Ramin Bahrani – Chop Shop (2007)

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Synopsis: Set in Willet’s Point, an industrial sprawl of auto repair shops and junkyards in outer New York City, CHOP SHOP tells the story of 12-year-old Alejandro (Alejandro Polanco), an orphan living a hardscrabble existence in the “Iron Triangle.” The boy earns a meager living hustling customers… Set in Willet’s Point, an industrial sprawl of auto repair shops and junkyards in outer New York City, CHOP SHOP tells the story of 12-year-old Alejandro (Alejandro Polanco), an orphan living a hardscrabble existence in the “Iron Triangle.” The boy earns a meager living hustling customers into body shops, hawking candy on the subway, and helping to chop up the parts of stolen cars. Continue reading Ramin Bahrani – Chop Shop (2007)

W.S. Van Dyke – Night Court (1932)

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Judge Moffett is as crooked as they come and the Board of Judicial Corruption is after him. So he hides out in the poor part of town. While there, she drops the bankbook that Moffett has listing his accounts and Mary returns it to him. But Moffett thinks Mary saw the book and he puts her away for six months on a trumped up charge. Mike is overcome with grief and when he comes to his senses, he talks to Mary who tells him about the book. This gets Mike beat up and put on a boat to South America, but he jumps ship and plots his revenge. Continue reading W.S. Van Dyke – Night Court (1932)

Henry Hathaway – Seven Thieves (1960)

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Discredited professor Edward G. Robinson organizes a seven-person criminal gang. Robinson plans to steal a fortune from the underground vaults of the Monte Carlo casino. Despite a few tense moments, the plot moves like clockwork. Alas, Robinson isn’t around long enough to enjoy the fruits of his labors. As for the other criminals, they find that fencing their stolen booty is next to impossible. All they come away with is $3000–won legitimately at the gaming tables. Those not interested in the male contingent of Seven Thieves (Robinson, Rod Steiger, Eli Wallach et. al.) are advised to feast their eyes upon leading-lady Joan Collins, in her considerable prime. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi Continue reading Henry Hathaway – Seven Thieves (1960)

George Waggner – The Climax (1944)

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In old Vienna, Count Seebruck (Thomas Gomez) is the impresario for the Royal Theatre. His biggest headache is his soprano diva, Jarmila (Jane Farrar). That’s why he’s more than willing to listen his aide Carl’s nephew, Franz (Turhan Bey), and Franz’s fiance, soprano Angela (Susanna Foster). Her voice sounds remarkably like the Royal Theatre long-lost star, Marcellina (June Vincent), who mysteriously disappeared ten years before.
Her disappearance is no mystery to Dr. Friedrich Hohner (Boris Karloff), the theatre’s physician. Spurned by former lover Marcellina, Dr. Hohner remembers back (in a flashback) to the night she finally rejected him, as well as her strangulation death — by his own hands. When Dr. Hohner hears Angela sing, he at first thinks it’s Marcellina, come back to haunt him again. However, when he sees Angela, he immediately schemes to silence her singing voice. Will Angela sing for the King’s (Scotty Beckett) command performance of The Magic Voice? Well…. Continue reading George Waggner – The Climax (1944)

Jonas Akerlund – Spun (2002)

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This roller coaster ride depicting four days in the life of a group of speed freaks has a real gay feel to it. Blondie diva Deborah Harry plays a nosy man-hating, butch-dyke neighbor who steals the girl, Eric Roberts dives right into the role an over-the-top totally queenie drug dealer adorned on both sides by hunky Abercrombie and Fitch-type models. Openly gay Alexis Arquette butches it up as a drug-addicted cop with some wild sunglasses. A heavily tatooed ex-Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford (who it is rumored was booted out of the band for coming out) makes an appearance as the manager of an adult video arcade. And sexy John Leguizamo spends most of the film either half dressed or undressed as he performs a hilarious extended masturbation scene wearing only a sock over his dick. All this, a great story and a terrific soundtrack (and cameo) from ex-Smashing Pumpkin Billy Corgan. Continue reading Jonas Akerlund – Spun (2002)

Raoul Ruiz – Généalogies d’un crime AKA Genealogies of a Crime (1997)

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Drawing from an actual incident, artistically audacious director Raoul Ruiz and writer Pascal Bonitzer turn a story of psychoanalysis gone awry into a labyrinthine psychological mystery in Genealogies of a Crime. Weaving together flashbacks, flashbacks within flashbacks, multiple renditions of the alleged crime of le monstre, and surreal, voyeuristic compositions, Ruiz skewers psychoanalysis’ excesses in a narrative mind-bender that takes on such heady topics as nature vs. nurture, repetition-compulsion, and the nature of certainty. The dueling psychoanalytic societies provide moments of black comedy, with Michel Piccoli’s certifiably insane Georges as the ultimate dark joke. The flashback structure trickily melds Catherine Deneuve’s two identities as Rene’s lawyer and the embodied memory of the victim, suggesting that she may indeed be Rene’s karmic punishment. Yet there’s still the matter of that little girl holding a cat and a knife. Though some critics were put off by Ruiz’s pretensions, others deemed Genealogies of a Crime a beautifully shot and acted intellectual game, with Deneuve channeling an eerie psychosis reminiscent of her work with Roman Polanski and Luis Buñuel. — Lucia Bozzola, All Movie Guide Continue reading Raoul Ruiz – Généalogies d’un crime AKA Genealogies of a Crime (1997)