Movie: National Velvet (1944)

Confession time.  While watching most of the movies I write about here, I am also watching (and taking notes on) the movies I will write about later.  Rarely do I watch something that completely disrupts this process. So I was stunned by how my attention was completely locked for just over two hours on a […]

Movie: Medium Cool (1969)

When you’re behind a camera, it can be easy to forget you are there and are part of what is happening.  An incident that stands out in my mind is a time I was running camera on the sidelines of a football game.  All these players are barreling towards me and I’m thinking, “Damn!  This […]

Movie: Elmer Gantry (1960)

Circuses, carnival attractions, revivals.  I’m starting to think one should avoid all enterprises held in tents. 1960’s Elmer Gantry stars Burt Lancaster as the title character, a smooth-talking travelling salesman who schmoozes his way into the organization of a popular tent revival.  The star of the revival is Sister Sharon Falconer, as played by Jean […]

Movie: Death Line (1972)

False advertising is a bitch.  I bought this import blu-ray because it said Christopher Lee is in it.  And he is, for like three minutes. Lee is in 1972’s Death Line because he wanted to act alongside Donald Pleasance.  The result is they are almost in one scene together.  I say “almost” because the camera […]

Movie: Testament (1983)

I must have some sort of obsession with dramas about the survivors of nuclear war.  God knows I have seen enough of them.  Most of these movies were made in the 1980’s, which makes sense.  The prevailing feeling at the time that we could be annihilated at any moment was perfectly captured by Prince when […]

Movies: The Body (1970) / Bodysong (2003)

I don’t remember recently losing the will to live and, yet, I willingly watched two feature-length visual poems about the human condition, each of which was scored by members of separate, legendary prog-rock bands.  I suspect vastly more people have heard the soundtrack for one or both pictures than have seen the movies either accompanies. […]

Movie: Hush..Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964)

1962’s What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? was a huge success, reinvigorating the careers of Bette Davis and Joan Crawford.  Davis was even Oscar-nominated for it.  Today is seems to be regarded largely as camp, but I think it is an amazing film which I enjoy without any ironic regard. Two years later, the director […]

Movie: The Missionary (1982)

When a movie shows prostitutes of 19th century London’s seediest neighborhoods, I imagine them marketing their wares as if they are vendors at a baseball game: “Get your hot seh-fuh-lisss heeer-yuh! HOT syphilis!” In 1982’s The Missionary Michael Palin plays the title role, a seemingly decent man who has faithfully served the Church no matter […]

Movie: The Lift (1983)

1983’s The Lift is a Dutch horror film.  I didn’t know that going in so, once I started seeing names like Willeke van Ammelrooy in the opening credits, I thought I had suddenly gone dyslexic. As one would expect from the title, this concerns a murderous elevator.  Or maybe that’s elevators.  It’s a bank of […]

Series: The Changes (1975)

There are good reasons why British children’s television of the 70s has a cult following.  As somebody who did not grow up with such shows, many of these have an appeal transcending mere nostalgia.  They tend to be darker and stranger than what we were raised on in the colonies. One of the best examples […]

Movie: J.D.’s Revenge (1976)

Budget studio American International Pictures made a great many contributions to what was dubbed the Blaxploitation genre.  I was surprised I had not known about 1976’s J.D.’s Revenge until recently, as I have watched many films in this niche and I also try to watch every AIP release I can find. Many of the pictures […]

Movie: Payroll (1961)

Heist, British, early 1960’s, crisp black & white photography.  1961’s Payroll would have to be spectacularly bad to disappoint me.  I won’t bury the lede: this movie definitely did not disappoint.  The film opens with what appears to be an armored car heist but is actually a test of a new security system.  I found […]

Movie: Konga (1961)

Synchronicity is a Jungian concept I won’t pretend to comprehend but, in my uneducated take on it, it is our innate ability to detect patterns in coincidence and occasionally bestow great significance upon those.  I experienced that sensation recently when I saw two movies two days apart that had the same batshit idea at their […]

Movie: Marguerite (2015)

My grandmother on my mother’s side loved to sing, and she did so frequently, joyously, and loudly.  Alas, also poorly.  I’m not sure she was ever aware she sang badly, as I don’t know if anybody ever told her.  I know I didn’t.  On the other hand, I bet I cringed a lot when she […]