Unlike the Criterion Channel, Kino Now is a pay-per-view service. There are no subscription fees, but you must pay for each movie you watch. Unless, of course, you want to watch one of these eight, before November 15th.
To see these films free, go to the Anniversary Binge page and copy the code. Then click the Redeem Pass button and enter that code.
five four of the eight. Here’s what I think of them:
A The Complete Metropolis (1927)
The first important science fiction feature film still delivers a considerable visual punch. The images – workers in a hellish underground factory, the wealthy at play, a robot in the form of a beautiful woman – are a permanent part of our collective memory. The simplistic politics at times feel like trite melodrama, but it soon turns into something like grand opera. Read my longer report and my Blu-ray review.
A The Hitch-Hiker (1953)
This three-person tale, directed by Ida Lupino, grabs you by the gut. Two men on a fishing vacation pick up a hitchhiker, who turns out to be a psychotic killer wanted by the police. Holding them at gunpoint, he forces his prisoners to drive to Baja California, where he hopes to cover his tracks and be safe forever. They know quite well that he only intends to keep them alive until he no longer needs them. William Talman doesn’t bring nuance to the killer, but he brings a menace that could curdle water. Read my Blu-ray review.
A- Beanpole (2019)
Within minutes after this Russian film starts, the extremely tall title character (Viktoria Miroshnichenko) commits something horrifically evil. We’re never really sure why she did this unspeakable act, but director/co-writer Kantemir Balagov clearly wants us to figure things out on our own. Set in Stalingrad only months after the war, life is still difficult, and Beanpole’s work in the hospital is a daily reminder of victory’s cost. Her best friend Masha (Vasilisa Perelygina) wants a baby but can’t conceive one, so she insists that Beanpole do it for her. Everyone is miserable in Stalingrad, but small acts of kindness help. Cinematographer Kseniya Sereda finds unusual ways to look into the Russian soul.
C+ Dawson City: Frozen Time (2017)
In 1978, Michael Gates of Dawson City, Alaska stumbled on a huge collection of 35mm nitrate film, buried in a former swimming pool below a torn-down ice rink, less than 200 miles south of the Arctic Circle. Bill Morrison’s documentary tells two stories: One is about the discovery; the other about the town. They’re both good stories, but Morrison made two major mistakes that keep me from enthusiastically recommending the film. Alex Somers’ highly repetitive music score sounds like an exceptionally boring funeral dirge, while the use of superimposed intertitles in lieu of vocal narration creates an emotional distance. Read my full review.
And here are the three I haven’t yet seen. I’ll try to see them before the 15th.