Author Archives

Brian Brems

The Mysteries of Cinema - Peter Conrad Book

Book Review: Peter Conrad’s ‘The Mysteries of Cinema’

“‘The Mysteries of Cinema’ is not really an argument about film’s essential qualities, but a collage of similarities, preoccupations and obsessions that drive not just its filmmakers, but seem to consume the medium itself.”

Da 5 Bloods Movie Film

Black Gold: Cinema, Wealth and Blackness

Brian Brems on ‘The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, ‘Da 5 Bloods’ and ‘Trespass’

Branded to Kill Movie Film

I Walk Alone: Seijun Suzuki Noir

“Occupying a middle space between the classicism of Japan’s most well-known filmmakers and the politically charged avant-garde of the New Wave, Suzuki uses the trappings of noir to explore the ramifications of isolation.”

Stray Dog Movie Film

Lost: Akira Kurosawa Noir

“In Kurosawa’s noir films, characters struggle to move beyond loss — personal, financial and national — only to find that more loss awaits them.”

a-grin-without-a-cat-nine

We’re All Mad Here: Chris Marker’s ‘A Grin Without a Cat’

“For a film about anger — both that of the social movements animated in protest and that belonging to the state which will brook no challenge to its authority — ‘A Grin Without a Cat’ is surprisingly without its own anger.”

The Black Dahlia Movie Film

Man with the Camera: Brian De Palma’s ‘The Black Dahlia’

“‘The Black Dahlia’ shows De Palma in a reflective mood, considering the impact cinema, especially his own, has had on the lives and suffering of women on screen.”

On Dangerous Ground Movie Film

Beat Cops: Police Brutality and Film Noir

“Otto Preminger’s ‘Where the Sidewalk Ends’ and Nicholas Ray’s ‘On Dangerous Ground’ gesture towards the difficult conditions under which police labor while turning a critical eye on the brutally violent detectives who abuse their power.”

Find Me Guilty Movie Film

12 Angry Films: Sidney Lumet on Justice #12 – ‘Find Me Guilty’

“The accumulated effect of ‘Find Me Guilty,’ with its litany of absurdities, is that it is better to deliver the accused from continued subjugation than to maintain faith in a system that has lost all claim to its moral authority.”

Nichols and Soderbergh

Why Criticism: Nichols / Soderbergh

“In their conversations, Soderbergh and Nichols work together to dismantle the artificial dividing line between art and criticism, neatly moving between the two…”

Night Falls on Manhattan Movie Film

12 Angry Films: Sidney Lumet on Justice #11 – ‘Night Falls on Manhattan’

“In ‘Night Falls on Manhattan,’ Lumet arrives at acceptance — the system is what it is. He is resigned to his inability to chronicle any meaningful change through his work.”

A Stranger Among Us Movie - Justice Essay

12 Angry Films: Sidney Lumet on Justice #10 – ‘A Stranger Among Us’

“As a chronicler of the justice system in a dozen or more films, Lumet is intimately concerned with the ways in which it represses individual thought and fails to live up to its supposedly defining principles.”

Q & A Movie - Film Essay

12 Angry Films: Sidney Lumet on Justice #9 – ‘Q & A’

“The thrill of a film like ‘Q & A’ comes in watching how Lumet finds new ways to level his criticisms, harnessing the cynicism that has propelled his work and suffusing each frame with deep, corrupting rot.”

Daniel 1983 Movie - Film Essay

12 Angry Films: Sidney Lumet on Justice #8 – ‘Daniel’

“Though Sidney Lumet is by and large a classical filmmaker who privileges wide shots, staging and judicious framing over highly expressive techniques, ‘Daniel’ is one of his most formally adventurous works.”

The Irishman 2019 Movie - Thelma Schoonmaker Editing

Don’t Make Him Wait: Editing, Thelma Schoonmaker and ‘The Irishman’

“Schoonmaker’s contribution to ‘The Irishman’ may be her finest effort: she shapes an epic that masterfully controls pace — accelerating and decelerating it at will…”

The Irishman 2019 Movie - Banquet Sequence

Leopards in Winter: ‘The Irishman’ and the Banquet Sequence

“‘The Irishman’ may be the last film of an era. The banquet scene ranks among the most powerful sequences of Scorsese’s career because he allows it, following Visconti’s example, to linger.”

The Verdict 1982 Movie - Film Essay

12 Angry Films: Sidney Lumet on Justice #7 – ‘The Verdict’

“‘The Verdict’ is Lumet’s morality play, a palate-cleanser after the bitter cynicism of his previous film that affirms the fundamental goodness of a few ordinary people within the justice system.”

Prince of the City 1981 Movie - Film Essay About Justice

12 Angry Films: Sidney Lumet on Justice #6 – ‘Prince of the City’

“‘Prince of the City’ is a taxing, draining experience, but one that is ultimately rooted in very real despair; the system, it argues, has failed. If these characters are the products of the American criminal justice system, then it ought to be blown up.”

So Proudly We Hail 1943 Movie - Film Essay

Why She Fights: On ‘So Proudly We Hail!’ and Female Camaraderie

“While a number of combat films released in 1943 focus almost exclusively on the male war effort, ‘So Proudly We Hail!’ finds nobility, heroism, anger, racism, sacrifice and camaraderie in its female characters.”

Dog Day Afternoon 1975 Movie - Film Essay About Justice

12 Angry Films: Sidney Lumet on Justice #5 – ‘Dog Day Afternoon’

“By creating such a sympathetic, human subject, Lumet deepens the impact of his institutional critique of the justice system; its dehumanizing effect on American society seems all the more tragic when Sonny is its victim.”

Klute 1971 Movie - Film Essay

The Absent Presence in ‘Klute’

“In dramatizing themes of absence and presence so thoroughly, ‘Klute’ embodies a central feature of neo-noir; as a self-conscious revision of a classic film cycle, noir is always both absent and present in neo-noir films.”