July 16, 2013

Soul Kitchen

"Soul Kitchen" is Zinos Kazantsakis's restaurant in a working-class neighborhood of Hamburg. The food is mostly frozen, unceremoniously zapped in the microwave, or thrown into a vat of bubbling grease. He loves his restaurant and his girlfriend Nadine, even when she leaves him for an assignment in China. On a whim, Zinos hires an out-of-work three-star chef, lets his ex-con brother Ilias spin records, and soon Soul Kitchen is reborn as Hamburg's newest hot spot. There is also a slipped disc, a hard-drinking, chain-smoking waitress, a scheming real-estate developer, a Turkish "physio-healer," and a high stakes poker game in the mix. But the film is not about food, or love, but about family, life and human relationships, with a lingering nostalgia for a time when eating out implied getting dead drunk, stuffing one's face with cholesterol and kissing across the table.

Askwith Media Library 58936-D Release Date 2009

Posted by mcmike at 03:55 PM | Comments (0)

November 14, 2011

The Robber

A champion marathoner leads a double life as a serial bank robber, sprinting between fixes, and away from police cavalcades, as many as three times a day. A lean, visceral study of pathological compulsion from Austrian director Benjamin Heisenberg, featuring a riveting central performance by Andreas Lust.

Suspenseful yes, and a lot of running. Excellent performances and a very good story line. ~Mike

Askwith Media Library 55983-D 97 minutes 2011

Posted by mcmike at 09:56 AM | Comments (0)

November 09, 2011

Mostly Martha (Bella Martha)

Martha is the chef who fusses and obsesses over each dish before it leaves the kitchen. The demands of her job and her natural shyness keep her from meeting new people. When her sister suddenly dies, Martha adopts Lina, her eight-year-old niece, completely changing both lives. Martha gets unexpected help from Mario, her hunky new sous chef, who is not only a whiz on the chopping block but knows sundry magic tricks and jokes to keep Lina's spirits afloat. Just as Martha starts to grow attached to the girl, Lina's erratic father shows up demanding that he take her back to Italy with him.

This film is a poetic look at food and love, passion and compassion.

Askwith Media Library 35196-D 107 minutes 2001

Posted by mcmike at 02:39 PM | Comments (0)

August 22, 2011


Hermann Hermann, a Russian emigrant and successful chocolate magnate, starts to experience hallucinations. One day, he meets Felix and is sure that this man is his doppelganger. His delusional thinking leads him to hatch a plan to relieve him of his mental anguish.
screenplay, Tom Stoppard ; director, Rainer Werner Fassbinder.
Based on the novel by Vladimir Nabokov.

I have been intrigued by this film since I saw it in the early 1990s. Is this a study of slow, creeping madness or just about someone who wants to start over against overwhelming odds? One of my favorite Fassbinder's. ~Mike

Originally produced as a motion picture in 1978. Germany
Restored version 2011.

Askwith Media Library 55172-D

Posted by mcmike at 11:16 AM | Comments (0)

August 09, 2011

Nordwand (Northface)

An adventure drama, based on a true story, about a competition to climb the most dangerous rock face in the Alps, the north face of the Eiger. Set in 1936, Nazi propaganda urges German alpinists to conquer the mountain, and two reluctant young climbers, Toni and Andi, attempt a daring ascent, closely followed by two Austrian climbers. All goes well at first, but then the climbers lose their advantage over the mountain and the race against time and forces of nature begins.

Intense and insightful to the human condition. ~Mike

Released in 2010

Askwith Media Library 53793-D

Posted by mcmike at 10:44 AM | Comments (0)

April 07, 2011

Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse

Locked away in an asylum for a decade and teetering between life and death, the criminal mastermind Dr. Mabuse has scribbled his last will and testament: a manifesto establishing a future empire of crime. When the document's nefarious writings start leading to terrifying parallels in reality, it's up to Berlin's star detective, Inspector Lohmann, to connect the most fragmented, maddening clues in a case unlike any other.

The Mabuse films are Lang's finest work. ~Mike

Released in 1933

Askwith Media Library 37856-D 121 minutes

Posted by mcmike at 02:58 PM | Comments (0)

August 20, 2010


Building the Titanic has been a huge financial effort, and White Star Line president Bruce Ismay wants her maiden voyage to hit the headlines. It is at Ismay's urging that Capt. Edward J. Smith pushes for a record speed in their voyage to New York, and that eventually sows the seeds for later disaster. This Titanic features a number of rich, decadent British passengers and a handful of noble German peasants. Ends with the court tribunal acquitting Ismay of any wrong-doing for the sinking of the great ship.
Special features: original 1912 newsreel; White Star Line promotional film, offering a tour of the Olympic, Titanic's sister ship; theatrical trailer; photo gallery; excerpts from the pressbook.

1943 release

The Germans warned the Captain but English greed did not allow the ship to stop. Pro-Nazi propaganda during World War II. The original director Herbert Selpin, after bad mouthing Nazi officials, was removed from the film and arrested. Shortly after his arrest he was found hanged in his jail cell. ~Mike

Askwith Media Library 38493-D

Posted by mcmike at 02:26 PM | Comments (0)

June 22, 2010


In an ominous fortress perched high above the clouds, everything seems in order for a reposing 24 hours. It is the spring of 1942 in Germany and Eva Braun is the only voice that dares contradict the Fuhrer. Eva is caught up in the complexities of a man incapable of human intimacy, making her as volcanic as her beloved Hitler.
Originally released as a motion picture in 1999
German dialogue, English subtitles

Outstanding visuals ~Mike

Askwith Media Library 40237-D

Posted by mcmike at 02:14 PM | Comments (0)