Stacia Kissick Jones

Stacia Kissick Jones is a freelance film journalist whose work appears in, and other outlets.


Articles by Stacia Kissick Jones


ROBOCOP 30th Anniversary — Commentary by Stacia Kissick Jones

RoboCop, a dark political and cultural satire and director Paul Verhoeven’s first American film, was released in the middle of a summer no one knew was a harbinger of things to come. Filled with arid, empty urban landscapes covered in dust and rust and decay, the disintegrating Detroit of the film, thirty years on, less resembles a grim wasteland of obsolescence than the direct result of a drastic change in the weather. No one was talking about global warming at the time — that would come a year later when a second hot, record-setting summer finally grabbed America’s attention — but RoboCop, its scenes filmed in the sizzling Texas sun and in the blast furnace of an abandoned factory in Pittsburgh, sure as hell had heat on its mind. Continue reading…

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MAN WITH TWO BRAINS on Blu-ray — Review by Stacia Kissick Jones

The third of what would be four movies that teamed Steve Martin with writer-director Carl Reiner, The Man With Two Brains is an affectionate and deeply silly spoof of low-budget horror flicks from decades ago, and one that acknowledges what a 1950s Z-list movie starring a pulsing brain in a pan never could: that these mad scientists were pretty much just looking to get laid. The dialogue is hilarious, Vaudevillian, ridiculous and sublime, and frequently eschews words altogether for a series of vaguely human noises like “Schlermie,” “anointy-nointy,” and “thptbtbtbtbt.” There is precious little plot to be had, because a plot and zaniness rarely mix. Continue reading…

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BANG! THE BERT BERNS STORY — Review by Stacia Kissick Jones

Bert Berns, a major figure in the early 1960s American pop and R&B recording scene, was certainly unsung, but it would be a stretch to call him a hero. A musical childhood lead to a fascination with Latin and Cuban music, which in turn lead him to co-write the classic “Twist and Shout,” sung first by The Top Notes and produced by a young Phil Spector in 1961. Angry at what he felt was a hack job by Spector, Berns would go on to produce the Isley Brother’s version a year later, a major hit. After a few years of freelancing, Berns wound up at Atlantic Records, and his R&B hits were frequently covered by British invasion bands like the Rolling Stones and the Beatles. By the mid 1960s, Berns had his own label, Bang! Records. But he also had a chaotic life marred by bad business deals and associations with the mob, and after he died at age 38 in 1967, he was quickly forgotten by an industry eager for the future and often ignorant of the past. Continue reading…

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