A traditional spy drama, taut with suspense, Page Eight almost feels sophisticated in its darkness, with undercurrents of danger lurking in the shadows and veiled threats being made from unexpected quarters, wholly reminiscent of—
I’m delighted to see that the Weinstein Company is re-releasing one of the year’s most overlooked films, Sarah’s Key, the moving adaptation of Tatiana De Rosnay’s international best-seller. It’s one of the year’s best films. Kristin Scott Thomas plays an American-born journalist who lives in France with her husband and daughter. While researching an article about the fate of French Jews during World War Two, she stumbles onto an incredible story involving a little girl named Sarah (played by newcomer Mélusine Mayance) who is separated from her family. An unexpected connection with Sarah turns Scott Thomas’ journalistic enterprise into a personal odyssey.
It’s a cultural crime that the greatest comedy team of all time has been so forsaken on DVD…until now. Therefore, I’m happy to report that Laurel & Hardy The Essential Collection (Vivendi) fully lives up to its name. It includes all of the team’s talkie shorts—including the ones they made in foreign languages for the international market—and most of their feature films for producer Hal Roach. (A handful of these films were released several years ago, but in slipshod fashion, using syndicated TV masters with fade-outs for commercial breaks!)
Last year I became an advocate for a Mexican import called Nora’s Will that, I’m happy to say, is now available on DVD. It first came to my attention because I put considerable stock in Menemsha Films, the small, dedicated distributor that acquired it for U.S. release. Company founder Neil Friedman was so convinced that it would be a word-of-mouth success that he opened it in New York and Los Angeles—and did better business the second weekend than he did the first (despite a lone negative review from The New York Times.
Now that the film is available for viewing at home, I hope it will reach an even wider audience.
Quiet, original, irreverent, ironic: these are some of the adjectives that describe Mariana Chenillo’s bittersweet—
I like films that reveal themselves gradually, instead of following an instantly predictable pattern. That’s one reason I was so taken with Philippe Le Guay’s The Women on the 6th Floor. On the surface it’s a social comedy, set in Paris during the early 1960s. That deft comedic actor Fabrice Luchini plays a stockbroker who’s not only inherited his father’s investment business but his—
Preserving rare old films is crucial, but the National Film Preservation Foundation believes it’s just as important to bring them to the widest possible audience. That’s why its Treasures from American Film Archives series is so valuable. Treasures 5: The West gathers an exceptionally wide range of films from 1898 to 1938, including early documentaries, promotional shorts, home movies, newsreels, cowboy yarns, and Hollywood feature films. Together they give us a compelling look at how the real West was depicted in the early 20th century, and how the mythicized West captured the public’s imagination.
The meticulous care that has gone into this release sets a standard for everyone in the archival community. Each film is thoroughly documented, onscreen and in an informative booklet written by Scott Simmon. You can even learn at precisely what speed the—
Not all family films are created equal. This one was inspired by the remarkable real-life story of a dolphin named Winter who washed ashore in Florida, had to have its tail amputated, and taught itself to swim even without the appendage. As it turns out, that wasn’t the end of Winter’s challenges.
Karen Janszen and Noam Dromi have built a screenplay around that true story that draws on familiar Hollywood-movie tropes, but plays well just the same. A likable young actor named Nathan Gamble plays a lonely boy, being raised by single mom Ashley Judd, who helps rescue Winter and develops a special—
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