Adaptation (2002) Spike Jonze, Nicolas Cage, Meryl Streep, Chris Cooper, Comedy, Drama

Adaptation (Spike Jonze, 2002)
Despite the success of his first produced script, for which he received an Academy Award® nomination for best original screenplay, Charlie Kaufman (Cage) is plagued by insecurities, both in his career and his personal life. When he is hired to adapt The Orchid Thief, a non-fiction book about a fanatical orchid breeder, John Laroche (Cooper), he is completely stumped. Though, on the surface, the book is about Laroche’s flower poaching adventures in the Florida Everglades, on another level it’s also about the desire in all of us to experience passion. This longing plagues the book’s author, Susan Orlean (Streep) and, Charlie realizes, himself as well.
Charlie’s twin brother, Donald (Cage), only makes things worse when he moves in with Charlie and announces he’s going to be a screenwriter too. As Charlie battles his severe case of writer’s block, Donald cheerily types away on a script about a serial killer with multiple-personality disorder. Donald’s script immediately sells, making him the “hot” new writer in town. Then, one day, Charlie has a last ditch inspiration. He’ll use his own dilemma as a framework for the script about Laroche and Orlean. But as the words start to flow and the story takes shape, Charlie inadvertently sets in motion a chain of events impacting on the lives of all the characters.

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Jour de fête / Holiday (1949) Jacques Tati, Guy Decomble, Paul Frankeur, Comedy

Jour de fete (Jaques Tati, 1949)
Once a year the fair comes for one day to the little town ‘Sainte-Severe-sur-Indre’. All inhabitants are scoffing at Francois, the postman, what he seems not to recognize. The rising of the flagstaff under his direction nearly leads into a catastrophy – but everybody tells him, how important his work is. Sneering up Francois continues in the evening of the festive day. Made drunk, some ‘friends’ persuade him to watch a short-movie in a tent. This film is a stunt-show, covered as ‘The modern delivery-techniques of the US-post. Francois takes it serious, not recognizing being teased. Next day, after getting sober in a goods wagon, he reorganizes his own delivery-methods. He has not the equipment, as his ideals in the short-movie have, but using only his bicycle, he makes good, funny progresses.

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Code 46 (2003) Michael Winterbottom, Tim Robbins, Samantha Morton, Om Puri, Drama, Romance, Sci-Fi

Code 46 (Michael Winterbottom, 2003)
Code 46 is a love story set in a Brave New World-type near-future where cities are heavily controlled and only accessible through checkpoints. People cannot travel unless they have “papeles” (papers in Spanish; words and sentences in many languages, especially Spanish, French and Chinese are mixed with English in this new world), a special travel permit issued by the totalitarian government, the “Sphinx”. Outside these cities, the desert has taken over and shanty towns are jammed with non-citizens – people without IDs forced to live primitive lives. William is a family man who works as a government investigator. When he is sent to Shanghai to solve a case of fake IDs, he meets a woman named Maria. Although he realizes she is behind the forgeries, he cannot help but fall completely in love with her. He hides her crime and they have a wild, passionate affair that can only last as long as his visa: 24 hours. Back home, William is obsessed with the memory of Maria.

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White Comanche / Comanche blanco (1968) José Briz Méndez, Joseph Cotten, William Shatner, Rosanna Yanni, Drama, Western

White Comanche 1968
William Shatner plays two roles: cowboy Johnny Moon and his ruthless Indian twin brother, Notah. Notah likes peyote and gets the crazy idea that he’s the Comanche messiah sent to lead the Comanche nation against the white man but more specifically the dusty desert town of Rio Hondo. Moon, estranged from his brother, decides to stop Notah either by words or by bullets.

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World for Ransom (1954) Robert Aldrich, Dan Duryea, Gene Lockhart, Patric Knowles, Drama, Film-Noir

World for Ransom
Made by the same production set-up on the same lot that was producing the 1953-54 “China Smith/Captain China” TV series that starred Dan Duryea as soldier-of-fortune China Smith, using many of the same players that were regulars on the TV series, including Douglass Dumbrille, as head of the British Intelligence, and the same “Singapore”, British Colony colonials and China sets used on the series. In this instance, they had the good grace to actually make a “new” film rather than just paste two of the TV episodes together and sending it out as a “new” movie as many of the TV production companies were doing at the time, i.e., the producers of the “Ramar of the Jungle” and Guy Madison’s “Wild Bill Hickok” series. And changed the role names of Duryea and Dumbrille, but the Duryea character is still “China Smith.”

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Trafic (1971) Jacques Tati, Marcel Fraval, Honoré Bostel, Comedy

Trafic (Jacques Tati, 1971)
At Altra Motors, Mr. Hulot designs an ingenious camper car with lots of clever features. A lorry hauls the prototype to an important auto show in Amsterdam, with Mr. Hulot alongside in his car and a spoiled, trendy PR exec, the young Maria, in her sports car packed with designer clothes and her fluffy dog. The lorry has every imaginable problem, delaying its arrival. A flat tire, no gas, an accident, a run-in with police, a stop at a garage, and numerous traffic jams showcase vignettes of people and their cars. Through interactions with these down-to-earth folks, Maria gradually loses her imperious conceit, becoming much more relaxed and fetching.

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