Today's capsules 🍿

Love Exists (1960, Maurice Pialat)
Highly Recommended
Director Pialat’s “tour” of Parisian suburbia, with Jean-Loup Reynold voicing the first-person narration. Covers Pialat’s childhood, the socioeconomic realities of the present, and some other features as well. Beautifully shot in black and white by Gilbert Sarthre. Superior twenty minutes. None.
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They’re a Weird Mob (1966, Michael Powell)
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Rather bad comedy about Italian immigrant Walter Chiari moving to Australia. The acting is actually fine, it’s the script (by director Powell’s long-time partner Emeric Pressburger–under a pseudonym). May have been responsible for kicking off the Australian film industry? But otherwise, a big stinker. DVD (R4).
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Thieves Like Us (1974, Robert Altman)
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Wonderful gem of a movie romance (between Keith Carradine and Shelley Duvall) amid a 1930s-set crime drama. Will Carradine pick a life of bank robbing or listen to Duvall and go straight. Great performances from all involved and Altman’s direction excels in the setting. Screenplay by Calder Willingham, Joan Tewkesbury and Altman. DVD, Blu-ray.
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36 Quai des Orfèvres (2004, Olivier Marchal)
β˜…Β½
Sometimes quite good cop movie about good cop Daniel Auteuil and good-but-complicated cop GΓ©rard Depardieu jockeying for the same promotion and both becoming morally compromised (or worse). Loses its footing more and more as things progress. Auteuil’s good, Depardieu’s awesome, but they can’t save the film from director Marchal or the script. DVD.
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The Three Musketeers (1993, Stephen Herek)
ⓏⒺⓇⓄ
Graphically violent–but still PG–Disney adaptation boasts a shockingly good performance from Charlie Sheen, an appealing one from Oliver Platt, and a good villain turn from Michael Wincott but it’s otherwise fairly dreadful. Bad direction and a bad script (from David Loughery); awful performance from Chris O’Donnell (as D’Artagnan). Kiefer Sutherland tries and fails. Tim Curry’s a caricature of himself. It’s the pits. DVD, Streaming.
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Tremors (1990, Ron Underwood)
★★★
Isolated desert town–full of lovable goofballs (led by handymen Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward)–has to contend with giant killer worm monsters. Great acting (Gross’s survivalist redefined the actor), wonderfully paced script, excellent special effects. It’s loads of fun. DVD, Blu-ray, Streaming.
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Triple Cross (1966, Terence Young)
★★
WWII espionage thriller has English thief Christopher Plummer convincing German captors wants to spy for them so he can go back to the UK and become a double agent for the British. Good performances compensate for a shallow script and medicore direction from Young. DVD, Streaming.
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The Twilight Samurai (2002, Yamada YΓ΄ji)
★½
Widowed samurai Sanada Hiroyuki has given up the warrior life to take care of his kids. Then childhood love Miyazawa Rie comes to town and things start changing. Good performances–especially from Sanada–but the narrative’s disjointed and suffers from a constant lack of focus DVD, Blu-ray.
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Turn (2001, Hirayama Hideyuki)

A young woman (Makise Riho) gets in a car accident and, when she wakes up, finds she’s the only person in an otherwise empty world. Or is she? Oh, she also repeats the same day over and over again. Likable performances, but the film concentrates way too hard on its fantastic situation and not its characters. DVD (R2).
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28 Days Later (2002, Danny Boyle)
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Cillian Murphy wakes up from a coma to discover the world overrun by zombies and has to try to survive. Not just from the zombies, but also from the military. Visually stunning, with Boyle shooting on DV; great script by Alex Garland; excellent performances. Murphy makes an outstanding Everyman. The film has at least one alternate ending version; rating is for whatever is on the U.S. DVD release. DVD, Blu-ray, Streaming.
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Versus (2000, Kitamura Ryuhei)

Technically magnificent action/horror picture has Sakaguchi Tak fighting zombies with a samurai sword while wearing an ultra cool black leather trenchcoat. The writing is always iffy, but Kitamura’s direction tends to compensate enough. DVD, Streaming.
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Volcano (1997, Mick Jackson)
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Nicely paced disaster movie about a volcano growing out the La Brea Tar Pits. Anne Heche is the scientist, Tommy Lee Jones is the city guy, Gaby Hoffman’s his daughter. It’s occasionally annoying, with bad dialogue, but the cast is great. Heche and Don Cheadle are outstanding; Jones is fine. The film takes itself just seriously enough, which is not much. DVD, Blu-ray, Streaming.
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Wallace and Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005, Nick Park and Steve Box)
★★★½
First and only full-length theatrical outing for director Park and his clay animated creations Wallace and Gromit. It’s a great expansion of the duo’s adventures, but one is kind of okay. The clay animation and writing are exceptional work, as always, from Park and company. DVD, Blu-ray, Streaming.
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White Dog (1982, Samuel Fuller)
★★★½
Somewhat infamous film–studio Paramount shelved it before release due to controversy about the subject (cutesy star Kristy MacNichol adopts an awesome new dog, only to discover he’s been trained to attack Black people) and director Fuller stole a print and bounced to Europe to get it released somewhere at least. The film runs short, leaving a few too many plot threads untied, but it’s real good. It’s deliberative and thoughtful, nicely directed by Fuller, with strong performances from the four principals. Nice to see Paul Winfield lead a movie. Finally available officially, on DVD and Blu-ray (but from Criterion, not Paramount).
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White Nights (1985, Taylor Hackford)
★★½
Not entirely ludicrous tale of defector ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov (played by defector ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov) crash-landing in the Soviet Union and being forced into a cover-up involving Vietnam-era, tap dancing defector Gregory Hines. Phenomenal dance sequences occasionally get a little long (with Baryshnikov the more impressive). But Hines’s performance is easily the best. The Lionel Ritchie Oscar-winning song is a little much. DVD, Blu-ray, Streaming.
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*****
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