237 posts categorized "Criterion Collection"

December 27, 2023

AMERICAN BOY: A PROFILE OF STEVEN PRINCE

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Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.ColeSmithey.comThis ad-free website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

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ColeSmithey.comIf you've ever seen Martin Scorsese's "Taxi Driver" then you most likely remember the scene wherein Travis Bickle buys a slew of handguns from a savvy criminal in a hotel room. The slick black market gun salesman is played by Steven Prince. His performance is so seamless, so patient and professional that you believe him entirely.

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So it is that two years after "Taxi Driver's" release, Martin Scorsese made this fascinating document about Steven Prince, the actor that Scorsese had hired to be his driver, bodyguard, and drug connection.

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Filmed in a friend's (ostensibly) Los Angeles living room, Scorsese directs from in front of the camera while working from a handful of notes to prompt Steve to tell wild anecdotes from his eventful 30 years of living.

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A master storyteller, Steven recalls events from his days managing Neil Diamond, stage managing "Hair" in downtown Manhattan, and growing up in New York City. Clips from home movies of Steven as a kid help paint the picture.

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A couple of Steven's stories might sound familiar since Quentin Tarantino and Richard Linklater each used them in their own films.

I won't spoil any of the shock of hearing these tales for the first time, but suffice it to say any of Steven's stories would make great audition monologues for any actor willing to do his or her homework.

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"American Boy" is also a great chance to get a peek into Martin Scorsese's intimate directing style.

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I love this movie! You just might love it too!

Not Rated. 55 mins.

5 Stars

Cozy Cole

ColeSmithey.com

November 05, 2023

NIGHT GAMES — SHOCKTOBER!

ColeSmithey.comColeSmithey.comWelcome!

Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does. This ad-free website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon.

Thanks a lot acorns!

Your kind generosity keeps the reviews coming!

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ColeSmithey.comMai Zetterling began her film career acting in Ingmar Bergman's "Torment" (1944), before switching from acting to directing after moving from Sweden to London to pursue her craft.

With "Night Games" (1966), which she co-wrote with her then husband, British novelist David Hughes, Mai Zetterling matches Bergman's filmic sophistication on every level of filmic storytelling.

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This is filmmaking at its finest.

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This thoroughly original work of social satire delves into the heart of childhood traumas, while taking sharp aim at '60s era European sensibilities around free-love and the narcissistic values of the bourgeoisie. 

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Jan (Keve Hjelm) brings his fiancée Mariana (Lena Brundin) to his childhood home, a wealthy mansion estate full of horrific memories and rich furnishings. Jan indoctrinates Mariana into his debauched upbringing. Flashback sequences detail the atrocious actions of Jan's mentally unstable mother Irene (Ingrid Thulin).

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Freud's oedipal complex takes center stage in Jan's ambitious attempt at reconciling sins of the mother by annihilating all that her sexual abuse and wealth had created.

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Jörgen Lindström, the young actor from Ingmar Bergman's "The Silence," and "Persona," is the film's empathetic center as Jan's boyhood version.

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"Night Games" retains its ability to shock viewers after over 50 years due to Mai Zetterling's intuitive ability to dig equally into the male and female psyche, while keeping a pure artistic metaphoric vision. This is the gift of liberation that Mai Zetterling gives her audience.

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At last Jan and Mariana are set free to grow their relationship in fresh soil.

Amen.

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Side note: If I'm not mistaken, "Night Games" is John Waters's favorite film!

Not Rated. 105 mins.

5 Stars THE BLOOD OF DRACULA THE BLOOD OF DRACULA ColeSmithey.com THE BLOOD OF DRACULA THE BLOOD OF DRACULA

Cozy Cole

ColeSmithey.com

October 31, 2023

HOUSE — SHOCKTOBER!

ColeSmithey.comColeSmithey.comWelcome!

Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does. This ad-free website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon.

Thanks a lot acorns!

Your kind generosity keeps the reviews coming!

ColeSmithey.com

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ColeSmithey.comNobuhiko Obayashi’s 1977 surrealistic satire regarding the overwhelming aftermath of America’s atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, is a virtuosic fantasy horror movie unlike any other.

Of the atomic bombs’ 200,000 causalities, all of Nobuhiko Obayashi’s childhood friends were among the deceased.

Nobuhiko Obayashi was just eight years old at the time of the attacks. Clearly, he never lost sight of his pals, or his loss. Here, Obayashi throws a cinematic extravaganza party to celebrate the lost potential of a generation.

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Extreme teenage Japanese punk power pop! You bet.

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We’re way beyond “Rocky Horror” baby.

“House” takes the cake, the dining room table, the piano, and most certainly the title’s house of horrors that devours seven teenage girls via a very hungry piano.

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Chomp, chomp, chomp.

“House” shows Obayashi’s encyclopedic mastery of state-of-the-art filmmaking, from a deeply personal approach to meeting the sugary commercial demands of the film’s producers.

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This insanely ambitious movie puts George Lucas and Steven Spielberg to shame with pure inventiveness.

Obayashi received story ideas from his eleven-year-old daughter, Chigumi. A blood-spewing white cat piles on the film’s cartoonish tone of outrageous evil consuming every body that steps in its path.

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Nobuhiko Obayashi uses every filmic technique at his disposal, in order to transmogrify the grief, pain, and sense of incalculable loss that he and so many others experienced. What results is a cinematic phantasmagoria overflowing with humor, expressions of love, and deep-seeded fear of the unknown.

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Visually and viscerally stunning from start to finish, “House” is much more than a mere masterpiece.

Not Rated. 88 mins.

5 Stars THE BLOOD OF DRACULA THE BLOOD OF DRACULA ColeSmithey.com
THE BLOOD OF DRACULA
THE BLOOD OF DRACULA
Cozy Cole

ColeSmithey.com

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