B-Movie Cult Classics Unearthed Watching Late-Night HBO in College (pt. 1)

Two recent untimely deaths–those of 43-year-old actress Amanda Peterson and 61-year-old ex-pro-grappler/actor Roddy Piper (the former not entirely unexpected, the latter of natural causes)–got me thinking about the movies that made them famous*, … Continue Reading…

The Art of the Reveal: “War of the Worlds” Edition

Back in 2004, director Steven Spielberg decided the time was ripe to remake the granddaddy of all hostile alien narratives, H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds, the 1898 serialized novel telling the … Continue Reading…

Great Endings (Pt. 1)

As with any narrative art form, crafting a satisfying ending to movie is a tricky proposition. Even the strongest works can fall victim to a last few minutes that don’t quite follow … Continue Reading…

Ridley Scott: Mise-en-scène Virtuoso

Mise-en-scène. Ring a bell? Unless you speak French, probably not. For a good portion of my formative years I was in the same boat–a sackful of mise-en-scène could’ve dropped from the sky, … Continue Reading…

John Frankenheimer’s “Artful” WW2 Masterpiece

Of this blog’s massive readership (19 and counting!) I’d hazard a guess that no more than two of you would have the slightest idea who I’m referring to when I drop the … Continue Reading…

A Truly Life-Changing Film

Back in late July 1996, my fiancé and I made the short walk from our apartment to the middling, yet convenient 8-screen Webster Place Theaters in Chicago’s Lincoln Park to … Continue Reading…

Barry Levinson’s “Tin Men”: An Appreciation

A well-regarded writer for both TV and movies in the 70s–his curriculum vitae includes The Carol Burnett Show and Mel Brooks’ 1977 Hitchcock parody High Anxiety (in which he cameoed … Continue Reading…

Chicago Tribune’s Oscar Quiz

Time to turn in my conflicted film snob credentials. Just took Mark Caro’s 2015 Test Your Oscar Knowledge quiz and bombed it to the tune of 3/20 or 15%. Can … Continue Reading…

The Wilhelm Scream

The other night my 12-year-old son roped me into the first 30 minutes of Return of the Jedi, director Richard Marquand‘s 1983 conclusion to George Lucas’ original Star Wars trilogy. And … Continue Reading…

Aspect Ratio-rama

In the film Diner, writer-director Barry Levinson’s 1982 comedy about a group of friends in late-50s Baltimore, the character Edward “Eddie” Simmons (Steve Guttenberg) proves to be such a rabid Colts … Continue Reading…