Festival Reports

Independents at 25: Slamdance 2019 »

We are Thankful

By Gary M. Kramer. Now in its 25th year, the Slamdance Film Festival – held in Park City, Utah, January 25-31, 2019 – is a showcase for independent filmmakers. Here is a rundown of…

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The Dawn of New Era: Locarno 2018 »

Dragonfly Eyes (2017)

By Martin Kudláč. The largest annual Swiss film gathering, and one of the longest running film festivals in the world, in Locarno flourished into a sought-after cinephile event, some say even “the worldwide cinephile…

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Ultimate Moments: NYFF Shorts 2018 »

The Glorious Acceptance of Nicolas Chauvin

By Gary M. Kramer. Two shorts programs at this year’s New York Film Festival feature new and exciting works by debut, established, and returning filmmakers. The International Shorts Program II opens with the…

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States of Independence: the 8th Transatlantyk Festival, Łódź, Poland (July 2018) »

Becoming Astrid

By Alex Ramon. “You need an independent spirit if you’re going to go into film or music: so many people will tell you that you can’t do it,” said Diane Warren, on stage…

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Groundbreaking and Dated: TriBeCa 2018 »

Blowin' Up

By Michael Miller.  The 17th Tribeca Film Festival unspooled April 18 – 29, 2018 across seven venues in Manhattan. The festival celebrates storytelling whether in the form of narrative features, documentary, virtual reality and…

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When War or Love Come: Berlinale 2018 »

When the War Comes

By Martin Kudláč. For some time, Berlinale has been grooming its image as a political film festival. Its 2018 edition, which is its current director’s penultimate edition in charge as Dieter Kosslick is to…

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Art Film Fest 2018: The Time of Its Time »

Budapest Noir

By Robert Buckeye. The centenary of the formation of Czechoslovakia and the half century commemoration of the Prague Spring transformed Art Film Fest in Košice, Slovakia (15-23 June) this year into a seminar…

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Glory of the Silents Reborn: the 23rd San Francisco Silent Film Festival »

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By Janine Gericke. I’ve been going to the San Francisco Silent Film Festival (SFSFF) for ten years. My first introduction to the festival and the Castro Theatre was Buster Keaton’s 1923 film Our…

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Interview

A National Pride for Tunisia: An Interview with Dhafer L’Abidine »

That Al Saytara (2015- )

By Neila Driss. During the 40th edition of the Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF), which took place from November…

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In Search of a Home: Vladimir de Fontenay on Mobile Homes »

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By Tom Ue. Vladimir de Fontenay’s Mobile Homes follows a young mother (Imogen Poots), her boyfriend (Callum Turner), and her eight-year-old…

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Staying in the Present: Brendan Meyer and Sam McCarthy on All These Small Moments »

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By Travis Merchant. At some point, films focused on teenage characters started growing stale with repeating motifs, themes, and…

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To France with “James Dean”: An Interview with Dominique Choisy »

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By Tom Ue. My Life with James Dean finds Géraud Champreux (Johnny Rasse), the film’s central protagonist, presenting his first…

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Representation of Women in Israeli Cinema: An Interview with Author Rachel S. Harris »

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By Anna Weinstein. Rachel S. Harris’s book Warriors, Witches, and Whores: Women in Israeli Cinema (Wayne State University Press, 2017)…

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Heroes on the Edge: An Interview with Alexei Uchitel »

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By Sergey Toymentsev. Alexei Uchitel is the leading Russian director whose features regularly receive awards at international and domestic festivals.…

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Lakehouse Improvisation: Mikko Mäkelä on A Moment in the Reeds »

A Moment in the Reeds Still 12

By Tom Ue. With A Moment in the Reeds, London-based filmmaker Mikko Mäkelä seeks to fill the queer void…

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“Animation is in My Blood”: An Interview with Ashkan Rahgozar on The Last Fiction »

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By Ali Moosavi. Iranian cinema has made its mark on the global film world thanks to film makers such…

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“Viewers Have Their Own Pace”: Christophe Charrier on Jonas »

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By Tom Ue. Much of contemporary crime fiction revolves around the search for resolution rather than solution. Some, such…

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Ghostly Souls: Soudade Kaadan on The Day I Lost My Shadow »

Day Feat

By Roberto Cavallini. Yom Adaatou Zouli (The Day I Lost my Shadow) by Syrian director Soudade Kaadan, was presented…

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Cinema of Cascades: Victor Kossakovsky on Aquarela »

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By Yun-hua Chen. Watching Aquarela, a documentary under the section of Out of Competition in Venice International Film Festival, is…

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MOST RECENT

  1. A Career Cut Short – Laird Cregar: A Hollywood Tragedy by Gregory William Mank
  2. The Compulsive Writer-Director’s Guide – Making Your First Feature Film by Dominick Bagnato
  3. Fighting in America: Tim Sutton’s Donnybrook
  4. Handicapping the Oscars: 2019 Oscar Nominated Shorts
  5. A National Pride for Tunisia: An Interview with Dhafer L’Abidine
  6. His Own Man – George Raft: The Man Who Would be Bogart by Stone Wallace
  7. “Lillie Plays Violet”: Exit Smiling (A San Francisco Silent Film Festival Review)
  8. They Shall Not Grow Old – But All Shall Perish
  9. The Impatient Actor – Gene Hackman, The Life and Work by Peter Shelley
  10. Beyond Quatermass – Brian Donlevy, the Good Bad Guy: A Bio-Filmography by Derek Sculthorpe
  11. Real-Life Whac-a-Mole: Rodents of Usual Size
  12. Redemption: Red Kimona (A San Francisco Silent Film Festival Review)
  13. Fifty Shades of Deep Red: Piercing
  14. An Abdurdist, Black Comedy Mixer: Pig
  15. In Search of a Home: Vladimir de Fontenay on Mobile Homes
  16. The Eternal Dilemma: Tarkovsky’s Andrei Rublev (The Criterion Collection)
  17. Independents at 25: Slamdance 2019
  18. Watering the Money Tree: Eugen Damaschin’s Beautiful Corruption (2018)
  19. The Dawn of New Era: Locarno 2018
  20. Art and Healing – The 5 Browns: Digging Through the Darkness
  21. Journeywoman – Claire Trevor: The Life and Films of the Queen of Noir by Derek Sculthorpe
  22. Beyond a Horror Anthology: Spirits of the Dead by Tim Lucas
  23. Staying in the Present: Brendan Meyer and Sam McCarthy on All These Small Moments
  24. The Other Tounge(s) of Iran: Hendi and Hormoz (Iranian Film Festival of New York)
  25. Choosing Sides: The Standoff at Sparrow Creek
  26. To France with “James Dean”: An Interview with Dominique Choisy
  27. When a Documentary Isn’t: Inside Slovenian Non-Fiction Films
  28. First Man and Last Things
  29. Hail Mary! – Fanchon The Cricket (1915) and Little Annie Rooney (1925) from Flicker Alley
  30. Film Scratches: Meta-Fetishes – Flowers and Bottoms (2016)
  1. Tony Williams: Thank you for publishing this interview. There may be hope for this “ugly society” if more...
  2. Matthew Sorrento: Reading about this “misfit” cowboy narrator, I can’t help wonder if the Coens...
  3. Matthew Sorrento: This sounds like an interesting mediation on the politics of gender and, more specifically, our...
  4. Melinda: Great interview, John! I enjoyed the specificity of your questions as well as the conversational style of...
  5. Matthew Sorrento: I agree with Tony, Daniel — thanks for commenting on the issues this film addresses. This...

Review

The Lodger (1944)

A Career Cut Short – Laird Cregar: A Hollywood Tragedy by Gregory William Mank »

A Book Review by Tony Williams. “It was not only his desire to play heroic roles that made him diet, but the hope that he would attract a young lover…

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Dominick Bagnato's A Convenient Truth (2015)

The Compulsive Writer-Director’s Guide – Making Your First Feature Film by Dominick Bagnato »

A Book Review by Mads Larsen. If you have a few hundred thousand dollars to burn, and although you have no experience, you are obsessed with making your own film…

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Donnybrook 02

Fighting in America: Tim Sutton’s Donnybrook »

By Thomas Puhr. It’s only fitting that writer-director Tim Sutton’s latest, Donnybrook (2018), opens with a voyage by boat. Like Odysseus, Jarhead Earl (Jamie Bell) undergoes a long journey that…

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Bao

Handicapping the Oscars: 2019 Oscar Nominated Shorts »

By Elias Savada. Another year and another Academy Awards show looms large, filled with commentary about snubs and surprises and a program, the first in decades, without a host. While many…

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Exit 01

“Lillie Plays Violet”: Exit Smiling (A San Francisco Silent Film Festival Review) »

By Janine Gericke. On Saturday, December 1st, the SF Silent Film Festival held its annual Day of Silents winter program at the famed Castro Theatre. As I’ve previously covered, the…

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They Shall 01

They Shall Not Grow Old – But All Shall Perish »

By Christopher Sharrett. I don’t feel especially generous toward Peter Jackson’s “new” (hardly the right word) film, and must call it stunt filmmaking. With the help of the BBC and…

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The French Connection (1971)

The Impatient Actor – Gene Hackman, The Life and Work by Peter Shelley »

A Book Review by Louis J. Wasser.  It’s entirely possible you’ll come away from Peter Shelley’s biography of Gene Hackman knowing less about the actor than you thought you knew.…

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Quatermass II (1957)

Beyond QuatermassBrian Donlevy, the Good Bad Guy: A Bio-Filmography by Derek Sculthorpe »

A Book Review by Tony Williams. It is early evening watching on UK’s ITV channel, the only one of two that existed in those pre-cable days in an era resembling…

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Rodents 01

Real-Life Whac-a-Mole: Rodents of Usual Size »

By Elias Savada. First, I thought this might be another horror film with oversized critters due to 1) atomic radiation run amuck, 2) global waming (as Mr. Trump likes to call…

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Red 01

Redemption: Red Kimona (A San Francisco Silent Film Festival Review) »

By Janine Gericke. During the silent film era, some of the most prolific and highest earning producers, writers, and filmmakers were women. Many of these films involved stories about issues…

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Piercing 01

Fifty Shades of Deep Red: Piercing »

By Jeremy Carr. “You have to relax.” These words of advice come from Laia Costa’s Mona, near the beginning of Piercing, the second film from writer-director Nicholas Pesce. She is…

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PIG

An Abdurdist, Black Comedy Mixer: Pig »

By Ali Moosavi. To fans of Asghar Farhadi, Mani Haghighi may be known for co-writing the script of Fireworks Wednesday (Chaharshanbeh Soori) and acting in About Elly (Darbareye Elly). He…

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Beau 01

Watering the Money Tree: Eugen Damaschin’s Beautiful Corruption (2018) »

By Brandon Konecny. In 2014, Moldova experienced what many observers called the “theft of the century.” One billion dollars disappeared from the country’s banking system. That’s nearly an eighth of…

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Digging 01

Art and Healing – The 5 Browns: Digging Through the Darkness »

By Elizabeth Toohey. R. Kelly; the backlash against Gillette; the abduction of 13-year-old Jayme Closs, held captive for three months; Larry Nassar’s abuse of upwards of 300 gymnasts entrusted to his…

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Dead End (1937)

Journeywoman – Claire Trevor: The Life and Films of the Queen of Noir by Derek Sculthorpe »

A Book Review by Tony Williams. Yorkshire resident Derek Sculthorpe is an archivist who has also written plays, short stories, and articles as well as other books on Hollywood stars,…

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Spirits Main

Beyond a Horror Anthology: Spirits of the Dead by Tim Lucas »

A Book Review by Tony Williams. Initiated last year with the appearance of monograph studies of Theatre of Blood and Martin, this enterprising series now includes this study of a…

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Hendi-Hormoz

The Other Tounge(s) of Iran: Hendi and Hormoz (Iranian Film Festival of New York) »

By Arash Azizi. Hendi and Hormoz, which screened at the first-ever Iranian Film Festival of New York on January 11, has many alarming elements: A child marriage, an early-teen pregnancy,…

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Standoff 01

Choosing Sides: The Standoff at Sparrow Creek »

By Jeremy Carr. The men of The Standoff at Sparrow Creek exist in a world of violence. It can be a basic violence, natural even, as when Gannon (James Badge…

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When a Documentary Isn’t: Inside Slovenian Non-Fiction Films »

By Noah Charney. Slovenian documentary films are at their best when they do not appear to be documentaries. When we imagine documentaries, we tend to think of the History or…

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Fanchon the Cricket

Hail Mary! – Fanchon The Cricket (1915) and Little Annie Rooney (1925) from Flicker Alley »

By Tony Williams. These DVD restorations represent another important collaborative venture on the part of The Mary Pickford Foundation and Flicker Alley, a company specializing in promoting often forgotten achievements…

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Maine

A Quiet State: Maine »

By Janine Gericke. Matthew Brown’s Maine is a quiet, observational film, in every sense. Not a word is uttered for nearly the first 10 minutes of the film and there…

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Maryland, Oy Maryland: Sickies Making Films »

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By Elias Savada. Baltimore filmmaker Joe Tropea tackles a not very pressing subject with his new film. It’s an admirable history lesson…

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Uma: Invoking Love, Death and an Elsewhere »

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By Devapriya Sanyal. Uma is Srijit Mukherji’s twelfth film in seven years. It is based on a real story, which by the…

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Fair and Balanced, for Real – Divide and Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes »

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By Michael Sandlin. Alexis Bloom’s Divide and Conquer could have easily been conceived as a shameless liberal hit job on an easy target:…

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Choosing Your Own Family: Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Shoplifters »

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By Matthew Fullerton. Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda’s latest drama, the Palme-d’Or-winning Shoplifters (Manbiki Kazoku), is the story of an out-of-the-ordinary family: Osamu…

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The Man Who Would Be Scar – Henry Brandon: King of the Bogeymen by Bill Cassara and Richard S. Greene »

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A Book Review by Tony Williams. In one way, my title is misleading. Despite the impressive appearance of Henry Brandon’s Scar appearing as…

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More than Rippin’ or Rascality: Jonah Hill’s Mid90s »

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By Brandon Konecny. “My visceral reaction when I hear someone is making a movie about skateboarding is…I wish they [sic] wouldn’t,” says…

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Rebirth: Luca Guadagnino’s Suspiria »

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By Janine Gericke. In 1977, Italian horror legend Dario Argento released Suspiria – a seminal classic among horror fans and cinephiles. Luca Guadagnino, whose Call…

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Struggling Adrift: The Raft (Flotten) »

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By Daniel Lindvall. In May 1973 six women and five men set out from the Canary Islands to cross the Atlantic to…

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The Sweet, Swedish Smell of Fear: Border »

Border

By Elias Savada. Scandinavian folklore is home to dozens of curious creatures. Trolls, dwarves, and elves might be the ones most of us…

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Art Loving Criminals: Ruben Brandt, Collector »

Brandt 01

By Martin Kudláč. The Locarno International Film Festival has a notorious sweet spot, Piazza Grande, one of the biggest squares in Switzerland where…

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Rehistoricizing the Gaze – Elena Gorfinkel’s Lewd Looks: American Sexploitation Cinema in the 1960s »

Bad Girls Go to Hell (1965)

A Book Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas. There’s a shared lightning bolt moment I’ve discussed at length with many other film critics and…

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Born to Kill: El Angel »

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…

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A Formidable Pairing: Green Book »

Film Title: Green Book

By Elias Savada. The exceptionally crisp performances by Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen are but two of the great things about Green Book,…

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Pork Pie Hats Off to The Great Buster: A Celebration »

Great 01

By Elias Savada. The breakneck parade of Hollywood celebrities seems endless in Peter Bogdanovich’s love letter to silent film comedian Buster Keaton. It…

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

Man 01

By Tony Williams. Gregory La Cava’s My Man Godfrey (1936) is admittedly one of the best screwball comedies of the 1930s that…

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Lensing a Colonial Past – Parameters of Disavowal: Colonial Representation in South Korean Cinema by Jinsoo An »

The Housemaid (1960)

A Book Review by Madeline Hawk. Using prolific Korean New Wave director Im Kwon-Taek to introduce Korean cinema’s preoccupation with its colonial…

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Homages, Attack!: Killer Kate! »

Kate 01

By Janine Gericke. I really wanted to like Killer Kate! It’s clear that director Elliot Feld loves horror movies and has grown…

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Animal Kingdom: Cornel Wilde’s The Naked Prey (Criterion Collection) »

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By Jeremy Carr. The opening narration of The Naked Prey (1965) sets the scene in the African wilderness and the nature of humanity in…

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Where’s Daddy?: Megan Griffiths’ Sadie »

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By Janine Gericke. Director Megan Griffiths has made a captivating film about how one parent’s absence can have immense complications on the…

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A Great Profile Piece – Murray Pomerance and Steven Rybin’s Hamlet Lives in Hollywood: John Barrymore and the Acting Tradition Onscreen »

Svengali (1931)

A Book Review by Brandon Konecny. For many today, the name John Barrymore means little – except, perhaps, that it shares the…

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Colette in the #MeToo Era »

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By Elizabeth Toohey. If ever a movie was ripe for release, it’s the new bio-pic Colette. The life and career of one…

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Charm in Spades: Tea with Dames »

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By Gary M. Kramer. The gentle, charming documentary, Tea with the Dames eavesdrops on the gossip, memories, and laughs shared by four…

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White Boy Rick: The Father and the City »

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By Christopher Sharrett. Yann Demange’s White Boy Rick is a smaller-budget film of the season almost buried by franchise movies like The…

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

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By Tony Williams. Imagine Lee J. Cobb (1911-1976) playing a star role as an honest cop turned bad played for a sucker…

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Assault of Independence: Lizzie »

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By Janine Gericke. Lizzie Borden’s infamous story is horrifying. On August 4, 1892, Borden’s father and stepmother were found bludgeoned to death…

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Pushing Life to the Edge: Free Solo »

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By Elias Savada. Alex Honnold dreams the impossible dream, and he climbs where the brave dare not go. Unlike Don Quixote, he defies…

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Yakuza’s Angry Young Man: Street Mobster (Arrow Video) »

Mobster

By Jeremy Carr. Street Mobster found director Kinji Fukasaku at a pivotal point in his career, a situation reflected in the evolution of…

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Sleep No More: Or, If It Hadn’t Been for Those Meddling Kids…. »

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By Alex Brannan. If one were to just slightly retool Phillip Guzman’s Sleep No More (aka 200 Hours) – eliminate the gore…

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The Sublime Art of Ashby: Hal »

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By Elias Savada. Hal (no relation to the sentient computer in Stanley Kubrick’s classic 2001: A Space Odyssey), is a reflective meditation on…

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The Science of Experimental Film – Lessons in Perception: The Avant-Garde Filmmaker as Practical Psychologist by Paul Taberham »

Life and Death

A Book Review by Thomas Puhr. For many, the term “avant-garde” is synonymous with pretension: a sub-subgenre that revels in its impenetrability…

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The Films of Jess Franco: Cinema on the Fringes »

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A Book Review by Alex Brannan. For those experiencing a Jess Franco film for the first time, the response is unlikely to…

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Mommy Noir: A Simple Favor »

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By Elias Savada. The crazy wait-who-did-what? mystery that is A Simple Favor offers up a pair of smooth, subversive, suburban housewives that spin…

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Angel and Phoenix: Two Rising at the Toronto International Film Festival »

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By Ali Moosavi. Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) has had a rapid rise in the last few years to become one of…

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Beyond Geekdom: Science Fair »

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By Elias Savada. Science Fair, the new National Geographic documentary, follows the audience-pleasing formula easily recognizable in its predecessors. There are many fans…

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Praising the New Flesh: The Modern British Horror Film by Steven Gerrard »

Outpost

A Book Review by Alex Brannan. Steven Gerrard’s The Modern British Horror Film (Rutgers University Press, 2017) is a slim, pocketbook-sized volume.…

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The “Fourth Face” of Silent Comedy – Harry Langdon: King of Silent Comedy by Gabriella Oldham and Mabel Langdon »

The Strong Man (1926)

A Book Review by Louis J. Wasser. Silent film great Harry Langdon died at sixty of a cerebral hemorrhage three years before…

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Marketable Polish Melancholy: Paweł Pawlikowski’s Cold War »

Tomasz Kot and Joanna Kulig in Cold War

By Alex Ramon. Without a doubt, the biggest Polish cinematic success of the past decade has been Paweł Pawlikowski’s 2013 film Ida. Feted…

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Unfulfilled Desire: The Bookshop »

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By Janine Gericke. Based on the novel by Penelope Fitzgerald, Isabel Coixet’s The Bookshop takes place in a conservative coastal village in…

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Scattershot Disorder(s) in Rene Daalder’s Hysteria »

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By Alex Brannan. A quick search into the work of Rene Daalder yields an interesting array of artistic pieces varied in concept, medium,…

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The New Delicate Balance: Support the Girls »

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By Janine Gericke. How do we balance work, family, friends, everything in our lives without breaking? This relatable film is a study…

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Smash Palace, A Wreck in Slow Motion »

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By John Duncan Talbird. New Zealand’s short-lived new wave came quite a bit after most other national cinemas’ new waves. Kick-started by the…

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Rewarding Curiosity: Skate Kitchen »

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By Janine Gericke. Skate Kitchen is director Crystal Moselle’s first narrative feature following her 2015 documentary The Wolfpack. I knew in the first five minutes…

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Broken, Yet Living: Memoir of War (La Douleur) »

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By Elizabeth Toohey. Sometimes, on my weirder, darker days, I fantasize about being the architect of a purgatory. There, I would place…

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The Cinematic Poetry of Cielo »

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By John Duncan Talbird. Since 1982’s Koyaanisqatsi (dir. Godfrey Reggio), time-lapse photography has become a convention, sometimes to the point of cliché. Still,…

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Telling Tales: The Company of Wolves by James Gracey »

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A Book Review by Jeremy Carr. James Gracey’s Devil’s Advocates entry on The Company of Wolves (Auteur Publishing, 2017) does everything a…

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Shifty Business: Pound of Flesh »

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By Alex Brannan. After gaining attention in Lindsay Anderson’s if… (1968), legendary character actor Malcolm McDowell­ jump-started his career with a pair of films…

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Gothic Grotesque: Aristide Massaccesi’s Death Smiles on a Murderer (Arrow Video) »

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By Jeremy Carr. Highlighting the Arrow Video Blu-ray of Death Smiles on a Murderer (also known as Death Smiled at Murder) is a…

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A Child Custody Thriller »

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By Janine Gericke. Xavier Legrand’s Custody (Jusqu’à La Garde) is a child-custody thriller. And, the word “thriller” doesn’t usually come to mind when thinking…

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A True Beauty: Chained for Life »

Chained Feat

By Elias Savada. A piece of the infamous “Gooble Gobble” carnival communal wedding chant from Tod Browning’s Freaks (1932) isn’t the only ditty…

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Political and Literary Exile: Nicolas Pariser’s The Great Game »

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By Thomas Puhr. Is the pen indeed mightier than the sword, as Bulwer-Lytton’s adage would have us believe? This ever-prescient question drives…

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Features

The Epitome of Cool: The Films of Ray Danton by Joseph Fusco »

The Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond (1960)

A Book Review Essay by Tony Williams. I initially saw this 2010 book as a main feature on this company’s web site and requested…

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“May Well Offend” – Magnificent Obsession: The Outrageous History of Film Buffs, Collectors, Scholars, and Fanatics by Anthony Slide »

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A Book Review Essay by Tony Williams. Deliberately described as a “provocative film scholar,” this prolific, self-educated expert in film, who has…

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Beyond Genre to the Other Arts: King Hu’s Dragon Inn (1967) from the Criterion Collection »

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By Tony Williams. For those really interested in the art of cinema, the achievements of King Hu (1932-1997) are comparable to others…

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Why the Neglect?: Lubitsch’s The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg (1927) »

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By John W. Fawell. The following is an excerpt from Ernst Lubitsch’s The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg: the Art of Classic Hollywood,…

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The Cinematic Form of the Football Match »

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By Declan Cochran. Introduction (Pre-Match Warm-Up) Cinematically speaking, the filmed football match is a curious phenomenon, one that seems to integrate a…

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Tarkovsky’s The Sacrifice: Against All Doctrine »

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By Christopher Sharrett. I have been meaning for some time to put pen to paper about Andrei Tarkovsky, about whom I’ve been…

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North Korea’s International Movie Co-Productions, 1985-2012 »

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By Johannes Schönherr. Kim Jong Il, the son of North Korea’s founder and Great Leader Kim Il Sung, went early in his…

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

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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…

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Hefting the Masterpieces: Filmworker »

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By Elizabeth Toohey. Do we really need another Stanley Kubrick documentary? There’s the comprehensive Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures (2001), with…

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

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By Richmond B. Adams. During “The Reaping” sequence from Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) “volunteer[s] as tribute” to…

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Consistent Passion, Little Fanfare: RBG »

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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…

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

"The Galaxy Being"

By Tony Williams. I saw my first episode of The Outer Limits on a regional independent television station in the mid-60s. Opening…

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

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By Matthew Fullerton. As Hollywood grapples with diversity issues, it is interesting to note how Tunisia, an emergent democracy since its 2011…

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

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By Jeremy Carr. Rainer Werner Fassbinder was particularly adept at transitioning between the cinema and television (and theater, for that matter), starting the…

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

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By David Greven. An exchange I had with an older, straight, white academic in Film Studies serves as an instructive example of…

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

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By Christopher Weedman. Among the most impressive film restorations of 2017 was Marcel Pagnol’s Marseille Trilogy (1931-36), which I reviewed last March…

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

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A Book Review Essay by Jeremy Carr. Alexia Kannas’ Deep Red (Columbia University Press, 2017), her contribution to the Wallflower Press Cultographies series,…

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White Micro-aggression Against Black Film: Awards and Why They Matter »

Get Out

By André Seewood. Every weekend numerous websites inform us of the short term box office grosses of various films like Star Wars: The…

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“America First” or Second? – America Through a British Lens: Cinematic Portrayals 1930-2010 by James D. Stone »

As Long As They're Happy (1955)

A Book Review Essay by Tony Williams. Captain Hornsby: “What an extraordinary fellow!” Colonel Thompson: “Well, he’s an American.”  – Too Late the…

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Beyond Wishes: Bronson’s Loose Again!: On the Set with Charles Bronson by Paul Talbot »

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A Book Review Essay by Tony Williams. If Dr. Johnson had James Bosworth as his chronicler in the inimitable The Life of…

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The Enormous Gap Between Dream and Realization: Scenarios by Werner Herzog »

Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972)

A Book Review Essay by John Duncan Talbird. There are snowy peaks all around, majestic crests, and the mountains tower like Holy Cathedrals.…

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More Than a Headrush: Frank Henenlotter’s Brain Damage (1988) »

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By Matthew Sorrento. After the release of his horror-comedy Re-Animator (1985), debuting filmmaker Stuart Gordon was very conscious that the film would…

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Noir from the States to the Ilses: The Stranger and Appointment with Crime from Olive Films »

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By Tony Williams. 1946 was an “annus mirabilis” (“amazing year” for those who never studied Latin) for American, British film noir, and…

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Orson Ascending: The Stranger (1946) from Kino Classics and Othello (1951) from the Criterion Collection »

The Stranger (1946)

By Tony Williams. Following the release of several new remastered DVDs after the 2015 Orson Welles Centenary and the expected completion of…

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Truth and Consequences: Conversations with Buñuel by Max Aub, translated and edited by Julie Jones »

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A Book Review Essay by Jeremy Carr. “Even today, I’ve no idea what the truth is, or what I did with it.”…

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The “Complete Italianization” of the Western: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly from Kino Lorber »

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By Tony Williams. This is the moment when the Italianization of the Western was complete. –Alberto Moravia, quoted by Christopher Frayling As…

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Mark Felt: History as Mysticism »

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By Christopher Sharrett. One of the characteristics of our militarized society, aside from the constant deluge of cop shows, superhero movies, and…

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The Charming “Lithuanian Cary Grant”: Walter Matthau in Hopscotch on Criterion »

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By Christopher Weedman. Walter Matthau (1920-2000) was among Hollywood’s most charismatic stars of the late 1960s and 1970s. During this fascinating period…

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A Haneke Masterpiece: The Piano Teacher (Criterion Collection) »

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By Christopher Sharrett. I count Michael Haneke’s The Piano Teacher (2001) among his supreme masterpieces, along with Code Unknown (2000), Cache (2005),…

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The Brethren of GG (i.e., Jesus Christ) Allin: The Allins »

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By Johannes Schönherr. New York City, June 27th 1993: Notorious punk rocker GG Allin had finally served out a lengthy prison sentence in…

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Working for the Police, Working for the City, or Selling Drugs: Stanley Corkin’s Connecting The Wire »

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A Book Review Essay by John Duncan Talbird. David Simon’s television series The Wire ran on HBO from 2002-2008, five seasons of a…

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The Indian Film Critics Have Done It Again!: Reading Gender in Ki & Ka Through the Cinematic Lens of R. Balki »

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By Devapriya Sanyal and Melissa Webb. The Indian film critics have done it again! As Glover and Kaplan state in their book Genders, the term “gender”…

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The Year of the Kneale Olympics – Into the Unknown: the Fantastic Life of Nigel Kneale by Andy Murray and We Are the Martians edited by Neil Snowdon »

Quatermass and the Pit (1959-60)

A Book Review Essay by Tony Williams. It is as if in movies, TV and books, genre progresses through a series of…

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Facts are Not Stupid Things: Lessons from The Reagan Show »

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By Heather Hendershot. One week after Donald Trump’s inauguration, Sinclair Lewis’s It Can’t Happen Here reached the #9 position in book sales on Amazon. Brave…

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Still More to the Story: I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang! by Scott Allen Nollen and Paul Muni by Michael B. Druxman »

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A Book Review Essay by Matthew Sorrento. It may be tempting to recommend Scarface (1932) or Little Caesar (1930) as a first…

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Master of Italian Gothic – Riccardo Freda: The Life and Works of a Born Filmmaker by Roberto Curti »

The Horrible Dr. Hichcock (1962)

A Book Review Essay by Tony Williams. Many decades ago I heard a comment made by a respected scholar, and affirmed by…

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When Tay Garnett Met Frankie and Johnnie: Her Man (1930) »

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by John Andrew Gallagher. Tay Garnett and and writer Howard Higgin spent the months of February and March, 1930 on Catalina Island…

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The Roots of Social Change: Ermanno Olmi’s The Tree of Wooden Clogs on Criterion »

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By Christopher Weedman. The Criterion Collection deserves to be commended for their continued efforts to bring greater attention to the underappreciated films…

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The Function of Film Criticism at Any Time »

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By Christopher Sharrett. Readers will note that my title derives from essays and certain phrases by Matthew Arnold, T. S. Eliot, F.…

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A Forgotten Country’s Forgotten Cinema: Searching for Hope in Post-Soviet Moldovan Cinema »

All God’s Children (Toti copiii domnului, 2012)

By Brandon Konecny. It has been suggested, sometimes by Moldovan film professionals themselves, that cinema does not currently exist in the Republic…

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His Own Man – George Raft: The Man Who Would be Bogart by Stone Wallace »

A Book Review Essay by Tony Williams. Enter George Raft groom cum chauffeur – He lurked hand and collar and hands in his pockets – Heavy with menace he takes…

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The Eternal Dilemma: Tarkovsky’s Andrei Rublev (The Criterion Collection) »

By Tony Williams. After reviewing the disappointing Criterion Von Sternberg/Dietrich DVD Collection and noting the company’s inexplicable emphasis on popular films available elsewhere, it is a pleasure to see Criterion…

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Watering the Money Tree: Eugen Damaschin’s Beautiful Corruption (2018) »

By Brandon Konecny. In 2014, Moldova experienced what many observers called the “theft of the century.” One billion dollars disappeared from the country’s banking system. That’s nearly an eighth of…

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First Man and Last Things »

By Christopher Sharrett. I have just recently seen Damien Chazelle’s First Man after putting it off during its initial release. The film holds some interest for me, unlike his previous…

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Just Slightly Off: True Stories »

By John Duncan Talbird. My friends and I loved the Talking Heads when we were in college. You could not go a week in our house without hearing at least one…

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There’s No Place Like Home: Revisiting Eight Hours Don’t Make a Day (Criterion Collection) »

By Jeremy Carr. In her essay for the Criterion Collection release of Eight Hours Don’t Make a Day, Moira Weigel opens with a roll call of the assorted characters who have…

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Re-Working Hitchcock: Brian De Palma’s Sisters (Criterion Collection) »

By Tony Williams. De Palma’s Sisters has long been overdue for a new 4K digital restoration that Criterion now supplies along with some significant supplementary material on the disk. The…

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Natalie Portman and Pablo Larrain on the set of Jackie

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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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Lost Highway (1997)

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…

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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…

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The Steel Helmet (1951)

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…

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Ninotchka (1939)

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…

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