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La La Land

This is a beautiful film about love and dreams, and how the two impact each other.

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Jackie

There are two movies in "Jackie." One of these movies is just OK. The other is exceptional. The first one keeps undermining the second.

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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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Thumbnails 10/17/14

1.

"Desert Eyes: Happy Birthday Udo Kier": A wonderful tribute to the tirelessly intriguing actor from Sunset Gun's Kim Morgan.

“Everyone in these dusty little shops know him. Some know he’s an actor, a movie star, some probably aren’t so sure. They can tell he’s something famous. He talks nicely and with jovial familiarity to everyone working. When we drive further on to a thrift store in Yucca Valley, an older female employee wearing her Angel Thrift smock stands out front on her smoke break. She greets him with a scratchy, gin-soaked voice, ‘Hey, Udo. We got some clay pots.’ Udo is pleased. She takes a drag from her cigarette and says, ‘Yeah. But you got too many clay pots.’ She cackles and goes back inside. The clerk says an immediate hello -- there's things in the back. Everyone’s happy to see him. Walking through the store, someone asks Udo if I’m his daughter. He says, ‘Don’t insult her! She’s my granddaughter.’”

2.

"All That Jazz (1979) [The Criterion Collection] - Dual-Format Edition": An excellent review from Film Freak Central's Bryant Frazer.

“Celebrated as an incisive, self-lacerating backstage spectacle and razzed as an indulgent and pretentious passion project, genius director-choreographer Bob Fosse's ‘All That Jazz’ is one of the most ambitious American films of the 1970s. At this point in his career, Fosse had nothing to prove to the show-business establishment (in 1973, he won the Oscar, the Tony, and the Emmy, all for directing), but a 1974 brush with death--exhaustion, heart attack, life-saving surgery--put him in an introspective mood, and the results were spectacular. Not content with reaching a dazzling apotheosis in the on-screen presentation of song and dance, Fosse wove singing and dancing into a semi-autobiographical narrative chronicling the final days in the life of Joe Gideon, a genius director-choreographer whose non-stop work regimen is making him physically ill. Underscoring the threat, ‘All That Jazz’ opens with a line attributed to the high-wire artist Karl Wallenda, who fell to his death during a performance in 1978: ‘To be on the wire is life; the rest is waiting,’ Joe's work is his life, and the irony is that his work--along with the pills and smokes that keep him going--is what kills him.”

3.

"10 Essential Nicolas Roeg Films You Need To Watch": A stellar list from Taste of Cinema's Neil Evans, including the 1990 Roald Dahl/Jim Henson collaboration, "The Witches."

“Roeg at his most mainstream. A crowd pleasing take on the famous Roald Dahl novel, this saw Roeg harness his powers once more and tone down spectacularly on the sex and violence that personified some of his key works, such as ‘Eureaka,’ ‘Don’t Look Now’ and ‘The Man Who Fell To Earth.’ With a gorgeous visual style to it, ‘The Witches’ really takes you into a particular world, time and place. Retaining Dahl’s sly and sarcastic sense of humour, this is a film that will please and entertain a number of different types of audiences. Out of the adaptations of Dahl’s work, this is one of the most accomplished and satisfying. Anjelica Huston proves to be an inspired choice as the Grand Witch Of All The World, hilarious and terrifying in equal doses. One for all the family, this is director Roeg at his most accessible. In semi-retirement these days, this would prove to be Roeg’s last truly great work.”

4.

"The Abortion Conversation We Need to Have": An essential read from The Huffington Post's Katha Pollitt.

“We need to talk about the scarcity of resources for single mothers and even for two-parent families, and the extraordinary, contradictory demands we make upon young girls to be simultaneously sexually alluring and withholding: hot virgins. We need to talk about blood and mess and periods and pregnancy and childbirth and what women go through to bring new life into the world and whether deep in our hearts we believe that those bodies mean women were put on Earth to serve and sacrifice and suffer in a way that men are not. Because when we talk about abortion as a bad thing, and worry that there's too much of it, sometimes we mean there's too much unwanted pregnancy and that women and men need more and better sex education and birth control, and sometimes we mean there's too much poverty, especially for children and their mothers, but a lot of the time we mean a woman should have a good cry, and then do the right thing and have the baby. She can always put it up for adoption, can't she, like Juno in the movie? And that is close to saying that a woman can have no needs, desires, purpose, or calling so compelling and so important that she should not set it aside in an instant, because of a stray sperm.”

5.

"'I Just Can't Watch You, 'Marry Me'': A Dramatic Monologue by a TV Critic Who Just Can't": Written for Vulture by RogerEbert.com Editor in Chief Matt Zoller Seitz.

“You're a sitcom where every character seems slotted into the standard TV-romantic-comedy roles, including the ones that are, by TV's standards, relatively ‘new.’ There's the high-strung, kinda naggy woman, (Casey Wilson's Annie); the super-laid-back nice guy, Jake (Ken Marino); the hard-edged, free-spirited single lady and best gal-pal (Sarah Wright Olsen's Dennah); the schlumpy Zach Galifianakis–type best buddy of the hero, who's divorced and sells hair-care products (John Gemberling's Gil); and Annie's goofy lesbian next-door neighbor, Kay (Tymberlee Hill). There's also Tim Meadows and Dan Bucatinksy as Annie's two gay dads, who don't have much in the way of material but are supposed to be funny, I guess, because they're gay and they're dads? (Did Bucatinsky's shirt and sweater have to be lavender?) You're the kind of show where every beat seems calculated, however benevolently, to appeal to ingrained stereotypes about the genders, and about particular groups of people, and to network-TV assumptions about what men and women need to see.”

Image of the Day

The A.V. Club's Sonia Saraiya interviews "Girls" creator and brilliant memoirist Lena Dunham about "some girls, that girl and Not That Kind of Girl." 

Video of the Day

Tuck me in (short film 2014) from Ignacio F. Rodó on Vimeo.

Sometimes the simplest ideas are the scariest, a principle proven by Ignacio F. Rodó's one-minute short film, "Tuck Me In," based on the chilling two-sentence horror story dreamed up by Reddit user Juan J. Ruiz.

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