Movie Reviews

Starring: Stéphane Audran, Bodil Kjer, Birgitte Federspiel, Jarl Kulle, Jean-Philippe Lafont, Achille Papin,Bibi Andersson

Babette’s Feast

In Brief: While it's not exactly to my taste (pun intended), I can certainly appreciate why Danish writer-director Gabriel Axel's Babette's Feast took home the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar in 1988. Axel's adaptation of, Isak Dinesen's story (Dinesen being a pseudonym for Karen Blixen) of a French refugee confronted with the Puritanical strictures of her involuntarily adopted Danish community is replete with…
Starring: Carole Lombard, Fredric March, Walter Connolly, Charles Winninger, Sig Ruman

Nothing Sacred

In Brief: William A. Wellman’s very aptly titled Nothing Sacred (1937) begins with a series of titles informing us, “This is New York, skyscraper champion of world, where the slickers and know-it-alls peddle gold bricks to each other, and where truth, crushed to earth, rises again more phony than a glass eye.” That effectively captures the…
Starring: Dev Patel, Rooney Mara, David Wenham, Nicole Kidman, Abhishek Bharate, Divian Ladwa, Priyanka Bose, Deepti Naval, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Sunny Pawar.


The Story: A young Indian man raised in Australia uses the internet to track down the family he lost early in his youth. The Lowdown: A proficient — if occasionally underwhelming — story of one man's triumph over adversity, with an uplifting ending that narrowly avoids cloying sentimentality.
Starring: Maren Pedersen Clara Pontoppidan Tora Teje Benjamin Christensen Oscar Stribolt

Häxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages

In Brief: Danish director Benjamin Christensen's silent masterpiece Häxan (1922) is a strange beast — Satanic pun largely intended. A bizarre blend of documentary, narrative fiction and animation, the film showcases Christensen in more ways than one; in addition to demonstrating his remarkable acumen as an early visual stylist, the film also features the director himself in the role…
Starring: Tatsuo Saito Mitsuko Yoshikawa Hideo Sugawara Tokkan Kozo Tomio Aoki Takeshi Sakamoto Teruyo Hayami Seiichi Kato Chishu Ryu

I Was Born, But…

In Brief: One of Yasujiro Ozu's earliest successes, and still one of his most popular films, I Was Born, But... (1932) is a true gem of early Japanese cinema from one of its greatest masters. Very little was added to Ozu's 1959 loose re-working of the premise, Good Morning, that isn't accomplished as effectively here — and for my money, Born is…
Starring: Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, Cyril Cusack, Michael Hordern, Alan Webb

The Taming of the Shrew

In Brief: Franco Zeffirelli’s The Taming of the Shrew (1967) wasn’t the first time this Shakespeare play was served up with a famous married couple in the lead roles. No, that honor goes to Sam Taylor’s 1929 version starring Hollywood royalty of that era, Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford. (And whether or not the main title really…
Starring: Edward G. Robinson, Joan Bennett, Dan Duryea, Margaret Lindsay, Jess Barker

Scarlet Street

In Brief: A remake of Jean Renoir's La Chienne (1931) —  itself based on a play of the same name by Georges de la Fouchardiere, which was based on the book by André Mouezy-Eon — is easily the darkest and most psychologically bleak of Fritz Lang's American output, which places it high on the list of the…