Bank Holiday (1938) Carol Reed, John Lodge, Margaret Lockwood, Hugh Williams, Drama

Bank Holiday (Carol Reed, 1938)
A 1930s British summer Bank Holiday starts at midday on Saturday with a rush for the trains to the sea-side. Doreen Richards under the name Miss Fulham is off with friend Milly to a beauty contest. Geoffrey and nurse Catherine Lawrence have decided to spend an illicit week-end in the Grand Hotel, although Catherine’s mind keeps turning back to the hospital case she was working on. Arthur, May and the children are set on a more straight-forward excursion of sea, sand, and pub. Meanwhile, the manager and performers of the “Follies” on the pier pray for rain.
Read More »

The North Star (1943) Lewis Milestone, Anne Baxter, Dana Andrews, Walter Huston, Drama, Romance, War

The North Star (Lewis Milestone, 1943)
In a peaceful Ukrainian village, the school year is just ending in June 1941. Five young friends set out for a walking trip to Kiev, but their travels are brutally interrupted when they are suddenly attacked by German planes, in the first wave of the Nazi assault on the Soviet Union. When the village itself is attacked and occupied, most of the men flee to the hills to form a guerrilla unit. The others resist the Nazis as well as possible, but soon the village is placed under the command of a Nazi doctor who begins using the town’s children as a source of constant blood transfusions for wounded German soldiers. Meanwhile, the small group of young persons tries desperately to take a supply of firearms to the guerrillas.
Read More »

The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976) John Cassavetes, Ben Gazzara, Timothy Carey, Seymour Cassel, Crime, Drama, Thriller

The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (John Cassavetes, 1976)
Cosmo Vitelli owns the Crazy Horse West, a strip joint in California. He’s laconic, a Korean War vet, and a gambler. When we meet him, he’s making his last payment on a gambling debt. Then, he promptly loses $23,000 playing poker at an illegal local casino. The guys he owes this time aren’t so friendly, pressuring him for immediate payment. Then they suggest that he kill a Chinese bookie to wipe off the debt. Vitelli and the film move back and forth between the double-crossing, murderous insincerity of the gamblers and the friendships, sweetness, and even love among Vitelli, the dancers, a dancer’s mother, and the club’s singer, Mr. Sophistication.
Read More »

Shiawase no kiiroi hankachi / The Yellow Handkerchief (1977) Yôji Yamada, Ken Takakura, Chieko Baishô, Kaori Momoi, Comedy, Drama

Shiawase no kiiroi hankachi (Yoji Yamada, 1977)
The story starts with Kinya, who has recently upgraded his car. He’s a young adult and he’s single so naturally he uses his ride to ahem, look for companions. He offers a ride to a shy girl by the name of Akemi and she reluctantly accepts. From the get go, sexual tension is apparent, but things get a bit easier as the two become acquainted. They pick up Yusaku, a 30-something coal miner with a reserved personality. The story slowly begins to shift from the comedic hijinks of Kinya and Akemi to Yusaku’s mental drama. He’s hiding something about his past, which he either wants to forget or is trying to remember.
Read More »

La petite Lili / Little Lili (2003) Claude Miller, Nicole Garcia, Bernard Giraudeau, Jean-Pierre Marielle, Drama, Romance

La petite Lili (2003)
A group of cinematic spend a holiday in the French countryside. The film provides insight in their relationships, including that between a young man and a local girl, Lili. She uses the opportunity to work her way into the cinematic world, and for which she swaps her young friend for his mother’s lover. This settled filmmaker takes Lili on a trip to Paris. A few years later the young man has become a filmmaker himself. His first film is inspired by the mentioned holiday. Lili, by now an actress, learns about it and works herself in a refined way into its cast. Ending up as the star of this production. No more than that, for the young filmmaker remains faithful to his wife and young daughter.
Read More »

Pane, amore e gelosia / Frisky (1954) Luigi Comencini, Vittorio De Sica, Gina Lollobrigida, Marisa Merlini, Comedy, Romance

Pane, amore e gelosia AKA Bread, Love and Jealousy (1954)
In a small Italian village, Maria De Ritis is engaged to army Lieutenant Pietro Stelluti. Stelluti’s superior officer, Marshal Antonio Carotenuto, is contemplating marriage to Annarella Mirziano, but he will be forced to resign if he marries Annarella, since she has an illegitimate child and that is against regulations for army officers. When Stelluti leaves town for a few weeks, the town-gossips create an affair out of the innocent relationship between Maria and Antonio. Stelluti returns and accuses Maria of infidelity, and, she, in reprisal, runs off and joins a traveling theatrical troupe as a dancer. Antonio, after convincing Annarella that he has not betrayed her love, encounters more trouble when the father of Annarella’s child shows up and asks that she and the child go away with him. Antonio tells Annarella that it is her decision to make, and she chooses the child’s father and leaves with him.
Read More »

Mad Dog Coll (1961) Burt Balaban, John Davis Chandler, Kay Doubleday, Brooke Hayward, Biography, Crime, Drama

Mad Dog Coll (Burt Balaban, 1961)
Young neighborhood hoodlum Viccent Coll is attracted to music student Elizabeth. Their paths cross several times as the tries to climb to the top of the reckets on the bodies of his murder victims. Because of the pleasure he takes in killing, everybody but his mob and his moll, ex-stripper Clio, calls him “Mad Dog.” He is hunted by both the police and gang leader Dutch Schultz on whom he has declared war.
Read More »

Miss Sadie Thompson (1953) Curtis Bernhardt, Rita Hayworth, José Ferrer, Aldo Ray, Drama, Musical, Romance

Miss Sadie Thompson (Curtis Bernhardt, 1953)
At a lonely military outpost on American Samoa, sticky heat alternates with torrential rain. A ship quarantine strands here Sadie Thompson, a “breezy dame” who sets the Marines afire… and self-righteous Mr. Davidson, powerful head of the Mission Board, who suspects Sadie is a fugitive from the notorious Emerald Club of Honolulu. Meanwhile, Sadie is courted by crude but good-hearted Marine Sgt. Phil O’Hara.
Read More »

Metropolitan (1990) Whit Stillman, Carolyn Farina, Edward Clements, Chris Eigeman, Comedy, Drama, Romance

Metropolitan (Whit Stillman, 1990)
In an apartment on Manhattan a couple of friends from the New York upper-class meet almost every night to talk about social mobility, play bridge and discuss Fourier’s socialism; the cynic Nick, the philosophical Charlie, party girl Sally and austenite Audrey. They are joined by Tom. His background is much simpler and he is critical of their way of life. But he finds a soul mate in Audrey, who without his knowledge falls in love with him.
Read More »