Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Z (1969)

Z is an award-winning French-Algerian political thriller about governmental corruption. It stars Yves Montand and Irene Papas. I watched it on HBO Max.


Roger Ebert gives it a full 4 stars. Rotten Tomatoes has a critics consensus score of 94%.

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

The Voice of the Nightingale

Why do I link the film name to the Wikipedia entry if there is one instead of the IMDb or other link? Because the Wikipedia entry provides a link to the IMDb entry as well as to other sources of information while the IMDb is self-contained and more limited in the information they provide. YMMV, of course, and I know there are folks who have different starting points for film information, but Wikipedia is my go-to starter site. The film below has a Wikipedia entry for the director but not for this individual film, so the film link is to IMDb.
The Voice of the Nightingale is a 1923 short (11 minutes) film directed by Ladislas Starevich. It combines live action and animation to tell the story of a little girl (played by the director's daughter) who learns why nightingales sing only at night. Starevich is a Polish-Russian stop-motion animator who in 1912 directed the first puppet-animated film. He kept every puppet he made and would use them again in later films. He was one of the few European animators to be known by name in the United States before the 1960s.

I think this director's work is charming, and the animation is amazing!

Please join me in sharing a post with a drink reference (here's mine):

I'll meet you at the T Stands for Tuesday blogger party.

Monday, August 29, 2022

Salt of the Earth

Salt of the Earth is a 1954 film based on historical events. I watched it on Amazon Prime, but it's also available free at Tubi and via YouTube:

Film Site calls it the "independently-made, political and social commentary historical drama about American working people - the only theatrical-length film ever openly made in the US by a group of blacklisted film-makers..." and points out that "the film was based upon a real-life zinc miners strike in Grant County, NM of Mexican workers in 1951 against the Empire Zinc Company" and
the story was personalized by taking the feminist view of the film's narrator and heroine, Esperanza Quintero (Rosaura Revueltas), living with her oppressed miner husband Ramon Quintero (Juan Chacón); they were a typical impoverished Mexican-American family with two young children, living in a run-down shack (without utilities) owned by the mining company
Rotten Tomatoes has a critics consensus score of 100%.

Sunday, August 28, 2022

The Searcher of the End House

The Searcher of the End House by William Hope Hodgson is a 1910 short story which features Carnaki, a detective who specializes in the supernatural. You can read it online here or listen to it read to you at the bottom of this post. It begins,
It was still evening, as I remember, and the four of us, Jessop, Arkright, Taylor and I, looked disappointedly at Carnacki, where he sat silent in his great chair.

We had come in response to the usual card of invitation, which —as you know— we have come to consider as a sure prelude to a good story; and now, after telling us the short incident of the Three Straw Platters, he had lapsed into a contented silence, and the night not half gone, as I have hinted.

However, as it chanced, some pitying fate jogged Carnacki's elbow, or his memory, and he began again, in his queer level way:

—"The 'Straw Platters' business reminds me of the 'Searcher' Case, which I have sometimes thought might interest you. It was some time ago, in fact a deuce of a long time ago, that the thing happened; and my experience of what I might term 'curious' things was very small at that time.

"I was living with my mother when it occurred, in a small house just outside of Appledorn, on the South Coast. The house was the last of a row of detached cottage villas, each house standing in its own garden; and very dainty little places they were, very old, and most of them smothered in roses; and all with those quaint old leaded windows, and doors of genuine oak. You must try to picture them for the sake of their complete niceness.

"Now I must remind you at the beginning that my mother and I had lived in that little house for two years; and in the whole of that time there had not been a single peculiar happening to worry us.

"And then, something happened.

Saturday, August 27, 2022

Shy People

Shy People is a 1987 award-winning film starring Barbara Hershey and Jill Clayburgh. I watched it on Tubi.


Roger Ebert says,
“Shy People” is one of the great visionary films of recent years, a film that shakes off the petty distractions of safe Hollywood entertainments and develops a large vision. It is about revenge and hatred, about mothers and sons, about loneliness. It suggests that family ties are the most important bonds in the world.

Friday, August 26, 2022


Axolotl is a short story by Julio Cortazar. According to Wikipedia,
Known as one of the founders of the Latin American Boom, Cortázar influenced an entire generation of Spanish-speaking readers and writers in America and Europe.

He is considered one of the most innovative and original authors of his time, a master of history, poetic prose and short story in general and a creator of important novels that inaugurated a new way of making literature in the Hispanic world by breaking the classical moulds through narratives that escaped temporal linearity.
You can read this particular story online here or listen to it read to you at the bottom of this post.. It begins,
There was a time when I thought a great deal about the axolotls. I went to see them in the aquarium at tbe Jardin des Plantes and stayed for hours watching them, observing their immobility, their faint movements. Now I am an axolotl.

I got to them by chance one spring morning when Paris was spreading its peacock tail after a wintry Lent. I was heading down tbe boulevard Port-Royal, then I took Saint-Marcel and L'Hôpital and saw green among all that grey and remembered the lions. I was friend of the lions and panthers, but had never gone into the dark, humid building that was the aquarium. I left my bike against tbe gratings and went to look at the tulips. The lions were sad and ugly and my panther was asleep. I decided on the aquarium, looked obliquely at banal fish until, unexpectedly, I hit it off with the axolotls. I stayed watching them for an hour and left, unable to think of anything else.


Thursday, August 25, 2022

Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)

Breakfast at Tiffany's is an award-winning 1961 film adaptation of Truman Capote's book by the same name. It's directed by Blake Edwards and stars Audrey Hepburn, George Peppard, Patricia Neal, Buddy Ebsen, Martin Balsam, Mickey Rooney (playing a Japanese man), and John McGiver. Don't expect it to be faithful to the book. I watched it on Amazon Prime. I'm not a big fan for several reasons. It has not aged well, in my opinion, but that may just be because of Mickey Rooney.


Rotten Tomatoes has an audience consensus rating of 91%.

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Let's Talk It Over

Let's Talk It Over:

by Vaneese Thomas, Memphis-born singer, who was born on this day.

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Fleurs de Printemps avec une Tasse et un Soucoupe

Fleurs de Printemps avec une Tasse et un Soucoupe:

by Henri Fantin-Latour, who died on August 25 in 1904. Please join me at the T Stands for Tuesday blogger gathering hosted by Bleubeard and Elizabeth.

Monday, August 22, 2022

Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem

Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem is a 2003 animated musical science fiction film. The film serves as a visual companion to Discovery, Daft Punk's second studio album.

via Daily Motion:

Anime News Network has high praise. Rotten Tomatoes has an audience consensus score of 95%.

Sunday, August 21, 2022

Repo: the Genetic Opera

Repo: the Genetic Opera is a 2008 American science fiction, gothic rock, musical horror film. Different. Definitely different. It stars Paul Sorvino, Anthony Stewart Head, Sarah Brightman, Paris Hilton, Bill Moseley, and Ogre. The Younger Son picked this up used for a dollar at a local shop years ago. You can watch it on Tubi or on Amazon Prime.


It's considered a cult classic.

Saturday, August 20, 2022

E-mail 42

It's rare that I find the number 42 in real life.

Friday, August 19, 2022

A Dog's Tale

A Dog's Tale is a 1903 story by Mark Twain. You can read it online here or listen to it read to you at the bottom of this post. It begins,
My father was a St. Bernard, my mother was a collie, but I am a Presbyterian. This is what my mother told me, I do not know these nice distinctions myself. To me they are only fine large words meaning nothing. My mother had a fondness for such; she liked to say them, and see other dogs look surprised and envious, as wondering how she got so much education. But, indeed, it was not real education; it was only show: she got the words by listening in the dining-room and drawing-room when there was company, and by going with the children to Sunday-school and listening there; and whenever she heard a large word she said it over to herself many times, and so was able to keep it until there was a dogmatic gathering in the neighborhood, then she would get it off, and surprise and distress them all, from pocket-pup to mastiff, which rewarded her for all her trouble. If there was a stranger he was nearly sure to be suspicious, and when he got his breath again he would ask her what it meant. And she always told him. He was never expecting this but thought he would catch her; so when she told him, he was the one that looked ashamed, whereas he had thought it was going to be she. The others were always waiting for this, and glad of it and proud of her, for they knew what was going to happen, because they had had experience. When she told the meaning of a big word they were all so taken up with admiration that it never occurred to any dog to doubt if it was the right one; and that was natural, because, for one thing, she answered up so promptly that it seemed like a dictionary speaking, and for another thing, where could they find out whether it was right or not? for she was the only cultivated dog there was. By and by, when I was older, she brought home the word Unintellectual, one time, and worked it pretty hard all the week at different gatherings, making much unhappiness and despondency; and it was at this time that I noticed that during that week she was asked for the meaning at eight different assemblages, and flashed out a fresh definition every time, which showed me that she had more presence of mind than culture, though I said nothing, of course. She had one word which she always kept on hand, and ready, like a life-preserver, a kind of emergency word to strap on when she was likely to get washed overboard in a sudden way—that was the word Synonymous. When she happened to fetch out a long word which had had its day weeks before and its prepared meanings gone to her dump-pile, if there was a stranger there of course it knocked him groggy for a couple of minutes, then he would come to, and by that time she would be away down wind on another tack, and not expecting anything; so when he'd hail and ask her to cash in, I (the only dog on the inside of her game) could see her canvas flicker a moment—but only just a moment—then it would belly out taut and full, and she would say, as calm as a summer's day, “It's synonymous with supererogation,” or some godless long reptile of a word like that, and go placidly about and skim away on the next tack, perfectly comfortable, you know, and leave that stranger looking profane and embarrassed, and the initiated slatting the floor with their tails in unison and their faces transfigured with a holy joy.

And it was the same with phrases. She would drag home a whole phrase, if it had a grand sound, and play it six nights and two matinees, and explain it a new way every time—which she had to, for all she cared for was the phrase; she wasn't interested in what it meant, and knew those dogs hadn't wit enough to catch her, anyway. Yes, she was a daisy! She got so she wasn't afraid of anything, she had such confidence in the ignorance of those creatures. She even brought anecdotes that she had heard the family and the dinner-guests laugh and shout over; and as a rule she got the nub of one chestnut hitched onto another chestnut, where, of course, it didn't fit and hadn't any point; and when she delivered the nub she fell over and rolled on the floor and laughed and barked in the most insane way, while I could see that she was wondering to herself why it didn't seem as funny as it did when she first heard it. But no harm was done; the others rolled and barked too, privately ashamed of themselves for not seeing the point, and never suspecting that the fault was not with them and there wasn't any to see.

You can see by these things that she was of a rather vain and frivolous character; still, she had virtues, and enough to make up, I think. She had a kind heart and gentle ways, and never harbored resentments for injuries done her, but put them easily out of her mind and forgot them; and she taught her children her kindly way, and from her we learned also to be brave and prompt in time of danger, and not to run away, but face the peril that threatened friend or stranger, and help him the best we could without stopping to think what the cost might be to us. And she taught us not by words only, but by example, and that is the best way and the surest and the most lasting. Why, the brave things she did, the splendid things! she was just a soldier; and so modest about it—well, you couldn't help admiring her, and you couldn't help imitating her; not even a King Charles spaniel could remain entirely despicable in her society. So, as you see, there was more to her than her education.


Thursday, August 18, 2022

Dressed to Kill (1980)

Dressed to Kill is a 1980 thriller film directed by Brian De Palma and starring Michael Caine, Angie Dickinson, Nancy Allen, Peter Miller, and Dennis Franz. I watched it on HBO Max.


Criterion calls it "a veritable symphony of terror,". Roger Ebert says this director "deliberately set out to work in the Hitchcock tradition, and directed this Hitchcockian thriller that's stylish, intriguing, and very violent." Rotten Tomatoes has a 79% critics consensus rating.

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Departures (2008)

Departures is a 2008 Japanese film about a young man who returns to his hometown after a failed career as a cellist and stumbles across work as a nōkanshi —a traditional Japanese ritual mortician. An engaging film, this one brought me to tears. I watched it on Tubi.


It won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Spirituality and Practice calls it "An exquisite cinematic masterpiece that touches the heart with its treatment of beauty, music, death, and abandonment." Roger Ebert has it on his Great Movies list. 92% of Rotten Tomatoes audience scorers give it a positive review.

Here's a screenshot of the man and his wife enjoying a drink together:

Please share your own drink reference and join me at the T Stands for Tuesday blogger gathering.

Monday, August 15, 2022

Hollow Triumph

Hollow Triumph is a 1948 crime film (usually classified as noir, but I don't see it) starring Paul Henreid and Joan Bennett. This is worth watching for the actors alone. It doesn't disappoint. I watched it on Amazon Prime, but it's also available at this Internet Archive link and on YouTube:

Sunday, August 14, 2022

Good Bye, Lenin!

Good Bye, Lenin! is a 2003 German film that follows a family in East Germany; the mother is dedicated to the socialist cause and falls into a coma in October 1989. When she awakens eight months later in June 1990, her son attempts to protect her from a fatal shock by concealing the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of communism in East Germany. It's a touching tragicomedy. I watched it on Tubi.


The Guardian calls it a "clever, poignant little movie". Empire Online closes its positive review with this: "Although German comedy is generally something of a misnomer, this loses little in the translation. An ingenious little idea that is funny, moving and - gasp! - even makes you think." 90% of Rotten Tomatoes critics have it a good review.

Saturday, August 13, 2022

Quigley Down Under

Quigley Down Under is a 1990 western film that takes place in Australia. It stars Tom Sellec, Laura San Giacomo, and Alan Rickman. Critics gave it mixed reviews. Most audience members liked it though, and I thought it made for a fun time. I watched it on HBO Max.


Friday, August 12, 2022

The Cat Returns

The Cat Returns is a 2002 Japanese animated film directed by Hiroyuki Morita. How can you say "no" to a film about a high school girl who can talk to cats? I watched it on HBO Max.


Rotten Tomatoes critics have a combined rating of 88%.

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Nothing to Declare

Nothing to Declare is a 2010 French comedy film. The plot according to Wikipedia:
On 1 January 1993, two customs officers, one Belgian and the other French, have to deal with closure of their small customs post situated in the middle of the small village of "Courquain" (French) or "Koorkin" (Belgian).

Both a hereditary Francophobe and an over-zealous Belgian customs officer, Ruben Vandevoorde is forced to join the first Franco-Belgian mobile squad. The first French volunteer for the squad is Mathias Ducatel, Vandervoorde's personal bête noire. He does this because he has fallen in love with Vandervoorde's sister Louise, and is afraid to unveil their love because of the trouble it will cause within her family.
I got a big kick out of this one, even though comedies aren't my favorite genre. I watched it on Amazon Prime, but it's free on Tubi.


Screen Daily says "The film is undemanding but engaging, boasting smartly staged visual comedy."

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Tuesday, August 09, 2022

Ride the High Country

Ride the High Country is a 1962 Sam Peckinpah western starring Randolph Scott (in his final film performance), Joel McCrea, and Mariette Hartley. James Drury and Edgar Buchanan are also in this. I grew up growing more and more sick to death of westerns, since it sometimes seemed there wasn't much else on TV. As an adult, though, I've come to appreciate them. Rotten Tomatoes has a critics consensus score of 89%.Senses of Cinema says,
With its variety of camera angles, expressive mise en scène and carefully designed movement, it has claims to be not only an accomplished work in its own right but one that anticipates the dark moral complexities that would fully emerge in Peckinpah’s later films.
I watched it on HBO Max.


I usually have a cup of coffee (always strong without whiteners or sweeteners), but today I'm having a cup of Constant Comment tea:

Please share a post with a drink in it and join me at the T Stands for Tuesday blogger gathering.

Monday, August 08, 2022

The Addams Family 2

The Addams Family 2 is a 2021 animated film. I watched it on the DVD The Husband got as a Father's Day present, but it's also available on Amazon Prime. The Husband loved it, which is what matters, right? I was much less impressed. It's not as good as the first one. I'm hoping the next one in this series will be better.


Professional reviewers were not kind.

Sunday, August 07, 2022


Alexia is a 2013 horror short film about a young man who unfriends his dead girlfriend.

Saturday, August 06, 2022

She Wore a Yellow Ribbon

She Wore a Yellow Ribbon is a 1949 western film directed by John Ford and starring John Wayne. It also stars Joanne Dru, John Agar, Ben Johnson, Harey Carey, Jr., and Noble Johnson. It is the second film in Ford's "Cavalry Trilogy", which also includes Fort Apache (1948) and Rio Grande (1950). It's a traditional western, and if you like westerns at all you'll enjoy this. I watched it on HBO Max, though it used to be on late night television all the time.


Rotten Tomatoes has a critics concensus score of 92%. Empire Online gives it 5 out of 5 stars and calls it "A beautifully presented tale of love, honor and duty from a master film-maker."

Friday, August 05, 2022

Tales from Earthsea (2006)

Tales from Earthsea is a 2006 film based loosely on some of the characters in the Ursula Le Guin fantasy series. It is not an adaptation of the books, and reviews are mixed depending on whether or not that's what was wanted. I watched it on HBO Max and liked it fine.


Thursday, August 04, 2022

Sea Prince and the Fire Child

Sea Prince and the Fire Child is a 1981 Japanese anime film. It is a story of star-crossed lovers who fight to stay together in the face of seemingly insurmountable difficulties. I've forgotten now where I watched it, but you can see it via YouTube:

It has a 97% audience rating at Rotten Tomatoes.

Wednesday, August 03, 2022

Last Man Alive

Last Man Alive:



by the Memphis band Grifters

Tuesday, August 02, 2022

The Man in the Hat

The Man in the Hat is a 2020 British comedy film starring Ciarán Hinds, which is the reason I watched the movie. If you don't know that actor, you're missing out. He is always worth watching and never disappoints. This film is a real treat. I watched it on Amazon Prime. It's also available free on Tubi and on the Roku channel and on YouTube. You can't beat "free".


The Guardian calls it "a picturesque odyssey across the French countryside, the best Provençal driving holiday you’ve never had." Rotten Tomatoes has a critics consensus score of 100%. Roger Ebert's website says,
Whimsy is as delicate as a butterfly wing. But "The Man in the Hat" sustains a whimsical tone beautifully throughout its brief running time... Somewhere between a dream and a fable, this is the kind of film viewers could debate for hours, pondering the meaning of the characters who keep reappearing, the mysterious framed photo, the central character who has only two lines of dialogue...
just go along for the ride and relish the lush French countryside, the luscious food, the lovely music...
Here's a screenshot from the opening scene:

for the T Stands for Tuesday blogger gathering.

Monday, August 01, 2022

On the Waterfront

On the Waterfront is a 1954 award-winning crime film directed by Elia Kazan and starring Marlon Brando, Karl Malden, Lee J. Cobb, Rod Steiger, Eva Marie Saint, Fred Gwynne, and Leif Erickson. I watched it on HBO Max.



Film Site opens its article with this:
On the Waterfront (1954) is a classic, award-winning, controversial film directed by Elia Kazan - a part drama and part gangster film. The authentic-looking, powerful film is concerned with the problems of trade unionism, corruption and racketeering. And it is set on New York's oppressive waterfront docks, where dock workers struggled for work, dignity, and to make ends meet under the control of hard-knuckled, mob-run labor unions that would force them to submit to daily 'shape-ups' by cruel hiring bosses.
Roger Ebert has it on his Great Movies list and notes this as background information: "This was the film made in 1954 by Elia Kazan after he agreed to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee, named former associates who were involved with the Communist Party and became a pariah in left-wing circles." The Hollywood Reporter in a review from the film's release concludes a glowing review with this: "This is one of the year’s important films." Variety has a positive review. Rotten Tomatoes has a critics consensus score of 99%.