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  • Shoot the Piano Player

    Shoot the Piano Player

    Francois Truffaut's amusing, stylistically inventive, and entertaining film is an homage to the gangster genre, a romance and a musically-driven comedy all in one. Charlie Kohler (Charles Aznavour) is a sadsack pianist at a jazz club when his troublesome brother comes into the mix. He's on the run from gangsters who want to extract money or kill him - whichever comes first; there's also a sweet young dame (Marie Dubois) in the picture. Truffaut's sophomore effort (following the realistic childhood…

  • Shadows

    Shadows

    John Cassavetes' Shadows is an "improvised film" - and it shows. Renting a 16mm camera and filming with friends on the streets of New York (Seymour Cassel was the assistant director), Cassavetes' first foray into directing turns out to be a forebearer of theAmerican independent film movement. Its influence and style can be seen all over this great country's low-budget film scene. The story is a simple one: Ben (Ben Carruthers) is a "Beat" who is revelling in the jazz…

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  • I Saw the Light

    I Saw the Light

    On the spectrum of musical biopics, Marc Abraham's I Saw the Light is something of an oddity. Coming on the heels of such structural experiments and portraits of the artist as conduit for demonic-exorcism as Bill Pohlad's Love & Mercy (Brian Wilson) and unique "in-their-own-words" documentaries such as Asif Kapadia's Amy (Winehouse), Brett Morgen's Montage of Heck (Kurt Cobain) and Amy Berg's Janis: Little Girl Blue (Joplin), all from just last year, this is relatively paint-by-numbers by comparison, however limited (and limiting) its portrait may be.

    Full review:
    magnolia12883.wordpress.com/2016/03/25/reviews-i-saw-the-light-2016

    Note: Originally written as a film festival report, which can be read here:
    magnolia12883.wordpress.com/2016/02/21/film-festivals/portland-international-film-festival/piff-report-i-saw-the-light-2016/

  • Moonwalkers

    Moonwalkers

    In 1968, Stanley Kubrick made a little sci-fi-tinged art film called 2001: A Space Odyssey (perhaps you've heard of it). In July 1969, NASA landed a man on the moon for the first time with the Apollo 11 mission. The story goes that NASA faked the moon landing and enlisted Kubrick to make it look convincing. This conspiracy theory, a long-time staple of the internet and crackpot stoners everywhere, is the basis for the ultra-violent, absurdist "comedy" Moonwalkers.

    Full review: magnolia12883cinemareview.weebly.com/reviews-moonwalkers-2016.html/