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Michael Atkinson

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Reel Brooklyn is a monthly column chronicling the definitive history of Brooklyn on-screen, one film—and neighborhood—at a time. They finally adapted Hubert Selby Jr.'s 1964 cult classic Last Exit to Brooklyn in 1989, after the nostalgia for the 1950s that began with George Lucas's American Graffiti became calcified into dinosaur bone dust with the Reagan administration, and it still took a German production to make it happen. Selby's notoriously foul, working-class portrait of 1952 Sunset...
Reel Brooklyn is a monthly column chronicling the definitive history of Brooklyn on-screen, one film—and neighborhood—at a time. A pulp legend onto itself, Walter Hill's 1979 The Warriors begins and ends under the Coney Island Wonder Wheel, but this isn't the Coney of Morris Engel's Little Fugitive (1953), when the resort town itself and its sky-high distractions epitomized the postwar leisure life America had earned with its worry and suffering and loss, as well as with...
Reel Brooklyn is a biweekly column chronicling the definitive history of Brooklyn on-screen, one film—and neighborhood—at a time. Whatever else you make of it, Allen Baron's indie uber-noir Blast of Silence (1961) is undoubtedly the sourest Christmas movie ever made—not before or since have the beloved New York iconography of the season, up to and including a stroll past the tree and ice skaters at Rockefeller Center, been sneered at with such cynical derision. That...
Reel Brooklyn is a biweekly column chronicling the definitive history of Brooklyn on-screen, one film—and neighborhood—at a time. One of our most dogged and uncompromised chroniclers of modern-day Brooklyn, dark-hat indie auteur James Gray also occupies a borough of his own making—in his world, Brooklyn is a dank, decaying rat maze of back alleys, unlit streets, heaped grave-sized backyards, clashing tribal identities, pervasive malaise, and quietly rampaging sociopathy. In five features so far (plus his...

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