Howard Hampton

Laundry Days

Howard Hampton on My Beautiful Laundrette

August 2015

A KICK IN THE LILY WHITE TEETH to England’s gilt-hedged public imagery back in 1985, My Beautiful Laundrette raised thirty-year-old mixed-race writer Hanif Kureishi from a stymied playwright (“the theater thing hadn’t been working out… READ ON


Dinner Sanctum

Howard Hampton on Andre Gregory & Wallace Shawn: Three Films

July 2015

LOUIS MALLE’S My Dinner with Andre doesn’t fit the usual definition of a great movie, but it has an inexhaustible, omnidirectional confidence. It’s the most subliminal piece of magic realism—expansive, incantatory words jousting with… READ ON


Behind the Music

Howard Hampton on Vincente Minnelli’s The Band Wagon (1953)

April 2015

MGM’S BEST MUSICALS personified Show Business as bipolar cottage industry—miracles of scrambled, collaged, precision-tooled, toe-shoe equilibrium. Star-struck, self-aware, and ruthlessly efficient, these engines of chaste desire merged … READ ON


Roeg State

Howard Hampton on Nicolas Roeg’s Don’t Look Now (1973)

February 2015

NICOLAS ROEG WAS ALMOST FORTY in 1968 when he got his big break. After kicking around the British film industry for ages—shooting dazzling second-unit footage for Lawrence of Arabia (1962), but fired by David Lean from Doctor Zhivago (1965);… READ ON


Midnight’s Children

Howard Hampton on David Lynch’s Eraserhead (1977)

September 2014

IT’S FRIDAY NIGHT, a couple days before the end of 1979. A young woman is driving past a movie theater on Santa Monica Boulevard, going nowhere but away. She argued with a boyfriend while trying to watch an X show at Madame Wong’s: Sick… READ ON


Let It Bleed

Howard Hampton on John Cassavetes’s Love Streams

August 2014

THE COVER IMAGE of the Criterion booklet for John Cassavetes’s Love Streams (1984) Blu-ray is a doozy. Who is that motherfucker in the goofy hat? (And what’s love got to do with it?) It’s Cassavetes, naturally, but that chintzy gardener’s… READ ON


Face Off

Howard Hampton on Red River and Point Blank

July 2014

BY THE SPLINTERY MID-1960s, John Wayne was a hotheaded, potbellied anachronism riding the slow trail to extinction. Lee Marvin had emerged as a cagey new breed of movie tough guy, a resourceful, silver-haired nihilist who climbed out of the… READ ON


The Hunger Game

Howard Hampton on Stanley Donen’s Funny Face

April 2014

AMBIVALENCE IS A HARD CONDITION to pinpoint in a film. Is a movie sending out cross-purposed signals or are you and I simply projecting our own conflicted feelings? Even encountered as a movie-mad kid, Stanley Donen’s Funny Face (1957) … READ ON


Going My Way

Howard Hampton on Abel Ferrara’s Ms. 45

March 2014

MS. 45 (1981) has to be the most succinct, eye-popping title in movie history. Four point-blank characters—a single abbreviation, and a double-digit number—typed out on the screen to the sound of gunshots and punctuated by a bullet hole!… READ ON


Kitten Without a Whip

Howard Hampton on Paul Schrader’s Cat People

February 2014

ON FIRST SEEING Paul Schrader’s Cat People in 1982, my reaction was a wave of almost nauseated confusion: What was Schrader up to with this hodgepodge? Why did these voluptuous, neo-gothic jigsaw pieces sometimes feel like they had been … READ ON