Columns > DVDs

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.

Sunday, April 25 2010

Cracking the Spine: The Lovely Bones

The author's 'heaven' is a concrete and unexpected place with"lumbering women throwing shot put and javelin"; whereas the filmmaker's interpretation changes 'heaven' to something like a garish, 3-D Hallmark card.

Thursday, March 25 2010

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.

Sunday, March 21 2010

Georges Melies: The Most Important Filmmaker You’ve (Probably) Never Seen

It’s tempting to say that without Melies, there would be no Avatar, no vampire movies, no Star Wars or Star Trek, no special-effects extravaganzas, no docu-drama like Erin Brockovich, no animation, no Walt Disney, and no porn.

Wednesday, March 10 2010

‘Girls’ Gone Wild

While following a storyline about the trials of a mother and daughter may not be demographically the most masculine thing in the world, neither is my unabashed enjoyment of ABC Family original movies.

Thursday, March 4 2010

Reality with a Pinch of Salto

Salto, a masterpiece of Polish cinema, seems to contain much of Poland's tradition in distilled form, as well as being a perfectly Konwickian construction.

Tuesday, March 2 2010

Memorabiliaphilia: Nationalizing a Pastime

Baseball looms large, the way anything in a magnifying glass seems to gain size and importance.

//Mixed media

Authenticity Issues and the New Intimacies

// Marginal Utility

"The social-media companies have largely succeeded in persuading users of their platforms' neutrality. What we fail to see is that these new identities are no less contingent and dictated to us then the ones circumscribed by tradition; only now the constraints are imposed by for-profit companies in explicit service of gain.

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