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Bla(h)sphemy to the Nunth Degree: The Little Hours

By Elias Savada. The hip medieval stew being served up in Jeff Baena’s The Little Hours is overcooked with naughty nuns sexually rampaging through the Tuscan countryside. Their simmering pelvic hunger knows very few bounds in this mid-14th-century romp that aims for a low common denominator of R-rated decency. It hits a bulls-eye of smugness, […]

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Authorship, History, and Reception: The Cinema of Hal Hartley edited by Steven Rybin

A Book Review by John Duncan Talbird. Ideas, for Deleuze, do not exist above life as ideal forms but come from life as a flow of forces and desires…All of Deleuze’s concepts – including irony itself – are founded upon multiplicity in this way.                                                 –Claire Perkins, American Smart Cinema (2012) This quote appears in the […]

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The Unhappiness of Growing Up: Sami Blood

By Elias Savada. The sad fate and cruel savagery hoisted on many indigenous people have been part of an angst-filled sidebar on the world stage for centuries. Explore/invade/plunder/kill/assimilate. In the history of cinema, you’ll find dozens of films that walk and talk among native populations, whether in Australia (Ten Canoes, Walkabout, The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, […]

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Baby Driver: With Films Like This, Who Needs Drugs?

By Elias Savada. With an omp pa pa, everybody sing! “Music Makes the Wheels Go Round, the Wheels Go Round, the Wheels Go Round!” And when you’re finished, check out the adrenaline-boosted start-to-finish-line playlist and the fast-paced action in Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver. With an intensely supercharged soundtrack driving the frantic editing in this way-cool heist […]

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Mutating War Traumas: Monsters in the Machine by Steffen Hantke

A Book Review by Christopher Weedman. Steffen Hantke’s welcome new book Monsters in the Machine: Science Fiction Film and the Militarization of America after World War II (University Press of Mississippi, 2016) is an articulate and well-researched socio-political examination of the cycle of science fiction films that arose to popularity on American theater and drive-in […]

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Ivor and Hitch: the Criterion 2017 DVD Versions of The Lodger and Downhill

By Tony Williams. Although currently promoted mainly as a restoration of The Lodger (1927), a film that its director regarded as his first real film, this two-disc DVD also includes the frequently unseen Downhill, also starring Ivor Novello (1893-1951), a major matinee idol in his time well known as a musical composer, scenarist, and dialogue writer […]

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Power Off: Kill Switch

By Elias Savada. There’s a lot of technical wizardry afoot in Dutch filmmaker Tim Smit’s feature directorial debut Kill Switch, an indie sci fi race-to-save-the-planet flick set in the depressing, dystopian future of March 24, 2043. Yeah, been there, done that. E.T. phoned home a long time ago in a much brighter time. Countless films and […]

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Taking Stock – The Second Edition of the Criterion Collection’s Straw Dogs

By Tony Williams. In 2003 Criterion issued a two-disk DVD version of Sam Peckinpah’s controversial Straw Dogs (1971) when the issue of the director’s supposed virulent misogyny and sexism still raised critical debate and strong emotions. Fourteen years later a second edition has now appeared with most of the same features of the original version […]

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Eternal Fugitives: Nicholas Ray’s They Live by Night from Criterion

By Tony Williams. Again Criterion have provided us with a welcome reissue of a classic film noir now in a new 2k digital restoration with valuable feature material including the 2007 audio commentary by “Czar of Noir” Eddie Muller and Farley Granger, now sadly no longer with us. (Though available on older DVD sets of the […]

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Cinematic Archeology and the Portrayal of a “Wonder Woman”: Letters from Baghdad

By Martin Kudláč. In the 1996 film The English Patient directed by Anthony Minghella is a scene with British soldiers examining a map. “But can we get through those mountains?” to which another replies “The Bell maps show a way” followed by “Let´s hope he was right.” This reference has been the cinematic testament to […]

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