In Julieta, critically acclaimed director Pedro Almodovar tells a story about a motherâ€™s struggle to survive uncertainty and come to grips with fate. Julieta lives in Madrid with her daughter, Antia. They are both in pain over the loss of Xoan, Antiaâ€™s father and Julietaâ€™s husband. But sometimes grief doesnâ€™t bring people closer, it drives them apart. When Antia turns eighteen, she abandons her mother without a word of explanation. Julieta is haunted by the mystery of this loss and it pervades everything in her life. Her struggle and obsession lead to self-discovery and surprising revelations.
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Critic Pauline Kael neatly summed up the timeless appeal of FranÃ§ois Truffaut's 1976 film by calling it "that rarity--a poetic comedy that's really funny." In other words, Truffaut's brilliant, upbeat study of resilient children in a French village is both artistically satisfying and joyously entertaining, proving yet again (after his acclaimed debut film The 400 Blows) that few directors remembered and understood the experience of childhood as clearly as Truffaut. The film's episodic structure reveals its young characters gradually, leaving them and returning to them as their individual stories unfold. Most of the sketches are hilarious (as when a little girl uses a megaphone to announce that she's been "abandoned," resulting in generous gifts of food from her surrounding neighbors), but there's also a story about a boy with abusive parents who learns to survive by his own ingenuity. Throughout, this remarkable film gets all the details precisely right, featuring a youthful cast of kids who don't seem to be acting at all. It's as if Truffaut had somehow gained privileged entrance into their world, and they carried on as if the camera simply wasn't there. (Another French film, Ponette, would achieve a similar, more heartbreaking feat two decades later.) --Jeff Shannon
Manufacturer: 20th Century Fox
We can safely call it one of the most notorious films in Hollywood history: Myra Breckenridge, the wild, tasteless, legendary disaster. Sprung from a novel by Gore Vidal, Myra tells the tender tale of a man (damply played by film critic Rex Reed) who has a sex-change operation and goes to Hollywood as a woman--played by Raquel Welch. Mae West creaked out of retirement to play a man-hungry agent (one of her meals is young Tom Selleck), and John Huston is an aging cowboy star, Myra's nemesis. To say the movie endorses the destruction of sex roles in modern society would be giving the rampant incoherence too much credit. Old film clips, plus footage (all too apt!) of atomic bomb tests are spliced into the action, to puerile effect. Almost everybody involved with the film disowned it, especially a horrified Vidal. Is there a cult for this movie? They can have it. --Robert Horton
Manufacturer: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Brand: Sony Pictures
Winner of six prestigious European Film Awards, including Best Picture and 2004 Golden Globe(r) nominee for Best Foreign Language Film, this coming-of-age adventure blends the fall of Communism with the salient emotions of a family's love. "Destined to become one of Germany's biggest international hits," (BBC Films), GOOD BYE, LENIN! is a beautiful introduction to a whole new, free world. In 1989, Christiane Kerner has lost her husband and is completely devoted to the Socialist East German state. A heart attack leaves her in a coma, and when she awakens eight months later, the Berlin Wall has fallen and it's a whole new world. To protect her from the shock, her son Alex hatches a plan to keep her in the dark. It's easy... all he has to do is turn back the handle of time.
Mi Vida Loca (My Crazy Life) (DVD)Echo Park, L.A. is the setting for a gang movie that beats the competition every way it knows how. Sad Girl and Mousie have fallen out over a guy. But when he's murdered by a rival gang-leader, it's time for the girls to take control!]]>
Baron Ferdinando CefalÃ¹ (Marcello Mastroianni) longs to marry his nubile cousin Angela, but one obstacle stands in his way: his fatuous and fawning wife, Rosalia. His solution? Since divorce is illegal, he will devise a scenario wherein he can catch his spouse in the arms of another and murder her to save his honor-a lesser offense. Criterion is proud to present director Pietro Germi's hilarious and cutting satire of Italy's hypocritical judicial system and male-dominated culture, winner of the 1962 Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, in a two-disc DVD edition that also features a documentary on the director, new interviews with the actors and screenwriter, screen-test footage, and more. Divorce Italian Style is a comedy milestone--a brilliant, biting satire that was originally conceived as a drama; directed with nonstop inventiveness by a filmmaker who had never done comedy; and featuring an actor who, though not even among the first dozen players considered, cemented his international stardom with this performance. The movie also marked a breakthrough for foreign film in America, winning popular as well art-house success, Academy Award nominations for director Pietro Germi and star Marcello Mastroianni, and--the first of only a few foreign-language films to do so--the Oscar itself for Original Screenplay. On the sun-blasted island of Sicily, Baron Ferdinand "FefÃ¨" CefalÃ¹ (Mastroianni) breaks out of his heat- and boredom-induced stupor long enough to be smi...
Manufacturer: Zeitgeist Films
Brand: Zeitgeist Films
THE TRUE STORY OF GERMANY'S MOST FAMOUS ANTI-NAZI HEROINE BROUGHT TO THRILLING, DRAMATIC LIFE. Through its simplicity and scrupulous attention to historical detail, Sophie Scholl: The Final Days proves to be both thrillingly suspenseful and emotionally devastating. During the peak of the Third Reich, Sophie Scholl (Julia Jentsch, The Edukators), along with her brother Hans and other students in Munich, formed a resistance group called the White Rose and distributed anti-Nazi leaflets. Sophie Scholl begins on a crisp winter day, with Sophie and Hans distributing leaflets around the empty halls of a university before class is let out. The tension only increases as they are arrested, interrogated, and swiftly convicted in a brutal show trial. The heart of the film are the scenes between Sophie and her interrogator, Robert Mohr (Gerald Alexander Held), a loyal Nazi who nonetheless respected and perhaps even admired Sophie. Their arguments, distilled down from hours of historical record, crackle with emotion and resonate throughout history, from Communist totalitarianism to the Bush administration condemning critics of the Iraq war as traitors. Jentsch's restrained performance only grows more and more moving over the movie's course. A deeply engaging and powerful movie. --Bret Fetzer