Articles by Dennis Cozzalio

SYBIL THE SOOTHSAYER’S OSCAR PREDIX

Well, the most wonderful time of the year is upon us yet again, and if you’re thinking I’m about 30-days-and-change late in going on about Christmas, well, you obviously don’t live in Los Angeles. For around these parts, the time in between the announcement of the Academy Award nominations and the awards ceremony itself—this year…

UPSTAIRS/DOWNSTAIRS: THE FILMS OF 2019

Seems to me that only in a very good year for movies could the best film I saw all year and the worst film I saw all year both be called Parasite. Of course, one was the Cannes sensation and sure-to-be-Oscar-nominated South Korean film from Bong Joon Ho. The other was the 1982 3-D “classic”…

HEIST FOR THE HOLIDAYS: CASH ON DEMAND (1962)

One could be forgiven for not suspecting that Hammer Films, known for their comparatively lurid and bloody, sometimes pointedly lusty, and otherwise vividly imagined (and reimagined) catalogue of horror classics, would be the first place to look if one were in the market for a low-key yet spirited take on a holiday classic to turn…

SAD/GLAD TIDINGS: BILL FORSYTH’S COMFORT AND JOY (1984)

Scottish director Bill Forsyth has a strange way, one for which audiences should be eternally grateful, of delivering a symphony of melancholy notes which register in his movies with a sort of blithe exhilaration instead of the customary patina of hopelessness they perhaps might otherwise be subject to in the hands of another filmmaker. One…

CINEMATIC GRATITUDE v. 2019

During a year in which the world finds itself increasingly in the throes of totalitarianism and corruption, when institutions, traditions and good old common sense seems to be crumbling before our very eyes, when the world itself appears to be catching fire, a spirit of thanksgiving may be one that is hard to come by….

MAURY THE MISERABLE VAMPIRE

“One of us! One of us!” That three-word mantra is, of course, the perversely welcoming chant offered by Tod Browning’s Freaks (1932) as the titular group of circus performers, trodden-on by fate and circumstances but also proud and protective of their community, bring a distinctly unwilling new member into their fold. The movie is perhaps…

ROBERT FORSTER 1941-2019

By all accounts, at least the ones I’ve heard, leading man/character actor Robert Forster, who passed away this weekend, was, despite his tough exterior, an unfailingly polite and exceedingly nice guy who betrayed not an ounce of Hollywood pretense and would engage with fans who approached him, on the street or at the movies he…

Election

In times of political malfeasance, when corruption and self-aggrandizement is the rule of law, political satire can be a tonic or a depressant, but either way necessary. And it seems to me Alexander Payne’s Election (available from Criterion in a beautiful Blu-ray package), is a bracing intellectual tonic pitched perfectly, even though it was made…

CENTRAL PARK (1932)

If they still made ‘em like the pre-Code drama Central Park (1932), I’d still be going to the movies every day instead of looking more to TCM and Netflix and the unwrapped section of my own DVD and Blu-ray collection for reasons to stay home. There are at least four bloated modern blockbusters playing at…

THE 2019 MURIEL AWARDS HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES

Pop quiz: A science fiction landmark; a beloved classic rescued from obscurity by public television; two screwball comedies directed by the same Hollywood master 15 years apart; an almost ethereally beautiful western; an apocalyptic sociopolitical parable; a disemboweled silent epic; two gorgeous and epically scaled tales both taking place where politics, social upheaval and romance…

PHOENIX ON SOUTH F STREET: The Re-Emergence of the Alger Theater

“Everybody has something that chews them up and, for me, that thing was always loneliness. The cinema has the power to make you not feel lonely, even when you are.” – Tom Hanks ************************** In 2015 I wrote an article, published here and on my blog Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule, entitled “The…

RETROFITTING: YESTERDAY

Yesterday, “the feel-fantastic movie of the summer” (Billboard magazine), jumps off from an undeniably juicy premise—What if you woke up one day and everyone had forgotten about the Beatles except you?—then proceeds to develop almost nothing about that premise, preferring to use the music, its meaning and its influences, as a MacGuffin on the way…

NIGHTMARES IN SHADOWS AND SUNLIGHT

Here’s what happens when the need to see takes over and I start pulling DVDs off the shelf with only my dark heart as a guide… The sleazy, claustrophobic, catch-as-catch-can transience of the carnival world, with its ever-changing roster of freaks, geeks, disappointed con men and women with few options, all clinging to shreds of…

FAN SERVICE: AVENGERS: ENDGAME AND SAD HILL UNEARTHED

Haters gonna hate, and yeah, some folks will take, and have taken, their devotion to the Marvel Cinematic Universe to ridiculous lengths, in the same way that just about every pop culture phenomenon since Beatlemania has inspired people to do. But the likelihood is, if you’ve ever felt any kind of investment, however intermittent or…

TEN YEARS OF THE TCM CLASSIC FILM FESTIVAL

The 10th annual TCM Classic Film Festival is finally in the books, yet another fabulous, frustrating and altogether marvelous gathering in the heart of Hollywood to designed to revel in the history of movies and encourage the continued appreciation of the value of understanding where the movies have come from, how they’ve come to the…

THE FIELD GUIDE TO EVIL & THE HAUNTING OF SHARON TATE

Anthology films are almost by definition a mixed bag, and even when one of their sort garners strong critical acclaim, as the Coen Brothers’ The Ballad of Buster Scruggs did last November, most reactions end up settling into a “this story is better than this story” sort of comparison game. Horror anthologies tend to be…

THE 13th ANNUAL MURIEL (MUR13L) AWARDS

Critics groups. The Film Independent Spirits Awards. The Oscars. Whew. Awards season is finally over, right? Well, yes and no. Because though they have been now fully announced, you may not have heard the results from the tallying the 13th annual Muriel Awards, and awards season is not truly over until Muriel has had her…

NICE GOIN’, KID: DICK MILLER (1928-2019)

A lot of words have already been written this week, and hopefully a lot more will be written in the next few weeks, months and years, about the great and beloved character actor Dick Miller, who passed away on January 30th in Burbank, California at age 90.  A quick look at his bio page on…

OUT ON A WEB: THE MOVIES OF 2018

When is the best not the best? I think the answer to this non-rhetorical question that maybe nobody would ever ask in the first place has to be, when one hasn’t the breadth of experience to really answer with any certainty or credibility. Best cheeseburger in my neighborhood? Well, I haven’t sampled them all. But…