Pay Back Africa

Pay Back Africa

19

Feb

2018

Tonight's blog entry, which ought to be a relatively simple movie review, is one of the most difficult things I've ever had to write, which is in itself is illustrative of how thorny cultural criticism has become in late-stage capitalism.  The reasons for this are manifold and all worth exploring:  increased diversity, th ...
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The Floating World

The Floating World

31

Jan

2018

Stephen King adaptations, as my friend Scott Von Doviak can tell you, are a real mixed bag.  When you're the best-selling author since Johnny Bible, though, everything you write is eventually going to find its way to the big screen, sometimes more than once.  The holiday season saw the release of two hotly anticipated Kin ...
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On Thin Ice

On Thin Ice

23

Jan

2018

There have been a number of films lately -- and are likely to be more, as I continue to get older and things I think of as happening in the not-too-distant past become ancient history -- in which things are fictionally re-created that I remember as vivid memories.  Nothing really prepares you for this sensation, and the ce ...
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Go See a Star War

Go See a Star War

16

Jan

2018

As I have to tell everyone around this time every year, I'm not really a big fan of the Star Wars franchise.  I'm the right age, and the right kind of nerd, but I was preoccupied by other stuff like comic books and role-playing games when I was a kid, and the exploits of Skywalker & Co. never really got it hooks into ...
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Prince of Dorkness

Prince of Dorkness

8

Jan

2018

The older I get, the less patience I have for so-bad-it's-good culture.  I get why it's so appealing to the young -- I've been there, kids, I understand! -- but the closer I get to the eternal silence of the grave, the less willing I am to spend two hours of my precious time watching Turkish Dr. Strange or whatever sub-pa ...
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As Above, So Below

As Above, So Below

4

Jan

2018

Okay, let's first get the obligatory Twitter joke out of the way:  The Shape of Water is the best movie you'll see all year about fish dicks.That was fun, wasn't it?  It feels good to laugh.  Now, let's move on to the actual review of Guillermo del Toro's latest fantasia.  Set some time around the end of the Kennedy a ...
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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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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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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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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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