Birdman

(Dir. Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu) (2014) This is an interesting and well-made film that suffers from an empty space about its heart.  The 1990s star of “Birdman 1, 2 and 3”, Riggan Thomson (Michael Keaton – get it?) spurned Birdman # 4 when at the top of the Hollywood pile, and is now a penniless has-been with substance abuse issues and an uncertain relationship with reality, as evidenced by his schizoid exchanges with the alter-ego Birdman character, who comes and goes, alternately revving and razzing Thomson in a voice reminiscent of Frank in Donnie Darko.  His comeback (or if you hate…

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The Night of the Hunter

January 13, 2015 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classic Film, Drama Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Dir. Charles Laughton) (1955) Grimm’s Hansel and Gretel on the Ohio River, as 2 cute kids take to a skiff with stolen cash to escape their brand new stepfather (Robert Mitcham, in a sensational performance as the ‘preacher’ with “love” and “hate” tattooed on his knuckles).  Lillian Gish also terrific as his adversary and Shelley Winters again assumes the role of tragic victim in this surreal pasquinade. Pure Black Magic: put this link into a search engine to watch a key scene https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=akyxPomqAZc https://youtu.be/akyxPomqAZc?t=4

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Nightcrawler

December 31, 2014 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Drama Film, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Dir. Dan Gilroy) (2014) ‘’Nightcrawling” is a term of art for paparazzi who nocturnally trawl the urban underbelly, shooting footage of mayhem for TV news (to be breathlessly shown as an exclusive, after the sanctimonious preliminaries warning “viewer discretion is advised”). Jake Gyllenhaal (see: Donnie Darko) co-produced and stars in this intriguing film as Lou Bloom, a cross between Travis Bickle, Rupert Pupkin and Carl Kolchak, surely selector’s choice for Creep/Worst Employer of the Year.  To paraphrase Harold in The Boys in the Band, Lou doesn’t have charm; he has counter-charm. With no back story as such, Lou is clearly…

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Bicycle Thieves

December 23, 2014 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classic Film, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Dir. Vittorio De Sica) (1948) To glue posters to walls around ration-bound post-war Rome, a man needs a bike.  When that bike, obtained with pawnbroker money, is stolen, the man is driven to desperate measures.  A simple lesson in how adverse circumstances can break anyone, filmed and played naturally and without sentimentality.  A classic.

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Love Serenade

December 22, 2014 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | AUSTRALIANIA, Comedy Film, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Dir. Shirley Barrett) (1996) There is simply something fundamentally wrong with Dimity and Vicki-Ann, lonely-heart sisters in Sunray, Queensland, back of nowhere.  Why the wheelchair?  Why the obsession with lounge lizard Ken Sherry?  Why are they so obviously mad as hatters?  Why does Sherry eat no fish yet has a giant marlin mounted on the wall?  Why all the casseroles left on his doorstep? Why did he leave big time radio and TV in Brisbane?  Why does he quote “Desiderata” (with due respect to Max Ehrmann, the most pretentious farrago ever twaddled)? Are there killer fish or black holes in…

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