Celebrating 17 Years of Film.Biz.Fans.

Matthew Cheney

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    A Video Essay On Jim Jarmusch: Dead Men & Ghosts, Limited

    Among Jim Jarmusch's films, "Dead Man," "Ghost Dog," and "The Limits of Control" share concerns and motifs: questions of wisdom and wandering, art and death, repetition and revision. They let genres become ghosts. They propose that white men are the scourge of reality.

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    VIDEO ESSAY: Dragons in Movies

    In confronting dragons, humans confront an ancient, alien Nature. Unlike the other popular fantasy figures these days—vampires and zombies—dragons are not transmuted humans, but rather something beyond us, other than us. Often, they are represented as deeply greedy, and this is their fatal flaw (e.g...

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    12 YEARS A SLAVE: Glory Without Redemption

    It is exceedingly rare to find a story about slavery that doesn't emphasize how good-hearted white people can be and how inherently just, good, and equal America is. In American movies, black suffering redeems white characters and affirms white nobility.

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    VIDEO ESSAY: Rob Zombie and the Cinema of Cruelty

    The feature films that Rob Zombie has made between 2000 and 2013 create new styles of emotional and perceptual disturbance from the corpses of cultural products past. True to his name, Zombie reanimates dead tropes, turns, and troubles into powerful attacks on our expectations and desires.

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    VIDEO ESSAY: First Fassbinder

    The German actor and filmmaker Frank Ripploh interviewed Rainer Werner Fassbinder in March 1982, only a few months before Fassbinder's death at age 37. Ripploh's last question was: "How do you describe yourself?" "I'm a romantic anarchist," Fassbinder said.

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    They Know Not What They Do: BURN AFTER READING

    "Burn After Reading" is a film about containment and knowledge, or, to put it another way, a tale of wars against chaos. Necessarily, it is a farce.

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    VIDEO ESSAY: The End of Violence: The Conclusions of Clint Eastwood

    It took me years to learn how to watch a Clint Eastwood movie. For one thing, I tended to watch them far apart and to rely on memory of earlier films to prepare myself for current ones. But given the gaps in time between viewings, I should have been more suspicious of how I remembered them.

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    The Mystery of Werner Herzog: Two Video Essays and One Text Essay

    One of the most revealing statements in the book "Herzog on Herzog" appears early on, when Werner Herzog tells interviewer Paul Cronin that from the time he was a young child he has suffered a particular "communication defect": he has no sense of irony.

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