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Christopher Forsley

Film Critic

San Francisco

Christopher Forsley

"I regard criticism as an art. . . If you think it is so easy to be a critic, so difficult to be a poet or a painter or film experimenter, may I suggest you try both? You may discover why there are so few critics, so many poets"
~ Pauline Kael, aired on KPFA in 1963.

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Donald Rumsfeld Becomes Donald the Duck in 'Ricky Rouse Has a Gun'

Written by Jorg Tittel and illustrated by John Aggs, Ricky Rouse Has a Gun appears to be, as the cover claims, a “Chinese original”. The graphic novel’s title, along with the names of its creators, are spelled out in Chinese characters, and its cover art is reminiscent of a communist propaganda poster from the Maoist regime.
PopMatters Link to Story
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The Television-Styled Puff Piece Called Life Itself

Life Itself (2014) is a documentary about the late and great film critic Roger Ebert. Rather than focusing on his life, as its title implies it will, the film focuses on his death. It opens with footage of Ebert in the midst of his last battle in the war against cancer. Steve James, the director of Life Itself, depicts his subject just as Werner Herzog describes him: “the solider of cinema, a wounded comrade who cannot even speak anymore but he soldiers on.”.
Film Monthly Link to Story
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5 Underrated Films From Highly Rated Filmmakers

Cinema’s greatest filmmakers have taken their greatest films up mountains that tower above the films that dot the hillside below. Sometimes a great filmmaker has to spend years on the hillside before building up the strength to scale a mountain with a film. Other times, a great filmmaker reaches a creative peak early in his career but then must descend from it and spend time on the hillside regaining the energy to scale another mountain with another film.
Film Monthly Link to Story
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Spring Break is Over, Bitches

Last week, on my Facebook News Feed, this message from Harmony Korine, director of Spring Breakers (2013), popped up: Like what the F$$$ so some guy decided to make spring breakers two without mine our James permission lame muthafuker! Turns out that the lame mother-fucker who decided to make a Spring Breakers sequel without Korine’s blessing is a Paris-based production company called Wild Bunch.
The Rumpus Link to Story
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Sam Peckinpah’s Elliot Rodger

Good films entertain, great films enlighten, and some films, the greatest of the great, do all these things, and they keep doing them for all eternity… or at least until governments ban them for challenging the status-quo. Often the greatness of them isn’t obvious upon their release. Eventually, though, something baffling will happen to us, or the world we live in, and we’ll realize that in the previously unrecognized film, an explanation lives like a gold nugget just waiting to enrich the lives of its viewers today.
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Stanley Kubrick Wanted a Taste of Terry Southern’s Lamb-Pit

I love fucking Terry Southern. That came out wrong. I never fucked the writer, at least not proper fucked. But I have been fucking him intellectually, off and on, for a few decades now. By that I mean I’ve read his literary work: Flash and Filigree, Candy, The Magic Christian, and Blue Movie, on several occasions, going deeper each time.
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The Writing in Frank Jacobs' MAD's Greatest Writers is MAD to the Max

I bet you know of MAD Magazine, but I doubt you know of many of its contributors. If you do know of one, it’s probably founder Harvey Kurtzman. If you know of more than one, it’s probably one or more of the magazine’s early artists who worked under Kurtzman and have since reached iconic status among comic aficionados — artists such as Jack Davis, Wally Wood, and Basil Wolverton.
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'A Town Called Hell' Divides the Argument Over What Is a Spaghetti Western

Ten years goes by, and we see that this Aguila has forsaken his name and become a priest of a small village in an attempt to hide from his past. But when a widow named Alvira (Stella Stevens), whose husband was one of the murdered innocents, arrives to the town, Aguila’s past comes back to haunt him.
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'Buddy Goes West' Is an Unambitious Bud Spencer Comedy With an Excellent Morricone Score

For most spaghetti western fans outside of Italy, the name Bud Spencer is synonymous with the name Terence Hill. Best known for their partnership in the incredibly popular They Call Me Trinity (1970) and its sequel Trinity Is Still My Name (1971), the two appeared in, produced, and directed over 20 films together — most of which are burlesque comedies that lovingly lampoon the genre.
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'Sartana Your Angel of Death' Is Part Illusionist, Part Mystic

Because of the first Sartana film, Gianfranco Parolini’s If You Meet Sartana… Pray For Your Death (1968), I was both wary and excited going into I Am Sartana Your Angel of Death (1969), the second installment in the original cycle of Sartana films. Parolini was replaced with the less experienced Giuliano Carnimeo, and as such, I was concerned that many of the best aspects of the first film would be lost.
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'Wanted' Is a Spaghetti Western That Will Leave You Wanting

With his elaborate stunts and lady killer smile, Giuliano Gemma ranks among the most popular spaghetti western stars. He’s not the greatest actor in the genre, but he’s one of the most fun to watch, easiest to root for, and most productive. While his films range in quality, which is only natural for a spaghetti western actor, his productivity has led fans of the genre to develop a familiarity with him that makes his presence a pleasure, regardless of how mediocre the film he stars in is.
PopMatters Link to Story
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'It’s the Pictures That Got Small' Tells of Hollywood's Golden Age Like Only a Diary Can

Titled after an iconic line from an iconic movie, It’s the Pictures That Got Small (2015) chronicles the Golden Age of Hollywood with the intimacy and honesty that only a diary can offer. This particular diary belongs to Charles Brackett, the screenwriter best known as the writing partner of legendary director Billy Wilder.
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About

Christopher Forsley

Christopher Forsley was born in Massachusetts, raised in Arizona, and is living in California. Contact him at ChristopherForsley@gmail.com with freelance assignments or other job offers. He also accepts ghostwriting gigs when the money is right.

Besides criticism and the occasional piece of humor, he writes comic books and strips. His brother and collaborator, Cameron Forsley, illustrates these along with many of the essays and reviews found above. They share a website at www.The ForsleyBrothers.com