The Beguiled Times Two

The_BeguiledAfter recently watching Sofia Coppola’s first rate remake of the 1971 gothic western, The Beguiled, I was motivated to take a look at the original Don Siegel directed film which I have not seen since it was first released back in 1971. Both films stay close in plot, but head in alternate directions when it comes to a point of view. That may be in part due to the gender difference of the directors as well as the mores and attitudes that have evolved in the more than forty years separating the two works. Continue reading

Truth (2016) James Vanderbilt

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Based on former CBS news producer, Mary Mapes memoir, the film takes a look as the 60 Minutes II segment claiming that then President, George W. Bush, running for re-election in 2004 received special treatment back in the early 1970’s by passing over hundreds of other applicants to enlist in the Texas Air National Guard. This all happening while the Vietnam War was still in progress. Mapes is said to have received supporting documents from the files of George W. Bush’s then Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Jerry B Killian, then deceased. The files were delivered to Mapes by Bill Burkett, a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the Texas Army National Guard. When the showed aired, Dan Rather said the documents have been authenticated by various experts. Continue reading

By Sidney Lumet (2016) Nancy Buirski

by_sidney_lumetAlong with Martin Scorsese, Roman Polanski, Brian DePalma, Arthur Penn, Francis Ford Coppola, John Frankenhiemer and Woody Allen, Sidney Lumet was one of the filmmakers from the period roughly beginning in the late 1950’s through the late 1970’s that shaped and formed my love of cinema. With the imminent demise of the studio system, that period was a significant turning point in American film. Overblown, over budgeted Hollywood productions and television would help end the Hollywood Studios stranglehold. A new order was on the horizon as were a new legion of filmmakers and Sidney Lumet was right in the mix. Continue reading

Jimi Hendrix: Voodoo Child (2010)

ab11b4bfa6668b57123079b6e62192e8_largeWhen Jimi Hendrix arrived back in the states from England, he along with his new backup musicians, Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell, came back as rock stars. In Britain, The Jimi Hendrix Experience recorded a series of singles including, Hey Joe and Purple Haze. In 1967, the Experience came to America and really hit it big at the Monterey Pop Festival with Hendrix famously setting his guitar on fire. After the festival, the band went on tour with  the headlining teen pop group, The Monkees, which Hendrix nicknamed, the Plastic Beatles. It was an odd pairing to say the least. The crowds were mostly fans of The Monkees, young teenybopper girls and their mothers. The site of the psychedelic rock threesome with their wild clothes, permed hair and hard rock music must have shocked the mothers in the audience out of this house dresses. They must of thought the group ranked to the left of obscene.    Continue reading

Tab Hunter Confidential (2015) Jeffrey Schwarz

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Tab Hunter Confidential is an insightful and personal look at a man who despite the Hollywood system managed to find a path to inner peace and happiness. His honestly and sense of self come clearly through. The film is also an excellent look at the Hollywood system’s inner workings into the making of a star and the secrets that are buried. We learn how he was groomed for stardom as the clean cut, boy next door type. His face appeared on the cover of hundreds and hundreds of fan magazines. He dated beautiful starlets including Natalie Wood. He appeared in hit films and recorded number one charting records. Yet, Tab Hunter was not real. Continue reading

Short Takes: In Theaters Now

Spotlight

Spotlight

   Spotlight may just be the best film of the year, or it at least comes damn close. It’s certainly the best film on investigative journalism since, though not quite as good, ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN. The film draws you in early on and keeps you locked in while managing not to exploit sensitive subject matter. SPOTLIGHT is intelligent filmmaking and a superb look at heroic journalism against powerful forces. Continue reading

Spring Breakers (2013) Harmony Korine

spring_breakers1It’s spring break time and thousands of college age kids have or will be making their way down to Florida’s beaches to have a swinging party in the sun. The Sunbaked State depends on tourism. They love to see young folks partying all night long, spending lots of dough, helping to boost the local economy. So a few years ago when it was announced that a new film, called Spring Breakers, would be shooting in the Tampa Bay area, city officials and others were elated. The film sounded like a fun in the sun Florida sunshine treat. The kind both the tourism industry and politicians like, showing off the Sunshine State at its exuberant beachy best. They soon would find out Spring Breakers was not going to exactly be the second coming of Elvis in Girl Happy. Continue reading