Biography

Mad Dog Coll (1961) Burt Balaban, John Davis Chandler, Kay Doubleday, Brooke Hayward, Biography, Crime, Drama

Mad Dog Coll (Burt Balaban, 1961)
Young neighborhood hoodlum Viccent Coll is attracted to music student Elizabeth. Their paths cross several times as the tries to climb to the top of the reckets on the bodies of his murder victims. Because of the pleasure he takes in killing, everybody but his mob and his moll, ex-stripper Clio, calls him “Mad Dog.” He is hunted by both the police and gang leader Dutch Schultz on whom he has declared war.

Read More »

American Me (1992) Edward James Olmos, William Forsythe, Sal Lopez, Biography, Crime, Drama

American Me (1992)
This epic depiction of thirty years of Chicano gang life in Los Angeles focuses on a teen named Santana who, with his friends Mundo and the Caucasian-but-acting-Hispanic J.D., form their own gang and are soon arrested for a break-in. Santana gets into trouble again and goes straight from reform school to prison, spending eighteen years there, and becoming leader of a powerful gang, both inside and outside the prison, while there. When he is finally released, he tries to make sense of the violence in his life, in a world much changed from when last he was in it.

Read More »

The U.S. vs. John Lennon (2006) David Leaf, John Scheinfeld, John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Stew Albert, Documentary, Biography, Music

The U.S. vs. John Lennon (David Leaf & John Scheinfeld, 2006)
After background about the childhood and youth of John Lennon (1940-1980) and the birth of Vietnam-War protests, the film plunges into Lennon’s quest for world peace: compositions such as “Give Peace a Chance”, the lie-in following his marriage to Yoko Ono, appearances at concerts, “War Is Over” posters, and plans for a series of concerts in 1972 in U.S. presidential primary states reach newly-enfranchised young voters. This plan for concerts, in particular, led a prominent Senator, the FBI’s J. Edgar Hoover, and Nixon’s White House to initiate a concerted and illegal effort to deport Lennon. Thirty talking heads, led by Yoko, comment on Lennon and these events.

Read More »

Nirgendwo in Afrika / Nowhere in Africa (2001) Caroline Link, Juliane Köhler, Merab Ninidze, Matthias Habich, Biography, Drama

Nirgendwo in Afrika (2001)
A Jewish family in Germany emigrate short before the Second World War. They move to Kenya to start running a farm, but not all members of the family come to an arrangement with their new life. Shortly after their departure, things are changing in Germany very quickly, and a turning back seems impossible. So everyone has to arrange himself with the new life in a new continent.

Read More »

American Splendor (2003) Shari Springer Berman, Robert Pulcini, Paul Giamatti, Harvey Pekar, Biography, Comedy, Drama

American Splendor (2003)
Harvey Pekar is file clerk at the local VA hospital. His interactions with his co-workers offer some relief from the monotony, and their discussions encompass everything from music to the decline of American culture to new flavors of jellybeans and life itself. At home, Harvey fills his days with reading, writing and listening to jazz. His apartment is filled with thousands of books and LPs, and he regularly scours Cleveland’s thrift stores and garage sales for more, savoring the rare joy of a 25-cent find. It is at one of these junk sales that Harvey meets Robert Crumb, a greeting card artist and music enthusiast. When, years later, Crumb finds international success for his underground comics, the idea that comic books can be a valid art form for adults inspires Harvey to write his own brand of comic book. An admirer of naturalist writers like Theodore Dreiser, Harvey makes his American Splendor a truthful, unsentimental record of his working-class life, a warts-and-all self portrait…

Read More »