Posts

DUELING DELONS: SPIRITS OF THE DEAD (1968)

  In the 1960s anthology (also known as omnibus or portmanteau) films became extremely popular and were attractive to producers who wanted to appeal to a broad range of viewers. The segmented format also encouraged audiences to make multiple trips to the concession stand, which pleased theater owners. Sex comedies were particularly trendy but the … Continue reading DUELING DELONS: SPIRITS OF THE DEAD (1968)

Three Reasons to Spend Time with Cleopatra Jones

Decades before Wonder Woman made her feature film debut and the all-female Dora Milaje fighting force was introduced to movie audiences in BLACK PANTHER (2018), Tamara Dobson was winning hearts and kicking-ass with her powerful portrayal of Cleopatra Jones. Released by Warner Bros. in 1973, CLEOPATRA JONES was the studio’s big-budget response to a slew … Continue reading Three Reasons to Spend Time with Cleopatra Jones

“A FILM IS A PETRIFIED FOUNTAIN OF THOUGHT.” – JEAN COCTEAU

When Jean Cocteau’s name surfaces most of us think of the visionary artist, poet and director who made films such as BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (1946), BLOOD OF A POET (1930), LES PARENTS TERRIBLES (1948) and ORPHEUS (1949). Cocteau is all these things and more but he also happens to be one of my favorite film critics. I hesitate to call … Continue reading “A FILM IS A PETRIFIED FOUNTAIN OF THOUGHT.” – JEAN COCTEAU

Got a Library Card? You Should Be Watching Kanopy!

We're living in precarious times. As a result, it's easy to feel overwhelmed by current events and spending time glued to the news or our social media feeds can often add to our stress and discomfort. To make matters worse, many of us are also living paycheck to paycheck and things like streaming services can … Continue reading Got a Library Card? You Should Be Watching Kanopy!

EQUAL SHARES FOR ALL: THE LEAGUE OF GENTLEMEN (1960)

The League of Gentlemen (1960) contains one of my favorite moments from postwar British cinema; a group of ex-soldiers carrying submachine guns plow through London’s narrow streets with their faces concealed behind gas masks. Instead of dodging an attack they are preparing to rob a bank and their military uniforms have been replaced by civilian … Continue reading EQUAL SHARES FOR ALL: THE LEAGUE OF GENTLEMEN (1960)

WILLIAM MORTENSEN IN HOLLYWOOD

William Mortensen in his studio with a photo of Jean Harlow. Last month I was gifted with a copy of American Grotesque: The Life and Art of William Mortensen. This beautiful coffee table worthy book contains a compilation of work by William Mortensen (1897–1965), a brilliant, innovative and visionary photographer who once worked in Hollywood … Continue reading WILLIAM MORTENSEN IN HOLLYWOOD

ELISABETH LUTYENS: THE HORROR QUEEN OF FILM COMPOSERS

Female film composers are a rarity but there are some wonderful examples of talented women working behind the scenes who managed to flourish under the tight deadlines imposed by film studios while creating memorable music for the movies. One of my favorite female composers is the late Elisabeth Lutyens who was born on July 9th … Continue reading ELISABETH LUTYENS: THE HORROR QUEEN OF FILM COMPOSERS

Looking for Fellini: HOW STRANGE TO BE NAMED FEDERICO (2013)

Ettore Scola might not be as renowned as his lifelong friend and fellow filmmaker Federico Fellini but before he died in 2016, Scola’s work had earned him ample critical acclaim and numerous Academy Award nominations for Best Foreign Language Film. Four of Scola’s films are currently streaming on FilmStruck including UGLY, DIRTY AND BAD (’76), … Continue reading Looking for Fellini: HOW STRANGE TO BE NAMED FEDERICO (2013)

FEDERICO FELLINI: THE CARTOONIST

Federico Fellini is one of my favorite filmmakers so I was delighted to discover that TCM Imports is showcasing the movie maestro’s work every Sunday night throughout the month of November. In the next three weeks you can catch Nights of Cabiria (1957) on Nov. 15, Juliet of the Spirits (1965) on Nov. 22 and Satyricon (1969) on Nov. … Continue reading FEDERICO FELLINI: THE CARTOONIST

AN EVENING WITH TERENCE STAMP

Even though I wasn’t able to attend TCM’s Classic Film Festival I did make time for Terence Stamp’s special appearance at the 2011 San Francisco International Film Festival this year. It was a somewhat spontaneous event that was only announced a week before the actual festival took place and it didn’t receive any mention in the official festival … Continue reading AN EVENING WITH TERENCE STAMP

EMBRACING AMBIGUITY: FIGURES IN A LANDSCAPE (1970)

[Warning! There are spoilers on the road ahead.] The first thing that you see in Joseph Losey’s FIGURES IN A LANDSCAPE (1970) is the big black helicopter. It lingers in the sky like a giant buzzing insect or an angry bird of prey. For the next two hours, it will pursue the film’s two protagonists (Robert … Continue reading EMBRACING AMBIGUITY: FIGURES IN A LANDSCAPE (1970)

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 … Continue reading LOSEY LET LOOSE: THE CRIMINAL (1960)

GOING UNDER: REVISITING COMA (1978)

I spent Labor Day sick in bed. I was feverish, sore and incredibly cranky due to having my weekend plans derailed by a bad cold. On Monday night I began to feel slightly better after binging on Nyquil and homemade chicken soup so I curled up on the couch and turned on the TV. While … Continue reading GOING UNDER: REVISITING COMA (1978)

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

MY MELANCHOLY VALENTINE: DANS PARIS (2006)

Love is complicated. Some see it as a priceless gift or blessing while others describe it as an unshakeable disease. It can be comforting, enriching, elevating, thrilling and divine. It can also be messy, unruly, feral, ferocious and cruel, particularly if you are suffering from acute depression. In Dans Paris aka In Paris (2006), French filmmaker Christophe Honoré (Ma … Continue reading MY MELANCHOLY VALENTINE: DANS PARIS (2006)