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Topic: Chicago Poetry Archives: Click Headlines
The new items published under this topic are as follows.


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spacer.gif   ARCHIVE: THE 2005 CHICAGO POETRY FEST
Posted by : cj on Friday, July 22, 2005 - 01:18 PM
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16864 Reads


Note: On the last weekend of August over 60 poets will gather to celebrate the art of poetry in all its forms. This year there will be two gigantic outdoor events, a return to Lincoln Square, and a total invasion of West Bucktown. Come and check out what the Chicago Sun Times has called "Chicago's Largest Poetry Reading." Here is the exciting line up for the 2005 Chicago Poetry Fest, sponsored by ChicagoPoetry.com, Blue Line Studios, The Lincoln Square Chamber of Commerce and Alderman Manny Flores. This page now includes poetry samples from the upcoming 2005 Chicago Poetry Fest Anthology, which will be available in hard-copy at the fest.

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spacer.gif   COPPOC AND HOOVER ON POSTMODERNISM
Posted by : coppoc on Sunday, January 09, 2005 - 10:02 AM
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3055 Reads


Note: Academic slam poet Jim Coppoc takes a swipe at postmodernism. Click the above headline to read the letters; join the debate by posting a comment.

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spacer.gif   THE CHICAGO POETRY TIME MACHINE VIII: SNAKE IN THE HEART, 1994
Posted by : cj on Monday, December 06, 2004 - 11:54 AM
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3046 Reads



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spacer.gif   THE CHICAGO POETRY TIME MACHINE VII: eX-Out 1990
Posted by : cj on Monday, December 06, 2004 - 11:54 AM
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2324 Reads



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spacer.gif   THE CHICAGO POETRY TIME MACHINE VI: GONGSHOW POETRY
Posted by : cj on Monday, December 06, 2004 - 11:53 AM
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2776 Reads



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spacer.gif   THE CHICAGO POETRY TIME MACHINE V: PAGE VS. STAGE 1992
Posted by : cj on Monday, December 06, 2004 - 11:52 AM
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2781 Reads



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spacer.gif   THE CHICAGO POETRY TIME MACHINE IV: MARC SMITH, 1991
Posted by : cj on Monday, December 06, 2004 - 11:51 AM
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2711 Reads



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spacer.gif   THE CHICAGO POETRY TIME MACHINE III: POETRY SLAM 1991
Posted by : cj on Monday, December 06, 2004 - 11:51 AM
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2988 Reads



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spacer.gif   THE CHICAGO POETRY TIME MACHINE II: LOOFAH METHOD 1992
Posted by : cj on Monday, December 06, 2004 - 11:50 AM
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2694 Reads



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spacer.gif   THE CHICAGO POETRY TIME MACHINE I: LISA BUSCANI, 1993
Posted by : cj on Monday, December 06, 2004 - 11:49 AM
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5250 Reads



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spacer.gif   CHICAGO MOURNS THE LOSS OF GWENDOLYN BROOKS
Posted by : cj on Monday, December 06, 2004 - 11:48 AM
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5068 Reads



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spacer.gif   POETRY AND THE POLITICS OF DIFFERENCE BY LUIS RODRIGUEZ 1991
Posted by : cj on Monday, December 06, 2004 - 11:48 AM
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2042 Reads



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spacer.gif   INTERVIEW WITH ED DORN
Posted by : cj on Monday, December 06, 2004 - 11:46 AM
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3433 Reads


Note: This interview with Ed Dorn was first published by Letter eX in 1991.

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spacer.gif   POETRY VIDEO COMES OF AGE BY DWIGHT OKITA (REPRINT FROM A 1991 LETTER EX)
Posted by : cj on Monday, December 06, 2004 - 11:44 AM
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4255 Reads



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spacer.gif   WOOKSTOCK'S CONTRIBUTION TO LETTER EX
Posted by : cj on Monday, December 06, 2004 - 11:43 AM
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1971 Reads



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spacer.gif   THE CHARLES BUKOWSKI LETTERS
Posted by : cj on Monday, December 06, 2004 - 11:43 AM
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8673 Reads


Note: A collection of original, personal, uncensored letters, penned by none other than the beat poet Charles Bukowski, prior to his death in 1994.

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spacer.gif   A CLOSE LOOK AT CHUCK PERKINS
Posted by : cj on Monday, December 06, 2004 - 11:41 AM
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5704 Reads


Note: This article includes an eXclusive interview with Chuck Perkins.

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spacer.gif   A CLOSE LOOK AT EFFIE'S THREEBEE SERIES
Posted by : cj on Monday, December 06, 2004 - 11:40 AM
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2688 Reads



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spacer.gif   VENUE HOPPING ON A TUESDAY NIGHT
Posted by : cj on Monday, December 06, 2004 - 11:39 AM
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2752 Reads


Note: Ripley, Cullan and Laity all go out on the same night to different poetry shows and then report back in.

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spacer.gif   A CLOSE LOOK AT GUILD COMPLEX
Posted by : cj on Monday, December 06, 2004 - 11:38 AM
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3715 Reads


Note: From Young Chicago Authors to The Gwendolyn Brooks Open Mic. Award, Letter eX explores Guild Complex activities.

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spacer.gif   A CLOSE LOOK AT COFFEE CHICAGO
Posted by : cj on Monday, December 06, 2004 - 11:37 AM
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2625 Reads


Note: Laity jabbers about David Hernandez and John Starrs, together again.

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spacer.gif   LAITY REVIEWS LANSANA
Posted by : cj on Monday, December 06, 2004 - 11:36 AM
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2243 Reads


Note: C.J. takes a trip to the South Side to seek understanding from Quraysh's "Southside Rain."

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spacer.gif   REMEMBERING CAFE ALOHA
Posted by : cj on Monday, December 06, 2004 - 11:35 AM
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4095 Reads


Note: Here Rubin and Laity join forces to paint a perfect picture of the Aloha Circus.

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spacer.gif   A CLOSE LOOK AT WEEDS
Posted by : cj on Monday, December 06, 2004 - 11:34 AM
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5645 Reads


Note: Here Tom Roby and John Martinez compare thoughts about Gregorio Gomez's venue.

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spacer.gif   A CLOSE LOOK AT THE BEACH POETS
Posted by : cj on Monday, December 06, 2004 - 11:33 AM
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2509 Reads


Note: Jane Ripley and C.J. Laity check out Cathleen Schandelmeier's venue.

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spacer.gif   TARA BETTS' CONTRIBUTION TO LETTER EX
Posted by : cj on Monday, December 06, 2004 - 11:32 AM
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2422 Reads


Note: Tara Betts served some time as our Book Review Editor, generating these articles. Here, Coval, Tuggle and Betts tackle Calvin Forbes, Luis Rodriguez, D-Settlement and Tony FitzPatrick.

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spacer.gif   CARLI REVIEWS KITZIS
Posted by : cj on Monday, December 06, 2004 - 11:31 AM
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2095 Reads


Note: Vito looks at Lee's "Plainfield Follies and Israel to Pragugue."

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spacer.gif   VARELA REVIEWS GALLAHER
Posted by : cj on Monday, December 06, 2004 - 11:28 AM
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2450 Reads



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spacer.gif   JARED SMITH REVIEWS RICHARD JOHNS
Posted by : cj on Monday, December 06, 2004 - 11:27 AM
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2263 Reads



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spacer.gif   A CLOSE LOOK AT MARC SMITH
Posted by : cj on Monday, December 06, 2004 - 11:26 AM
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2767 Reads


Note: As Letter eX fans know, nobody is immune from our sometimes harsh pen. Here we take a look at the father of Slam poetry.

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spacer.gif   THE BOOK BUFFET (REVIEWS OF VARIOUS ARTISTS)
Posted by : cj on Monday, December 06, 2004 - 11:23 AM
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5120 Reads


Note: Here is a virtual smorgasborg of reviews by and about well known Chicago poets.

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spacer.gif   ALL ABOUT AFTER HOURS MAGAZINE
Posted by : cj on Monday, December 06, 2004 - 11:22 AM
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3309 Reads


Note: Here are two fantastic articles about the premier issue of Chicago's poetry publication, After Hours Magazine, one reviewing the book, another reviewing the release party at the River Oak Arts reading, formerly at Healy's.

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spacer.gif   PARSON-NESBITT REVIEWS BADIKIAN
Posted by : cj on Monday, December 06, 2004 - 11:21 AM
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3090 Reads


Note: Julie reviews "Mapmaker Revisited."

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spacer.gif   REMEMBERING WORDS ON TAP
Posted by : cj on Monday, December 06, 2004 - 11:20 AM
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2584 Reads


Note: Before there was a Tuesday poetry show at Woodlawn Tap hosted by Maria McCray, there was a Monday night show hosted by a bizarre person. Laity looks at one of the better nights.

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spacer.gif   LAITY REVIEWS BONO
Posted by : cj on Monday, December 06, 2004 - 11:19 AM
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2138 Reads


Note: C. J. takes a look at Jose's "Very Chicago."

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spacer.gif   JOE ROARTY'S CONTRIBUTION TO LETTER EX
Posted by : cj on Monday, December 06, 2004 - 11:15 AM
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3400 Reads


Note: Beat poet Joe Roarty puts his critic's eye on The Anti Mensch Anthologies, Thax Douglas and Kate Cullan.

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spacer.gif   NIKKI PATIN'S CONTRIBUTION TO LETTER EX
Posted by : cj on Monday, December 06, 2004 - 11:14 AM
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2521 Reads


Note: Nikki Patin served as our South Side Correspondent. Unfortunately she left us due to our harsh criticism of her publisher. She did leave with us these fine articles regarding venues which since have closed.

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spacer.gif   REMEMBERING THE HUNGRY BRAIN
Posted by : cj on Monday, December 06, 2004 - 11:12 AM
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2800 Reads


Note: For year Count Leonard hosted a late night poetry open mic. at The Hungry Brain on Belmont. Letter eX reviewed it more than once.

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spacer.gif   FERLINGHETTI vs. DOST
Posted by : cj on Saturday, December 04, 2004 - 03:08 PM
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2075 Reads


Note: On October 17 two Chicago poets went to two completely different poetry programs. Here they share their experiences with each other.

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spacer.gif   ARCHIVE OF LETTERS
Posted by : cj on Thursday, December 02, 2004 - 04:35 PM
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7121 Reads


Note: An archive of letters from the Version Two site.

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spacer.gif   THE POETRY PROCESS: A DISCUSSION
Posted by : cj on Thursday, December 02, 2004 - 04:31 PM
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2705 Reads



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spacer.gif   POETRY AND PERFORMANCE ART: A DISCUSSION
Posted by : cj on Thursday, December 02, 2004 - 04:30 PM
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2956 Reads

The gang joins in on a discussion of poetry as performance.

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spacer.gif   GIVING BIRTH TO LETTER EX
Posted by : cj on Thursday, December 02, 2004 - 04:28 PM
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4255 Reads

A history lesson.

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spacer.gif   ARCHIVE: THE POET OF THE MONTH LIST
Posted by : cj on Thursday, December 02, 2004 - 04:20 PM
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3209 Reads


Note: From May 2000 thru October 2006, ChicagoPoetry.com selected a poet-of-the-month each and every month. Here is the list of the 76 poets who were honored.

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spacer.gif   Vito Carli's Guide To Poetry In Film
Posted by : cj on Thursday, December 02, 2004 - 10:37 AM
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51203 Reads

.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH MOVIES ONLINE.



Guide to Poetry in Film by Vittorio Carli
(this update includes over 40 new entries.)

Believe it or not, this guide is about 20 years in the making. For a long time I have wanted to do a lengthy guide that combines two of my greatest passions: poetry and film, but I ran into big problem. Some time in the ‘80s, I finally finished it. The first part of the article appeared in the defunct poetry newspaper, "Tunnel Rat," but the newspaper ceased publication before the second half could appear. Over the years, I have been keeping track of many of the poetry-related films. In the back of my mind, I always planned to update the piece and submit it somewhere else, but it turned out to be more work than I bargained for. Part of the second half was lost, so I had to partially reconstruct it from memory and reference books. I eventually found part of the missing material on a typed page, but I had to retype it. I also viewed a few of the films again (mostly ones that I owned or that the local library had).

There were also new films that used poems that came out every year. I am sure I overlooked more than a few. Keep in mind that I have not seen some of the films for more than ten years. If I didn’t see a film on the list, I added “a could not find” line. I will do some future updates. If you can think of any I overlooked, feel free to email me at carlivit@yahoo.com.

In this guide, I mostly discuss two categories of "poetry" movies: non-documentary films about poets and films that use poetry as a plot device. In this version of the article, I have included a few documentaries and classic TV show DVDs with episodes that include poetry. My preference or bias is toward art films and trash: although, I do like some things in between. Middlebrow or mainstream cinema tends to be less risky. Poets in film are usually presented as psychotic manic-depressives ("Total Eclipse"), long-suffering martyrs to art ("The Bell Jar") or objects of ridicule ("Hairspray"). Many argue that Hollywood’s perception of us in no way reflects the public’s, but I have my doubts.

The tone of this piece is somewhat light. For a more serious examination of poetry in film, I recommend that you survey used magazine bins for the excellent, all poetry and film issue of " Parnassus: Poetry in Review" which was released in 1998. I hope this guide will prove useful to a wide variety of people, including fans of film trivia, bohemian performance poetry types, and academics. The guide is also a great excuse to make bad jokes and take shots at poets I don't like (take that, Edgar Guest!).

--Vittorio Carli




An Angel at My Table (1995) ****

This powerful and horrific biopic about the New Zealand poet, Janet Frame is one of the finest films ever made about a literary figure. The socially inept, awkward Frame did not conform to the societal expectations of women of her period. She was punished with shock therapy and even a lobotomy. Expertly directed by Jane ("The Piano") Campion who refuses to oversentimentalize or overpoliticize the subject. Edited from a three-part mini-series made for New Zealand television.

The Angelic Conversation (1985) ***

Derek Jarman's non-narrative film features Julie Dench reading 12 Shakespearean sonnets. Featuring appropriate experimental music by Coil (one of their CDs is nothing but clanging rapiers.)

Apocalypse Now/Apocalypse Redux (1979)****

(Coppola exceeded expectations with his brilliant and radical adaptation of Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness." Coppola transposes the action from the Congo to Vietnam , and he keeps the anti-colonial message (although both the film and the book dehumanizes the natives.) Martin Sheen has to pursue the disillusioned poet/warrior/Nietzscheian superman, Kurtz who turned against the system. When Kurtz first appears, enters he recites T.S. Eliot's "The Hollow Men" and his last words are “the horror, the horror!”), a work which was influenced by “The Heart of Darkness.” In addition, a photojournalist misquotes Eliot when he says, “This is the way the fucking world ends.”

Many find Brando's rant self indulgent and pretentious but I think it makes the movie. His last great performance would have been a great cap for his career. Too bad, he kept making movies. “Apocalypse Redux” adds more than 40 minutes of deleted footage, which helps develop Sheen’s character, and makes him more rounded. I consider it an improvement over the original.

The Assassination of Jessie James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007) ***1/2
Brad Pitt is quite good as a sympathetic anti-hero, Jessie James, and Casey Affleck is even better as the traitorous Judas figure, Robert Ford. But the greatest assets may be the exquisite cinematography by (Roger Deakins) and the haunting, evocative score by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis. At one point, a folksy love poem is recited and one of the James Gang members declares that poetry doesn't work on whores. The film masterfully draws parallels between James and Jesus.

Awakenings ****

(1990) - This drama features one of the most moving uses of poetry in recent cinema. A poem is used to reflect the main character's sense of psychological entrapment. The character (Robert De Niro) suffers from a malady that shuts his mind off, and an experimental drug allows him to enter the land of the conscious. When De Niro awakens from delirium, he recites Rilke's brilliant "panther" poem. The work serves as a perfect metaphor for an intelligent mind imprisoned in a defective body. Its director, Penny Marshall, has come a long way since "Laverne and Shirley".

Back to School ***

(1986) - Overly pedantic English professors can learn a thing or two from Rodney Dangerfield's passionate recitation of Dylan Thomas' "Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night" during the film's climatic scene, but they may disagree with his simplified interpretation. The film also features a hilarious cameo by Kurt ("Slaughterhouse Five") Vonnegut Jr.

Barfly ***

(1987) - This biopic deals with the life of acclaimed binge drinker/street poet, Charles Bukowski. Of course, the ultra cool, sun glass wearing Mickey Rourke bears no resemblance to the overweight, socially maladjusted Bukowski," and the film provides a prettified (Bukowsky would say Disneyfied) view of his life. See the recent documentary "Bukowsky: Born Into This" to get a glimpse of the real icon. But this is a great excuse to see Mickey Rourke strut his stuff in his greatest unkempt hedonist role; done before his fall into semi-obscurity (I hear that he's still big in some parts of Europe). Faye Dunaway is impressive in her best post-"Network" role. We even learn a little about Charles.

The Barrets of Wimpole Street (1934) ***

Frederic March and Norma Shearer play Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning in the superior literary biopic.

The Barrets of Wimpole Street (1957)**

This dramatization of the love between Elizabeth and Robert Browning is sometimes informative but often ponderous and boring. Avoid it like the plague. The 1930s version has a much better cast, and is superior in every way.

Basketball Diaries (1995) **1/2

Leonard DiCaprio plays the drug addicted punk poet/prose writer, Jim Carroll inn a role that was originally intended for River Phoenix. DiCaprio isn’t bad, but the film lacks the narrative drive of the book. Updating the film to the ‘90s was a mistake.

Beat Girl/Wild for Kicks (1960) *

This dated British exploitation film presents a ridiculous "straight" take on the beat world. It also has some priceless bad dialog and some appearances by Christopher ("Dracula") Lee and Adam Faith. The predictable plot incorporates murder and stripping. Roger Corman and Russ Meyer did this kind of thing better.

Beautiful Dreamers (1990)**1/2

Rip Torn plays the freethinking writer of epic poetry, Walt Whitman. He involves himself with the plight of the mentally disabled and continually shocks prevailing Victorian mores.

Before Night Falls (2000)***1/2

Intriguing and riveting account of the life of the Cuban poet/political dissident, Reinaldo Arenas. Arenas was a gifted writer but he was persecuted for his homosexuality, and imprisoned. Javier Baredom gives an unforgettable performance, and the alluring direction is by painter, Julian Schnabel who also did “Basquait.”

Being John Malkovitch (1999)***1/2

The protagonist is a struggling artist who puts on a hilarious puppet show based on the life of Emily Dickinson

The Belle of Amherst, No Rating

(1975)-This video captures Julie Harris's Tony winning performance as the immortal poet, Emily Dickinson. The author, William Luce incorporates the author's writings into a monologue. I haven't been able to find this one yet, but it is available on DVD.

The Bell Jar (1979) **

Marilyn Bassett stars in this disappointingly un-cinematic translation of Sylvia's Plath's autobiographical novel. Read the book instead.

The Best of the Colbert Report (2007) ***1/2

The TV show compilation DVD includes a hilarious metaphor duel between liberal actor, Sean Pen and the likeable conservative buffoon character, Stephen Colbert. The contest is hosted by former poet laureate, Robert Pinsky and it's called a "Meta-Free-Phor-All." There is also a reading of a nonsensical poem in "Let the Gravitas Begin."

Blade Runner (1982) ****

This cyberpunk classic was one of the first American films to combine sci-fi with film noir (The French film, "Alphaville" did this earlier). Deckard (Harrison Ford in his best film and role) goes to earth to hunt some escaped artificial beings called replicants, and there are no true heroes to be found. Here's where the poetry comes in. Roy , the replicant is the most human figure in the film. His lingo is poetic at times, and at one point, he even misquotes a line from a William Blake poem. Some Phillip K. Dick fans disapprove of the changes Ridley Scott made but sci-fi cinema doesn’t get any better than this. Stunning cinematography and engaging story line make this a must see. A second “director’s cut” was released in 2007.

Blank Generation (1979) ***

Punk poet/singer Richard Hell plays an unstable punk musician. Now there’s a stretch!! A French journalist investigates him for a piece and falls for him. The movie that the film is named after is an underrated classic, and Hell was at least as responsible for punk rock as Joey Ramone or Johnny Rotten, but he rarely gets the credit. Hell was also featured in “Desperately Seeking Susan,” and several New York underground films. Anything that Hell is involved in is probably worth checking out.

Blood In, Blood Out/Bound by Honor (1993)***

The first half-hour of this film is violent and difficult to sit through but worthwhile in the end. This document of prison gangs is partially based on the experiences of superstar poet Jimmy Santiago Baca. It includes no poetry, but its depiction of the painter underscores the potential of art as a cure for crime.

Blood of a Poet (1930) ***1/2

Jean Cocteau's cinematic journey into the inner life of poets is undeniably one of the most important surrealist works, but I've always preferred the works of Maya Deren and Luis Bunuel or Cocteau's "Orpheus.”

Bob Dylan-30th Anniversary Concert (1993) ***1/2

The performances on this set range from the unimaginative (George Harrison's "Absolutely Sweet Marie") to sensational (Eddie Vedder's earth shaking "Masters of War'). Steve Wonder's rendition of "Blow' in the Wind" is an underrated classic. Of chief interest to poets is Sinead O'Connor's failed attempt to recite Bob Marley's "War" as a spoken word piece. The audience booed her until she gave up. Then she bursts into tears until she is comforted by Willie Nelson. This happened shortly after her controversial "Saturday Night Live" appearance in which she ripped up a picture of the pope to protest Ireland's Catholic inspired anti-abortion policy. What ever happened to free speech? She deserved better.

Born to Boogie (1973) ***

Dated but campily diverting rock concert film about the iconic glam rock band, T Rex with features footage shot by Ringo Starr. Highlights include top notch performances of “Get it on (Bang a Gong)”, “Telegram Sam,” “Jeepster,” and “Children of the Revolution,” but many people might know the cover versions of the songs (by Bauhaus, the Violent Femmes, and Marilyn Manson) better. This surprisingly surreal film includes some silly verbal horseplay. Some of the abominable, hallucinogenic footage looks like it was left over from “Magical Mystery Tour.” T-Rex were not enormously successful in the USA , but they had a string of hits in the U.K. Their poppy music has dated far batter than the progressive dinosaur rock of the time (Does anyone still listen to ELP?) The late T Rex leader, Marc Bolan had confidence, talent, and style to spare, but the self-penned verse he recites in the film is even more puerile and juvenile than Jim Morrison's poetry. Bolin just may be the missing link between Tommy James and David Bowie. It features guest appearances by Elton John and Ringo Starr. Recently released for the first time on DVD. When are we going to get that long awaited film on The Sweet?

Blue Car (2003) ***1/2

Sensitively drawn and well-developed story of a neglected teen poetry student who is attracted to her English teacher. Kind of like "Lolita" from the point of view of the female protagonist. See my complete review at
http://www.reelmoviecritic.com/holiday2002/id1703.htm

Bob Dylan-30th Anniversary Concert (1993) ***1/2 -The performances on this set range from the unimaginative (George Harrison 's "Absolutely Sweet Marie") to sensational (Eddie Vedder's earth shaking "Masters of War'). Steve Wonder's rendition of "Blow' in the Wind" is an underrated classic. Of chief interest to poets is Sinead O'Connor's failed attempt to recite Bob Marley's "War" as a spoken word piece. The audience booed her until she gave up. Then she bursts into tears until she is comforted by Willie Nelson. This happened shortly after her controversial "Saturday Night Live" appearance in which she ripped up a picture of the pope to protest Ireland 's Catholic inspired anti-abortion policy. What ever happened to free speech? She deserved better

Boogie Nights (1997) ***1/2

Philip Thomas Anderson's fine film about '70s porn culture takes more than a few cues from Coppola's "The Godfather,” but it's mostly lively and original. It's about the rise and fall and rise of porn star, Dirk Digler (an ideally cast mark Wahlberg). One of the other male characters has a crush on him, and tries to impress him with a truly awful poem.

The Brave One (2007) ***

Urban vigilante Jodie foster recites "Because I could Not Stop for Death" (appropriately enough) in this taut revenge thriller. Good acting by Foster and Terrence Howard compensate for a predictable script. A fairly enjoyable "Taxi Driver" variation.

Bride of Frankenstein (1935) ****

The greatest of all Universal horror films features Elsa Lancaster in two electrifying performances. She plays both the 1930s' premier female monster (Dracula's Daughter is the only competition), and the bookish, nineteen-year-old Mary Shelley. Douglas Watson puts in a brief appearance as Percy Shelley and Gavin Gordon plays Lord Byron.

Bucket of Blood (1959) ***1/2

Roger Corman's amusing, quickie horror comedy uses the 1950s beat cafés as backdrops. The film opens with a hilarious poem that serves as the film's introduction (It includes the line: "Life is an obscure hobo bumming a ride on the omnibus of life"). The poem is later used as a justification for murder ("Crush their bones into a paste, so that you might mold them"). A pathetic coffee clerk named Walter Paisley (Dick Miller) gains instant fame by making statues out of people he kills (at first, he kills by accident). The homicidal artist idea predates the joker in "Batman" (the earliest version probably appeared in "Mystery in the Wax Museum"). Believe it or not, this entertaining lowbrow, B classic actually owes much to classic highbrow literary works. The poets and folk singers comment on actions like the Greek chorus, and when the killer attends a party, an ominous voice says, "No one knows that Duncan was murdered" (the killer's wearing a crown, and this suggests that he's haunted by the voices of his dead victims - like Richard III.) Highly recommended. Remember, "All that is not creation is graham crackers."

Bull Durham (1988) ***1/2

Susan Sarandon shines in one of her finest roles as an athletic groupie who teaches poetry at a community college.

Bukowsky: Born into This (2003) ***1/2

Fascinating documentary contains some great footage of the curmudgeonly street poet performing, and explaining his philosophy towards life and poetry. Some interviews are relevant and well chosen (such as Neeli Cherkovski, Barbet Schroeder, and Tom Waits), but the publicity hog Bono does not belong here. He has nothing particularly illuminating to say.

Butch Camp **

(1996) - This lesbian underground feature was filmed at The Hungry Brain poetry venue, the former home of the immortal Leonard De Montbrum.

Candy (1968) ***

A young nymphomaniac (Ewa Aulin) takes on a score of lovers including a poet in this adaptation of Terry Southern's bizarre parody of pornography. This campy curio is somewhat fascinating as a period piece, and it falls into the so good it’s bad category. The stellar cast includes the late, great, Marlon Brando, John ("The Adams Family") Astin and Richard Burton.

Candy (2006) ***

Well acted Australian film of two junkies (the guy is a poet and he’s played by the recently deceased Heath Ledger) who go deeper and deeper into the abyss. Its structure is similar (though not identical) to Dante's “The Divine Comedy,” and the couple goes through heaven (the initial rapture of the drugs), earth (they get married, plan to have a baby, and run into some insurmountable obstacles), and hell (the end of the relationship). At one point, the female lead has a breakdown and writes a marvelous poem on the wall ( Some of it is non-linear and it goes in all directions.) The best part of the film is when she reads the whole thing and it's only on the DVD as an extra. Because of all the close-ups and the intimate nature of the film, it probably plays just as well on the small screen anyway.

Carried Away (1996) ***

Joseph (Dennis Hopper in one of his rare subdued) performances plays an English teacher who is in a rut. He teaches poetry, and there are some short discussions on Emily Dickinson. Joseph has been dating another teacher his own age for years, and she's so inhibited that she will only make love on certain days with the lights off. Joseph unwisely starts sleeping with Catherine (Amy Locaine) a spontaneous and mentally unstable lit student. Their relationship causes unforeseen complications in his life. The characterizations are sharp especially the major's dad (played by Gary Busey), and the ending is powerful. The funniest line in the film, "Can't you see I've given you the single best year of my life" is delivered by Catherine.

Charlie Wilson's War (2007) ***1/2

Rollicking, fun-filled movie depicts Tom Hanks as a wily congressman working in a Washington in which sex is traded by lobbyists like commerce. He is ably supported by the always great Phillip Seymour Hoffman (who steals the show) as a CIA agent who helps escalate the arms shipments to Afghanistan. There is also a poetry connection. A government official sends Charlie a bottle of Scotch which was mentioned in Robert Louis Stevenson's "The Scotsman’s Return from Abroad." The witty script is by Aaron ("West Wing") Sorkin.


Bullworth (1998)***1/2

Warren Beatty is a senator who actually starts telling the truth in raps after he puts out a hot on himself. Poet Amira Baraka appears as a wise seer/street person who may be speaking for God.

Carried Away (1996) ***

Joseph (Dennis Hopper in one of his rare subdued) performances plays an English teacher who is in a rut. He teaches poetry, and there are some short discussions on Emily Dickinson. Joseph has been dating another teacher his own age for years, and she's so inhibited that she will only make love on certain days with the lights off. Joseph unwisely starts sleeping with Catherine (Amy Locaine) a spontaneous and mentally unstable lit student. Their relationship causes unforeseen complications in his life. The characterizations are sharp especially the major's dad (played by Gary Busey), and the ending is powerful. The funniest line in the film, "Can't you see I've given you the single best year of my life" is delivered by Catherine.

Cat People (1942) ****

Terrific low budget chiller produced by Val Lewton has many nourish elements and it suggests much more than it shows. It’s about a young Romanian woman (played by the unforgettable Simone Simon) who fears she his inherited a curse and will become a cat when she was aroused. Her husband is also attracted to a “good, normal” woman who thinks Irene is insane. The film closes with a Donne poem at the end (“Holy Sonnet V “) which ties to the film’s them of a divided personality. Director, Jacques Tourneur, also made the terrific “Curse of the Demon,” one of the best horror (or is it supernatural suspense?) horror film of the ‘50s.

Chelsea Walls (2002)) *1/2

Pretentious and emotionally unsatisfying directorial debut by Ethan Hawke goes nowhere. The film depicts goings on in the Chelsea Hotel which catered to artistic types. Some of the many residents included Dylan Thomas, and we hear some of his poetry in the film. There is an appearance by Mark Strand, and Kris Kristofferson's turn as a booze soaked novelist. See any Richard Linklater film instead.

Chicago Poems (2005) **

This film follows different intersecting story lines involving three couples. The acting’s fairly good, but the run of the mill characters and situations drag the film down. Some of the main characters include a boxer who is abusive to his girlfriend, a trendy club owner, and a moody director who is adapting Carl Sandberg’s poems for the stage. The film is named after one of Sandberg’s books. The whole thing was shot in Chicago except for one scene, and it makes excellent use of Millennium Park . I desperately wanted to like this film, but it failed to keep my attention.

Chiwaseon ***1/2

(2002)-Kwon-taek Im’s visually impressive biopic of the renowned Korean painter, Jang Seung-up was also called “Drunk on Women and Poetry.” Im's previous film, Chunhyang (2000)" is even better.

Citizen Kane ****

(1941) The title character loosely based on the life of newspaper tycoon, William Randolph Hearst, but there are also many parallels between Kane and Hearst. The opening (which is one of the most famous intros ever0 reproduces quotes from Coelridge's "Kubla Khan." This invites us to draw parallels between the deranged subject of that poem and the lonely elder cane. Both built a giant palace that was never completed. A direct inspiration for Scorsese’s “The Aviator” and there’s even a Kane influence in “There Will be Blood.”

Children of the Century ***

(2002)-French film goddess, Juliette Binoche stars in a film about a 19th century affair between George Sand and poet Alfred de Muset

Clueless (1995) *** - Charming update of “Emma” is about a vapid but caring valley girl who fixes us his teacher hoping he’ll become an easier grader. The following poetry themed conversation occurs in the film.

Dionne-Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, but thy eternal summer shall not fade. Phat! Did you write that?
Cher-Duh, it’s like a famous quote.
Dionne-From where?
Cher-Cliff’s Notes.

The Color of Pomegranates ***

(1969) Slow moving but rewarding film about the spiritual journey of 17th-century Armenian poet Sayat Nova is divided up into eight sections.

The Crow ***

(1994) - This flashy and macabre action film helped spawn (pun intended) a neo-Gothic revival with its great décor, creepy songs and Poe-spouting, undead anti-hero. Prepare to be dazzled, but don't expect profundity. Like Poe's heroines its star, Brandon Lee, gained a kind of immortality after his untimely death. (Along with James Dean and Kurt Cobain, he'll remain young forever).

Cyrano de Bergerac

**1/2 (1925)-Interesting silent version has a hammy lead performance by Pierre Magnier as a man who “feeds” poetry to a man who is wooing a woman. It's also a bit too theatrical.

Cyrano de Bergerac

*** (1950) -Jose Ferrar is fine as the lover who uses poetry to woo a woman through another man, and Mala Powers makes a ravishing Roxanne

Cyrano de Bergerac (1990) ***1/2

Gerard Depardieu is marvelous in this newer, longer version, and he just may be the definitive film Cyrano.

Dancing at the Blue Iguana (2001) **

Underwhelming film teaches us that exotic dancers can have lives as boring as anyone else. The film does have an unusually good cast including Daryl Hannah (playing another dumbbell role) and Sharon Old (in a pre "Grey's Anatomy" and "Sideways" role) as a stripper named Jasmine who begins reading her undercooked but somewhat intriguing confessional verse at open mics. The film has some good moments (especially the Daryl Hannah/arrest scene), but it's still hard to believe that the maker of "Il Postino" (Michael Radford) directed this

Dangerous Beauty (1998) ***

Arty and stylish biopic of a courtesan in 16th century Venice who is very learned in poetry. Her position as a societal outsider allows her to pursue intellectual interests that are denied other women of her time. It's actually a lot better than it sounds.

The Danish Poet (2006) ***

This irresistible little an animated film is about a poet who searches for a famous poet and he unexpectedly meets the love of his life. Unfortunately, her father already picked someone else and she thinks its bad luck to go against her dad's wishes. It won award and is featured on the Oscar shorts video. It was nominated for best animated short but it lost.

The Darwin Awards-(2006) ***1/2

Wonderfully entertaining and tragically neglected story about a crime solving duo who are somewhat reminiscent of The X-Files (well played by Winoma Ryder and Joseph Fiennes) . The film is named after a series of awards for people who die stupid deaths. Featuring a delightful cameo by beat poet extraordinaire Lawrence Ferlinghetti.

Dead Man (1995) ****

One of the main characters is named after the poet, William Blake in this classic mystic western. A native American guide thinks that he actually is the deceased poet.This is both Jim Jarmusch’s and Johnny Depp’s most memorable effort. Reader critic, Jonathan Rosenbaum was so taken with the film that he wrote a whole book on it. This was one of my picks for the top 10 best films of the ‘90s.

Dead Poets Society (1989) ***

Literature teacher, Robin Williams inspires his students to love poetry with his unconventional poetry methods and hammy overdramatic readings. The film includes very little about poetry instruction, and it's a very standard but occasionally entertaining Hollywood triumph of the human spirit film. It works fairly well until the smarmy, calculated, Oscar-baiting ending. One of the most popular and wildly overrated films on the list. Was I the only one that wanted to see Robin Williams's character impaled in the last shot?

Devil in the Flesh ***1/2

(1986)-Mentally disturbed young woman falls for a terrorist. At one point, she reads him a poem (penned by director/writer Marco Bellocchio who is a published poet) while he is in a very compromising position. This film got more attention for its sexuality than it's other content but it's fascinating to watch. Unfortunately, the video version darkens the explicit shots so that you can hardly see what's going on.

The Disappearance of Garcia Lorca (1997) ***

Andy Garcia stars in a portrait of the acclaimed English poet. It examines the circumstances of his mysterious death at the hands of fascists. Read a "Poet in New York " first.

The Doors (1991) ***

I'm a greater admirer of Morrison's songwriting craftsmanship than his often-puerile verse. (Remember, he achieved more success as a pinup than a poet.) Lou Reed was a better rock poet. However, I must concede that this is a fairly entertaining dramatization of the late Lizard King's life. Val Kilmer is quite good and physically right in the main role, and Stone's over-directing never sinks the film. One quibble is that it should've been called "Morrison" because it completely underplays the other band member's contributions.

Down by Law (1986) ****

Wry and wonderfully funny Jim Jarmusch classic minimalist film which includes superb deadpan performances by Tom Waits and John Lurie, and Roberto Benigni basically being himself. Roberto doesn't know English well and he tries to impress new American acquaintances by proclaiming "I like Walt Whitman very much." He also recites Whitman and Frost poems in Italian. This is eighties Indy cinema at its best.

Educating Rita (1983) ***1/2

An eccentric literary professor (Michael Caine) takes a returning student (Julie Walters) under his wing, and he learns as much from her as she learns from him. Of course, her husband, Denny disapproves and there is conflict. The prof used to write well-regarded poetry, but now he is cynical and only cares about his next drink.

The Elegant Criminal (1990) ***1/2

A nineteenth century French intellectual poet embarks on a life of crime (hey, it's easier than applying for NEA grants).

Elling (2001) ***1/2

A child-like future poet is separated from the world by his mom, and lives in seclusion. After she dies, he is placed in a mental institution. When he gets out, he is placed in state run, subsidized housing, and he truly experiences life for the first time. He moves in with a sex obsessed forty something virgin that runs up the phone bill and acts irresponsibly. The slow pacing and unusual, decentered characters give it the feel of an Aki Kaurismaki or Jim Jarmusch or film. Lovely, eccentric and sublime. Made in the Netherlands .

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) ****

Jim Carrey is a meek man who is shocked to discover that his aggressive ex girlfriend went through a medical procedure in order to have all the memories of him wiped from her mind. He later goes through the same process, but he rebels in the middle of it and tries to hide the memories of her in other memories. The title of the film comes from the Alexander Pope poem "From Eloisa to Abelard." The poem was based on a true story about a nun lamenting her impossible love for a priest that had been castrated for their forbidden relationship. We are supposed to make connections between that situation and the seemingly modern day relationship in the film. One of the best written, imaginative, and sharpest films of the decade. The director, Michel Gondry started out making videos for Bjork, The White Stripes, Daft Punk, and Kylie Minoge. The videos are available on a compilation, and they are sometimes better than the songs they were made for.

Far Side of the Moon (La Face Cachee De La Luna) (2005) ***1/2

Well made French-Canadian film about a Phillipe, a brainy but unlucky scientific scholar who clashes with his practical brother (a shallow meteorologist). At one point, Phillipe also reads an interesting but obscure poem. Playing Jan. 6-12 at the Gene Siskel Center .

Fay Grim (2007) ***

Fay Grim is a sequel to Henry Fool, which matches and occasionally surpasses the original. Parker Posey is marvelous as the neurotic but charming main character, a mom who gets in over her head when she gets involved in espionage. Fay Grim is a sequel to Henry Fool (also by Hal Hartley) and takes place eight years later. Fay (Parker Posey who was the best thing about Superman Returns) is raising her son alone. Her greatest fear is that he will grow up to be like his dad, Henry, who accidentally killed someone and then disappeared. Her only confidant is her brother, Simon, an ex garbage man and Nobel prize-winning poet, who is serving a long prison stretch for aiding and abetting Henry, who now has terrorist connections. Unfortunately, the film uses some of its momentum in the last third, as the plot becomes more convoluted.

Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994) ***

Hugh Grant stars in this amiable and respectable romantic comedy. "Song IX" from W. H. Auden's "Twelve Songs" is recited in the funeral scene eulogy, which is delivered by the deceased's lover. I still prefer Hugh Grant's early art films over his more mainstream romantic comedies.

Freedom Writers (2007) ***

This inspiring story is about an inner city school teacher (played by an increasingly anorexic looking Hillary Swank) who battles a hostile administration in order to merely do her job well. At one point her analysis of a 2pac song using poetic terms inspires derision from the students, but eventually she wins their confidence. This film doesn't always ring true, but it is everything that the more Hollywoodized "Dangerous Minds" should have been. My high school teacher friend, Lynn Fitzgerald, and her peers thought it was unbelievable.


Free Sex (2005) *

Bored Milton scholar goes looking for his friend's stripper daughter and he ends up falling for her. Needless to say she drags him into her dark world. This is like a less interesting softcore porn version of Paul Schrader's "Hardcore." At first her friend she doesn't believe he's a real prof but he proves it by reciting Shakespeare. Stupid, unerotic, and obvious.

Fried Shoes, Cooked Diamonds (1982)***

Fascinating but overly short look at the Jack Kerouac School for Disembodied Poetics at the Naropa Institute in Colorado. Includes performances and interviews with many leading luminaries in the beat movement and the '60s counterculture such as Amira Baraka, Allen Ginsberg, Ann Waldman, William S. Burroughs, Timothy Leary, and the underrated, late, great Gregory Corso. Highlights include a very rough performance of Ginsberg's "Father Death," and a most unusual anti-military protest.

Glamorous Life of Sachiko Hanai (2004) ***

Strange and erotic Japanese film about a prostitute who gets shot in the head and becomes a genius. She becomes sexually excited by the mere thought of philosophy and poetry and considers making love while discussing “The Wasteland”. The best scenes are hallucinogenic dream sequences involving the cloned finger of George Bush.

Glass Lips/Blood of a Poet (2007) ***

Compelling experimental film by poet/ film maker Lech Majewski opens with a shocking shot of a baby crying with an umbilical chord tied to a rock. It’s a semi sequel to Cocteau’s “Blood of A Poet.” It is made up of 33 short films that were originally shown separately, and the unifying concept is that a mental patient may be dreaming it all. The film is filled with haunting images don’t always mesh.

Gothic- Zero (1987) - Lord Byron and the Shelleys gather on the night that "Frankenstein" was created. Ken Russell's visual garishness and pomposity reach new highs. Despite the talent, this film is unwatchable.

Grave Indiscretion (1996) ***1/2

Crafty and sinister butler works behind the scenes to manipulate his employer. Kind of like a black comedy version of “The Servant.” I much prefer the original title, “Gentlemen Don’t Eat Poets.” When you hear his recent world muzak, it’s hard to remember there was a time that Sting was once considered cool.

A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints (2006) **1/2

Passable poor man's "Mean Streets" based on a memoir by Dino Montel. It features a scene with a new Scottish student in a mostly Italian-American school that recites an undistinguished poem about America . A fine supporting cast (including Chazz Paliminteri and Robert Downey Jr.) helps but we've seen it all before in better films (such as "A Bronx Tale" instead).

Habit (1997) ***1/2

-Man starts a relationship with a seductive young woman and he begins going through big changes. He could be becoming a vampire or an alcoholic depending on how you look at it. Larry Fessbenden's film is one of the best recent low budget horror films and it was shot in Chicago to boot. Appropriately enough, at one point the hard drinking protagonist reads a Dylan Thomas poem.

Hairspray (1988)***1/2

This film was made by the formerly shocking cult director, John Waters. It includes a funny scene that depicts two beat poets, played by Pia Zadora and former Cars leader, Rick Ocasek. Waters portrays them as a literary equivalent of carnival freaks (Ocasek ends his performance by smashing his head through his drum). The film is a perfect slice of self-conscious schlock. The 2007 musical version was entertaining, but the original simply cannot be beat.

Haunted Summer **1/2

(1988) - An extremely unusual dramatization of life with the Shelleys. Not quite as unwatchable as the similar "Gothic", released the same year.

Henry Fool (1998) ***1/2

Typically eccentric Hal Hartly feature has developed a cult following. The plot involves a bohemian writer/garbagman Henry who inspires his friend, Simon to write. Simon becomes a big media success and Henry stays obscure. Odd but rewarding

A Heron for Germany , (1988) No Rating

Loukas Kostoglou is a poetry publisher, and his assistant Marios, is in love with a woman named Nina. I couldn't find this one, either.

Hip Hop Poetry Jam Volume 1 (2002) ***

Some of the featured poets are excellent and others are mundane. The film leans more towards spoken word than poetry and the quality of the performances is often better than the actual works. The Mumia poem by Mark Gonzales is passionately delivered, topical, and compelling. The extreme rapid fire delivery can become a bit tiresome but the film works best if you see it in individual segments. Highlights include the Barrett Browning inspired "Miss Kimm's ”I Love You This Much" which also updates Marvell and courtly love conventions.

Heart Beat **

(1980) - A good cast (Nick Nolte, Sissy Spacek and John Heard) is featured in this exploration of the incident that inspired Jack Keroauc's "On the Road".

Hedd Wyn (1995) ***

True tale of a Welsh farmer who enters a poetry contest under a pseudonym. Before he can finds out that he won, he gets shipped off to fight in WW II.

The History Boys (2006)***1/2

Succesful film adaptation of Alan Bennett's play about poetry teacher at an all boys school who is crucified by the educational establishment. The twist is that he sometimes crosses the line and has an unhealthy attraction to one of his students.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1985) ***1/2

The satiric film (and book) has a group of aliens that use bad poetry to drive their prisoners to suicide as an ingenious plot device. The aliens give their prisoners a choice between enduring a poetry reading by a terrible poet or committing suicide by jumping from their space ship (most choose to jump). There's no truth to the rumor that one of the poet was based on Rod McKuen. I recommend the book over the film because poetry buffs can avoid the uneven special effects. I haven’t seen the newer version yet.

Holy Smoke (1999) ***1/2-

Underrated film about sexual power dynamics is about a young woman who turns the tables on a cult deprogrammer. It also makes use of Philip Larkin's "Ignorance.”

I am a Sex Addict (2005) ***

This fairly diverting documentary is about a sex obsessed artistic type who gets a thrill out of approaching and rejecting prostitutes. It was directed and written by the promising film maker, Cayeh Zahedi. .The film is highly autobiographical, and the audience’s reaction may depend upon how well they like the director/narrator. It chronicles how he eventually overcame his unhealthy sex habits, and became more stable and happy. He is painfully honest, and at one point he admits every lustful thought he has until he drives his wife away. Earlier, he had left the woman he truly loved to make a film on Rimbaud in France with a suicidal psychopath. Of course, once he gets to France , he cannot raise the funds to make the film. “I am A Sex Addict” is interesting, but occasionally lapses into self-indulgence.
see http://www.reelmoviecritic.com/rmc/V_2005/various%20number%202%20oct%208%202005.htm#I%20am%20a%20Sex%20Addict for the whole review.

I Captured the Castle (2003) ***

Matthew Arnold's " Dover Beach " is quoted in this tale of a dysfunctional family

If I Were King (1938) **

Ronald Coleman won an Oscar for his portrayal of a poet in this now obscure film. Rathbone is at his hammy best as a monarch. The script by the comedic genius, Preston Sturges was not one of his finest moments.

II Position/The Postman (1994) ****

Many may be put off by the sentimentality of this live story, but this film left me with renewed respect for Pablo Neruda's work. This film broke the record for foreign film attendance in America , which means that it probably earned slightly less than "Men in Black" did in a week. (This makes me want to immigrate in Canada .)

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1979) ***

The former "Julia" star, Diahann Carol, is convincing in this adaptation of Maya Angelou's memoirs.

I’m Not There (2007) ***1/2

Bob Dylan’s story is told with six different people (including an African American boy and a woman) playing his different personas in Todd Hayne’s fine but uneven biopic. One of the personas seems to blend Dylan with his idol, the French symbolist poet, Arthur Rimbaud. Cate Blanchett makes the most convincing Dylan, and Gere is the worse (although he seems to be intentionally playing Bob Dylan as a bad actor played Billy the Kid. “Palindromes” had a similar concept and it was a little stronger.

Incredibly True Adventures of Two Girls in Love (1995) **1/2

Reasonably engaging film of the growing attraction between two high school girls includes some recitation of Walt Whitman's works.


14166 More words
 
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