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Born to Kill: El Angel

By Michael Sandlin. Director Luis Ortega’s El Angel (co-produced by Pedro Almodovar) is a quietly disturbing but ultimately unsatisfying character study based on real-life 1970s Argentinian teen serial killer Carlos Robaldo Puch. Puch’s good looks and high intelligence defied the then-accepted image of the serial murderer as scraggly failed-hippie eyesore. Lorenzo Ferro plays killer Carlos […]

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Notes on Pablo Larraín

By Christopher Sharrett. Some months ago I published in this location brief remarks on Pablo Larraín’s remarkable film Jackie (2016), one of the most compelling works of its season. The film had me going back, revisiting Larraín’s other work, which resulted in my present view that he is in the front rank of current filmmakers. […]

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Screwball/Great Depression Denial Syndrome: My Man Godfrey (Criterion Collection)

By Tony Williams. Gregory La Cava’s My Man Godfrey (1936) is admittedly one of the best screwball comedies of the 1930s that provided witty dialogue, entertainment, and “acceptable” references to the Great Depression in the limited manner Hollywood allowed at this time. Far removed from the more gritty Warner Bros’ type of productions such as […]

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From a Longtime Insider/Outsider – Two Cheers for Hollywood: Joseph McBride on Movies

A Book Review Essay by Tony Williams. Joseph McBride, currently Professor of Film Studies at San Francisco State University, has had a long and varied career both in the film industry and as an independent critic for many decades. Soon we will finally get to see his long-awaited role as Mr. Pister in Orson Welles’s […]

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Colette in the #MeToo Era

By Elizabeth Toohey. If ever a movie was ripe for release, it’s the new bio-pic Colette. The life and career of one of France’s most celebrated novelists hits in rapid succession all the major notes of the MeToo movement, which shows no signs of slowing down, now with the recent Supreme Court appointment of Brett […]

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“Good Sausage”: Felix Feist’s The Man Who Cheated Himself (1950) from Flicker Alley

By Tony Williams. Imagine Lee J. Cobb (1911-1976) playing a star role as an honest cop turned bad played for a sucker by femme fatale Jane Wyatt (1910-2006), an actress not usually associated with such parts but more as the contented spouse of Robert Young (1907-1998) in Father Knows Best (1954-1960) and Spock’s mother in […]

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Cinema Thinks: Film as Philosophy Edited by Bernd Herzogenrath

A Book Review Essay by John Duncan Talbird. The multi-authored book is a misnomer. Although out in the world there is no taint to the word “anthology,” it seems that in academe, readers (or publishers?) want something more cohesive. And so we have introductions wherein an editor will mightily attempt to frame the various essays […]

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Far from Paradise: Dietrich and Von Sternberg in Hollywood (Criterion Collection)

By Tony Williams. A box set containing the Josef Von Sternberg (1894-1969) and Marlene Dietrich (1901-1992) collaboration, even if copyright reasons exclude The Blue Angel (1930), would appear the fulfillment of any film collector’s dreams. This recent release of the Paramount Studio films should have been the most heralded event of the year and, to […]

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For and Against the Grand Narrative: The Hollywood War Film by Daniel Binns

A Book Review Essay by Matthew Sorrento. Genre studies, whether treating film genre history as evolutionary or as cycles, always has to fight the charge that genre films are conservative by nature. In Judith Hess Wright’s rather compelling estimation (if limiting), the films always look back to the past to endorse the ideas and social […]

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Rediscovering a “Lost Art”: How Did Lubitsch Do It? by Joseph McBride

A Book Review Essay by Tony Williams. Any book or article by Joseph McBride is worth reading, especially in this era of mostly dismal films and an unqualified plethora of ignorant internet film reviewers. The author’s latest book (Columbia UP, 2018) on a director who should be more well-known represents a challenging task especially in […]

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