Monthly Archives: January 2017

City of God (2002) – The Violence of Poverty

This is a more detailed review of City of God than my own. It also deals with a question that I decided perhaps a little too easily: Is it possible to be a good person inside the City of God?

City of God (2002)

In 1960, as a part of an ongoing campaign of “slum clearance,” the Brazilian state of Guanabara built a large housing project on the west of Rio de Janeiro. The settlement, also known as Cidade de Deus, the City of God, eventually became a dumping ground for the underclass of Rio de Janeiro. Unlike Flint, […]

Army of Shadows (1969)

Horrible quality Youtube video but one of the best scenes in perhaps the greatest anti-fascist movie. A middle-aged, probably conservative leader of the French Resistance meets a young Communist in a Vichy detention camp. Under the eyes of their guards, they don’t have much time to talk. They’re able to let each other know in […]

Ghostbusters (1984) Ghostbusters: Answer the Call (2016)

The most politically contentious film of 2016 was not Fire at Sea, Gianfranco Rosi’s documentary about the European refugee crisis. It was not Free State of Jones, an examination of a forgotten chapter of the history of the United States Civil War. It was not Birth of a Nation, Nate Parker’s recreation of the Nat […]

Queen Christina (1933)

If you had asked the typical American standing in line to buy a movie ticket in 1933 to name the most destructive war in history, most, if not all, would have answered “World War I,” or “The Great War.” Almost as many would have had strong opinions on the Presidential Election of 1928, which was […]

Images of My Suburban Dreamworld: 1

I run 7.1 miles, usually late at night, five times a week. There was a snowstorm today, and running after a snowstorm is always a hassle. Nevertheless, snow makes for good light to take photos, so I grab my camera and go. But It’s hard to imagine a more insignificant little town than Kenilworth, New […]

They Live By Night (1949)

In 1934, the newly enforced Motion Picture Product Code declared that “sympathy of the audience should never be thrown to the side of crime, wrong-doing, evil or sin.” In 1949, a thirty-eight-year-old director from Galesville Wisconsin named Nicholas Ray released They Live By Night, his debut film. “If you prudes and authoritarians insist that I […]

In a Lonely Place (1950)

According to the Canadian novelist Margaret Atwood the real difference between men and women is pretty simple. “Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.” Nicholas Ray, who directed In a Lonely Place, would probably agree. Humphrey Bogart plays Dixon Steele – how’s that for a […]

Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (1974)

That Ali: Fear Eats the Soul, which the twenty-nine-year-old Rainer Werner Fassbinder made in only two weeks on a budget of 260,000 deutschmarks (about $120,000 dollars), manages to tackle so many subjects in ninety minutes is a testament to Fassbinder’s genius. Germany’s fascist past, the distinction between inner and outer beauty, youth, aging, and above […]

Casablanca (1942): Pseudo Anti-Fascism, Real Sexism, Genuine Racism

Originally made to lend the war against the Nazis an air of Hollywood glamour, and directed by the ideologically baffling Michael Curtiz, who shortly thereafter would go onto make the openly pro-Stalinist Mission to Moscow, Casablanca might best be called a “pseudo-anti-fascist romance.” While it has aged better than most movies released in 1942, it […]