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Defying Ideology (and the Academy) – Mr. Novak: An Acclaimed Television Series by Chuck Harter

A Book Review Essay by Tony Williams. When recovering from reviewing lesser works by well-established publishers, whether direct-to-library or university presses, it is often a welcome relief to read something outstanding by publishing companies that deserve to be much better known than their “illustrious” peers. Granted that not everything by these publishers is 100% good […]

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Hefting the Masterpieces: Filmworker

By Elizabeth Toohey. Do we really need another Stanley Kubrick documentary? There’s the comprehensive Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures (2001), with its reverent celebrity talking-heads – Tom Cruise and Woody Allen! Spielberg and Scorsese! – praising Kubrick’s technical genius, and Kubrick’s adoring wife pooh-poohing rumors that he was controlling or hard on women. Then […]

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“As Usual, Ladies First”: Manners, Manuals, and The Hunger Games

By Richmond B. Adams. During “The Reaping” sequence from Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) “volunteer[s] as tribute” to save her younger sister Primrose (Willow Shields) from almost inevitable “death in the upcoming arena” (22). While exceptional for District 12 of Panem, Katniss’ interposition is quite familiar to Collins’ readers and viewers […]

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Consistent Passion, Little Fanfare: RBG

By Elizabeth Toohey. Towards the end of the powerful new documentary RBG, we follow the 85-year-old Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg into a sculpture garden where she is being given a tour. Of a figure of a woman clad in armor standing at the ready, the guide explains, “It’s called the Woman Warrior. Any kind […]

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Genius in Collaboration: The Outer Limits, Season One from Kino Lorber

By Tony Williams. I saw my first episode of The Outer Limits on a regional independent television station in the mid-60s. Opening with the evocative credit sequence “There is nothing wrong with your television set. We will control everything…” the off-screen voice of Vic Perrin promised to take us all on “a great adventure” and […]

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Beauty and the Dogs: Women’s Revolution in Tunisian Cinema

By Matthew Fullerton. As Hollywood grapples with diversity issues, it is interesting to note how Tunisia, an emergent democracy since its 2011 revolution, has witnessed women filmmakers moving into the forefront of a traditionally male-dominated film industry. Emboldened perhaps by the 2014 Constitution guaranteeing freedom of opinion, thought, and expression, and by international interest in […]

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Family Values and Civic Duties: Fassbinder’s Eight Hours Don’t Make a Day

By Jeremy Carr. Rainer Werner Fassbinder was particularly adept at transitioning between the cinema and television (and theater, for that matter), starting the crossover just a few films in to his prolific directorial career, with Das Kaffeehaus, a TV movie released in 1970. In 1972, already with a mind-boggling 14 titles to his credit – since 1969 – […]

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Unlovely Spectacle: D.A. Miller on Call Me By Your Name

By David Greven. An exchange I had with an older, straight, white academic in Film Studies serves as an instructive example of a particular phenomenon that I will call the Miller Effect. Hearing me express admiration for Ang Lee’s 2005 film Brokeback Mountain, which I consider a masterpiece, he stared at me incredulously before saying, […]

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Marcel Pagnol’s “Marseille Trilogy”: An Essential Reemerges on Criterion

By Christopher Weedman. Among the most impressive film restorations of 2017 was Marcel Pagnol’s Marseille Trilogy (1931-36), which I reviewed last March when Janus Films screened it theatrically in select US cities. Those not fortunate enough to live near such splendid art-house and independent film venues as the Film Forum in New York and the […]

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The Form and Function of a Cult Film: Deep Red by Alexia Kannas

A Book Review Essay by Jeremy Carr. Alexia Kannas’ Deep Red (Columbia University Press, 2017), her contribution to the Wallflower Press Cultographies series, in which she takes a deep dive into the making, reception, and legacy of Dario Argento’s 1975 giallo masterpiece, is an ideal meeting of author, subject, and publishing premise. Sold as a series […]

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