Starstruck

BBBB (out of 5) There would be no Muriel’s Wedding or Adventures of Priscilla without Starstruck, a fresh and invigorating musical that still charms after decades. Jo Kennedy is wonderful as a plucky young woman who dreams of becoming a famous singer, much to the disapproval of her pub-owning family who struggle to get by in a run-down establishment located beneath Sydney’s…

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Muddy River (Doro no Kawa)

BBBB (out of 5) Imagine if Ozu had made his delicate concoctions with a clear-eyed view of post-war Japan and you have this equally light and devastating tale.  Nobuo is a young boy growing up in the decade following the end of World War II, his loving parents raising him in the noodle shop they…

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Smithereens

BBB (out of 5) Susan Seidelman will forever be remembered for the indelible way in which she captured a New York that no longer exists in two eighties films, this one and Desperately Seeking Susan (which is admittedly far superior). Here, Susan Berman plays an aimless woman with low moral regard who wanders the downtown streets…

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Tempest (1982)

BB (out of 5) Bloated, self-important near-adaptation of Shakespeare’s play in a modern setting, with John Cassavetes as an architect who has disturbing, prophetic dreams about his family. Fed up with his difficult home life with his wife (Gena Rowlands) and sick of his job working as an architect for a ruthless millionaire (Vittorio Gassman), Cassavetes…

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A Question Of Silence (De Stilte Rond Christine M.)

BBBB.5 (out of 5) Stunning political thriller with a feminist bent, this is one of the first films to make Marleen Gorris (Antonia’s Line) internationally known. A female lawyer is given the case of a lifetime when she defends three women who, all together in a fit of frustration, murdered a snooty department store clerk…

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Veronika Voss (Die Sehnsucht der Veronika Voss)

BBBB (out of 5) The tribulations of a depressed movie star are the subject of this flashy German drama, the second to last film that Rainer Werner Fassbinder made before his untimely death at the age of 37 by drug overdose.  Rosel Zech is terrific in the lead role, an aging actress who hasn’t made a…

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Identification Of A Woman (Identificazione Di Una Donna)

BBBB (out of 5) Absorbing, passionate look at the world of a filmmaker in crisis by Michelangelo Antonioni, here making what would turn out to be one of his last masterpieces as he only completed one more full feature before his death. Tomas Milian has just broken up with his wife and has now taken up…

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