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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Storms of the Century

Storms of the Century

| July 2, 2015 | 0 Comments

Last month, Mill Creek Entertainment released Storms of the Century on DVD, a collection of five natural disaster TV movies and miniseries that aired between 1996 and 2007. Typically I, and I’m sure many of you, avoid such releases as this which repackage a glut of obscure movies at super low prices, as they rarely […]

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While We’re Young

While We’re Young

| June 30, 2015 | 0 Comments

In While We’re Young (2014), writer/director Noah Baumbach approaches the concerns of his dispirited middle-aged characters with terrific wisdom. His is a deft eye that’s focused squarely on the nuances of the human condition as we move kicking and screaming into adulthood. It’s a film about confusion and yet it is itself a somewhat confused […]

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The Mean Season

The Mean Season

| June 21, 2015 | 0 Comments

When John Katzenbach left the field of journalism to write novels, it only made sense that his first would tell the story of a reporter. The result of his first foray into novel publication was In the Heat of the Summer, published in 1982. In 1985, the novel was adapted to the screen with the […]

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The Thing with Two Heads

The Thing with Two Heads

| June 19, 2015 | 0 Comments

Roosevelt “Rosey” Grier was a renowned defensive lineman for the Los Angeles Rams. He’s also the man credited with wrestling the gun away from Sirhan Sirhan after the gunman fatally shot Bobby Kennedy in 1968. Grier’s a man of many impressive accomplishments, but honestly the thing I’ll always remember him for is The Thing with […]

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Jack Hill’s Coffy & Foxy Brown

Jack Hill’s Coffy & Foxy Brown

| June 9, 2015 | 0 Comments

Jack Hill and Pam Grier’s collaborations in the early 1970s made Pam Grier’s career, and their collaborations were fortunately numerous. In fact, four of the last seven pictures Hill directed starred Grier. Their collaboration began with her supporting role in Hill’s women-in-prison picture, The Big Doll House (1971), before Hill brought her to the forefront […]

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Friday Foster

Friday Foster

| June 8, 2015 | 0 Comments

In 1975’s filmic adaptation of the comic strip Friday Foster, Pam Grier stars as the titular Friday, a model-turned-photographer who witnesses an attempted assassination while on assignment for her magazine. The target of this assassination: multi-millionaire Blake Tarr (played by Blacula’s version of Van Helsing, Thalmus Rasulala), who Friday describes as “The Black Howard Hughes.” […]

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The DUFF

The DUFF

| June 7, 2015 | 0 Comments

Let’s get this right out of the way: I am totally not the audience for whom The DUFF (2015) was created. When filmmakers create high school comedies about teenage female self-empowerment and sexuality, they certainly don’t have thirty-something, male, university ethics instructors in mind. At least, I can’t imagine they do. But I do indeed […]

Hammer

Hammer

| June 6, 2015 | 0 Comments

Some posters for 1972’s Hammer declare “Hammer is a black explosion!” as seen above. Another tagline teases us with the promise that we’ll get to see star Fred Williamson playing a character who “risks death to fight his way out of the mob!” Admittedly that first tagline is a tad overly ambiguous. It also may […]

Dziga Vertov: The Man with the Movie Camera and Other Newly Restored Works

Dziga Vertov: The Man with the Movie Camera and Other Newly Restored Works

| June 2, 2015 | 0 Comments

Humans understand time through narrative. Our ability to organize events into a logical cause/effect order allows us to view time as moving ever forward with purpose. Our penchant for narrativization doesn’t end there though. We look at the motionless image of a painting and we narrativize it. We find an old photograph of someone we’ve […]

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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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