More stories

  • in

    Cinema’s Greatest Villains: The 1980’s

    As all lovers of crime, suspense thriller, war, western, horror and science fiction films know, creating a truly great cinematic villain is no easy task.  When it happens, it’s virtually impossible to forget that character. We’ll now take a look at the greatest film villains of the 1980’s. The criteria for this article is the same […] More

  • jurassicpark-trex-footmud-full

    Looking at Dinosaurs: ‘Jurassic Park’ and Its Powerful Hold on a Generation

    Jurassic Park, like many of Spielberg’s best films, allows us to be children again, even if this is, ironically, a film most kids would be scared to death by. It’s a movie that indulges in horror-movie tropes while making them feel fresh, layering a patina of intelligence over the intense, earth-rattling action. Though the human-dinosaur face-offs are the stuff of movie legend, the early sections where Drs. Alan Grant, Ian Malcolm, and Ellie Sattler debate the ethics of a theme park full of the living, breathing extinct are strangely fascinating and entertaining, at least to 28-year old me. More

  • mulholland_drive4

    Ranking David Lynch’s Films

    How many filmmakers can you think of that have their own verb? “Lynchian” is a part of even the most casual cinephile, though it’s often used erroneously. All too often, anything a little out of the ordinary, with a vague sense of the uncanny, earns the term. Looking back at the man’s filmography, however, it’s […] More

  • Frank-Ben-Candy-Colored-Clown

    Scene analysis: The Slow Club sequence in ‘Blue Velvet’

    Blue Velvet has plenty of the makings of noir: a sultry and dangerous atmosphere, big city fear, femme fatale (Dorothy Vallens/Isabella Rossellini), an intrepid detective working outside the police force (Jeffrey Beaumont/Kyle MacLachlan), and, of course, Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper), a psychopath akin to the best of late-period classic American noirs. By stirring the pot […] More

  • in

    ‘Blue Velvet’ A poisoned valentine to the illusionary, transparent, American dream

    In 1986 it was a strange world and it was about to get weirder, as the irradiated detritus from the Chernobyl disaster infected Northern Europe a similarly radioactive event was contaminating cinema screens worldwide, as we alight upon the first masterpiece of Lynch’s career – I just thought I’d be up front about that. After the painful critical evisceration of Dune a wounded Lynch retreated to his lair and decided he needed to go back to his roots and make a smaller, more personal and manageable film, without the distractions that an interfering studio, costly SFX and adjacent marketing concerns which had partially diluted his creative essence and drive. More

  • in

    Supporting Actors: The Overlooked and Underrated (part 3 of 5)

    Nicol Williamson as Merlin in Excalibur (John Boorman, 1981, UK): Turning in by far the best acting in Boorman’s epic, Williamson sets the bar for all other interpretations of the Merlin character. Best known as an acclaimed stage actor with a history of incredibly unprofessional behavior, this is Williamson’s most memorable film role and will […] More

  • The Best And Worst of Dennis Hopper

    He He was a cowboy, an outlaw biker, a drug fiend, a madman, a criminal, a gun nut, a hippie, a Republican, and an Obama supporter. Hopper was also a prolific photographer, painter, and sculptor. His painting style ranged from abstract impressionism to photorealism and often included references to his cinematic work and to other […] More

  • in

    Sweet Sadism: Angelo Badalamenti’s Score for Blue Velvet

    Undertones: Volume 5 Removing the veneer of squeaky-clean suburban American life to reveal its seamy underbelly, David Lynch’s 1986 film, Blue Velvet, is a modern masterpiece and perhaps the most crystallized example of Lynch’s filmic vision. Concerned with the misadventure of a clean-cut teen called Jeffrey (Kyle MacLachlan) who upon discovering and subsequently investigating a […] More