Author Archive: Jef Burnham

Jef is a writer and educator in Chicago, Illinois. He holds a degree in Media & Cinema Studies from DePaul University, but sometimes he drops it and picks it back up again. He's also the Editor-in-Chief of FilmMonthly.com and is fueled entirely by coffee (as if you couldn't tell).

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Magician: The Astonishing Life and Work of Orson Welles

Magician: The Astonishing Life and Work of Orson Welles

| May 26, 2015 | 0 Comments

I describe myself as having grown up in the shadow of Orson Welles. As a young, aspiring filmmaker, I idolized the man. There Welles was, at the age of 24, signing on with RKO Pictures and within two years releasing a film that would not only be his first, but also one that some consider […]

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Flawless

Flawless

| May 19, 2015 | 0 Comments

Joel Schumacher’s 1999 film, Flawless, would have fit right in during the era of Boys in the Band (1970) and La Cage aux Folles (1978). Its highly problematic dual approach to sexuality and gender identity might have at least given visibility to those who desperately needed it in the 1970s. But by the turn of […]

Peter Benchley’s Creature

Peter Benchley’s Creature

| May 18, 2015 | 0 Comments

Did you ever get the feeling, when you hear about an upcoming home video release, that perhaps the distributor is putting that title out just for you, as if their decision-making process had been cosmically driven by your deeply personal, esoteric interests? That’s how I felt when I learned of Olive Films’ upcoming Blu-ray release […]

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It! The Terror from Beyond Space

It! The Terror from Beyond Space

| May 17, 2015 | 0 Comments

It’s been more than three decades since audiences were first warned that no one could hear them scream in space, and yet Ridley Scott’s Alien (1979) continues to be celebrated as a sci-fi/horror masterpiece. Edward L. Cahn’s 1958 B-picture, It! The Terror from Beyond Space, hasn’t quite fared so well though. And that’s a real […]

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Jamaica Inn: 75th Anniversary Edition

Jamaica Inn: 75th Anniversary Edition

| May 12, 2015 | 0 Comments

Alfred Hitchcock may not have found much to appreciate about his 1939 adventure drama, Jamaica Inn, but that doesn’t mean we can’t. For Hitchcock, as he told Francois Truffaut in the legendary Hitchcock/Truffaut interviews, the film was an absurd undertaking that even in 1967 he still described as being something he was “unhappy over.” And […]

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Tracers

Tracers

| May 12, 2015 | 0 Comments

Tracers (2015) is a film that promises a lot. To look at not just the trailer but the basic premise of the film, we’re promised a parkour heist film. Now, I’m a guy who both obsesses over heist films as an action subgenre and has spent many hours wrapped up in parkour videos on YouTube. […]

Broadchurch: The Compete Second Season

Broadchurch: The Compete Second Season

| May 12, 2015 | 0 Comments

When I wrote in my review of Chris Chibnall’s ITV series Broadchurch’s first season that it left me wishing I had had more of this mystery to marathon right there and then, I don’t quite think I was hoping for the sort of experience that the series’ second season would provide. I don’t mean this […]

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The Best of the Ed Sullivan Show

The Best of the Ed Sullivan Show

| May 12, 2015 | 0 Comments

Three televised retrospectives from the 1990’s comprise the bulk of the material in StarVista Entertainment/Time Life’s 6-DVD collector’s set: The Best of the Ed Sullivan Show. The Carol Burnett-hosted “Unforgettable Performances” (1991), the “All-Star Comedy Special” (1995) with Mary Tyler Moore, and the Smothers Brothers-hosted “50th Anniversary Special” offer viewers a celebratory Ed Sullivan nostalgia […]

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Convoy

Convoy

| April 26, 2015 | 0 Comments

Were it not directed by Sam Peckinpah, I’d surely be forced to classify Convoy (1978) as a “guilty pleasure.” This film gets to me in a way no other Peckinpah picture does, simply put, because it’s fun. Straw Dogs (1971) isn’t fun. That’s all rape and murder from one end to the other, which is […]

Barquero

Barquero

| April 26, 2015 | 0 Comments

In this 1970 western, Lee Van Cleef stars as the titular barquero (or boatman) Travis, a stoic yet sleazy sort who leads a group of squatters in a cross-river standoff against a gang of murderous thugs bent on procuring Travis’ barge so they can flee from the law into Mexico. In an interesting twist on […]