or any other label that does not pertain to the quality of the artwork itself? Well, it's simple – they cannot justify it in any other way. Naturally, when the film or […]


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'Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom' Review: Pier Paolo Pasolini vs. Fascism



'Sansho the Bailiff' Kenji Mizoguchi

Sanshô Dayû / Sansho the Bailiff (1954) Dir.: Kenji Mizoguchi. Scr.: Fuji Yahiro; from the old legend and Ogai Mori's 1915 short story “Sansho the Steward.” Cast: Shindô Eitarô, Kyoko Kagawa, Yoshiaki Hanayagi   One of the nostra about Japanese film director Kenji Mizoguchi is that he is 'the most […]


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'Sansho the Bailiff' Kenji Mizoguchi



'Woyzeck': Werner Herzog 'Lesser' Effort Superior to 'Hollywood Masterpieces'

Woyzeck with Klaus Kinski. Werner Herzog and Klaus Kinski collaborated on five features: Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972), Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979), Woyzeck (1979), Fitzcarraldo (1982), and Cobra Verde (1987). In all five films Kinski played the titular character – a multinational group consisting of the following backgrounds: Spanish, […]


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'Woyzeck': Werner Herzog 'Lesser' Effort Superior to 'Hollywood Masterpieces'



'Major Dundee' Review: Sam Peckinpah Meets Charlton Heston

Sam Peckinpah's 1965 Western Major Dundee is a near-great film that has a checkered history. The tale of its mangling by its studio, Columbia, which took it out of Peckinpah's hands is as well known as the butchery that accompanied Erich von Stroheim's Greed, and Orson Welles' The Magnificent Ambersons […]


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'Major Dundee' Review: Sam Peckinpah Meets Charlton Heston



'A Passion' Movie Review: Max von Sydow and Liv Ullmann in Ingmar Bergman Classic

Ingmar Bergman's 1969 drama En Passion / A Passion (in the U.S., mistitled as The Passion of Anna) is a great film – in fact, it may be the best of Bergman's mid-to-late-1960s efforts dealing with human relationships and the Self – e.g., Persona, Hour of the Wolf, Shame. A […]


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'A Passion' Movie Review: Max von Sydow and Liv Ullmann in Ingmar Bergman Classic



'Il Grido' 1957: Michelangelo Antonioni Neorealist Classic

'Il Grido' 1957: Michelangelo Antonioni at his Neo-Realist best So much attention has been paid to Italian filmmaker Michelangelo Antonioni's films from the 1960s that his earlier Neo-Realist efforts have been overlooked – as if they represented the work of nothing more than a talented tyro. But even though Antonioni […]


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'Il Grido' 1957: Michelangelo Antonioni Neorealist Classic



'Little Dieter Needs to Fly': Werner Herzog

Little Dieter Needs to Fly (1997) Dir. / Scr.: Werner Herzog. Cast: Dieter Dengler     Little Dieter Needs to Fly is another in the remarkable body of Werner Herzog's film work, one that is without peer. Having recently rewatched it on DVD, nearly a decade after its initial US […]


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'Little Dieter Needs to Fly': Werner Herzog



'A Generation': Andrzej Wajda Polish Cinema Classic

Pokolenie / A Generation (1955) Dir.: Andrzej Wajda. Scr.: Bohdan Czeszko, from his novel. Cast: Tadeusz Lomnicki, Urszula Modrzynska, Tadeusz Janczar, Janusz Paluszkiewicz, Ryszard Kotys, Roman Polanski, Zbigniew Cybulski   Sometimes films get reputations way out of proportion with their artistic merit simply because they expound a point of view […]


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'A Generation': Andrzej Wajda Polish Cinema Classic



'Contempt' Movie Review: Brigitte Bardot and Jean-Luc Godard

Of the films I've seen so far of French New Wave director Jean-Luc Godard, his best is Le Mépris / Contempt (1963), adapted by Godard from Alberto Moravia's novel Il Disprezzo (published in English as The Ghost at Noon). That statement should not be taken as an acknowledgement of greatness, […]


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'Contempt' Movie Review: Brigitte Bardot and Jean-Luc Godard



'Undertow' Movie Review: David Gordon Green

Devon Alan and Jamie Bell feel the pull in 'Undertow.' When does the seep of an artist's talent get to be too much? Is it the first time he 'sells out,' the third time, or when all of the early potential has drained away? This was what I was thinking […]


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'Undertow' Movie Review: David Gordon Green



'Minnie and Moskowitz' Review: John Cassavetes

All choice entails risk, therefore John Cassavetes' artistic choice to structure his films based mostly on improvisation rather than hard scripted dialogue is a decision that can result in great films, like Faces, ok films like Shadows, and bad films like Minnie and Moskowitz (1971), an awkwardly written and poorly […]


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'Minnie and Moskowitz' Review: John Cassavetes



'War-Gods of the Deep' Review: Jacques Tourneur Cult Classic

War-Gods of the Deep is one of those films whose title makes no sense, but is right in keeping with the whole tenor of the film itself. Made in 1965, this American International Pictures production the studio's first non-Roger Corman release based on a Edgar Allan Poe's story, and was […]


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'War-Gods of the Deep' Review: Jacques Tourneur Cult Classic



'Taste of Cherry' Movie Review: Abbas Kiarostami

There is the old, and often neglected, nostrum about 'gilding the lily.' I was reminded of this while watching Abbas Kiarostami's acclaimed Ta'm e guilass / Taste of Cherry, co-winner of the Palme d'Or at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival. Even though Taste of Cherry comes close to being a […]


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'Taste of Cherry' Movie Review: Abbas Kiarostami



'The Mole People': Unfairly Maligned Sci-Fi Horror Mix

Sometimes bad films get reputations they thoroughly deserve, e.g., Plan 9 from Outer Space, Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, and Robot Monster. These films are so ineptly staged, directed, written, and acted that they are actually very funny, if not necessarily “good.” Sometimes bad films get reputations they do not […]


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'The Mole People': Unfairly Maligned Sci-Fi Horror Mix



'The Monolith Monsters: Notable Sci-Fi B Movie

Perhaps it is all because of Grant Williams. Williams was a B-film actor who was best known for his starring role in The Incredible Shrinking Man, a 1957 release that has been generally acknowledged as one of the most literate B sci-fi films of the 1950s. In watching the DVD […]


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'The Monolith Monsters: Notable Sci-Fi B Movie



'The 7th Voyage of Sinbad': Kerwin Mathews Adventure Classic

By Dan Schneider of Cosmoetica Perhaps I was five or six when I first snuck into one of the cheapo movie theaters off of Myrtle Ave., in Queens, to see The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958). Or perhaps I saw it first on WABC-TV's “The 4:30 Movie,” or late at […]


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'The 7th Voyage of Sinbad': Kerwin Mathews Adventure Classic



'The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou': Wes Anderson Fail

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004) Dir.: Wes Anderson. Scr.: Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach. Cast: Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Anjelica Huston, Cate Blanchett, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Michael Gambon, Seymour Cassel, Bud Cort Screenwriter and film director Wes Anderson has made a career out of quirky films that […]


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'The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou': Wes Anderson Fail



'The Fearless Vampire Killers': Roman Polanski Classic Comedy

One of the overlooked aspects of most of the vintage 1960s and 1970s Hammer Studios horror films is that they were quite funny, often unintentionally so. Yes, Christopher Lee had a certain charm, but is it not true that he was also far more grandly silly than scary? Looking back […]


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'The Fearless Vampire Killers': Roman Polanski Classic Comedy



'Hour of the Wolf' Review: Ingmar Bergman Directs Max von Sydow

Vargtimmen / Hour of the Wolf, a 1968 film by Ingmar Bergman, proves the nostrum that even lesser work by a great artist surpasses the better work of lesser artists, for Bergman can get more from the prosaic than just about any other director. Hour of the Wolf is comprised […]


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'Hour of the Wolf' Review: Ingmar Bergman Directs Max von Sydow



'The Return of the Secaucus 7' Review: Early John Sayles

THE RETURN OF THE SECAUCUS 7 (1980). Dir. / Scr.: John Sayles. Cast: Maggie Renzi, Adam LeFevre, John Sayles, David Straithairn, Gordon Clapp Independent filmmaker John Sayles' 1980 feature-film debut, The Return of the Secaucus 7, has the typical feel of the low-budget productions from that era – even those […]


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'The Return of the Secaucus 7' Review: Early John Sayles



'Signs of Life': Werner Herzog

Lebenszeichen / Signs of Life (1968) Dir.: Werner Herzog Scr.: Werner Herzog; inspired by Achim von Arnim's story Cast: Peter Brogle, Wolfgang Reichmann, Athina Zacharopoulou, Wolfgang von Ungern-Sternberg, Wolfgang Stumpf, Julio Pinheiro   No filmmaker's career has been more defined and structured by the musical choices he has made than […]


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'Signs of Life': Werner Herzog



'The Bad Sleep Well' Review: Akira Kurosawa Classic

Akira Kurosawa's 1960 black-and-white Warui yatsu hodo yoku nemuru / The Bad Sleep Well, is often compared to William Shakespeare's Hamlet, but that's an inapt comparison. While Shakespeare's play has a higher sense of poetry, Kurosawa's film – though a high-class melodrama – has far more relevance, realism, and complexity. […]


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'The Bad Sleep Well' Review: Akira Kurosawa Classic



'The Invisible Boy' Herman Hoffman

Whereas the Freudian and Shakespearean cocktail of Forbidden Planet is a great example of sci-fi filmmaking – if not of great overall filmmaking – the other film in the package, The Invisible Boy, a black-and-white production directed by Herman Hoffman and based on a short story by Edmund Cooper, is […]


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'The Invisible Boy' Herman Hoffman



'Gojira' vs. 'Godzilla': Which Is Better? Is Japanese Version Superior to the American One?

Gojira with Akihiko Hirata, Momoko Kôchi, and Akira Takarada. Tokyo-born actress Momoko Kôchi (1932–1998) was seen in more than 30 films over the course of four decades. In Ishirô Honda's Gojira, Akira Takarada is Kôchi's love interest, while Akihiko Hirata is the man her father has chosen to become her […]


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'Gojira' vs. 'Godzilla': Which Is Better? Is Japanese Version Superior to the American One?



'Godzilla, King of the Monsters!' & 1954 'Gojira': Two of the Greatest Monster Movies Ever

Godzilla. Whether in Ishirô Honda's 1954 Japanese original Gojira or in the 1956 U.S. version, Godzilla, King of the Monsters!, the destructive reptilian creature emblematic of the atomic age remains one of cinema's iconic creations. Like Harry Potter, James Bond, and Andy Hardy, Godzilla has been at the center of […]


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'Godzilla, King of the Monsters!' & 1954 'Gojira': Two of the Greatest Monster Movies Ever



'Testament of Orpheus': Jean Cocteau Ends Heavy-Handed 'Orphic Trilogy'

Testament of Orpheus with Jean Cocteau. The filmmaker's “Orphic Trilogy” spanned nearly three decades: The Blood of a Poet (1932), with Enrique Riveros as The Poet; Orpheus (1950), with Roger Blin, in a supporting role, as The Poet; and Testament of Orpheus (1960), with Cocteau himself as the time-traveling Poet. […]


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'Testament of Orpheus': Jean Cocteau Ends Heavy-Handed 'Orphic Trilogy'



'Orpheus' Film Review: Jean Cocteau & Jean Marais Collaboration

The second film in Jean Cocteau's so-called Orphic Trilogy, Orphée / Orpheus (the truth is, the films in this 'trilogy' do not make up an actual trilogy), deals with the classic Orpheus and Eurydice myth. It is also a better film than its predecessor, Le Sang d'un poète / The […]


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'Orpheus' Film Review: Jean Cocteau & Jean Marais Collaboration



'White Nights' Movie Review: Luchino Visconti Un-Hollywoodian Love Story

'White Nights' with Maria Schell and Marcello Mastroianni. 'White Nights' movie review: Luchino Visconti's 'un-Hollywoodian tale of love' Adapted from Fyodor Dostoevsky's story of the same name, Luchino Visconti's 1957 drama White Nights / Le Notti bianche, winner of that year's Silver Lion at the Venice Film Festival, is not […]


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'White Nights' Movie Review: Luchino Visconti Un-Hollywoodian Love Story



'The Blood of a Poet': Jean Cocteau

I recently got The Orphic Trilogy of films written and directed by Jean Cocteau: Le Sang d'un poète / The Blood of a Poet (1930), Orphée / Orpheus (1950), and Le Testament d'Orphée / The Testament of Orpheus (1960). I decided to start with the first film, Le Sang d'un […]


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'The Blood of a Poet': Jean Cocteau



'Shame' Movie Review: Ingmar Bergman Classic

I should no longer be surprised when critics miss the most obvious things in works of art, because they are human beings, and the vast majority of human beings are lazy by nature. That said, the simplistic notion that Ingmar Bergman's great 1968 drama Skammen / Shame is merely anti-war […]


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'Shame' Movie Review: Ingmar Bergman Classic



'White' Movie Review: Julie Delpy Stars in Krzysztof Kieslowski 'Delightful If Flawed Comedy'

Julie Delpy in 'Three Colors: White.' 'White' movie review: Krzysztof Kieslowski's weakest 'Three Color's film is 'exceptional' when compared to Hollywood comedies Krzysztof Kieslowski's middle film in his Polish-French trilogy – Three Colors: Blue, Three Colors: White, and Three Colors: Red – is a black comedy that also happens to […]


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'White' Movie Review: Julie Delpy Stars in Krzysztof Kieslowski 'Delightful If Flawed Comedy'



'Blue' Movie (1993) Review: Krzysztof Kieslowski 'Masterpiece'

'Blue' movie (1993) review: Krzysztof Kieslowski 'Three Color's drama (image: Juliette Binoche in 'Three Colors: Blue') Krzysztof Kieslowski was one of the more interesting filmmakers of the last quarter century. The centerpiece of his claim to greatness is the film trilogy that he directed and co-wrote with Krzysztof Piesiewicz in […]


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'Blue' Movie (1993) Review: Krzysztof Kieslowski 'Masterpiece'



'Klaus Kinski: My Best Fiend': Werner Herzog & Unusual Collaborator

Werner Herzog's 1999 documentary, Mein liebster Feind - Klaus Kinski / Klaus Kinski: My Best Fiend, is yet another in the dazzling array of Herzog documentary – or documentary-like – films. This one follows the director's turbulent friendship and creative partnership with the legendary German actor Klaus Kinski, with Herzog […]


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'Klaus Kinski: My Best Fiend': Werner Herzog & Unusual Collaborator



'Mr. Arkadin': Orson Welles Lesser-Known Effort

The first time I saw Orson Welles' 1955 black-and-white film Mr. Arkadin was a few years ago, on a cheap 91-minute DVD version put out by LaserLight. It was a film often called Welles' “European Citizen Kane," and had a bizarre introduction by a fey and gloved Tony Curtis. It […]


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'Mr. Arkadin': Orson Welles Lesser-Known Effort



SOLARIS Andrei Tarkovsky

I first saw the 2002 Steven Soderbergh version of Solaris, starring George Clooney, then read Stanislaw Lem's novel, and then watched Andrei Tarkovsky's 1972 169-minute film version of the book, Solyaris / Solaris, winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival that year. Each successive interpretation I've […]


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SOLARIS Andrei Tarkovsky



'Scenes from a Marriage' Review: Liv Ullmann in Ingmar Bergman Classic

Leo Tolstoy once opined that all happy families are happy in a few ways, while those that are not suffer in many unique ways. This apothegm was never more well evinced than in filmmaker Ingmar Bergman's five-hour 1973 Swedish telefilm Scener ur ett äktenskap / Scenes from a Marriage, a […]


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'Scenes from a Marriage' Review: Liv Ullmann in Ingmar Bergman Classic



'The Naked Kiss' Samuel Fuller

Maverick American filmmaker Samuel Fuller was both a progressive and a prude, and no film of his better illustrates this schismic personal dichotomy, echoed in his use of high and low techniques in his art, than his 1964 black-and-white film noir melodrama The Naked Kiss . The Naked Kiss is […]


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'The Naked Kiss' Samuel Fuller