Primers

by Gregg Rickman

What is this thing called screwball? Most commonly thought of as a cycle in Hollywood romantic comedies, running from the notable year of 1934 (The Thin Man, Twentieth Century and above all It Happened One Night) through to Preston Sturges' The Lady Eve (1941) and The Palm Beach Story (1942), screwball is still very much with us, as a beacon of the giddy achievement possible within popular entertainment.

Page 04/04/2007 - 1:43pm

by Sean Axmaker

By one reckoning, we can trace the birth of science fiction back to the pioneering days of film itself. Georges Melies's A Trip to the Moon is nothing if not a fantasy invigorated by a magician's delight in spectacle and camera tricks and a showman's sense of fancy, but this 19th century lark established the essentials of much of 20th century science fiction cinema: futuristic hardware, strange new worlds, weird monsters and dazzling special effects.

Page 04/04/2007 - 1:10pm

by Allen White

Japan after the Second World War was a country in flux. It had not only been utterly defeated by Allied forces, but it had a new constitution written and imposed upon it by foreigners as well. Every principle by which the Japanese had lived their lives was now subject to revision or disposal.

Page 04/03/2007 - 1:22pm

by Andrew James Horton

In almost every single country in the world, silent cinema is under-represented on DVD, reflecting a wider lack of critical interest. One of the few exceptions to this rule (along with the US) is the Soviet Union. It's a testament to the power and originality of early Russian cinema, which has managed to overcome prejudice against silent film and associations with a totalitarian regime, that it remains so cherished in the pantheon of world cinema classics.

Page 04/02/2007 - 12:58pm

by Cory Vielma

Rock movies have been around as long as rock and roll itself. (Note: Throughout this primer, I won't be making distinctions between rock, disco, pop, rap and so on. Not only is it simpler to use a single umbrella term, "rock movies," but "music movies" or "movies with music" or just about anything else just don't have the same ring.) From the very beginning, what musicians (or their savvy managers) have seen in rock movies is both a powerful means of cross-platform publicity and an alternative outlet for the artists' creativity. Besides, audiences love them.

Page 03/30/2007 - 4:26pm

By Heather Johnson

Perennially fascinated with the feel of the wind in one's hair, a new life in a new locale, and the freedom and mysteries along the unknown terrain, the road movie is a quintessentially American art form. While not a genre of its own per se, the road movie can encompass elements of other genres, including everything from horror, thriller and film noir, to comedy, cult and crime, among others. To further complicate matters, we can trace the road movie concept back to an era dating back long before there were cars.

Page 03/30/2007 - 3:36pm

by Gary Morris

The history of queer cinema stretches almost as far back as movies themselves, though, as with all queer history, interpretations in this realm are always debatable.

Page 03/30/2007 - 2:52pm

By Mick LaSalle

The "pre-Code era" refers to a roughly five-year period in film history, beginning with the widespread adoption of sound in 1929 and ending on July 1, 1934, with the inauguration of the Production Code Administration and a policy of rigid censorship. Before July 1, 1934, restrictions on movie content varied widely, depending on local laws, mores and public taste. As a result, "pre-Code films" tend to be racier, sexier, more adult, more cynical, more socially critical, more honest and more politically strident than the films produced by Hollywood on up through the early 1960s.

Page 03/30/2007 - 1:33pm
By Steve Goldstein

You can read The New York Times and Washington Post every day and devour every report by Seymour Hersh, but that doesn't mean you feel like you really know what's going on in the world of politics. And forget about TV journalism. Sometimes the only way to fill in some of the blanks and get answers, or at least "what ifs," is to watch a good political thriller.

Page 03/30/2007 - 12:04pm

by Andrew James Horton

Few countries have a history quite as tortured as Poland's. Once a huge and mighty multicultural state, Poland has seen its borders jump about, in the process losing some of its most treasured cities and, for a couple of hundred years, the country disappeared from the map altogether. This tragic history culminated in the Second World War in which six million Poles died, half of them Jewish, while huge numbers of Jews were transported from other European countries to Polish territory to face the Third Reich's Final Solution.

Page 03/30/2007 - 11:50am

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