Author Archives: Mike Wood

DVD Review: Black Hollywood: Blaxploitation and Advancing an Independent Black Cinema

This 1984 documentary manages to be both history lesson and an opportunity to revisit your assumptions of that history. While Black Hollywood covers much familiar ground, it also opens one’s eyes to some of the pivotal figures in the often exploited, but nevertheless defiant role of African-Americans in Hollywood.A thumbnail sketch of that role is […]

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Review: Renaissance Village (NTI Upstream; 85 minutes)

The individual stories of those who lived through Hurricane Katrina get lost in the story of the event that has taken on a life of its own. Both sides of the political seesaw have used the tragic flooding of one of America’s great cities, and the subsequent displacement of its poorest residents, whether it be […]

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Book Review: The History of Independent Cinema by Phil Hall

History of Independent Cinema by Phil Hall

Even limiting the scope to American film, Phil Hall set for himself a daunting task in The History of Independent Cinema.

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DVD Review: In The Realms of the Unreal: The Mystery of Henry Darger (2004; Fox Lorber)

Henry Darger has become a celebrity of sorts within the last decade or so, providing dealers and collectors with another cash cow in the Outsider Art genre.

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DVD Review: Points on a Space Age (MVD video)

Points on a Space Age

Maybe the old bit about a prophet not being accepted in his own land could have been upended if the prophets had had decent musical chops.

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DVD Review: Un Chant D’Amour

Long banned or heavily edited, this legendary transgressive short masterpiece is finally available in the States in its complete form. As the only film directed by poet, playwright, novelist, criminal and Saint Jean Genet, it naturally is saturated with images and emotions even his own overheated writing could rarely evoke. Un Chant D’Amour, first released […]

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DVD Review: Kiss Napoleon Goodbye

Kiss Napoleon Goodbye

This 1990 film borrows much from the NYC underground of the ’80s, but holds back from delivering more than cut-out characters expressing tentative emotions.

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Review: What Just Happened?

Based on a 2002 memoir by producer Art Linson (Fight Club, Into The Wild), What Just Happened? continues the line of self-obsessed Hollywood vehicles like The Player and Entourage, wherein the evils and shallowness of the business are brutally explored but nevertheless celebrated. Here, director Barry Levinson manages to get a good performance from Robert […]

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Review: Timecrimes (Spain, AKV Entertainment)

One of the more odd theories to come out of recent speculation into multiple universes is the idea that there may be enough dimensions so that, somewhere, everything happens:You took a left instead of a right, you became a famous novelist, you bought the good car instead of the shitty one, etc. That would take […]

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DVD Review: Here is Always Somewhere Else (2008)

You might not think that there would be much information available about a performance artist whose entire catalog of work lasts about 40 minutes, and who vanished at sea. This release will dispel that notion. Here is Always Somewhere Else is not only a moving tribute of artist Bas Jan Ader, but a celebration of […]

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DVD Review: Love and Death in Times and Winds

Times and Winds screenshot

Children’s curiosity about death and sex is one of the unspoken engines of childhood.

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“He Appears, However, Almost to Go Backwards”: Impossibly Short Notes on The Ister

The Ister examines the rapid nature of technological progress and its disorienting effect on Western philosophy and ethics.

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DVD Review: Harry Langdon in Three’s a Crowd and The Chaser

Harry Langdon Three's a Crowd and Chaser

Harry Langdon will be forever stuck in fourth place in the canon of silent film comics, always trailing Chaplin, Keaton, and Lloyd. Still, he endures.

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DVD Review: Sideshow Still Alive

Sideshow Still Alive takes two paths to what it hopes is the same story.

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I Know You, Rider: Luv & Haight at the Wetlands Preserve

Wetlands Preserved: The Story of An Activist Nightclub (2006) documents the rise and fall of a unique enterprise, one that was both inspired by–but in no way limited to–the 1960s hippie ethic.

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