The Boys in the Band

September 21, 2015 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Comedy Film, Drama Film, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Dir. William Friedkin) (1970) In 1968/1970, gays were still (perforce) tortured.  In this claustrophobic classic, we see a cavalcade of torture.  A bunch of lads (‘closet queens’) are having a birthday party for pal Harold (a male Mae West, crossed with Lou Reed), but host Michael’s college buddy drops in, quite inconveniently, on the 8 chaps who prefer sex with men. In a sensational ensemble, the stand-outs are Harold (Leonard Frey, in a performance to die for) and Michael (Kenneth Nelson, all ‘countercharm’, in his greatest role till Edge of Darkness) who clearly have a deep dark history.  Also, note…

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Woody Allen’s Moral Universe

August 20, 2015 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classic Film, Comedy Film, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

"Dostoyevsky or Turgenev?"

The Varnished Culture is conflicted: L dislikes Woody with his gaunt, Hebrew gamines, his obsessions, his recherché nostalgia, his nihilistic sentiment and relentless chauvinism.  P loves him, truth to tell, for the same reason. He cites a brace of films, maybe with one addition, as examples of his comic, cosmic, genius: Hannah and Her Sisters, Crimes and Misdemeanours, and Husbands and Wives. These films suffer, like his other works, from a stuffy and noisy egocentricity but they are also, by far, the best depictions of modern morality – wise and wicked. Check out, for example, Judy Davis’ sublime failure to succumb to the…

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A New Leaf

May 18, 2015 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Comedy Film, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

"'s all I ever wanted to be."

(Dir. Elaine May) (1971) Henry Graham (Walter Matthau) has a big problem: his sizeable inheritance has dried up and as his disdainful uncle tells him, he is “an aging youth, with no prospects, no skills, no character.” The confrontation with Mr. Graham’s solicitor, Mr. Beckett, is a classic.  After explaining with some difficulty to his client that he is broke, Beckett declares that “I have given you $550 of my own money for only one reason.  Disliking you as intensely as I do, I wanted to be absolutely certain that when I looked back upon your financial downfall, I could…

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Peter Lorre Takes to Santa with a Bat

February 12, 2015 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | Annabel Lee, Comedy Film, FILM |

Hollywood Canteen (1944)

We at TVC have not seen this 1944 film, Hollywood Canteen, but we want to.   See TVC’s review of The Lost One here. And then Peter inveigles Mickey Rooney to take a loan for a date (in Quicksand)…is there no end to his perfidy?

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(Dir. Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu) (2014) This is an interesting and well-made film that suffers from an empty space about its heart.  The 1990s star of “Birdman 1, 2 and 3”, Riggan Thomson (Michael Keaton – get it?) spurned Birdman # 4 when at the top of the Hollywood pile, and is now a penniless has-been with substance abuse issues and an uncertain relationship with reality, as evidenced by his schizoid exchanges with the alter-ego Birdman character, who comes and goes, alternately revving and razzing Thomson in a voice reminiscent of Frank in Donnie Darko.  His comeback (or if you hate…

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