Monthly Archives: March 2014

The Duellists (1977)

Five years before he made Blade Runner, Ridley Scott made a film that looked not to an imaginary future, but to the past. While rarely seen today, the Duellists is, perhaps, the better movie. Like Bladerunner, The Duellists looks great. In its meticulous attention to detail and the decision to shoot mainly shortly before and […]

The Whole Wide World (1996)

Robert E. Howard answers to nobody. A successful writer — he invented the character Conan the Barbarian — he’s the highest paid man in Cross Plains Texas. Tall, ruggedly handsome, and with a loud, booming voice, he’s a larger than life individualist who has conjured up out of the stark, central Texas landscape a world […]

Blade Runner (1982)

I just saw Blade Runner for the first time. It would be impossible for any movie to live up to the expectations you have going into something like this. So I won’t say if I liked it or not. Also, so much has been written on it that not much more can be said, so […]

Over the Edge (1979)

Can a movie affect a person’s behavior? This one did. Even though Jonathan Kaplan’s story about an uprising of teenagers in a planned California suburb was quickly pulled from the theaters after a limited release, it was in heavy rotation on HBO in the early 1980s. One Sunday night, my brother and I watched it […]

THX1138 (1971)

THX1138 was George Lucas’s first movie. Even though it starred the talented Robert Duvall as the titular character,  it was not commercially successful. Reviews were mixed. It wasn’t exactly panned, but, even though it fit in with the general run of dystopia science fiction popular at the time, no critic was particularly interested in hyping […]

Chapter 27 (2007)

I’ve always admired artists who make bad artistic choices and commit to them. I don’t mean a project that spins out of control, like Heaven’s Gate. I don’t mean someone like Billy Squier, who was duped into prancing around like a fabulously gay pole dancer in the Rock Me Tonight video, then promptly disavowed it […]

Land and Freedom (1995)

I tend to watch Ken Loach’s films before I know anything about their subject. I saw Kes before I had read anything about the mining industry in the north of England. I saw The Wind that Shakes the Barley before I had a clue about the Irish War of Liberation. After I watched Land and […]

Danton (1983)

Danton, a French/Polish film directed by the Polish director Andrzej Wadja opens in the spring of 1794. The Reign of Terror is reaching its crescendo. Éléonore Duplay, the landlady and probably lover of Maximilian Robespierre is teaching her nephew the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen. Robespierre himself is sick in bed. Outside, […]

Mississippi Burning (1988)

What if people on the left had real state power? We’ve all dreamed about it. What if we finally put on our brass knuckles and punched the nearest teabagger in the face? What if the federal government went back into the south, took over the same Florida court system that’s legalized killing blacks, and “stood […]

Wadjda (2012)

Wadjda, by Haifaa al-Mansour, is supposedly the first feature length film ever shot in Saudi Arabia. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but Saudi Arabia currently has no move theaters. Haifaa al-Mansour was also subject to a number of draconian restrictions, including having to film from the back of a van, since, as […]