Blu-Ray Review: The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane

Director: Nicolas Gessner
Screenplay: Laird Koenig
Based on a novel by: Laird Koenig
Starring: Jodie Foster, Scott Jacoby, Martin Sheen, Alexis Smith, Mort Shuman
Country: France, Canada
Running Time: 92 min
Year: 1976
BBFC Certificate: 15


Jodie Foster had quite a year in 1976. Only thirteen when the year came around, she’d already enjoyed a successful career with dozens of TV credits and a couple of films under her belt. 1976 marked the beginning of her transition from child actor in family shows and Disney movies to a truly accomplished actress though. Within one year she starred in the cult classic (at least in more recent years) Bugsy Malone, family favourite Freaky Friday and, most notably, Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver, in which she played a pre-adolescent prostitute. With these films she cemented her place in cinema history in one fell swoop. There was another film released that year though that is less talked about, The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane (plus Echoes of a Summer, but I know little about that). It won awards for best horror film and best actress for Foster at the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, so within genre circles it was well regarded, but it certainly doesn’t share the reputation of the three other 1976 titles I mentioned earlier. Signal One Entertainment felt the need to address the balance a little though and gave the film a decent Blu-Ray release in the UK a couple of years ago. I recently got my hands on a copy and here are my thoughts on it

The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane sees Foster play Rynn, a thirteen year old girl living on her own in a small town, but hiding the fact to her rather nosey neighbours. She tells them her father is a poet that is always working upstairs and doesn’t want to be disturbed. One neighbour, Frank Hallet (Martin Sheen), is a sleazy man, known by the townsfolk for having a taste for young girls and he sees Rynn’s isolation as an opportunity. Frank’s mother (Alexis Smith), who owns the property Rynn rents, is also suspicious of the situation and continues to snoop around, until she is accidentally killed after discovering a dark secret in the house. Rynn hides her body, but local teenager Mario (Scott Jacoby) bumps into her and can see something isn’t right. As the two develop a strong bond, Rynn decides to let him in on her secret and the two do their best to keep on top of things.

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Cinecast Episode 380 – More Hovering

 
Party crasher on the set of the RowThree Cinecast arrives in studio in the form of one Sean Dwyer from Film Junk. More well-equipped to take the punches from Matt Gamble than anyone, it turns out to be a much more agreeable show than we anticipated – even with the latest Wachowski output being compared to Citizen Kane. That’s right, from the Ascension of the Jovian Gas Giant to the depths of Jude Law’s Russian sea we are a literal high and low podcast. Later in the Watch List, Sean and Andrew look deep into the “Black Mirror” while Matt and Kurt praise another successful editing venture of the great Louis C.K. – of course it doesn’t stop there. We have Steve McQueen, Spike Lee and “that one about the Nazis” on Amazon TV; among many other tid-bits of discussion. We’re happy and honored that Sean could finally make an appearance and happy to hear of the many upcoming moments of greatness still to come from the Film Junk crew.

As always, please join the conversation by leaving your own thoughts in the comment section below and again, thanks for listening!

 

 
 

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Trailer: Elysium

It has been a couple years since the rousing success of Neil Blomkamp’s District 9, and the man has been busy playing with more money and a significant larger scale, but by the looks of the trailer, not abandoning his social-commentary one little bit. Here a shiny-domed Matt Damon straps on his own sleek exoskeletion Robocop suit in the slums of Earth and looks to bring a little hell in the paradise of Elysium, a satellite in orbit that has a very nice “Ringworld” (If you’re a fan of Larry Niven) aesthetic. I can’t wait for this, and it is coming at the tail end of Summer.

In the year 2159, two classes of people exist: the very wealthy, who live on a pristine man-made space station called Elysium, and the rest, who live on an overpopulated, ruined Earth. The people of Earth are desperate to escape the planet’s crime and poverty, and they critically need the state-of-the-art medical care available on Elysium – but some in Elysium will stop at nothing to enforce anti-immigration laws and preserve their citizens’ luxurious lifestyle. The only man with the chance bring equality to these worlds is Max, an ordinary guy in desperate need to get to Elysium. With his life hanging in the balance, he reluctantly takes on a dangerous mission – one that pits him against Elysium’s Secretary Delacourt and her hard-line forces – but if he succeeds, he could save not only his own life, but millions of people on Earth as well.

DVD Review: The Beaver

The Beaver DVD Cover

Director: Jodie Foster (Little Man Tate, Home for the Holidays)
Screenplay: Kyle Killen
Producers: Steve Golin, Keith Redmon, Ann Ruark
Starring: Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster, Anton Yelchin, Jennifer Lawrence
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running time: 91 min.


In her many years in Hollywood, Jodie Foster hasn’t made many mistakes in front of the camera. Occasionally her choices surprise but she always delivers memorable performances. Her directorial turns haven’t gone over quite as well. Though proficient, I’ve found her films a bit too sappy and rather lacklustre and though entertaining, they have failed to meet the success of Foster’s onscreen work.

When news started to circulate that she would be heading behind the camera for The Beaver, Hollywood news dropped running with the sexual innuendoes attached to the tile and quite frankly, any one of those dirty jokes would have made a more entertaining film than this one and as ships captain, Foster takes some of the blame though this is very much the case of a script that simply doesn’t work.
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Trailer: The Beaver

Good Luck Ms. Foster. Good Luck Summit Entertainment. Those ‘best wishes’ would be selling a family redemption, Oscar-ish type story around Mel Gibson and a talking beaver. I think it is fair to say that the box-office and overall reception to this film is going to be more interesting than the film itself, this must aggravate director Jodie Foster a tad.

Polanski on to Green Pastures…

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PERFECTION

This news absolutely just made my day. According to reports around the web today, notrious (and amazing) director, Roman Polanski, has nabbed some names for his upcoming film, God of Carnage that absolutely make me wanna sing with joy.

Four Oscar winners will come together with this Oscar winning director. Ready? Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, Christoph Waltz and Matt Damon. Presumably these four will come together to form two couples in the premise of this adaptation from an apparently fairly popular Broadway show:

Yasmina Reza’s play follows two sets of parents whose worlds collide when their sons get into a fight at school. The meeting at school goes awry when the couples begin attacking each other’s parenting skills, and eventually marital problems come under scrutiny.

Currently in pre-prod., filming is set to begin sometime next year. Obviously it will have to be filmed in Europe because… well you know, but the setting within the world of the story will still be set in Brooklyn, NY. Should be interesting.

This movie just raced to the #1 position of my most anticipated film of the next however long it takes to get here. Thoughts?

 

Cinecast 168 – The Hacksaw Dilemma

 
Revenge is a dish best served cold. So claims an old Klingon proverb. While probably not technically accurate as to the origin of the phrase, it is apropos of this weeks cinecast. It would perhaps be even more appropriate to say that revenge is a dish served often, and in a versatile and diverse number of ways! Even though that does not exactly roll off the tongue – we present a couple of lists to prove it. Tying in with this weeks top ten is our full (and shockingly spoiler free!) review of the Michael Caine revenge drama, Harry Brown. Though there are only two of us to go back and forth this week, we still find some DVDs to discuss and maybe grump out a bit at dismal outlook on our near future at the multiplex.

As always, feel free to leave your own thoughts in the comment section below and thanks for listening!




To download the show directly, paste the following URL into your favorite downloader:
http://rowthree.com/audio/cinecast_10/episode_168.mp3

 
 
 
Full show notes are under the seats…
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Empire’s 20th Birthday Photo Shoot

 

From South Africa (Clint Eastwood) to Santa Monica (Governor Schwarzenegger) to Jack Nicholson’s house (um, Jack Nicholson), Empire trotted the globe to deliver you 27 of the planet’s biggest stars, recreating iconic performances from two decades in film, for a unique 20th birthday celebration…

 

I stuck a few more favorites beneath the seats, but for the full list, head over to Empire online.

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A Martin Scorsese Marathon

Basically, you make another movie, and another, and hopefully you feel good about every picture you make. And you say, ‘My name is on that. I did that. It’s OK’. But don’t get me wrong, I still get excited by it all. That, I hope, will never disappear.” – Martin Scorsese

For the better part of the last three decades, I have been a fan of Martin Scorsese. My admiration first took bloom in the summer of 1985, and happened to coincide with what I consider to be the discovery of my young adult life; set off the main drag of the town I grew up in, I found a small video store. Now, this in itself was no great revelation; in the years before Blockbuster came barreling into my area, forcing all the smaller video chains out of business, there were at least half a dozen such stores within a 3-mile radius. But the moment I walked into this particular video palace, I knew it was special. Where most were lining their shelves with numerous copies of the ‘hot new releases’, this one had titles like Midnight Cowboy, 2001: A Space Odyssey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Straw Dogs, A Clockwork Orange, films that the others simply didn’t offer. For me, this store was a treasure trove, and I returned there often, sometimes 3-4 times a week, uncovering classic after classic, films that, to this day, I consider some of the finest ever made.

And it was here that I first found Mean Streets.

Tough and unflinching, Mean Streets was like a punch to the head for a 15-year-old from the suburbs; a marriage of images and rock music, violence and pain the likes of which I had never seen before, offering a glimpse into a lifestyle that I found all too real, and a little bit frightening. I must have rented it at least six times that summer, and as a result, Mean Streets fast became my favorite movie. More than this, it was my jumping-off point into the career of Martin Scorsese. After Mean Streets, I moved on to Taxi Driver and Raging Bull, two more shots to the head. Through these three films, I realized just how deep, just how down-and-dirty, and just how moving the cinema could be. They marked a turning point in my development as a film fan. Movies were no longer limited to the land of make believe; they would also be a window overlooking the real world.

Now, almost 24 years after I first walked into that video store, I’ve decided to take my admiration to the next, perhaps the ultimate, level. Over the course of the last several weeks, I sat down with everything that home video has to offer of Martin Scorsese’s work behind the camera, 26 films in all, and what I uncovered on this love-fest of mine proved to be just as enlightening as that first viewing of Mean Streets all those years ago.

As I sat watching one Scorsese movie after the other, I found myself asking, “What exactly is it that constitutes a Martin Scorsese film”? It was a question I had to pose, because I quickly realized that most of my initial beliefs, the pre-conceptions I had built up about the man and his career, only told part of the story.

For one, there was my presumption that the recurring trait in every Scorsese film was a down-to-earth quality, where the genuine, the realistic, would be favored above all else. Well, this is certainly true in some of Scorsese’s finest films, especially those where actual events served as a foundation (Raging Bull, Goodfellas, Casino, The Aviator). However, it was wrong of me to discount the role that fantasy played in Scorsese’s work. The opening scene of Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore looks as if it was lifted right out of Gone With the Wind, and the musical numbers of New York, New York were obvious nods to the Hollywood big-budget spectaculars of the 40’s and 50’s. There is the dreamy romance of The Age of Innocence, and the hilarious bad luck of Paul Hackett in After Hours; in short, films that have little or no basis in reality whatsoever, proving that the fantastic plays just as important a role in the great director’s work as reality does.
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