Two For the Road

April 6, 2021 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Comedy Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Directed by Stanley Donen) (1967) Boy meets girl; boy detests girl (“If there’s one thing I really despise, it’s an indispensable woman”); boy changes his mind; they fall in love and then spoil it all by getting married. Then they compound the error by having a kid (breaking Philip Larkin’s dictum in This Be the Verse). Two For the Road, for all its self-conscious charm, relentless male chauvinism and fey hipness, is something of a breakthrough – a love story that deconstructs what happens when the love fades, or more accurately, transforms from its first flushes into a more mature…

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À bout de souffle (Breathless)

March 26, 2021 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classic Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Directed by Jean-Luc Godard) (1960) (Adelaide French Film Festival, 25 March 2021) “Roughly speaking, the subject will be the story of a boy who thinks of death and of a girl who doesn’t.” So said the Director, and that is not a bad summary of a shallow but hip tale of ne’er-do-well Michel (Jean-Paul Belmondo), a Humphrey Bogart wannabe who is more like James Dean, acting like the poor kid In the Ghetto (of Marseilles): he borrows a gun, and steals a car, [and shoots a cop], and he tries to run but he don’t get far…Needing cash to fund…

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Out of the Past

February 22, 2021 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classic Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Directed by Jacques Tourneur) (1947) (Script by Daniel Mainwaring (“Geoffrey Homes”) from his 1946 novel Build My Gallows High, with uncredited revisions by Frank Fenton and James M. Cain.) Before we review this complicated, compelling film, first allow us to modestly refer you to our discussion: what is Film Noir? Furthermore, in the spirit of commercial DVDs, can we clear away some preliminaries?  Don’t you hate it when, having purchased a film with your hard-earned, you then have to suffer some minutes of being lectured against pirating and illegal downloads? Or trying to disable the o-so-welcome options of surtitles (in…

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Zappa

February 21, 2021 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Documentary, FILM, Modern Music, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Directed by Alex Winter) (2020) Frank Zappa (21/12/1940 – 4/12/1993) was a one man show created for an audience of one: himself. Obsessively writing, arranging and producing realms of material, he’d allow others to perform with him, though they were never quite good enough, and he’d suffer people to buy his records or attend his concerts, although they weren’t really hip enough to understand the work. It was either his way or go elsewhere. And his unorthodox, multi-faceted output is always interesting, even if, for example, a double album like 200 Motels turns out to be a bizarre waste of time….

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A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

February 13, 2021 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Drama Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Directed by Marielle Heller) (2019) The Varnished Culture settled down with a choice wine to watch this, fully expecting to enjoy the contents of the bottle more than the film. Spared the viewing of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood (1968-2001) due to the tyranny of distance, we guessed this would be an uplifting panegyric of the famous kiddy presenter.  Hence we feared a saccharine overdose as with The Sound of Music, more so when we perceived that the story, based on an article in Esquire, would centre around the the cynical, angry, world-weary, troubled, investigative journalist ‘Lloyd Vogel’ (Matthew Rhys), sent (querulously)…

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