BLFJ

By BLFJ | Pop reviews and in-depth analyses of current and classic films from around the world.

Dispatch from Tribeca: Wasted! The Story of Food Waste (Anna Chai and Nari Kye, 2017)

From the film's website<p><i>New York’s prestigious Tribeca Film Festival started April 19 and runs through April 30. Claire Baiz reports on a film</i> …

Recycling

Strangers in Purgatory: On the “Jewish Experience,” Film Noir, and Émigré Actors Fritz Kortner and Ernst Deutsch

Ernst Deutsch in <i>The Third Man</i> (screenshot)<p>An examination of two of these émigrés – Fritz Kortner and Ernst Deutsch, major Central European actors, …

Diaspora

Watch It Again! Joe (John G. Avildsen, 1970)

Peter Boyle as Joe<p>The counterculture and the reactionaries are equally problematic in John G. Avildsen’s complex, underrated <i>Joe</i>. With its bitter, …

The Searcher: James Gray’s The Lost City of Z (2016)

Charlie Hunnam in <i>The Lost City of Z</i><p>Much of <i>The Lost City of Z</i> <i>is</i> genuinely gripping, in part because the hardships and horrors it depicts are presented …

Lost City of Z

Solus Sanctus: On The Young Pope

Jude Law as Pope Lenny<p>The esoteric spiritualism of Pope Lenny brings God crashing to earth. God is impotent; if God is in everything, then God is as …

Spirituality

No Masters or Kings: On Sergei Polunin and Dancer (Steven Cantor, 2016)

The story is that of the driven, disciplined youth turned rebellious and excessive – brought to the fore by Ilan Eshkeri’s viscerally punchy …

Mind

The Fall of Donnie Darko: Re-Viewing the Myth of a Generation

In honor of its 15th anniversary, Richard Kelly’s Donnie Darko plays throughout the U.S. this year starting March 30 at select theaters in a 4K …

Livestock

Another Layer Under the Skin (2013): Racial Empathy and Self-Knowledge

Our failures of understanding may express themselves as prejudicial disregard of others of a different color, race, religion, or gender. From this …

Happy Birthday, Doris Day! (b. April 3, 1924) All Her Films, Ranked and Annotated

Doris Day, circa 1960<p>When I wrote my piece in praise of Doris Day for Bright Lights back in December 2015, I had seen about half of her thirty-nine …

The Birth of the Feature Film – 120 Years Ago: The Corbett-Fitzsimmons Fight (1897)

A rare clear frame enlargement from <i>The Corbett-Fitzsimmons Fight</i> from a 35mm copy of the 63mm print last screened in 1997 on the 100th anniversary of …

Filmmaking

Black Soil: Ixcanul (Jayro Bustamante, 2015)

María<p>And some are pretty enough / And some are poor indeed;<br>And now again the people / Call it but a weed.<p>– Alfred Lord Tennyson. “The Flower”<p>There is …

South America

Familiar Faces: Some Notes on the 2017 SxSW Film Festival

Harry Dean Stanton in <i>Lucky</i>. Photo courtesy of SxSW Film Festival<p>Though moving a bit more stiffly in Lucky, Harry Dean is still moving, and that, the …

SXSW Film

Watch it Again! La Belle et la Bête (France, Jean Cocteau, 1946)

Josette Day and Jean Marais<p>Many have captured in equally luxurious fantasies the Beast that longs in men to be more than he is, and it is this Beast …

Walt Disney Company

The Good, the Bad, the Ugly Wolverine: Logan (2017)

This film is indeed all about catharsis, ours certainly but mostly Logan’s: liberating violence alongside liberal use of profanity, both underpinned …

Comics

Black Code: Documentarian Nick de Pencier Talks Surveillance/Subveillance in the Age of Big Data

Filipe Garcia Peçanha aka Carioca of Midia Ninja during Rio protests<p><i>Black Code</i> sheds light on the commercialisation of cybercrime through the …

Big Brother

Watch It Again! King Kong (Merian C. Cooper, 1933)

With <i>Kong: Skull Island</i> making waves at the box office right now, perhaps it’s time to reintroduce ourselves to the first and, M. C. Myers argues (and …

Movie Trailers

Watch It Again! The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Sweden, 2009)

Noomi Rapace and Michael Nyqvist<p>This article inaugurates a new department at <i>Bright Lights</i>, revisiting a film from the past that is being given new …

Tattoos

Tabula Rasa with Tits: Barbie Nation, a Documentary

On this day, March 9, 1959, Barbie was introduced to the world at New York’s American International Toy Fair. The date also became Barbie’s official …

Documentaries

Superman v Objectivism: Forget Lex Luthor and Brainiac; Could Ayn Rand Be Superman’s Biggest Enemy?

Henry Cavill in <i>Batman v. Superman</i><p>Much of the reason for the continued popularity of Christopher Reeve’s portrayal was the commitment he gave to the …

DC Comics

How to Kill the Queen of the Night: Tragedy Is No Joke, but It Can Be Deeply Funny

Catherine Frot in <i>Marguerite</i><p><i>O wad some Power the giftie gie us, to see oursels as ithers see us! –</i> <i>Robert Burns, “To a Louse, On Seeing One on a Lady’s</i> …

Literature

The Machine and Beyond: Male Hysteria in The Twilight Zone, Star Trek, and Others

William Shatner in the <i>Star Trek</i> episode "The Enemy Within"<p>“I have said that the sole effect of my somewhat childish experiment – that of looking down …

Star Trek

Eighty Years of A Star Is Born: An Actress Evaluates a Classic

Today, Cukor’s musical version is regarded as a classic, and, due to Garland’s spectacular comeback performance, it has even eclipsed the original. …

La La Land

The Enigma of Arrival: Time-Traveling from Lovecraft to La Jetée

In the same way that the heptapod language permits Louise to grasp the warp and weft of her world, the form of the heptapods taps into the once …

Science Fiction

The Problem of Access: Weiner (2016) and the Limitations of the Fly-on-the-Wall Documentary

<i>The response to</i> Weiner <i>shows us (yet again) that the greater the access to a subject, the more likely a documentary is to be lavishly praised . . . no</i> …

Documentaries

“Narrative is dead. We’re mourning it.” Intertextuality and Authorship in Abel Ferrara’s Pasolini (2014)

Rather than trying to frame the narrative as a means of truly understanding the mind of its subject, the film emphasizes that the central figure …

Conan O'Brien

Get Real: How Much Reality Do We Want in Acting?

Jeffrey Tambor in <i>Transparent</i><p>Isn’t it the job of an actor to play what he or she is not?<p>It was Jeffrey Tambor who got me thinking about authenticity …

Entertainment

All the Small Things: Jim Jarmusch’s Paterson

Almost as if stolen from the time of the usual commitments of any working person engaged with the world, these images breathe a second, more …

Poetry

The Not-So-Straight Story: David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive

Today – January 20 – is David Lynch’s birthday (he’s 71). To honor one of the true originals of le cinema moderne – and to remind ourselves of the …

David Lynch

“You’ve Gotta Do Something”: Cosmic Mobility and the Future of Mankind in Rebel Without a Cause

“Through the infinite reaches of space, the problems of man seem trivial and naïve indeed, and man existing alone seems himself an episode of little …

PLATO