THE WHOLE WORLD IS WATCHING: MEDIUM COOL (1969)

“This is America quaking, this movie, seen the way only a gifted artist can possibly draw his photographic attention to these events . . . the roots and fruit of social turmoil, and the media pervading and even anticipating the event. The media’s involvement in the motion picture, its place in the movie, is more important than the relationship that exists between the girl and … Continue reading THE WHOLE WORLD IS WATCHING: MEDIUM COOL (1969)

POLITICS, PROTEST & PROGRESS IN THE STRAWBERRY STATEMENT

Stuart Hagmann’s THE STRAWBERRY STATEMENT (1970) is often dismissed today as a dated relic of the early 1970s. 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 Hagmann’s direction was erratic and too creative for its own good, which supposedly diminished the film’s political message. When I … Continue reading POLITICS, PROTEST & PROGRESS IN THE STRAWBERRY STATEMENT

LOSEY LET LOOSE: THE CRIMINAL (1960)

While looking through the collection of Joseph Losey films currently available to stream on FilmStruck I was inspired to revisit The Criminal a.k.a. Concrete Jungle (1960), a low-budget British crime thriller about an underworld kingpin named Johnny Bannion (Stanley Baker) who organizes a high-stakes robbery that goes terribly wrong. When he finds himself behind bars a second time, Bannion has to rely on his brawn, … Continue reading LOSEY LET LOOSE: THE CRIMINAL (1960)

Book Review: Sticking it to the Man: Revolution and Counterculture in Pulp and Popular Fiction, 1950-1980

Movies and pulp fiction share a long, rich, and complicated history that deserves more consideration and thoughtful examination. A new book recently released by PM Press and edited by Andrew Nette and Iain McIntyre does just that. Sticking it to the Man: Revolution and Counterculture in Pulp and Popular Fiction, 1950-1980 is dedicated to examining the ways in which the changing politics and culture of … Continue reading Book Review: Sticking it to the Man: Revolution and Counterculture in Pulp and Popular Fiction, 1950-1980

THE HOUSE THAT SCREAMED… “MURDER!”

Narciso Ibáñez Serrador’s THE HOUSE THAT SCREAMED (1969) is often cited as one of Spain’s most important and influential horror films but its audience is typically restricted to genre fanatics. The highly sexualized content and graphic murders depicted in this gothic thriller limit its appeal. But the commercial success of THE HOUSE THAT SCREAMED during the late 1960s helped pave the way for the post-Franco Spanish horror boom … Continue reading THE HOUSE THAT SCREAMED… “MURDER!”

Celebrate LGBT+ Pride Month with Cinema

This an update to my original LGBT+ Pride Month post first published in 2015 that you can find here. As a film journalist, I have often tried to focus my attention on underappreciated films, unsung actors and lesser-known directors. Unsurprisingly, this has led me to write about a number of LGBT+ films and television programs as well as LGBT+ filmmakers and actors. So in celebration … Continue reading Celebrate LGBT+ Pride Month with Cinema

Knock Down the House (2019)

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 system that is openly hostile towards progressives advocating for real change. … Continue reading Knock Down the House (2019)

Fear of Flowers: Under the Blossoming Cherry Tree (1975)

“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 commentary, anti-war sentiment, dark humor and existential philosophy based on … Continue reading Fear of Flowers: Under the Blossoming Cherry Tree (1975)

Call Him a Red: Remembering Albert Finney 1936-2019

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 love for cinema in profound ways that included broadening my … Continue reading Call Him a Red: Remembering Albert Finney 1936-2019

Donald Ogden Stewart: Katharine Hepburn’s Secret Weapon in KEEPER OF THE FLAME (1943)

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 regularly worked with actress Katharine Hepburn. The pair made five … Continue reading Donald Ogden Stewart: Katharine Hepburn’s Secret Weapon in KEEPER OF THE FLAME (1943)