No Such Thing as a Good Billionaire: Hunting the Rich on Screen

By Audrey Fox

The ever-widening division between social classes has always been popular fodder in film and television. It seems as though few films that address class disparity can escape at least some oblique commentary that casts the wealthy elite in a negative light. From the early days of cinema with Erich von Stroheim’s Greed (1924) and Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)…

“A Closer Look”: HBO Feature Presentation Sequence, 1982

Earlier HBO idents had been relatively simple affairs, the kind of simply animated and crudely soundtracked bumpers you might see on your local UHF station’s movie revue. But this bumper—known here as “HBO Theater,” although it would eventually be titled “HBO Feature Presentation” when broadcast in 1983—combined live actors, models, motion control cameras, animation, and a full orchestra soundtrack….

Home of the Grave: Rene Daalder’s ‘Population: 1’

By Eve Tushnet

“It is my dubious privilege to confirm the fact that man never invented anything that he didn’t eventually put to use.” That’s how Tomata du Plenty (played by the punk singer of the same name) describes the nuclear apocalypse that has left him the eponymous sole survivor in Dutch writer-director Rene Daalder’s 1986 film Population: 1, and in the scrawny, wiry actor’s voice there’s as much delectation as warning…

“A Matter of Good Breeding”: The Shape-Shifting Elite in Brian Yuzna’s ‘Society’

By Noah Berlatsky

The elite is an amorphous clotted blob of parasitic greed and hate. Its tendrils extend with slimy stealth into every orifice of society—which makes its precise outlines difficult to see. Are the elite contemptuous coastal liberals and academics? Are they hedge fund managers and tech billionaires? Are they infiltrating globalists or capitalist pigs? Are they your bosses? Or are they your neighbors sneering at your MCU films and your fast food diet?