Author Spotlight

Howard Hampton

Howard Hampton has written about the Arts and their discontents since 1982.

15 Results

Performances

Double Extremity: Judy Davis in Naked Lunch

In David Cronenberg’s deeply strange adaptation of the William S. Burroughs novel, Judy Davis plays two dissonant variations on the theme of the archetypal Beatnik Muse.

By Howard Hampton

Performances

Outlier Looking In: Emmanuelle Devos in A Christmas Tale

Amid the tumultuous family dynamics on display in Arnaud Desplechin’s A Christmas Tale, Emmanuelle Devos delivers a performance of remarkable subtlety and lyricism.

By Howard Hampton

Ghost World: Séance in Wowsville

Combining sardonic humor with poignant characterizations, this cult comedy explores the discontents of two high-school graduates adrift in strip-mall America.


By Howard Hampton

Performances

Experience Necessary: Deborah Harry in Videodrome
Traveling through the subterranean portals of Videodrome like an introverted wraith, Deborah Harry carries herself with the wry, burned-out, but still titillated instincts of a voyager buying a one-way ticket for the outer limits. A vivid, smallish p…

By Howard Hampton

One-Eyed Jacks: Zen Nihilism

The result of a notoriously troubled production, Marlon Brando’s unorthodox western presents a brooding vision of human futility.

By Howard Hampton

The Manchurian Candidate: Dread Center

Set during the height of McCarthy-era paranoia and arriving in 1962, in the middle of the Cuban Missile Crisis, John Frankenheimer’s high-anxiety Communist conspiracy thriller tapped into the darkest fears of Cold War America.


By Howard Hampton

Death by Hanging: Hanging by a Thread

In Death by Hanging, Nagisa Oshima spins a complex aesthetic web around his documentary-like structure, packing detail, history, politics, and emotion into his surrealist inquiry into capital punishment.


By Howard Hampton

The Complete Lady Snowblood: Flowers of Carnage

Toshiya Fujita’s two-film saga set exuberant, manga-inspired martial-arts choreography against a backdrop of a Japanese society in transition to unfold a vivid tale of epic vengeance.


By Howard Hampton

A Hard Day’s Night: The Whole World Is Watching

In 1964, Richard Lester harnessed the Beatles’ exploding superstardom for a giddy day-in-the-life pop masterpiece.

By Howard Hampton

Quadrophenia: Jimmy vs. World

With humor and melancholy, Franc Roddam’s coming-of-age drama, based on the Who’s iconic album, shows us a g-g-generation on the edge.

By Howard Hampton

Tokyo Drifter: Catch My Drift
Just what is it that makes Seijun Suzuki’s Tokyo Drifter (1966) so different, so appealing? The cherubic hero in the neat powder blue suit, who looks like he was torn out of a yakuza pop-up book? That hauntingly cornball theme song, permeating the …

By Howard Hampton

Europa: Night Train
Seduction by locomotive. Gliding on silvery reels of steel, tricked out with Lars von Trier’s stated panoply of “front and back projections, double exposure, and clearly choreographed camera movements to break down the realistic frame,” Europa …

By Howard Hampton

Pitfall: Outdoor Miner

Pitfall is the kind of semiuncanny, equivocally realist movie you might hope to duck into in a strange city, stumbling across it in a low-rent theater while escaping a bad date or a debt collector. Impressively anomalous and consistently unpredictabl

By Howard Hampton

Kill!: Pardon My Dust
Kihachi Okamoto’s dynamic, intricately madcap Kill! is a multitoned send-up of samurai film lore. With its crosshatched plot stitching, zigzag modulations, and dust-blown stock figures (Tatsuya Nakadai as a hobo swordsman, plus a peasant bumpkin tu…

By Howard Hampton

Youth of the Beast: Screaming Target

“Just shut up and watch!” So snarls a frenzied gangster-pimp to baby-faced tough Joe Shishido as the creep whips a prostrate prostitute. There’s plenty for the naked eye to absorb: the delicate calligraphic detail of the bloody lash marks, set

By Howard Hampton