Monthly Archives: April 2014

Last Chants For a Slow Dance (1977)

During the Presidential election of 2004, the cable news networks were circulating a push poll designed to help George W. Bush get back into the White House. You might remember it. One of the questions was about who you’d rather have a beer with. Even I got that one right. Who would want to have […]

Dream of Life (2008)

If you go into Steven Sebring’s 2008 film about the life of Patti Smith expecting a conventional documentary, you will almost certainly be disappointed. Dream of Life doesn’t tell us very much about Smith’s relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe or Sam Wagstaff. It doesn’t examine each individual album and tell us how it was made. We […]

Sixteen Candles (1984) Pretty in Pink (1986)

Ted the Geek: Hey Dong, what’s wrong? Long Duk Dong: Do you remember that old movie we were both in? Ted the Geek: Sixteen Candles? Long Duk Dong: It’s got me down. Ted the Geek: Why Dong? That’s where we met. That’s where we decided to go into business together. Now we run a successful […]

M (Fritz Lang, 1931)

Originally posted on Dennis Grunes:
The following is one of the entries from my 100 Greatest Films from Germany, Scandinavia, Finland & Austria list, which I invite you to visit on this site if you haven’t already done so. — Dennis Giving birth to the police procedural, Fritz Lang’s M, though talky, retains a grim…

M (1931)

M is the greatest movie ever made about 9/11 and the “war on terror.” M, which made German actor Peter Lorre into a major film star, and which director Fritz Lang considered his masterpiece, says just about everything there is to say about a corrupt society’s response to an unspeakable atrocity. The Sandy Hook Massacre, […]

Rebel Without A Cause (1955)

Rebel Without a Cause is a wildly uneven story saved by James Dean’s virtuoso performance. Make no mistake. If Nicholas Ray’s screenplay has its shortcomings, James Dean’s acting not only lives up to the legend. It actually surpasses it. The surprising thing is not that Dean, at 23, seems too old to play a teenager. […]

Przesłuchanie (1982)

Przesłuchanie is Polish film about a woman who stands up to her Stalinist torturers to protect a man she doesn’t love, and who, as she later finds out, was dead before they arrested her. Filmed in 1982 during the brief period of cultural liberalization before the declaration of martial law, Przesłuchanie, or, The Interrogation, was […]

Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975)

How much violence does it take to maintain the status quo, any status quo? Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles is a revolutionary film on the most intimate scale possible. Running for almost three and a half hours, Chantal Akerman’s feminist classic from the 1970s is about as long as a film can […]

Brazil (1985)

Brazil is a Thatcherite attack on public sector unions and a send up of Thatcherism. It is a look backward at the cumbersome bureaucracy of the British welfare state and an astonishingly accurate prediction of the war on terror. It is a very good movie and a very bad one, Blade Runner with a higher […]

All Quiet On The Western Front (1930)

Last month, President Barack Obama went to Flanders and gave a speech about the First World War. As is typical for him, his words were phrased so carefully that they aspire to an ambiguity that, if achieved, would render them almost meaningless. “And so this visit, this hallowed ground, reminds us that we must never, […]