Monday, 9 November 2009

Stjernerne og vandbærerne (1974) The Stars & the Water Carriers

Rating: 6.6/10
Runtime: 91
Language: Danish
Country: Denmark
Color: Color
IMDb Link:

Director: Jørgen Leth
Marino Basso ... Himself
Felice Gimondi ... Himself
Eddy Merckx ... Himself
Ole Ritter ... Himself

Description: The images from the Tour de France in the television production Eddy Merckx in the Vincinity of a Cup of Coffee may be seen as a small sketch for the fully unfurled epic cycling drama Stars and Watercarriers. The film follows the 1973 Giro d'Italia and in his commentary Leth explains the fascination exerted by the great cycle races: "The most beautiful, most pathetic images cycling can give us involve extreme performances in classic terrain." The action literally emerges on the move and the riders readily assume the roles tradition and epic necessity allocate to them, with the central conflict between the accustomed winner and greedy Belgian legend Eddy Merckx and the Spanish mountain specialist José Manuel Fuente. Stars and Watercarriers was created by a small film unit that use a vivid, documentary style to describe the race from close up and sometimes quite from within. The film consist of ten sections, each with a title such as "A road of pain" and "A peaceful day"; thus it alternates between dramatic and more peaceful passages, which Leth's commentary leads the viewer through soberly, empathetically and humorously. The chapter "The trial of truth" stands out with its focus on the Danish star Ole Ritter, his technical, physical and psychological preparations and his performance in the time trials. Ritter is lauded with words such as "power, cycle and style in the simplest manifestation possible", and aesthetically, too, the section stands out: there is no background music or ordinary real sound. Instead, a sound close up of the chain as it seems to sing emphasises the utter concentration of Ritter's venture. Throughout the film Gunner Møller Pedersen's music supports the dramatic and aesthetic aspects of the race and thus sets the mood. The music mimics the light tread of the mountain specialists when they are in focus and seems to indicate the beat as we watch the more powerful riders.

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Den umulige time (1975) The Impossible Hour

Rating: 6.6/10
Runtime: 45
Language: Danish
Country: Denmark
Color: Color
IMDb Link:

Director: Jørgen Leth
Ole Ritter

Description: In continuation of the time trial sequence from Stars and Watercarriers, The Impossible Hour is a concentrated study of Ole Ritter's attempt in Mexico City in 1974 to set a new record for the hour - described in the film as "the noblest, most difficult record that can be set on a bicycle". A brief retrospective in black and white sets the historical framework, with shots of Ritter and Eddy Merckx' successful record attempts in 1968 and 1972 respectively, and a few words about former record holders such as Fausto Coppi. From then on the film is in colour and with one minor exception (a training scene from a motor race track) it takes place in the relatively colourless setting of a cycle track. The film follows Ritter's three record attempts chronologically, which, accompanied by a Mexican marching band on the bandstand, all fail. There are several interview situations in hand-held reportage style in which Ritter is surrounded by a group of reporters and gives his account of the attempts, plus other shots from the inner circle of the cycle track. When Ritter is riding he is captured from a motorcycle moving round the track or we follow him (during the record attempts) in long pans all the way round the track. The only notable visual device is the slow motion used to accentuate Ritter's style in a couple of places, accompanied by a piano theme, with Leth's words on the soundtrack: "The functional mastery of power is an aesthetic experience". Throughout the film Leth talks soberly and informatively about cycling technique, the advantages of the thin air in Mexico City, Ritter's gradual acquisition of his average speed and rhythm, the progress of the record attempts, etc.

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A Conversation with Jørgen Leth (2003)

Rating: N/A
Runtime: 9
Language: Danish
Country: Denmark
Color: Color
IMDb Link: N/A

Director: Unknown
Jørgen Leth

Description: Short film taken from the second box of the "Jørgen Leth Collection" series.

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Rar Password: none

Sunday, 1 November 2009

En forårsdag i Helvede (1976) aka A Sunday in Hell

Rating: 7.5/10
Runtime: 111
Language: Danish. English hardcoded subs
Country: Denmark
Color: Color
IMDb Link:

Director: Jørgen Leth

Description: The film follows the French Paris-Roubaix spring classic, notorious for the hellish paves or cobbled roads of the north "which are no longer used for traffic but only for transporting cattle - and for cycle races". We are there from the dawn preparations and rituals on the outskirts of Paris and through the rigours of the race with special focus on a number of prominent cyclists to the final outcome on the Roubaix cycle track - followed by the filthy riders taking their showers. There is also an eye for life among the spectators and the media event as such. The film alternates among different kinds of shot with a view to establishing the most suitable view of the narrative: shots from motorcycles, which are able to convey the motion of the race and provide close ups of the riders in the style of television cycle race reporting; fixed cameras stationed at strategically important points along the route, where viewers can watch riders passing in real time and thus gain a clear overview of the distance between the leaders and the main field: and the Olympian eye of the helicopter shots.

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Rar Password: none

English Hardcoded subs.

Kung Fu Panda (2008)

Rating: 7.9/10
Runtime: 92
Language: English
Country: USA
Color: Color
IMDb Link:

Director: Mark Osborne John Stevenson
Jack Black ... Po (voice)

Dustin Hoffman ... Shifu (voice)

Angelina Jolie ... Tigress (voice)

Ian McShane ... Tai Lung (voice)

Jackie Chan ... Monkey (voice)

Seth Rogen ... Mantis (voice)

Lucy Liu ... Viper (voice)

David Cross ... Crane (voice)

Randall Duk Kim ... Oogway (voice)

James Hong ... Mr. Ping (voice)

Dan Fogler ... Zeng (voice)

Michael Clarke Duncan ... Commander Vachir (voice)

Wayne Knight ... Gang Boss (voice)

Kyle Gass ... KG Shaw (voice)

JR Reed ... JR Shaw (voice)

Description: It's the story about a lazy, irreverent slacker panda, named Po, who is the biggest fan of Kung Fu around...which doesn't exactly come in handy while working every day in his family's noodle shop. Unexpectedly chosen to fulfill an ancient prophecy, Po's dreams become reality when he joins the world of Kung Fu and studies alongside his idols, the legendary Furious Five -- Tigress, Crane, Mantis, Viper and Monkey -- under the leadership of their guru, Master Shifu. But before they know it, the vengeful and treacherous snow leopard Tai Lung is headed their way, and it's up to Po to defend everyone from the oncoming threat. Can he turn his dreams of becoming a Kung Fu master into reality? Po puts his heart - and his girth - into the task, and the unlikely hero ultimately finds that his greatest weaknesses turn out to be his greatest strengths.

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Nausicaä of the Valley of the Winds (1984)

Rating: 8.0/10
Runtime: 117
Language: Japanese (hardcoded English subtitles)
Country: Japan
Color: Colour
IMDb Link:

Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Sumi Shimamoto ... Nausicaä (voice)
Mahito Tsujimura ... Jihl (voice)
Hisako Kyôda ... Oh-Baba (voice)
Gorô Naya ... Yupa (voice)
Ichirô Nagai ... Mito (voice)
Kôhei Miyauchi ... Goru (voice)
Jôji Yanami ... Gikkuri (voice)
Minoru Yada ... Niga (voice)
Rihoko Yoshida ... Teto / Girl C (voice)
Masako Sugaya ... Girl A (voice)
Takako Sasuga ... Girl B (voice)
Chika Sakamoto ... Boy A (voice)
Tarako ... Boy B (voice)
Yôji Matsuda ... Asbel (voice)
Mîna Tominaga ... Rastel (voice)

Description: Hayao Miyazaki gained widespread attention in Japan for his complex ecological manga series, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1982), which he adapted for the screen two years later. One thousand years after a war devastated much of the Earth, humanity clings to existence at the fringes of a vast, polluted forest inhabited by monstrous insects. Only Nausicaä, the princess of the tiny realm of the Valley of the Wind, grasps the environmental significance of the forest. She sees beyond petty wars and national rivalries to the only viable future for the planet. In Nausicaä, Miyazaki began to explore elements he would develop more fully in his later films: daring, compassionate heroines; exciting flying sequences; colorful side characters; strong interpersonal relationships; and a call for an ecologically sustainable way of life. Nausicaä prefigures Sheeta in Castle in the Sky and Chihiro in Spirited Away, just as the rough and ready Asbel anticipates Pazu in Castle in the Sky and Ashitaka in Princess Mononoke.

From one of the most celebrated filmmakers in the history of animation and the creator of the Academy Award(R)-winning SPIRITED AWAY (Best Animated Feature Film, 2002) comes Hayao Miyazaki's epic masterpiece NAUSICAÄ OF THE VALLEY OF THE WIND. A thousand years after a global war, a seaside kingdom known as the Valley Of The Wind remains one of only a few areas still populated. Led by the courageous Princess Nausicaä, the people of the Valley are engaged in a constant struggle with powerful insects called ohmu, who guard a poisonous jungle that is spreading across the Earth. Nausicaä and her brave companions, together with the people of the Valley, strive to restore the bond between humanity and the Earth. NAUSICAÄ OF THE VALLEY OF THE WIND is written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki. And this spectacuar 2-disc set features exotic settings, impactful music, and a timeless story about courage and compassion in the face of danger.

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ZombieWestern: It Came from the West (2007)

Rating: 7.0/10 (29 votes)
Runtime: 17
Language: Danish (English hardsubs)
Country: Denmark
Color: Color
IMDb Link:

Director: Tor Fruergaard
Tor Fruergaard ... Indian
Niels-Peter Henriksen ... Virgil
Kim Jeppesen ... Eddie
Carsten Reinholdt ... Jack
Jesper Soelberg ... Indian Chief

Description: The first ever puppet ZombieWestern!

Virgil lives alone with his bully father and a mute bartender and he is being mocked by the two tough cowboys Eddie and Hank. Because of The Dark Butcher who has been terrorizing the local Indian tribe, the Indians see no other way, than bringing the dead to live by performing The Forbidden Rituals. When the Zombies suddenly attack the saloon, action begins and true characters are brought to daylight. And who is The Dark Butcher?

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Withnail & I (1987)

Rating: 7.8/10 (9,957 votes)
Runtime: 107 min
Language: english
Country: UK
Color: color
IMDb Link:

Director: Bruce Robinson
Richard E. Grant ... Withnail
Paul McGann ... Marwood
Richard Griffiths ... Monty

Ralph Brown ... Danny
Michael Elphick ... Jake
Daragh O'Malley ... Irishman
Michael Wardle ... Isaac Parkin
Una Brandon-Jones ... Mrs. Parkin
Noel Johnson ... General
Irene Sutcliffe ... Waitress
Llewellyn Rees ... Tea Shop Proprietor
Robert Oates ... Policeman One
Anthony Wise ... Policeman Two
Eddie Tagoe ... Presuming Ed

Description: ondon 1969 - two 'resting' (unemployed and unemployable) actors, Withnail and Marwood, fed up with damp, cold, piles of washing-up, mad drug dealers and psychotic Irishmen, decide to leave their squalid Camden flat for an idyllic holiday in the countryside, courtesy of Withnail's uncle Monty's country cottage. But when they get there, it rains non-stop, there's no food, and their basic survival skills turn out to be somewhat limited. Matters are not helped by the arrival of Uncle Monty, who shows an uncomfortably keen interest in Marwood...

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Stanley Cuba (2007)

Runtime: 80
Language: English
Country: USA
Color: Color
IMDb Link:

Director: Per Anderson
Mike Birbiglia ... Stanley
Daniel Asher ... Pancrazio
Bill Barnett ... Prescot
Jessica Bishop ... Model (as Jessica Stasulis)
Patrice Bunch ... Tiffany

Description: Intellectual property lawyers attempt to put photography student Stanley Cuba under contract to the shadowy Guggenvich family. But Stanley’s professor tells the class that art is war and that true artists are unpaid. After flash forwarding into a parallel dimension by knocking his head on a rectangular black obelisk, Stanley discovers the secret of Jackson Pollock’s fame. But can Stanley enter room 237 and achieve aesthetic transcendence without kissing his girlfriend’s mom?

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The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926)

Rating: 8.1/10
Runtime: 65
Language: German captions; hardcoded English subtitles
Country: Germany
Color: Black and White (tinted and toned)
IMDb Link:

Director: Lotte Reiniger

Disney's Snow White & the Seven Dwarves is commonly quoted as the first full length animated feature. However, 11 years ago before its release, at the age of 23, Berlin born avant-garde artist Charlotte Reiniger designed the exquisite "silhouette film" The Adventures of Prince Achmed. Loosely based on the 1001 Nights (The Arabian Nights) The Adventures of Prince Achmed deploys elaborate cut-outs, early multiplane camerawork, and experiments with wax and sand to produce an exquisite visual feast. The fantasy world of sorcerers and magic lamps, flying horses and an island lake where a princess and her attendants fly down to bathe using lace like wings comes to life in a breathtaking combination of images, color and special effects that will dazzle and enchant adults and children alike. The film was finished and had its premiere in Berlin in 1926.


Description: In our age of CG and digital enhancements, it's difficult (for some) to remember a time when things were done by hand and hand alone. Thus, is the case of animation. This painstaking art has been replaced with programs that not only speed up the process of single-frame rendering, they can even mimic pen strokes and outlines.

So it's a rare treat to come across a unique work that illustrates the artistry of early animation in Film. A shining example is Reinger's "The Adventures of Prince Achmed" . There's really no preparation for this feature, one just needs to succumb to the beautiful imagery that begins to reveal itself, one silhouette at a time. It completely takes us off the conventional track and into the realm best inhabited by forgotten dreams. One forgets that one is watching a series of contours and like the traditional Nang Yai shadow puppet play, the journey has you swept away in a short time!

Some may not be as impressed with this `old-fashioned' approach to story telling. It doesn't compare to the spectacles of the `instant classic' available these days. It's a bit `clanky' and possibly too analog for others. On the other hand, if you're looking for a whimsical and imaginative tale of magic, travels to mystical lands, heroism and love (with a charming score), you won't be in the least bit disappointed with this one.

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Das Schloss (1968) aka The Castle

Rating: 6.4/10
Runtime: 86
Language: German + English and Spanish .srt
Country: West Germany
Color: yes
IMDb Link:

Director: Rudolf Noelte
Maximilian Schell ... 'K'
Cordula Trantow ... Frieda
Trudik Daniel ... Innkeeper's Wife
Friedrich Maurer ... Mayor
Helmut Qualtinger... Burgel

Description: Based on Franz Kafka's novel. A man comes to a small village to begin his new job as an attendant at the nearby castle. But everybody in the village claims that he surely must be mistaken, there is no need for an inspector in the castle.

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