BLFJ

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

Jerry Lewis: b. Joseph Levitch, Newark, New Jersey, 1926-2017, res. Hollywood

<i>Note: Love him or hate him, Jerry Lewis was a unique talent. In honor of his passing today (August 20, 2017), we reprint Michael Stern’s (of ROADFOOD</i> …

Comedy

Surf's Up! Beyond the Beach: AIP's Beach Party Movies

With summer starting to fade, what better way to while away the hours than by revisiting the beach, as imagined by exploitation studio American …

Don Rickles

Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk: Too Cute!

A particular issue is the degree to which the film departs from “fact.” Significant departures from the historical record, if they become frequent …

Military History

Machines and Forms of War in Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk

Though some have criticized Nolan’s rigidity and near mathematical precision in tackling a historical event (no doubt provoked by the director’s …

Christopher Nolan

Silence is golden, so it would seem: On War for the Planet of the Apes (Matt Reeves)

Is it rude to point out that male chimps don’t hug their sons? That’s because they don’t know they <i>have</i> sons! They aren’t “faithful” to their “wives,” …

Ingrid Bergman In Her Own Words Gets Up Close and Personal

Screenshot: Ingrid Bergman in <i>Autumn Sonata</i><p><i>Ingrid Bergman In Her Own Words</i> makes clear that her life was messy and episodic, but she earned great love …

Watch it Again! Batman: The Movie (1966)

<i>Batman: The Movie</i><p>The recent passing of Adam West – who made Batman his own despite the many higher-profile claimants to the cape – reminds us of the …

On the Trail and Off the Grid: The Gender of Wild in Wild and Into the Wild

Both protagonists undertake a kind of “work of the self,” whereby they simultaneously come to terms with trauma – in one case, paternal betrayal, in …

Books

Fight Makes Right: Unearned Feminism in Wonder Woman

Unshackled by the Snyder malaise – and ignoring the slow motion he made a fad with <i>300</i>, which Jenkins curiously revisits with consistency verging on …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 Prometheus, Alien: Covenant refuses to allow either the religious or materialist viewer to remain comfortable in their own belief or unbelief: …

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

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

Watch It Again! Trainspotting (Danny Boyle, 1996)

Trainspotting 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)

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

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

“In keeping with Channel 40’s policy of bringing you the latest in ‘blood and guts,’ and in living color, you are going to see another first – …

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

On The Love Witch: “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[...]The post …

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

Jeffrey Toobin, whose 2008 New Yorker article inspired this film, describes Roger Stone as “a malevolent Forrest Gump.” Stone is more than okay with …

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

Keep the Change does something unusual, casting actors on the autism spectrum to play autistic roles. The strategy is already a success in its first …

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

New York’s prestigious Tribeca Film Festival started April 19 and runs through April 30. Claire Baiz reports on a film screened in the fest’s …

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

An examination of two of these émigrés – Fritz Kortner and Ernst Deutsch, major Central European actors, very well known in their home countries …