The Goebbels Experiment

The 2004 film Downfall, set in Hitler’s bunker, at times makes Hitler seem if not sympathetic, at least comprehensible in a way few films have dared. His right-hand man, Josef Goebbels, by contrast, is portrayed as pretty much unremittingly  ...

William Burroughs: Commissioner of Sewers

Static, non-performing art forms translate poorly to film, generally speaking. Movies about painters tend to suck, with Pollock being one of the few exceptions. Movies about writers are often even worse, particularly when a desperate director resorts to the  ...

Hitler and the Nazis

Fascism is seductive. There’s a part of the human soul that longs to see a strongman take control, get everything back in line and rid society of those people – you know the ones – who are screwing everything  ...

Holy Ghost – Albert Ayler

First, there’s the box – the sheer physicality of the thing. It’s slightly smaller than a vinyl album, 9 1/2 inches square and about three inches thick, made of heavy black plastic molded from a hand-carved wooden original. Taking  ...

Videodrome

It has become a cliche to say that much science fiction is not about the future, but about a disguised present. This should be obvious to even the casual viewer/reader. But in the case of a few crucial works, such  ...

Scorpions: Box of Scorpions

On one episode of Comedy Central's Insomniac, the show's drunken host, Dave Attell, stumbles into a state fair somewhere in middle America. There's a band playing, and he makes it to the side of the stage. Suddenly, he leans  ...

Lancelot of the Lake (Lancelot du Lac)

Robert Bresson makes his directorial strategies blatant from the opening frames of this quiet, bleak, masterful movie. Two armored knights, effectively burdened by their own bodies, slowly lift arms and swords and attack each other. One dies, but who  ...

Pickup on South Street

Film Noir: An Encyclopedia Reference to the American Style "Are you wavin' the flag at me?" The question passes Richard Widmark's lips in a tone that virtually defines the word "snark" 40-plus years before  ...

To Live and Die in L.A.

The runaway success of the CBS crime drama C.S.I. may finally win one of the1980s’ best thrillers the audience and respect it’s always deserved. To Live And Die In L.A. introduced William Petersen, a superb and criminally underrated actor,  ...

The Raven – Lou Reed

Lou Reed’s career is a mystery on at least two levels. The first, of course, is the series of artistic tangents and blind alleys he’s caromed down at one point or another since his emergence with the Velvet Underground  ...