Saturday, November 26, 2011


 "The Testament Of Dr Mabuse" was written by Fritz Lang and Norbert Jacques, directed by Fritz Lang, and released in 1933. It is eerie, spooky, semi-plausibility at it's black and white finest. Matter of fact with an almost documentary film style, "The Testament Of Dr Mabuse" wastes no time revealing the startling nature of it's story.

 Detective Lohmann (Otto Wernicke) is faced with the unfolding of a secret army serving a hidden master. Only slowly did he begin to associate Dr Mabuse (Rudolf Klein-Rogge) with the growing chaos, even as Dr Mabuse sat ( ten years) frozen in his asylum bed hovering at the very edge of life. 

Lots-o-subtitles and German, but it's an unrelenting twisted story. I kept coming back till I'd watched all of it. Good thing too, cause they pulled it from instant-view shortly thereafter. Definitely strange enough to watch again if it reappears in my instant queue.


 With his love-life hanging by a frayed thread, Lab technician Virgil Gurdies embarks on a quest to make the best goat cheese in the world. This Austin shot indie, was written and directed by Cliff Bogart and Kyle Bogart and released back into the wild in 2009. This is a tale of security like a well attached and heavy anchor, with the creative impulse and the longing for excellence straining for the sky like a sleepy kids helium balloon. Starring Mark Scheibmeir, Sidney Andrews, and Stephen Taylor Fry, Artoi The Goat won't let you forget "If not now when?"

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


The clips I found about this movie didn't have the feel of the CCC described in the movie, so I settled for a vintage news reel. I had heard tell from depression era folks of the Civilian Conservation Corp, but never really understood what it had been about. How it came to be, what work was done, by whom, how they were effected, and what happened to it, were all covered in this movie.

Looking for the clip I was caught up in the spirit of the times. The stuff I found most interesting were the social reforms proposed by Franklin Delano Roosevelt that were subsequently implemented and then mostly gutted by recent trickle down types, in the run-up to the orgy of deregulation that led to our current set of economic challenges. I was tempted to use the FDR "Second Bill of Rights" speech as my clip, but the news reel I found is a better tease for this movie. For me, these speech links seem to sum up the "Let's not just lay here and suffer" mentality FDR brought to the country when it needed to hear it.

  The CCC embodied the spirit of FDR's push to make immediate, real, and lasting improvements in the lives of everyday Americans. His "I Welcome Their Hatred" speech demanded an end to the organized crimes of organized money. Alf Landon's response to his, "Warning About Today's Republicans" durring his 1936 re-election campaign had columnist Dorothy Thompson snickering, "If Landon had made another speech FDR would have carried Canada too." I hope this stuff isn't as relevant and timely as it seems to be, but we do need a whole lot of bridges and dams repaired and or rebuilt.

Saturday, December 11, 2010


Considered the best of several films on the life of Martin Luther (Niall MacGinnis), this 1953 black-and-white classic reveals the Europe of Michaelangelo firmly under the thumb of the Roman Catholic Empire. While still a professor of theology at the University of Wittenberg  and a Augustian monk, Martin called for sweeping reforms of the Roman Catholic Church. Martin`s preaching and writings, in particular his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517, led to a clash with Pope Leo X (Phillip Leaver) and Holy Roman Emperor Charles V (Hans Lefebre) resulting in Martin`s excommunication and eventually to the Protestant Reformation.

The stories place in time is the same period as "The Agony And The Ecstasy", and though Enry Iggins made the more stylish pope, the contrast of Italian and German settings and the financial woes bemoaned by both versions of the papacy (they were all worried about paying Michaelangelo and Raphael) made both of these movies more interesting.

Saturday, November 6, 2010


In a civilization ruled by light and darkness Neil Geiman and Dave McKean (creators of "Coraline") meld live actors and animated ones to portray the existance of a fifteen year old girl named Helena (Stephanie Leonidas). Working with her family`s circus, she wishes she could run away and join real life. Instead, she finds herself on a strange quest into "the Dark Lands," where with the help of the juggler Valentine (an important man with his own tower) she must recover the charm and restore the balance.

 This 2005 fantasy film is from Jim Henson Pictures, with music composed by Ian Ballamy. Notably, the musical contributions of Josephine Cronholm brought an intresting touch of silky sad but certainly odd and somewhat discomfiting tone to the already amazing dimensionality we found ourselves adrift in, and yes, "I too felt myself lucky to have seen it at all."

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


This Jamaican film released in 1991 is a tale of the lunatic (village madman) Aloysious (Paul Chambers). Based on a novel by Anthony C Winkler, it is told from a Jamacian perspective with careful attention to Jamacian dialect and the ambiance of village life. "The Lunatic" follows village idiot Aloysious who talks to trees, cows, bushes, even cricket balls, and his best friend the huge hard tree he usually sleeps under. When the busty German nymphomaniac Inga (Julie C Wallace) captures his heart the bush warns him but, her pum pum power has him wrapped up tight. Directed by Lol Creme this child like romp had me rooting for my hero Aloysious Ideomatic Gossamer Impracticable... and hopping he could shake off the tyrany of the rule of the pum pum.

Aparently someone has gone to considerable effort to eradicate all clips, trailers, and even images from YouTube, IMDb, and even MSN. I found this washed-out looking poster, but there's no telling how long it'll be allowed. As of this August 30 2011 update, the movie is still accessible on Netflix Instant View list, wohoo! 

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


It is now that my life is mine. I`v got this short time on earth. These are a pair of lines from Gabriella`s song shown with the credits at the end of the movie. In this 2004 Swedish film directed by Kay Pollak, Daniel Daréus (Michael Nyquist) a world famous conductor at the height of his career returns to the small village of Norrland where he grew up. Physically and emotionally in need of a new start, he is nonetheless unable to refuse to at least have a listen to the local choir. Reluctantly he agrees to work with them, and is caught up in their lives as he shares his life-long joy of music. Daniel`s life and the people of Norrland will never be the same.

This Oscar nominated film written by Kay Pollak, Anders Nyberg, Ola Olssen, Carin Pollak and Margaretha Pollak, is one of my favorites. The music was beautiful and the story was heart warming. However the beauty and warmth don`t shield us from the dark memories of childhood bullying or the enmity and jealousy that still swirls around him as his work with the chior becomes a threat to the status quo of the tiny insular village in the far north of Sweden.