Knock Down the House is a sobering and uplifting account of four formidable grassroots female candidates (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Paula Jean Swearengin, Amy Vilela and Cori Bush) running for office against Democratic incumbents during the 2018 primary. This intimate documentary illuminates the obstacles these working-class women faced on the campaign trail while trying to navigate a political … Continue reading Knock Down the House (2019)
“Without people, a forest of cherries in full bloom is not pretty, just something to be afraid of.” - Ango Sakaguchi Although typically described as a horror film, Under the Blossoming Cherry Trees (1975) defies simple categorization. This grisly adult fairy tale, currently streaming on FilmStruck, is a strange amalgam of traditional Japanese theater, folktales, ghost stories, social … Continue reading Fear of Flowers: Under the Blossoming Cherry Tree (1975)
I'm going to miss Albert Finney. I've spent a good deal of my time watching the films he made and writing about them. As a result, Finney has become one of my favorite actors and my appreciation for his body of work grows deeper with each passing year. The films he appeared in influenced my … Continue reading Call Him a Red: Remembering Albert Finney 1936-2019
You may not recognize Donald Ogden Stewart’s name but if you are a classic film fan you’re probably familiar with his work. Stewart’s ability to write snappy dialogue and adapt popular plays for the screen made him one of the highest paid screenwriters in Hollywood during the 1930s and 1940s. And throughout his career, Stewart … Continue reading Donald Ogden Stewart: Katharine Hepburn’s Secret Weapon in KEEPER OF THE FLAME (1943)
THE INSECT WOMAN (’63) is not easy viewing. Shôhei Imamura’s film recounts the hard-fought life of Tome (Sachiko Hidari), a fatherless peasant woman born into abject poverty in rural Japan. Beginning with her birth in 1918 and concluding sometime after WWII, the film takes place over three turbulent decades in which Tome faces sexual abuse … Continue reading Survival Instincts: THE INSECT WOMAN (1963)
“We felt that the whole machine was teetering on the brink of collapse. Some amazing things went down in Britain during the ’70s—the government decided they could disempower the unions by having a three-day week, for instance. Can you imagine that? … There were garbage strikes, train strikes, power strikes, the lights were going out—everything … Continue reading Culture Clash: RUDE BOY (1980)
It's been an interesting, busy and to be honest, an extremely stressful year due to some ongoing medical issues I'm dealing with that you can read more about here: Vertigo: Hitchcock was wrong. In turn, I've been terribly lax about updating the blog but due to looming work related developments that I'll be sharing soon, … Continue reading Six Months of Movie Morlocks: May – Oct. 2016
I recently wrote about the often overlooked 1980s pop music extravaganza ABSOLUTE BEGINNERS (1986) for The Cultural Gutter. The film has grown on me a lot over the years thanks to a central performance by the one and only David Bowie and a a growing respect for what (I believe) director Julien Temple was trying … Continue reading An 80s Pop Music Extravaganza: Absolute Beginners (1986)
I recently re-watched Michael Crichton‘s COMA (1978) and was pleasantly surprised by how effective the film still was.
Stuart Hagmann’s THE STRAWBERRY STATEMENT (1970) is often dismissed today as a dated relic of the early ‘70s. During its initial release it was singled out for being exploitive and failing to be a straightforward adaptation of the book it was based on. Many critics claimed that Stuart Hagmann’s direction was erratic and too creative for its own good, which supposedly diminished the film’s political message. When I recently set aside some time to watch THE STRAWBERRY STATEMENT I prepared myself for the worst. I expected to see a confusing, opportunistic, dated and laughable Hollywood film made to cash in on the political zeitgeist of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. But I came away from the movie with an entirely different opinion and immediately understood why it had been nominated for a Palme d’Or at Cannes in 1970 and walked away with a Jury Prize.
In response to the worldwide Occupy movement I wanted to share some Occupy Cinema (Twitter hashtag #occupycinema) links with my readers that may offer a way for cinema lovers to take part in and support the movement. The ideas shared by the following sites might also inspire you to explore ways that you can use cinema as a positive activism tool in your own life.
The following four videos make up a fascinating 40 min. film by D.A. Pennebaker called Two American Audiences: La Chinoise - A Film in the Making. It chronicles a meeting that took place in 1968 between director Jean-Luc Godard and NYU film students who discuss Godard's film La Chinoise, filmmaking and politics. Two American Audiences: … Continue reading Filmmaking & Politics in 1968