The Trip to Spain

During last spring’s Tribeca Film Festival, one of the most enjoyable movies was The Trip to Spain. It  won me over simply for the two actor’s dueling impressions of Mick Jagger, David Bowie, and of course Michael Caine. Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon’s midlife crises, mansplaining, trip—while damn hilarious—is darker than their previous films. It’s […]

Five Classic Horror Movies from the Zealot

Sure, you could watch a classic horror movie this like Halloween, Psycho, or The Thing, but why not try some offbeat chillers to give you the holiday shivers? Here are 5 flicks guaranteed to raise the goosebumps. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941) This film version of Robert Louis Stevenson’s tale of a scientist’s experiments […]

Streaming on Netflix: Miss Lovely’s director Ashim Ahluwalia

Director, Ashim Ahluwalia—whose first feature film, Miss Lovely, currently streaming on Netflix—is not your typical Bollywood director.  I interviewed Ahluwalia last year and he was not what I expected, as I anticipated meeting the next big blockbuster Bollywood director.  He’s a down-to-earth guy, well-informed and totally aware of his field, and passionate about making movies that […]

The Eyes of Laura Mars (1978)

Director Irvin Kirshner did something pretty special with The Eyes of Laura Mars. He captured the visceral pulsating atmosphere of the dying days of that immoral Me Decade, the 1970’s, and the cultural nexus where all that grime, grit, glitter, and glamour was in full swing, the scary and wonderful New York City that President Ford […]

Far From the Madding Crowd (1967)

The 1960’s It Girl, Julie Christie has a star turn in this very fine adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s proto-feminist 19th century novel. She’s a headstrong young woman who comes into a substantial inheritance, her wealthy uncle’s working farm. In good time she manages to beguile three different suitors all at once, making her the Goldilocks […]

The Celluloid Zealot: Blow Out (1981)

Blow Out remains a very fine political thriller that looks better and better with each passing year. Director Brian DePalma deftly weaves together a tight plot that references the Kennedy assassination, the Chappaquiddick scandal, and the Watergate coverup. John Travolta is a sound man for cheap grind house slasher pictures. One night he’s recording sound […]

This Week on Netflix! Jurassic Park (1993)

Jurassic Park, along with most of Steven Spielberg’s catalog at the time, was a staple of my childhood. It taught me what an adventure movie should be like in every measurable way. Some would blame Spielberg for ushering in the modern era of substance-devoid summer blockbusters, but that criticism seems unfair to me. He set […]

The Celluloid Zealot: Let’s Make Love (1960)

Let’s Make Love (1960) Let’s Make Love was to be Marilyn Monroe’s penultimate movie, a witty musical rom-com that showed she could bring a modicum of acting ability to a role instead of just being a magnetic on-screen “presence.” The director here, the old master George Cukor, who had a reputation for skillful direction of female […]

Yo, Marilyn, You’re on Netflix!

Don’t Bother to Knock (1952) Marilyn Monroe as a mentally deranged babysitter? Yup. And it’s worth a looksee, if only to prove that La Monroe could actually ACT. It’s the darkside of her fragile wounded sparrow persona. A noir with an insular setting, a big city hotel, has Richard Widmark in a relaxed performance as […]

From the Celluloid Zealot: The Last of Sheila (1973)

If you like a good whodunit—and who dudn’t? —then this acerbic and bitchy puzzle of a film is de rigueur viewing. In the best tradition of the genre, a group of suspects is plopped down in an isolated locale and the murderous hijinks ensue as clues, red herrings, and bodies pile up in the Last […]