Life Has a Funny Way: Tragicomedy and The Earrings of Madame de…

|Courtney Kowalke| The adage “Comedy equals tragedy plus time” doesn’t really hold true for The Earrings of Madame de… (1958). In one early scene, aristocratic main character Louise (Danielle Darrieux) lies to her husband about losing the titular earrings while attending...

Of Earrings and Eras: The Earrings of Madame de… and Cinematic History

|Dan McCabe| The Earrings of Madame de…(1953) may be the last great work of the French “Poetic Realism” period. It certainly isn’t the only film that marks the end of a historical era in the development of motion pictures. What interests me about it is that usually evolve...

In the name of the Father, the Son, and Uncle Nicky: A Trinity of Masculinities in Nancy Savoca’s Household Saints

|Matthew Christensen| I should begin by confessing to a degree of uneasiness over my title for this piece. As the adult son of an evangelical minister, the impact of growing up in a devout household has lingered long into my adulthood. The idea of saying anything that...
Life Has a Funny Way: Tragicomedy and The Earrings of Madame de…

Life Has a Funny Way: Tragicomedy and The Earrings of Madame de…

|Courtney Kowalke| The adage “Comedy equals tragedy plus time” doesn’t really hold true for The Earrings of Madame de… (1958). In one early scene, aristocratic main character Louise (Danielle Darrieux) lies to her husband about losing the titular earrings while attending...
Of Earrings and Eras: The Earrings of Madame de… and Cinematic History

Of Earrings and Eras: The Earrings of Madame de… and Cinematic History

|Dan McCabe| The Earrings of Madame de…(1953) may be the last great work of the French “Poetic Realism” period. It certainly isn’t the only film that marks the end of a historical era in the development of motion pictures. What interests me about it is that usually evolve...
In the name of the Father, the Son, and Uncle Nicky: A Trinity of Masculinities in Nancy Savoca’s Household Saints

In the name of the Father, the Son, and Uncle Nicky: A Trinity of Masculinities in Nancy Savoca’s Household Saints

|Matthew Christensen| I should begin by confessing to a degree of uneasiness over my title for this piece. As the adult son of an evangelical minister, the impact of growing up in a devout household has lingered long into my adulthood. The idea of saying anything that...
The Player: Robert Altman and Michael Tolkin’s Glorious Hollywood-Caricature Cinema

The Player: Robert Altman and Michael Tolkin’s Glorious Hollywood-Caricature Cinema

|Dan Howard| From 1977 to 1990, Robert Altman’s career as a filmmaker began to dwindle, teetering from decent-sized ups to major downs. Every other film coming from Altman was received with mixed to lackluster reviews, with some exceptions like 3 Women...
“Strip away the phony tinsel of Hollywood and you find the real tinsel underneath.”

“Strip away the phony tinsel of Hollywood and you find the real tinsel underneath.”

|Bob Aulert| - Oscar Levant. In the realm of meta-cinematic narratives, few films have achieved the level of sharp satire and self-awareness as Robert Altman's 1992 film The Player. It’s a two hour long “Fuck You” from Altman to the mainstream film industry; a scathing commentary...
Sahara (1943): A Good Old Fashioned Adventure

Sahara (1943): A Good Old Fashioned Adventure

|Chris Ryba-Tures| There was a time, a baker’s dozen years back, when I couldn’t find a decent old-fashioned donut on this side of the river to save my life. It was the age of The Glazing—when a number of ambitious, inventive Twin Cities doughsmiths began exploring the possibilities...
Laughing at Goons and Censors: Five Graves to Cairo

Laughing at Goons and Censors: Five Graves to Cairo

|John Costello| Despite the underlying wartime suspense and tragedy, Five Graves to Cairo (1943) gives the audience ample reason to laugh at the Nazis and their accomplices. The film deflates the legend of Nazi Field Marshal Erwin Rommel and constantly demeans...
Touch of Evil: The Art of Getting Away with It

Touch of Evil: The Art of Getting Away with It

|Patrick Clifford| “Oh man! You’ve never seen Touch of Evil?” “Oh… Man. That first shot!” “Tick, tick, tick, tick… tacka-tooka, tacka-tooka…” This was how my good friend Juan Torres introduced to me to Touch of Evil. Long ago, when we were college students in Chicago. I can still see...
Touch of Evil: At the Border of Truth

Touch of Evil: At the Border of Truth

|Yuval Klein| At the Mexico–U.S. Border, gangsters and police animate a caustic criminal underbelly. The protagonist, Mike Vargas, is a respected Mexican criminal prosecutor who crosses over to his American newlywed’s home country at the precise moment of an...
Anatomy of a Right-Wing Fable: La casa lobo

Anatomy of a Right-Wing Fable: La casa lobo

|MH Rowe| La casa lobo (2018, released in English as The Wolf House) is one of those films based on or inspired by fact that sends you scurrying to the internet to read aghast secret histories you never knew. In this case the history turns out to be a sickening account of...
Arica, mi Amor: Cine Chileno y La casa lobo

Arica, mi Amor: Cine Chileno y La casa lobo

|Finn Odum| I. Gringos en Arica. The first of my three weeks in Arica, a city on the Chilean-Peruvian border, was spent in a beachside hotel. We had free breakfast in the mornings, a pool overlooking the ocean, and most importantly, a bar just a five-minute walk away. Many of us were...
A Phenomenology of the East Coast: Sidney Lumet’s The Verdict

A Phenomenology of the East Coast: Sidney Lumet’s The Verdict

|MH Rowe| As quiet and downbeat as it is—as suspicious of institutional authority as it is—The Verdict (1982) is not quite the post-Watergate courtroom drama it appears to be. It traffics instead in a variety of chastened heroism, the kind that comes from finding out that...
Girls Just Wanna Have Fun: The Batwoman and Camp Feminism

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun: The Batwoman and Camp Feminism

|Courtney Kowalke| When I was 13, I was obsessed with the Disney Channel cartoon Kim Possible. The title character was a high school student extracurricular enthusiast with a particular penchant for cheerleading who also flew around the world to fight crime. I was in...
Four “Fuckin A!” Moments in Action Movie Music

Four “Fuckin A!” Moments in Action Movie Music

| Matthew Tchepikova-Treon | Beyond the hardbody brass hits, kettle drums, soaring guitars, and motoric basslines (that nowadays punctuate every last over-edited theatrical trailer to death), action movie music comes in many forms. In the 1970s, performers like J.J. Johnson (Across 110th Street), Johnny Pate...
I Have Seen the Future, and It Doesn’t Work: The Off-Kilter, Semi-Genius of Zardoz

I Have Seen the Future, and It Doesn’t Work: The Off-Kilter, Semi-Genius of Zardoz

|Michael Popham| When people see the movie Zardoz for the first time, they usually walk out of the theater with a lot of questions. Chief among them is, “What the fuck was that all about?” I’ll admit this isn’t a movie for everyone. But hear me out: Zardoz is not just a perfect example of 1970s...
Down the Yellow Brick Road and Through the Looking Glass: How Zardoz Was Colored by its Era and Reflects Back on Today

Down the Yellow Brick Road and Through the Looking Glass: How Zardoz Was Colored by its Era and Reflects Back on Today

|Zach Staads| So, the civilization we know today is coming to an end and the enlightened intelligentsia want to use the end of the world as a playground for their own disaffected experiments and whims as they figure out immortality and aren't sure what to do with the cruder...
Comfort Movies and Show Stealers: The Goodbye Girl

Comfort Movies and Show Stealers: The Goodbye Girl

|Penny Folger| The Goodbye Girl played on daytime television with some regularity while I was growing up. Either that or I just caught it the one time and it left an enduring impression. It’s hard to say which it was when scanning back through my memories of childhood, but I remember Richard Dreyfuss playing guitar, trying to soothe 10-year-old...
This Just In: Evil is STILL Banal

This Just In: Evil is STILL Banal

|Veda Lawrence| For someone whose exposure to Holocaust literature has come mostly from the diary of Anne Frank, or the Boy in the Striped Pajamas, or even Life is Beautiful, a film like The Night Porter stands as a stark and offensive antithesis to the almost sanitized narratives that...
Pain, Pleasure, and Depiction of Manipulation in The Night Porter

Pain, Pleasure, and Depiction of Manipulation in The Night Porter

|Matt Lambert| Too often in criticism, there is a lens from the future looking back at the past in judgement. To be clear, I'm struggling with that urge in reviewing The Night Porter. The 1974 film directed by Liliana Cavani examines the sadomasochistic relationship...
The Life Fantastic: My Lifelong Love Affair with Walt Disney’s Cosmic, Abstract, Terrifying, Horny, and Awe-Inspiring Snuff Film for Children

The Life Fantastic: My Lifelong Love Affair with Walt Disney’s Cosmic, Abstract, Terrifying, Horny, and Awe-Inspiring Snuff Film for Children

|Ryan Sanderson| If you grew up in the eighties or nineties, particularly in the American Midwest, there’s a strong chance you discovered your cinephilia via a VHS rerelease from the Disney vault. The Fantasia fiftieth anniversary edition, for instance, tore across American theaters in 1990...
Animation Past, Present, and Future: The Scope of Fantasia

Animation Past, Present, and Future: The Scope of Fantasia

|Daniel McCabe| Imagine, if you will, that the art of animation disappeared. You had to choose one film to reconstruct the entire art form, from the silliest children’s YouTube video to the most profound Studio Ghibli opus. You get to choose one film to base this reconstruction upon.
When I’m Bad, I’m Better: Legend and Tim Curry’s Legacy of Villainy

When I’m Bad, I’m Better: Legend and Tim Curry’s Legacy of Villainy

|Courtney Kowalke| What is the first movie you remember seeing Tim Curry in? It is a question of when you first saw him in something, not if you have ever seen him in something. The British actor has been an inescapable presence on the silver screen since 1975. Incidentally,
Before Lift Off: Tom Cruise in Legend

Before Lift Off: Tom Cruise in Legend

|John Blair| It has been over 30 years since I first saw Legend as a child. I retained strong memories of certain images: the magical light of the opening scenes, the oversized horns of the Lord of Darkness, the fact that there was definitely a unicorn in the movie. I knew it starred Tom Cruise,
Cinematic Sorcery: The Legacy of Vermithax Pejorative

Cinematic Sorcery: The Legacy of Vermithax Pejorative

|Malcolm Cooke| In the misty and magical realm of Urland lurks a dark and evil creature: The last dragon, one thousand years old. It holds the surrounding land in the violent grip of fear. The king is forced to sacrifice virgins, chosen from a lottery twice a year, to sate the dragon’s sadistic...