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This category contains 78 posts

“Body and Soul” (1947, dir. Robert Rossen)

Occasionally I will run across the title of a movie and instantly think, “I need to watch this.” That very thing happened last week when I was browsing a sub-reddit for classic cinema and found a post for the film Body and Soul. I was instantly taken in by the poster and by the subject … Continue reading

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

“Nosferatu the Vampyre” (1979, dir. Werner Herzog)

Horror films are a difficult thing to peg down. They often are so sloppily put together and so cheap that they tend to be nothing more than C and B movies. On top of that, Werner Herzog movies are difficult to nail down. His films are unlike anything that any other filmmaker creates. The combination of … Continue reading

The Cinematic Monolith: “Napoleon” (1927, dir. Abel Gance)

In the hallowed halls of cinematic history there stand a few monolithic films, in the shadow of which all following films stand. 1927’s great, ever elusive Napoleon by director Abel Gance might be chiefest among them all. Not only is it a technical marvel that even few modern films can hold a candle to, it is also an … 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

“Seductive Cinema” by James Card (Book Review)

James Card was a witness to those early years of cinema when no one spoke, a “talkie” was a stage play, and stars reigned supreme because they had faces. His book is not scholarly exactly, but it is the sort of firsthand, eye-witness account which is too rare in the medium of film. While most film … 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

Favorite 2016 Movies

I didn’t get to see as many new movies in 2016 as I would have liked (there’s one movie I went to see but didn’t get to — I’ll save that story for here in a minute), but of the movies that I did see, five came forward in my mind as my favorites. There are … 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

“No Blood Relation” (1932, dir. Mikio Naruse)

Mikio Naruse, once one of the most championed of Japanese filmmakers, is today incredibly overshadowed by the names Akira Kurosawa, Yasujiro Ozu, and Kenji Mizoguchi — among others. His work is largely unknown outside of the circles of die-hard cinema fans, and even within that group he is mainly known among those who primarily focus … Continue reading

“Only Yesterday” (1991, dir. Isao Takahata)

Only Yesterday was originally released in 1991 in Japan but did not receive an American theatrical release until earlier this year (2016). I suspect its release coincided with the announcement that Studio Ghibli, the animation studio behind the film, and its main animator, Hayao Miyazaki, who served as producer (not director) on were closing up … Continue reading

“Cabiria” (1914, dir. Giovanni Pastrone)

Typically when people talk about the movie changed how movies are made, The Birth of a Nation (1915, dir. D.W. Griffith) is the movie that is brought up. Yet for all of its technical achievement, Cabiria, made the year before and on the other side of the world, has all the technical marvel of Griffith’s civil war film, but … Continue reading

“Silence” (1971, dir. Masahiro Shinoda)

Movies focusing on Christianity (no matter what branch) are always going to be divisive. That’s just how it is. On one side you will find movies like Fireproof (2008, dir. Alex Kendrick), War Room (2015, dir. Alex Kendrick), and God’s Not Dead (2014, dir. Harold Cronk), which seem tailor-made for the choir, and on the other hand you will find … Continue reading

“Grizzly Man” (2005, dir. Werner Herzog)

Shortly after Grizzly Man begins we learn the fate of its central figure. Timothy Treadwell, a man who has dedicated his life to “protecting” bears, and his girlfriend are going to be mauled, killed, and eaten by one of the animals which he so deeply loved. Grizzly Man falls into the typically Herzogian theme of a man … Continue reading

“Chimes at Midnight” (1965, dir. Orson Welles)

As I’ve written before, the career of Orson Welles was a difficult one at best. His filmmaking is a series of production starting and then funding falling through. He would weasel and scheme his way into making the films that he wanted to make, meanwhile promising to make the films his producers wanted to make. This back … Continue reading

Three Short Films by Werner Herzog (1967-1969)

Today I received the BFI Werner Herzog Collection in the mail. I bought it on sale on Amazon UK about a month ago and have been anxiously awaiting its arrival ever since. I was super excited when it got here, so I immediately cracked it open and started devouring it. The very first disc had … Continue reading

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