Red Kangaroo: Wake in Fright tonight at SFIFF

by Richard von Busack

An intelligent if lofty schoolteacher (Gary Bond) arrives in a desert town that’s drunk 24 hours a day; eagerly, even hysterically befriended by the locals, including a doctor, played by Donald Pleasance, who has given up and embraced barbarism. Matters get worse right away; the funny games of the locals spiral out [...]

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 [...]

Know your post mumblecore movements!

Know your movements:

Stumblecore: director, cast drunk during entirety of shoot.

Numblecore: cast novicaned by oral surgeon to prevent artificial show-offy acting.

Dumblecore: At least 75% of the cast–this is audited–must be mute from birth. Up and coming indie-film movement in the Winston-Salem area, with at least two directors involved.
A third, Mike Duplotz, was manifestoed out of the [...]

Master editor Dede Allen dies

A brief LA Times obit–thanks to Jerry Rosenblum for the alert on this–on Dede Allen, who just died of a stroke. Allen was the editor on Bonny and Clyde and Dog Day Afternoon. My take away from all of this: I’m at least happy to learn that there’s no technical name for “starting the sound [...]

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 [...]

The Green Glove—Glenn Ford in B&W

We know that the glove is green thanks to the title and some lurid imagery on the DVD jacket, which makes it look like Glenn Ford’s hand is being consumed by a snake demon that slithered across the Channel from Hammer Studios. The film, however, is in B&W, so all the references to the fabulously hued relic fall a bit [...]

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington—at the Stanford Theatre

The Spring repertory season begins Saturday at Palo Alto’s Stanford theater with some very familiar and a bit of a rarity. One wonders which way Frank Capra’s populist rant against the Senate cuts today? Does it inspire or infuriate Tea Baggers?

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington/Come Live With Me

(1939/1941) A Boy Ranger leader named Mr. Smith [...]