Category Archives: Culture

Vacancy: “Cancel My Reservation” (1972)

           “Cancel My Reservation”  (1972)     Bob Hope’s last starring film role is so wince inducing, audience members may be in danger of developing permanent facial tics. This would-be murder mystery, based on a novel … Continue reading

Posted in Bob Hope, comedy, crime, Culture, Drive-In Movies, Movies, Mystery, Romance, women, writing | Tagged , | 2 Comments

State of the Art: Isn’t Brie Just Another Name For Cheese?

       At a recent celebration of the annual Women in Film Crystal + Lucy Awards (which once again demonstrated that [1] all of the good names for award presentations have already been taken, and [2] if there were … Continue reading

Posted in books, Culture, Film Criticism, movie reviews, Movies, racism, women, writing | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

My Dog Didn’t Eat My Homework, He Wrote It: Classic Film Images Photo Quiz, Mid-May 2018 Edition, Vol. K9

My Dog Didn’t Eat My Homework, He Wrote It:  Classic Film Images Photo Quiz, Mid-May 2018 Edition, Vol. K9    In deference to the mass fraud being perpetuated on a global scale by the proponents of  the British Tourism Council … Continue reading

Posted in animation, books, Boston, Culture, Disney, humor, Movies, Romance, weddings, yul brynner films | Tagged , | 6 Comments

Stolen Kisses: The Birth of Adult Cinema

      The Birth of Adult Cinema:  “The Kiss” / “Après le bal”       (1896/1897) “I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description [“hard-core pornography”] as I … Continue reading

Posted in cinema, Culture, erotica, History, Movies, sex, silent movies, theater | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Black Gowns Matter: Hollywood Explains It All To You

Black Gowns Matter: Hollywood Explains It All To You       Ah, the Golden Globe Awards, that monument to critical integrity that once put Pia Zadora on the map by way of the deep pocket resources of the reckless … Continue reading

Posted in Boston, cartoons, Culture, fantasy, juvenile delinquency, politics, psychiatry, Sex in Cinema, women | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

A View From the Dark: Movie Freak by Owen Gleiberman

A View From the Dark: Movie Freak by Owen Gleiberman The appetite publishers seem to have for printing the memoirs of even the most irrelevant movie personalities appears insatiable; so much so that in recent years this pseudo-gossipy, trivially anecdotal framework … Continue reading

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Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow: A Death of the Day of CFU

 Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow: A Death of the Day of CFU     It was a long time coming. The January 11 cessation of the very existence of the CFU (Classic Film Union) branch of the TCM website, came as not … Continue reading

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ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS MY TWO FRONT SEATS: 2015 SANTA CINEMA WISHLIST

         DEAR CINEMA SANTA, 2015 EDITION      During this festive season, when the brief wisps of sunlight become briefer, granting increased concession to the agents of nocturnal chills, howling blasts of wind and the occasional welcome … Continue reading

Posted in Canada, Christmas, Culture, DVD, Film, Film Reviews, food, gene hackman, holidays, humor, Movies, Television, theaters | 2 Comments

Blue Lives Matter: Classic Film Images Photo Quiz, November 2015 Edition, Vol 10-4

BLUE LIVES MATTER:  CLASSIC FILM IMAGES PHOTO QUIZ, NOV. 2015 EDITION, VOL. 10-4      Consider for a moment the sad state of societal disorder in which divisive intolerance has become a favored substitution for erudite enlightenment and a ludicrous … Continue reading

Posted in art house cinema, books, crime, Culture, Film, Movies, photography, politics, racism, Reviews, Steve McQueen, vermont, writing | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Garters, Glitter and Gauze: “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” (1975)

     “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”  (1975)     Frank N. Stein:  There’s no crime in giving yourself over to pleasure.     Audience Response (Boston):  There is in Massachusetts.     Long a staple of the disappearing urban … Continue reading

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Pressure Point: Classic Film Images Photo Quiz, October 2015 Edition, Vol. 40

PRESSURE POINT: Classic Film Images Photo Quiz, October 2015 Edition, Vol. 40  If one thing is certain, it’s that if the current White House claims the world is enjoying an historically unprecedented condition of peace and harmony, you had better … Continue reading

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La beauté du monde: Classic Film Images Quiz, August 2015 Edition, Vol. 36-24-36

La beauté du monde: Film Images Quiz, August 2015 Edition, Vol. 36-24-36      Welcome all purveyors of cinematic curiosity to yet another edition of America’s most pointless monthly game, and a source of possible future litigation by the National Organization … Continue reading

Posted in cinema, comedy, Culture, Film, French cinema, German cinema, horror, humor, Italian cinema, Movies, Mystery, Puzzles, sex, theater, women | 1 Comment

Chandler’s Mission to Mars: You Too Can Be an Astronaut (don’t forget your toothbrush)

     With all of the recent excited chatter (well… maybe not so much, but play along) concerning a possible one-way voyage to the Red Planet (Hopefully, this is not another name for “Commies in Space”!), it behooves the minds … Continue reading

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NOVEMBER 2014 CLASSIC FILM IMAGES QUIZ, VOL. 5050

“Don’t do as we do, do as we say!”: Mid-Term Election Edition: November 2014 Classic Film Images Quiz, Vol. 5050      To those selfish American citizens who enter into the month of November only with eager thoughts of holiday cheer … Continue reading

Posted in books, Culture, Film, Film Reviews, Gary Oldman, History, humor, movie reviews, Movies, Musicals, politics, Puzzles, Reviews, theater | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Chandler’s Trailers: “The Sessions” (2012)

      “The Sessions” is a small, unassuming film which  has all of the ingredients people used to go to the movies for: a compelling story filled with intelligent, appealing characters who are written with a real ear for how people … Continue reading

Posted in acting, Culture, Film Reviews, Helen Hunt, movie reviews, Movies, Reviews, Romance, sex, women, writing | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

New 2014 Fall Film Course Offerings

The Film School at Smarterin University has just announced five new course offerings for the upcoming 2014 Fall Semester: PERSPECTIVES OF ADVANCED AESTHETIC INTERPRETATION: THE MOVEMENT TOWARD  IN PROGRESSIVE STYLISTIC BACK PEDDLING The course will follow the movement of avant-garde … Continue reading

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AUGUST 2014 CLASSIC FILM IMAGES QUIZ, VOL. 222

TEACH YOUR CHILDREN EDITION:  AUGUST 2014 CLASSIC FILM IMAGES QUIZ, Vol. 222 Welcome back to America’s favorite waste of time and space (that’s SCIENCE 101, baby), the CLASSIC FILM IMAGES QUIZ, brought to you by those wonderful folks who foil … Continue reading

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State of the Cinema: Why Movies Seem as Bad as They Probably Aren’t

They Shoot Bad Movies, Don’t They?     First of all, if we follow the general route of the Internet and limit our discussion on the current state of Cinema by primarily spotlighting the most commercial and (not coincidentally) the most … Continue reading

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They Came to Coddle: “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” (1977)

     Steven Spielberg’s “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” is dazzling when it is showcasing the talents of special effects designer Douglas Trumbull and his crew but falls precipitously on the scale of artistic ambition when the focus in … Continue reading

Posted in 1970's movies, Culture, Film, Film Reviews, Francois Truffaut, movie reviews, Movies, Reviews, science fiction | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

See No Evil: “This Film is Not Yet Rated” (2006)

       Lighthearted documentary with a serious subject: the secretive and abusive authority held by the shadowy MPAA and it’s anonymous ratings board over the most important developing art form of the past 100 years and how this untrained, uninformed … Continue reading

Posted in cinema, Culture, Documentaries, Film, Film Reviews, movie reviews, Movies, Reviews | 1 Comment

Darkest Heart: “Africa, Addio!” (1966)

   “Africa, Addio!” is a follow up offering by the “documentarians” Gualtiero Jacopetti and Franco E. Prospere who produced the popular “Mondo Cane”.  The film is filled with gorgeous imagery; the kind of cinematography that normally enraptures the senses and … Continue reading

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Hardly A Pretty Picture: “Not a Love Story: A Film About Pornography” (1981)

       One of the most immediately promising aspects of Bonnie Sherr Klein’s anti-pornography documentary “Not A Love Story: A Motion Picture About Pornography” is the fact it is a product of Canada, and as such will not be immediately weighed down … Continue reading

Posted in Canada, cinema, Culture, Documentaries, Film, Film Reviews, movie reviews, Movies, Reviews, sex, women | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The Unkindest Cuts; or, How to use unchecked political correctness to victimize the very people you intend to protect: “Freaks” (1932)

     Long time the standard by which all “Golden Age” Hollywood horror films are compared for a sense of shock and gratuitous exploitation (it was released months before the decades long inception of the Production Code), Tod Browning’s 1932 “Freaks” is … Continue reading

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A View From the Cheap Seats: “The Movie That Changed My Life” edited by David Rosenberg

     With the wealth (actually gluttonous overabundance) of film books published examining, probing, criticizing, reinterpreting, psychoanalyzing, and performing generally obscure, obtuse and cryptic academic microsurgery-some so labyrinthine in the expression of an aesthetic philosophy, they might as well be expressed … Continue reading

Posted in blogging, book reviews, books, Culture, Entertainment, Film, Film Reviews, History, movie reviews, Movies, Reviews, women, writing | Leave a comment

Classic Film Images Photo Quiz: Vol. 2014

YOU’VE NEVER LOOKED BETTER, NOW THAT YOUR FACE IS PARALYZED WITH BOTOX:  JANUARY 2014 CLASSIC FILM IMAGES QUIZ, VOL. 2014      Here we are again with America’s favorite waste of time, the monthly Classic Film Images Quiz, brought to you … Continue reading

Posted in art house cinema, blogging, cinema, Culture, Drive-In Movies, Film, Film Reviews, humor, Jean-Louis Trintignant, John Wayne, movie reviews, Movies, Puzzles, Reviews, women | 1 Comment

You Can’t Go Homestead Again: Notes on Western Revisionism

     The dirty little secret about revisionism is that it rarely provides the intended setting for demythologizing without creating, not a revealing truth, but a substitute mythology.       The move toward revisionism in the western film genre is generally … Continue reading

Posted in cinema, Culture, Film, Film Reviews, History, Italian cinema, John Ford, movie reviews, Movies, westerns, writing | 2 Comments

MONTHLY PHOTO QUIZ VOL. 1941

“I’M READY FOR MY CLOSE-UP, MISTER DEMILLE.”:  DECEMBER 2013 CLASSIC FILM IMAGES QUIZ , VOL. 1941 (100% SELFIE-FREE) This month’s festive photo quiz has the good fortune of containing socially redeeming content (we actually have to do this every now … Continue reading

Posted in blogging, Christmas, cinema, Culture, Film, Film Reviews, horror, humor, movie reviews, Movies, Puzzles, Raquel Welch | 1 Comment

STATE OF THE ART: To Re or Not To Re; ‘Tis a Question of Film “Revisits”

     To listen to Internet movie sites, one would think that the greatest offense now being committed by the American film industry is the perceived proliferation of the “remake”; so heinous a cultural offense to the millions of films buffs … Continue reading

Posted in black cinema, blogging, books, cinema, Culture, Film, Film Reviews, History, Movies, silent movies | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

A Brief Rumination on the Modern Cinema and the Demise of Classical Dance in the Movie Musical

     At what point in film history did the movement of dancers in a musical film become an impediment to the director’s visual leanings?       In the classical Hollywood studio era musical, the frame is carefully composed to elicit a … Continue reading

Posted in black cinema, Boston, cinema, Culture, dance, Film, Film Reviews, movie reviews, Movies, music, Musicals, theater | 1 Comment

Buy a Drive-In Theater! (Well… not really, but read on and support a worthy initiative which will preserve and defend a precious American tradition, and perhaps aid in defeating the lingering Communist menace at the same time.)

  Another interesting tidbit which has crossed the desk of the Swain News Service, but first our usual editorial tirade:   In American life, progress is generally defined as eliminating tradition by way of the excuse of advancing technology, changing … Continue reading

Posted in cinema, Culture, drive-in cinema, Drive-In Movies, Entertainment, Film, Movies, new england, theaters, vermont | 1 Comment

And so begins the holiday season…

COULD “SCROOGE” BE A FILM CRITIC? Given his noxious nature as an unrepentant miserly skinflint, ill mannered, callously opinionated and completely dismissive of others feelings, could not old Ebenezer be an ideal model for the professional film critic? To read … Continue reading

Posted in blogging, books, Charles Dickens, Christmas, Culture, Film, holidays, humor, Movies, Thanksgiving, writing | 3 Comments

Beatles in a Bell Jar: “Let It Be” (1970)

      Sitting through Michael Lindsay-Hogg’s “Let It Be” is not dissimilar to sitting behind someone in a theater and staring at the back of their head, mentally trying to make them turn around: it’s pointless, it doesn’t really work … Continue reading

Posted in 1970's movies, Culture, Documentaries, Entertainment, Film, Film Reviews, movie reviews, Movies, music, Reviews, The Beatles | Tagged , | Leave a comment

STATE OF THE ART: A Brief Polemic in Consideration of the Cinema’s True Creative Pulse

    Those who have partaken of my critical rambling will note that there is far less attention paid to the physical production and visual quality of a film and more regarding the structure and balance of the narrative, the ingenuity … Continue reading

Posted in cinema, Culture, Film, History, Movies, writing | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Death of a Thousand Cuts: “Les Miserables” (2012)

   There are a thousand reasons to dislike Tom Hooper’s “Les Misérables”, not the least reason being the perfectly execrable vocal renditions of the familiar Claude-Michel Schönberg/Alain Boublil/Herbert Kretzmer score, stagnantly directed with a paralyzing laziness of directorial imagination which … Continue reading

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The 2013 Annual Critical Establishment Readers Survey

________________________________________________________________ All readers, bloggers and film enthusiasts are encouraged to participate in the following 59 question  survey. ________________________________________________________________________________ 01.  Who/what do you feel is the most overrated actor, actress, director and film?   02.  Who/what do you feel is the … Continue reading

Posted in acting, cartoons, cinema, Culture, Entertainment, Film, History, movie reviews, Movies, parenting, Reviews, silent movies, westerns, women | Tagged | Leave a comment

Culture Clash: “Bambi Meets Godzilla” (1969)

“BAMBI MEETS GODZILLA”    (1969)      The title says it all. This unlikely meeting of two anthropomorphized cinema icons is one of the great jests of the late 1960’s American Cinema, a period not known for its ebullient humor, but instead … Continue reading

Posted in 1960's movies, animation, cartoons, cinema, Culture, Film, Film Reviews, humor, movie reviews, Movies, Reviews | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

MONTHLY PHOTO QUIZ VOL. 441

HISTORY IS OLD NEWS: SEPTEMBER CLASSIC FILM IMAGES Ah, the good old days. Plagues, extinction level meteors, worldwide armed conflicts, the career of Elizabeth Taylor. OK, so maybe the past was hideous, filled with horrific events that will disturb Mankind … Continue reading

Posted in art house cinema, cinema, Culture, Entertainment, Film, History, Italian cinema, Movies, Romance, science, war movies, women | 4 Comments

Poe in the Cinema: “The Tell-Tale Heart” (1953)

       Notoriously unlucky in the myriad of film translations of his work, Edgar Allan Poe finds an unlikely ally with the techniques of a minimalist animation style from U.P.A. Studios, a happy meeting of the literary and the graphic … Continue reading

Posted in 1950's cinema, 1950's movies, animation, books, children, Culture, Edgar Allan Poe, Film, Film Reviews, horror, movie reviews, Movies, Poe in the Cinema, Reviews | Tagged , | Leave a comment

MONTHLY PHOTO QUIZ VOL. 433

Despite the best efforts of the Millennials (a.k.a., the Generation Y, as in “Y do they exist?” collective) to dismiss the very existence of anyone over the age of 30 (which puts the elder of their clique against the firing … Continue reading

Posted in art house cinema, cinema, Culture, drive-in cinema, Drive-In Movies, Entertainment, Film, Film Reviews, French movies, horror, Italian cinema, movie reviews, Movies | Leave a comment

35 Lb. Monkey Business: “The Man With the Golden Arm” (1955)

    One of the characteristics of the movies of the “Golden Age” studio era of filmmaking was the anesthetizing comfort they were intended to provide the audience, explaining the essential homogenized blandness in which innovation and true artistry- always enemies … Continue reading

Posted in 1950's cinema, 1950's movies, books, Culture, Drive-In Movies, Film, Film Reviews, Frank Sinatra, movie reviews, Movies, Reviews | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

MONTHLY PHOTO QUIZ VOL. 432

A FACE IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS:  JULY CLASSIC FILM IMAGES QUIZ During this month of mindless summer entertainment, it would be a good time to reflect on those glamorous images of yesteryear, those faces that filled the silver screen … Continue reading

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Don’t Let This Happen To You!: “Hollywood Rat Race” by Ed Wood, Jr.

“The fragrance of the roses has wafted to you from all directions, mostly from a bunch of smelly characters. The thorns will become even more prevalent as the flowers wither and the perfume disintegrates into thin air. The thorns of … Continue reading

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MONTHLY PHOTO QUIZ VOL. 684

  PORTRAIT OF A PHOTO AS A TRIVIALITY: JUNE CLASSIC FILM IMAGES QUIZ June is the month of Joyce. James Joyce. Actually, any month is a time for good reading, but the pressure of coming up with new and interesting … Continue reading

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At War With War: “The Green Berets” (1968)

________________________________________________________________       John Wayne’s production of “The Green Berets” (it would be ludicrous to ascribe credit to another individual) was the only Hollywood studio film to directly deal with the Vietnam War during the conflict, and would remain so for … Continue reading

Posted in 1960's movies, Culture, drive-in cinema, Drive-In Movies, Film, Film Reviews, John Wayne, movie reviews, Movies, war movies | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

ORWELL LITE: “ALPHAVILLE, UNE ETRANGE AVENTURE DE LEMMY CAUTION” (1965)

     One of the interesting characteristics of many of the young men associated with La Nouvelle Vague was their affinity toward what in higher literary circles would be regarded as trashy pulp fiction. Francois Truffaut, for example, was drawn to … Continue reading

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Troubled Waters: “Mud” (2013)

CAUTION: The following review carries a great many narrative spoilers. Viewer discretion is advised.     The coming-of-age film, as defined by over a century of example, seems to necessitate certain elemental constants, not the least of which appears to be … Continue reading

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Running on Empty: “The Place Beyond the Pines” (2013)

    When a film is lauded first and foremost for the intent of its ambition it’s a pretty clear indication that something has gone seriously amiss, as if the director should collect brownie points for what he (or she) hoped … Continue reading

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The Colour Out of Place: “South Pacific” (1958)

    The 1958 Joshua Logan film of “South Pacific” is a perfect demonstration of the value of the movie soundtrack album as a preferable experience over a film. In the former, there is much pleasure to be gained aurally … Continue reading

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Double Exposed: “My Week With Marilyn” (2011)

     “My Week With Marilyn” reacquaints the filmmaking world with an occasion to celebrate its favorite subject- itself -in an ultimately pointless exercise in dishonest nostalgia for the sake of the film world’s own self-love.  Portraying real-life personages is always … Continue reading

Posted in British films, cinema, Culture, Entertainment, Film Reviews, Films, Laurence Olivier, Marilyn Monroe, movie reviews, Movies, Reviews, Romance | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dead Man’s Hand: “The Ace of Hearts” (1921)

    It is often true that the villain is a far more interesting character than the hero of a film. The more lurid the story, the chances are that the colorful antics of villainy will far outshine the interest generated … Continue reading

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