BLFJ

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

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 …

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 …

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 …

Movies

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 …

Sweden

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 …

Barbie

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> …

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. …

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 …

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> …

“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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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

<i>“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</i> …

La La Land and Dreams of a Musical Renaissance

There is some originality in this orgy of borrowing, with easy references to touch screens, cell phones, and an interracial marriage, but all with a …

Jerry Lewis and the Gender of Work

<i>The Disorderly Orderly</i><p>The gender of work in the work films is a spectrum that includes both the neutered worker of <i>The Bellboy</i> and <i>The Errand Boy</i> and …

The Elephant in the Graveyard: The Testament of John Derek

<i>Everywhere she was, there was Eden</i>. – Mark Twain<p>So this is what it’s like on the other side. Not exactly how I pictured it. Nothing like they told …

“What a Fine Ruin It’ll Make!”: John Ford’s The Long Gray Line (1954)

Repeatedly, the tragedies in Marty’s life lead him to question the worth of life, and repeatedly the order and stability of the parade re-enters to …

In Search of Lost Time: A Review of Mike Mills’ 20th Century Women

Annette Bening, Elle Fanning, and Greta Gerwig<p>The whole film can be viewed as a consciousness-raising of sorts. While even new-wave French auteurs …

The Cowboy’s Final Act: On Clint Eastwood, Trump, American Sniper, and Sully

Eastwood's famous "empty chair" speech at the RNC, before a backdrop of his iconic "Man with No Name" image. Source: YouTube<p>These films aren’t merely …

The Hole in Moana’s Heart

What the movie gets wrong is at the story’s heart: not the goddess Te Fiti’s, but the human heart. People, not gods, were the cause of environmental …

Moana

Extinguishing Features: The Last Years of Richard Pryor

Editor’s Note: Richard Pryor died on this date, December 10, 2005, nine days shy of his sixty-fifth birthday. We salute this comic genius and …

Richard Pryor

What Makes Them So Successful? A Look into the Philosophy Behind the Coens’ Filmography

The truth is that they tend toward philosophical absurdism, rather than nihilism, and this perspective is what either makes or breaks their film in …

Coen Brothers

Challenging the Censor: An Interview with Indian Political Documentarian Rakesh Sharma

“India has always assigned a special sort of power to film . . . an extraordinary power to corrupt gullible masses has been given to cinema.” – …

Ideology

Book Review: Films of the New French Extremity: Visceral Horror and National Identity

By the mid-2000s, following social unrest and political upheaval in France, and culminating with the emergence of the “torture-porn” horror subgenre …

Horror Movies

Lords of Nothing: Hell or High Water (2016)

“Hey, buddy. We’re exactly the same. What’s happening to these people happened to my ancestors, and it happened to your ancestors.” – Alberto to …

The Lone Ranger