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Michael Joshua Rowin

Westerns Starring Robert Mitchum at UCLA

With his half-closed eyes and suave sangfroid, in his most iconic screen roles Robert Mitchum embodied the somnambulant doom of outcasts and psychotics. In quintessential noir Out of the Past (1947), his unsuccessful fate-dodging P.I. helplessly sleepwalks between sin and salvation, while in The Night of the Hunter (1955) Mitchum's......
Days of Heaven

Terrence Malick at LACMA

Each Terrence Malick film concerns a lost or squandered Eden: the sleepy suburbia shattered by teenage nihilism in Badlands (1973); the idyllic panhandle farmland set ablaze out of jealousy and disillusionment in Days of Heaven (1978); the harmonious Pacific island transformed into a theater of carnage in The Thin Red......

Movies To Take Drugs To: Jordan Belson's Trippy Shorts

Still the foremost name in "cosmic," "expanded" or, simply put, "trippy" cinema, 85-year-old Jordan Belson will be deservedly celebrated by LACMA on Saturday with a program presented by the Center for Visual Music, surveying six decades of the filmmaker's mind-altering visual palette. Belson became interested in abstract animation while studying......
The allegedly anti-Christmas imagery of A Fire in My Belly

David Wojnarowicz's A Fire in My Belly Comes to L.A.

The footage lasts barely a dozen seconds. Yet its powerful imagery — of ants crawling over a crucified Jesus, from artist and activist David Wojnarowicz's A Fire in My Belly (A Work in Progress) — has caused an art-related uproar not seen in this country since the National Endowment for......
Overdevelopment in Times Square

A Man Apart

Released in that mythical year of 1968, Tomás Gutiérrez Alea's Memories of Underdevelopment is, like its main character, both part of and apart from its time. While Argentine revolutionaries Fernando Ezequiel Solanas and Octavio Getino were penning guerrilla filmmaking manifesto "Towards a Third Cinema" and Jean-Luc Godard was jettisoning mainstream......
Kevin Jerome Everson's Erie

Ecstatic Truth

Of filmmakers favoring the epic long take, Kevin Jerome Everson is among the most demanding: Viewers must meet him significantly more than halfway, though they'll be rewarded for doing so. Composed of 10 16mm black-and-white shots, most of extremely long duration, and filmed in various locations along the titular Great......
Chevy Chase gets respect in Another Fine Mess.

Another Fine Mess: From Chaplin to Bromance

Working in the tradition of David Thomson and his Biographical Dictionary of Film, critic Saul Austerlitz sets down in Another Fine Mess: A History of American Comedy a comprehensive yet reader-friendly account of celluloid LOLs, from the early days of raucous pie-throwing to the modern-day "bromance." Austerlitz has pored over......
Zack Morris

Festival of (In)appropriation: Zack Morris Gets a Blow Job …

Against the now undeniable arrival of cinema's digital future, L.A. Filmforum's Festival of (In)appropriation goes surprisingly old-school in its found-footage sources and methods. While oddities like Evan Meaney's image-sound fracturing Ceibas: (we things at play) and Catherine Ross's clever Pfft. Pfft. Pfft. — a montage of mechanical devices complemented by......
Everything Is Terrible! in action

Bruce Conner for the Information Age

Once upon a time — before YouTube and its like rendered the sharing of images immediate, simultaneous and virtual — spreading the word about ironically appreciated or irreverently manipulated underground schlock involved a physically communal experience: dubbing VHS tapes, distributing bootlegs through the mail, watching an obscure treasure or homemade......
Vertigo

Blond and Braless: A Weekend With Kim Novak

An endless number of Hollywood careers have been defined by a single role. Kim Novak's stands out for being defined by a single dual role. As the personification of the duplicitous and seductive blonde in Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo (1958), Novak's Madeleine Elster reveals herself to be ordinary Judy Barton, a......
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