Out of the Past

February 22, 2021 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classic Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Directed by Jacques Tourneur) (1947) (Script by Daniel Mainwaring (“Geoffrey Homes”) from his 1946 novel Build My Gallows High, with uncredited revisions by Frank Fenton and James M. Cain.) Before we review this complicated, compelling film, first allow us to modestly refer you to our discussion: what is Film Noir? Furthermore, in the spirit of commercial DVDs, can we clear away some preliminaries?  Don’t you hate it when, having purchased a film with your hard-earned, you then have to suffer some minutes of being lectured against pirating and illegal downloads? Or trying to disable the o-so-welcome options of surtitles (in…

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Zappa

February 21, 2021 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Documentary, FILM, Modern Music, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Directed by Alex Winter) (2020) Frank Zappa (21/12/1940 – 4/12/1993) was a one man show created for an audience of one: himself. Obsessively writing, arranging and producing realms of material, he’d allow others to perform with him, though they were never quite good enough, and he’d suffer people to buy his records or attend his concerts, although they weren’t really hip enough to understand the work. It was either his way or go elsewhere. And his unorthodox, multi-faceted output is always interesting, even if, for example, a double album like 200 Motels turns out to be a bizarre waste of time….

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A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

February 13, 2021 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Drama Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Directed by Marielle Heller) (2019) The Varnished Culture settled down with a choice wine to watch this, fully expecting to enjoy the contents of the bottle more than the film. Spared the viewing of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood (1968-2001) due to the tyranny of distance, we guessed this would be an uplifting panegyric of the famous kiddy presenter.  Hence we feared a saccharine overdose as with The Sound of Music, more so when we perceived that the story, based on an article in Esquire, would centre around the the cynical, angry, world-weary, troubled, investigative journalist ‘Lloyd Vogel’ (Matthew Rhys), sent (querulously)…

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What IS film noir?

January 28, 2021 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classic Film, FILM |

Black Film: It’s perhaps more of a style than a genre, the descendant of German expressionist films of the 1920s such as Dr. Mabuse, the Gambler (1922) and Pandora’s Box (1929), along with American gangster films of the 1930s , and crime and detective stories (published in France as série noire; then roman noir, and, on film in the 1940s and 1950s, film noir). There are homages or ‘neo-noirs’ (Chinatown, Marlowe (1969), Night Moves (1975)) and parodies (The Long Goodbye (1973), and The Big Sleep – the 1978 version, of which Lauren Bacall, asked if she had seen it, said…

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Black Angel

January 17, 2021 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classic Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Directed by Roy William Neill)(1946) This obscure Universal film noir is rather odd in an intriguing, almost surreal way. A blackmailer, Mavis Marlowe (Constance Dowling), ex-wife of part-time pianist/composer and full-time drunk, Martin Blair (Dan Duryea), turns up strangled in her apartment, one of Blair’s songs reverberating on the record player. Blair was on the spot earlier but the Doorman, under instructions, told him to go jump, whereupon he went on a bender of epic proportions. Meanwhile, Kirk Bennett, a poor sap who’s been having an affair with Mavis, visits, but finds her dead and busily incriminates himself by leaving…

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