Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Barton Fink


This one pretty much baffled me when it was new, twenty years ago. Is it a spook story? A horror about a crazy multiple murderer? A sly Hollywood satire? I guess it’s all of those, and more. What I am sure is that it’s chock full of symbolism, and what I usually say to symbolism is, Nuts! Some things are obvious to anyone, but some things only matter in the way ... Read more »



Harold Lloyd one-reeler. This one is very primitive, and has hardly any plot at all. Though I am a big Harold Lloyd fan, the little bits of physical business in this one don’t even justify the ten-minute running time.



I have no idea what the title signifies. The story concerns a training mission in Panama for Army Rangers. Six of them are dropped off in the jungle in the middle of a raging storm, and only two of them come out, one man carrying a wounded comrade. John Travolta as an ex-Ranger is called in to interrogate them, find out what the hell happened. (He’s the old pro, so he gets to humiliate ... Read more »

The Bat


Agnes Moorhead, Vincent Price? We like them both, so why not give it a try? This happens to be the third version of a 1920 stage play co-written by Avery Hopwood and Mary Roberts Rinehart. And it is stagy, lots of static scenes in confined sets. I even wondered if it was originally made in 3D, because several times the steel-clawed hand of the crazed killer known as the Bat stretches out ... Read more »

Batman Begins


I go into a comic-book movie with a built-in prejudice. I thought comics were pretty stupid when I was a kid, and while they’ve grown up some, most of them still are pretty stupid. I know there are literate people who love them, but there are many, many more who enjoy them because it’s easier to look at all the pretty pitchers than to actually read a novel. You disagree? That’s your ... Read more »

Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice


No, we haven’t fallen into a space-time warp into the Bizarro world. This movie won’t be out until March of 2016, and I am writing this on October 5, 2015. What I’ve seen is the three-minute trailer, before settling down to watch a real science fiction film, that is, The Martian. Do you think it’s unfair to review a film on the basis of a trailer? Well, that’s up ... Read more »

Battle For Sevastopol

(Битва за Севастополь, Ukraine, Russia, 2015)

The Ukrainian title was Незламна: Indestructible. A reader recommended this one to me, but since Lee has sworn off war movies, I watched it on my computer in ten-minute increments late at night or when I was taking a short break from the things I’m supposed to be doing. I’m glad I did.

It tells the incredible story of Major Lyudmila Mykhailovna ... Read more »

The Battle of Algiers

(Algerian, 1965)

Simply one of the most gut-wrenching, compulsively watchable movies ever made. It looks like a documentary, but no newsreel footage was used; instead Gillo Pontecorvo, the director, used newsreel cameras and non-actors. It tells the story of the Algerian revolution, from both the Arab and French sides. Both sides commit horrific atrocities. He shows all this fairly evenhandedly. You watch ... Read more »

Battle of the Sexes

(USA, UK, 2017)

It was the biggest sports event up to that time, with 90,000,000 viewers worldwide. You couldn’t escape the hype. I watched it, and was quite happy to see Bobby Riggs get trounced by Billie Jean King. This movie perfectly recreates that time, even going so far as to have the cinematography slightly fuzzed and faded, as if it had been shot in the ‘70s with that awful clothing and hair. What ... Read more »

Battleship Potemkin

(Бронено́сец Потёмкин, USSR, 1925)

Every once in a while a movie come along that basically changes everything, or at least marks a turning point between the old and the new. In 1915 it was The Birth of a Nation. In 1941 it was Citizen Kane. In 1968 it was 2001: A Space Odyssey. In 1994 it was Pulp Fiction. In 1925 it ... Read more »