The Wolfpack is a 2015 American documentary film about a family who homeschooled and raised their seven children in the confinement of their apartment in the Lower East Side of New York City. The film, directed by Crystal Moselle, premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the US Documentary Grand Jury Prize.
Locked away for fourteen years, the Angulo family’s seven children—six brothers named Mukunda, Narayana, Govinda, Bhagavan, Krisna (Glenn), and Jagadesh (Eddie), and their sister Visnu—learned about the world through watching films. They also re-enact scenes from their favorite movies. Their father, Oscar, had the only door key and prohibited the kids and their mother from leaving the apartment except for a few strictly-monitored trips on the ‘nefarious’ streets.read more »
The Congress is a 2013 French-Israeli live-action/animation science fiction drama film written and directed by Ari Folman. The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. Independent film distributor Drafthouse Films announced, along with Films We Like In Toronto, their co-acquisition of the North American rights to the film and a US theatrical and VOD/digital release planned for 2014.
Robin Wright plays an aging actress with a reputation for being fickle and unreliable, so much so that nobody is willing to offer her roles anymore. She agrees to sell the film rights to her digital image to Miramount Studios (a portmanteau of Miramax and Paramount) in exchange for a hefty sum and the promise to never act again. After her body is digitally scanned, the studio will be able to make films starring her using only computer-generated characters.read more »
The King of Comedy is a 1983 American black comedy film starring Robert De Niro and Jerry Lewis, and directed by Martin Scorsese. The subject of the movie is celebrity worship and the American media culture.
DeNiro plays Rupert Pupkin, a stage-door autograph hound and aspiring stand-up comedian whose ambition far exceeds his talent. After meeting Jerry Langford (Lewis), a successful comedian and talk show host, Rupert believes his ‘big break’ has finally come. He attempts to get a place on the show but is continually rebuffed by Langford’s staff and, finally, by Langford himself.read more »
Beyond the Black Rainbow is a 2010 Canadian science fiction film written and directed by Panos Cosmatos in his feature film debut. The films begins in the 1960s, as Dr. Arboria founds the Arboria Institute, a New Age research facility dedicated to finding a reconciliation between science and spirituality, allowing human beings to move into a new age of perpetual happiness.
In the 1980s, Arboria’s work has been taken over by his protégé, Dr. Barry Nyle. Outwardly a charming, handsome scientist, Nyle is in fact a psychopath who has been keeping Elena, a teenage girl, captive in an elaborate prison/hospital beneath the Institute. Elena demonstrates psychic capabilities, which Nyle can suppress, using a glowing, prism-like device.read more »
The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (‘Le Charme discret de la bourgeoisie’) is a 1972 surrealist film directed by Luis Buñuel and written by Jean-Claude Carrière in collaboration with the director. The narrative concerns a group of upper-middle-class people attempting — despite continual interruptions — to dine together.
The film consists of several thematically linked scenes: five gatherings of a group of bourgeois friends, and the four dreams of different characters. The beginning of the film focuses on the gatherings, while the latter part focuses on the dreams, but both types of scenes are intertwined. There are also scenes involving other characters, such as two involving a Latin American female terrorist from the fictitious Republic of Miranda. The film’s world is not logical: the bizarre events are accepted by the characters, even if they are impossible or contradictory.read more »
The Queen of Versailles is a 2012 American documentary film by Lauren Greenfield, depicting Jackie Siegel and her husband David, founder and CEO of Westgate Resorts (a timeshare company based out of Florida), and their family as they build the Versailles house, the largest and most expensive single-family house in the United States, and the crisis they face as the US economy declines.
‘Washington Post’ columnist Ezra Klein called it, ‘perhaps the single best film on the Great Recession,’ writing that one scene, in which Siegel recounts a series of transactions that allowed him to purchase at a fraction of its original value a loan on which he owes money, ‘might stand as the single most complete vignette on the mechanics of the financial crisis and the subsequent slow recovery.’ ‘The Economist’ called it, ‘an uncomfortably intimate glimpse of a couple’s struggle with a harsh new reality,’ concluding that ‘the film’s great achievement is that it invites both compassion and Schadenfreude. What could have been merely a silly send-up manages to be a meditation on marriage and a metaphor for the fragility of fortunes, big and small.’
‘The Fifth Element‘ (‘Le Cinquième Élément’) is a 1997 English-language French science fiction film directed, co-written, and based on a story by Luc Besson. The film stars Bruce Willis, Gary Oldman, and Milla Jovovich.
Mostly set during the twenty-third century, the plot involves the survival of planet Earth, which becomes the duty of Korben Dallas, a taxicab driver and former special forces Major, when a young woman falls into his taxicab. Upon learning about her significance, Dallas must join forces with her to recover four mystical stones essential to defending Earth from an impending attack.read more »
Colossus: The Forbin Project is a 1970 American science fiction thriller film based on a 1966 novel Colossus, by Dennis Feltham Jones, about a massive American defense computer, named Colossus, becoming sentient and deciding to assume control of the world. The machine was built in secret by Dr. Charles A. Forbin to control all of the United States and Allied nuclear weapons systems.
Colossus is built to be impervious to any attack, encased within a mountain and powered by its own nuclear reactor, filling the area with gamma radiation. When it is activated, the President of the United States announces its existence at a press conference with Forbin in Washington, proudly proclaiming it a perfect defense system that will ensure peace.read more »
Stroszek is a 1977 film by German director Werner Herzog. It was written in four days specifically for German actor and musician Bruno Schleinstein (known as Bruno S.) and was shot in Berlin, two towns in Wisconsin, and in North Carolina. Most of the lead roles are played by non-actors. Schleinstein was often beaten as a child, and spent much of his youth in mental institutions. He was a largely self-taught musician, who over the years developed considerable skill on the piano, accordion, glockenspiel and handbells.
He was spotted by director Werner Herzog in the documentary ‘Bruno der Schwarze – Es blies ein Jäger wohl in sein Horn’ (1970). Herzog promptly cast Schleinstein (under the name Bruno S.) as his lead actor in ‘The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser’ (1974), though he had no acting experience, and the historical figure he portrayed was only in his teens. ‘Stroszek’ has a number of biographical details from Schleinstein’s life, including the use of his own flat as the home of Bruno Stroszek. He also played his own instruments.read more »
‘Phantom of the Paradise‘ is a 1974 American musical film written and directed by Brian De Palma. The story is a loosely adapted mixture of ‘The Phantom of the Opera,’ ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray,’ and ‘Faust.’
It was panned by critics and failed at the box office, but has since acquired a cult following. Its music was nominated for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award.
‘The Pentagon Wars‘ is a 1998 HBO film, directed by Richard Benjamin, based on a book of the same name (subtitled: ‘Reformers Challenge the Old Guard’) by Colonel James G. Burton, USAF (retired). Starring Kelsey Grammer, Cary Elwes and Richard Schiff, the film is a dark comedy describing the development of the M2 Bradley fighting vehicle.read more »
‘Cool as Ice‘ is a 1991 American musical romance film directed by David Kellogg and starring rapper Vanilla Ice in his feature film debut. The film focuses on the character of Johnny Van Owen, a freewheeling, motorcycle-riding rapper who arrives in a small town and meets Kathy, an honor student who catches his eye. Meanwhile, Kathy’s father, who is in witness protection, is found by the corrupt police officers he escaped from years ago. The film was developed as a vehicle for Vanilla Ice, and was commercially and critically unsuccessful.
The role of Kathy was offered to Gwyneth Paltrow. Her father Bruce Paltrow forbade her from accepting it, due to the script’s sexual content. The Director of Photography of the film was future ‘Schindler’s List’ and ‘Minority Report’ cinematographer Janusz Kamiński. The film’s soundtrack album contained four new songs by Vanilla Ice, as well as other material. It peaked at #89 on the Billboard 200.