Category Archives: Sunset Boulevard

An old film title… there are times when we will post a column about a movie – a new one or an old title, however – there are times when the story matches the dark times we are living in today.

The Silent Witness of “Metropolis

A remnant from the late ‘20s, “Metropolis” has come into the light once again and in a more complete way. While the industrial environment and modern work have changed, the concern for social justice and questions about technology are just as intense as they were when the film premiered.

In a search for movies considered classics, I came across the 1927 film, Metropolis. Not knowing what to expect, I was nevertheless interested to know why it was a famous classic of silent film. In watching it, I soon realized why. The film is a work of outstanding artistry. It projects a future reality given the date of 2028. Not at all like modern movies, it is simply a piece of stunning artwork and theater made on film. The skillful and amazing visuals are difficult to describe and have to be seen. They present the mechanical detail of futuristic industrial scenes and activity with intricate beauty that feels astounding. The imaginative cityscape is also a beautiful piece of artwork. The story is accompanied by wonderful background music which is a treat in itself. I think others have written of these aspects more fully than I can here. What I would like to address in particular is its religious aspect. Continue reading

Alfred Hitchcock’s “The 39 Steps” ~ A Coded Message?

The 39 Steps is one of five films that Alfred Hitchcock made in England about espionage in the mid-to-late 1930s. These films capture the growing threat felt in Britain from foreign powers. In their scenarios the nation’s security was nowhere more threatened than by spies hiding in plain sight…

The Thirty-Nine Steps – A novel.

Then a film: The 39 Steps.

In the end, that became part of our cinematic DNA. We all know the plot, or think we do.

What if, within the frames of the Hitchcock’s movie, there was a code? A warning of what then was taking place in England.

In the year that it appeared on movie screens – 1935 – it is easy to forget the England from which it emerged: a nation on the brink of something. Continue reading

Clint Eastwood’s Richard Jewell is a masterpiece

Richard Jewell, the film, is a perfect analogy for what the FBI and DOJ have done to President Trump, Michael Flynn, Carter Page, George Papadopoulos, and the American people.

Clint Eastwood’s new film is the true story of how the FBI destroyed the lives of Richard Jewell and his mother after the 1996 bombing at Centennial Park in Atlanta during the summer Olympics. Jewell was a security guard at the park who noticed an unattended backpack under a bench. He alerted other police on the scene, who determined that it was indeed a bomb. Jewell and the other police immediately began moving people away from the scene. The bomb did explode; two people were killed and many were injured, but Jewell’s actions saved many lives.

For a few days, he was a hero, but then the FBI began to focus on Jewell as the perpetrator because he “fit the profile.” He lived with his mother, wanted to be a policeman, and had lost several security jobs for various reasons, including once for impersonating a police officer. That is all they had, all they needed — not a shred of real evidence beyond their conviction that he must be guilty because he fit the profile. Continue reading

The Perversion of the Days: Eyes Wide Shut

Attirement of the Bride (La Toilette de la mariée) by Max Ernst

The day Jeffrey Epstein turned up dead in a New York jail cell, I decided I needed to write something about Eyes Wide Shut (1999), Stanley Kubrick’s last and weakest movie.

Epstein has quickly faded from the headlines, so let me remind you briefly of who he was. Epstein was an American Jew who enjoyed immense wealth from unknown sources, hob-knobbed with the global elite, including Bill Clinton and Prince Andrew, and was a pervert with a taste for underage girls, meaning that he was a serial rapist. He is also accused of sharing these women with his wealthy and powerful friends, which would have implicated them in marital infidelity and statutory rape, making them subject to blackmail. Continue reading

Lifetime, HGTV, and Hallmark Channel Reject Ads for Pro-Life Movie “Unplanned

Theaters across the country now are showing the film “Unplanned” based on the true story of Planned Parenthood director-turned pro-life advocate Abby Johnson. But people may not know it if they watch TV.

Major television networks, including Lifetime, Hallmark Channel and HGTV all rejected commercials promoting the film, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Fox News reportedly was the only major network to agree to run the ads.

“Most of the networks didn’t go into detail beyond citing the subject matter of the film and that they didn’t want to get into politics. But we don’t believe we’re in the political category,” producer Joe Knopp said. Continue reading

‘Gish’ may be stripped from theater

Actress shunned for role in ‘Birth of a Nation

Lillian Gish, 1915

BOWLING GREEN – Some are calling for changing the name of the Bowling Green State University Gish Film Theater because of Lillian Gish’s starring role in the 1915 D.W. Griffith film “Birth of a Nation” and its racist portrayal of African-Americans.

“We have to do the right thing and we have to ground what we do in our values,” said College of Arts and Sciences Dean Raymond Craig.

Issues with the theater name emerged soon after installation of the new Gish Film Theater signage in the Bowen-Thompson Student Union during the first week of February. Continue reading

The Authenticity of Clint Eastwood’s “Gran Torino

~ Forewords ~
Brotha Smoove called me that night and said that it was vitally important that I see the film. He saw Walt Kowalski in me and felt that, not only was the finest film Eastwood had made in years – maybe one of his best – but that I needed to see myself on film. After I saw the movie the next evening, I texted him back and said that, “Maybe we all needed to see it.” My meaning extended beyond the three of us, who by that time, had known each other for forty years – we have now surpassed a half century together, Raymond, Leonard and myself. My comment was directed of course – to all who had served, and those who supported us – or maybe didn’t.

America has changed in my lifetime – and not necessarily for the better. Walt lives within us all who have spent as long on this earth as many of us have. We were Walt. I am Walt.

I’ll see you at Sundown,

Jeffrey Bennett
Continue reading

Filmmaker Embedded in Caravan Gets to the Truth. Migrants Themselves Expose US Media as Total Liars

A filmmaker traveled to Mexico and did what the U.S. media didn’t do: he witnessed the migrant caravan for himself and exposed the truth.

Filmmaker Ami Horowitz went to Oaxaca in southern Mexico to uncover the truth about the migrant caravan.

The caravan, consisting of thousands of Honduran illegal immigrants, has caught the attention of the media as it heads toward the United States. Continue reading

Socialism, Like Dracula, Rises Again from the Grave

No matter what the reboot or rebrand may imply, Dracula is still a monster and “democratic” socialism is still tyranny.

Many of us grew up watching Dracula movies – Nosferatu, the “Undead.” Fearful of the sunlight that could burn him into cinders, Dracula lived in a coffin filled with his native Transylvanian soil by day, only to come out at night to live off the life-giving blood of the living. But to continue his “unnatural” existence, this human-like vampire had to kill his victims by draining them of their own blood, or in the process of turning them into “creatures of the night,” like himself. Welcome to the nature and history of socialism. Continue reading

“All I Want to Do Is Enter My House Justified!”

The Classic American Western As Emblem of Historic American Culture

Since the beginning of the twentieth century one of the newer art forms and expressions of our culture has been cinema—“motion pictures.” It was the novelty of live theater and acting captured as moving images in film and presented on a screen. In many respects, like other art forms, film represents what is happening in our culture. At its very finest it is capable of shining a vivid light on our beliefs and values, portraying them, dissecting them, and, like other art forms, it may be used as an instrument to affect or even shape our outlook and our politics. Continue reading

The Odds Are Never In Your Favor

happy-hunger-games-and-may-the-odds-be-ever-in-your-favor-7The irony of the phrase “may the odds be ever in your favor” is not lost on the readers of the Hunger Games trilogy of novels or the film adaption. Despite the grimness of the story, over 65 million copies of the books have been sold. The total box office take so far has exceeded $1.4 billion for the four movies. The dystopian series tackles real issues like severe poverty, starvation, torture, oppression, betrayal and the brutality of war. It doesn’t fit into the standard film making success recipe of feel good fluff, politically correct storylines and happy endings. Each film in the series gets progressively darker, with the final episode permeating doom and gloom. The books and the movies capture the deepening crisis mood engulfing the world today. And they realistically portray the world as a place where there are no good guys in positions of power. The ruling class, in all cases, is driven by a voracious appetite for supremacy, wealth, and control. Continue reading

Burn it, Burn the Train!

February 1, 2009 – During these past eight years or so, I have watched the unraveling of our once great Republic – signified by the words of our former President, George W. Bush, who is reported to have referenced the Constitution as, “just a goddamned piece of paper.”

Well Mr. Bush, maybe it now is damned. It is because of the weakness of your leadership and policies, which has brought us the likes of “the One” and the caliber of people, who have come to Washington with him – in addition to those who so numbly believe that this modern-day “Moses‘ can deliver us from the bondage, which this nation has been has so blindly been sucked in to. This ‘unraveling’ has been coming at us in the form of a runaway train – and I see not the light at the end of the tunnel. Continue reading

Get Off My Lawn!

It’s the morning of January 11, 2009. I saw a movie last night, and today I feel like the main character in the film. Walter is a veteran of the Korean War, just buried his wife of 45 years, has no relationship with his two grown, married sons, and doesn’t know his grandchildren – all of who are waiting for him to croak, so that can get what’s theirs – or his. He hates, ‘Zipperhead’s, ‘Gook’s, ‘Slopes’ and ‘Buddha-heads’. He has no tolerance for most ethnic peoples – including 3 ‘spooks,’ with whom he has an altercation, while defending his next door neighbor – a ‘Gook.’ I didn”t sleep well.

The year is 1972, and life was simpler for my wife and I. We lived in a small, third-story walk-up at the far Northern border of Chicago, in Roger’s Park just before the bend that took us past Calvary Cemetery leading into Evanston. Our bedroom window overlooked the parking lot of the next complex, with a view of a beach the shore of Lake Michigan. Each weekend, we could go down to the beach, and the Hare Krishna’s always had a pot of free ‘veggie stew’ to offer. They had taken over a massive old apartment building called “The Yacht Club,” which was at the south end of the beach. Later that year, we bought our first home.  Continue reading