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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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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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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