Tabloid Journalism, ’30s Style

The Warner Bros. comedy Picture Snatcher (1933), with Jimmy Cagney, now out on a extras-filled DVD from Warner Home Video, is as fresh and breezy as the day it came out—full of cocksure posturing, rat-a-tat slangy dialogue and plenty [...]

Julie London’s ghost craves vengeance!

Jacques Rivette’s The Duchess of Langeais is just about the best movie in town right now. The aged master gets another vote, far as I’m concerned, for his devoted partisanship of Frank Tashlin. I was just reading somewhere about Godard grousing about seeing Rivette standing first in line for the theatrical opening of a Tashlin [...]

Charlton Heston 1924-2008

(Heston and Welles in Touch of Evil)

Out, out, thou strumpet, Fortune! All you gods,

In general synod ‘take away her power;

Break all the spokes and fellies from her wheel,

And bowl the round nave down the hill of heaven,

As low as to the fiends!’

Thinking of the fate of [...]

Yakuza and More at Yerba Buena Center

There are too many film festivals in the Bay Area to keep track of these days, but this one caught our attention and wouldn’t let go: Four days of vintage Japanese gangster movies will be screened at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. The minifest runs April [...]

Point Break Washes Up Onstage in Bay Area

Go ahead and laugh—many have. But Kathryn Bigelow’s 1991 surf-and-robbery thriller Point Break is one of the most purely entertaining movies ever made. In addition to being Patrick Swayze’s greatest role (even better than Road House in the pantheon of Swayzedom), as Bodhi, the wave-riding criminal mastermind; in addition to the great novelty [...]

Anthony Minghella Dead at 54

While I was no rabid fan of The English Patient—Michael Sragow put it best, claiming it was a movie about a person who becomes a Nazi collaborator to save a corpse—it’s true that Anthony Minghella‘s best-known films had aspirations for the old, grand era of movies but only postmodern books and scripts to carry these [...]

Bette Davis Eyes

A heads up to fans of Bette Davis. There’s a big retrospective of her early films at the Stanford Theatre in Palo Alto starting in April, including a number of pre-Code films. It’s all meant to celebrate one of the hardest-working women in show business on her 100th birthday.

Penelope and the Pig-Man

I haven’t seen Penelope yet (must I?) but am intrigued by the pig-nose gimmick. Clearly, this must refer back to the famous pig-man episode of Seinfeld (clip below) in which Kramer discovers a half-man, half-pig in a hospital. This scene in turn, as noted on several websites, pays homage to the human-pig hybrid experiments in [...]

Film History—Citizen Kane Still Counts

We are not usually interested in what film critics outside are up to. That’s their business. But Mick LaSalle‘s confession in the Sunday (Feb. 24) San Francisco Chronicle that he had never seen Blade Runner or 2001: A Space Odyssey was a bit staggering. How could you write about films for a living and [...]

Black History Minute

While writing this listing for the indie horror flick The Signal on Metroactive’s movie reviews index page, I snuck in a jab at VH1:

This horror flick is about strange broadcasts that drive viewers insane. Yeah, too many VH1 marathons of ‘I Love New York’ and ‘Flavor of Love’ will do that to you. Oh and [...]