Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Smoke (1995)

Where there's smoke... there's laughter!

Smoke is a great off beat film that took me by surprise. I just happened to catch it on cable one day. For those of you that live in Williamsburgh, Brooklyn, you'll love seeing that part of town on film including the "J" train as it slowly creeps up the track towards the Williamsburgh Bridge and BedStuy off in the hazy distance and the old Williamsburgh Bank in the foreground. It's a long lazy shot and I find myself sometimes watching that scene over and over again. It's a beautiful shot of that part of Brooklyn. Close enough to hear the train but far enough to keep the other city noises in the background. Utterly beautiful!

This film is full of quirky characters. Auggie (Harvey Keitel) is probably the most off beat and quirky of them all. Stockard Channing gives a stunning performance as Auggie's ex girlfriend and Ashley Judd is brilliant, even though she only has one scene, as their drug addicted, poor and bitter daughter. The film also stars William Hurt (Altered States), Harold Perrineau Jr, (Romeo&Juliet) and Forest Whitaker (Panic Room).

The most unexpected moment in Smoke is Auggie's Christmas story. I don't want to give too much away but it's sad, touching and funny all at the same time. Don't look for special effects, explosions, car chases or gun fights here. There are none. Just good storytelling.

Also interesting are the bonus attractions on the dvd. Seeing the director (Wayne Wang) direct another director (Forest Whitaker) and watching Whitaker accept and discuss Wang's directions were especially captivating. By M. Fields

Torrent : here
Subs : English and Dutch included.

Code 46 (2003)

What if the person you desired most was the one person you were forbidden to love?

In a near future, in a world ruled by a totalitarian government, checking of the genetic code is mandatory for any type of possible relationship between man and woman. The investigator from Seattle William (Tim Robbins) travels to Shanghai to investigate the faking and stealing of special Visas called "papelles". The main suspect is Maria Gonzales (Samantha Morton), who works in the company Sphinx, but William falls in love for her and protects her. They have a passionate one night stand, and sooner they find that they are genetically incompatible to each other and they have violated the Code 46.

'Code 46' is the most beautiful film I've seen in quite some time. It's funny how something entirely new is produced when the properties of film noir and futuristic sci-fi are married. Like 'Until the End of the World,' 'Strange Days,' and 'Gattaca,' three films which 'Code 46' potently recalls, this is above all else a mood piece, wherein character and plot are secondary to the drifty, elegiac flow of the film.

The action is underplayed, and the performances have an earthy tone; Tim Robbins recalls William Hurt in 'Until the End of the World' and Bill Murray in 'Lost in Translation,' in that his perpetual jet lag has cultivated an easy, weary charm. The movie is set, one gathers, in the future (or an "alternative present," to paraphrase another reviewer). Like the best futuristic films, it's set on the same planet Earth, but the planet's simply been restructured; the old occupants have left and the new ones have moved in. No longer are there countries, only cities, only business destinations.

Pleasure is not a goal, but a side effect. The locations photographed are, as in 'Alphaville,' as in 'Sans Soleil,' not manipulated or artificial, but they are photographed in a new way. Contemporary cities look futuristic, commercial, busy, cold, with pools of dark glass and beads of light from skyscraper windows. For me, this kind of imagery is the among the most romantic and evocative. Cold, impersonal environments like these simultaneously forbid and necessitate human warmth. Intimacy becomes something to escape into.

Michael Winterbottom and his screen-writing partner Frank Cottrell Boyce have done great work before, and inevitably, a lot of viewers and critics are dismissing 'Code 46' as a number of things, including listless and convoluted, but I think that's symptomatic of approaching this film with the wrong expectations. Far beyond simply being a trivial footnote in what will hopefully be a career of formidable longevity, I think 'Code 46' is perhaps Winterbottom's best work yet, the movie I intuited Winterbottom had dormant in him. The movie has a sort of purging effect, like Wenders' 'Until the End of the World,' and as with that film, my immediate environment felt different to me, changed, upon exiting the theater. Review by BornJaded

Trailer : here
Torrent : here
All subs: here

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Proof of Life (2000)

More intense than you'd think, with credible performances.

Just when it seems like the action genre off moviemaking is about to be played, another movie comes out with a ridiculous plot, over-the-top characters who are unfamiliar with the situation, and suspenseful action sequences, some of which have nothing to do with the story at hand. "Proof of Life," starring Russell Crowe, Meg Ryan, and David Morse, jumps over all of these hurdles and manages to come out 90% unblemished. The story is unique and somewhat original, the characters are involving and intelligent, and there are no unneeded setpieces that clog up most other thrillers.

In the (fictional) country of Tecala, located in Latin America, Alice and Peter Bowman live out their lives. Peter heads up the construction of a dam to stop the flooding of small towns; she is just basically his wife throughout the movie, never really having a job or doing anything except shopping at the local outdoor market for fresh food. On his way to work one day, Peter takes a shortcut on a low mountain road, which is blocked off by a traffic jam. Soon, masked men with machine guns start jumping out of the woods, and everyone is taken from their vehicles and put into covered trucks, transported to an unknown stronghold in the mountains. Their motive: the dam project was taken over by another company in order to build a running oil pipeline through the superstructure, therefore pissing off the rebels, who now hold these people in return for some heavy-duty money.

Alice, learning of the kidnapping, employs the services of Terry Thorne, a former soldier who is now a kidnap-and-ranson negotiator for a firm that collects commissions for successful rescues. At first, he is hesitant to take the project, but later returns to it out of the goodness of his heart, despite his son that he has not spent any time with in months. He begins making contact with the kidnappers, bartering over the price that he must pay in order to receive a "proof of life," or solid confirmation that Peter is still alive. Soon, the show starts hitting too close to hom, and he realizes the only way he is going to rescue the man, and put to rest his yearning for Alice, is to find Peter and bring him back alive.

The movie proves that it fits into the suspense/thriller genre, even if it does fall a little short on its action sequences. Bowman's kidnapping and constant transfers across the mountains keep the tension building, and when he starts to yell and demand things of his captors, there is an incredible degree of intensity where the roles of preditor and prey are switched. This will prove to be one of the most thrilling moments of the movie; after that, the suspense does drop a few degrees to allow for the development of each character's attitude and emotion.

Another good aspect of the film is the minute yet unignorable spark of interest between Alice and Terry. Alice does not think anything more of him than the fact that he is the man who is helping her get her husband back. Terry, however, begins to develop feelings for her through the remorse he feels over her situation, and there are moments where you can see it in him that he just wishes to reach out and console her. This is where screenwriter Tony Gilroy and director Taylor Hackford are able to play on Alice's emotions; we know that she is moved by his feelings once they are revealed in the film, and whether or not she will do anything about them lets down on the emotion we feel for her, shifting that focus onto her captive husband.

The actors cast for this film all have a wonderful chemistry whne onscreen, whether it be romantic or moving. Russell Crowe is the perfect choice for agent Thorne. He is able to play out each move of his character, and each line of dialogue, with an elevated level of authenticity and believability. Meg Ryan, as usual, sparkles in her role of Alice Bowman, shifting from the supportive wife to the emotional would-be widow. In this kind of movie, you would expect Alice to become disheartened and overly emotional in the crucial moments of the film. Instead, the film gives Ryan a chance to play her character as powerful and with an emotion that reaches over sadness for strength and determination. It is David Morse, who plays Peter Bowman, that is the truly impacting character of the entire story. His performances, especially in the scene of conflict with his captor, make him the character to pull for in the end. By the time the action truly sets in, all you will want is to see him make it out alive and reunite with his wife, whom he truly loves.

While the suspense does tend to fall out in certain moments, it does not ruin the overall impact "Proof of Life" has to offer its viewers. Everything falls into place at the right time: the action, the budding yet doomed "romance" between Thorne and Alice, and the struggle of a man to simply make it in one of the most extreme situations imagineable. A very nice action thriller for fans of the stars involved and those looking for intensity and excitement. By D. Litton

Torrent : here
All subs: here 1CD

De zaak Alzheimer (2003) aKa The Memory Of A Killer

De zaak alzheimer or The Alzheimer Case (released in the US as Memory of a Killer) is a crime thriller that (it should not come as a big surprise) is chiefly concerned with memory. The genius of this story is that it is not only about one person’s memory, but also about a nation’s collective memory as well as the use of memory in crime investigation. It all starts off simple enough; Vincke (De Bouw) and Verstuyft (De Smedt) are two police partners in 1995 Antwerp, Belgium. They are confronted with several seemingly unconnected murders, except for the fact that the method of killing seems to have been the same. Could there be a connection?

The trail leads to the aging contract killer Angelo Ledda (Decleir), who wants to get out of the business because he has the developing symptoms of the memory-plaguing Alzheimer’s disease; not really the ideal disease for a job for which such precision and concentration is required. He has agreed to one last job killing two people in his native Belgium, but turns against his patron when he discovers one of them is a 13-year-old child. His own memories and motives for being a killer somehow seem to start to haunt him now.

The homonymous novel by Jef Geeraerts on which the story is based was first published in the 1980s, but the film version of the story takes places in 1995. Since one of the victims is a child who was prostituted by her own father (who seems to be part of a child prostitution ring), the story seems to predict the happenings of the infamous Dutroux case, which was discovered in 1996, though Dutroux’s abduction and abuse of children was already well underway in 1995. The fine line between fact and fiction seem to have been purposefully blurred by the filmmakers. The memories of the viewer familiar with the case will be reminded of it whilst watching the film, much as Ledda ("as in the swan but with two ds") is troubled by his own memories (or lack of them) during his last job. Memory will also be a decisive factor once a case will be before a judge; because witnesses' accounts all come from memory, and how reliable is that memory really?

Director Erik Van Looy and his co-writer Carl Joos are clearly more interested in the history, politics and characters of this fictional story than in its pure crime drama aspects, though this is also neatly resolved in the end. The focus however remains always on the characters and on the environment in which they move. Politicians, high placed judges and police-officers that do not seem to have a clean conscience, conflicts of interest between rivalling police-departments and the human qualities of the not-so-standard duo of Vincke and Verstuyft lend much added weight and value to this thriller. The dynamic duo is also surprisingly funny.

Van Looy is a master at creating atmosphere and De zaak Alzheimer reminds one of the best work of David "Seven" Fincher, in which a visual style and atmosphere is always prominent but nevertheless secondary to a good story inhabited by believable characters. Which studio will be so brave as to extend Van Looy an invitation to work his magic on a big budget crime thriller from Hollywood? Surely the troubles of Belgium cannot be so specific to that country as to be wholly inapplicable to the United States or indeed any other country? This critic wants more of these social-political crime thrillers! by Boyd van Hoeij

Torrent: here
Subs: English and Dutch included

De Passievrucht (2003) aka Father's Affair

What happens to the father of a 13-year-old son, when he discovers that he has been infertile all his life?

About the autor:

Karel Van Loon is the author of two best-selling novels and a collection of stories based on his travels which was shortlisted for the ECI prize. He has travelled widely as a freelance journalist and television programme-maker. He lives in Amsterdam. A Father's Affair has been translated into 16 languages.

De passievrucht (A Father's Affair, though literally it means the passion fruit) is about the most beautiful fruit of shared passion that a couple can bear: a child. The child in question is Bo (the talented Dai Carter), who lives together with his father Armin (Peter Paul Muller) and his second wife Ellen (Halina Reijn) in Amsterdam. Bo and Ellen get along fine, though Ellen is not Bo’s natural mother; this honour belongs to Monika (Carice van Houten), who has died ten years before we meet our characters.

Bo is your typical adolescent, experimenting with love and lust and trying to find out who he really is. He might not really be who he thought he was, however. His father tells him he has just discovered that he suffers from a rare condition that has left him infertile since birth. This means Monika is still Bo’s mother, but that Armin’s paternity is out of the question. Armin is desperate to know who has fathered "his" child if it was not him, though Bo seems less concerned. He seems to think: "I am being raised by Armin and Ellen and that’s that."

Armin starts a real crusade in order to find the answer to that one question that seems to have taken over his life. First he interrogates the doctor (whom he suspects might have had an eye on Monika around the time Bo was born) and Ellen, who was Monika’s best friend until her untimely death. Soon he is racking his brain as to whom to interrogate next, whilst Bo seeks refuge from Armin’s relentless quest at the house of his grandfather (and Armin’s father) Huib (the grand Jan Decleir, from Oscar-winning features Antonia’s Line and Character).

This film about a child as a fruit of passion is poured into the facile mould of a quest for a single answer (who is the father?) and as such is technically a mystery rather than a drama about fatherhood. I suspect that the homonymous Karel Glastra van Loon novel, on which the film is based, was more meditative about what fatherhood really entails (and probably got into the nature vs nurture debate) but unfortunately the film sidesteps any of these philosophical questions to chase after Armin from one interrogation to the next.

The film’s visual style is also reminiscent of a fast-paced thriller rather than a contemplative drama, with director Maarten Treurniet overdoing it with its continual (artificial) downpour and camera-trickery and effects that suggest speed and movement. This "modern" gimmickery is muted however by the utterly conventional use of flash-backs to the time Monika was alive. Leaving aside the genre-issues, the question of who inseminated a woman long dead is not something that makes for an intriguing narrative that lasts the 100-odd minutes of this feature. The script is simply too weak to retain the audience’s attention throughout. We are not able to identify fully with any of the characters and least of all Armin, whose actions drive the plot but whose motivations are never fully explained or even explored. by Boyd van Hoeij

Torrent : here
All subs: here

Monday, January 28, 2008

Sarah Connor - Soulicious (2007)

Sarah Terenzi, better known as Sarah Connor (born June 13, 1980) is a German pop music singer who has enjoyed a great deal of success in the European pop charts since the early 2000s. Sarah is married to former boy band star Marc Terenzi and has a son named Tyler. On June 23rd daughter Summer Antonia Soraya was born. Rapper TQ produced Sarah's first single "Let's Get Back To Bed - Boy" which went to the top 5 in Germany and Austria, top 10 in Switzerland and top 20 in the UK in spring/summer 2001, followed up by the Blackstreet sampling single "French Kissing". read more ...

Tracks on this Album

1. The Impossible Dream
2. Soothe My Soul
3. Your Precious Love (Duet)
4. Get It Right
5. Part Time Love
6. Sexual Healing
7. Son Of A Preacher Man
8. Soulicious
9. Love On a Two Way Street
10. One Day I'll Fly Away
11. I've Got To Use My Imagination
12. I Never Loved A Man (The Way the way that I love you)
13. Same Old Story (Same old Song)
14. If Its Magic

Torrent: here

"The Impossible Dream" (The Quest) is a popular song composed by Mitch Leigh, with lyrics written by Joe Darion. It was written for the 1965 musical Man of La Mancha. It is the main song from the musical and became its most popular hit.

The song is sung all the way through once in the musical by Don Quixote as he stands vigil over his armor, in response to Aldonza (Dulcinea)'s question about what he means by "following the quest". It is reprised partially three more times - the last by prisoners in a dungeon as Miguel de Cervantes and his manservant mount the drawbridge-like prison staircase to face trial by the Spanish Inquisition.

57th Tony Awards - Man of La Mancha - Brian Stokes Mitchell

Arlington Road (1999)

Fear Thy Neighbor

It's easy to understand why Arlington Road sat on the studio shelf for nearly a year. No, the film isn't awful; rather, it's an extremely edgy and ultimately bleak thriller that offers no clear-cut heroes or villains. In other words, Hollywood had no idea how to sell it. Director Mark Pellington's underrated directorial debut, Going All the Way, suffered the same fate, essentially because the filmmaker's presentation of suburban America often shifts dramatically within the same film. Characters are usually miserable and bordering on meltdown, no situation is straightforward, and things usually end badly. Arlington Road begins as an astute study of suburban paranoia. Michael Faraday (a face-pinched Jeff Bridges, who spends most of the film on the brink of tears) is a college professor who teaches American history courses on terrorism. He's been a conspiracy freak since his wife, an FBI agent, was killed during a botched raid that feels like a thinly fictionalized reference to the Waco tragedy. After saving the life of his next-door neighbor's child, he initially befriends the family (Tim Robbins and Joan Cusack), but soon believes the husband is a terrorist. The first half of the film mocks Faraday: he has no real evidence and is not the most stable of protagonists. Despite the fact that it was government paranoia that got his wife killed, Faraday repeats the same type of behavior. Pellington shifts gears in the second half, however, and for awhile, it seems that the film has simultaneously sunk into a cheap, high-octane brand of Hollywood entertainment and undermined its own point. Arlington Road, though, possesses a stunning ending that's a real gut punch, one that may leave you needing a second viewing to catch all of its smartly executed setup. by Dave McCoy

Open Trailer in a Pop-up window

Torrent: here
All subs: here

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Sneak Review: Unfinished Sky (2007)

Unfinished Sky

Based on the screenplay by Kees van der Hulst of the multiple (international) award winning ‘box office’ success, the Dutch feature film ‘De Poolse bruid’.

Tameena, a young Afghan refugee, is forced to work in a brothel and is violently raped and beaten up by her employers. She manages to escape and after hours of walking collapses in the yard of an isolated farm, where she hopes to find help. She is found by John, who since his wife died in a mysterious way is living alone shunned by his neighbours in the small-town nearby.

John takes the woman in and cares for her, coaching her back to life. In the weeks that follow Tameena recovers, remaining desperately frightened. John manages to win her trust and though communication is difficult, because they don’t speak each other’s language, they become intimate and dependant on each other.

At the same time they realize that the men that assaulted her will never give her up and are closing in. They appear in the end with the evident intention to murder Tameena and get rid of all the evidence of their assault. But John outsmarts them. They call the police. When the police arrive the police officer in charge turns out to be Tameena’s third violator. It seems all’s lost now, but in the end justice is done and love cries victory.

Peter Duncan
Cast a.o.:
Monic Hendrickx & William McInnes
info on IMDb
A co-production with:
New Holland Pictures (Australia)
Distributor Benelux:
A-Film Distribution
Distributor Australia / New Zealand:
Palace Films Australia
Sales agent:
Fortissimo Film Sales

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

FileZilla - the free FTP solution


FileZilla Client is a fast and reliable cross-platform FTP, FTPS and SFTP client with lots of useful features and an intuitive interface.


Among others, the features of FileZilla include the following:

  • Easy to use
  • Supports FTP, FTP over SSL/TLS (FTPS) and SSH File Transfer Protocol (SFTP)
  • Cross-platform. Runs on Windows, Linux, *BSD, OSX and more
  • Available in many languages
  • Supports resume and transfer of large files >4GB
  • Powerful Site Manager and transfer queue
  • Drag & drop support
  • Configurable Speed limits

  • Filename filters
  • Network configuration wizard

If you like it, see some screenshots & download FileZilla

Monday, January 21, 2008

Sergey Prokofiev - Peter and the Wolf (1939)

Sergey Prokofiev brought his "orchestral fairy tale," Peter and the Wolf, to Moscow audiences in 1936, having composed the music and written the narration as a children's introduction to orchestral music. Prokoviev conducted the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Symphony Hall at the American premiere in 1938. This premiere recording of the work was performed by the Boston Symphony, under the direction of Serge Koussevitzky, with narration by Richard Hale.

The premier edition of this all-time classic.

Artist : Sergey Prokofiev - Boston Symphony Orchestra
Album : Peter and the Wolf
Source : Vinyl
Year : 1939

Torrent: here

Two 9/11 drama movies premiering - January 2008

By Daan de Wit (DeepJournal)
Able Danger and The Reflecting Pool, two separate motion pictures based on the non-official version of what happened on 9/11, will be premiering this January. The two independently made drama films confront the viewer with the facts that 9/11 could not have been perpetrated by the 19 hijackers and deal with the question who might be behind the crime of the century. Able Danger premiers Monday 28 January at the Rotterdam Film Festival in the Netherlands. The Reflecting Pool will premiere on 31 January in the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica, USA. - Watch the trailers at the bottom of this article.

Able Danger
Able Danger is a movie based on the fact of an official unit comprised of United States intelligence personnel called Able Danger. The unit observed ringleader Mohammed Atta and his hijackers, but was not allowed to provide the FBI and later the 9/11 Commission with their data. More than a year before the attacks on 11 September 2001 it destroyed the gathered information, worth 2,5 terabytes, equal to one fourth of the printed books in the Library of Congress. In reality, says Webster Tarpley, author of Synthetic Terror - Made in USA, Able Danger did not observe the hijackers, but took care of them in order for the group to be the real life cover story for 9/11. Watch Tarpley explain the system behind the hijackers and the controllers. Watch news clips about Able Danger.

In a reaction Tarpley writes to me: 'In my analysis, Able Danger were terrorist controllers and terrorist monitors who observed carefully what the various patsies were doing in order to check up on them and make sure they were following orders and conforming to the strateghy set by the rogue network. The obvious problem of Agentenfuehrung is to make sure such criminal types do what you want, not what they may want. They have to be supervised by case officers directly, and also constantly observed. Able Danger did the observing part. Door Hop Galley is another unit inside Able Danger which has never been explained. Congressman Weldon thought he could use Able Danger against the Kean-Hamilton commission and the Democrats, but he was meddling in something much more explosive, so he was politically and personally destroyed'.

Eventhough the voice of Tarpley features prominently in the trailer (see below) of the movie Able Danger, he is not part of it. The movie is about a character called Thomas Flynn, who is the quixotic publisher of a hard-hitting 9/11 conspiracy expose, implicated in the murder of his friend and employee. At the same time he finds himself entangled with a mysterious Eastern European beauty, Kasia. As it turns out, Kasia possesses the smoking gun that proves the identities and methods of the real architects of 9/11, and Thomas willing to risk everything to expose the truth.

Movie director Paul Krik writes: 'DeepJournal, it seems to me, lives in the film noir perspective. You look at the news event and see beyond its news spin to its true cause. My story is about someone like you, who lives in Brooklyn and runs a cafe and publishes alternative media. But the movie begins when a femme fatale out of a 40s noir movie who works for the 'shadow government' enters his cafe ... The movie is fiction!'

Able Danger premiers Monday 28 January at the Rotterdam Film Festival in the Netherlands, (Pathé 7, 21.45 hrs). Writer/director Paul Krik will be present and lead actress Elina Löwensohn. Press and industry can watch it the previous day, (Cinerama 2, 22.30 hrs). More public screenings on Tuesday 29 (Cinerama 7,20.00 hrs) and on Friday 1 February (Pathé 7, 19.15 hrs).

The Reflecting Pool
The fictional movie The Reflecting Pool, announced earlier by DeepJournal, is about a successful journalist called Alex Prokop, who receives a rare 9/11 videotape revealing new information on the attacks. The footage was sent by a driven researcher by the name of Paul Cooper, whose daughter died on 9/11. Sensing a good story, Prokop travels with Cooper to New York and Washington, DC, where they uncover suppressed information about the attacks. As Cooper introduces Prokop to key eyewitnesses, the façade of the "official story" begins to crumble.
Prokop hears accounts of underground explosions in the Twin Towers moments before their collapse, and discovers that a firm run by the President’s brother provided security for WTC.
We follow Alex and Cooper as they investigate the inexplicable collapse of the 47-story WTC Building Seven, disprove the implausible airliner "attack" on the Pentagon, and uncover the illegal destruction of physical evidence from Ground Zero. Alex's search for the truth leads to a dangerous and shocking realization.

The Reflecting Pool premiers Thursday 31 January at the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica, California, USA (19.30 hrs), followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers. Next is the opening on Saturday 2 February in the Laemmle’s Monica 4-plex, Santa Monica.

TRAILER Able Danger

TRAILER The Reflecting Pool

Friday, January 18, 2008

SIV (System Information Viewer) 3.28

System Information Viewer is a general Windows utility for displaying lots of useful Windows, Network and hardware info - CPU info, PCI info, PCMCIA info, USB info, Machine Info, Hardware Sensors, Networked computers, Operating System Information and more. I use Craig Hart's pcidevs.txt file for my PCI device display with my usbdevs.txt being used for the USB devices, mondevs.txt for monitor descriptions and pcmdevs.txt for PCMCIA device descriptions. SIV is designed for Windows XP, Vista, 2008, 2003, 2000 and NT4. Windows 95, 98 and Me are also supported.

Version 3.28 released on 14-Jan-2008
- Added initial support for the Intel X48, 5400A and 5400B Chipsets.
- Added the [Mapping] page which shows the mappings from Disk
Drives to Volumes.

- Added persistent -DELL and -NODELL qualifiers to Enable and Disable
the use the Dell BIOS
Sensor interface. The default state is -NODELL.
- Improved reporting of Dual-Core AMD Opteron 2218 (Santa Rosa),
Turion 64 X2 Mobile
TL-60 (Trinidad) and similar CPUs.

See for more info, screenshots and downloads: Author's Site

Thursday, January 17, 2008

8 femmes (2002)

Hot House Roses

"8 Femmes" is a deftly directed, vulnerable as a rose in a windstorm, touching as a sunrise, homage to women directed by Francois Ozon.
The film is populated with the who's-who of France's film world: Darrieux, Deneuve, Ardant, Beart, Huppert. As a contrast it would be as if Spielberg directed a film with: Roberts, Pfeiffer, Stone, Taylor, Sarandon. Thus, "8 Femmes" is eye-poppingly studded with Stars and therein lays a lot of its charm and success.
So what of the film itself? Well, it's an over-the-top who-done-it very much in the mold of George Cukor's "The Women." But whereas Cukor "opens-up" Claire Booth Luce's stage play to make it more like a film and not a filmed version of a play, Ozon does not.
In fact, Ozon closes "8F" with the entire cast standing in line and taking a bow as if it were a stage play; thereby reinforcing, rather than moving away from the artifice of a stage play.
At the films opening, Gaby (Deneuve) is confronted with the murder of her husband seemingly by one of the other 7 women ,as the house is snowbound: no one can come in or out. In reality this sounds an awful lot like an Agatha Christie Mystery like "10 Little Indians" rather than a Douglas Sirk melodrama like "Imitation of Life," which some have suggested. What strikes me as similar to a Sirk movie, is Ozon's attitude towards his women characters: their situations are absurd and silly but they themselves are not. And it is this humanist view of women that suffuses this film with Ozon's obvious love and admiration of women.
Much is revealed on a personal and social ,through dialogue circa 1950's France, level by all the characters which is the nature and style of a play: the characters say a lot but "do" little. And all manner of women from the maid through the maitresse of the house is equally represented...a 2002 ,not a 1950's take on things.
Francois Ozon's "8 Femmes" is a valentine of a movie dedicated to the various-ness, the ambiguity, the power of women. That it was made in France does not diminish its impact nor Universal appeal to everyone. By MICHAEL ACUNA

Torrent : here (576x304, 128kbps)
All subs : here

Monday, January 14, 2008

Upcoming: The Lovely Bones (2009)

About the book:

Alice Sebold has written a remarkable debut novel. The narrator, Susie Salmon, was raped and murdered in 1973 and now resides in her heaven; yet, her voice contains none of the bitterness one would expect. She is able to see into the lives of those who touched her in life and death. At times wistful - for she will never be able to experience growing up - and others matter-of-fact, Susie witnesses the changes and growth within her family and small circle of friends. Her story is not one about death, but about loss and affirming life in its face, about moving on not only for those she left behind but for herself. The reader won't be able to escape the sadness in these pages - I came close to crying several times - but the overall tone is hardly grim. Because Susie is secure and happy in her heaven, she keeps the story full of light and optimism.

This novel is not flawless, nor should it expected to be. The narrative loses some of its momentum near the end. In addition, Sebold makes the mistake of adding a scene (which I won't describe here) seemingly designed to lessen the reader's regret about Susie's missed coming-of-age, but instead the scene falls flat. Susie's loss is as much a part of this book as her family's is, and to pretend it can be reversed, even if only temporarily, defeats the story. Still, given the first two-thirds of the book, this misstep and others can be forgiven.

The Lovely Bones is one of those books you can pick up and not want to put down again until you finish. At roughly 325 pages, this novel demands to be read on a plane, or on the beach, or when you have good chunks of time available to sit with it. Don't frustrate yourself by allowing a half hour here and there.

This is one book that deserves its spot on the bestseller list. By Debbie Lee Wesselmann

About the Movie

Director : Peter Jackson
Writer : Alice Sebold (novel), Peter Jackson (screenplay)
Starring : Rachel Weisz Mark Wahlberg Saoirse Ronan Stanley Tucci Susan Sarandon Lindsey Salmon Carolyn Dando
Studio : DreamWorks

Plot Summary: An adaptation of the Alice Sebold best-selling novel, "The Lovely Bones" tells the story of Susie Salmon, who is murdered, but continues to observe her family on Earth after her death. Although she is detached from the world she once knew, Susie witnesses the impact of her loss on her loved ones, whilst her killer skillfully covers his tracks and prepares to murder again. In a tone that is both emotionally truthful, and darkly humorous, Susie tries to balance her desire for vengeance against the love she feels for her family and her need to see them heal; and ultimately comes to understand that the concept of family can encompass both the living and the dead.

IMDb link


Susan Sarandon Brings the Funny to The Lovely Bones

The Lovely Bones is far from a comedy. But Susan Sarandon will be doing whatever she can to make sure the drama has a bit of levity in it.

“I play kind of the comic relief,” Sarandon said of her role as Grandma Lynn in the upcoming production. “She’s [a] drinking, hard shooting, smoking [old lady] cutting across all of the pain, pain, pain. Whenever I possibly can blow smoke in someone’s face I’m doing it!”

It’s a mixture of tones that’s indicative of the overall production, Sarandon told MTV, insisting that fans who only know Jackson for Lord of the Rings and King Kong are going to be “surprised.”

“I haven’t figured out the tone of the movie, I’m still trying to figure out exactly what it is. It’s going to be a strange jumble of things,” the actress continued. “But Peter Jackson did Heavenly Creatures. It’s [a lot] like that.”

Don’t worry, though, fantasy fans: Sarandon is most excited about the movie’s special effects.

“I think that probably the heaven sequences will work better in the film than they did, for me, in the book,” she said..

Discovery Channel - Munich the Real Assassins (2006)


In September 1972, during the Olympics in Munich and before the eyes of millions of television viewers, 11 Israeli athletes were killed after being taken hostage by a little-known radical Palestinian group called ‘Black September’. It was an event that shocked the world, and the Israeli government wanted revenge. Mossad, Israel's intelligence service, sent elite undercover agents across Europe and the Middle East to hunt down and kill the 11 people they believed were responsible for the Munich massacre.

Steven Spielberg's movie Munich is based on a fictionalized account of these events. Now, for the first time, the programme reveals the real story behind Israel's campaign of revenge and how it spiraled out of control. Featuring the testimony of senior Mossad figures, undercover assassins, eyewitnesses and relatives of the victims, and seen through the eyes of the five elite Israeli agents handpicked to carry out the mission, Munich: The Real Assassins premieres September 5 at 9pm and encores September 6 at midnight, 5am and 10am, and September 12 at 5pm.

Ordered from the top, this crack assassination squad set out from Israel to Rome, Paris, Frankfurt, Beirut, Athens, the Swiss Alps and London on an epic two-year mission. Given millions of dollars via a secret Frankfurt bank account, they were handed the list of “The Eleven” – and a license to kill. This film will reveal the daily realities of their lives as assassins, from the dramatic assassinations to the bitter moral dilemmas and brutal failures.

Torrent: here

Friday, January 11, 2008

Gruppo Sportivo - 10 Mistakes (1977)

Back in 1978 I bought this obscure little import called "Mistakes", with a 45 single inside with 6 more songs on it called "More Mistakes".The album started out with the piano intro from B.B. and the Stingers 'Nutrocker', and then flies into some great female double vocals singing "Mission A Paris". A song I could never get out of my head. It remains to this day 4 minutes of the best pure pop I've heard. But the good stuff didn't end there.The rest of the album is filled some great pop music with some of the funniest lyrics I've ever heard. This band really had a bone-dry since of humour. They also managed to piss off about everybody, from Eric Clapton to Tom Petty with their words. Check out "I shot my manager",their parady of "I shot the sheriff". Funny stuff. You can't go wrong buying '10 Mistakes'. The only gripe I have about this import version is you don't get the full version of their original vinyl album. Instead, you get a later album 'Buddy odor is a gas',which is ok, but nowhere as good as 'Mistakes'. In order to get that full album you also have to buy the import 'Back to 78'. The period between 77-78 was when they were at their creative best. Their later music just doesn't live up to this early stuff. Buy "10 Mistakes" first. This is their best by far. By Patrick Earley Player:

Affectionate parodies of pop music and occasional humorous cultural commentary gave the Dutch new wave band Gruppo Sportivo a cult following in the early 1980s, although much of their material was available only through import sources. Signed to the British division of Epic, the group debuted in 1978 with 10 Mistakes, an album that featured a lineup of vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Hans Vandenburg, keyboardist Peter Calicher, bassist Eric Wehrmeyer, drummer Max "Climax" Mollinger, and additional vocalists the Grupettes: Josee Van Iersel and Meike Touw. 10 Mistakes and its follow-up, Back to '78, were produced by R.J. Stips, soon to join venerable fellow Dutch popsters the Nits. Gruppo Sportivo were introduced to American listeners through the 1979 Mistakes compilation, which gathered highlights from those first two albums. 1980's lyric-oriented Copy Copy introduced new bassist Martin Bakker and added a three-piece horn section called the Skamasters, which included tenor saxophonist Laurens de Jonge, baritone saxophonist Jan de Ligt, and trumpeter Edwin Theuerzeit. 1981's Pop! Goes the Brain found Vandenburg adopting an English accent in place of the familiar Dutch; by 1982's Design Moderne, Dick Schulte Nordholt had taken over the bass spot, and the Grupettes had become more of a free-floating addition, with Van Iersel joined by Lies Schilp on this particular outing. Another bassist, Michiel Eilbracht, was employed for 1984's Sombrero Times, and the original Grupettes duo had been restored.

Torrent: here

The Notebook (2004)

"Heart wrenchingly romantic"

THE NOTEBOOK is an old-fashioned love story with the topical subject of Alzheimer's Disease thrown in to heighten the Hankie Factor.

The film opens in the present at a genteel, riverside, Southern facility for the long-term care of the aged. An old man, "Duke" (James Garner), is in the habit of reading from a book to an elegant, but chronically confused and distant, lady (Gena Rowlands) of equal antiquity. The story concerns two teenagers during a hot, carefree, South Carolina summer preceding World War II. They are (in extended flashback) Noah Calhoun (Ryan Gosling) and Allie (Rachel McAdams).

Noah, working in the local sawmill, is the uneducated son of a dirt-poor father (Sam Shephard). Allie, in these months before she's off to a prestigious New York college, is the only daughter of snobbishly wealthy parents, John (David Thornton) and Anne (Joan Allen) Hamilton.

The book's plot is that hoary one about two young lovers of disparate backgrounds and financial resources, who are subsequently separated by circumstances, objection and obstruction by the wealthy parents, and the subsequent engagement of one to another - in this case, Allie to a devilishly handsome and perfectly decent, rich, young, Army officer wounded during WWII, whom she meets while serving as a volunteer nurse in a Stateside military hospital. Will Noah and Allie ever get back together? That's what Duke's lone listener wants to know.

At midpoint point in this review, and midway through the film, it should be apparent that Duke and his lady friend are Noah and Allie in the winter of their lives. The latter is now suffering from Alzheimer's and only occasionally recognizes her husband, who reads her the story of their courtship over and over in the hope of stimulating her memory.

Click on a thumbnail to download the high resolution image.

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THE NOTEBOOK is an engaging love story that even Guys might enjoy. I did. James Garner is one of the most beloved screen veterans, and Ryan Gosling as Noah's younger self is totally likable. McAdams as Allie is effervescent and positively radiant. As a period piece, i.e. that part taking place before and immediately after the war, it's sumptuously photographed with contemporary costumes, hairstyles, music, and lots of vintage automobiles. And the sequence shot in the sunken forest amidst the migrating waterfowl was breathtaking in its beauty.

The film does stumble occasionally. While Joan Allen is superb as the witch mother you love to hate, at least until she reveals a secret of her own late in the movie, the John Hamilton character is a virtual non-entity. And I didn't believe his moustache for a second. (It reminded me of the beards in the Civil War epic GETTYSBURG.) Then, in a very brief sequence showing Noah off at war with Patton's Third Army, he barely bats an eye when his best friend is killed. What was that all about? Finally, the Hollywood ending, written by a screenwriter who must have wet him/herself out of giddiness in the melodrama of the moment, was absurd. Under the circumstances, such a passing is a good trick if one can pull it off, but it's sadly not the case, I fear, for most people in Real Life. Just ask Nancy Reagan.

I doubt that THE NOTEBOOK will receive any Oscar nominations, except for perhaps adapted screenplay (from the novel). But the admission price is still money well spent if you're weary of special FX-laden silliness and you want to see a couple of aging pros, Garner and Rowlands, before they, too, leave us. And girls, take an entire box of Kleenex. By Joseph Haschka

Official site: Trailer

Torrent : here
All subs : here 1CD

Something's Gotta Give (2003)

Laugh out Loud!

As upscale sitcoms go, Something's Gotta Give has more to offer than most romantic comedies. Obviously working through some semi-autobiographical issues regarding "women of a certain age," writer-director Nancy Meyers brings adequate credibility and above-average intelligence to what is essentially (but not exclusively) a fantasy premise, in which an aging lothario who's always dated younger women (Jack Nicholson, more or less playing himself) falls for a successful middle-aged playwright (Diane Keaton) who's convinced she's past the age of romance, much less sexual re-awakening. As long as old pals Nicholson and Keaton are on screen discussing their dilemma or discovering their mutual desire, Something's Gotta Give is terrific, proving (in case anyone had forgotten) that Hollywood can and should aim for an older demographic. Myers falls short with the sitcom device of a younger lover (Keanu Reeves) who wants Keaton as much as Nicholson does; it's believable but shallow and too easily dismissed. Myers also skimps on supporting roles for Frances McDormand, Amanda Peet, and Jon Favreau, but thankfully this is one romantic comedy that doesn't pander to youth. Mature viewers, rejoice! --Jeff Shannon

All subs: here

Monday, January 7, 2008

Rosemary's Baby (1968)

A "devilishly" good movie

Psychological terrorism and supernatural horror have rarely been dramatized as effectively as in this classic 1968 thriller, masterfully adapted and directed by Roman Polanski from the chilling novel by Ira Levin. Rosemary (Mia Farrow) is a young, trusting housewife in New York whose actor husband (John Cassavetes), unbeknownst to her, has literally made a deal with the devil. In the thrall of a witches' coven headquartered in their apartment building, the young husband arranges to have his wife impregnated by Satan in exchange for success in a Broadway play. To Rosemary, the pregnancy seems like a normal and happy one--that is, until she grows increasingly suspicious of her neighbors' evil influence. Polanski establishes this seemingly benevolent situation and then introduces each fiendish little detail with such unsettling subtlety that the film escalates to a palpable level of dread and paranoia. By the time Rosemary discovers that her infant son "has his father's eyes" ... well, let's just say the urge to scream along with her is unbearably intense! One of the few modern horror films that can claim to be genuinely terrifying, Rosemary's Baby is an unforgettable movie experience, guaranteed to send chills up your spine. --Jeff Shannon

The rare 'Rosemary's Baby' trailer

Ira Levin's classic tale of gothic horror in 1960's Manhattan is wonderfully brought to life by Roman Polanski in the film version. The movie has much more depth and strength of characterization than the book, and the biggest surprise, when the movie first opened, was Mia Farrow's absolutely great performance as Rosemary.

The movie stays very close to the book throughout, and the actors are terrific. John Cassavetes is excellent as Rosemary's low-life actor husband who sacrifices her to his ambition without a second thought; Ruth Gordon won a well-deserved Oscar for best supporting actress as the delightfully wacky witch next door; Sidney Blackmer gives a chilling performance as her sinister husband whose name is an anagram that sends Rosemary hurtling down a spiral chute of terror and panic, and Ralph Bellamy is total perfection as the evil Dr. Sapirstein.

The two best scenes in the movie are the scene in which Rosemary, who wants a baby more than anything else in the world, finds herself being impregnated by God-knows-what, and the scene toward the movie's end when she realizes just what she was impregnated with. The movie was shot mostly in and around the Dakota, the grand old Upper West Side co-op that lends itself remarkably well to the creepy projection of a haunted house, the cinematography and film editing are excellent, and Polanski's direction proves that a great horror movie doesn't have to be a slasher film to effectively scare the bejesus out of you. There's no blood, no gore, no violence; just a great psychological horror ride, and it works. By JLind555

The Clan of the Cave Bear (1986)

At the dawn of mankind, a woman led the way

Every statuesque, beautiful blonde woman has spent more time in the company of Neanderthals than she cares to remember. Seems it's always been that way: Clan of the Cave Bear, a 1986 feature scripted by John Sayles and based on Jean Auel's bestselling novel set in prehistoric times, stars former mermaid Daryl Hannah as an intelligent Cro-Magnon woman adopted and raised by lesser-evolved Neanderthals. Berated for her brains, sexually exploited, and generally treated as uppity chattel, Hannah's character sets out for the far country to see who else is there. Eventually, she finds more Baywatch-like gods and goddesses similar to herself, including an Aryan-looking stud with whom she discovers how good sex can feel with a warm, caring, proto-human. Sayles's writing on this project is forceful but cheeky. It's hard not to laugh at a number of scenes that shouldn't, in the strictest sense, be laughed at (the use of subtitles to decipher caveman grunts and clucks may or may not be an intentional running joke), but one gets the feeling Sayles looked upon this challenge as a pop exercise instead of (as many of the book's fans would have preferred) a religious experience. Michael Chapman, ace cinematographer of Mean Streets and The Wanderers, directed with an eye toward primitive exotica and made this a terrific-looking movie. Author Auel was reportedly unhappy with the final results on screen, but the film is well worth a fascinated look. With Pamela Reed and James Remar. --Tom Keogh

Torrent : here
All subs: here

A Chorus Line (1985)

If you've never seen this popular production performed on stage in its original form as one of the longest-running musicals in Broadway history, the movie version is probably your next best option--heck, it's your only option! But beware the major difference between the experience of stage and screen, because A Chorus Line is a perfect example of a show that doesn't translate well from one medium to another. Director Richard Attenborough gives it his best shot, cutting some of the production numbers and adding new ones while "opening up" the show to explore the off-stage lives of struggling performers as they prepare for another grueling audition. Michael Douglas plays the harsh, workaholic director who puts the auditioning "gypsies" through the paces, winnowing a large group of hopefuls down to eight lucky cast members for his next big show. There's a subplot about the director's former girlfriend, who returns for the big audition, and along the way the other hopefuls sing and dance while revealing their various hopes and fears. On screen, the musical works best when focused on its dramatic passages; otherwise it's impossible to escape the fact that this material is best suited to live performance. --Jeff Shannon

Michael Douglas stars as a choreographer who subjects 16 dancers to a grueling audition in this Academy AwardÂ(r)-nominated* adaptation of the landmark Broadway musical. Featuring Marvin Hamlisch's OscarÂ(r)-nominated* music and Jeffrey Hornaday's (Flashdance) sizzling choreography, this thrilling portrayal of life behind the velvet curtain is truly "One Singular Sensation"! After narrowing down hundreds of Broadway hopefuls, Zach (Douglas) leads a select group of dancers on the tryout of their lives. In an audition twist, Zach asks each performer personal and intimate questionswith results that powerfully affect not only the young performers but the hardened stage veteran as well.

Torrent : here
All Subs: here

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