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A Trilogy of Pre-Code Hollywood

So, over the last year my movie-watching habits have changed a bit, school got hard and heavy (as it always does), I canceled my Netflix DVD service, I discovered the joys of the streaming service FilmStruck, and I found out you can rent movies from the library.  That last one has ended up being the … Continue reading

The Films of Christopher Nolan: “Insomnia” (2002)

Last year, with the announcement of Dunkirk (2016), we began a journey into the films of Christopher Nolan. So far we have covered Doodlebug (1997) and Following (1998), and Memento (2000). These two films delve into the mind and the unreliable narrator. People are flawed and cannot be trusted and Nolan wants us to know this. Before we dive into this review of Insomnia … Continue reading

“Silence” (2016, dir. Martin Scorsese)

Martin Scorsese has turned his camera toward the subject of faith in the past. The results have often been met with much negative press. His film The Last Temptation of Christ (1988) was denounced by the Catholic church, inspired boycotts by non-Catholic Christian groups, and caused protests in general. These reactions seems strange because, in large part, Scorsese is simply a … Continue reading

The Problem with Favorites: “La La Land” (2016, dir. Damien Chazelle)

There is a great issue with writing out a list of your favorites of any given thing. Whether it be your favorite meals, songs, books, or movies, you always work from a reservoir of knowledge limited by whatever exposure and understanding you have of that thing. When writing about your favorite Queen songs, you can … Continue reading

For the Love of Star Wars

I’ll start off by saying that somewhere in here is a review of Rogue One. That was the point when I began writing anyway, but it somehow grew into something more. I hope you enjoy this rambling on all things Star Wars as much as I enjoyed writing it. I’ve written in the past about the influence of Star … Continue reading

“The Lady From Shanghai” (1947, dir. Orson Welles)

The classic film-noir character of the femme-fatale was never a key figure in the films of Orson Welles. His films tended to focus on larger than life characters who led themselves into destruction, but Welles’ off-screen relationship with Rita Hayworth led him to plant her in the very midst of The Lady From Shanghai. In a … Continue reading

The Films of Christopher Nolan: “Memento” (2000)

Now comes one of the major revelations of the past twenty years. If Following was Nolan’s rough but fun first try and a feature, then Memento is the bang-up second film that cements him as a serious filmmaker and voice for his generation. Memento is a baffling film. It is set mostly in hotels, seedy bars and alleyways, … Continue reading

Hope in “The Shawshank Redemption”

There’s something inside that they can’t get to, that they can’t touch. It’s yours. Hope. -Andy Dufrense Let me tell you something my friend, hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane. -Red Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies. -Andy Dufrense I … Continue reading

“Duel in the Sun” (1946, dir. King Vidor)

David O. Selznick, possibly the most famous producer of motion pictures of all time, had his hands in many of the most beloved Hollywood films. He worked with the likes of John Ford, Alfred Hitchcock, Carol Reed, Howard Hawks, and many others. He is especially famous for producing what might have been the biggest success story … Continue reading

“Dont Look Back” (1967, dir. D.A. Pennebaker)

Bob Dylan is a name practically synonymous with American music. He is also deeply connected to the counter-culture movement of the 60s and the “protest songs” which defined the era. But in Pennebaker’s film Dont Look Now (properly spelled without the apostrophe!), we get the impression that Bob Dylan neither cares about his reputation or even … Continue reading

“Faces” (1968, dir. John Cassavetes)

One of the big complaints I have about “independent” film today is that it’s hardly distinguishable from studio filmmaking. This is a world where The Artist (2011, dir. Michel Hazanavicius), 12 Years a Slave (2013, dir. Steve McQueen), and The Birth of a Nation (2016, dir. Nate Parker) are considered independent cinema. Now, before you start throwing complaints my … Continue reading

The Problem With Talking Heads

Today I sat down and watched a favorite movie of mine: M (1931, dir. Fritz Lang). It reminded me of an issue prevalent in today’s cinema: the oversimplification of photography and image. That sounds weird since movies are by definition moving images, but they are so often not even that. What I mean by that is this: … Continue reading

“Macbeth” (2015, dir. Justin Kurzel)

I’ll admit to having not seen many Shakespearean film adaptations, but two films which I have seen number among my favorites. Those two films are Akira Kurosawa’s Ran and Throne of Blood, which are not only magnificent renditions of their respective plays (“King Lear” and “Macbeth”) but are just superlative examples of filmmaking. Justin Kurzel’s 2016 adaptation … Continue reading

“Bridge of Spies” (2015, dir. Steven Spielberg)

Steven Spielberg has a knack for directing movies that I like. To put it simply, I just enjoy the majority of the man’s work. Tonight I went into the theater not sure what to expect (the last Spielberg movie I saw in theaters, Lincoln, left me disappointed) and within minutes I had bought into the world … Continue reading

Five Movies With No (or little) Sound

Lists are very difficult for me to write because there are just so many movies that I love and that are important to me. So, since I haven’t written anything in a few days, I wanted to take a moment to share some movies that are either completely silent or close enough to count. This list is … Continue reading

“The Naked City” (1948, dir. Jules Dassin)

Jules Dassin’s “The Naked City” is too bright and up-beat to be true film noir, but far too pessimistic and detached to be anything else. This film was shot on the streets, in the streets, and in the apartments of New York City. The narration provided by the film’s producer Mark Hellinger, gives the film a … Continue reading

An End of the World Triple Feature

With all of this Mayan calendar talk that’s been going around for months (years?), I decided to spend my “last night on earth” watching movies (after all, what else am I going to do on a Thursday night?), and the obvious choice of theme for the night was Apocalypse movies! So last night I sat … Continue reading

In the grove: “The Outrage” (1964, dir. Martin Ritt)

In 1951 Akira Kurosawa’s film Rashomon (1950) took the world by storm when it premiered at the Venice Film Festival and won the prestigious Golden Lion. Rashomon winning that award is considered to be the breakout moment in Japanese film; the moment when the West suddenly became very, very aware of what the East was capable of with a movie … Continue reading

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