Monthly Archives: May 2015

Montage of Heck (2015)

Twenty-one years after he committed suicide, Kurt Cobain remains an enigma. Why did he kill himself at the age of 27? Was it the heroin addiction? The stomach pains? Was it undiagnosed clinical depression? Did Courtney Love have him murdered? If Montage of Heck, the first documentary about Nirvana made the with the full cooperation […]

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

Mad Max: Fury Road is not only an homage to the original series, it’s also a clever feminist deconstruction of one of the most reactionary films of the 1980s, the openly fascist Conan the Barbarian. If John Milius imagines Conan as the white muscle man Arnold Schwarzenegger, an Aryan avenger who restores a proper racial […]

“Mad Men”, the 60s, and the Triumph of Neoliberalism: Carol Lipton’s Review

Last Wednesday, I took a walk that I had not taken for many years: I went from 38th Street and Second Avenue to 59th and Lexington, revisiting much of the scenery and streets I used to pass by every day as a summer letter carrier in Grand Central Station during college. It was the height […]

Panther (1995)

Mario Van Peebles’ semi-fictional account of the birth of the Black Panther Party has its problems. It bogs down at the end. It’s difficult to keep track of some of the characters. Nevertheless, it’s a vivid, dramatic recreation of the radical movement that led the struggle against police brutality in Oakland in the 1960s. It […]

Bad Day at Black Rock (1955)

While best known for Spencer Tracy’s use of a karate chop against a hulking young Ernest Borgnine, Bad Day at Black Rock is not a martial arts film. A stark examination of the American class system, it addresses two important political issues. To what degree are Americans complicit in their own oppression? If the United […]

Lonely are the Brave (1962)

Early in Lonely are the Brave, a cowboy named Jack Burns, Kirk Douglas, is riding back to civilization. Even though Burns and his horse “Whiskey” have been “out on the range” for weeks, this is not the old west. It’s the late 1950s. He looks up in the sky at a airliner, shimmering in the […]

The Big Clock (1948)

If the “big clock,” the center piece of John Farrow’s 1948 film about the fall of a tyrannical publishing tycoon named Earl Janoth, seems to play only a peripheral role in the resolution of the plot, it might have something to do with how it’s more than just a clock. “Built at the cost of […]

Silence of the Lambs (1991) Zero Dark Thirty (2012)

A decade after having its reputation damaged by the Church Committee and revelations about Cointelpro, the FBI turned to turned to Hollywood. In films like The Untouchables (1987), Mississippi Burning (1988), and The Fugitive (1993), federal agents no longer spy on anti-war-activists or put microphones under Martin Luther King’s bed. On the contrary, they liberate […]