Monthly Archives: January 2015

Culloden (1964)

Americans who don’t understand the difference between “English” and “British” could do worse than to watch Culloden, the classic 1964 docudrama by the British (and English) filmmaker Peter Watkins, a low-budget yet brutally realistic film that dramatizes the last major battle fought on British soil. The Scots Jacobite Rebellion of 1745, the heavily romanticized and […]

Boyhood (2014)

Richard Linklater and I have one thing in common. We’re both from the most boring as fuck generation in American history. Late Boomers and early Gen Xers, we grew up in the shadow of the 1960s. By the time we reached young adulthood, the sexual revolution was over. The counter culture was gone. Yet the […]

Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

I first became aware of Ralph Nathaniel Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes in 1993 when Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List made him a star in the United States. Fiennes has always specialized in a certain type of character. Whether as Nazi concentration camp commandant Amon Göth or Harry Potter villain Lord Voldemort, he is the dark, rancid heart of fascism […]

The Education of Sonny Carson (1974)

The Education of Sonny Carson, which was made on a shoe-string budget, has several obvious flaws. The camera-work is amateurish. The script is sloppily edited. The performances are melodramatic and over the top. Yet in spite of its flaws, it often rises to greatness. The real Sonny Carson was no angel. http://www.nytimes.com/2002/12/23/nyregion/sonny-carson-66-figure-in-60-s-battle-for-schools-dies.html “His autobiography, ”The […]

Big Eyes (2015)

Whether or not Margaret Keane’s paintings of children with enormous, saucer-like eyes are any good as art can be debated. What can’t be debated is this. Keane, who was born in 1927 in Kentucky as Peggy Doris Hawkins, should have been an American success story. In the mid-1950s Keane left her first husband and moved […]

On Phil Ochs, Malcolm X, and Je Suis Charlie

A guest post by Carol Lipton: Phil Ochs penned the famous lyrics to “Love Me I’m a Liberal” about Malcolm X: I cried when they shot Medgar Evers Tears ran down my spine I cried when they shot Mr. Kennedy As though I’d lost a father of mine But Malcolm X got what was coming […]

The Crossing (2000)

The Battle of Trenton, where George Washington crossed the Delaware River on Christmas of 1776, then surprised and captured a Hessian garrison on the morning of December 26th, was one of history’s most decisive battles. The death toll was surprisingly low, even for the late 18th Century. Only 2 Americans and 22 Hessians were killed. […]

Nothing But A Man (1964)

Nothing But A Man, widely recognized as one of the great films of the Civil Rights Era, but little seen today, looks back to Italian Neorealism, and forward to the 1970s, and Charles Burnett’s Killer of Sheep. Directed by German Jewish exile Michael Roemer and starring Ivan Dixon, who would later go onto direct the […]