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on the big screen

 

Some of these films haven't been shown on the big screen since the decade they were released. Others screen regularly. Either way, watching these movies decades later in the way they were originally intended, in a dark theater with strangers, brings a sense of community, nostalgia, and potential new perspectives. Also, there can be a high rate of unintentional laughter.

April 11, 2024

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Welcome to my 2024 TCM Classic Film Festival pre-Code preview! (If you missed it, my full fest preview is here.)

 

There are a total of nine pre-Codes—yes, NINE—programmed this year. That’s 11% of the 2024 slate, a higher number than normal.

April 4, 2024

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The 15th annual TCM Classic Film Festival officially kicks off in two weeks, running from April 18-21. TCM released the full program last week, which was my cue to jump into crazed organizational mode.

“Most Wanted: Crime and Justice in Film” is the theme for the 2024 festival. Past events treated themes loosely, keeping them broad enough to invite a variety of different genres.

March 28, 2024

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Every two years, the UCLA Film and Television Archive presents their Festival of Preservation. The schedule always delivers a stunning grab bag of TV series, features, newsreels, silents, animations, and international offerings.

March 7, 2024

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After a brief detour to Santa Monica last year, Noir City Hollywood is back in the heart of Hollywood! The festival returns to the recently re-opened Egyptian Theatre for its 25th edition from March 22-31.

 

This year’s theme of sorts is “darkness has no borders,” with a majority of the 23-movie lineup featuring “allegorical double features” pairing foreign titles with English-language films.

February 26, 2024

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The Egyptian Theatre's four-film nitrate fest featured Rebecca (1940), Spellbound (1945), Bicycle Thieves (1948), and Winchester ’73 (1950). Only a handful of theaters in the country possess the capability to project nitrate film, and the Egyptian is one of three theaters in Los Angeles that can do so.

November 13, 2023

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What is TCMFF without a Ben Burtt and Craig Barron presentation? The Oscar winners have been delivering entertaining special effects events at the fest for about a decade now, and their popularity grows with each passing year. This year, they shined a spotlight on When Worlds Collide (1951). 

September 13, 2023

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As mentioned in my fest preview, I only spent one day at Cinecon this year: Sunday. There were several movies I would’ve liked to catch (cough, 1928’s Forgotten Faces, cough), but Sunday’s schedule boasted the largest number of titles that interested me—and it didn’t disappoint! Here’s a quick recap of the five features I saw at Cinecon 2023. 

August 21, 2023

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Labor Day weekend is coming up, which means it’s almost Cinecon time!

 

As per usual, I only recognized about 25% of the titles, and I’ve seen a resounding zero of them! That’s what I love about Cinecon—everything is a new discovery to me.

July 26, 2023

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Noir City Hollywood returns! This year’s 10-day celebration spotlights the “heart of Hollywood’s noir movement,” films made during the years of 1947 and 1948. I’ve seen about half of the 23 movies screening, and of the 50% I haven't seen, most of them I’ve never even heard of, which I always love.

April 24, 2023

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I skipped the first block of films on Sunday, mostly because I wanted to hop in line early for No Man of Her Own (1932). I’m glad I did, because many passholders were turned away from this pre-Code screening in theater 4. (No Man of Her Own was my first run-in with the infamous, tiny theater 4 this year.)

April 22, 2023

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Saturday’s schedule started bright and early! I left my apartment at 7:20am, parked at 7:30am, and was in line at the Hollywood Legion Theater by 7:45am for The Wiser Sex (1932). As the only super, super rare pre-Code playing this year (and the only one slated for the 450+ seat Legion), I knew it would be popular.

April 19, 2023

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The first full day of TCMFF basically went according to plan for me. That said, at one point, it seemed like I would be able to spend the entire day at the fest, but then work reared its head again.

April 17, 2023

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The TCM Classic Film Festival wrapped yesterday, and, as always, it was an epic event. Not only do I love getting to see so many classics on the big screen with enthusiastic audiences, but it’s also the one time a year I get to catch up with film friends from around the country, which is always a pleasure.

 

Though the programming only lasts three and a half days, the festivities for me begin well before the official kickoff. Here’s a quick recap of my pre-fest activities and day one.

April 3, 2023

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Without a doubt, one of my favorite parts about the TCM Classic Film Festival is getting to watch pre-Codes on the big screen. This year, TCM programmed a mix of classic and under-the-radar titles that seasoned viewers and new fans alike will enjoy. Here’s a mini preview of those seven selections and what I’m hoping to catch. 

March 27, 2023

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It’s that time again—the TCM Classic Film Festival returns to Hollywood April 13-16. Among other things, TCMFF 2023 will commemorate Warner Brothers’ 100th anniversary and feature special appearances by William Friedkin, Ann-Margret, Russ Tamblyn, Angie Dickinson and many more.

December 6, 2022

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Regular readers of this blog know how big a fan I am of Ben Burtt and Craig Barron’s entertaining presentations at the TCM Classic Film Festival. This year, they dove into The Flame and the Arrow (1950) along with another special guest, co-star Gordon Gebert.

September 26, 2022

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Cinecon 2022 wrapped this past Labor Day. I saw a total of 15 features, several shorts and one special presentation across five days of programming, which is a lot for me!

 

It was actually so much that I’m splitting my review into two parts. Last week, I covered the films I loved. This week, I'm sharing my thoughts on some of the more bizarre movies I watched and the few that I didn't click with. 

September 19, 2022

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Cinecon 2022 wrapped this past Labor Day. I saw a total of 15 features, several shorts and one special presentation across five days of programming, which is a lot for me!

 

It was actually so much that I’m splitting my review into two parts.

 

First up: the films I loved.  

August 25, 2022

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After two years of virtual festivities, Cinecon Classic Film Festival returns to Hollywood over Labor Day weekend! 

 

One reason I enjoy this festival is because I usually don't recognize more than two or three titles on their schedule. This year that number rose a little higher – around 10 films I’ve heard of and three selections I’ve seen – but the majority of screenings will be brand new to me.

June 10, 2022

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UCLA Film and Television Archive’s 2022 Festival of Preservation took place over one packed weekend last month. I attended five of the 14 programs, which was a little less than anticipated, but a very doable schedule for me after a very busy few weeks.

May 9, 2022

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Welcome to my recap of the 2022 TCM Classic Film Festival! Read about my pre-fest activities and Friday movies HERE and Saturday’s proceedings HERE. Below I recount the events I attended Sunday, which turned out entirely different than I had planned.

 

SUNDAY 4/24

As much as I wanted to see After the Thin Man (1936), sleep and rest won out.

May 5, 2022

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Welcome to my recap of the 2022 TCM Classic Film Festival! To read about my pre-fest activities and Friday movies, click HERE. Saturday’s antics are below.

For my first full day of the fest I had one home: the Hollywood Legion. 

April 30, 2022

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It’s hard to believe, but the 13th annual TCM Classic Film Festival wrapped less than one week ago! After two years of virtual festivities, it felt wonderful to see friends in person again and share our love of classic Hollywood together.

April 18, 2022

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My love of pre-Code Hollywood is no secret on this site. I make it a point to see all the pre-Code screenings I can in the LA area, and the TCM Classic Film Festival is no exception. For this year’s upcoming fest, I counted eight pre-Codes (plus one that’s on the line) on the schedule.

April 5, 2022

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It’s almost here – the first TCM Classic Film Festival taking place in person after three years!

 

This year’s theme, All Together Now: Back to the Big Screen, aptly captures the celebratory reunions that will take place, both off and on screen.

March 29, 2022

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One of my favorite film events in Los Angeles, the UCLA Film and Television Archive’s Festival of Preservation, is returning to the big screen!

 

This year’s showcase, highlighting 21 diverse shorts, features, docs, TV specials and more, takes place May 20-22.

March 19, 2020

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I had grand plans for Noir City Hollywood 22. Though a few advance scheduling conflicts stood in the way, for the most part my calendar was crowded with film noir screenings for about a week straight.

Until it wasn’t.

February 24, 2020

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This year, Noir City Hollywood is going all out – and international! In the past, fans were usually treated to two movies per night across the 10-day extravaganza, sometimes with a triple or quadruple feature throw in for max noir effect. But this year’s calendar blows that out of the water.

December 18, 2019

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Cinecon bestowed their esteemed Legacy Award to three actresses at this year’s festival: Ann Robinson, Gigi Perreau and Barbara Rush. I had the grand opportunity to be present for all three awards and Q&As, two of which I’ve already covered, Robinson's and Perreau's. That leaves Rush.

November 19, 2019

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If I could listen to one classic film star tell me stories for a day, it would be Ann Robinson, who was one of three recipients of the Cinecon Legacy Award at this year’s Cinecon Classic Film Festival. I’ve heard her speak a few times before, interviewed her on the TCMFF red carpet, and I would now like to be her best friend, please.

October 18, 2019

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This past September, Gigi Perreau was honored with the 2019 Cinecon Legacy Award along with Ann Robinson and Barbara Rush. 

Cinecon programmed Perreau’s 1950 film For Heaven’s Sake to pay tribute to the actress, a quirky comedy I had never heard of before.

September 13, 2019

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This year, I had the opportunity to attend all five days of Cinecon, which is always exhilarating... and very tiring.

 

Last week I shared my recap of the first two days, which you can read here. Now it's time to wrap this review up with the final three days of the fest, Saturday-Monday.

September 5, 2019

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Cinecon Classic Film Festival #55 hit two milestones this year: They celebrated 30 consecutive years in LA (prior to that the locations varied) and their 20th anniversary at the American Cinematheque. I’m always amazed at how five days of nonstop cinema race by so fast. My personal schedule for the fest this year was extremely ambitious. How’d I do? Well...

August 19, 2019

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Labor Day weekend is almost upon us, and in the classic movie world, that signals one thing: Cinecon! For the last two years, out of town weddings have prohibited my full attendance at the fest, but this year I am FREE! (Well, save for work on Friday.) Cinecon 55 will present 46 programs, with many of the films projected on 35mm. I’ve only heard of about 5 of those selections, which is roughly 10%.

August 1, 2019

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The Cinecon Classic Film Festival returns to Hollywood August 29 through September 2 with close to 50 rare shorts and features, special celebrity guests, and an outstanding memorabilia show.

I had the chance to ask Cinecon President Stan Taffel a few questions about the festival as they gear up for another exciting year celebrating unusual and overlooked classic movies.

June 28, 2019

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The Bad Seed is one of the earliest classic films I saw. So, as you can imagine, a huge thrill of TCMFF 2019 was talking to the star herself, Patty McCormack, on the red carpet. Heck, I even had the chance to tell her about the time my friend dressed as her character from The Bad Seed for Halloween! I unfortunately didn’t make the poolside screening, but I did swing by for McCormack’s conversation with Eddie Muller beforehand. Below are some highlights from what I caught.

May 10, 2019

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For the 4th (!) year in a row, I had the privilege of covering the red carpet at the opening night of TCMFF. While it’s always an honor to speak with the festival’s special guests, the occasion this year was particularly meaningful because 2019 marks the 10th year of the festival and the 25th anniversary of TCM; though I haven’t been a fan of TCM all 25 years (I was a child when the network debuted, so I get a pass), I’m a proud TCMFF 10-time attendee.

April 23, 2019

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I woke up Sunday not believing it was the final day of TCMFF. Seriously, how can 60 hours fly by so fast? This morning presented a big decision: Holiday (1938), one of my gateways to classic film, or Mad Love (1935), which I’ve never seen before. Mad Love it was! Luckily, I took another glance at the schedule before leaving my apartment and noticed the movie was playing at the Egyptian, which was a good call, because the theater was packed.

April 20, 2019

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Less than six hours of sleep on Friday night didn’t stop me from jumping out of bed early to hit the road for Saturday’s packed day of programming! I made it in plenty of time to catch When Worlds Collide, a 1951 sci-fi flick I thought I hadn’t seen before. (The jury’s still out—the spaceship looked very familiar, but this is a 1950s science fiction picture we’re talking about.) 

April 18, 2019

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I had a full schedule Friday and tried to hit the ground running, but that didn’t quite happen. Somehow, I thought it would be acceptable to roll up to a 9am pre-Code (1932’s Merrily We Go to Hell) at about 8:20 but... no. I knew it was going to present a difficulty when I woke up at 7:20, looked at Twitter, and found that people were in line before 7am.

April 16, 2019

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Though I spend weeks preparing for TCM's Classic Film Festival, it always seems to rush in like a cinematic tornado—sweeping in quickly and catching all us film fans up in 3.5 days of movie madness, just to drop us back in the real world on Monday, which is where I am right now. Click below for a recap of the first day of TCMFF #10.

April 10, 2019

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One of the two movies playing for TCMFF’s late-night crowd this year is 1961’s Santo contra el cerebro del mal (Santo vs. the Evil Brain). TCM has brought in two special guests for this screening, film archivists/restorationists Viviana Garcia Besne and Peter Conheim, both of whom worked to restore the movie. I had the opportunity to ask Besne some questions, not only about this film and the Santo series, but also about the archive she founded, Permanencia Voluntaria.

March 28, 2019

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We’re almost there—in just 14 days, TCMFF’s 10th anniversary will be upon us! The full festival schedule was unleashed last week, and as per usual, since then attendees have been feverishly plotting their plan(s) of attack. The network has some fantastic programming in store for this milestone event, and it’s always an exhilarating/nerve-wracking/melodramatic/sorrowful endeavor putting together a schedule. So with that, below are my picks for TCMFF 2019—plus an extra title or two for every time slot. My guess is that it's 59% likely I'll stick to these selections, as goes the fest! 

March 18, 2019

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Noir City Hollywood is finally of age! In honor of their 21st year, the fest continues a theme they’ve celebrated previously, showcasing A and B films released in the same year—this time focusing on the 1950s. The program features a hearty mix of very well-known pictures (that I haven’t yet watched) and a handful of new-to-me rarities, which I always love. That said, below is my preview of Noir City Hollywood 21!

March 11, 2019

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Besides the incredible guests TCM assembles for each film festival, my favorite moments are the exceptional programs they bring to Hollywood. As we inch closer to TCMFF #10, below is a list of my top 10 favorite TCMFF special presentations from years past.

February 27, 2019

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And just like that, UCLA Film and Television Archive’s Festival of Preservation is over. Attendees were treated to a marathon of 23 blocks of programming across a three-day span, and while my body generally rebels against epic day-long film events like this, I was pleased to attend nine screenings. Click below to read my highlights from the fest.

February 18, 2019

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Over the past nine years, I’ve had the opportunity to engage with TCMFF from a number of different angles: I volunteered in 2010 and 2013, accessed the fest through the standby line from 2010-2014, worked as a Social Producer in 2015 and 2016, and attended as a member of the media in 2017 and 2018. As TCMFF #10 looms on the horizon, I thought I’d share more about these rich and varied festival experiences.

January 28, 2019

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Every other year, the UCLA Film and Television Archive presents the Festival of Preservation, and every other year, I eagerly wait for UCLA to unveil the lineup. 

 

In years past, the Festival of Preservation has spread over the month of March. That said, this year I was both surprised and relieved to read that the event would take place over a weekend in February… until I saw the schedule, and my relief morphed into slight apprehension. 

January 11, 2019

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In honor of TCM Classic Film Festival’s 10th anniversary this April, I thought I’d share my favorite experience from each of the nine events I’ve attended so far. As you’ll see, my TCMFF adventures have ranged based on the type of access I’ve had, from volunteer and standby line-attempter to Social Producer and Media passholder. I’ll be writing another article covering the different capacities from which I’ve enjoyed TCMFF, but for now, here are my most memorable fest moments from 2010-2018.

November 7, 2018

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Welcome to part 2 of my Noir City Hollywood 20 recap!

 

Two weeks ago I covered the movies I thought were fine and dandy. Now comes the ultra-fun part: This week I’m re-visiting the inexplicable/weird/wacky selections. And they didn’t disappoint.

October 26, 2018

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For Noir City Hollywood’s 20th anniversary, the team—Eddie Muller, Alan K. Rode, and Gwen Deglise—thought it appropriate to program all LA-set films as a nod to where Noir City started. Out of the 20 screenings, I was able to attend 11. As with festival #19, I’m splitting up my recap into the good and the bizarre. First up: the good—and only 6 months late!

September 26, 2018

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I’ve done some crazy things for classic movies, but taking an early morning flight back home hours after a wedding probably tops my list. And while a Paramount B-picture usually wouldn’t be worth the effort, the entire event I was racing to on the final day of Cinecon 54 certainly was. Seconds after I realized Marsha Hunt’s film debut, the rarely screened The Virginia Judge (1935), was programed Monday afternoon at Cinecon—at a time I could possibly swing—I started researching ways I could make the screening.

September 21, 2018

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Welcome to my Friday recap from Cinecon 54! Though Friday was the first full day of the festival, I only attended the evening screenings, as I had a nine hour workday to get through first. That meant I unfortunately missed out on the 1933 bonkers sounding sci-fi/comedy/??? pre-Code It’s Great to Be Alive and the discussion with Eva Marie Saint, BUT I was thrilled to catch Colleen Moore’s 1920 silent comedy So Long, Letty. So, it all balanced out.

September 17, 2018

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Cinecon 54 was a whirlwind for me! Despite a jam-packed weekend, I fit in six features and five shorts across three days of the festival. I was fortunate to catch several rare, must-see pictures, while also discovering a few new gems, which is what Cinecon is all about to me.   

 

First day’s first: Thursday!

August 16, 2018

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Labor Day weekend is around the corner, and you know what that means: CINECON!

Basically, Cinecon is like a newly released Netflix show—this event is meant to binge, from 9am till midnight, with built in meal breaks and a few minutes respite in between movies for four and a half days.

July 12, 2018

Welcome to part 2 of my series highlighting TCMFF 2018 guests who shared stories from the past that invoked many concerns society is dealing with today. Last month I covered Q&As with Claude Jarman Jr. (Intruder in the Dust) and Nancy Kwan (The World of Suzie Wong), who discussed topics of racism and diversity.

June 21, 2018

More so than previous festivals, the past – ugliness and all – came roaring back at TCMFF 2018, particularly during introductions and Q&As. As the festival marched on, I noticed a subject popping up in numerous discussions: the present and, specifically, how many of the issues we are currently dealing with have been battled in the past both on and off camera.

May 6, 2018

Get ready for this, because it may blow your mind: On the final day of TCMFF, I only watched one - yes, one - movie in full.

Luckily, I wasn’t married to any of the 9am selections, because 1. That meant I got to sleep in, which was very much appreciated, and 2. I was able to attend a special event at Larry Edmunds Bookstore, “A Morning with Marsha.”

May 4, 2018

Saturday started off with a nice mile long walk, which may sound incredibly lengthy to those who live in LA, but really, it's not. 

From one of my free parking spots on Sunset, I hoofed it to the Arclight's Cinerama Dome for a special presentation of Windjammer: The Voyage of the Christian Radich, the first - and last - picture made in the Cinemiracle process.

May 2, 2018

This year, I told myself to take it easy at TCMFF... well that went out the window on Friday morning.

After prying myself out of bed, I hustled over to the Chinese Multiplex for Intruder in the Dust (1949), introduced by Donald Bogle and Claude Jarman Jr, an incredibly skilled child actor who co-starred in the picture. 

April 30, 2018

How can four days fly by in the blink of an eye? The 9th annual TCM Classic Film Festival wrapped yesterday (technically, it ended around 1am this morning at In-N-Out for me) and in a way, it feels like it was all a dream. An incredibly long, blissful reverie, at that. In my opinion, TCMFF is adopting cues from San Diego Comic Con: Though officially the program kicks off Thursday, press events begin the day before and many unofficial TCM fan groups organize meet-ups in the days leading up to opening night.

April 11, 2018

The full schedule for the 9th annual TCM Classic Film Festival was unleashed upon the world one week ago, and as usual, it was immediately embraced, scrutinized, and agonized over with fervor from fans across the globe. Below is my tentative game plan. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed/fretted/pulled my hair out compiling it.

April 2, 2018

2018 is a milestone year for Noir City Hollywood, with the festival celebrating its 20th edition in Los Angeles. To commemorate two decades in the City of Angels, Noir City 20’s theme is – surprise! – the city itself. Having grown up in northern New Jersey where my first urban interaction was the hustle and bustle of Manhattan, I've never come to think of Los Angeles as a city, but rather a series of interconnected suburbs, save for downtown.

February 26, 2018

“This story has been sitting in Van Nuys for 90 years,” Jason Wise, director of Wait for Your Laugh, declared of his subject, Rose Marie, at a Q&A at the Egyptian Theater on November 18, 2017. I for one am certainly glad that the almost century-long story was captured on film (actual film – both 35mm and 16mm) and even more so that Marie was able to witness its release and appreciate all the lovely praise the movie received before she passed away on December 28, 2017.