Movie Review – Z Channel: A Magnificent Obession

Review by Joshua Massre

Z Channel: A Magnificent Obession

Most movies are released into theaters and play for about a month and then disappear for a few months before appearing on home video. What happened to these movies before the advent of VHS and DVD? Prior to 1976 (the year the VCR was publicly available) many movies would just fade out into obscurity. The blockbusters and major hits would be shown on HBO and Showtime. All of the other movies that were either too obscure or not mainstream enough would appear on a Los Angeles television station called Z Channel. This program was known throughout the filmmaking world and had a major effect on many of today’s top filmmakers, including Quentin Tarintino and Alexander Payne.

The documentary Z Channel: a Magnificent Obsession tells the story of Z Channel’s rule of the foothills of Los Angeles. The film focuses on Jerry Harvey, the eccentric head of programming. Harvey, whose whole frame of reference is based in his love of film, helped the television station grow to the most popular pay television station in Los Angeles, with even more subscribers than HBO and Showtime combined. Z Channel was known for its wide range of programming, which was the main reason that it remained ahead of the other two premium channels. On any given night, one could see an obscure Robert Altman or Richard Brooks film and The Empire Strikes Back.

The film follows a simple linear narrative and moves from the channel

Dune

Review by Joshua Massre

Dune

Usually a movie will have a logical plotline that is simple to follow, right? Every once in a while a movie will have a plot point that makes no sense when it occurs, but it is usually tied up by the end of the movie. It is even more peculiar when a movie makes no sense at all. Sometimes a movie will be heavily cut by a studio, be it because of budget, time or content status. It happens all the time. Most of the movies in theaters are at least slightly different than they were when first conceived.

There are plenty of examples of this over the years. One of the most prominent examples of this is with the movie Once Upon a Time in America. The film stars James Woods, in what he considers his best performance ever, and Robert DeNiro as Jewish gangsters. The film chronicles their rise from young hoods in the 1920s to powerful crime lords in the 1960s. Sergio Leone

Children of Men, Babel, and Pan’s Labyrinth

Review by Joshua Massre

At first glance, these three movies seem to not have much in common, but in fact they are all intertwined with one another. All three of the movies, which were released in 2006, were made by three Mexican filmmakers who have penetrated into the Hollywood Studio System and released major critically, if not financially successful films.

Children of Men

Children of Men

The first of the three films, Children of Men, was directed and co-written by Alfonso Cuaron and based on a novel by noted science fiction author, P.D. James. Cuaron, one of the most gifted directors in Hollywood today, crafts a story of the future in which women are infertile and the youngest person in the world is just 18 years old. The story revolves around a pregnant young woman and her attempts to keep safe from the Government and those who wish to do her harm. The world in which she lives is devoid of all hope. The film is set in 2027, yet it feels as if it could be today. This is one of the stronger points. Cuaron immerses us into this world, subtly blending futuristic elements into objects that feel as if they belong in today

SUPERMAN II: THE RICHARD DONNER CUT

Review by Joshua Massre

Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut

Twenty-five years after having his cinematic voice silenced, Richard Donner reconstructs his version of Superman II. The result is a darker, more dramatic film with a host of never-before seen content restored from the original film archives. Don