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Wednesday, September 1 2010

‘Word Is Out’‘s Historical Importance Cannot Be Underestimated

Tales of secrecy, discrimination, discovery, bonding, and isolation and loneliness are common, not surprising considering the social and political climate for the LGBT community in the '70s.


Monday, August 30 2010

‘The Mothers-In-Law’: Just for Good Measure, We’ll Give Everyone the Intelligence of a Radish

The '60s were the most surreal decade on TV, and this show has scenes as bizarre as any sitcom, even without castaways or martians or robots or talking animals or reincarnated automobiles.


Thursday, August 19 2010

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.


Monday, August 9 2010

‘Leave It to Beaver’ Is Probably Closer to Real Life for People Today Than Many Would Admit

Leave It to Beaver's problem is not that it no longer fits modern social concerns, but that it does so too blatantly. God forbid a modern hipster should let loose a chuckle and thus irrefutably acknowledge dull suburban ambitions!


Wednesday, August 4 2010

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.


Sunday, August 1 2010

House of the Rising Sun Lamp: Jersey Shore UNCENSORED: Season One

The youth whom I was concerned for regarding this program are not the network’s audience, as I thought, but its stars. Most seem aware that there is a direct relationship between outrageous behavior and screen time.


Thursday, July 22 2010

The Archaeology of Comedy: Ancient Funnybones Found Intact

More valuable fossils have been unearthed from the strata of film history thanks to these Kino and Flicker Alley DVDs: a bunch of lost Keatons and one lost Roxie.


Sunday, July 11 2010

How Does One Beat the Heat? Try Descending Into Icy Madness

To cope with the heat wave, advisories suggest visiting 'cooling centers' or public pools. To achieve a truly chilled-out state of mind, however, why not open the door to your mind and let the iceman cometh inside?


Tuesday, July 6 2010

Plan 9 for Ironic Appreciation: On B-movies, Riffing and Value-Added Irony

The RiffTrax line of DVDs reignites the enduring debate: Can something really be so bad that it's good?


Monday, June 28 2010

Jazz Ain’t Dead, But Charlie Parker Is—So Let’s Move On, Shall We?

If Charlie Parker rose from the dead I have no doubt that he'd cheer on the hip hop orchestras and Bugge Wesseltoft's piano thumping electronica. He would definitely be a fan of Esperanza Spalding.


Thursday, June 24 2010

Peyton Place: When Discretion Was Partly a Genteel Quality, Partly a Requirement of the Censor

A world where nothing is right or reassuring, and little will ever be resolved happily, not in 30-minutes or 30 years – TV as depression, an endless picturesque grind. Rather like life.


Tuesday, June 8 2010

‘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?


Thursday, May 27 2010

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.


Tuesday, May 25 2010

Pete Seeger’s ‘Rainbow Quest’: The Anti-TV, TV

Somewhat awkward, clunky and charming on his TV show, Pete Seeger seemed to trust the viewers in the same way he recognised that TV's priorities don't represent the priorities of the people he meets in his travels.


Tuesday, May 18 2010

Essential Female Melodrama: ‘The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant’

Endorsed by the esteemed Susan Sontag as among the best films about women, Fassbinder's unique approach to the feminine psyche remains as daring today as it was when released in 1972.


Monday, May 17 2010

Fear of a Rap Parody

Underrated in the annals of hip-hop cinema, Rusty Cundieff's Fear of a Black Hat is biting and unflinching, and forces hip-hop fans to stare soberly at the culture's flaws and to revisit their own reasons for loving the music.


Tuesday, May 4 2010

Submarines and Androids: The Comfort Movie Phenomenon

Is there a certain film that, if you come across it flipping channels randomly, you feel compelled to watch yet again? Even though you've seen it 34,000 times? Even if it's on the Spanish-language station and you don't speak Spanish?


Wednesday, April 28 2010

Robert Culp: From ‘I Spy’ to ‘Hickey & Boggs’

Robert Culp and Bill Cosby's wit and warmth in I Spy also established a foundation of fragility and fatalism for Culp's despairing Hickey & Boggs.


Tuesday, April 27 2010

The Goldbergs: The Most Jewish Show on Television

This show is an example of "melting pot" art from the tail end of the Ellis Island era in popular culture, when the wide variety of accents heard in city streets was reflected on the vaudeville stage, on radio, in comics, and wherever pop culture served the mythology of the mainstream.


Monday, April 26 2010

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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