Category Archives: Culture

Dead Man’s Hand: “The Ace of Hearts” (1921)

    It is often true that the villain is a far more interesting character than the hero of a film. The more lurid the story, the chances are that the colorful antics of villainy will far outshine the interest generated … Continue reading

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The Devil’s in the Details: “The Devil in Miss Jones” (1973)

    After the release of “Deep Throat” there were a number of graphic, sexual films that met with both unexpected public enthusiam and excited media attention, that would form the basis of the temporarily fashionable trend known as “porno … Continue reading

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The Look of Love: “Stolen Face” (1952)

    Given the fixation the studios had in manipulating audiences, is it any wonder that the “Golden Age” age cinema is awash in overly produced symphonic assaults on the soundtrack, designed to emphasize to the audience the desired way in … Continue reading

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Unfair Play: “The Cheat” (1915)

    Cecil B. DeMille’s 1915 “The Cheat” is a morality play that manages the hypocritical feat of allowing the guilty embezzler, the shallow socialite Edith Hardy, to escape punishment from both the law and her particular social class, but excoriate … Continue reading

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Saving Ciphers: “Argo” (2012)

    There has been so much hoopla constructed around Ben Affleck’s “Argo”. most of it concentrated on the meaningless and continuously distasteful circus that is the Hollywood Awards Season- the seemingly year-round orgy of masturbatory, unmerited self-congratulation -with much of … Continue reading

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Mixed Messages: “Halls of Anger” (1970)

    Paul Bogart’s “Halls of Anger” finds a barely perceptible niche in the often inflammatory tradition of Hollywood films that claim to expose the volatile underbelly of modern urban education, with all appropriate delinquencies bubbling forth in a gladiatorial arena … Continue reading

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Shooting Blanks: “Death Wish” (1974)

    “Death Wish” is a genuine curiosity; a  terrible movie which prompted a great deal of useful, spirited and intelligent sociopolitical discussion. The theme of the film is justice, or rather the lack of it, and the rise of vigilantism … Continue reading

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Sex, Drugs and TV: “The Groove Tube” (1974)

   Ken Shapiro’s “The Groove Tube” is a raggedy collection of skits satirizing television ads and programs, a not especially challenging target that is met with a lack of conceptual focus and a wildly variant acuity of wit. In fact, … Continue reading

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Shapeless: “The Blob” (1958)

    Irvin S. Yeaworth Jr.’s “The Blob” is a film with an impressive cult legacy, but one that yields few actual rewards upon viewing. This small-town teen versus space monster picture does distinguish itself from many of the grade-B (or … Continue reading

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The Brice isn’t Right: “Funny Girl” (1968)

    Film biographies have always been a tricky business. Subject to less than scrupulous adherence to the factual as opposed to an almost shameless gravitational pull toward the predictable formulaic Hollywood elements of high melodrama and low soap opera, the … Continue reading

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The Stuff of Dreams: “Trollhunter” (2010)

    The sub-genre of the “found film” mockumentary hit the financial jackpot with the tiresome “The Blair Witch Project”, a film which benefited from a wealth of carefully manipulated anticipation by way of Internet hype, but emerged without an … Continue reading

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Russian Roue: “Love and Death” (1975)

   Woody Allen’s first overt dive into the realm of the serious (though not approached seriously) is an interesting amalgam of 19th Century Russian literature, the cinema of Eisenstein and Bergman  all seen through the eyes of his sarcastic horndog … Continue reading

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