Quotable Callan

My new favorite guilty pleasure is the old British TV show Callan, from the late ’60s-early ’70s, with Edward Woodward as a wound-up, bitter spy railing in Shakespearean tones against his superiors and the system. The show combines soap operatic acting with some surprising nimble dialogue that rises to (or at least aspires to) the [...]

'Mad Men' : Decline and Fall of Don Draper's Empire

I’m late to the party, just now watching season 3 of Mad Men on DVD, but I was fascinated by some bibliographical notes in Episode 3.

First was the fascinating sequence of Don Draper’s precocious, thieving daughter reading out loud from Edward Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire to her grandpa, quoting from [...]

Cleo Moore Double-Bill

A review of two new film noir releases on DVD: “Over-Exposed” with Cleo Moore and “Women’s Prison” with Ida [...]

Nicolas Cage's Night of the Iguana

Separated at birth? (Hans Hilewaert, Creative Commons)

Many and deep are the risible absurdities running like a silty delta through Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans. Take for instance Val Kilmer’s character, who appears at the beginning, disappears for an hour and then reappears at the end suddenly acting like an even bigger wacko [...]

New Film Noir Classic Collection on Warner Home Video

A good day for film noir fans, as Warner Home Video announced the coming release of Film Noir Classic Collection, Volume 5, with eight digitally remastered titles in the offing.

The package includes Corner (1945, with Dick Powell; Desperate (1947), starring Steve Brodie and directed by Anthony Mann; The Phenix City Story (1955), a ripped-from-the-headlines crime [...]

Bigger Than Life—DVD Review

A review of the new Criterion Collection DVD release of Nicholas Ray’s 1956 medical drama “Bigger Than Life” with James [...]

Critics on Film

Do I remind you of Pauline Kael?

Not, mind you, critics talking about films (or TV) but representations of film critics in films.

I finally caught up with the (to me overwrought) two-part finale of Monk (on DVD, spared the endless commercials). One of the characters (played by Alona Tal) turns out to be a gorgeous [...]

Stooges on DVD

The Three Stooges Collection, Vol. 4: 1943–1945; two discs; Sony Pictures; $24.96

(Richard Burton voice): “So you want to know about the war, do you? 1943–45: The pie of doom, hurled by the  mailed fist of the Allies, sailed inexorably, soon to cover the face of the Third Reich in [...]

Unnatural Born Killers

I’m tempted to blame this overly arch killers-on-the-run pastiche on the baleful influence of Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction and Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers, but since they all came out in 1994, I suppose that the zeitgeist is the real culprit—with 1993’s Kalifornia as accomplice. Gil [...]

Ophuls in Motion

Pleasure Dome

Max Ophuls’ camera never had time to stand still in 1952’s ‘Le Plaisir’

In his 1952 French feature, Le Plaisir, director Max Ophuls stitches together three stories by Guy de Maupassant to form an elegiac secular altarpiece dedicated to a kind of Heraclitan notion of life as always in flux and ever changing—as [...]