Author Archives

D.M. Palmer

Peter Cook Essay

Mystical Ennui: Peter Cook at a Distance

“Peter Cook was never able to bridge the distance between his personal world and his many creations, and one gets the impression that he derived a certain satisfaction from keeping people guessing.”

Judy Holliday Essay - Born Yesterday

The Irresistible Bulldozer: Judy Holliday’s Brief Comic Swing

“Holliday’s persona is one of shrewdness in the face of unrelenting condescension; she perfected the art of playing the outwardly ditzy blonde who lulls those around her into taking her lightly.”

1995 Cinema Essay - Johnny Mnemonic

Visions of the Future from 1995: Touching with Synthetic Hands

Visions of the Future from 1995: Touching with Synthetic Hands by D.M. Palmer: “These films posited that to dream in public, to build new worlds on this freshly privatized terrain, was to risk new and previously inconceivable forms of personal ruin.”

Visions of the Future from 1995: I Am the Law

“The capacity to dehumanize has always been present in cinema; to witness the vanquishing of enemies on the screen has served a cathartic function for every society in which cinema has taken hold.”

1995 Cinema Essay - Tank Girl

Visions of the Future from 1995: The World Is Screwed

“‘Waterworld,’ ’12 Monkeys’ and ‘Tank Girl’ posit that when a civilization collapses, many of its customs will be upheld through authoritarian means…”

Post-9/11 Cinema Essay - Funny Games

The Only Thing Real: Meaning and Maturity in Post-9/11 Cinema

“9/11 was a psychic wound that fostered a new relation to the world, and those who grew up in its aftermath struggled to digest its lessons; some fell back onto intransigence, while others internalized the damage.”

Abel Ferrara Exile Cycle Movie Essay - Siberia Film

Recovery, Survival and Extinction: Abel Ferrara’s Exile Cycle

“Few artists have dreamt more boldly and defiantly in their exile than Ferrara; he has faced up to the dark towers of commerce and coercion, the systemic violence that is rationalized and sanctioned to peak efficiency by the prevailing conditions.”

2012 Cinema Essay - Fallen Idols and False Prophets in Post-Crash America (Killing Them Softly)

The World Is Cold: Fallen Idols and False Prophets in Post-Crash America

“The year 2012 was the first in which cinema could adequately assess the material and psychological toll of the crash. The box office tells its own story: audiences were looking for saviors…”

Career Woman Movie Essay - Big Business

Having It All: The Career Woman Takes Over

D.M. Palmer on the career women of ‘9 to 5’ (1980), ‘Baby Boom’ (1987), ‘Big Business’ (1988), ‘Working Girl’ (1988) and ‘Disclosure’ (1994).

New Hollywood Essay - Top of the Heap

The American Horizon: Working Life in the New Hollywood

“What is so strange about the New Hollywood renaissance of the 70s is that it took place at a time of acute crisis for the business. It was a signal of the industry’s weakness that these cracks in the veneer were not only permitted but encouraged…”

Company Man Movie Essay - Patterns

Nine-to-Five Fellows: The Company Man Comes Home

“The generation that had fought the war was confronting the generation that had overseen it, staging a sub-rosa assault on entrenched power.” – D.M. Palmer on ‘Patterns,’ ‘The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit’ and ‘The Apartment’

Silicon Valley Essay - The Inventor on HBO

There Is No Try: Documenting the Silicon Valley Mindset

There Is No Try: Documenting the Silicon Valley Mindset | D.M. Palmer on ‘The Inventor, ‘Fyre,’ ‘Fyre Fraud’ and ‘WeWork: or The Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn’

Dennis Potter Essay - Cold Lazarus

Must Write a Happy Ending: The Posthumous Dennis Potter

“Dennis Potter left us with one of the most ambitious and meaningful pieces of British television, bridging commercial and public broadcasting to address the state of the nation and the fate of the artist with his customary irreverence and accessibility.”

70s Britain Cinema Essay - O Lucky Man! Movie

No Future for You: The Cinematic Image of 70s Britain

“The 70s were a tumultuous and often bleak decade for the British film industry, and this pessimism bled into its output.”

LSD Cinema - Head

Reality Is a Deadly Place: LSD Cinema’s Short and Strange Trip

“Drug culture and social upheaval became inextricable on the screen in the 60s; it was a belated recognition on the part of the industry’s tastemakers that American cinema’s scrupulously maintained state of grace was no longer sustainable…”

The Radical Story of Patty Hearst 

Tracking Tania: The Dramatic Life of Patty Hearst

“In all her dramatic iterations, Patty Hearst stands for an American purity that was always illusory but remains hallowed, that successive generations have set out to wrest back from the forces of complication.”

Tearing Down the Monument: Sean Connery’s 1970s

“In my hatred for the Bond franchise, I feel I may have done a disservice to its star. I have always had a tendency to discount Sean Connery as an exquisitely sculpted statue, capable of filling out a tuxedo very nicely but little else.”

Quatermass Essay

What a Way to Invade Earth: Science and Crisis According to Quatermass

“Quatermass is an eccentric antihero who presages Doctor Who in his singular disregard for established mores and the niceties of procedure…”

The Magic Christian Movie Film

Money Is the Game: The Strange Journey of ‘The Magic Christian’

“‘The Magic Christian’ cries out to be re-visited. For all the cultural specificity of the novel and film, Grand remains a strikingly modern figure.”

The Third Generation Movie - Film Essay

Carnival Madness: The Spectacle of Terror in R.W. Fassbinder’s ‘The Third Generation’

“In Fassbinder’s conception of West Germany following its chaotic autumn, terror takes on the tenor of performance art; like addicts lusting after a fix, the groupuscule seeks ennobling sensation; they must be satiated by “Something symbolic…”