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Stories by Scott Marks

Mirage : an entertaining, regulation black-and-white mistaken-identity paranoid thriller

Inspiration prevails in the strangest places, places like the 805 off-ramp while tooling towards Chula Vista. Mirage (1965) The trash-hauling buggy before me was piled so high with furniture, appliances, and the like that I ...

June 23, 2022
Paul Haggis’ Crash and burn

This week sees the opening of David Cronenberg’s latest, so what better time is to put in a bad word about Crash? No, not Cronenberg’s ode to a desensitized societies dependence of sex in cars, ...

June 9, 2022
Save the Cinema: Samantha Morton’s feel good flop

The poster art proudly presents the lead actors standing on a red carpet beneath a gleaming marquee, but don’t let that fool you. The cinematic savior in the piece devotes more time to hanging onto ...

June 2, 2022
Martin Scorsese sells Armani, Claude Lelouch sells Renault, Jean-Luc Godard.sells jeans

Welcome to this week’s second and final installment of Kings of Ads. Watch the Kings here. KINGS OF ADS, PART 2 Hugh Hudson. British Airways: “Face” Advertisement. (0:22 - 1:49). Great Britain, 1989. How many ...

May 30, 2022
Commercials by Godard, Scorsese, Chabrol, Wenders, Lynch, Fellini, Cronenberg, Coppola, Argento, etc.

We’ve all seen compilations of great director’s student films, so why not an anthology that pays tribute to their work as commercial pitchmen and women? Earlier this week while paging through the stacks at Rarefilmm, ...

May 19, 2022
Writer-director Elisa Amoruso offers Bella Thorne the best of both worlds

This week brings a twofer from your friendly neighborhood Bella Thorne completist: Time is Up and Measure of Revenge. Plus a surprise bonus! Time is Up (2021) Swim team contender Roy (Benjamin Mascolo) secretly pines ...

May 12, 2022
The Many Dirty Harrys

This week: Clint Eastwood’s “Magnum” opuses. The Many Dirty Harrys In Coogan’s Bluff, Don Siegel jerked the sheriff out of Dodge, relocating the lawman amidst the contemporary urban sprawl, horse and all. It was the ...

May 5, 2022
Inland Empire revisited

The best film of 2006 held its local premiere in my living room. Inland Empire (2006) It wasn’t my first viewing: a journey up the 5 to Los Angeles had already been undertaken, seeing how ...

April 28, 2022
The delightfully nasty habit of Gilbert Gottfried

There’s a name for people who knew Gilbert Gottfried solely on the basis of the numerous animated birds he voiced: parents. Dig A Hole: Gilbert Gottfried Fans of his numerous appearances on Howard Stern’s radio ...

April 21, 2022
Robert De Niro’s less-than-stellar offerings

It’s unclear at what point it became my sacred duty to collect the complete works of Robert De Niro on DVD, but the alignment of these three less-than-stellar middle period offerings — shelved side-by-side in ...

The latest from two Film Movement auteurs

Two titles, new-to-DVD from Film Movement, are ready to grace your home theater’s screen. The Whaler Boy (2020) Our story of a broken heart begins with a Detroit sex worker (Kristina Asmus) flossing her thong ...

April 10, 2022
It’s a wrap with 3 Ring Circus

As sure as a clown car comes to a stop, so does our March Madness tribute to big top movies, with Martin and Lewis in 3 Ring Circus. 3 Ring Circus (1954) We open more ...

March 31, 2022
Ring of Fear: the first psycho circus film noir cloaked in clownface and gumshoes

This week’s circus of thrills was released two years after The Greatest Show on Earth and decades before genre mashups began clotting multiplex screens. By my calculations, Ring of Fear was the first psycho circus ...

March 24, 2022
The Greatest Show on Earth: Cecil B. DeMille’s penultimate film

Circus month continues! Those quick to peg Cecil B. DeMille’s The Greatest Show on Earth as the least deserving winner of a Best Picture Oscar must have been sick the week Chariots of Fire, Crash, ...

March 17, 2022
The Circus Clown: run away with Joe E. Brown

It’s a circus of reviews this week, starting with Joe E. Brown as the rube roustabout who follows elephants with a shovel with the same fervor as he does the comely cross-dressing equestrian toying with ...

March 10, 2022
Lockdown thriller

Reviews of two absolutely dreadful home video releases this week; but first, a word from Popeye. Popeye the Sailor Man It’s been my privilege to introduce Reader-mate Matthew Lickona’s extended brood to the world of ...

March 3, 2022
Room for One More: catching a stray

Personal identification was never the turnkey that unlatched my door to cinematic understanding, but this one was unusual. Room for One More (1952) It was sunny in the Valley, but not hot enough to require ...

February 24, 2022
My unhealthy preoccupation with Bob Hope

This should have been my first post when I began working at The Reader over a decade ago. The facts were made known to me by the brilliant Jennifer DeSplinter, a former student who, after ...

February 18, 2022
Three more from the The San Diego Jewish Film Festival

The San Diego Jewish Film Festival continues through February 20. For screening information, visit the Festival website: Ronnie’s (2020) Ronnie Scott was a British saxophonist who, in 1959, at the height of his popularity, chose ...

February 10, 2022
Three from this year’s Jewish film festival

Of special note from this year’s Jewish film festival: a trio of uniquely personal biodocs. The festival runs February 9-20. Visit the SDJFF website for more information. Eddy’s World (2020) What a joy! We open ...

A romantic triptych

This week finds two new home video releases from Film Movement, and yours truly still stinging from the loss of a funny broad. Joy Womack: the White Swan (2021) Accepted to Russia’s esteemed Bolshoi Ballet ...

Targets: The Bogdanovich-Corman connection

It was a marriage made in single-screen heaven, the night Peter Bogdanovich made the acquaintance of Roger Corman in a Los Angeles movie theater. Bogdanovich was quick to pick the low-budget producer-director out of the ...

Change of Habit : Elvis’ nadiral farewell to cinema

It has been a year since Erich von Stroheim’s Greed entered the public domain and still the Gods of Cinema remain sound asleep at the switch. More than two-thirds of the legendary 9+ hour epic ...

January 13, 2022
Watch family pug Doug play De Niro to Katie’s Scorsese

My first entry for 2022 was originally intended for another trio of last year’s leftovers. But my steed blew a flat before making it to the finish line of The Green Knight. One can only ...

January 6, 2022
Now available for home viewing: Lamb, Titane, Zeros and Ones

Let’s end the year batting cleanup on three of this year’s oddities and curiosities, starting with a request. Several months ago, Lydia D’moch wrote asking why I never got around to reviewing Lamb. It opened ...

December 30, 2021
Sing: with a pinch of American Idol

The most challenging component of being my stickling, anal-retentive moviegoing self has been this dumbfounding devotion to logic and historical continuity that rides roughshod inside my skull. The trailer to Sing spoke to me, saying, ...

December 23, 2021
Things I didn’t know about West Side Story

During an audience Q&A at the Chicago International Film Festival, Robert Wise was asked why he chose to open both West Side Story and The Sound of Music with tapering views from above. “Because I ...

December 16, 2021
Last Tango in Paris: cinemas-interrupticus

A friend recently linked me to a collection of Sunday newspaper TV ads, and I chanced upon a half-pager from November 1973 pitching a late show airing of The Young Lions, in which Marlon Brando ...

December 9, 2021
2-D transfers of 3-D Rarities

Like most Americans, rather than fortify the pre-feedbag portion of Thanksgiving Day with parades and sporting events, I chose to gorge on 2-D transfers of two dozen or so impeccably restored-to-blu-ray 3-D curios. Why 2-D? ...

December 2, 2021
Sergei Eisenstein: purveyor in Russian formalism

Rather than calling this week’s column a homework assignment, look upon it as a chance to reacquaint yourself with one of cinema’s founding fathers, the man who gave editing its pulse, a purveyor in Russian ...

November 26, 2021
Me and Orson Welles: an interview with Christian McKay

Speaking with Christian McKay was the closest I would ever come to meeting Orson Welles in this lifetime. McKay (pronounced “Mc-KYE”) made his screen debut in Richard Linklater’s Me and Orson Welles, a boffo pre-Citizen ...

November 18, 2021
A hypersensitivity to the Velvet Underground and one of it’s early backers, Andy Warhol

This week’s trio skipped town before I could get around to covering them. Coming soon to a blu-ray or streaming service near you. Drive My Car (2021) In the shadows of their bedroom, a Japanese ...

November 12, 2021
Infidelity and feminism are at the core of India Sweets and Spices

Many families, in some way or another, exercise their right to rely on secrets and lies as means of postponing (prolonging?) life’s darker moments. It wasn’t until I turned 30 that my mother copped to ...

November 11, 2021
Joseph Cotten stars in camp classic Latitude Zero

Let’s harken back to a time when DVDs were arranged on the rental rack spine side out and alphabetically by title. One never knew what unknown riches were just a lateral scan of the eye ...

November 11, 2021
Luzzu does neorealism right

Author's note: an hour after the paper went to press, I received a note informing me that the distributor delayed the virtual engagement at the Digital Gym by one week. Luzzu streams starting on November ...

November 4, 2021
Two tricks, three treats from the San Diego Asian Film Festival

This year’s San Diego Asian Film Festival continues to dazzle. The three films up for discussion will screen at UtlraStar Cinemas in Mission Valley. Next week’s lead review is Drive My Car, the festival’s closing ...

October 28, 2021
The revelation and revival of 3-D

I am a sucker for 3-D. The eye sees in three dimensions, why shouldn’t a moviegoer? Three of the five major technological advances that cinema would undergo in the first 126 years of its history ...

October 22, 2021
San Diego Asian Film Festival 2021 sampler

Thank heavens for this year’s San Diego Asian Film Festival, if for no other reason than it gives me an excuse to showcase quality over Hollywood’s latest regurgitation. The Festival runs October 28 through November ...

October 21, 2021
Celebrate the 27th James Bond film with the 6th James Bond film

To celebrate the release of the 27th James Bond film, might I humbly suggest that some time before or after you make time for No Time to Die, that you spend 142 minutes in the ...

October 15, 2021
The Addams Family 2: new kooky characters gone wrong

Who ya got: The Munsters or The Addams Family? I had just turned ten the season both shows made their network debuts, so the choice became the subject of raging schoolyard debate. It wasn’t a ...

October 14, 2021
Fritz Lang’s Metropolis — ninety-four years after its release

It’s all out there somewhere: the Pomona preview print of The Magnificent Ambersons; the missing reels of Eric von Stroheim’s Greed; Lon Chaney’s uncut London After Midnight; even the pie fight from Dr. Strangelove is ...

October 10, 2021

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