“No government ought to be without censors; and where the press is free, no one ever will. If virtuous, it need not fear the fair operation of attack and defense. Nature has given to man no other means of sifting out the truth, either in religion, law, or politics.” – The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Volume 24: 1 June-31 December 1792.
Besides wanting to be a cowboy when I was young, I wanted to be a newspaper reporter. At first, a sports writer, then I somewhere along the line wanted to review movies (no surprise there!), and from there it evolved into a news reporter and journalist. In films, the newsroom always looked fascinating to me. Hustling to get the story, beating the deadline, and competitors, the speedy typing, the editor making changes and finally seeing your story in print with your byline on top. That dream faded away like many others, but my love of films with journalistic themes remained. In cinema, many great movies have been made about journalism. Sam Fuller’s Park Row is one of the best, as is Billy Wilder’s Ace in the Hole. There are plenty of others including All the President’s Men, Spotlight, His Girl Friday, Sweet Smell of Success, Zodiac, Absence of Malice, Deadline U.S.A., Citizen Kane, and State of Play. There are plenty more that could be added to this list. Some of these films reflect journalism in a good light, sometimes even heroic ways (Park Row, All The President’s Men, Spotlight, State of Play) while others hold up a mirror to the darker opportunistic side of journalism (Ace in the Hole, Sweet Smell of Success). Continue reading
Georgia O’Keeffe, a pioneer of the modern art movement and one of the most famous American female artists, captured through her abstract depictions of large flowers, animal skulls and the landscape of the Southwest, the power, the emotional pull and perception of abstraction in art. O’Keeffe was unique; she followed no artistic school or thought. Her vision of form and design all came from within her own spirit. Continue reading
Like Florida, Out of Time is laid back and easy, at least it starts off that way. We meet Banyan Key Police Chief Matt Lee Whitlock, a smooth Denzel Washington, as he makes his rounds one hot evening in the small coastal town. Relaxing back at the office, he receives a phone call from one Ann Merai Harrison (Sanaa Lathan); there’s an intruder outside her small house, can he come over. At her home, he begins asking a series of questions. We soon realize they are both acting out a coquettish sexual game that ends up with them in bed. The playful sexuality is as hot as the Floridian temperature in the dead heat of summer. Continue reading
“I just took pictures…” Sy Parrish
One Hour Photo is a sobering introspective look on why we are a world addicted to taking pictures. Today even more than ever we have this passion, desire, this need to record almost everything we do with a photograph. Many of us photograph as a sort of visual diary of family, friends, place we have been. For some of us, we take pictures to capture a fleeting moment that will never happen again. It could be a person’s expression or clouds patterns or waves crashing; they only happen once, and the camera catches it forever. For others taking photographs is a validation of sorts that yes we live, we exist. For Seymour “Sy” Parrish (Robin Williams) though, photographs are an escape from his painful past and an imaginary lifeline to a normal life. Continue reading
Charlotte Rampling’s Sarah Morton is a famous British mystery writer, think P.D. James, who professionally has reached a creative stalemate moment in her career and needs inspiration. With the help of her publisher, John Bosload (Charles Dance) she takes what is hoped to be a rejuvenating combination of vacation and work at his villa in France. Sarah gets to shop in the local village as well as revitalize her creativity. She is living the solitary life she craves with only the local caretaker roaming the grounds during the daytime hours. Her quiet, isolated world is soon disrupted by the unexpected arrival of Julie (Ludivine Sagnier) Bosload’s sexy, outgoing French daughter. The rigid and serious Sarah is annoyed by the gregarious, bold young woman who thinks nothing of sunbathing topless by the pool and bringing home men for her sexual pleasure. Continue reading
Ever since the birth of Rock and Roll, behind the scenes there have always been the shooters, the camera guys with the long lens photographing the musical gods in action. From its earliest days, when William “Red” Robertson captured a young sensuous, gyrating Elvis Presley on a Tampa stage in 1955, to today’s photographers shooting our musical idols on stage and behind the scenes, rock and roll photographers have provided us with the moments we remember long after the show is over. In some cases, those behind the lens have become famous themselves like Bob Gruen, Lynn Goldsmith, Jim Marshall and Robert M. Knight. Continue reading
Film director Jan Troell is not a well known name in America, though he should be. Only a few of his films have been released in theaters in the U.S. or on home video. His best and best know works, “The Emigrants” and “The New Land,” have not been available on home video since the long ago days of the laser disc (his 1982 film “The Flight of the Eagle” is suppose to be very good but I have not seen it). It’s the kind of situation that drives devoted film lovers up a wall. After the success of those two films, Troell, like many European directors in the early 70’s, was lured to America where he had the misfortune to make a couple of artistic and financial flops (“Zandy’s Bride” and “Hurricane”). Troell fled back home where he settled into a career making feature films and documentaries. Fortunately, thanks to Criterion, we now have access to his excellent and passionate 2008 work, “Everlasting Moments.” Continue reading
The first film I ever saw of William Castle’s was “13 Ghosts” back in 1960 at a local theater in Brooklyn called The Culver. Audience members were given viewers containing both a red filter and a blue filter that you would look through depending on if you wanted to see the ghosts or not after being prompted to do so by the movie. While it worked, the entire idea was not exactly state of the art special effects, even for 1960. But it was fun and “Spine Tingler: The William Castle Story” is even more fun and filled with memories, interviews and plenty of footage from Castle’s classic “B” filmography. For younger viewers and the uninitiated, terms like “Illusion-O,” “Percepto” and “Emergo” will be new but don’t worry it’s all engagingly explained.
Those familiar with only Castle’s horror films may be surprised to discover his earlier films and his association with Orson Welles. He was a second unit director for “The Lady from Shanghai.” Castle had purchased the screen rights to “If I Should Die Before I Wake” by Sherwood King, the source novel the film was based on, and asked Welles to pitch the story to Harry Cohn of Columbia with the idea Castle himself would direct. It didn’t work out that way though with Cohn deciding to go with Welles directing. Continue reading