Short Ends & Leader
Unrealistic Colors and Naturalistic Philosophies in Jean Renoir’s ‘The River’

In The River, Renoir transcends his own attractive colors, stumbling into a “realistic” philosophy of nature that the portraiture of color so often forbids.

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Let the Face Speak for Itself: Hard Features in ‘The White Buffalo’

The mortal authenticity of Charles Bronson’s face needed no surgical denials or plastic justifications, unlike the onscreen stars of today's image-obsessed culture.

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A Tale of Two Ill-Fated Hollywood Stars

As Hollywood hopefuls Gig Young and Inger Stevens would learn, Hollywood is a dream factory; but it produces nightmares, as well.

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Laughing Through the Great Depression With ‘Sullivan’s Travels’

The real charm of Sullivan’s Travels is the way it exposes Hollywood’s mediation of the Depression and the trauma it inflicted.

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Horror Lurks Behind Every Door But Beware the Robin at the Window

As the red-breasted bird folds its wings from flight, it too portends things are less than all right... on Prom Night.

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Surreal Estate: Exploring the Haunted Grounds of Sérail

A haunted estate proves too much for a curious writer in Eduardo de Gregorio's rare and little-seen surrealist mystery, Sérail.

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‘Boyhood’ and the Transcendence of the Everyday

Boyhood returns to the view that originated with Italian Neorealism: documenting everyday life is the biggest spectacle one could capture on film.

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18 Nov 2014 // 3:30 AM

Jonas Åkerlund’s Take on Upwardly Immobile Lowlifes in Los Angeles

If The Great Gatsby is a peep through a keyhole at the dirty underbelly of extreme wealth from a bygone era, Small Apartments kicks the door down and lays bare a grotesque characterization of today’s urban lower middle class.

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‘The Mack Sennett Collection, Volume One’ Attests to Risk-Taking in Creativity and Innovation

This collection of films is significant in illustrating the development of Mack Sennett's contributions to early film comedy and the lasting effects of Sennett and his troupe.

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Living and Dying for Silent Film

Home video companies such as Kino Lorber, the Criterion Collection, and Flicker Alley have been instrumental in meeting the changing methods of distributing silent film.

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“Capital’s” Critique of Global Capitalism Is Sage but Dispassionate

Capital offers a savage critique of capitalism and the banking industry, but it fails to imagine its ability to sustain its inhumane and self-destructive practices.

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‘Her’ and Masculinity in the Post-Digital Age

The ghost in the machine may have receded into the digital aether, but Theodore’s preconceptions about women have not.

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‘Blue is the Warmest Color’ Is Truly a Feast for All the Senses

What Blue is the Warmest Color demands of its viewers is to stop looking and start sensing, start engaging with cinema with all five senses.

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Between Civility and Civilization: The Late Films of Satyajit Ray

These are films of literal and figurative interiors, where domestic spaces stand in stark contrast to idealisms sabotaged by the pettiness of politics and mistrust.

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20 Thrillers with a Side of Capers

Each film in The Best of Warner Brothers 20 Film Collection: Thrillers asks, in some or form or another, Where does your loyalty lie, with the guys or your girl?

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Vincent Price: The Poe Cycle

The six films in The Vincent Price Collection are indeed, six of Price's best.

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Bruce Lee, Boxed: Safety Goggles and Crash Helmets Required

Children and pregnant women should not take this ride without consulting a physician first. Professional athletes should take special care before looking directly at these battles, as side effects include testing positive for testosterone boosting.

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To Live Is to Die: Clint Eastwood’s Dangerous Oeuvre

These 20 films are a journey through the social and political conditions of America and a broader history of human violence that crowns no winners and knows no end.

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Living Inside the Cliché: ‘Spring Breakers’

Although one might condemn the girls of Spring Breakers for descending into the lustful materialism of St. Petes, it seems hypocritical coming from avid cinemagoers who also like to immerse themselves in the debauchery of horror films, musicals, melodramas, and the like.

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Django May Be Unchained, But America Is Never Unshackled from Its Racist Past

Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained is at its strongest when it problematizes America's racist past.The destruction of Candyland not only vindicates Django’s revenge-fuelled quest, but also implies that slavery itself has been wiped off the face of the earth.

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No More Words Nowadays: ‘The Qatsi Trilogy’

The Qatsi films are artistic ways of raising perceptions in the Irwinian sense: to change the world, we first must know what the world has become by our doing.

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More Than Any Other New American Director, Francis Ford Coppola Reminds Me of Orson Welles

Lifted from over a 40-year period, the Francis Ford Coppola: 5-Film Collection showcases the director's flexibility under circumstances dire and ideal. It also confirms his auteurist consistency.

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Are You in a Film or in Reality? Jean-Luc Godard’s ‘Weekend’ Will Have You Wondering

Criterion's splendid edition of Weekend gives insight into the mind of visionary director Jean-Luc Godard, who aimed at nothing less than challenging the dominant social and cinematic paradigms of his time.

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The Tragedy of the Family Game in ‘The Road to Perdition’

Sam Mendes’ virtuoso control behind the camera mesmerizes and hypnotizes, his depiction of Depression-era America a stasis of tragedy, each death inevitable but slow to ferment.

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Did the Master of Suspense Make the Best Movies of All Time?

There was a time when Alfred Hitchcock was considered a mere populist entertainer. Like Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and others before him, his early work didn’t click with intellectual minds -- they found nothing to praise in his lurid stories of murder, mystery and shocks.

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Systemic and Subjective: The Violence of ‘The International’ and the Global Financial Order

The weapons deals in The International and the back-door negotiations between corporate lobbies and Congress are two sides of the same coin; both use overwhelming systemic violence to further their ends.

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Not Gonna Lie: ‘The Hunger Games’, Twitter, and Reverse Victimization

Would it matter at all if Katniss Everdeen, a white teenager in the book The Hunger Games, had been portrayed in the film by a suitably teenage and female, black actor? For the young racists who have gone berserk on Twitter about the supporting character Rue being portrayed by an African-American actor, apparently the answer is yes.

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Buster Keaton the Inventor and Charlie Chaplin the Conjurer

The films of Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin share a fraternal vitality and invention.

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Jim Carrey’s Brilliant Dark Side

The Cable Guy and I Love You Phillip Morris show what Jim Carrey is capable of when no one is watching.

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‘America Lost and Found: The BBS Story’: A Cinematic Open Road

America Lost and Found: The BBS Story leaves no doubt that BBS Productions was one of the most important players in a cinematic revolution. These seven films make a case for keeping the canvas wide and the road open.

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‘The Grapes of Wrath’: The Specter of Tom Joad Emerges From America’s Dark Past, Once Again

With the current economic climate -- increasing rates of foreclosure, evictions, unemployment, poverty and misery -- this classic story dangerously impinges upon the present to reveal the specter of Tom Joad emerging from the darkness, once again.

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Pacific Hell Amid Days of Heaven: Terrence Malick’s ‘The Thin Red Line’

PopMatters' Paul Maher speaks with cast and crew about what went into Terrence Malick's million-and-a-half feet of film (250 hours) that would become The Thin Red Line (re-released on DVD by Criterion, 28 September).

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Masterpieces of Silent Film Are Rescued From Obscurity

Underworld, The Last Command, and The Docks of New York are masterpieces of visual storytelling -- human dramas expressed with cinematographic innovation, impeccably realized set design, and an unparalleled grasp of the “bigger picture” of the motion picture.

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Rambo’s Hold Will Never Let (Us) Go

The essential point of this series of all the Rambo films, muddy as it has been made by the hateful final installment, is that Rambo represents the failure of the American people to come to terms with their misadventure in Vietnam.

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4 Aug 2010 // 10:00 PM

Pride and Prejudice

Clinging to the dictum “The personal is political”, and shunning such pesky realities as promiscuity, illness and civil rights, the progenitors of this Cinema Pride DVD have opted to focus simply on storytelling and character development.

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‘Shutter Island’: The Fragile Intersection Between Sanity and Insanity

Shutter Island concerns the surrender of one’s own subjective memory and identity to another individual or institution. In order to make that choice -- to become a passive player in someone else’s version of reality -- must one be sane or insane?

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Perry Mason Knows: Anyone May Be Guilty, Evil Lurks Just Beneath the Mask of Respectability

Perry (Raymond Burr) remains a heroic cypher, cool and professional, sometimes jovial but with a cut and thrust when confronting witnesses.

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The Illusion of Identity in Lars Von Trier’s Antichrist

Lars von Trier suggests that the terrible and the horrific are not to be found in the abnormal behaviour of an outsider, but within our relationships, and the play of domination and submission in everyday life.

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25 Mar 2010 // 9:59 PM

Where the Wild Things Are

Even if its pleasures outweigh its disappointments, Where the Wild Things Are is another in a series of Spike Jonze’s ambitious but flawed projects.

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Twice as Tough: Short Ends and Leader Turns Two

It was a year for directors, decisions, and dilemmas as PopMatters' feisty film blog celebrated its second year of motion picture provocation.

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//Mixed media
//Blogs

A Chat with José González at Newport Folk Festival

// Notes from the Road

"José González's sets during Newport Folk Festival weren't on his birthday (that is today) but each looked to be a special intimate performance.

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