Fiction - Commercial - Corporate - Animation - Documentary
If you had to define melancholy, you’d be hard pressed to do any better than simply mention Wim Wenders’ classic. Shooting American landscapes like only a foreigner could and conducting his wonderful cast like a master, he creates a film graced with intangible poetry and profound heartache. None of this sounds like fun viewing, but the result is spellbinding stuff, all to the sound of Ry Cooder’s unforgettable score.
Our film of the week, scandalous and Oscar-winning in its time, is Elmer Gantry, a scathing examination of Evangelism and religious charlatans that is a proud descendant of Molière’s Tartufe. Except Molière never had Burt Lancaster to unleash on the public
Imagine this: you’re a theater prodigy with a recent monster hit under your belt (the Lion King musical, a triumph of design) and a love of movies. What do you do next? It’s obvious: you take Shakespeare’s messiest – and goriest – play, Sir Anthony Hopkins and a killer supporting cast, and do the kind of time displacement that makes Baz Luhrman’s Romeo and Juliet seem tame. Yes, it’s 1998’s mad, mad, Titus. Feast your eyes and ears on it!
Sir Anthony Hopkins fondly remembers our Christmas recommendation, his debut The Lion in Winter! One of the most dysfunctional screen families of all time and the star-studded cast is on fire: O’Toole, Hepburn, Hopkins, Dalton… none of whom ever bested their work here. This should be mandatory viewing.
Legendary filmmaker Akira Kurosawa almost ended his career (and his own life) over the initial commercial failure of his first color film: the surreal and heartbreaking Dodes’ka-den. It is an episodic exploration of slum-dwellers striving for dignity and happiness, interweaving gritty realism and poetic fantasy with such ease you will never doubt a master is at the helm.
Mad Movies called our Halloween pic « the most beautiful film ever made ». It’s the episodic ghost story Kwaidan, one of the most entrancing, unforgettable experiences ever. Ace director Masaki Kobayashi weaves together four supernatural tales, making the most of spellbinding use of color, in-camera tricks and the most beautiful soundstage-bound locations outside of Ridley Scott’s Legend. See it!
Our film of the week is a harrowing and beautiful vignette from an ignoble time in History: Roland Joffe’s The Killing Fields. The first half is masterful enough, but it’s halfway through that things ramp up to a whole other level. One of the very best films of the 80s.
The great paradox of learning anything, is that you find out more by studying failures than successes. By that standard, our film of the week is the greatest filmmaking case-study of all time: this documentary charts the rise and fall of Golan and Globus, the two mad bandits behind Canon films. Long before the Weinsteins, and unburdened by that duo’s focus on quality, these gentlemen invented the B-action movie of the 80s and got the likes of Jean-Claude Van Damme, Chuck Norris and Dolph Lundgren where they are today… which kind of says it all. Don’t miss this one!
This week, we’re all about extreme ideas explored to their fullest potential, and as a case study, we’d like to propose « Goke, Body Snatcher from Hell », an alien-invasion-survival-vampire horror film with, surely, the best title of all time. If your taste-buds are finely tuned to the delights of some of the weirder horror-shlock from the 80s, then you might have just found your cinematic caviar!
Our film of the week is a brutal horror nobody should have to experience, the hugely controversial Men Behind The Sun. If Schindler’s List is too much for you, stay clear of this baffling depiction of Japanese POW camps in the run-up to WWII. Call it bad taste, call it propaganda, this denunciation of cruelty on an unprecedented scale is a meaner film than you’ve probably ever seen, and helps remember human tragedies that should never be forgotten. Warning: not for the faint of heart!