Madeleine Carroll Blogathon: I Was a Spy (1933)

One of the great pleasures of blogathons is discovering an actor or director and realizing that there's still so many wonderful classic films yet to see. It's sort of like knowing that there's still a bunch of Graham Greene novels I haven't read. Maybe the Graham Greene thing is just me.

SBIFF 2015: Second Chance (2014) & Confession (2014)

"Second Chance" is (I assume) one of the only action movies about pool. Yes, that kind of pool, where you stand around a table and firmly poke a series of colored balls. The Taiwanese film, directed by Wen-yen Kung, may not frothy exactly, but it's definitely bubbly.

SBIFF 2015: Partners in Crime

Describing much of the plot will spoil things. I can tell you that it boasts the worst school counselor I've ever seen on film. In one of the few meetings she bothers to have with kids who've found the (bloody) body of a schoolmate, she tells them, "If things come up...deal with them yourself."

AFI Fest 2014: Villa Touma (Suha Arraf)

Violet keeps her wedding dress hung over the only mirror in her bedroom, looking at the dress rather than at herself in the mirror. The dress is one of the many signs that, for Violet and her sisters, Juliette and Antoinette, time stopped somewhere in the late 60s, when they each lost so much.

AFI Fest 2014: Takashi Miike’s Over Your Dead Body

Takashi Miike has a great eye, and he constructs breathtakingly beautiful mise-en-scènes. "Over Your Dead Body" is no exception: It's gorgeous. Of course, the other thing Miike is known for is gore, often sexual in nature. "Over Your Dead Body" is also no exception in this regard.

AFI Fest 2014: A “Fish and Cat” from Iran

The AFI schedule advertised it a "horror comedy art film," like "a 'Friday the 13th' installment directed by Alain Resnais." While that is one of the finest descriptions I have ever come across, I suspect that it did the film a disservice by attracting people who were expecting more "Friday the 13th" and less Resnais.