Please Baby Please

Please Baby Please

8

Dec

2017

I've been defending the films of Spike Lee for a long, long, long time.  I'm old enough to remember having very deep thoughts (well, as deep as could be expected for a 16-year-old suburban white kid) about the first incarnation of She's Gotta Have It, his very first full-length feature film, and being fascinated with t ...
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Indistinguished Opposition

Indistinguished Opposition

6

Dec

2017

In my last entry, about the massive betrayal of the American people to a handful of plutocrats via the passage of a license to loot posing as a tax reform bill, I caught a small amount of hell from Democrats, who wondered why I had harsh words for their party.  While I feel that I spared the majority of my wrath for the Re ...
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The Way It is Today

The Way It is Today

2

Dec

2017

The possibility of having to restate the profound and likely irreversible damage the new tax bill will inflict on this country exhausts me. There are only so many times you can say that America is involved in a one-sided class war and that the rich (all of the rich) are doing their best to reduce the poor (all of the poor) ...
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King of the Castle

King of the Castle

29

Nov

2017

How do you solve a problem like Maria?  Or, to put it in a less cryptic way, how do you say that the new Netflix Punisher series is probably the best Punisher adaptation, and arguably the best of the streaming service's Marvel series, while acknowledging that these are both extremely high bars to limbo under?  I'm sure I ...
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The Crime of the Century

The Crime of the Century

29

Nov

2017

The curious economic logic of streaming services has had a pretty devastating effect on the availability of classic cinema.  I've written before about how streaming media should have created a situation in which any movie of any kind from any era would be available for anyone to watch any time they wanted; and, in fact, it ...
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Giving As Well As You Get

Giving As Well As You Get

22

Nov

2017

I used to have a little tradition around these parts -- by which I mean this blog, which I've been maintaining in some form or another for a good fifteen years or more -- where every Thanksgiving, I'd talk about the things I was thankful for.  It's not an original idea, or even a particularly interesting one, but as someon ...
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Shades of Gray

Shades of Gray

21

Nov

2017

Noir means, of course, "black"; and it refers not only to the dark moods and bleak tone of American crime dramas of the '40s and '50s, but also to the impenetrable slabs of shadow that surround the violence and betrayal on screen.  Much of what made noir what it is had to do with these blocks of darkness, intersected by sh ...
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The Stars Are Ageless

The Stars Are Ageless

16

Nov

2017

If you'd never seen Sunset Blvd. before -- if you knew nothing about it, about its unique place in cinematic history, about the curious effect it had on both the public and the town it opened up like and old and ugly pornographic magazine -- you'd be forgiven for wondering why it's considered film noir at all.  While it ...
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Spoiler Alert

Spoiler Alert

14

Nov

2017

Noir is a hard thing to parody, because noir itself is so close to parody even in its purest form.  We like to talk about it as a gritty, realistic form of cinema -- and it is!  At least, sort of. But in other ways, it's so attenuated and abstracted, with its stylized visuals inherited from German expressionist cinema and ...
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The Blacklist

The Blacklist

9

Nov

2017

Before we get too much deeper into Noirvember, I've often been asked to provide a list of my all-time favorite noir films.  This is painfully hard to do, because it's like picking my favorite bastard child whose birth I had nothing to do with.  It's a lot of good movies, folks.  Also, I'm pretty sure that I've done this ...
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A Bright Guilty World

A Bright Guilty World

8

Nov

2017

It's Noirvember again, and I'm once more looking forward to a month of immersing myself into my all-time favorite film genre, with all its grubby shadows and lines that are sharp but never clean.  When I was at the Chicago International Film Festival this year, I was intrigued by the offerings of their Film Noir program, b ...
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Show Me Forgiveness

Show Me Forgiveness

6

Nov

2017

It may be too soon to talk about forgiveness.  The sins of the world are still so great, after all; and we are only now developing the language and the means to articulate our objections to some of its greatest crimes.  Why should we now talk about forgiveness, when even now, the powerful are contriving ways to continue t ...
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Famous Monsters of Birdland

Famous Monsters of Birdland

27

Oct

2017

The previous century was marked by the transformation of horror of the mind and soul to horror of the body and spirit, from childish night fears of ghosts and ghouls to real-life destruction and terror and an abstraction of horror into a genre of culture meant to turn our deepest dreads into in light entertainment.  So it ...
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What Else is On?

What Else is On?

26

Oct

2017

Folks, you know me.  You're the same six people who keep reading this site throughout the years, so I can say with total confidence that I love you one hundred million times more than I love my own family or even a dog.  It doesn't matter which dog, that's not relevant.  The point is, you know that I normally provide in- ...
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Live Like an Ape Man

Live Like an Ape Man

24

Oct

2017

"Welcome to the season premiere of BookTalk.  This is our seventeenth season, and of course, we could never have gotten this far without your support.  We've always aimed to bring you only the very best of in-depth discussions of literature and the fine arts, so of course I'm pleased to welcome back to the show Mr. Tyrel ...
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