Office Christmas Party
Another reminder that allowing your cast to madly improvise instead of actually providing a coherent script with a scintilla of inherent logic often leads to…
* This filmography is not intended to be a comprehensive list of this artist’s work. Instead it reflects the films this person has been involved with that have been reviewed on this site.
For the 36th installment in his video essay series about maligned masterworks, Scout Tafoya examines Ken Russell's "Lisztomania."
Matt Zoller Seitz celebrates "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls," now available on Criterion Blu-ray and DVD.
A tribute to the late Godfather of Gore, Herschell Gordon Lewis.
Russ Meyer's "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls," written by Roger Ebert, will be released on Criterion Blu-ray/DVD on September 27.
Roger Ebert reviews David Lynch's "Wild at Heart" at the Cannes Film Festival.
An interview with "Cult Movies" author Danny Peary.
The 28th version of Unloved comes back from the Amazon with an exploitation classic.
A celebration of actresses Jane Birkin and Charlotte Gainsbourg in anticipation of an upcoming series at the Film Society of Lincoln Center in NYC.
Glenn Kenny reports from the Chiller Expo.
An interview with Larry Blamire on the "Lost Skeleton" trilogy.
An FFC shares memories of the Los Angeles Theater scene.
A collection of rave reviews for Life Itself that came out of the Cannes and Sundance Film Festival.
Cannes Flashback #2: David Lynch Gives Filmgoers All They Can Handle
Seonyong Cho offers his appreciation of Steve James' "Life Itself" and gives both the film and the man a thumbs up.
A year after the death of Roger Ebert, our critics and contributors on the site that bears his name were asked to share a memory of the man.
Recent releases on Blu-ray.
Michael Mirasol shares what he wants to say to Roger after seeing "Life Itself".
Anath White picks her favorite piece of Roger's writing.
We catch up with Irv Slifkin, the man behind MONDO MEYER, a Philadelphia event celebrating the work of filmmaker Russ Meyer.
Haji, one of the stars of "Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!" has passed away.
"Blood Feast" is a terrible film, and a historically important one, too. On the fiftieth anniversary of its release, Simon Abrams revisits this gore-fest.
Charlie Schmidlin reports from a screening of the Roger Ebert–scripted "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls."
Rating: Four stars
Consider now the curious character of Dr. King Schultz. He is an itinerant dentist who works from his little wagon, traveling the backroads of the pre-Civil War South. As Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained" opens, we see a line of shackled slaves being led through what I must describe as a deep, dark forest, because those are the kinds of forests we meet in fairy tales. Out of this deepness and darkness, Schultz (Christoph Waltz) appears, his lantern swinging from his wagon, which has a bobbling tooth on its roof.
The two most important things that can happen to you in a mainstream movie are being killed and having an orgasm. Sometimes in facial close-ups it's hard to tell one from the other. When Pauline Kael saw that wall poster in Italy saying "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang," she sensed she was onto something.
● Jackboots on Whitehall (DVD/VOD/Digital cable July 26) ● American Grindhouse (DVD/Hulu July 26)
by Steven Boone
The animated comedy "Jackboots on Whitehall" does its best to tweak every British stiff-upper-lip stereotype ever perpetuated in film and popular culture since World War II. This satire employs puppet animation techniques familiar from "Team America: World Police" and classic George Pal puppetoons, but with exquisite production design more akin to Wes Anderson's stop-motion "Fantastic Mr. Fox." Instead of marionettes or stop-motion, however, filmmakers Edward and Rory McHenry employ animatronic dolls enhanced with CGI.
The period detail in this account of Hitler's alt-reality occupation of London is stunning: a convincing re-creation of Whitehall, the road whose major landmarks comprise the seat of British government; the airship Hindenburg, which, in this reality, never blew up and now serves as a Nazi attack vehicle; Hadrian's Wall and the hills of Scotland; vintage fighter planes, palaces, tanks, luxury cars... Equally meticulous is the costuming, from Winston Churchill's pinstriped suit to the Raj soldiers' blue turbans.
While the McHenry brothers' puppets aren't articulated beyond some binary limb and neck movements, they are sculpted with such expressive character it's easy to suspend disbelief. Exuberant character voices help. Timothy Spall as a gruff Churchill, Alan Cumming as a fey Hitler and Tom Wilkinson as a simpering Goebbels play it lip-smackingly broad. Richard E. Grant portrays a tightly wound priest so perpetually furious that its possible he gave his entire performance through clenched teeth. Ewan McGregor lends the unlikely farm boy hero some warmth. Along the way, some downright filthy jokes fly by almost subliminally, under kids' radar (including a visual joke last seen in "Boogie Nights"). In fact, so much of the humor is adult, whether in raunchiness or complexity, that Jackboots on Whitehall is less a family film than one for liberal parents and their precocious teens. The DVD includes a fascinating behind-the-scenes documentary that details just how much love went into this handcrafted epic.