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Preview: Cinema Becomes Her: Allison's Movie Blog

Cinema Becomes Her: Allison's Movie Blog

Updated: 2017-11-05T23:54:13.551-08:00


Triangle: Remembering the Fire (2011)


This is a great short film to watch on Labor Day. The extreme events in the documentary triggered change.

It's streaming on HBO Now for those that have that service. Or you can subscribe one month for free.



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Feel free to watch the latest episode from the weekly comedy web-series Funny or Not Here We Come. This is "#FoodPics" which I directed and co-produced with Jennifer Hynes. Like-Subscribe-Share if you enjoyed!(image)

Top Films (December 2016)



La Religieuse/The Nun    (2013, Guillaume Nicloux) AmazonPrime
Though Isabelle Huppert appears over an hour after the start of the film, it is very worthwhile. Pauline Etienne delivers a stunning performance.
Neruda (2016, Pablo Larraín)
Lion (2016, Garth Davis)
Tui shou/Pushing Hands (1992, Ang Lee)
Though an older film, it’s a gem from a top director.
Snowden  (2016, Oliver Stone)
Amazing writing and acting. Stone turned Snowden’s story into a well-paced thriller.
Nocturnal Animals (2016, Tom Ford) Well-written and well-done, but very disturbing subject matter. Hoping Michael Shannon will get the Oscar!

Top Documentary:
Chicken People    (2016, Nicole Lucas Haimes) Amazon Prime

Honorable Mention:
Patriots Day (2016, Peter Berg)(image)

Top Films (July-November)


FeaturesLa Belle saison/Summertime (2015, Catherine Corsini) Probably the top film of the year for me so far.I, Daniel Blake (2016, Ken Loach) Best film I saw at AFI.The Rose (1979, Mark Rydell)Morris from America (2016, Chad Hartigan) Great performances and lots of great, new, young performers.Under the Shadow (2016, Babak Anvari) One of my favorites in competition for 2016's Best Foreign Language Film (Oscars)Le Silence est d'or (1947, René Clair)Top Documentaries13th (2016, Ava DuVernay) Netflix10 on Ten (2004, Abbas Kiarostami) bonus feature on TenPoto and Cabengo (1980, Jean-Pierre Gorin) formerly on HuluAnd the Pursuit of Happiness (1986, Louis Malle)  formerly on HuluSomm (2012, Jason Wise)Breathing Together: Revolution of the Electric Family/Growing Up in America (1971, Morley Markson) Video Link Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World (2016, Werner Herzog)                        The Eagle Huntress (2016, Otto Bell)                        Author: The JT LeRoy Story (2016, Jeff Feuerzeig)Gleason (2016, J. Clay Tweel)The Lovers and the Despot (2016, Ross Adam, Robert Cannan)Audrie & Daisy (Bonni Cohen, Jon Shenk, 2016) NetflixAmanda Knox (2016, Rod Blackhurst, Brian McGinn) NetflixSky Ladder: The Art of Cai Guo-Qiang (2016, Kevin Macdonald) NetflixBurroughs: The Movie  (1983, Howard Brookner) Great features on the DVD, including a commentary by Jim JarmuschThe Maestro: King of the Cowboy Artists (1995, Les Blank)Short FilmsHow to Win an Election (Sarah Klein, Tom Mason) Op-Docs Video LinkUntitled Portrait (1993, Cheryl Dunye) from the DVD The Early Works of Cheryl DunyeA Well Spent Life (1972, Les Blank, Skip Gerson)Gap-Toothed Women (1987, Les Blank)Q & A (2015, Adam Epstein)Everything Is Samuel L. Jackson's Fault (2013, Zoe Jackson) Video LinkHonorable MentionsElle (2016, Paul Verhoeven)Julieta (2016, Pedro Almodóvar)Christine (Antonio Campos, 2016) Great performance by Rebecca Hall that I hope doesn’t get overlooked.Miss Sloane (2016, John Madden)Anjô-ke no butôkai/A Ball at Anjo (1947, Kôzaburô Yoshimura)                        Mes chères études/Student Services (2010, TV Movie, Emmanuelle Bercot)Rhapsody in Blue (1945, Irving Rapper)La Fille de nulle part/The Girl from Nowhere (2012, Jean-Claude Brisseau) Very bizarre, unique, poignant filmInterstate 60: Episodes of the Road (2002, Bob Gale) viewable on Amazon PrimeLola Versus (2012, Daryl Wein)Nikui an-chikushô/I Hate But Love (1962, Koreyoshi Kurahara)    formerly on HuluFathers & Daughters (2015, Gabriele Muccino)Café Society (2016, Woody Allen) Really, I thought this film was way better than the critics have been giving it credit for.The Hollars (2016,  John Krasinski)        Postales de Leningrado (2007, Mariana Rondón)Der Staat gegen Fritz Bauer/The People vs. Fritz Baer (2015, Lars Kraume)Series/Mini-SeriesMaking a Murderer (2015, Moira Demos, Laura Ricciardi) NetflixTop of the Lake (2013, Jane Campion, Garth Davis)L'Inde fantôme (1969, Louis Malle) formerly on Hulu[...]

SoCal CIFF 2016


If you're a filmmaker thinking about submitting your short film to film festivals, check out SoCal CIFF. In its third year, they were sold out opening night: August 12, 2016. It was held at the wonderful, historic Raleigh Studios where attendees of the festival gained exclusive entrance on the lot. In addition to complimentary drinks and food for their V.I.P.s, they also had a great exhibit featuring Sara Radovanovitch's eclectic art, and an amazing DJ: Shai'La Yvonne.

Filmmakers arrived from all over the United States and even other countries to promote their current projects, network, grant red carpet interviews, and participate in Q&As after their screenings.

Featuring over 60 shorts with such a level of quality, several managed to stand out including Audience Choice Winner "Q & A" (Adam Epstein), "#Amish" (Kacey Spivey), "Successful People" (Janina Maria), and "The Traveler" (Jonathan Lawrence, Anthony Bradford).

Some filmmakers were already looking ahead to film their next project. Writer/director/actor Oliver Singer mentioned that the script for the feature-length version of "A.W.O.L." was already written. Producer Annie Clark ("Cry Hard") spoke of wanting to make another short before attempting her first feature. Writer/director/actor/producer Tara-Nicole Azarian is at work on a feature-length cosplay documentary.

The festival closed with an exciting awards ceremony. Multiple award-winners at the festival were "S.A.M." (Best Science Fiction and Sean Kaufmann for Best Actor) and "Legend of Dark Rider" (Best Horror and Titus Paar for Best Director). The post-festival party was held at the Moment Hotel on Sunset Boulevard where filmmakers celebrated their awards and got in the final chance to network before the big weekend finished.(image)



[Paul Jury and Hailey Bright from the web-series "48 States of Granddad"]

The SoCal Clips Indie Film Festival had a sold-out opening night on August 12, 2016. My personal favorite short was "Q & A", directed by Adam Epstein. Writer Jacob Stark explained to me that this satire was inspired by a real question and answer session that occurred relatively close to the Los Angeles area. Other highlights included the first episode from the web-series "Successful People" and the dramatic "Tu & Eu".

Saturday's schedule will feature first-time producer Annie Clark's "Cryhard". She said it was her first movie ever and wants to make another short before making a feature in 2017. The budget was just 2,000 Canadian dollars, so it met the festival's limit of a $10,000 or less budget.

Also to look forward to is Paul Jury's "48 States of Granddad". He drove through the 48 continental states after college and wrote a book about it before adapting the story into a web-series. While he has also visited Hawaii, he is waiting for the Netflix deal to explore Alaska.(image)

Top Films (June 2016)


Top Documentaries:
De Palma (2015, Noah Baumbach, Jake Paltrow) Recently released in theaters.
Life, Animated (2016, Roger Ross Williams) Completely amazing. I had no idea what this movie was about before I saw it, just that it was from an Academy Award winning director. It was incredibly moving and highly recommended.
The Century of the Self (2002, Adam Curtis)
Vapor Trail (Clark) (2010, John Gianvito)
Miss Sharon Jones! (BarbaraKopple) I saw a sneak preview, but it'll be showing in Los Angeles in early August.      
Dreamcatcher (2015, Kim Longinotto) I discovered an amazing list of films directed by women on Netflix that helped me find this movie.

 Conjuring 2  (James Wan) Pretty scary, but pretty weird that it was released in the middle of summer.

I, Dalio (2015, Mark Rappaport) available on Fandor(image)

Top Films (March - May 2016)


FeaturesTrois souvenirs de ma jeunesse/My Golden Days (2015, Arnaud Desplechin) Really a beautiful movie.Valley of Love (2015, Guillaume Nicloux)Marguerite (2015, Xavier Giannoli)        Love Serenade (1996, Shirley Barrett)   The director's original voice helped propel Miranda Otto's career. Definitely a joy to watch.The Watermelon Woman (1996, Cheryl Dunye) Cheryl Dunye really has an original voice that shines through in this film. I'm eager to check out her other films.Le Voyage de Fanny/Fanny's Journey (2016, Lola Doillon) Daughter of Jacques Doillon takes on two difficulties: working with children and the task of creating a great WWII film. She does both really well and stands out as a great director in her own right.Au nom de ma fille/Kalinka (2016, Vincent Garenq) It's difficult to do a film that takes place over several decades, but this one succeeded. Great acting & storyline.La Vache/One Man and His Cow (2016, Mohamed Hamidi) Extremely funny.    La Symphonie pastorale (1946, Jean Delannoy) Michèle Morgan is splendid.Hrútar/Rams (2015, Grímur Hákonarson) Bølgen/The Wave (2015, Roar Uthaug) Wonderfully paced Norwegian catastrophe film.    DocumentariesI don't usually separate documentaries from narrative features, however there were too many good documentaries that deserve their own spotlight.The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst    (2015, Andrew Jarecki) One of the most amazing documentaries ever.Presenting Princess Shaw (2015, Ido Haar) A YouTube artist rises from obscurity after an artist in another country takes her work and sets music to it. Totally incredible. If you want anyone to succeed, it's Princess Shaw.Anita (2013, Freida Lee Mock) Totally incredible. The Story of Film: An Odyssey (2011, Mark Cousins) A great love letter on the history of film.Demain/Tomorrow (2015, Cyril Dion, Mélanie Laurent) An extremely important documentary (which won the César Award for Best Documentary), it offers solutions and ways of dealing with global warming and other things that threaten humanity's survival.India's Daughter (2014, Leslee Udwin) The director's storytelling and approach is incredible. Despite her success, she wants to hold off on making other documentaries until she can institute a curriculum in schools all over the world that will teach children about respect.Fed Up (2014, Stephanie Soechtig) Really important documentary about sugar and the recent, harmful effects it's been having on Americans.It Felt Like a Kiss (2009, Adam Curtis) Really great documentary on alternative takes of history.  Video LinkGeorge Harrison: Living in the Material World (2011, Martin Scorsese)Place de la République (1974, Louis Malle) This could have been a simplistic or misguided attempt. However, Louis Malle asking random passerbys questions in the Place de la République area in Paris turned out to be very charming.  Nowadays, we are inundated with technology. Everyone has a camera on their phone. But in this instance and time period, people didn't realize they were being recorded and oftentimes didn't see the point. These days, a filmmaker could get sued for something like this. I am not under the impression that Louis Malle acquired release forms. While not a masterpiece, this documentary still has the charm that only a true master could cultivate.  [same text posted on Letterboxd]Shout Gladi Gladi (2015, Adam Friedman, Iain Kennedy)  Really underrated documentary.City of Gold (2015, Laura Gabbert) Great tips on where to eat in L.A. from Jonathan Gold.Hobo (1992, John T. Davis)ShortsLa jeune fille et les nuages (2001, Georges Schwizgebel) Video LinkDernière porte au sud/Last Door South (2015, Sacha Feiner)         Papa, Alexandre, Maxime & Edouardo (2015, Simon Masnay)[...]

Top Films (December 2015 - February 2016)


Top Features Mes petites amoureuses  (1974, Jean Eustache) I had seen a bunch of Eustache's other film, but this was a very affecting story of childhood much like Truffaut's The 400 Blows or Maurice Pialat's L'Enfance Nue/Naked Childhood (Pialat was also an actor in this film).Scent of a Woman (1992, Martin Brest) Normally I avoid remakes like the plague, but Al Pacino's performance really was amazing and inspiring.Come Back, Little Sheba  (1952, Daniel Mann) Great portrait of a man who suffers from alcoholism (Academy Award nominated).Advantageous (2015, Jennifer Phang) This was the top new film I viewed for the Spirit Awards. I was underwhelmed by a lot of the other nominees. However, this one had great characters and did a lot with a low budget.Agantuk   (1991, Satyajit Ray)  Great characters and story.La madriguera/Honeycomb (1969, Carlos Saura) One of the most strangest and daring films, even for Carlos Saura.Déjà Vu    (1997, Henry Jaglom) Incredible writing fused with an unbelievable story.Nothing Personal (2009, Urszula Antoniak) This is such a quiet film with great cinematography. Passion Fish  (1992, John Sayles) This was the third film I've seen by John Sayles recently. Lianna and Baby's It's You also had great performances, but Mary McDonnell was especially wonderful and received a well-deserved Oscar nomination for this film. Angela Bassett was also great; she definitely made the film interesting to watch.The Intern (2015, Nancy Meyers) I'm such a sucker for Nancy Meyers' films, plus the acting was so great.      Twenty Feet from Stardom (2013, Morgan Neville) Great history on background singers who did not receive their due.Honorable MentionThe Automatic Hate (2015, Justin Lerner) So many films these days do not have the depth that this one had. The writing was excellent and cognizant, and the story was off-beat but charming.The Big Kahuna (1999, John Swanbeck) Great dialogue and acting. The title and DVD cover are a bit misleading.El viaje a ninguna parte/Voyage to Nowhere (1986, Fernando Fernán Gómez) Almost like Underground (but about an actor instead of a politician), this film covers the amazing life of an actor weaving in and out around truth, fantasy, and reality.¡Cuba Sí! (1961, Chris Marker) I never realized this film inspired Agnes Varda's Salut les Cubains, a short film I've been championing for years.Kon-Tiki (1950, Thor Heyerdahl)Run for Cover  (1955, Nicholas Ray)Gods and Monsters (1998, Bill Condon) A really great look into director James Whale's life.Joy (2015, David O. Russell) This movie definitely was hit or miss for crowds over the holiday season. I personally found it inspiring with great performances.ShortPicturing Barbara Kruger (2015, Pippa Bianco)    A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness    (2015, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy) Won the Oscar for Best Documentary Short. Very important film on honor killings.A Matter of Loaf and Death (2008, Nick Park) Finally saw this short. It was really well-done and spot on.[...]

Top 25 Films of 2015


Here are my top 25 films of the year, including two ties. Scroll down to see the top short films. There were a lot of good documentaries this year. They deserve to be included in the main list.


1.     Where to Invade Next (Michael Moore)
2.     Best of Enemies (Robert Gordon, Morgan Neville)
3.     Brooklyn (John Crowley)
4.     Listen to Me Marlon (Stevan Riley)
5.     3 coeurs/Three Hearts (Benoît Jacquot)
6.     Marie Heurtin/Marie's Story (Jean-Pierre Améris)
7.     L'Homme qu'on aimait trop/In the Name of My Daughter (André Téchiné)
8.     He Named Me Malala (Davis Guggenheim)
9.     Une Nouvelle amie/The New Girlfriend (François Ozon)
10.     Phoenix (Christian Petzold)
11.      Le Tout nouveau testament /The Brand New Testament (Jaco Van Dormael)
12.     Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief  (Alex Gibney)
13.     Iris (Albert Maysles)
14.     Irrational Man (Woody Allen)
15.     The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution (Stanley Nelson)
16.     Miekkailija/The Fencer (Klaus Härö)
17.     What Happened, Miss Simone? (Liz Garbus) & Janis: Little Girl Blue (Amy J. Berg) [tie]
18.     Far from the Madding Crowd (Thomas Vinterberg)
19.     Sisters (Jason Moore) & Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens (J.J. Abrams) [tie]
20.     Freeheld (Peter Sollett)
21.     Meru (Jimmy Chin, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi)
22.     The Wolfpack (Crystal Moselle)
23.     Amy (Asif Kapadia)
24.     The End of the Tour (James Ponsoldt)
25. The Walk (Robert Zemeckis)


Top Short Films of the Year:
Picturing Barbara Kruger (Pippa Bianco) Vimeo link
The List (Michael Brueggemeyer)
World of Tomorrow (Don Hertzfeldt)
I Remember Nothing (Zia Anger)
Timeless (Arnold Aldridge, Ricky Rhodes)
Ghost Stories (Sean Keller)
My Lunch (Rommel Andaya)
Bro Night (Lane Smith Jr.)(image)

Top Films (October & November 2015)



Brooklyn (2015, John Crowley) pictured above Great performances, especially from Saoirse Ronan.
Listen to Me Marlon (2015, Stevan Riley) Amazing documentary on Marlon Brando.
Inequality for All (2013, Jacob Kornbluth) Top marks for the documentary that explains the economic collapse well.
Cast a Dark Shadow (1955, Lewis Gilbert) Under the radar noir that more than met my expectations.
Where to Invade Next (2015, Michael Moore) Definitely don't miss this film when it comes out. It is really one of Moore's strongest works. He goes all over the world to find out what countries are doing things better than the United States, so we can learn from them.

Lots of Honorable Mentions:

Anomalisa (2015, Duke Johnson, Charlie Kaufman)
Janis: Little Girl Blue (2015, Amy J. Berg)
Le Tout nouveau testament/The Brand New Testament (2015, Jaco Van Dormael)
The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution (2015, Stanley Nelson)    
Klopka/The Trap (2007, Srdan Golubovic)
The Walk (2015, Robert Zemeckis)
Juliette ou La clef des songes (1951, Marcel Carné)
All Things Must Pass: The Rise and Fall of Tower Records (2015, Colin Hanks)
What Happened, Miss Simone? (2015, Liz Garbus)
The Men Who Made the Movies: Howard Hawks (1973, Richard Schickel)
Love & Mercy (2014, Bill Pohlad)       

Short Films:
La Vague (1891, Étienne-Jules Marey)       
Majorité opprimée/Oppressed Majority (2010, Eleonore Pourriat)               
Blok/Blocks (1982, Hieronim Neumann)    (image)

Top Films (September 2015)


Phoenix (2014, Christian Petzold)
There is another movie this year about a women with bandages covering her face trying to establish her identity. However, I found Phoenix to be the far stronger movie with a far more satisfying ending.

Hikinige/Hit & Run (1966, Mikio Naruse)
Like Akira Kurosawa's High and Low, Naruse directed a tight thriller that thoroughly entertains. Although a departure, it is one of his strongest films.

Une Nouvelle amie/The New Girlfriend (2014, François Ozon)
Like some of his more recent films like In the House and Young & Beautiful, The New Girlfriend has the same vibe. Entertaining, yet suspenseful. Also 

Freeheld (2015, Peter Sollett)
I read a recent article on Indiewire that claimed this film was safe and dull. Writer Jessica Kiang also criticized such classics as Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, Philadelphia, and Gentleman's Agreement, because, "These films are frequently cited as agents of attitudinal, if not actual change." These films seem to be a reflection of social change in America. Freeheld features great performances and shows 

Sauvage innocence (2001, Philippe Garrel)
Garrel thrives when he's creating ultra-personal films.

Honorable mention:
99 Homes (2014, Ramin Bahrani)
She's Funny That Way (2014, Peter Bogdanovich)(image)

Love at First Flight (short film, 2015)


This year, I was a team leader for the 48 Hour Film Project. You are assigned a genre, prop, line of dialogue, and a character. In Los Angeles, we started at 7:30 PM on August 7th and finished by 7:30 PM on August 9th. Here is our project: width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>(image)

Top Films (July & August 2015)



Polytechnique (2009, Denis Villeneuve)
It blew me away.

Io la conoscevo bene/I Knew Her Well (1965, Antonio Pietrangeli)
A light film that really captures the lightheartedness of the sixties.

The Stanford Prison Experiment (2015, Kyle Patrick Alvarez)
The film was low-budget, but featured great acting from the students who portrayed guards and prisoners in an experiment at Stanford. Based on true story, I wish this movie had been around when I was in college. Instead, we watched videos hosted by Philip Zimbardo (the leader of this experiment). Knowing what Philip Zimbardo looks and sounds like, I was a little bit disappointed by Billy Crudup's portrayal of him. The hair and make-up was authentic, but Crudup did not emulate Zimbardo's accent. But for what it was, it was very entertaining and kept me on the edge of my seat, even though I knew the story. 

Irrational Man (2015, Woody Allen)
The mixed reviews have been pretty unfair. Rarely do you get a choice film from a comedic director that explores a moral dilemma. I could see how someone could be disappointed with it, however, I was not. 

L'Homme à l'imperméable/The Man in the Raincoat (1957,  Julien Duvivier)
Duvivier is a master filmmaker. He creates this mystery beautifully. It's highly recommended.

Short film: Café (1990, Gretchen Somerfeld)

  allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="371" mozallowfullscreen="" src="" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="500">
Cafe by Gretchen Somerfeld from gretchen somerfeld on Vimeo.

Top Films (June 2015)


Marie Heurtin/Marie's Story (2014, Jean-Pierre Améris)
The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill (2003, Judy Irving)
I'll Do Anything (1994, James L. Brooks)
Kobieta w kapeluszu/Woman in a Hat (1985, Stanislaw Rózewicz)

 Open House (2014, Marisha Mukerjee)
'A'  (1965, Jan Lenica)
Hunger (1974, Peter Foldes)
Picknick mit Weismann (1968, Jan Svankmajer)   
The Marina Experiment (2009, Marina Lutz) Video:

Top Films (May 2015)


La Drôlesse (1979, Jacques Doillon)
Strong, poignant, strange, this film is probably the heir to Les Dimanches de Ville d'Avray/Sundays and Cybèle (1962). I disagree with the English film title "The Hussy". The main character, Madeleine, is more of a victim. She is naive in some ways because of her age, yet completely lucid.

Bessie (2015, Dee Rees) 
Great biopic of blues legend Bessie Smith.

Rue de l'Estrapade (1953, Jacques Becker)
Would have been trite with a lesser director, but Becker excels and creates a glorious ending.

Les Mauvaises rencontres (1955, Alexandre Astruc)
Definitely the best Astruc film I've seen so far.

The Wolfpack (2015, Crystal Moselle)
Definitely worth seeing. I plan on checking it out again.

Honorable mentions: 

Eaux profondes/Deep Water (1981, Michel Deville)
Auto Focus (2002, Paul Schrader)
Antoine et Antoinette (1947, Jacques Becker)
La Marie du port (1950, Marcel Carné)
Le Pont des Arts (2004, Eugène Green)
Les doigts dans la tête/Touched in the Head (1974, Jacques Doillon)
Promène-toi donc tout nu! (1999, Emmanuel Mouret)(image)

Top Films (April 2015)


L'homme que l'on aimait trop/In the Name of My Daughter (2014, André Téchiné)

Iris (2014, Albert Maysles)

Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present (2012, Matthew Akers, Jeff Dupre)

The Human Experiment (2013, Don Hardy Jr., Dana Nachman)           

Mon amie Victoria/My Friend Victoria (2014, Jean-Paul Civeyrac)       

Bill Cunningham New York (2010, Richard Press)(image)

Top Films (March 2015)


Weapons of the Spirit (1987, Pierre Sauvage)

The Pervert's Guide to Cinema (2006, Sophie Fiennes)

White God/Fehér isten (2014, Kornél Mundruczó)

3 coeurs/3 Hearts (2014, Benoît Jacquot)

Girlfriends (1978, Claudia Weill)

Man from Reno (2014, Dave Boyle)

Elsa la rose (1966, Agnès Varda)
Les Demoiselles ont eu 25 ans/The Young Girls Turn 25 (1993, Agnès Varda)

Honorable Mention:
I Hired a Contract Killer (1990, Aki Kaurismäki)
Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry (2012, Alison Klayman)(image)

Top Films (February 2015)


La muerte de un burócrata/Death of a Bureaucrat (1966, Tomás Gutiérrez Alea)
Les Maudits/The Damned (1947, René Clément)
Crime Wave (1985, John Paizs)
Les années 80 (1983, Chantal Akerman)

Short Film:
Indochine: College Boy (2013, Xavier Dolan) Video Link(image)

Top Films (January 2015)


Flicka oct hyacinter/Girl with Hyacinths (1950, Hasse Ekman)
This film wants to be Otto Preminger's Laura sometimes, but this Swedish gem is distinctly its own.

Falkenau, the Impossible (1988, Emil Weiss)
Director Samuel Fuller rants for over an hour about the holocaust and says that people who don't believe the holocaust ever happened should be sent away. Yes, please.


Abschied von gestern - (Anita G.)/Yesterday Girl (1966, Alexander Kluge)
I had heard about Kluge's filmmaking for years, but still wasn't prepared for this breathtakingly vivacious movie.

Viva Cuba (2005, Juan Carlos Cremata Malberti, Iraida Malberti Cabrera)
This is a cute and charming movie about the friendship between a boy and a girl. Even at around nine or ten years old, they are bound by societal restrictions which they seek to overcome.

Household Saints (1993, Nancy Savoca)
It started out quietly, but by the time it ended, I was convinced it was a masterpiece. Spanning three decades and looking into the life of an Italian-American family, Nancy Savoca has created another worthwhile film.

Honorable Mention:

Gaudi Afternoon (2001, Susan Seidelman)
Judy Davis' detective is not unlike Elliott Gould in Robert Altman's The Long Goodbye. However, the setting is Barcelona and she is paired with the wild Marcia Gay Harden, in one of her best performances. How come this movie is so unknown? It is beyond me.(image)

Top Films (December 2014)


Selma (2014, Ava DuVernay)
Kind of strange that there hasn't been a biopic of Martin Luther King, Jr. Amazingly powerful performances and great directing.

Nightcrawler (2014, Dan Gilroy)
 Dan Gilroy's directorial debut is stunning, tight, and features great performances.

Foxcatcher (2014, Bennett Miller)
Please just give Steve Carell an Oscar already.

Wild (2014, Jean-Marc Vallée)
Laura Dern and Reese Witherspoon give great performances.

Three Lives (1971, Louva Irvine, Susan Kleckner)
The 4.3 rating on IMDB is from nearly all males. I wouldn't say don't see this film if you're male, however, be warned that is about three strong feminists. There really is no reason this film should be rated so low on IMDB. (image)

Top Films of 2014



1. Violette (Martin Provost)
2. Boyhood (Richard Linklater)
3. Finding Vivian Maier (John Maloof, Charlie Siskel)
4. Afternoon of a Faun: Tanaquil Le Clercq (Nancy Buirski)
5. The Immigrant (James Gray)
6. Mommy (Xavier Dolan)
7. Wild (Jean-Marc Vallée)
8. Nightcrawler (Dan Gilroy)
9. Selma (Ava Duvernay)
10. Jeune et jolie/Young and Beautiful (François Ozon) 
11. The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson)
12. Foxcatcher (Bennett Miller)
13. The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz (Brian Knappenberger)
14. Life Itself (Steve James)
15. The Theory of Everything (James Marsh)
16. White Bird in a Blizzard (Gregg Araki)
17. Venus in Fur (Roman Polanski)      
18. Ivory Tower (Andrew Rossi)
19. Only Lovers Left Alive (Jim Jarmusch)
20. God Help the Girl (Stuart Murdoch)(image)

Top Films (October & November 2014)


Mommy (2014, Xavier Dolan)
Life Itself (2014, Steve James)
White Bird in a Blizzard (2014, Gregg Araki)
Happy End (1967, Oldrich Lipský)
The Theory of Everything (2014, James Marsh)

Honorable Mentions:
The Reflecting Skin (1990, Philip Ridley)
Whiplash (2014, Damien Chazelle)
Men, Women & Children (2014, Jason Reitman)
Az Karkheh ta Rhein/From Karkeh to Rhine  (1993, Ebrahim Hatamikia)
Bande de filles/Girlhood (2014, Céline Sciamma)(image)

Top Films (September 2014)


Top Features

La scoperta dell'alba/Discovery at Dawn (2012, Susanna Nicchiarelli) This was the closing film at the first annual Euphoria Film Festival at USC. This is a really good time-travel film.
Les amants de Montparnasse (Montparnasse 19) (1958, Jacques Becker)
Trust (1990, Hal Hartley)
God Help the Girl (2014, Stuart Murdoch)
Dance of the Maize God (2014, David Lebrun)   

Top Short Films
Spielzeugland (2007, Jochen Alexander Freydank) Video link   
Emilie Muller (1994, Yvon Marciano) Video link
Frida Kahlo & Tina Modotti (1984, Laura Mulvey, Peter Wollen)   
Brother (2000, Adam Benjamin Elliot)
Mur 19  (1966, Mark Rappaport)

Honorable Mentions:
Maidentrip (2013, Jillian Schlesinger) Even though the subject of the documentary has disowned the film, everyone else seems to like it.
Why Be Good? (1929, William A. Seiter) Every so often, AMPAS (Oscars) will present a newly restored Colleen Moore film. This was pretty good. Her character was a little less tame than usual.
Rocks in My Pockets (2014, Signe Baumane) Latvia's submission to the Oscars this year. It is not only an animated film that deals with mental illness, but has a good shot at being nominated this year.
All This Mayhem  (2014, Eddie Martin)
The Devil and Miss Jones (1941, Sam Wood)
She's Gotta Have It (1986, Spike Lee)(image)

Top Films (July & August 2014)



Finding Vivian Maier (2013, John Maloof, Charlie Siskel)
Boyhood   (2014, Richard Linklater)
La beauté du diable (1950, René Clair)
Short films:
Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe (1980 , Les Blank) Video link
Western Spaghetti (2008, PES) Video Link

Web pilot:
 The Cosmopolitans: Season 1, Episode 1 Pilot (2014, Whit Stillman)  Streaming on Amazon (free)(image)