Columns > Film

Friday, June 19 2015

Birdman v Uttama Villain: Portrait of the Artiste As an Older, Wiser Man

Making their films resistant to easy consumption and demanding respect for the artiste is essential to the spirit of Birdman and Uttama Villain.


Tuesday, June 9 2015

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.


Monday, June 1 2015

In ‘The Bridges of Madison County’, Meryl Streep Proves She Is the Author of Her Films

It takes a superior actress to convey a character’s entire history in one scene, and in this film, at least, Meryl Streep does it masterfully.


Thursday, May 28 2015

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.


Tuesday, May 26 2015

On Denaturing Racial Elements in Two ‘50s-era Films

Two fascinating bits of Americana, Black Gold and Face of Fire, are defined by racial themes, yet tackle the subject quite differently.


Thursday, May 21 2015

Portrait of a Family in the Throes of Freudian Panic

An electrifying story of deadly obsessions and poisonous pedagogy, Pin captures perfectly the dread and unease of '80s American suburbia.


Wednesday, May 20 2015

Black Widow and the Burden of Being the Female Avenger

All too often, when you have a token female in a story, that character's primary super power is simply that she's a girl.


Thursday, May 14 2015

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.


Tuesday, May 12 2015

Hollywood Creative Accounting, or, How to Hide a Hit and Still Profit From It

From Batsuits to Lawsuits, Hollywood Studios have a long history of hiding profits to claim that enormous hits were actually flops. How do they do this, and why?


Friday, May 8 2015

Jóhann Jóhannsson on Composing as Storytelling

PopMatters talks with Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson about his role in the Stephen Hawking biopic The Theory of Everything, for which he won a Golden Globe.


Thursday, May 7 2015

Calling Mr. Aldrich: The ‘50s-era Fisticuffs of ‘World for Ransom’ and ‘Ten Seconds to Hell’

Robert Aldrich favors the classical presentation of angry cynical characters given to violence and grotesquery, which means he's often "tasteless" and discomfitting.


Monday, May 4 2015

Deconstructing the Star Beast: How the ‘Alien’ Saga Went Wrong

Alien was a planned B-Movie that transcended its genre and spawned the rare sequel that is neither imitation nor complete deviation. Then the saga went to hell.


Monday, April 27 2015

The Ethics of Death-Defying Media

Furious 7's path to the screen is emblematic of the ways in which film and other media defy (and define) death as images develop lives of their own.


Tuesday, April 21 2015

Great Movies With Terrible Sequels: Laughable Sequels in Action

Not even the combined might of Superman, Batman, Predator and James Bond can save their respective series from sinking like an ocean liner into the Bay of Pigs!


Friday, April 17 2015

Still Life: The Portrait of Time in ‘Boyhood’

Boyhood sets itself the daunting task of reflecting the breadth of a human adolescence, but it instead reveals that it is in life's minutia that we find the most meaning.


Thursday, April 16 2015

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.


Monday, April 13 2015

Death in the Land of Smiles

A recent biopic about the last executioner in Thailand explores the extremes between killing and redemption.


Tuesday, March 24 2015

‘The Voices’ Gets to the Very Essence of the American Nightmare

Disturbing, funny, alluring and repulsive in a uniquely American way that no one likes to admit, The Voices should trouble you.


Monday, March 23 2015

Farther Than You Think: Mapping the Noir Terrain

Rope of Sand, Dark City, and Union Station each extend the shadowy reach of film noir.


Monday, March 16 2015

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.


//Blogs

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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