September 18th, 2017 10:14pm

More thoughts from The Fourth Wall…

Check out a trio of new conversations on cinema and television!

After Love, an outstanding 2016 French/Belgian film about a marriage in the throes of a separation — but where both parties (and their school-age daughters) are still inhabiting the same home. As you might imagine, the atmosphere is rather tense…

Black Mirrorour first foray into Charlie Booker’s genius series about the impact that technology might have on societal interaction in the very near future.

War Machine, well… sometimes we watch these films so that you don’t have to! But it did inspire a fair amount of introspection about why most comedies leave me more than a bit wanting. This 2017 military satire would squarely fall in that category.

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August 24th, 2017 09:42pm

Lady Macbeth! Exit Through the Gift Shop! And more!

Check out some more e-conversations on cinema, both new and old! It’s The Fourth Wall, a regular exchange of thoughts between fellow CHIRP member Clarence Ewing and me on film. I also have listed our discussions separately on my Essays page.

[Clarence and I didn’t see eye-to-eye on Lady Macbeth, but I loved it — and watch for the name Florence Pugh in years to come. Tremendous performance.]

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June 11th, 2017 05:10am

The Fourth Wall — The Baker’s Dozen!

Hey folks — we just finished our 13th edition of The Fourth Wall for CHIRP Radio. Come check out fellow scribe Clarence Ewing and me discuss all sorts of cinema topics! From the recent James Baldwin documentary I Am Not Your Negro to technolove in Her… and everything in between. You can access the entire archive here.

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March 16th, 2017 03:27am

New Film Blog: Fourth Wall!

Check out the new weekly film blog, Fourth Wall, I’ve co-launched with fellow CHIRP Radio volunteer Clarence Ewing! Basically, the two of us will pick a topic each week and then trade thoughts via e-mail until we publish the discussion on Fridays. Here’s our take on the current state of Hollywood. Next up — the new film Get Out. 

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January 24th, 2017 02:24am

Quiet Desperation: The children of “Alba” and “Moonlight”

Hi folks — here’s the first in what will hopefully be a continuing series of thoughts on various new films. These won’t necessarily be reviews, but more an exploration of themes expressed in each story. To start: two of my favorite cinematic experiences of 2016: Alba and Moonlight. 

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Few films and television shows paint an authentic picture of childhood. Some of it assuredly smacks of lazy writing, but I imagine that once we pass a certain age, it’s simply tough to get inside the mind and perspective of a child. Can you remember when the world was a scary place? When you weren’t sure of how to behave in certain social situations? Or when you had to deal with malicious peers?

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January 12th, 2016 09:36am

Essays! Trailers!

Here’s a trailer I cut last summer for the ReelAbilities film festival here in Chicago. The annual festival is “dedicated to sharing the human experience of disability through art and film.” As you can see, there were a slew of amazing independent films showcased… and on a related note, I was inspired to finally watch the 1989 Oscar-nominated picture My Left Foot, based on the real-life story of artist Christy Brown. An incredible story (and film) to say the least.

Some of you know that I’ve contributed a number of essays to Dr. Alan Gitelson’s American Government collegiate textbooks over the years — here are a few of my latest:

Cinema As Political Advertising

Hollywood and Global Politics

Campaigning in the Digital Age

The Murky World of Think Tanks

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February 9th, 2015 02:55am

Where Have I Been?

Greetings everyone! Hope your 2014 was a bit healthier than mine? After recovering from a frozen shoulder (relating to a 2013 ruptured appendix), I came down with an abscess in my liver (!) that had me back at the good ol’ hospital and then home for a lengthy convalescence. This makes two straight years where I’ve gone home with tubes sticking out of me. Charming, eh? But I am finally healthy — thanks to terrific doctors — and rarin’ to go in 2015.

As far as my documentary, Enemies of the State, I’m happy to announce that not only have I shot new interviews (with the folks at The Dissolve among others), but I’ve picked up a fantastic editor, Alaric Martin, who is not only a sharp storyteller but also a treasure trove of cinema knowledge. It’s been a while since my last podcast, but you can check out all my Split Reel shows here at CHIRP Radio. I’m also thinking of doing something different with the format this year — namely, getting back to prose! I definitely need an excuse to write more, and I want to focus on essays relating to some of the lesser-known films I’ve enjoyed recently. (Werner Herzog’s Into The Abyss has sent me down quite a Time Sink of Thought recently.) My favorite films of 2014? Boyhood, Boyhood, and Boyhood. But if I had to pick two others… Nightcrawler and Wild.

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December 18th, 2013 11:39am

December 2013 Update…

Hey folks — it’s been a while! The podcasts have been few but my doc project, Enemies of the State, is coming along — there are revised clips on its page here covering everything from our depiction of communists to our strange fascination (and even borderline-idolatry) of serial killers! And extended features on both the MegaCorp (did anyone catch The East earlier this year?) and urban dystopian themes are soon to come.

Questions? Comments? Drop me a line! kjfullam (at) gmail.com.

P.S. It’s been a great year for cinema-going in general — my top 3 thus far: Short Term 12, Before Midnight, and Sister (L’Enfant d’en haut).

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July 11th, 2013 07:53pm

Documentary Update!

Hello, folks! For those not in the know, I’ve been working on a documentary about the relationship between Hollywood villainy and societal fears (working title, Enemies of the State). It now has its own page on this website (see above), where you can catch various promos and whatnot — there’s a longer piece on Hollywood and war culture posted there if you’re so inclined. Below is the nuts-and-bolts two-minute pitch promo! And as far as Split Reel, stay tuned for a new show coming soon with author Katherine Rife about Quentin Tarantino films…
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“Washington and Hollywood spring from the same DNA.” — Jack Valenti, former president & CEO, Motion Picture Association of America

What makes a convenient Hollywood villain? Via interviews with filmmakers and cultural critics, Enemies of the State will examine the fictional depictions of societal fears throughout the years — everything from the threat of Cold War-era communism to artificial intelligence and urban dystopia. How has Hollywood reflected the shifting political and social climates of the country throughout the last century? What is the nature of the symbiotic relationship between popular culture and public opinion?

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May 28th, 2013 09:28am

Cultural “Sophistication,” w/guest Leonard Pierce

We live in an age where we have nearly-limitless access to not only mass media, but also the critical dissection of said culture via the internet. What sort of impact has this had on our “sophistication” re: film, television, and music? And what does it mean to be “sophisticated” in the first place — has that definition shifted over time in response to various trends in art? Joining me is cultural critic Leonard Pierce, who has written about film and music for numerous publications, and is the author of If You Like The Sopranos… on crime cinema. Leonard’s writing can be found at leonardpierce.com.

 
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Kevin Fullam is a writer and researcher, with extensive experience in fields ranging from sports analytics to politics and cinema.

In addition, he has hosted two long-running radio series on film and culture, and taught mass media at Loyola University.

Episodes of his two shows, Split Reel and Under Surveillance, are archived on the Radio page.