Howard Hampton

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


Best Defense

Howard Hampton on The Best Years of Our Lives

November 2013

BY AN INTERESTING COINCIDENCE, Warner Bros. is releasing its new Blu-ray of the 1946 classic The Best Years of Our Lives at the same time as a box set of all three of James Dean’s films: Rebel Without a Cause (1955), East of Eden (1955), … READ ON


That’s All Folks

Howard Hampton on Richard Linklater’s Slacker

September 2013

RICHARD LINKLATER’S SLACKER has the most evocative cast list in movie history: “Roadkill” (Jean Caffeine), “Dostoyevsky Wannabe” (Brecht Andersch), “Been on the moon since the ’50s” (Jerry Delony), “Tura Satana look-alike… READ ON


The Gang’s All Here

Howard Hampton on the early films of Rainer Werner Fassbinder

August 2013

THINK OF EARLY FASSBINDER: ECLIPSE SERIES 39—the Criterion Collection DVD set of five of Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s first eleven feature-length films, made whirlwind-fashion between 1969 and 1970—as a portable cross between an art … READ ON


Cult Culture

Howard Hampton on A Field in England

July 2013

CAN YOU ENGINEER A FILM to be an instant cult classic? Doesn’t a movie need to arrive at that status after first being discovered by its audience, via a steady accretion of passionate devotion and years or at least many midnights of … READ ON


Earthbound Goddess

Howard Hampton on One Touch of Venus

June 2013

AVA GARDNER HASN’T HAD the pop afterlife of Marilyn Monroe, whose graven image adorns countless T-shirts, posters, and handbags in guises ranging from retro-chic to Warholesque to gangster rococo (varieties including tattooed, tattooed … READ ON