BLFJ

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

Fatal Instincts: The Dangerous Pout of Gloria Grahame

<i>Gloria Grahame was born on this day, November 28, 1923, in Los Angeles. We tip our hat to this incomparable star by reposting Dan Callahan’s pithy</i> …

Jonathan Demme

On Sacred Deers and Ghost Stories: Talking with Production Designer Jade Healy

Jade Healy<p>When it comes to design, I always try to get into the heads of the characters and then I try to map out the history of the location itself. …

Tonya Harding

Ten Years Since the Cable Went Out: Disassembling The Sopranos’ Finale, “Made in America”

As Jonah Weiner puts it, the final scene “does stage a violent death, patently and unambiguously: ours.” If the cut-to-black is punitive, it’s also …

TV

Still Life with Cannibal: On Issei Sagawa and the Documentary Caniba (2017)

The notion of the body as entry to the soul becomes a fallacy: penetration is not a portal to another person’s psyche – just as Sagawa’s cannibalism …

Documentaries

Watch it Again! The Witch (2015)

<i>The Witch</i> is about what is in woman that is presumed not to exist, because it cannot be seen.<p>Robert Altman’s <i>3 Women</i> is mostly a high-kitsch sisterly …

I am Blade Runner 2049, Blade Runner 2049 is I

Ryan Gosling as K.<p>“I was the shadow of the waxwing slain<br>By the false azure in the window pane.<br>I was the smudge of ashen fluff – and I<br>Lived on, flew …

Bella Donna: Lilith, Gaia, and the Spectral Mother in Mario Bava’s Black Sunday

We will go back to our old gods again. – Goethe * * * My eyes. My eyes. I’m seeing again. Across a gulf of how-many years, the light is[...]The post …

Tempest in a Teaspoon – Thomas Adès Opera of Buñuel’s The Exterminating Angel

Alan Vanneman goes to the Met – the Metropolitan Opera, that is. The Met was looking for a film critic who likes opera to review Thomas Adès operatic …

Metropolitan Opera

Boxcars, Beery, and a Dutch Bob: William Wellman’s Beggars of Life (1928) on Blu-ray

What we see in Brooks and Beery on the screen is a mixup of the actors’ hardwired personalities and those contrived for their roles, but this is the …

Blu-Ray

Wonderstruck II: Todd Haynes’ Places of Discovery and Wonder

Wonderstruck seems a retreat from some of Haynes’ established themes, in that it’s not set in the fifties and, as a PG-rated, child-oriented …

Wonderstruck I: Synchronizing the Heart with the Eyes

Haynes spares us slack-jawed bug-eyed Spielbergian reactions shots, but he also denies us deep emotional engagement. The visuals shadow and overwhelm …

Emotions

Running, Reeling, Floating Free – On Hidden Figures, Humanity and Paper Balloons, City Streets

Isn’t something less reassuring and a lot more interesting going on – something more inclusive, diverse, and genuinely universal? * * * There are …

Big History

Watch it Again! Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner (1982)

The beautiful grime in Blade Runner challenges you to find humanity in the mechanism of our future, humanity which Scott omits. So we search the …

Ridley Scott

Memories and Confessions: On the Filmography of Terence Davies

Davies – who can be described as a cultural conservative but never a simple nostalgist – wears his affection for his forgotten eras on his sleeve, …

Book Review: Make Ours Marvel: Media Convergence and a Comics Universe, ed. by Matt Yockey

Make Ours Marvel: Media Convergence and a Comics Universe, edited by Matt Yockey. $29.95, 364pp. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2017. In August …

Comics

Book Review: Fucking Innocent: The Early Films of Wes Anderson, by John Andrew Fredrick

Fucking Innocent: The Early Films of Wes Anderson, by John Andrew Fredrick. $15.95, 288 pp. Rare Bird Books, 2017. The first thing to note about John …

Wes Anderson

Watch It Again! Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014)

The scriptwriters and fortune tellers have so cluttered the rest of the film with wild and haphazard injections of in jokes and outlandish gags … …

Secret Service

Can I Hit It? Highlights of the 2017 Melbourne International Film Festival

“Once you have a hammer, doesn’t everything look like a nail? In Hong Sang-soo’s films, everyone’s a nail.” * * * The most anticipated films on the …

Cosmic Melodrama: Darren Aronofsky’s mother!

Javier Bardem and Jennifer Lawrence. Photo (c) Paramount Pictures<p>Whatever else it is, <i>mother!</i> is ultimately a woman’s anxious nightmare about what it …

White Privilege? It’s in the Fine Print (Django Unchained, American Hustle, 99 Homes)

Django and Dr. Schultz<p>The stories of Dr. King Schultz, Irving Rosenfeld, and Nick Carver contain a critique of American society deeper than just …

Lonely, but Not Alone: Death as a Collective Experience in David Lowery’s A Ghost Story

Regardless of whether it is worth doing or not, people will continue to rely on memory as a way to create legacy and heritage. People will always …

Florence Lawrence and the Truth Behind “We Nail a Lie” (Famous Ads, 1910)

Ever since the ad appeared, there have been unanswered questions: who or what was behind the rumors of Florence Lawrence’s death? Did these rumors …

Before Wilde: Cinematic Portrayals – and the Lack Thereof – of Medieval and Early Modern Queer Historical Figures

There are two major threads here. In one, the queer figure from history becomes a way to explore the consequences of existing in a society that wars …

Medieval

Happy 100th, Bobby Bumps, Surf Rider!

While it’s always difficult to make such a claim with assurance – for decades Disney’s 1937 Goofy feature Hawaiian Holiday was confidently thought to …

Walt Disney Company

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

"The major point of convergence between Cassavetes and the Dogme movement is an oppositional realist form that blurs the boundaries between being and …

New Jersey

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 …

Surfing

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 …

Christopher Nolan

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 have sons! They aren’t “faithful” to their …

Matt Reeves