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Sunset Gun
Los Angeles
Playboy, Los Angeles Review of Books, Criterion and more.
Recent Activity
Here's an excerpt from my piece on Roman Polanski's classic Rosemary's Baby, a movie not just about the horrors of devil worshipping neighbors and doctors, but the horrors of people (men) constantly talking at you. This is something I've discussed before, back in 2009 (with much controversy with Repulsion) and in a video essay in 2010, in regard to Polanski heroines, and that Rosemary is... Continue reading
Posted Oct 17, 2016 at Sunset Gun
Check out an excerpt from my debut piece for the iconic, movie-lover utopia, The New Beverly Cinema, the only revival house in Los Angeles that projects exclusively on film (no digital). Here, I tackle Rouben Mamoulian’s innovative pre-code masterpiece, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, starring a brilliant Fredric March. Do not miss this one, playing Oct. 19 & 20. Rouben Mamoulian’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr.... Continue reading
Posted Oct 15, 2016 at Sunset Gun
"I am a product of violence myself. By the age of 15 I'd been through Auschwitz and Belsen and my family destroyed... Without motivation, without warning. One's whole life is literally changed by making oneself cope with violence. The force cannot destroy the sensitive... Tennessee Williams believes that violence destroys sensitivity but I don't believe this -- we go on, the life force goes on... Continue reading
Posted Oct 14, 2016 at Sunset Gun
Criterion has just released a splendid, extra-packed edition of Mark Robson's infamous adaptation of Jacqueline Susann's "Valley of the Dolls," a movie I love, and a movie I imbibe in myriad ways -- drug fueled dream, tough-talking-hard-living real, hilarious, gorgeous, feminist, pill-popping romantic (so many beautiful pills), junkie horror story, showbiz melodrama, sleaze, surrealism, camp, odd, unhinged behaviour that’s even weirder than it knows and,... Continue reading
Posted Sep 27, 2016 at Sunset Gun
The October edition of Sight & Sound is out and I've written an essay on something near and dear to me -- the road, cars, and especially women on the road. Pick up the magazine on newsstands, soon. Here's an excerpt: At Tom Neal asks, wryly, in Detour: “What kind of dames thumb rides? Sunday school teachers?” The answer? Or, what should be the answer?... Continue reading
Posted Sep 11, 2016 at Sunset Gun
I'm thrilled (and haunted) to have contributed to this beautiful book on David Lynch and music, Beyond The Beyond: Music From the Films of David Lynch, out now, with the hands on involvement of Lynch himself. I wrote the chapter on the music of "Twin Peaks," entitled "The Extended Refrain," an undertaking that stayed with me longer than I could have imagined. Images of Laura... Continue reading
Posted Sep 7, 2016 at Sunset Gun
Today is Fredric March's birthday. To celebrate, I'm reposting an excerpt from my 2011 Criterion essay on one of his best pictures, Ernst Lubitsch's sublime, soulful and very, very sexy Pre-Code masterpiece, Design For Living. Ernst Lubitsch’s Design for Living (1933) is what sexy should be—delightful, romantic, agonizing ecstasy. And it’s not just sexy but also revolutionary, daring, sweet, sour, cynical, carefree, poignant, and so... Continue reading
Posted Aug 31, 2016 at Sunset Gun
The BBC asked me to contribute my top ten list of the 21st Century's greatest films. It wasn't easy. These lists never are. But lists aren't definitive, obviously -- they work best to stir up discussion and debate. And internal debate as well (I wanted a few ties. One more Paul Thomas Anderson, one more Lars von Trier, one for Quentin Tarantino and the glorious... Continue reading
Posted Aug 22, 2016 at Sunset Gun
“Daughter of God, weaver of wiles,” Marilyn Monroe, like Sappho’s Aphrodite, will never die. It has been 50 years since she gasped her final breath on that lonely mattress with no bed frame—her beautiful nude body just there, collapsed and unrestricted, that body all men (and women) yearned to cradle, ravage or revere. There she was, Marilyn: her hand clutching the telephone that kept her... Continue reading
Posted Aug 5, 2016 at Sunset Gun
Read my piece on two terrific, newly restored noirs with two powerful actresses leading the show (Ann Sheridan and Lizabeth Scott) -- "Woman on the Run and "Too Late for Tears" -- in the July issue of Sight & Sound. Find the movies at Flicker Alley (I'm also part of the two documentaries about the two pictures). Here's a excerpt. Read the entire piece in... Continue reading
Posted Jun 16, 2016 at Sunset Gun
"Beauty is unbearable, drives us to despair, offering us for a minute the glimpse of an eternity that we should like to stretch out over the whole of time." --Albert Camus One of the most arresting images I’ve ever seen of Marilyn Monroe came not from a movie or newsreel footage or one of her many photographs. It came from a blanket. Driving through Death... Continue reading
Posted Jun 1, 2016 at Sunset Gun
Barbara Payton was gracious enough to let Leo Guild into her apartment. That’s one way of looking at this sleazy/sad alliance, a union of two hustlers making a fast buck, pushing forward in spite of their scummy shambling lives and, in the end, perpetually losing. But as Guild reported later, Payton, though polite on the phone, was in person, gross: “pig fat” as he indelicately... Continue reading
Posted May 19, 2016 at Sunset Gun
“We were beginning to feel that the Continental had a soul, memories of the past and feelings about where we were going and what we were doing.” – Neil Young When I was nine-years old, my mother rambled around in an old pine green Dodge station wagon. It was a big honkin’ thing, it seemed so out-dated, the back-end smashed, the seats an obnoxious green... Continue reading
Posted Apr 29, 2016 at Sunset Gun
I went to the doctor, guess what he told me, guess what he told me. He said, girl you better try to have fun no matter what you do. But he's a fool. Continue reading
Posted Apr 21, 2016 at Sunset Gun
You can still see the terrific episode, the "TruInside" story of The Jerk, showing online. The show covers the history, absurdist innovations and legacy of the Carl Reiner-directed, Steve Martin-starring comedy classic. I'm in this, discussing the film, along with Carl Reiner, Jackie Mason, Renn Woods, Carl Gottlieb, Michael Elias, Matt Zoller Seitz, Mark Harris, Judd Apatow, Peter Farrelly, Maya Rudolph, M. Emmet Walsh and... Continue reading
Posted Apr 14, 2016 at Sunset Gun
Who cares about Easter tomorrow? It's all about today. Today, Sterling Hayden, one of the greatest actors and screen presences in the history of cinema, would have turned 100-years old. Not surprisingly, I've compared Hayden to Jesus Christ. "Hayden is so Hayden you feel like you’re watching, not just an icon, but some kind of loser Jesus Christ. As if Kubrick’s idol Weegee were God... Continue reading
Posted Mar 26, 2016 at Sunset Gun
Briefly, on Cul-de-sac. 50 years ago. Roman Polanski emerged from the womb understanding the art of filmmaking. Or, perhaps, understanding the art of wombs -- diseased, depraved, disordered and of course, provocative wombs. Cruelty, violence, twisted sexuality, madness, absurdity -- many of Polanski's hallmark obsessions -- are almost always confined to one space. The director loves nothing more than trapping his characters in devil-worshiping apartment... Continue reading
Posted Mar 7, 2016 at Sunset Gun
Bring on Sacheen Littlefeather. I like Oscars that go a little crazy. Disruptive. Weird. And not in those golly-gee speeches where someone reacts with such feigned shock that he or she giddily exhibits an actorly, cute-as-a-button manic depressive episode, stuttering out names that reveal how kooky, sweet, humbled and... we got it. Though speeches like that can be charming, if you're going to go there,... Continue reading
Posted Feb 27, 2016 at Sunset Gun
Bette Davis defines Oscar. After all, wasn't it the divine Ms. Davis who coined the Academy's golden boy as "Oscar?" The story goes that the little man's rear-end reminded the actress of her then husband, Oscar, and clever Bette anointed it so. Whether or not this story is true (and it's more than likely, not) it doesn't matter to me. Bette named the Oscar. Fact.... Continue reading
Posted Feb 26, 2016 at Sunset Gun
David Lynch to Angelo Badalamenti: "We’re in a dark woods. There’s a soft wind blowing through some sycamore trees and the moon’s out, and animal sounds in the background, and you can hear the hoot of an owl, and [again] you’re in the dark woods... just get me into that beautiful darkness with the soft wind... From behind a tree in the back of the... Continue reading
Posted Feb 19, 2016 at Sunset Gun
The newest issue of the beautiful art and fashion magazine, MONROWE Magazine has published a lovely six-page spread of 18 of my photographs from Paris, shot at the Centre Pompidou, during the filming of what would become the feature film, The Forbidden Room, directed by Guy Maddin and Evan Johnson. Some of these moments are found swirling in the picture, others will appear online, all... Continue reading
Posted Feb 13, 2016 at Sunset Gun
It's the 40th anniversary of Taxi Driver. Here's a repost of my piece, from 2011, when I saw its new restoration in Berlin. "All my life needed was a sense of someplace to go. I don't believe that one should devote his life to morbid self-attention, I believe that one should become a person like other people." Last night in Berlin was the world premiere... Continue reading
Posted Feb 8, 2016 at Sunset Gun
The new Sight & Sound features my ten-page interview with its February cover star, Quentin Tarantino, and they have graciously allowed me to excerpt a portion of the extensive Q&A here. This is a nice chunk of it, but there's so much more in the magazine, from getting to know his characters, to the Roadshow appeal of The Hateful Eight and themes in the movie,... Continue reading
Posted Jan 8, 2016 at Sunset Gun
Pick up the February edition of Sight & Sound and read my ten page interview with its cover star, Quentin Tarantino. We get into it: The Hateful Eight, old TV westerns ("The Virginian" especially), movie violence, police brutality, Snoop Dogg's resemblance to Lee Van Cleef and a whole helluva lot more. Quentin gives good interview. From Sight & Sound: "As The Hateful Eight hits UK... Continue reading
Posted Jan 4, 2016 at Sunset Gun
Here's my most memorable ten movies of 2015. Please indulge me as I ramble a bit, quote Werner Herzog extensively and bring up a movie that I saw last year, but was released in some cities this year, and one that I can't seem to stop watching. If you know me, you know which one. These are not in order. Except for the first film...... Continue reading
Posted Dec 31, 2015 at Sunset Gun