Sunday, December 30, 2007

Tommy (1975)

Dir. Ken Russell

The Who made history with this campy cult classic -- the first-ever filmed "rock opera" -- which tells the tale of Tommy (Roger Daltry), a boy who loses the ability to hear, speak and see after the tragic death of his father. Despite his losses, Tommy becomes a pinball champion and religious messiah, only to have his followers betray him. Tina Turner, Elton John and Eric Clapton all turn in performances in this outlandish production.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Darjeeling Limited (2007)

Dir. Wes Anderson
Following the death of their father, three brothers (Adrien Brody, Owen Wilson and Jason Schwartzman) embark on a journey on the cross-India train the Darjeeling Limited and attempt to reconnect after years of physical and emotional distance. The trip also opens up some old wounds and proves that their sibling rivalry can never be completely erased. Natalie Portman and Anjelica Huston co-star in Wes Anderson's lyrical comic drama.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)

Dir. Tim Burton

Johnny Depp reteams with director Tim Burton for this adaptation of the hit Broadway musical about the Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Depp plays Sweeney Todd, a man who becomes a deranged murderer seeking revenge after being falsely imprisoned. To add to the macabre nature of his crimes, he enlists the help of his lover, Mrs. Lovett (Helena Bonham Carter), who disposes of the victims by baking them into meat pies -- sought after by all of London.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Squid and the Whale (2005)

Dir. Noah Baumbach
Jeff Daniels makes for a haunting Brooklyn professor who's well past his prime, and Laura Linney is his writer wife on the brink of stardom in Noah Baumbach's honest look at the disintegration of a marriage. With their lives headed for distinctly opposite directions, the two can't help but be acrimonious about their impending separation. Unfortunately, their two children are stuck in the middle of the emotional warfare.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Bewitched (2005)

Dir. Nora Ephron

Nora Ephron directs this comedy about a film production of the 1960s sitcom. Hoping to revive his career, washed-up actor Jack Wyatt (Will Ferrell) is convinced that Isabel Bigelow (Nicole Kidman) is the perfect Samantha to his Darrin. Wyatt doesn't know how right he is: Isabel actually is a witch. Isabel's mettlesome father (Michael Caine) tries to derail the production, but gets sidetracked by the actress portraying Endora (Shirley MacLaine).

Monday, December 03, 2007

Singapore Sling (1990)

Dir. Nikos Nikolaidis

In pursuit of a woman he once knew, Detective Singapore Sling is lured into the clutches of a murderous mother-daughter duo that has perverse plans for the unfortunate gumshoe. Directed by Nikos Nikolaidis, this gruesome Greek film noir will shock and disturb even the most impervious viewer as the women sadistically torture the wounded investigator in an orgy of sexual perversion and unrelenting violence.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Notorious (1946)

Dir. Alfred Hitchcock

This top-notch Hitchcock espionage thriller builds to an incredibly suspenseful climax. Government agent T.R. Devlin (Cary Grant) recruits Alicia Huberman (Ingrid Bergman) to spy on her father's influential Nazi friends. As part of her cover, she marries ringleader Claude Rains, but finds she's falling in love with Grant. The 360-degree camera pan around a smitten Grant and Bergman ranks as one of the screen's hottest love scenes.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

November Stats

November Total = 3
2007 Total = 124

Rent - 1
Own - 1
Theater - 1
TV - 0
Other - 0
First Viewing - 3

Saturday, November 17, 2007

30 Days of Night (2007)

Dir. David Slade
When a monthlong darkness sets in on the tiny Alaskan town of Barrow, the locals are visited by a flock of bloodthirsty vampires eager to take advantage of the no-sun zone. The town sheriff Eben Olemaun (Josh Hartnett) and his deputy and wife, Stella (Melissa George), must act fast to save the dark day. Based on a popular horror comic by Steve Niles, the film also stars Ben Foster and Danny Huston.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Ratatouille (2007)

Dir. Brad Bird

Brad Bird (The Incredibles) co-directs this colorful Pixar offering, following the antics of a passionate rat named Remy (voiced by Patton Oswalt) who yearns for a sip of the good life. Growing up beneath a five-star Parisian restaurant owned by a famous chef (Brad Garrett), Remy inherits a taste for fine food. But his culinary ambitions only anger his practical father, who wishes his son could just eat garbage like everyone else.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Salem's Lot (1979)

Dir. Tobe Hooper

Author Ben Mears (David Soul) returns to his New England hometown of Jerusalem's Lot to write his new book and becomes disturbed by the behavior of the townspeople, particularly new resident and antiques dealer Mr. Straker (James Mason). When Straker's silent partner, the vampire Mr. Barlow, arrives in Salem's Lot, he soon begins to convert the townsfolk into an army of the undead. Tobe Hooper directed this story based on Stephen King's novel.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

October Stats

October Total = 16
2007 Total = 121

Rent - 4
Own - 10
Theater - 0
TV - 2
Other - 0
First Viewing - 9

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Opera (1987)

Dir. Dario Argento

When the leading diva of Verdi's "Macbeth" is run over by a car, her understudy, Betty (Cristina Marsillach), takes over the role. Things go from bad to worse when the madman begins to kill other members of the cast -- and forces Betty to watch. The finale in this exercise in baroque horror from the mind of frightmeister Dario Argento stems from an incident in Betty's childhood that links her to the killer.

28 Weeks Later (2007)

Dir. Juan Carlos Fresnadillo

In this chilling drama starring Robert Carlyle, the inhabitants of the British Isles appear to have lost their battle against the onslaught of disease, as the deadly rage virus has killed every citizen there. Six months later, a group of Americans dare to set foot on the isles, convinced the danger has come and gone. But it soon becomes clear that the fight is far from over and the scourge continues to live, waiting to pounce on its next victims.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Planet Terror (2007)

Dir. Robert Rodriguez
El Wray (Freddy Rodriguez) and his ex-girlfriend Cherry Darling (Rose McGowan) fight an army of zombies infected with a biochemical weapon unleashed by a psychotic Army lieutenant (Bruce Willis) and an opportunistic scientist (Naveen Andrews). Cult favorite filmmaker Robert Rodriguez directs this extended version of his segment from the double-feature homage Grindhouse. Marley Shelton, Josh Brolin, Michael Parks and Jeff Fahey co-star.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Evil Dead 2 (1987)

Dir. Sam Raimi
Stranded in a cabin in the woods, Ash (Bruce Campbell) and his girlfriend accidentally invoke a spell that causes the Evil Dead to rise and kill! As a lone man pitted against hordes of walking corpses, can Ash survive until the safety of sunrise? Director Sam Raimi's whip-crack direction and Campbell's comedic skills induce hair-raising fear and gales of laughter.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1988)

Dir. Shinya Tsukamoto
It starts with a bizarre merging of flesh and metal and accelerates into a hyper- hallucinatory state where springs, wires and solder erupt from a man's body.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Murderball (2005)

Dir. Henry Alex Rubin & Dana Adam Shapiro

Rugby-playing quadriplegics compete for the Paralympic gold medal in this documentary about an amazing sport and the strong-willed athletes who play full-contact rugby using specially designed wheelchairs. The film follows the U.S. Quad Rugby Team as they compete in the 2002 World Championships and the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens. Murderball won the 2005 Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival.

Monday, October 08, 2007

The Evil Dead (1982)

Dir. Sam Raimi

Curiosity overcomes five innocent teenagers vacationing at a cabin in the Tennessee woodlands, and their cellar-snooping unleashes spirits of the evil dead. After all his pals have become possessed, flesh-eating zombies, the one remaining teen (Bruce Campbell) tries to solve the nightmarish mystery and save his friends. Spider-Man director Sam Raimi uses impressively freaky special effects to make this low-budget horror classic.

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1966)

Dir. Richard Lester

Indolent Roman slave Pseudolus (Zero Mostel) has one wish: to purchase his freedom. With his master and mistress away for the day, Pseudolus learns that the master's son, Hero (Michael Crawford), has fallen for a beautiful virgin in a slave merchant's house. The ever-crafty Pseudolus then cooks up a scheme that will allow him to go free if he can procure the girl for Hero. Richard Lester directed this frenetic adaptation of the stage musical.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Knocked Up (2007)

Dir. Judd Apatow

A one-night stand results in an unexpected pregnancy for entertainment reporter Alison (Katherine Heigl) in Judd Apatow's romantic comedy. Determined to be a good mom and keep her career on track, Alison decides to try to make things work with the baby's father, slacker Ben (Seth Rogen). It's anything but smooth sailing as the odd couple gets acquainted, but Alison finds there's more to Ben than she originally thought. Paul Rudd also stars.

Pretty Maids All in a Row (1971)

Dir. Roger Vadim

In a California high school, a married teacher is the athletic coach and faculty advisor. He starts to have sex flings with his female students and eventually has to kill several of the girls to keep them quiet. Based on a novel by Francis Pollini.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Suspiria (1977)

Dir. Dario Argento

This horror gem follows Susan (Jessica Harper), a naïve young American girl whose talents have brought her to an illustrious European ballet school. But once she gets there, she realizes there's something strange going on as she's faced with a cluster of freaky happenings, from a shower of maggots to poison in her food. What she soon learns is that the school has been a meeting place for witches for many years.…

Pelts (2006)

Dir. Dario Argento

Sleazy fur trader Jake Feldman (Meat Loaf) will do just about anything for a quality skin. When Jake crosses paths with a trapper (John Saxon) offering raccoon pelts, he jumps at the chance to score big bucks and win a stripper's heart. Little does Jake know that the supernatural furs wield bloody revenge upon anyone who covets them. This very different kind of skin flick is the 19th episode of the hit Showtime series.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Alien (1979)

Dir. Ridley Scott
Sigourney Weaver shines as the most stalwart crewmember of a space freighter that inadvertently takes on an unwanted visitor. As the bloodthirsty beast stalks the crew (including Tom Skerritt, John Hurt and Yaphet Kotto), they begin to realize they're pitted against a malevolent monster that's perfectly evolved to annihilate humankind.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Dead End Drive-In (1986)

Dir. Brian Trenchard-Smith

A man whose car stalls at the Star Drive-In finds himself trapped in a bizarre and terrifying situation. The drive-in is really a scrapheap for society's castoffs, a government-sponsored concentration camp where the weak and unemployed are fed a steady diet of junk food, music and movies. Whoah, dude!

Death Proof (2007)

Dir. Quentin Tarantino
Popular cult filmmaker Quentin Tarantino wrote and directed this high-octane thriller that stars Kurt Russell as a serial murderer who uses his revved-up car as a killing machine. After transforming his Dodge Charger into an indestructible weapon, Stuntman Mike climbs behind the wheel to terrorize a group of women on the road. Rose McGowan, Rosario Dawson, Jordan Ladd and Vanessa Ferlito also star in the ultimate road rage film.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Slither (2006)

Dir. James Gunn

With housecats turning into hellcats and townsfolk morphing into zombies, strange things are happening in the small burg of Wheelsy. Now, it's up to Sheriff Bill Pardy (Nathan Fillion) and the concerned wife (Elizabeth Banks) of one of the town's richest citizens to keep their wits about them as they uncover the dark forces at work. James Gunn writes and directs this creepy horror tale, his first project since the sleeper hit Dawn of the Dead.

September Stats

September Total = 7
2007 Total = 105

Rent - 3
Own - 2
Theater - 0
TV - 0
Other - 2
First Viewing - 7

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985)

Dir. George Miller & George Ogilvie

While the final Mad Max film can't outrun the first two, director George Miller delivers a fertile depiction of order amid chaos. Max (Mel Gibson) becomes embroiled in the internal tensions of Bartertown, ruled by the imperious Aunty Entity (Tina Turner). Will ex-cop Max turn assassin? Featuring the inventive Thunderdome fight sequence, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome dishes up plenty of kick-ass action.

The Road Warrior (1981)

Dir. George Miller

In this sequel to Mad Max, Mel Gibson returns as the heroic loner who drives the roads of post-apocalyptic outback Australia in an unending search for gasoline. Arrayed against him and the other scraggly defendants of a fuel-depot encampment are the bizarre warriors commanded by The Humungus (Kjell Nilsson). The post-nuclear future meets the mythological past in this epic of action and carnage.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Monster Squad (1987)

Dir. Fred Dekker

Dracula, the Wolfman, Frankenstein, the Mummy and Gill Man descend on a tiny town in search of a diabolically powerful amulet. Only 12-year-old Sean (Andre Gower) and his gang of monster-obsessed misfits can save the day in this overlooked 1987 horror comedy. This 20th-anniversary edition also includes new interviews with Gower and co-stars Ryan Lambert, Duncan Regehr, Tom Noonan and writer-director Fred Dekker.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

We Are Marshall (2006)

Dir. McG

After a plane crash takes the lives of most of Marshall University's football team, new coach Jack Lengyel (Matthew McConaughey) must rally the surviving players and a grieving community to victory. Based on true events, this inspiring drama follows Lengyel and his assistant coach (Matthew Fox) as they try to renew Marshall's football program and help the close-knit West Virginia town find new hope. David Strathairn and Anthony Mackie co-star.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Beast (La Bete) (1975)

Dir. Walerian Borowczyk
Controversial filmmaker Walerian Borowczyk struck a nerve with his 1975 version of the classic "Beauty and the Beast" tale. The erotically charged French thriller centers on an American heiress destined to carry the male descendant of a failing aristocratic family that, two centuries ago, owned the rambling estate where a powerful -- and lusty -- beast roamed free. The creature haunts her dreams, but why? Could the family have a dark secret?

Saturday, September 08, 2007

What Have You Done to Solange? (Cosa avete fatto a Solange?) (1972)

Dir. Massimo Dallamano

Cinematographer Massimo Dallamano directed this giallo, a murder mystery set at an all girls school in Italy. Based on a story by Edgar Wallace, What Have You Done to Solange? follows the secret affair between a teacher and one of his students. Moody and gruesome, with a number of shocking twists, and bolstered by a superb Ennio Morricone score,this film ranks among the best giallos of the 1970s.

Monday, September 03, 2007

That Obscure Object of Desire (Cet obscur objet du désir) (1977)

Dir. Luis Buñuel

This Oscar-nominated erotic dark comedy was Luis Buñuel's final film. The story follows, in flashback, middle-aged Mathieu (Fernando Rey) and his obsession for the much younger, moody Conchita (played by both Carole Bouquet and Angela Molina). The two play a continuous tug-of-war with each other's desires, each trying to outlast the other at their own game.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

August Stats

August Total = 9
2007 Total = 98

Rent - 3
Own - 4
Theater - 2
TV - 0
Other - 0
First Viewing - 7

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Fright Night (1985)

Dir. Tom Holland

Nobody believes horror-movie addict Charley Brewster (William Ragsdale) when he discovers that his suave new neighbor, Jerry Dandridge (Chris Sarandon), is a vampire. Kith and kin believe Charley is certifiable, and his single mother develops a romantic interest in Dandridge. When the bloodsucker starts stalking Charley, he turns to TV horror-film host and ghoul-hunter Peter Vincent (Roddy McDowall) in this hysterical spoof.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Rush Hour 3 (2007)

Dir. Brett Ratner

Martial arts superstar Jackie Chan and comedian Chris Tucker reprise their roles as bickering cops in this second sequel to the hit action comedy. After the Triads attempt to assassinate a Chinese ambassador, Hong Kong Police Chief Inspector Lee (Chan) and LAPD Detective James Carter (Tucker) wind up in Paris -- where they're both out of their element -- tasked with taking down the organized crime family.

Superbad (2007)

Dir. Greg Mottola
40-Year-Old Virgin veterans Judd Apatow and Seth Rogen team up again as producer and co-star/co-writer (respectively) of this high school comedy starring Jonah Hill and Michael Cera as best buddies facing separation anxiety as they prepare to go off to college. Attempting to score alcohol for a party (believing that the babes will follow), the boys' evening quickly dissolves into chaos. Bill Hader ("Saturday Night Live") co-stars.

Friday, August 24, 2007

The Silence (Tystnaden) (1963)

Dir. Ingmar Bergman

Three passengers travel through a foreign country on the brink of war. Taking ill, Esther checks into a hotel room, with her sister Anna and Anna's son, Johan, occupying the adjoining suite. Still unable to travel the next day, Esther gives Johan a list of helpful translations for their journey and stays behind.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

All About My Mother (Todo sobre mi madre) (1999)

Dir. Pedro Almodovar
An Oscar winner for Best Foreign Language Film, writer-director Pedro Almodovar's compassionate tribute to women examines the life of Manuela (Cecilia Roth), who leaves Madrid for Barcelona shortly after she witnesses her son's accidental death. She reunites with an old friend (Antonia San Juan), a pre-op transsexual prostitute, who introduces her to Rosa (Penelope Cruz), a pregnant nun. Their fast friendship binds them through many struggles.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

An American Werewolf in London (1981)

Dir. John Landis

A wolf whose bite is definitely worse than his bark chomps a young backpacker taking a shortcut across the British moors one night. Before long, the traveler gets long in the tooth! But this howler has a different twist: a sharp sense of humor blacker than the Arctic sky on the winter solstice. John Landis wrote the screenplay and directed.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

The Science of Sleep (La Science des rêves) (2006)

Dir. Michel Gondry
A timid young man can't control the fantastical plots and images of his dream world from intruding into his waking hours in Michel Gondry's science-fiction romance. After a promising new job sours, Stephane (Gael Garcia Bernal) finds new inspiration in his neighbor Stephanie (Charlotte Gainsbourg). To connect with her, shy Stephane releases the bolder personality of his dreams, but his waking insecurities threaten to destroy the relationship.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Broken Flowers (2005)

Dir. Jim Jarmusch

After being dumped by yet another girlfriend (Julie Delpy), Don Johnston (Bill Murray) vows he'll be alone forever. But when a mysterious unsigned letter arrives in the mail, he's surprised to learn he has a 19-year-old son. With no idea who the mother could be, Don sets out on a cross-country journey to confront his past, surprising a series of old flames (Frances Conroy, Jessica Lange, Sharon Stone and Tilda Swinton) along the way.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Hot Fuzz (2007)

Dir. Edgar Wright

A top London cop (Simon Pegg) is ready to die of boredom when his superiors transfer him to a sleepy English village to work alongside a blundering but well-meaning young constable (Nick Frost). Craving some real action, the big-city bobby may just get his wish when the town begins to stir with a series of grisly "accidents." Is foul play afoot in this seemingly idyllic hamlet? Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead) directs.

July Stats

July Total = 12
2007 Total = 89

Rent - 5
Own - 5
Theater - 1
TV - 1
Other - 0
First Viewing - 8

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Carnival of Souls (1962)

Dir. Herk Harvey

While on her way to take a job as a church organist in Salt Lake City, Mary Henry (Candace Hilligoss) is haunted by a bizarre apparition. It compels her to an abandoned lakeside pavilion, beginning an eerie and macabre chain of events. Herk Harvey's macabre masterpiece, while made on a modest budget, has gained a cult following on late-night television.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Mezzo Forte (2001)

Dir. Yasuomi Umetsu

Yasuomi Umetsu, the acclaimed director of Kite, returns with this animated film about Mikura, a beautiful young assassin who works for a mysterious company that specializes in murder and blackmail. When Mikura is assigned to kidnap a seemingly hapless baseball team owner named Momokichi, both she and the company soon find that they have made what could be a fatal error. Momokichi turns out to be powerful underworld boss...

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Waitress (2007)

Dir. Adrienne Shelly

Written by director and co-star Adrienne Shelly (who was murdered shortly before the film's selection for the Sundance Film Festival), Waitress is a frank and funny examination of the fears brought on by impending motherhood. Keri Russell plays Jenna, a waitress whose fabulous pies are about the only sweet ingredient in an otherwise dreary existence. An unwanted pregnancy, however, brings unexpected romance in this film co-starring Cheryl Hines.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

This Film Is Not Yet Rated (2006)

Dir. Kirby Dick

Kirby Dick's provocative documentary investigates the secretive and inconsistent process by which the Motion Picture Association of America rates films. Dick questions whether certain studios get preferential treatment, exposes the discrepancies in how the MPAA views sex and violence, and reveals the association's efforts to control culture. Interviewees include John Waters, Darren Aronofsky, Maria Bello, Atom Egoyan, Kevin Smith and more.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Hairspray (1988)

Dir. John Waters

Tracy Turnblad (Ricki Lake), an ample, energetic teen living in 1960s Baltimore, wants nothing more than to get on the hip local TV dance program, "The Corny Collins Show." Tracy's dream comes true, and her lively dance moves and bubbly personality are met with unexpected popularity. After witnessing firsthand the terrible state of race relations in Baltimore, however, Tracy becomes an outspoken advocate for the dance show's desegregation.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Cemetery Man (Dellamorte Dellamore) (1994)

Dir. Michele Soavi

Rupert Everett stars as an oddly unflappable cemetery watchman fighting off zombies in this droll send-up of 1950s drive-in horror flicks. With the dead on the rise, Francesco Dellamorte (Everett) and his half-wit sidekick (Francois Hadji-Lazaro) must be always at the ready to crack the corpses' skulls and send them back under. Featuring a pack of undead Boy Scouts and a severed-head love interest, Cemetery Man provides both chills and chuckles.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Return To Oz (1985)

Dir. Walter Murch

Dorothy (Fairuza Balk) just hasn't been the same since she got back from Oz, and her Aunt Em (Piper Laurie) is worried. Dorothy gets sent to a clinic to begin shock therapy but instead returns to an unfamiliar land where the Yellow Brick Road lies in ruins. With the help of a walking jack o' lantern, a wind-up robot and a flying sofa, she rises against an evil, many-headed princess and a wicked king made of stone.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Double Suicide (Shinju ten no amijima) (1969)

Dir. Masahiro Shinoda

In this striking adaptation of a bunraku puppet play (featuring the music of famed composer Toru Takemitsu), a paper merchant sacrifices family, fortune, and ultimately life for his erotic obsession with a prostitute.