By John Seal

October 22, 2012

Do I make you horny, baby?

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From the obscure to the obscurest to the merely overlooked or underappreciated; they all have a home in the TiVoPlex! All times Pacific.

Tuesday 10/23/12

4:15 PM Sundance
Soul Kitchen (2009 GER): Foodies will tumble big-time for this surprisingly cheery comedy from Edge of Heaven director Fatih Akin. Adam Bousdoukos headlines as Zinos, a Hamburg restaurateur whose down-at-heel dining establishment offers cheap and cheerful grub for the locals as well as a place to go dancing to classic soul music. After he returns from an overseas trip, however, Zinos makes a horrifying discovery: in his absence, chef Shayn (Birol Unel) has spruced up the menu and brother Ilias (Moritz Bleibtrau) has introduced some rather uncouth elements to the restaurant. The Germans don’t exactly have a sterling reputation for comedy, but Soul Kitchen suggests they do have a funny bone after all.

7:00 PM Turner Classic Movies
Mandy (1952 GB): “Oh, Mandy, you came and you gave without taking...and I need you today, oh, Mandy...”. Sorry, I was just flashing back for a moment to my mother’s Barry Manilow records, which she played a lot back in the day. “At the Copa...Copacabana...the hottest spot north of Havana...at the Copa...COPACABAAAAANA...music and fashion were always the passion”...okay, i’ll stop now, but those songs are permanently imprinted on my brain, and I’ll no doubt be singing Mandy to myself when I’ve long since forgotten the names of my grandchildren. As for Mandy (the film), it’s an excellent drama about the trials and tribulations of a young deaf girl (eight-year old Mandy Miller) whose parents (Phyllis Calvert & Terence Morgan) are determined to prove that she can speak. Enter Dick Searle (Jack Hawkins), headmaster of a school for the deaf and a strong advocate for Mandy who thinks he can help - as long as he can also keep the school’s donors and sponsors happy. Directed by Alexander Mackendrick, much better known for such comedies as Whiskey Galore and The Ladykillers, Mandy was nominated for six BAFTAs and won the Special Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival.


Wednesday 10/24/12

4:15 AM Turner Classic Movies
The Magician (1926 USA): German star Paul Wegener headlines this outstanding American-produced, shot-in-France silent fantasy. Wegener plays Oliver Haddo, an alchemist convinced he needs the blood of a virgin to complete his experiments. Not too surprisingly, this virgin must be of the female variety - and even less surprisingly, Haddo has a dwarf assistant (Henry Wilson) to help him find the perfect young lady. He succeeds, and soon sweet young thing Margaret Dauncey (Alice Terry) finds herself and her hemoglobin in great danger. The story sounds rather sordid, but it’s all based on a Somerset Maugham story and directed by the great Rex Ingram (Ben-Hur), so The Magician is not exactly a potboiler. The film features the most impressive scientific lab set design of the pre-Strickfaden era, and Michael Powell began his long and illustrious career as The Magician’s assistant director. It’s followed at 5:45 AM by The Letter (1929), a creaky but interesting early talkie starring the legendary Jeanne Eagels as a married woman who kills her lover.

6:00 AM HBO Signature
La Isla Interior (2009 ESP): A worthwhile Spanish drama about family and genetics, La Isla Interior provides a powerful and sobering look at the crippling effects of mental illness. Cristina Marks stars as Gracia, one of three siblings re-united by the imminent death of their father. Also on hand are brother Miguel (Alberto San Juan) and sister Coral (Candela Pena), as well as dear old mum (Geraldine Chaplin). Dad has long suffered from schizophrenia and the family has long avoided dealing with its legacy, but his passing forces them to come to terms with his - and perhaps their - illness. Though deadly serious in intent, there’s an underlying current of dark humor that works in the film’s favor, and San Juan delivers a particularly strong performance.

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