Category Archives: Film

Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me By Your Name

It’s hard to avoid comparisons between Call Me By Your Name and Brokeback Mountain, even though the stories couldn’t be farther apart. Let me just say that, for this viewer, at least, the impact was equivalent. I remember after seeing … Continue reading

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Movie Review: “Brave”

Originally published in 2012, but let’s take another look, shall we? Bairns, bodhrans and brogues…. Doesn’t everyone want to be in Scotland?  Disney/Pixar is really hoping you do, with the release of their newest animated feature, Brave.  I liked it. … Continue reading

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Jethro Tull’s Live at Montreux 2003

Kage Baker assisted Kathleen with this review. This live concert was recorded in 2003, at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. The event’s founder and chief instigator, Claude Nobs, invited the group to participate in that year’s festival; Ian Anderson, … Continue reading

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Time Bandits: The Criterion Edition

Orson Welles was famous for genius hampered by struggles with the Hollywood studio system, and Ed Wood is celebrated for a lack of talent that amounted to genius, but Terry Gilliam will probably go down in history as the only … Continue reading

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Halloween III: Season of the Witch

There are some reviews that are meant to have you rush to the theater. Others will leave you to decide whether or not to head out to the multiplex (or rent the video). Then there are reviews that serve as … Continue reading

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The Haunted Mansion 

Ghosts. You can’t live with ’em, you can’t just throw ’em out on the street.   Jim and Sara Evers are husband and wife. They are also the sole employees of Evers & Evers real estate (their sales line: “we want … Continue reading

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Sacred Fire, an episode of The Hunger series

The freaks are out there. They look like everyday people, masquerading as the homeless, the crazies, the street people. They lurk on the street corners, warm themselves around garbage can fires, and watch for certain people, the ones with the … Continue reading

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The Raggedy Rawney

The Raggedy Rawney is based on traditional Rom folklore — something I personally found fascinating. This adaptation of folk tradition to contemporary times makes it more fully comprehensible, compared with portraying it in the ancient long, long ago time. At … Continue reading

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Ravi Shankar’s The Extraordinary Lesson

This three-part DVD captures a performance and a masterclass Ravi Shankar gave before an audience in Paris on successive days in September 2008. The only shortcoming of this disc is that it doesn’t include the first day’s concert at the … Continue reading

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Bend It Like Beckham

Nathan Brazil penned this review. “Who’d want a girl who plays football all day but can’t make chapattis?” What makes this film different from the other East versus West comedies is the all consuming passion that is football. Outside of … Continue reading

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Joss Whedon’s The Avengers

I’m generally not a big fan of translating superhero comics to live-action films. Christopher Nolan’s Batman films, so far, have tended to collapse under their own weight. Bryan Singer’s X-Men should have been titled Wolverine, and was a waste of … Continue reading

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Cocksucker Blues

Cocksucker Blues is an unreleased documentary film directed by Robert Frank chronicling The Rolling Stones’ North American tour in 1972 in support of their album Exile on Main Street. Though never released on DVD or screened in any meaningful sense, it … Continue reading

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Poirot’s Christmas

Ahhhh, an English locked room mystery set at Christmastime! What could be a better diversion on a cold winters night with snow falling outside? I had heard that this DVD was a perfectly faithful adaptation of a beloved Agatha Christie … Continue reading

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Gosford Park

It was a hot humid day, and the prospect for a cool evening by the waterfront watching fireworks seemed too unlikely to consider. Traditionally we spent this holiday evening with our friends Fran and Kevin. Since the kids were infants … Continue reading

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Merlin

Kimberlee Rettberg penned this review.  Made originally as an all-star miniseries of sorts for television, the video version of Merlin is ambitious. Really ambitious. Jeez–just look at the cast list: Sam Neill, Sir John Gielgud, Helena Bonham Carter, James Earl Jones, Isabella Rossellini–it’s … Continue reading

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Hellboy: Sword of Storms

If you’re looking for a fix as you wait for the long might be Hellboy film, this animated film along with the other animated film, Hellyboy: Blood and Iron, will hopefully tide you over. They certainly fulfilled my Hellboy jones! … Continue reading

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Mists of Avalon

Asher Black penned this review. Given that Mists of Avalon, based on Marian Zimmer Bradley’s book by that title, aired originally as a cable television miniseries on TNT this past July, its recent release on video may be the first viewing many … Continue reading

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John Carpenter’s Halloween and Halloween II

Sheriff Brackett: Every kid in Haddonfield thinks this place is haunted. Dr. Sam Loomis: They may be right. When I was a kid, there was an old cabin in the woods outside my elementary school. Everyone said the cabin had … Continue reading

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Marvel’s Agent Carter pilot

I’ll admit that Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD left me so unimpressed when I watched the first several episodes that I never went back to it, nor have I watched any of the Marvel films save the first two Iron Man … Continue reading

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Sam Raimi’s Oz the Great and Powerful

Creating a prequel to anything can be, as they say, fraught. Such an undertaking requires care, sensitivity to the original, and a thorough understanding of where this project is headed. Prequels by the creators of the original works are on … Continue reading

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Yuhki Kamatani and Kunihisa Sugishima’s Nabari

The anime series Nabari is based on the manga series Nabari no Ou by Yuhki Kamatani. It’s one of those series with a lot of comedy and very serious undertones. In broad outline, the story is rather simple: Rokujo Miharu … Continue reading

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Shawn Piller and Lee Rose’s Haven, Seasons 1-4

I should point out right off the bat that I don’t watch regular TV. Among other reasons, I’m a binge-watcher, and I can’t stand to wait a week for the next episode of anything – somehow, a single thirty- or … Continue reading

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Jonah Markowitz’ Shelter

The problem with being a reviewer is that one automatically begins deconstructing the experience of any art, whether it be in a museum or in a hall of popular culture, which is not always the best way to deal with … Continue reading

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Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain

I remember seeing Brokeback Mountain at its first showing in Chicago. I sat through it, along with a fairly substantial audience, which surprised me a little — it was an 11 a.m. showing on a Friday morning, but the house … Continue reading

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Excalibur

Asher Black penned this review. Here is a tale of human folly — “Whatever the cost, do it”. Of a noble dream – “One land, one king!” Of magic – “Can’t you see all around you the Dragon’s breath?” Of … Continue reading

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Jane Espenson’s  Finding Serenity: Anti-Heroes, Lost Shepherds and  Space Hookers in Joss Whedon’s Firefly 

Will Shetterly penned this review. Because Firefly mixes traditional western and science fiction elements to tell an adventure story, the essays collected in Finding Serenity are an examination of the nature of genre storytelling. But the writers appear to have been told to write whatever … Continue reading

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Spike Jonze’s Where the Wild Things Are

First things first. The movie version of Where The Wild Things Are, directed by Spike Jonze from a script by Jonze and “staggering genius” Dave Eggers and soundtracked by hipster goddess Karen O, is not an exact, faithful translation of … Continue reading

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Christopher Frayling’s Spaghetti Westerns: Cowboys and Europeans from Karl May to Sergio Leone

The term “spaghetti western” was first coined as “a nickname for a broad sub-genre of Western film that emerged in the mid-1960s, so named because most of them were produced by Italian studios.” It was a dismissive term really. The … Continue reading

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Serenity

Will Shetterly penned this review. This is the Serenity review for people who haven’t seen the movie: Go! That’s all you need to know. If this review was posted on a general interest site, I’d have to warn you that Serenity is a … Continue reading

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Robin of Sherwood series

Robin: ‘ You’re no god. ‘ Herne: ‘ We can all of us be gods. All of us!’ — Herne the Hunter to Robin of Loxley on “Robin Hood and the Sorcerer” EP of Robin of Sherwood If the Robin … Continue reading

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Toshifumi Takizawa: Akira Kurosawa’s Samurai 7, The Complete Series

In spite of the title, this is not exactly Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai. It is, rather, an anime adaptation of the classic film, set in a dystopian future that contrasts the rural simplicity of the peasantry with a steampunk version of … Continue reading

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Yuhki Kamatani and Kunihisa Sugishima’s Nabari

The anime series Nabari is based on the manga series Nabari no Ou by Yuhki Kamatani. It’s one of those series with a lot of comedy and very serious undertones. In broad outline, the story is rather simple: Rokujo Miharu … Continue reading

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Beowulf

Kimberlee Rettberg penned this review. Almost every high school student is familiar with Beowulf.  It is, after all, the first know written epic in the English language.  And through better and more modern translations appearing every year, the poetry’s timeless beauty is … Continue reading

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Mizuna Kuwabara and Susumu Kodo’s The World of Mirage of Blaze

Mirage of Blaze began as a series of boys’ love novels by Mizuna Kuwabara, later adapted to manga with art by Shoko Hamada, finally becoming an anime television series. Rebels of the River’s Edge, also included in this set, came … Continue reading

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Spray/Visual Arts, You Higuri and Yukina Hiro, Gakuen Heaven: Boy’s Love Hyper

Gakuen Heaven started off as a computer game called Gakuen Heaven Boy’s Love Scramble. The franchise also includes three PlayStation 2 games, drama CDs, a manga series, and this anime. It’s a delightful bit of BL fluff, and everyone I … Continue reading

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Dylan Speaks: the legendary 1965 press conference in San Francisco

In Paul Williams’ authoritative book Bob Dylan: performing artist 1960-1973, the early years Williams describes an event: This one hour press conference, held and filmed in the KQED-TV studios in San Francisco on December 3, 1965, hosted and produced by critic Ralph … Continue reading

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Babylon 5’s ‘Day of the Dead’

Asher Black penned this review. I liked Babylon 5 the best in the first season. Sinclair was my favorite captain, the Russian commander Ivanova was still a strong character — and so at her hottest — and the Minbari, though the most … Continue reading

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Tite Kubo and Noriyuki Abe’s Bleach: Memories of Nobody

Tite Kubo’s Bleach, an action-packed supernatural adventure, has been a phenomenally successful manga series (approaching 40 volumes in English) and anime TV series (275 episodes). (The irony here is that when Kubo first offered it to a publisher, it was … Continue reading

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Ralph Bakshi’s Lord of the Rings

Sarah Meador penned this review. Ralph Bakshi’s Lord of the Rings makes a startling assumption for an American cartoon feature. While most animated features seem to take it on faith that their audience will be musical-loving children, Lord of the Rings is geared towards … Continue reading

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The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

I’ve never laughed and cried so much in one movie. The thing is, I’m not a big movie crier. Those of you who read my Seabiscuit review are thinking, “Yeah, right!” It’s true, I swear. But I think I went into this … Continue reading

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The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers 

Yes, I had a press ticket. Yes, I went to the earliest possible showing yesterday, opening day (December 18), and refused to eat any popcorn or drink any soda, lest I be distracted even minutely from the film. Yes, I … Continue reading

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The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

When a reviewer makes specific comments about plot elements in a book or a movie, it is common internet convention to say, “Spoilers ahead!” I cannot think of a single movie made in recent years for which that warning has … Continue reading

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Alfonso Cuarón’s Children of Men

There is something to be said for walking into things without foreknowledge. I readily admit that a background in any area will help you to enjoy something more fully, but when it comes to specifics, it’s often better to have … Continue reading

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John Cameron Mitchell: Shortbus

Shortbus is one of those films that comes apart if you try to look at it element by element. There’s not much of a plot, which we should all be used to by now. The characterizations are not startling for … Continue reading

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Peter Jackson: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Inevitably, I found myself catching the first local showing of Peter Jackson’s latest entry into his J. R. R. Tolkien sweepstakes, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. It was better than I expected. Thorin Oakinshield (Richard Armitage) is being watched … Continue reading

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Laura Risk’s The Merry Making

Laura Risk plays her fiddle with passion and finesse on her new CD, The Merry Making, leaving the listener sighing for more. Capturing a glimpse of emotions seldom expressed on any instrument, Risk bows the strings with a delicate grace, yet … Continue reading

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Terry Gilliam’s The Fisher King

There was once a king. On the eve of his coronation, he spent the night alone in the forest, as was customary, to prove his bravery and his worthiness to rule. A vision came to him of a beautiful golden … Continue reading

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Neil Gaiman’s Day of the Dead: An Annotated Babylon 5 Script

Whenever two Babylon 5 fans meet, whether it’s at a used book store, a sci-fi speakeasy, or somewhere else that’s safe for our species, it doesn’t take long for conversation to turn to the required topics: “Who’s your favorite character?” “What’s your … Continue reading

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DC Showcase’s The Spectre

The animation, like those of the Green Arrow and Jonah Hex that I previously reviewed, is some of the best animated work these folks have done over the past twenty years. Here the Los Angeles setting makes the animators strive … Continue reading

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DC Showcase’s Jonah Hex

This is a spoiler rich review. If you’re offended by this, go read Something! I think most fans of Jonah Hex as portrayed in the Jonah Hex film will agree that the film did a lousy job of capturing him.  … Continue reading

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