Down By Law (1986)

Local DJ Zack (Waits), pimp Jack (Lurie), and Italian tourist Roberto (Benini) all find themselves locked up in a New Orleans jail, with their own varying level of guilt and responsibility. All three of them are in states of isolation prior to going into prison and the camaraderie they build helps break them out.

The aspects that stand out the most in Down By Law, are: the black and white New Orleans city- and landscapes and the fact that the escape is completely glazed over. The jail break film is less about a jail break and more about taking the time to understand those around us.

Magnificent Ambersons, The (1942)

Orson Welles’ second film, The Magnificent Ambersons, is an adaptation of Booth Tarkington’s novel of the same name. The second industrial revolution and the advent of the automobile function as the catalyst that brings a well-to-do family from the pinnacle of status and wealth down to ruin.

The woes of the silk shoe generation are perfectly characterized through George Amberson Minifer, played by Tim Holt. Entitled and unmotivated, George floats through life while looking down on everyone around him. As an unskilled and ill-equipped member of society he slowly slips through the ranks of society.

Welles’ creative and technical prowess shines through in just about every sequence. The way he blocks his scenes, his unique camera angles, and tracking shots are just a few ways his style amplified the film. Although The Magnificent Ambersons is not as famous as his previous, and first film, Citizen Kane, it is certainly comparable in terms of execution. Certainly a must watch if you can bare the black and white aesthetic of old movies.

November (2017)

Deals with the devil, adhoc supernatural mechanical beings, shape-shifting, and elegant cinematography all help bring Rainer Sarnet’s Estonian folklore film to life. November, based on the Novel, Rehepapp, by Andrus Kivirähk, is set in an impoverished 19th century Estonian town as it prepares for a visitation from deceased ancestors.

It quickly becomes apparent that supernatural forces rule the fabric of this reality just as much as greed and lust. A dichotomy exists between the deeply devout townsfolk and their sinful desires and eagerness to sell their souls to the devil. Their desperation guides them both to enlightenment as well as their demise.

Sherlock Jr. (1924) – Short Film

A young projectionist, Buster Keaton, yearns to be a detective. When he is framed by the Local Sheik, Ward Crane, he must put his new skills to work. Although, his childlike demeanor leads him to be less successful than his ambitions. While his skills lack in reality, he makes up for these short-comings once he enters dreamland.