BLFJ

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

The Legend of Tarzan: A Rich White Man's Burden, or, Donald in the Jungle

Several questions suggest themselves. What ideological framework is revealed by the forwarding of a contemporary story in which the white man has …

Have I Seen the Real World Yet? Thomas Tryon’s The Other (1972)

One of the few indelible images in director Robert Mulligan’s 1972 film of <i>The Other</i> is that of Niles in the freaks’ tent at the 4th of July fair, …

The Native Eye: Re-Embracing the Serpent with “Chullachaqui”

Ciro Guerra’s <i>Embrace of the Serpent</i> (2016) can be read as a brilliant subversion of the colonising role that the camera plays in appropriating native …

in order to

Casualties of the Spirit: Liberating John Huston's Let There Be Light (1946)

<i>Over the years I had been asked to write my recollections of my role in helping free John Huston’s banned World War II documentary</i> Let There Be …

Alien: Covenant: Ridley Scott's Myth of Creation Science

<i>Alien: Covenant</i>: David and the protomorph<p>The people we care most about in <i>Alien:</i> <i>Covenant</i> are those we most delight in seeing eviscerated. David gives …

Alien: Covenant

Hooked on a Feeling: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Adventure Time, and the Bonds of Imagination

Photo courtesy of Disney/Marvel<p><i>Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2</i> has infinitely more in common with the psychic quest for one’s identity, the yearning …

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Without Permission: Three Contemporary Feminist Films and One Classic (Suffragette, Mustang, Under the Shadow, Woman on the Run)

<i>Suffragette</i><p>The women in these feminist films have power, but they’re more complex than fatale.<p>In the ultra-buoyant realms of badass, the femme fatale …

Feminism

Watch It Again! Straw Dogs (Sam Peckinpah, 1971)

Dustin Hoffman: <i>Straw Dogs</i><p>Peckinpah’s ethics and form are evinced best in his sixth film, <i>Straw Dogs</i>, where we also discover the key to his aesthetic …

Taoism

Family Night: Attacks on the American Homestead in Night of the Hunter and Night of the Living Dead

Rachel offers "purity and protection": <i>The Night of the Hunter</i><p>The two films under examination here, <i>The Night of the Hunter</i> (1955) and <i>Night of the</i> …

God Is Dead but the Shadow Is Long: Ridley Scott’s Alien: Covenant

Like <i>Prometheus</i>, <i>Alien:</i> <i>Covenant</i> refuses to allow either the religious or materialist viewer to remain comfortable in their own belief or unbelief: for …

The Bodyguard’s Apprentice: Transforming Adolescent Rage into Queer Empowerment in Popular Culture from Rebel Without a Cause (1955) to Moonlight (2016)

<i>Moonlight</i><p>In the following examples of straight bodyguard/gay apprentice works, we see a progression in the level of violence from the bodyguard and …

Watch It Again! Trainspotting (Danny Boyle, 1996)

<i>Trainspotting</i> has been criticized as “pro-drug” for its flighty and pictorial depictions of heroin use, but I don’t think that’s even an issue. The …

Watch It Again! Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960)

Norman Bates<p>Hitchcock’s one-word titles have never been so instructive. <i>Psycho</i> is the feeling of being preyed on by your self, as by one of Norman’s …

Video Killed the Video Star: Antonio Campos’s Christine (2016) and Film’s Continued Struggle to Expose Television

Rebecca C. Hall in the title role of Christine Chubbuck<p>“In keeping with Channel 40’s policy of bringing you the latest in ‘blood and guts,’ and in …

Los Angeles Cinema and the Utopia of La La Land

Few movies have represented LA with such fawning reverence and nostalgia as La La Land. The filmmakers depict a clean, spare, elegant city, sluiced …

Staging Pleasure: In Conversation with The Love Witch’s Anna Biller

The Love Witch<p>On <i>The Love Witch</i>: “I like to make films with a kind of dream logic. My films are a mix of reality and fantasy, or a mix of what is …

Dispatch from Tribeca: Get Me Roger Stone (Dylan Bank, Daniel DiMauro, and Morgan Pehme, 2017)

Roger Stone displays his famous tattoo of his hero Richard Nixon<p>Jeffrey Toobin, whose 2008 <i>New Yorker</i> article inspired this film, describes Roger …

Dispatch from Tribeca: Keep the Change (Rachel Israel, 2017, world premiere)

Samantha Elisofon and Brandon Polansky in <i>Keep the Change.</i> From the film's Facebook page<p><i>Keep the Change does something unusual, casting actors on the</i> …

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> …

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, …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …