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Dennis Cozzalio’s Year End List

by Dennis Cozzalio

There’s no pretending on my part to have seen everything there was to see in 2021. I’ve still got a pretty long list of movies from the year that I would like to catch up on, including the other movie from director Ryusuke Hamaguchi, WHEEL OF FORTUNE AND FANTASY, Hamaguchi’s was a name that was…

Best of 2021 So Far

by Dennis Cozzalio

I haven’t seen much so far in 2021, and much of it has been either worthy, if flawed (Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain) or flat-out incoherent and reprehensible (The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard). But there have been five films released in 2021 so far which I have unequivocally loved. 1) As big leaps in visual…

RETURN TO FOREVER: SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE PANDEMIC

by Dennis Cozzalio

So we went to the movies last Sunday night. 422 days previous, to celebrate Emma’s 20th birthday, we saw our last movie in a theater. And on Sunday night, May 2, the longest drought of theatrical moviegoing I’ve ever been through came to an end with a made-to-order experience for Daddy and child. Back in…

2020 Best Of/End Of

by Dennis Cozzalio

A few days ago, I overheard a coworker on a Zoom call preparing to give 2020 the old heave-ho, and among his list of complaints about the year was that “There were no movies! Only Wonder Woman 1984 qualifies as a movie, and it was great, but there were no other movies this year!” That…

HEROES: CLEESE, GILLIAM, IDLE, JONES, PALIN

by Dennis Cozzalio

HEROES: CLEESE, GILLIAM, IDLE, JONES, PALIN and THE MEANING OF MONTY PYTHON (2013); plus THOUGHTS ON ALEX WINTER’S ZAPPA (2020) As reunions of great collaborators go, it must be one of the least hyperbolic in pop culture history. In 2013, the five surviving members of Monty Python’s Flying Circus—John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry…

SYBIL THE SOOTHSAYER’S OSCAR PREDIX

by Dennis Cozzalio

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

by Dennis Cozzalio

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)

by Dennis Cozzalio

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)

by Dennis Cozzalio

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

by Dennis Cozzalio

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

by Dennis Cozzalio

“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 Dennis Cozzalio

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

by Dennis Cozzalio

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)

by Dennis Cozzalio

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

by Dennis Cozzalio

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…

RETROFITTING: YESTERDAY

by Dennis Cozzalio

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

by Dennis Cozzalio

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…

TEN YEARS OF THE TCM CLASSIC FILM FESTIVAL

by Dennis Cozzalio

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…

MAD MOVIE LOVE: A 2019 TCM CLASSIC FILM FESTIVAL PREVIEW

by Dennis Cozzalio

Well, here we are, just a few short days away from the kickoff of the 10th annual TCM Classic Film Festival. I promise I am excited for what will undoubtedly be yet another stimulating weekend of buzzing about in Hollywood, engaged in an exuberant celebration of all things classic Hollywood with all manner of fellow…

THE FIELD GUIDE TO EVIL & THE HAUNTING OF SHARON TATE

by Dennis Cozzalio

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

by Dennis Cozzalio

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…