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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Broadchurch: The Complete First Season

Broadchurch: The Complete First Season

| April 2, 2014 | 0 Comments

Broadchurch came to my attention for the same reason many of our readers were no doubt drawn to it: the presence of long-time Doctor Who star, David Tennant, in the series’ lead role. Yet I soon learned the series co-starred fellow Doctor Who alum, Arthur Darvill, and was written and created by Chris Chibnall, who […]

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Ms. 45

Ms. 45

| March 24, 2014 | 0 Comments

Abel Ferrara’s 1981 film, Ms. 45, takes some time to appreciate, as most Ferrara films do in my experience. After all, the film’s protagonist is raped twice in the first eleven or so minutes, and one of those instances occurs before we even learn definitively that she’s mute. After killing her second attacker, Thana goes […]

Monsters: The Complete Series

Monsters: The Complete Series

| March 19, 2014 | 0 Comments

Each episode of Monsters opens with an unconventional and highly meta title sequence: from an establishing shot of the Earth on high, we pull in through the atmosphere on to a suburban neighborhood, and then move in closer still toward an average suburban home. The family residing there, we discover, is not unlike that of […]

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The Hunchback of Notre Dame: Deluxe Blu-ray Edition

The Hunchback of Notre Dame: Deluxe Blu-ray Edition

| March 18, 2014 | 0 Comments

Surpassed in iconicity only by his title role in 1925’s The Phantom of the Opera, Lon Chaney’s performance as Quasimodo in The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923) was a defining moment in the actor’s prolific, but all-too-short filmic career. Renowned for his ability to transform himself entirely through the use of makeup and by altering […]

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The Visitor (1979)

The Visitor (1979)

| March 4, 2014 | 0 Comments

To call The Visitor (1979) unique is both an enormous understatement and an outright lie. In it, director/co-writer Giulio Paradisi (who served as assistant director on Fellini’s 8 ½) cobbles together scraps of narratives from a half dozen other movies and tempers them with his own half-formed notions of proper cinematic storytelling. And in doing […]

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The 300 Spartans

The 300 Spartans

| February 25, 2014 | 0 Comments

I freely admit that Zack Snyder/Frank Miller’s historically-inaccurate, LGBT-insensitive (yet supremely homoerotic), machismo bullshit, green screen nightmare 300 (2006) is entirely lost on me. Its characters are thin or, where fleshed out, are so rooted in stereotypes and broadly drawn that bonding with them as viewers ought to proves nearly impossible. It doesn’t help either […]

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Romeo and Juliet (2013)

Romeo and Juliet (2013)

| February 17, 2014 | 0 Comments

It’s all pouting lips and swelling orchestral strings in Carlo Carlei’s 2013 filmic adaptation of William Shakespeare’s romantic tragedy, Romeo and Juliet. Boasting an adapted screenplay by Downton Abbey-creator Julian Fellowes and the likes of Paul Giamatti, Stellan Skarsgård and Damian Lewis among the players, my expectations for this adaptation were high—perhaps too much so. […]

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Rocky: Heavyweight Collection

Rocky: Heavyweight Collection

| February 14, 2014 | 0 Comments

For so many U.S. audiences, the (first couple) Rocky movies tap into a primal urge: the desire to rise from the gutter, pull yourself up by your bootstraps and make something of yourself. It’s about the American Dream, achieving your goals against all odds, making a name for yourself and a fortune through sheer willpower […]

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Escape Plan

Escape Plan

| February 4, 2014 | 0 Comments

Action film icons Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger join forces to break out of the world’s most high-tech prison in 2013’s Escape Plan, now available on DVD and Blu-ray from Lionsgate Home Entertainment. It’s an action-packed, if somewhat mindless, thriller that casts Stallone as Ray Breslin, a professional prison escape artist who tests the effectiveness […]

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Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: Deluxe Edition

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: Deluxe Edition

| February 1, 2014 | 0 Comments

Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic novella Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, originally published in 1886, is as potent an allegory today as it ever was, asking us to consider the ever-present base, immoral, and animalistic urges that within all of us. We all have the capacity to perform horrible, unspeakable deeds. Whether we do these things […]

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