Ghost of a Stance: “Sleuth” (2007)


0000sleuth1    Sleuth”   (2007)

    In their peculiar and particularly unsatisfying production of  Anthony Shaffer’s play “Sleuth”, scenarist Harold Pinter and director Kenneth Branagh have fashioned not so 0000sleuthOSmuch a reworking of the popular thriller, nor even merely a reinterpretation, but a savage evisceration that reduces a fizzy confection to mere bad faux Art. If Pinter’s adaptation is characterized by only the trace remains of the plot outline of the original, he seems quite content to stuff the empty carcass with his own signatory brand of elliptical, obtuse conversation and stony pauses. Compounding the felony is it is aesthetically matched-  and then some  -mise-en-scene, engulfing the action in a suffocating shroud of creeping, claustrophobic blue-tinged paralysis by the director and his cinematographer Haris Zambarlookos. Seldom has an entire filmmaking team seemed laser locked in perfect unison to the production of a singular vision so spectacularly wrongheaded on every visible level; a vision which encompasses not only a total substantive reconception of the original’s thematic core, but of the willful desire to deny entertainment. While there is nothing expressed wrong with the concept of remake by way of reinterpretation (this is actually preferable than a retread based solely upon commercially impelled creative sloth), it becomes fair critical game to question the reasoning compelling those responsible for said interpretive shift; especially with the marketing materials shamelessly s blaring BRANAGH….PINTER, as if the mere mention of the names were a generic signpost to a consumer guarantee, promising a cultural epiphany.

     Beginning with a complete rewrite of the play’s text, Pinter has transformed a deliberately stylish cat-and-mouse into an exercise in groundless tedium that is under the miscalculated delusion that ham-fisted exchanges of smirky but witless japes are a substitution for cleverness.  Even the conceptual set-up of an escalating game of wits is undone from the very start by placing the players are on an equitable footing (entirelysleuth2 foregoing the original’s blatant-  but essential  -subtext of classicism), as if both had enjoyed a prenumbetory insight into the script. Situations don’t arise from the nature flow and consequence of events, but, given the  at the convenience   even the plausibility of a necessary collapse is undone by the brevity (and thus intensity) of the set-up. What is the rush? Perhaps a realization the more extended the plotting, the more the danger of exposing the latent of transparency in the script’s trickery, which may explain but hardly excuses Branagh’s annoying penchant for distracting visual asides which fail to emphasize the obsessions of a particular character as did similar but more successful visual footnoting in Joseph L. Mankiewicz’ 1972 version. In Branagh’s hands these diversions merely feel like ill-designed attempts at padding an empty scenario with a vacuous techno bric-a-brac.

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Chandler’s Trailers: “Where Eagles Dare” (1969)

    There is not a poetic, contemplative, emotional nor genuinely human moment in ‘Where Eagles Dare”. It’s a damnably dirty dumbbell of a film, unashamedly made to excite the senses of undiscriminating viewers to whom empty, noisy and unceasing explosions, gun battles and general mayhem are acceptable substitutions for intelligence, artistry and clarity. It’s a film that shouldn’t work at any level: supremely silly, illogical and preposterous. Yet, work it does, if one doesn’t resist viewing it through a primitively visceral lens; on a level that brings the film back to reflect one of the original elemental pleasures of the cinema: the excitement of the cliffhanger with its calculatedly frequent perils and subsequent escapes; though admittedly often through means of shameless misdirection and more than a small amount of narrative flim flammery. Director Brian G. Hutton’s movie plays like a hyperactive serial with all of the boring recapitulation scenes excised and the chapter climaxes ramped up and italicized. 

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An Intimate Life: Undressing Emmanuelle by Sylvia Kristel

kristel2             Undressing Emmanuelle 
by Sylvia Kristel

    The memoirs of a Euro starlet whose greatest claim to fame was in embodying the cinematic incarnation of the eponymous character in the provocative roman a clef by Emmanuelle Arsan, Undressing Emmanuelle (originally and tellingly published in    as Nue) is a fairly unflinching portrait of fame sought, achieved and pilfered, told with surprising, unapologetic, self-critical candor that is rare in film autobiographies. It is also a bookundressing1 that is equally notable for its intimacy of human insight as well as its refusal to cater to more lurid appetites seeking an accounting of sexual sensationalism.

    Despite the public  prominence of Ms. Kristel’s screen image as a self-professed “goddess of Love” (or, perhaps more accurately, a fresh faced representation of repressed middlebrow wish fulfillment), the sparscity of graphically prurient anecdotes is both surprising and refreshing. Seekers of lurid gossip had best look elsewhere. If one is seeking an abundance of name-dropping celebrity disclosures, the book aims more directly at a subject of interest which the author clearly deems as having greater relevance in terms of having more formative and lasting influence on the Self, through which all subsequent intimacies in life are inextricably intertwined, and thus given narrative rebirth through an unforgiving filter of candid remembrance and often painful experience: family.

    The book is written in relatively short bursts of anecdotal recollections. Events are often quickly recounted with a brevity of a memory flash, forming a somewhat sporadic yet cohesive narrative which unfolds as if the reader were attendant at a most intimate therapy session. Brimming with observational insights, virtually every entry, no matter how brief, contributes an insightful rumination which builds upon the next into a patchwork quilt of unexpected emotional depth. Memoirs are the act of recollection in which a selective inclusion of events mark significant reflections of resultant character shaping knowledge and wisdom obtained; the relaying of the metamorphic effect of the cumulative imprint of personal history.

    The indelible effect which Ms. Kristel’s nakedly painful confessions cannot help but emphasize is an inescapable psychic imprint resulting from the helpless nature of childhood. Mercilessly deep insecurities born from parental discord, real or amplified by highly susceptible imagination, have a scarring effect upon her adult personality-  and subsequently, her self-destructive behavioral patterns  -which are evident in a person who has clearly surrendered her formative emotional priorities to those same parentally based anxieties. For all of her bravura, this was an individual desperate for approval and affection, who found herself at a very early age as a global cultural symbol of modern female libertinism.

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Blind Date: “Four Sided Triangle” (1953)


IS THIS THE FACE OF ROMANCE? With a lighting design such as this, is it any surprise that madness,or at least very poorly considered judgments, may be close at hand?  

                 “Four Sided Triangle”   (1953)

Commonly, science fiction films unwisely minimize (or altogether eliminate) the human element in favor of exploiting the more fantastic elements of the story, the greatest commonality of creative exhaustion manifested through the appearance of invasionaryfoursidedOS aliens or spectacular atomic mutations. Now, since SF is fundamentally engaged with science and technology and its applications in how it affects Man and how he socializes, progresses, exists;  it would seem an ungrateful contradiction to complain of a film in which the “human factor” is preeminent. Promoting such a rare divergence from the surrender to gaudy sensation is Terence Fisher’s “Four Sided Triangle”, a film in which the scientific backdrop of the story finds a pronounced catalyst in the emotional foibles of the human heart. The film’s simplistic conceit is a wish fulfillment fantasy in which romantic longing finds a second chance;  though the context of the theme’s exploration is so preposterously conceived as to surrender to the perils of even rudimentary considerations of logic, not to mention common sense. But, being that this is science fiction, what could possibly go wrong?

To read the complete review, click the following link to:

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Cesspool: “Whirlpool” (1970)

whirlpoolgif              “WHIRLPOOL”       (1970)

  “Protracted” isn’t often the first word that comes to mind when think of film thrillers, especially of the psycho-sexual variety, but a flexible vocabulary certainly comes in handy when talking about José Ramón Larraz’ directorial  debut “Whirlpool”  (AKA: “She Died With Her Boots On”), an exploitation hybrid whose offense is magnified by being marketed using extravagantly overreaching comparisons to “Psycho”, “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?” and “Repulsion”. Such unfathomable symbiotic attribution is designed to entice curious patrons of unnuanced sexually violence, but in the process of comparison there is a danger of conjuring prior artistic heights which tend to make the deficiencies of the current offering all the more obvious.

    The film wastes no time in establishing a tone of enervated dreariness with the introduction of a pair of emotionally inanimate blonde mannequins:  Theo (Karl Lanchbury), a photographer specializing in memorializing the horrified throes of women being assaulted and murdered (making the absence of  a mention of “Peeping Tom” in the advertising campaign difficult to fathom) and his Aunt Sara (Pia Andersson, bearing a distracting resemblance to a mature Tippi Hedren), who it is revealed to not be Theo’s aunt (huh?), thus relieving the film-  slightly  -from entrance into more provocative area of an incestuous relationship during the film’s confused but plentiful sexual gamesmanship. The film is essentially a chamber piece involving the aforementioned duo and Sara’s latest pickup Tulia (Vivian Neves), an aspiring model who for no apparent reason accepts an invitation to Sara’s isolated “cottage” for an open-ended holiday (with predictably escalating dire results) and who breaks into absurd metaphysical musings whenever the conversation dries up. (As Sara comments, Tulia is “susceptible to atmospheres”; the kind of dialogue straining to be taken seriously as a camouflage for all of the sleaze that is the film’s true raison d’etre.)

 To read the complete review, link the following link to:

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Night Visitors: “Invasion of the Saucer Men” (1957)


                   “Invasion of the Saucer Men”  (1957)

     A flying saucer lands in a deserted field and wreaks havoc in the lives of an alcoholic drifter, a pair of teen lovers and a misanthropic farmer. 

    It only takes a moment for “Invasion of the Saucer Men” to reveal its intention to be taken as a less than dramatic SF outing, with a merry display of humorous title card drawings and a Ronald Stein score more reminiscent of Spike Jones than the usual ominous orchestral stings for which similar 1950’s B-movie horror/SF scores were noted. This lightness of tone results  in a somewhat  paradoxical final product in which an adherence to the formula genre tropes of nocturnal menace are presented with a cavalier pie-in-the-eye tone that is amusing to a point.

    The film follows the typical generational denial of credibility in getting the thick-headed authorities to notice what is going on right under their very trooper hats (a considerably new but surprisingly predictable trope considering that at the time the prominence of teens within the genre was in it’s relative infancy), and, most importantly, the usual body count of disposable human victims. Oddly, the lighter tone works to nudge the obvious absurdities inherent in the genre, though the lightness of tone is at the mercy of the inventiveness of screenwriter, whose idea of fun is often indecipherable from the strait faced target of his parody. Is this a symptom of a genre which has already sunk to trivial depths and boxed itself into an unapologetic repetition of unchallenging tropes, or is absurdity of the formula resistant to a dramatic presentation bereft of any camp value?

To read the complete review, click the following link to:

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Up in the Air: “Battle of Britain: The Making of a Film” by Leonard Mosley

Sieg Huh?: German advisers failing to appreciate that the British have a right to feel a bit testy about the Blitz and the attempted invasion of England is just one of the many incongruous moments vividly retold in Leonard Mosely’s highly entertaining and informative Battle of Britain: The Making of a Film.

Battle of Britain: The Making of a Film by Leonard Mosley

    Even the most ardent auteurist, once their proclivity toward overzealous artistic deification is tranquilized, will eventually admit that film making is a collective creative process, though most “insider” books maintain an enthrallment with the generally accepted hierarchy of status and celebrity which comes with starstruck adoration limited to either the director or actor. Thus is the ingloriously myopic limitation of ambition with which most of most contemporary cinematic “how it was done” books are executed and conceived. Happily Leonard Mosley’s highly readable Battle of Britain: The Making of  a Film is a most welcome exception to this rule; a detailed yet thoroughly accessible journal of an incredibly complex low-tech but ambitiously physical production that curiously becomes a narrative filled with more suspense, humor and drama than the subject film.

    Fortunately, for this story behind an all-star production, there is an intelligently deliberate aversion toward putting the focus of the book’s interests on the performers; the usual reliance on the casting process and subsequent colorful tales of on-set clashing egos is missing, wisely substituted with incidents that forego gossip in the interest of anecdotes which illuminate the mechanics of the collective creative process and the delicate balance by which director and producers must negotiate unforeseen crises of clashing cultures and cruelly uncooperative Nature.  Ultimately, the stars of “Battle of Britain” are not the actors themselves, but the airplanes through which the wartime recreations are possible. In an exhaustive search which is more times than not rewarded through sheer luck, Mosley records the unceasing attendance to the minutiae necessary in physically coordinating and realizing a massive multinational production depicting the German attempt to decimate the R.A.F. as a precursor to the invasion of Great Britain. Recounted are endless meetings and negotiations with film distributors and backers, many of whom-  as in the case with the illustrious Rank Organization  -find their initial enthusiasm in having  an association with such a patriotically prestigious enterprise softened by a requisite commitment of financial resource. As Mosley practically illustrates, regardless of the stars, the story or the creative integrity of a project, filmmaking is ultimately a matter of money.

To read the complete review, click the following link to:   




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A Case for Cautionary Galoshes: Classic Film Images Photo Quiz; Sept. 2017 Edition; Vol. 40

A Case for Cautionary Galoshes: Classic Film Images Photo Quiz; Sept. 2017 Edition; Vol. 40

    Occasionally life mirrors popular art (like when the invented adventures of one Baron Munchausen have recently been updated in a “nonfiction” version entitled What Happened [AKA, How Come My Husband is More Popular Than I When He’s Such a Dick?]), though that mirroring is not always a friendly reminder of those elements in which we casually find vicarious entertainment value, despite the fact that the source of amusement be of a nature that might be abhorrent or, at least, unlikely to be welcomed in the context of a rapidly disappearing perspective called reality; such as extreme violence or bumping into Elizabeth Taylor. Such, sad to say at this time, it is with the subject of floods, a phenomenon quite irksome in the real world, while providing safe fixes of visceral thrills in the continuously hyper-stimulated bag of tricks we call the cinema. (Not to mention that the rise of real world heroism and selfless humanitarianism eclipses and shatters the self-perpetuated myths of those lecturing, preening Hollywood phonies whose experience with genuine heroics comes no closer than standing in front of a green screen.) So, with this in mind, and with all deference to those good folks of the Lone Star State, we present this month’s edition of America’s most trusted source of cerebral irritation. the Classic Film Images Photo Quiz, brought to you, as always, by SKITTLESAmerica’s favorite organic artificially flavored breakfast candy. In this challenge we give attention to those films which feature that enemy to basement apartment dwellers everywhere: the flood. Each of the following twelve images are taken from film which feature an inconvenient excess of water as a major element or climax. The challenge, as always, is to correctly identify the following twelve images. The first to do so will receive the increasingly rare CSR Culture Shock award, entirely usable as a fishing lure while trout fishing. Good luck.













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Where’s the Pork?: “The Ramen Girl” (2008)


ramengirl5         “The Ramen Girl”    (2008)

     Much that is wrong with the modern American cinema is not the limited to the widespread gravitation toward an increasingly youthful demographic and the immature cultural curiosity to which it is gleefully and voluntarily mired, nor the industry reliance ramengirlOSon recycling past successes with remakes featuring newly minted though woefully insufficient faces who fail to grasp the significance of appreciable screen presence, but what is alarmingly present in many, especially commercial populist variety, of the newer Hollywood features is a reliance on the memory of cinema as opposed to drawing from experience in something called “life” (and this will include the once vaunted but now homogenized “independent” splinter of the American filmmaking community, whose rebellious creative ideology has been sadly subsumed by the cheap allure of the attainment of an undeserved status within a “counterculture” by way of, or worse, being screened at any one of the myriad of film festivals which have uselessly proliferated like fleas on a feral cat since the implementation and premature canonization of the Sundance Film Festival.

    Abby (Brittany Murphy) is a young American who, almost immediately upon arriving in Tokyo, is abandoned by her callow boyfriend, sending her into a brief emotional funk highlighted by sudden flares of hallucinatory portents. During a particularly vulnerable evening, she visits a local ramen shop and pours out her heart to the proprietor/chef Maezumi (Toshiyuki Nishida) and his wife Reiko (Kimiko Yo), both concerned and puzzled by this sudden outburst since neither speaks English. Abby is appreciative of their kindness and the ramen soup, and in due course is seized by a new career calling, cajoling Maezumi into becoming her ramen sensei.

To read the complete review, click the following link to:

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What a Dip: Classic Film Images Photo Quiz, August 2017 Edition, Vol. H2O

What a Dip: Classic Film Images Photo Quiz, August 2017 Edition, Vol. H2O

    During the current climate in which it seems many who should know better, by all appearances, are all wet, allow us to present this month’s installment of America’s favorite early symptom of premature mental decay, the Classic Film Images Photo Quiz, brought to you this episode by FRIENDS OF SKITTLES, the national coalition aimed at putting daily doses of America’s favorite brain candy in every child’s lunchbox. Already some may feel confusion that the title of this month’s puzzle post is the same at that of the originally announced title of Hillary Clinton’s latest volume of remembrances, but the Great Lady has graciously conceded to change hers in the interest of national security and a not insubstantial envelope of untraceable twenties. Since August is a time of recreation, relaxation and marking out mildly profane ideograms about a certain Fat Guy from North Korea on bathroom stalls throughout the Tri-State area, it is also time harken back (if one is so flexible) and consider those wondrous films in which Life comes to a standstill while the siren call of watery pleasures are succumbed to in a variety of circumstances. Who doesn’t enjoy a few cooling laps in the briny? Or a refreshing Bloody Mary? (But that’s an entirely different quiz.) With this in mind, we present the following sixteen images, each taken from a film in which a character or characters indulge in a bit of the old dog paddle. The first reader to correctly identify all sixteen film images will receive the coveted CSR Culture Shock Award, easily framable or useful as an emergency flotation device. Good luck.

















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Duh is the New Sexy: “About Cherry” (2012)


        “About Cherry”  (2012)

In days of old, the pastor, priest or conveniently situated village moral wag would extend the quivering finger of damnation at those to whom the communal boundaries of decency were found to be disrupted through alarming breaches of acceptable conduct. Nowadays, Civilization may take comfort that the tradition of condescending damnation by way of self-appointed moral superiority has been rejuvenated by that most unlikely of suitably qualified candidates: Hollywood (or, more accurately, the independent filmmaking community), whose occasional acknowledgement of its “unclean” idiot cousin from the seamy Valley, of late, appears to generate a surprisingly sympathetic dimestore philosophical view on the subject of the professional sex worker. However credible Tinseltown’s moral posturing is on any subject, the prevailing viewpoint now expressed indicates a redirection from dismissal and condemnation to a more empathetic gaze; an unexplained, antithetical reversal from moral immoderacy to blind altruistic acceptance brought on by an intellectually lackadaisical extension of political correctness.  Equally curious is the concurrent attitudinal shift resulting in the subsequent elevation of the denizens of the porn industry (inexplicably portrayed here as morally superior and enjoying greater emotionally stability) and a devaluation of the remainder of the human population; an abstractive nobility of ideals suddenly finds itself an unlikely bedfellow with the ignobility of exhibitionistic action.

Somewhat hypocritically, this sugar coated aggrandizement of the “adult” industry is merely a cosmetic application of high-minded tolerance that sounds edifying in press releases but does little to explain why such liberality does not extend to real-life participation of genuine porn “talent” (that which might exist) within the lofty gates of Hollywood studio productions (in non-sexual roles or otherwise, [see “Inside Deep Throat”]), nor has there been any movement toward that once predicted bridge between mainstream commercial cinema and explicit sexual content. If anything, the move to a greater immaturity in subject matter, especially toward film explorations of adult themes. which might find even a modest interpolation of sexually graphic content (not necessarily hardcore) thematically contributory, have been virtually erased within the confines of the  mainstream corporate system, contributing to the continuing stunting of the evolutionary advancement of the art form through an insatiable economic appetite catering to the celebration of the infantile.

To read the complete review, click the following link to:

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Smeared: “Lipstick” (1976)


COME HITHER: Is this the face that launched a thousand criminal impulses? That and a thousand other questions will find no solution in the loathsome”Lipstick”.

       “LIPSTICK”     (1976)

What is it about certain truly bad movies and their ability to provoke heated (as opposed to passionate) and angry (as opposed to intelligent) argumentation (as opposed to debate) in a way that few exceptional films lend to similar occasions of provocation?  Such an example of a cinematic offering  examining legitimately provocative themes in an illegitimate manner-  befitting the perspective of a sexual predator  -is Lamont Johnson’s infuriatingly prurient 1976 film “Lipstick”; the boundaries of  film’s thematic pop culture psychological entanglement, crossing from the subliminal to the consciously overt, becomes the excuse for a not so thinly veiled lipstickOSexercise in unbridled misogyny masquerading as a social statement. In that regard, it might be a generally useful caveat to beware of films which include empowered female legal representatives, whose sole function is to accommodate the appetites of indignant righteousness, as they are usually included only as an excuse for the filmmakers to then feel the justification to exploit the most rancid, salacious aspects of their subject with a self-endorsement of enlightened impunity. It’s shameless exploitation under the guise of high-minded righteousness.

For a film which eventually reveals to have little on its mind, it asks a great deal from its audience, raising provocative issues which it’s not prepared to accommodate; for instance, the possibility of a connective catalyst existing between the industry of seductive, sexually charged imagery in high fashion glamour and an unintended response in the form of desirous action to that stimulus; touching upon a popular psychological excuse for aberrant, extreme (usually violent) social behavior, though disclaiming any genuine insight nor willingness to consider the any contemplation beyond the most shamelessly convenient which allows for the most profane exploitation of the lead actress, debuting  model Margaux Hemingway (grand-daughter of the literary Papa) and, even more revoltingly, her real-life younger sister Mariel, here playing fictional siblings who are menaced both by the same predatory character.

To read the complete review, click the following link to:


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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 extends even to that most unlikely denizens of the cinema celebrity circus, the movie critic. If most biographies of writers seem perfunctory at best and redundantly irrelevant at their worst (why not read the author’s work and let them speak for themselves?), then a personal exploration into the life and times of the movie critic might find a particularly prominent position on the dais of the useless, for if one wishes to penetrate the individual critic’s mind, would not the best method be to read a collection of their opinions? That is, unless the writings of the critic were deemed unenlightening, or, worse yet, insincere.

Nowhere within the pages of Owen Gleiberman’s memoirs, appropriately titled Movie Freak is there a convincing argument for the necessity of the book. There are the usual accumulated influences which percolate in forming a person’s thoughts and aspirations, including a pronounced lifelong schism with his pathologically dispassionate father and intellectually stifled mother, which are rich in the pain such emotional remoteness can instill in a child of any age.

To read the complete review, click the following link to:

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Build the Wall: Classic Film Images Photo Quiz, July 2017 Edition, Vol. 1812

Build the Wall: Classic Film Images Photo Quiz, July 2017 Edition, Vol. 1812

Walls are structural. Walls are decorative. It seems that, lately, talk of building walls has become in vogue, as the attractiveness of just thinking about constructing barriers useful in keeping out undesirables (Alec Baldwin comes to mind) gets the old patriotic blood kicking with a full foamy head of adrenaline. In this spirit we present this month’s edition of the most feared propaganda weapon against North Korea (go ahead and shoot Fat Boy, it’s only California), the Classic Film Images Photo Quiz, brought to you this month by the makers of SKITTLESAmerica’s favorite fruity dietary supplement. In this edition we celebrate the wall and its timely and fortunate appearances in film. The following twelve images are taken from movies which importantly feature a wall. Simple enough. As is the selection of stills which have been carefully chosen for their ease of identification. (Happy summer!) The first 1776 to correctly identify all twelve images will receive the coveted CSR Culture Shock Award, flash frozen for healthy consumption for up to twenty five years. Good luck.













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Summer Beach Books: Classic Film Images Photo Quiz, June 2017 Edition, Vol. 925

Summer Beach Books:  Classic Film Images Photo Quiz, June 2017 Edition, Vol. 925

At the dawn of the upcoming summer vacation season, it can never be too early to begin the selection process in making seasonal selections of those printed items which tell stories about people other than ourselves (yes Snowflakes, there really is an entire universe outside of the reach of your selfie sticks!), to be enjoyed while carelessly lolling on the sandy beaches of the resort world’s  to the financial benefit of dermatologists around the globe. We are, of course, talking about books, and more specifically books that find happy recommendation for beach reading. However, rather than the usual franchise potboilers, tawdry romances or celebrity tell alls (which, ironically, usually spend a great deal of time identifying just who the hell they are and why they imagine we should care), we are taking this occasion to exalt the merits of those timeless works of literature which have found popular representation in both comic and cinematic forms. Which, not so coincidentally, brings us to the theme of this month’s edition of America’s most fascinating source of cultural, political, religious and existential confusion, the monthly Classic Film Images Photo Quiz, brought to you today by the dedicated people who strive, despite progressive lefty interference, to bring the Free World SKITTLES, America’s favorite non-genetically altered breakfast candy. In this edition we celebrate those film which have found inspiration from some of the greatest and most enduring written works known to all but the current crop of collegiate parasites, with an emphasis on those works which have also been popularly represented by the Classics Illustrated Comics series. Your job is to identify the films from which the following twelve images have been taken. The first to successfully complete this task will receive the highly respected CSR Culture Shock Award, good for three nights free stay at the Gulag of your choice. Good luck.













Posted in book reviews, books, Boston, comic books, History, horror, movie reviews, Movies, Mystery, Reviews, Romance, theater, women, writing | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Poe in the Cinema: “The Oblong Box” (1969)


         “The Oblong Box”  (1969)

      Gordon Hessler’s “The Oblong Box” is a tepid and dishonest attempt at a continuation of American International’s ongoing Edgar Allan Poe inspired series of films which began with Roger Corman’s 1959 “House of Usher”, though the film’s interpolated voodoo elements have nothing to do with the author’s story (frankly, nor do any of the film’s story elements), where even the most cursory examination of the oblongboxOSproduction discloses the mere use of the 1844 short story’s title as an excuse to lay claim to an associative thread. The marketing department’s claim of the film representing a Poe tale of “the living dead” is a complete fabrication, though certain to be sending impressionable novice Poe enthusiasts back to the original story which is bound to not only confound expectations but unjustly disappoint the reader searching for a material remotely similar to the supposed film representation, quite clouding the achievements of one of Poe’s lesser known but more accessible tales of the macabre. This last description may also incorrectly categorize the story as having characteristic elements of grotesquerie- the central mystery as to the purpose and contents of the “oblong box” may yield such suspicions, though the denouement reveals such presumptions to be in error, as the story’s true core is more in concert with the author’s tragic lamentations of the obsessively felt loss of an all-consuming love equally expressed in the poems The City in the Sea, Annabel Lee and The Raven rather than a story commensurate with the lurid aspects of Grand Guignol. One can only imagine the apoplectic reaction at the exploitation minded AIP to a suggestion they produce a an unmotivated series of Poe movie purely- even with the retention of its central mystery intact  -lodged in the realm of romantic longueur! Also, given the propensity for increased- and often unmotivated- save for gratuitous effect  -graphic violence and nudity in the series, especially in vehicles which have equally feeble association with Poe’s work, despite the possessive marketing claims (“The Conqueror Worm”, “Cry of the Banshee”). it became a certainty that whatever form the project was to take, the inclusion of such gratuity would be part of the unfaithful filmization. These exploitative elements are particularly glaring in “The Oblong Box” as they tend to arise involving peripheral characters who bear little to no importance to the film. Indeed, the newly minted narrative credited to Lawrence Huntington and Christopher Wicking is little more than a derivative excuse for a series of unmotivated murders, all depicted without any sense of mystery and not a whit of suspense. Seldom have so many suffered for so little effect.

To view the complete review, click the following link to: 

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мать, Mayday I?: Classic Film Images Photo Quiz; May 2017 Edition; Vol. 80 proof

мать, Mayday I?:  Classic Film Images Photo       Quiz; May 2017 Edition; Vol. 80 proof

     Greetinks Komrades. Admittedly it was a difficult task to conceive of, compile and complete this month’s edition of Amerika’s favorite non-nuclear capitalist defensive weapon, the monthly Classic Film Images Photo Quiz, as the antennae of paranoid suspicion unleashed, first by an unhinged- but unnamed, as we’d like to think that chivalry has not expired  -former first lady and presidential candidate whose pathological refusal to admit  to her many, many…. many (many) flaws (and her injudicious use of witchcraft) aroused disappointed believers (though still not Bill) to explain the collapse of her false divinity, has created the world’s greatest fictitious mole hunt. Suddenly there have emerged more red herrings and incidents of Red Baiting since the Cold War. Seldom has reason and common sense been so mislaid in a squalid and selfish attempt at face saving while risking a hotbed (miraculously Bill-free) of diplomatic instability in the process. (Perhaps… a Re-re-set button is in order?) Now, what does any of this have to do with this month’s edition of Pravda’s most admired brain buster, the Classic Film Images Photo Quiz? (Brought to you, as always, by those fine importers of SKITTLES, America’s most addictive over-the-counter, breakfast candy) Actually, not a helluva lot, but any attempt to sow the seeds (oddly, still not Bill’s) of confusion among the literary set is a day well spent. In any case, in this edition, we celebrate those most offended of world companions (currently anyway), the Russians. The following twelve images depict a film in which a Russian character is prominent. Your job is to ferret out the interloper of Democratic e-mail security and to report your findings to the Central Committee and CSR. The first to do so will receive the coveted CSR Culture Shock Award, good for a free weekend stay at the gulag of your choice. Good luck.













Posted in biography, books, Cold War, comedy, dance, Film, History, humor, movie reviews, Movies, Mystery, politics, Reviews, Romance, women, writing | Leave a comment

Are Those Odor Eaters Or Are You Just Glad To See Me?; Classic Film Images Photo Quiz, April 2017 Edition, Vol. 46%

Are Those Odor Eaters Or Are You Just Glad To See Me?; Classic Film Images Photo Quiz, April 2017 Edition, Vol. 46%

    Being that films are occasionally regarded as “motion” pictures, it seems reasonable that in bringing a beloved monthly institution to realization, one might avail one’s self to use materials which portray those occasions when the static camera comes alive and follows the pseudo-sapien subject (actor, in layman’s parlance) in the act of physical exertion. (and we aren’t even referencing the redoubtable, highly persecuted [ Just Ask Her!] and honorifically overindulged [Just Ask CSR!] La Diva Streep, who might be tormented by circumstances which would demand of her to actually lift the champagne flute to her own pampered maw.) In this instance we are talking about the activity of running… or the foot chase… or the hot-footed pursuit… or the… well, you get the idea. And with this noble purpose in mind, we proudly introduce this month’s edition of America’s most challenging waste of time, the monthly Classic Film Images Photo Quiz, brought to you be the folks who make and distribute SKITTLES, America’s most beloved breakfast appetizer. In this edition, we focus on running in films, either in an individually memorable sequence or as a contributory basis of a major thematic element. The following twelve pictures each feature a scene from a film in which the act of putting one foot in front of the other at an accelerated pace is either in effect, implied or has or will be acted upon. (You think it’s easy coming up with this twisted nonsense?) The first to identify all twelve films from which the images were surgically (and painfully, truth be told) removed will received that most valued yet disposable (irony, ain’t it a hoot?) of prizes, the CSR Culture Shock Award. Good luck.














Posted in books, crime, Film, horror, humor, Jim Brown, movie reviews, Movies, Mystery, Reviews, westerns, women | 1 Comment

If I Fell: Classic Film Images Photo Quiz; March 2017 Edition, Vol. 543210

fell0If I Fell: Classic Film Images Photo Quiz; March 2017 Edition, Vol. 543210

    If life teaches us anything, it is that gravity is not our friend (neither are silly award show envelope fumbling accountants [Fake News Encounters of the Streepian Kind] nor certain Massachusetts senators of the female persuasion for whom the idea of a daily dose of a knapsack full of Prozac might be a practical idea), as it is an uncooperative force of nature, especially when you find your bowl of soup slopping all over that nice clean pair of spats. Still, the very existence of Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation (Written subsequent to his Law of Unentitled Gratification, which states: “never take ‘personal’ reverse mortgage advice from a celebrity shill whose own annual income exceeds eight figures”) which persists in allowing deplorable oak trees to bounce acorns off of your beanie, is enough to make one presume partisan Divine intervention (Though, surely, there must be some Minority Leader Munchausen Chorus who insist upon a conspiratorial link within the fictitious but still highly Rosie-flammable Russian/Trump/Wolf connection), unless one is ready to concede the existence of a vast cadre of malicious squirrels who make sport of bombardier targeting the human cranium. With this in mind, we present this month’s edition of America’s favorite deregulated pastime, the Classic Film Images Photo Quiz,fellgif brought to you by those fascinating folk who sell and distribute nickel bags of SKITTLES, America’s most addictive breakfast candy. In this edition we celebrate (or, at least, find an excuse for another puzzle comprised of stills with a suspiciously shallow connection) the physical act of uncontrollably moving rapidly in southern direction in the movies. The following twelve images each feature a cinema scene in which the featured player is in the act of, precipitating the act of, or reacting to the act of falling, with subsequent results ranging from a boo boo to a crushing cessation of the vitals. (Curtains, pal.) Your job, is to create imaginary chalk outlines around the characters and  swiftly, cleanly and painlessly identify from which twelve films these images have been lifted. The first to correctly identify all twelve will receive the gluten free CSR Culture Shock Award, more prized than any Chinese endangered species-based aphrodisiac, and without the vulgar aftertaste. Good luck.














Posted in books, comedy, Film, History, Hitchcock, horror, humor, movie reviews, Movies, politics, religion, Reviews, women, writing | 2 Comments

Dangerous Dames: Classic Film Images Photo Quiz, Feb. 2017, Vol. 36-24-36

dames33Dangerous Dames: Classic Film Images Photo Quiz, Feb. 2017 Edition, Vol. 36-24-36

     “Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble”: resounds the infamous witch’s incantation exemplified by the vomitable vaudeville warblings currently on display by the intellectually challenged trio of Beltway harridans who have become the new Age of Non-Reason’s congressional equivalent of the Andrews Sisters by way of the Antichristess: Waters-Pelosi-and Warren. This bleating triumvirate of Hillarytown’s morally abortive scrapings cannot help but conjure a reexamination of every guy’s periodically contemplated inquiry: no, not Why Can’t a Woman Be More Like A Man?, but, What’s the Deal?: or, is there any more misunderstood, contradictory, frustrating example of the female of the species than women? (Huh?) The current hysterical clarion call for lunatic militant sisterhood (Ashley Judd and Madonna in 2020!) flies in the face of more realistic (and traditional) catty internecine infighting among the “gentler” sex which more often than not rejects an individual’s ideal of happiness and accomplishment for a forcibly unified gender coalition eschewing nice for (according to Her Squawness Liz Warren)damesgif1 “nasty” as the new accepted version of the “Yes we can”/Rosie the Riveter pioneering spirit, though in a new philosophical incarnation whose sole purpose seems, not the advancement of the fairer gender, but the rusty bladed emasculation of both “uncooperative” women and the contemporary class of pasty androgyny (the Schumer factor) which occasionally identifies itself (on those rare occasions when they display any spinal fortitude) as Men. With this in mind, we present this month’s episode of America’s most divisive yet endearing game of wits, the Classic Film Images Photo Quiz, brought to you by those good folks who regularly prescribe SKITTLES, America’s favorite nutritional supplement. In this edition we celebrate cinema personifications of those soft and sensitive kittens who just happen to be uncomfortably familiar with impulses and instincts less than pure, and more comfortable with the criminally unhinged. The first to correctly identify all thirteen will be the proud recipient of the ticklish CSR Culture Shock Award, satisfying difficult to please women since just prior to Hawaiian statehood. Good luck.














Posted in books, crime, Film, film noir, horror, humor, movie reviews, Movies, politics, Reviews, women, writing | 1 Comment

Time is a Cruel Mistress: Classic Film Images Photo Quiz, Jan. 2017 Edition, Vol. 1812

time3Time is a Cruel Mistress: Classic Film Images Photo Quiz, Jan. 2017 Edition, Vol. 1812

    One of the odd paradoxes occurring with each New Year’s holiday is the assertion that it is a year later, when in fact it is merely the passing of a single day. It all depends on your point of view. The confusion may arise due to excessive alcohol consumption or perhaps, as a consequence of an insatiable need that some social misfits seem to have to fashion their appearance with unwieldy neon eye wear in the shape of the emerging calendar year while standing in a frozen celebratory square best characterized by the combined aromatics of body odor and urine. However, the question is that of time, its proper measuring and the use with which the sentient individual makes of it. Time can be wasted. Time can be marked. Time is also money; calculable on an instrument as basic as a Timex (“takes a licking and keeps on ticking”, bragged John Cameron Swayze, though the same claim quite possibly have been similarly made about legendary adult film star Vanessa Deltimegif Rio) or as needlessly excessive as a Rolex (the question arises: does one need a timepiece which will endure nine atmospheres if one’s Spring jaunt to the planet Jupiter has been postponed?). And with this bit of introductory hokum, we, once again, present yet another in the never-ending series of mind bender commonly referred to as the Classic Film Images Photo Quiz, brought to you this month by those lugubrious folks who advertise and market SKITTLES, America’s most nutritious breakfast candy. In this edition, we address the filmic concept of time; its nature, its length and its relativity, especially how it stands still during visits from unwelcome in-laws. Each of the following twelve images is a scene from a film in which time is a major factor. Your job is to identify the twelve films and report your findings to the proper authorities: reporting back here might be a good suggestion, but if you also wish to bug the switchboards at the executive offices of the ACLU and the DNC, go to town. The first to correctly identify all twelve will receive the impeccably coiffed CSR Culture Shock Award, the world’s only irony-free cultural bestowal. Good luck.













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The Gift That Keeps On Giving: Classic Film Images Photo Quiz, Dec. 2016 Edition, Vol. 241

xdec1The Gift That Keeps on Giving:  Classic Film Images Photo Quiz, Dec. 2016 Edition, Vol. 241

    It is said that it is better to give than to receive, though this overlooks the fact that in the act of charity you are selfishly placing the recipient of your “goodness” in a compromising position of forced gratitude and, perhaps, financially draining reciprocation. Shame on you! However, with the impending season of brotherhood, charity, good tidings and good will toward Men (including all public bathroom permutations of this most politically offensive of gender identifications) upon us, we must keep in mind that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. So, by extension of such a fundamental law of nature, feelings of goodness and charity will inevitably lead to ill-tempered behavior and hostilities, or, in other words, the Salvation Army was responsible for Pearl Harbor.   Which brings us to this month’s edition of xdecgifAmerica’s favorite gender neutral waste of time: the monthly Classic Film Images Photo Quiz, brought to you this and always by those fine folks who distribute and sell SKITTLES, the favorite breakfast candy of the Free World since the passage of the 19th Amendment. In this edition we spotlight the marvelous process of gift giving and receiving in all of it’s forms In each of the following twelve images, there is a movie scene depicting the  act of giving, receiving, or the giver, recipient or actual subject of a gift (how’s that for complications?). Your mission, as always, is to identify the twelve films from which the images have been taken. The first to do so, successfully, will receive the highly prized and equally feared CSR Culture Shock Award, an honorarium banned from forty nine different New England college campuses, as it’s very presence is enough to send the precious young featherbrains into therapy. Good luck, and to all a good night.













Posted in books, Christmas, Film, History, humor, movie reviews, Movies, Musicals, Reviews, Romance, westerns, women, writing | 3 Comments

“Get Off Our Land, White Man” (The Rest of You Too): Classic Film Images Photo Quiz, November 2016 Edition, Vol. 1620

how10“Get Off Our Land, White Man” (The Rest of You Too): Classic Film Images Photo Quiz, November 2016 Edition, Vol. 1620

   This year, the season of Thanksgiving finds greater than normal reasons to give thanks, not the least of which is that the American public can finally breathe a sigh of relief for the end of the seemingly eternal intrusion of a handful of disgracefully unqualified egos foisting their rank ambitions upon us in the longest and most abrasive job interview in history. (Surely, if there were any excuse for contributing to the number of permanently unemployed it would be the inclusion of this handful of moral and intellectual retrobates.) Certainly, if the Native American participants of the first Thanksgiving had known what howgifwas in store for future generations, they might have acted with greater foresight than a sharing of nuts and berries, and instead could have started a dandy collection of decorous but oily scalps from future Democrats and Republicans. So, in deference to the short-sighted visionaries known more intimately by the staff of CSR as cousins Lithe Fawn and Howling Bear With Impacted Molar, we present this month’s edition of the Colonies’ favorite monthly holistic prescription for acute nausea, the Classic Film Images Photo Quiz, brought to you this month by those medicine men who bring us SKITTLES, America’s favorite Breakfast energy booster. In this edition, we celebrate Hollywood’s portrayal of the Native American throughout the years, and occasionally (purely by casting oversight, you understand) played by actual Native Americans. The following twelve images all depict a movie scene featuring an American Injun in all of their wincing, snarling or contemplative glory. Your task, is to circle the wagons, hide the women folk and correctly identify the films from which all twelve images were derived. The first to hit all twelve on the proverbial noggin will receive the coveted CSR Culture Shock Award, redeemable for a fistful of wampum or an island suitable for a New York borough. Good luck.

01) how6













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The Girl With Something Extra: “Lucy” (2014)

0000000000lucy1   “Lucy”  (2014)

     Sometimes you get the opinion that certain directors watch far too many films and that they just cannot restrain themselves from emulating what it is that has already excited them on the screen. If one is in the mood for a smattering of John Woo’s “Hard-Boiled” mixed with lesser parts “Altered00000000000000000lucyOS States”, “Koyaanisqatsi”, “Scanners”,  “2001: A Space Odyssey” and “D.O.A”,  then “Lucy” might be your particular blend of intellectual hemlock. French director Luc Besson continues his fascination with the empowered woman who is simultaneously emboldened with both superhuman abilities and high powered weaponry; a partnership that might seem either unnecessary or contradictory, but certainly makes for a stylish, if predictable, brand of mayhem.

    In Besson’s universe, violence isn’t an eruption, but a kinetic ballet; though in lacking a resonant aesthetic shaking core comparable (even in ambition, if not execution) to Peckinpah’s seminal ballets of bullets and blood in “The Wild Bunch”, it fails to elicit little more than comparisons (especially in this case considering the ethnicity of the lead criminals) to the run of the mill Hong Kong shoot-em-up, violence in a Besson film is not used as a means to an end, but simply as a substitution for more intellectual pursuits; which is odd considering the consistent window dressing of  tacked-on grandiosity mated with criminally undeveloped philosophical ambitions.

To read the complete review, click the following link to:

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Bugged: “The Andromeda Strain” (1971)



     The evolutionary characteristics that would come to define the post-atomic bomb SF genre emerged, not coincidentally, with striking similarities to Hollywood’s failing classic horror film, which after the real-life atrocities visited upon the0000andromedaOS civilized world throughout World War II, seemed almost childish and certainly preternaturally dated; the menace of cloaked or stumbling representatives of the undead or resurrected dead being hardly comparable to wholesale destruction of cities and peoples, or the unspeakable atrocities commonplace in Nazi death camps, and during the period of postwar psychic healing it was evident that a newly honed sophistication was in order to usurp the cinematic diet of Gothic based terrors in favor of a new modernity in the nourishment of nightmare scenarios.

     The baby steps taken by the post-War SF film engaged the genre in the briefest gestative flirtation with more realistically grounded procedural verisimilitude-  leaning on aspects of mystery (“Spaceways”), adventure (“Rocketship X-M”) and docudrama (Destination: Moon”)  -in which existent genre tropes are used to give narrative integrity to what are essentially how-to primers in escaping the gravitational pull of the Big Blue Planet. Grandiose scientific concepts, many condescendingly thought to be too complex for the audience to grasp, were cloaked in the comforting embrace of overly familiar (and therefore less challenging) cinematic surroundings that burdened a genre- which by its very nature should energize the speculative imagination  -with a storytelling attitude bordering on the mundane. However, even this kitchen sink approach to the emerging vista of space exploration was short-lived. Disappointingly, rather than pursuing a continuance of speculative considerations of Man’s place in the universe, the SF film quickly plunged into a degenerative intellectual descent. Thus a brief flirtation invested with a loftier philosophical bent was waylaid in favor endless conflicts with xenomorphic 0000ANDROMEDA5species-  either extraterrestrial or the product of an incautious evolution of atomic energy  -that favored the seemingly invulnerable destructive menace inherent in a robotic Gort rather than the more pedantic course of Klaatu in Robert Wise’s seminal SF wake-up call “The Day the Earth Stood Still”; a dramatically shortsighted trend which downplays the importance of the human element, most prominently in the important development of full-bodied characters (ironically, Michael Rennie’s Klaatu is one of the most memorable and interesting characters in the genre, yet it is the stolid countenance of the robotic sentinel which has eclipsed the face of human reason in the cultural pantheon).

To read the complete review, click the following link to:



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Who Was That Masked Man and/or Lady?: Classic Film Images Photo Quiz, Oct. 2016 Edition, Vol. 00/00

oct16gifWho Was That Masked Man (and/or) Lady?: Classic Film Images Photo Quiz, October 2016 Edition, Vol. 00/00

    With the arrival of the traditional time of year for the emergence of chain rattling ghosts of the past, evil goblins, hideous unnatural demons and hordes of masquerading moochers running from door to door with their little entitled hands out (yes, kiddies, it’s election time), we proudly present the latest edition of America’s favorite favorite brain scrambler (excluding, of course, those scandalously cheating crosswords printed daily in Pravda oct16gifbWest [along with the rest of “All the News That’s Fit to Prevaricate”]) the monthly Classic Film Images Photo Quiz, brought to you this and every month by those good folks engaged in the interstate smuggling (thanks to Obama Executive Order 4331-C, which prohibits the selling or distribution of any product which brings fun or enjoyment to a “lazy” American population whose time is better off sitting and reflecting over historic wrongs the White House deems appropriately unpardonable) of SKITTLES, America’s favorite non-prescription placebo substitute. In this edition, we celebrate that which disguises the features and deters detection of a person’s true identity. No, not the Clinton Dirty Tricks Machine, but the simple but effective mask. The following twelve movie images each features a character donning the charming facial appliance. Your task: to identify the films from which all dozen images originate and demonstrate the fortitude to inform us of your deductions. The first reader to correctly identify all twelve films will become the proud and envied recipient of the legendary CSR Culture Shock Award. Good luck.













Posted in books, erotica, Film, Film Reviews, History, humor, movie reviews, Movies, Reviews, Romance, women | 1 Comment

Why Can’t a Woman Be More Like a Man?: Classic film Photo Quiz, Sept. 2016 Edition; Vol. 362436

septphoto3Why Can’t a Woman Be More Like a Man?: Classic Film Photo Quiz, Sept. 2016 Edition, Vol. 362436

    If the events of the recent political season have taught us anything, it’s that women have achieved a true equality with men in the valued fields of duplicity, egomania, corruption and unappetizing psychological disorder, though indicators are legion that (at least if the leading news/unscrupulously biased broadcast opinion platforms are of any reliability) women may have it all over the beer bellied set when it comes to sociopathic prevarication: sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, but it takes a villagesunblvd3 to willfully conceal a liar. With that happy bit of folk wisdom we present this month’s tribute to the Gods of Forked Tongues and Smoked Meat (Writing this stuff is hunger inducing.), in other words, the latest edition of America’s favorite nonprescription aphrodisiac, the Classic Film Photo Quiz, dedicated this month to those rascals at the Teamsters who deliver this great nation  with its daily fix of SKITTLES, the only traditional breakfast candy that tastes like freedom. In this edition, we celebrate (and, in a playfully misogynistic manner, certainly question the competency of) the role of women as leaders in business, politics and just plain general bossiness, as depicted in the movies. Taking our inspiration from a certain unmentioned former First Lady, who took it upon herself to wear the pants in the family out of sheer necessity since her spouse more often than not was found with his dropped around his ankles, the following twelve movie images reflect the controlling instinct of the fairer sex to assume the role of “boss”, or at least the dominant figure in the relationship. Your task, as usual, is to identify the source of each of the twelve images and to report your findings to this very site, where through a painstaking process of analytics we will determine whether you’ve answered correctly or not. The first to crack the puzzle will receive the coveted (and only slightly radioactive, a still unexplained result of the administration’s Iranian Nuclear Deal) CSR Culture Shock Award, usable in eighteen different nations to credit the bearer with the equivalent of sixteen American dollars to play 4 Black at any local floating casino roulette table. Good luck.













Posted in books, Film, Film Reviews, humor, movie reviews, Movies, photography, Reviews, Romance, sex, westerns, women | Leave a comment

No More Undocumented Aliens!: Classic Film Images Photo Quiz, August 2016 Edition, Vol. 30, 000, 000

aa99No More Undocumented Aliens!: Classic Film Images Photo Quiz, August 2016 Edition, Vol. 30,000,000

    If we have learned anything from this election season, it is that it has never been more imperative that the sanctity of national borders must be subject to serious and intensive scrutiny regarding the problem of stemming and reversing the uncontrolled flow of unwanted aliens into our streets, towns and neighborhoods. It’s time to keep the unwanted, unwelcome and unexpected gatecrashers out of our living rooms and back to their own places of origin, since- as evidenced by all of the available data  -they are a continuous burden on our secure social order and a drain upon our law enforcement resources. The immediacy of this plea toward protecting our very way of life brings usaa9 directly to the subject of this month’s Classic Film Images Photo Quiz, brought to you by the patriotic consumers of SKITTLES, America’s favorite terrestrial breakfast candy. In this edition, we focus on Hollywood’s frustratingly unheeded warnings against these trespassing invaders who make a mockery of our way of life and generally create havoc that generally calls for a great deal of strenuous mopping up and repair work. Each of the following thirteen images features an occasionally cleverly disguised xenomorph who rudely decided to visit without the courtesy of even a phone call. Your task is to identify the film from which each image has been sourced and report your findings to both this site and ICE. The first to correctly identify all thirteen images will receive the coveted CSR Culture Shock Award, possession of which is generally considered the only reliable documentation that one is from the right side of the Van Allen Belts. Good luck.















Posted in books, fantasy, Film, Hammer films, horror films, humor, movie reviews, Movies, politics, Reviews, Romance, science fiction, women, writing | Tagged | 2 Comments

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 only a blow to the evolution of genuine communal discourse about cinema, but also the opportunity for a merging of populist and artistic critical sensibilities which might have proven a useful procreative auger for both burgeoning and seasoned writers alike to parry with equal, spirited vitality. That this opportunity was squandered is a useful example of the seductive but destructive WLW-TCMClassicFilmUnion_FAB4-banner_JOINCALL_thumbnature of the Internet, and of a vast corporation’s complete lack of foresight and intuition in how to manage their own creation. (If there emerged any element of a disruptive power games among certain elements of the membership, such  behaviors could have been effectively nullified by the simple elimination of the “private messaging” function on the site; the essential tool for corrosive communications while maintaining one’s own anonymity; an elementary solution which would have been obvious to a site sponsor who was even remotely aware of their own property.)

      The cancellation of the CFU came at the very time when the TCM enterprise itself seemed immersed in a systemic flux, redefining what they are and what they offer to the wider public, with little apparent concern as to how these changes might affect the rabid core base of followers, many of whom comprised the membership of the CFU. Realistically, since the network and all of its ancillary manifestations are (One might wish to refer to an earlier editorial relaying these caveats in very precise terms, at are entirely the proprietary baby toe of the greater Turner Broadcasting System, itself a subsidiary of the hollow colossus Time Warner. However, the recent changes invoked, both  as the last vestiges of a pretense that TCM badgesTCM is anything but a shill corporate entity, using a popular passion for movies as an increasingly transparent excuse for the marketing of suspiciously slight  cruise trips and-  the most blatantly offensive and irrelevant of all movie tie-ins  -the TCM Wine Club, a cynical enterprise whose only possible excuse for its formation is in a long overdue admission that much of the dross presented is elevated through the haze of drink. (Though no psychogenic enhancement could possibly elevate the insufferably smug, self-congratulatory brayings of that shameless but exemplary model of critical retardation, Ben Mankiewicz.)

Yo read the complete editorial, click the following link to:


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It’s My Party: Classic Film Images Photo Quiz, July 2016 Edition, Vol. 54

july0aIt’s My Party: Classic Film Images Photo Quiz, July 2016 Edition, Vol. 54

      In these days of American celebration, let us not forget those attributes of the human spirit which have helped cement our nation as the place of dreams, the cradle of free and independent action, and, of course, the birthplace of the celebration of almost anything at the drop of a hat or the merest suggestion of a group gathering in which no one has cab fare. This spirit is, of course, of the eighty proof variety, which if imbibed in sufficient quantity, is potent enough to render common sense null and void. (For an illustrative july0gifreference point, see the James Comey announcement of the Clinton Investigative findings.) With this time honored tradition of voluntary surrender to celebratory grossly negligent behavior (correction: extremely careless) in mind, we welcome you to yet another episode of America’s favorite monthly mental aphrodisiac, the Classic Film Images Photo Quiz, brought to you by those wonderful folks who manufacture and distribute SKITTLESAmerica’s anti-Communist breakfast treat. In this edition, we celebrate the celebration: movie gatherings of friends and colleagues in the form of dinner parties, galas and anarchic orgiastic excesses (just kidding about the latter, though we probably have your attention). The following twelve images, each feature a scene of a celebratory gathering. Your job is to determine from which film each image has been taken. The first to solve the mystery will receive the coveted CSR Culture Shock Award, which automatically confers immunity from unbiased investigation from the FBI, no matter how blatant and unapologetic the offense. Good luck.
















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June Brides: Classic Film Images Photo Quiz, June 2018 Edition, Vol. 121

june2016bJune Brides:  Classic Film Images Photo Quiz, June 2016 Edition, Vol. 121

     During the month of June, we engage in the annual observance of a wide variety of events: academic graduations leading to a closer inevitability with unemployment, disillusionment with the realities of life and despair, the anniversary of D-Day, the day when the Boston Celtics are generally mathematically eliminated from the championship  for the next season, the full flowering of the summer movie season in which the nugget of sardonic wisdom  “there’s a sucker born every minute” is proven with horrifying regularity, another monthly period in which june2016cthe Clinton Family-  not unlike the Corleones  -is likely to engage in their continuous calendar of felonious behavior (lock up your daughters and your savings accounts!), and, perhaps most cheerily, the emergence of the beautiful June bride. Which brings us this month’s edition of America’s favorite post-mortem time killer, the Classic Film Images Photo Quiz, brought to you this month by the makers of SKITTLES, America’s favorite breakfast candy and, 3 to 1, the chosen substitution for wedding rice. In this edition we celebrate the glowing image of the blushing bride as depicted in the cinema. The following twelve images are taken from films in which a lovely lady in white is prominently featured. Your task, as always, is to identify the films from which the dozen images originate. The first to do so will receive, as always, the CSR Culture Shock Award, NATO’s first line of defense, and a pretty nifty bauble to adorn the fireplace mantel. Good luck.






06)Film Title: Mamma Mia!







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Life in Bloom: Classic Film Images Photo Quiz, May 2016 Edition, Vol. 111

may10Life in Bloom:  Classic Film Images Photo Quiz, May 2016 Edition, Vol. 111

    Despite the grand apocalyptic allusions to global warming, orbital rotational shifts or the mysterious shortage of stylishly lapelled union suits, there can be no question that Spring is in the air; along with a range of unsavory toxic particulates wafting over from our global neighbors in Beijing, whose daily motto of: “If you can see it, then you know what you’re maygif11breathing”, has, for popular recognition and marketing favorability rankings, just recently eclipsed that most recognized advertising slogan for Bottled Ganges Spring Water: “Refreshment with only the slightest suggestion of urine”. This, of course, leads us directly to this month’s highly anticipated edition of America’s favorite decaffeinated stimulant, the Monthly Classic Film Images Photo Quiz, brought to you-  as always  -by those magical pixies who manufacture SKITTLES, America’s breakfast candy, and the #1  I.O.C. recommended Zika virus preventative nutritional supplement. In this edition, being that we are a sustainably green site (well, at least when we indulge in a wee sip of crème de menthe), we turn to films which feature our friends in the floral realm; those delicate, colorful sprouts which sustain and engage the happy bumble bee who diligently labor to produce enough honey so that we might soak our morning flapjacks (still a felony in certain counties of Alabama). The following twelve images are painfully removed from films in which a bit of Mother Nature’s pollen pushers are present. Your task, as always, is to identify the twelve films; the first to do so will receive the hypoallergenic CSR CULTURE SHOCK AWARD, useful in the warding off of evil spirits and easily doubling as a substitute croquet mallet. Good luck.













Posted in blogs, books, Entertainment, Film, food, humor, Movies, Musicals, photography, Puzzles, Reviews, Romance, theater, women, writing | 3 Comments

Writers as Artists: Classic Film Photo Quiz, April 2016 Edition, Vol. X

 sunsetblvdgloriaswansongif1Writers as Artists:  Classic Film Photo Quiz, April 2016 Edition, Vol. X

     Without writers the world would be full of blank pages and a seriously diminished need for bookmarks. Even the world of cinema, with its highly overdeveloped need to consider the director as the author of a film, would be hard pressed were it not fot the presence of the screenwriter to take the brickbats for all of the meddlesome executive interference, directorial egomania and vapid, semi-literate actors who portray themselves as masters of spontaneous jocularity worthy of the Algonquin Round Table, all of whom make Veg-O-Matic slaw out of the poor writer’s original creative intentions. To rage against this brand of industry ignominy, we present the newest edition of America’s favorite reason to wish the Internet was never invented, the Monthly Classic 000000000000aprgif1Film Photo Quiz, brought to you this month by those fabulous folks who peddle SKITTLES, the world’s most addictive non-narcotic breakfast candy. In this edition, we celebrate the writer (You might have guessed this, unless you’re suffering from a SKITTLEinduced sugar buzz.) as celebrated in film. (Yes Virginia, they make movies about them, they just don’t acknowledge the writers write them.)  Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to not only identify the twenty-four  films from which the images are taken, but to also identify the author being portrayed. The first three readers who correctly solve the quiz will receive the CSR Culture Shock Award, a prize so coveted, Obama e-mailed us to see if he could trade in that hokey Nobel Peace Prize for one. (No dice, bub. Do the work.) Good luck. 

01)  Henry and June/Anaïs Nin000000000000apr8

02)  Star!/Noel Coward000000000000apr12

03)  Il Postino (The Postman) (1994)/Pablo Neruda000000000000apr1904)  Bride of Frankenstein/Mary Shelley, Percy Bysshe Shelley. Lord Byron000000000000apr5

05)  Buffalo Bill and the Indians/Ned Buntline000000000000apr3

06)  The Hours/Virginia Woolf000000000000apr4

07)  The Life of Emile Zola/Emile Zola000000000000apr16

08)  Time After Time/H.G. Wells000000000000apr6

09)  Mishima/Yukio Mishima000000000000apr10

10)  The Last Station/Valentin Bulgakov, Leo Tolstoy000000000000apr7

11)  Reds/Eugene O’Neill000000000000apr9

12)  Miss Potter/Beatrix Potter000000000000apr20

13)  The Whole Wide World/Robert E. Howard000000000000apr33


15)  Julia/Dashiell Hammett000000000000apr1

16)  Beloved Infidel/F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sheilah Graham0000000000000apr3

17)  The Man Who Would Be King/Rudyard Kipling0000000000000apr6

18)  {riest of Love/D.H. Lawrence0000000000000apr4

19)  The Old Gringo/Ambrose Bierce0000000000000apt23

20)  Out of Africa/Isak Dineson0000000000000apr7

21) 0000000000000apr32

22)  Tom & Viv/T.S. Eliot. Vivienn Haigh-Wood Eliot0000000000000apr10

23)  Shadowlands/C.S. Lewis0000000000000apr8

24)  Cross Creek/Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings0000000000000apr22

Posted in biography, book reviews, books, Film, History, Movies, photography, Romance, theater, women, writing | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Fate is the Hunter: “High Plains Drifter” (1973)

000000high2       “High Plains Drifter”   (1973)

   The following article contains discussions of details which the weak of heart might regard as “spoilers”. So, readers are advised approach with a sensible level of caution.

     There’s something wrong in the town of Lago. When a drifter rides into town, there are none of the usual indicators of a healthy, thriving community, but rather those of a breeding ground of antisocial animus, marked by a suffocating suspicion and paranoia. The rider quietly passes by a tableau of confused and fearful faces;000000highOS figures either frozen with paralytic dread, or hiding behind the safety of windows which are pathetically transparent in disguising the uniformly palpable anxiety emitted by the citizens of Lago, like a collective pheromone of desperation.It is clear there is something hanging over the minds of the townspeople; a secret whose unraveling, and the closure of which, will provide the moral fulcrum of the drama to follow.

     Thus begins Clint Eastwood’s third directorial effort, “High Plains Drifter”; a confused bit of frontier misanthropy, presenting the citizens of the West as unrelievedly corrupt, cowardly, immoral and mean-spirited; a portrait so unrelentingly unforgiving, it is absent of even the equally pessimistic. but far more intelligently conceptualized. amoral center dominating the revisionist perspective of the American West in Sam Peckinpah’s seminal “The Wild Bunch”, as in comparison, Eastwood’s film suffers from a core vacuum: a missing example of any code of honor (among the townsfolk, despite a bonding born of felonious convenience, they seldom miss an opportunity to enjoy each other’s discomfort), even among the most lowly bred. This absence of a codifying bond eventually become problematic in a film claiming a thematic preoccupation with retributive closure as it continuously waffles in an inevitable collision between the-  what are presented as justifiable  -actions of its protagonist, versus the film’s loftier metaphysical suggestions fueling its thematic intentions.


To read the complete review, click the following link to:

Posted in clint eastwood, Film Reviews, movie reviews, Movies, Reviews, westerns, women, writing | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Chandler’s Trailers: “How to Make a Monster” (1958)

0000000000howto1“How to Make a Monster”   (1958) This  not very mysterious murder mystery is a sort-of sequel to both “I Was a Teenage Werewolf” and the subsequent “I Was a Teenage Frankenstein” in that it features the monsters of the two referenced pictures (and “Teenage Frankenstein” star Gary Conway), though the relevance to the specific creatures is rather dishonestly stretched to capitalize on the popularity of the earlier movies, as the focus of the story is actually centered on obnoxiously long-winded studio make-up artist Pete Dumond (played with caustic self-aggrandizement bu Robert H. Harris) whose reaction to his firing is to suddenly develop an hypnotic cosmetic foundation which renders actors into willing instruments of death.  

To read the complete review, click the following link to:

Posted in crime, Drive-In Movies, Film Reviews, fRANKENSTEIN, horror, movie reviews, Movies, Mystery, Reviews | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Holy Unexpected: “Heaven Help Us” (1985)

00000000heaven2               “Heaven Help Us”   (1985)

     When considering the curious slide in quality in the most popular film genres of the past, if there is a source of more continuously disappointing results than the American comedy, it is certainly that more odoriferous of sub-genres: the teen comedy. So imagine 00000000HEAVENosthe odds of such an adolescently inspired opus managing an unexpected but precarious tightrope walk between the expected elements of lascivious gross out pranksterism (displaying a genuinely funny brand of comedy) and an unexpectedly touching subplot which manages to capture the hesitant vulnerabilities and insecurities of first love.

     That “Heaven Help Us” also exists within the generally unsatisfying group of films which immerse themselves in the ripe but easy parodic target that is the piety of organized religion (herein identified, as is the case with most films of this sort which rely upon what is considered an easily mockable, as Catholicism), a subject often met with a crassly insultingly disrespectful and stereotypical exaggeration (despite the fertile indigenous possibilities which might nurture genuinely biting satire), “Heaven Help Us” expands upon its own modest achievement through an intelligent (and mature) compilation of the type of details which reveal substantive character depth in an unobtrusively unforced cumulative00000000heaven3 manner. In fact, despite the sometimes outlandish antics of the youths involved, even the most provocative actions feel completely organic to the characters within the limited context in which the film takes place. Thus rather than the humor feeling forced for the sake of randomly convenient insertions of typical adolescently randy humor, it emerges as natural reactive consequences of the the particulars of situation and the specifics of character. The film also manages to poke at the abuses of institutional religion without engaging in a callous devaluation of the spiritual value of faith, and it’s this resistance to an easy acquiescence toward pubescent coarseness that makes “Heaven Help Us” stand a cut above the average film of its kind.

      Taking place in the autumnal days of American youth’s innocence in 1965, the film follows the experiences of transplanted Bostonian Michael Dunn (Andrew McCarthy) at Brooklyn’s St. Basil’s Academy for Boys, and his association with a quartet of fellow students who although initially seemingly light years apart in behavioral temperament seem to find a bonding common core with a like-minded resistance to the institutionalized0000000000heaven9 authority under which the students find a constant test of their natural desire for expression of autonomous individuality. However, while rebelliousness is an expected aspect of the teen comedy, it is generally presented as a witless anarchism in the service of sexual prurience; characteristics of which are in trace attendance, but are intelligent modified with a far rarer inclusion of a more compelling formative aspect in regard to actively budding maturity: genuine growing  pain-  a legitimate and identifiable anxiety beneath the surface of the students’ anarchic spirit. It is this palpable undercurrent of teen angst which lifts the film above its more scatological infantile genre brethren, as the film is wise enough, without overt declarations, to identify the primary source of adolescent anxiety, not from the more casually asserted and excepted excuse of peer pressure, but from the influence of the inherent anxieties expressed by the adults surrounding them and to whom the youths are forcibly attentive enforced to influences irrelevant to whether or not that influence advances a nurturing stability. The film illustrates that this often critically damaging developmental smothering can be the result 0000000000heavenof both emotionally fractured familial settings and (in the case of St. Basil’s) institutional persecution, and it is to the credit of the surprisingly nuanced screenplay by Charles Purpura that the adult antagonists are treated with an equal sympathy and (with the exception of an extremely funny cautionary speech against Lust by Father Abruzzi (Wallace Shawn) preceding a school dance) never reduced to cartoon stereotypes.  It is the reaction to the perception of the stifling of organically spontaneous expressiveness through relentless appeasement to the demands of the adult world which provides the film with its comic tension and its dramatic potency; most delicately balanced with grand gestures of humor, and without the embarrassing histrionics of more acclaimed portrayals of teen angst, such as the mawkish “Rebel Without a Cause”.

To read the complete review, click the following link to:

Posted in comedy, education, Film, Film Reviews, movie reviews, Movies, religion, Reviews, Romance, writing | Leave a comment

Chandler’s Trailers: “Gunfight at the O.K. Corral” (1957)


      John Sturges’ rousing “Gunfight at the O.K. Corral” could never be confused with an historical study aid; the film is structured as an illustrative compliment to the ballad form, here colorfully vocalized by Frankie Laine, and commensurate with the said form, the story is related as an inflated tale of mythic heroics. However, as an unashamed piece of pure Hollywood hokum, there is much to recommend. Burt Lancaster portrays frontier legend Wyatt Earp as a puritanical figure of almost demonically possessed dimensions; his unwavering morality seems to exaggerate the actor’s signature physical rigidity (no one moved as gracefully while remaining as physically robotic as Lancaster) to the point where the lawman gives the impression of being unequipped with knees and elbows.

To read the complete review, click the following link to:

Posted in acting, Burt Lancaster, Film, Film Reviews, History, Kirk Douglas, movie reviews, Movies, Reviews, Romance, westerns, westerns, writing | 1 Comment

March Madness: Classic Film Photo Quiz, March 2016 Edition, Vol. 33

0000000000mad1gifMARCH MADNESS: Classic Film Photo Quiz, March 2016 Edition, Vol. 33

       Welcome to the headquarters of cynical, uncaring, insubordinate, insensitive, boorish, childish behavior-  OK, outside of the current carnival sideshow masquerading as a job interview for the nation’s most prestigious position (What?? Am I leaving this site??)  -which all good citizens will recognize as the doorbell chime (Still haven’t learned to resist unlatching the door, eh? The Boston Strangler ring a bell? Jehovah’s Witnesses? Chandler Swain Reviews? Doesn’t anyone ever learn?) to yet another edition of America’s favorite irritation not located in a non-mucosal membrane: The 0000000000mad2gifClassic Film Photo Quiz, this month brought to you by those fine purveyors of SKITTLES, the official food of the Latvian Space Program and, of course, America’s favorite breakfast candy. In this edition, we let our hair down and pay tribute to those fine folks who eat flies and drool with great distinction. Yes, we are talking about movie crazies, those wonderfully colorful folks (as opposed to folks of color because that would be racist [THIS CAUTIONARY CENSORING BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE TRUE DEFENDERS OF DEMOCRATIC DEMOCRACY, FREE THOUGHT THAT AGREES WITH US AND EX-CABINET MEMBERS WITH SHADY FINANCIAL CONNECTIONS, OR T.D.D.D.F.T.T.A.W.U.E.M.W.S.F.C. FOR SHORT.]) who have been hitherto described as “nuts”, “bonkers”, “loony”, “batty as a two legged dingo” or just plain “insane”, but are now considered by the new Hollywood establishment, who are protected from such exceptional types with gun toting bodyguards, snarling guard dogs and electric fences, as “just like us”. Well… there may be something to that. Anyway, your task is to identify the films which are the source of the following thirteen images, tell us your findings (or else it’s a fundamentally fruitless exercise which might result in you being featured in the next edition) and sit back and win your very own CSR Culture Shock Award, suitable for warding off evil spirits and/or Bill Clinton during the erection election season. The first three correct entries will win this coveted award and become the envy of jealous nations around the globe, which will probably spark some sort of an incendiary apocalyptic conflict, but-  By Golly!  -somebody has to do it. Good luck.














Posted in blogs, books, Film, Film Reviews, History, horror, humor, movie reviews, Movies, Mystery, politics, psychiatry, Reviews, theater, women | Leave a comment

Hit and Run: “Death Race 2000” (1975)

000000deathrace5           “Death Race 2000”   (1975)   

      One of the problems with films that take place in the imminent future is that they tend to appear flat-footed when envisioning the vicissitudes of the subject speculative society. This is especially true when that same society is parasitically reflective of the most garish of influences in popular culture (rather than practical anthropological evolution) from the time during which the film is conceived and produced. If Paul Bartel’s “Death Race 2000” 000000deathraceOSpromises a future, it is one already  trendily lived in and discarded. Cheaply cobbled production values (observe how camera angles are usually determined to disguise obvious seams between poverty row production values and more grandiose but imagined surroundings) are presented amid such decorative affectations as the shimmering representational citadels of the metropolitan matte painting in the background (suggesting  unlikely Russ Manning comic book draftsmanship rather than the more utilitarian aligned dominoes of old Gotham) collides with the sub-NASCAR hayseeds in the crowd who are no more credibly at home in such an environment than the slimy tentacled xenomorphs of bad SF who always appear from user impractical gleaming spaceships. Science fiction films have a tendency to burrow into  a contemporary mindset-  not as a suggestively editorial backdrop, but simply out of sheer laziness in directing the film toward a more timelessly universal level in dialogue and thought  -without a regard for credible speculative alterations of societal behavior. How depressing when a film taking place a hundred years into the future already seems quaintly antiquated within a few brief drive-in seasons; and the danger for films consciously produced with the intention of a likelihood of developing a cult following is more pronounced as there is a tendency to think that an innate hipster flippancy is a sufficient substitution for genuinely imaginative content.


To read the complete review, click the following link to:

Posted in Drive-In Movies, Film Reviews, fRANKENSTEIN, movie reviews, Movies, Reviews, Roger Corman, science fiction, sports, writing | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Skinned: “Srpski film” / “A Serbian Film” (2010)

0000000000serbian“Srpski film” “A Serbian Film”  (2010) Starring Srdjan Todorovic, Sergej Trifunovic, Jelena Gavrilovic, Katrina Zutic, Ana Sakic. Written by Srdjan Spasojevic & Aleksandar Radivojevic. Directed by Srdjan Spasojevic. Is there anything more repellent than the attempted sugar-coating of diseased depravity under the guise of pseudo-intellectualized excuse making?  Milos (Srdjan Todoroviv), a former porn actor of high reputation, is approached by Lejla (Katarina Zutic), a former professional associate, with an outrageously lucrative offer to make an “artistic” piece of pornography, the nature of which is, quite obviously to anyone who has even heard the phrase “torture porn”, dangerously mysterious. Being the happy example of domestic tranquility that he is (home life for Milos is shown to consist of his young son watching Dad in action in a sex video, while his wife blissfully requests a spontaneous eruption of violently frenzied rough sex bordering on rape with her spouse so that she might enjoy the technique with which Milos accommodated his video partners, an odd request since the myriad examples of staged fornication we are shown present Milos as the most disengaged of sexual partners), Milos willingly accepts the job, through no legitimate incentive save the necessity in putting him (and by extension, us) into the middle of the increasingly repulsive action, as even the financial compensation offered scarcely offsets the stunningly obvious warning signs that the situation is to be avoided at all costs, nor can it compensate for the fact that his shadowy benefactor Vukmir (Sergej Trifunovic) and his sinister minions, are quite clearly unhinged. However… 

To read the complete review, click the following link to:

Posted in Film, Film Reviews, movie reviews, Movies, pornography, Reviews | Tagged | 2 Comments

TEARS ON MY PILLOW: Classic Film Images Quiz, Feb. 2016 Edition, Vol. 66


THERE’S NO CRYING IN MOVIES? Not so fast Chester…

TEARS ON MY PILLOW:  Classic Film Images Quiz, February 2016 Edition, Vol. 66

    Tears of sadness, tears of gladness, tears of sorrow and tears of joy. One thing is for certain: the movies are awash in a flood of salty drippings so voluminous it makes the staff of CSR gnash their collective teeth in anguish at the failure to secure lump stock options in the tissue industry. (That our alternative diversified investments in Hungarian honeymoon 0000000000tearsgif2accessories as advised by the CSR brokerage team of Behemoth, Swindle & Hyde underperformed is a matter of historical record , not to mention unfortunately necessitating a few sessions of after hours retaliation involving an ether pillow and croquet mallet.) If a timely burst of tears in the movies teaches us anything it’s that deeply felt emotions are easily faked by overpaid celebrity automatons (although the jury is still out on Channing Tatum whose expressive menu seems uncannily imitative of a block of sandstone) and that the Pavlovian response reflex is very much alive as evidenced by the sniffling and sobbing emanating from the dark corners of the local movie house. (And that’s just in response to the pre-feature  “no texting” announcement.)

   Which brings us to this month’s edition of America’s favorite parlor game often compared to experiencing a weekend of waterboarding in Gitmo: the Classic Film Images Quiz, brought to you, as always, by those dedicated folks who manufacture and distribute SKITTLES, the favored0000000000tearsgif3 breakfast candy of skirt chasing Syrian migrants everywhere. In this edition, we feature twelve examples of Hollywood-style waterworks from twelve films, each which you are expected to identify with all possible haste. (Correctly, if you please. This isn’t an exercise for the feint of heart nor the lactose intolerant. huh?) The first three readers to correctly identify all twelve film from which the images spring will receive the provocative CSR CULTURE SHOCK AWARD, the preferred cultural trophy of libertines worldwide. Good luck. 

01) 0000000000tears302)0000000000tears403)0000000000tears104)0000000000tears8






Posted in black cinema, Film, Film Reviews, humor, movie reviews, Movies, photography, Puzzles, Reviews, women, writing | Leave a comment

Baby, You Can Drive My Car: Classic Movie Photo Quiz, Jan. 2016 Edition, Vol. 500

00000000badgirls8Baby, You Can Drive My Car: Classic Movie Photo Quiz, Jan. 2016 Edition, Vol. 500

     Sometimes it simply seems a burden in being a film critic, but evidently  that is child’s play in comparison with the Sisyphean effort women deem necessary in the maintenance of their appearance while juggling the full cosmetics inventory of Macy’s in a handbag that would give a seasoned Marine on bivouac a hernia, applying lipstick and eyeliner while driving a sports coupe down a crowded highway at a rate of speed that would make Scott Crossfield envious. all the while vacuum packing an exotic anatomical menu of curves and angles into00000000badgirlsGIF a cocktail dress, elbow length gloves and fishnet stockings. (Hey… you think it’s easy writing this stuff every month? Indulge the noir-fueled visions if you will.) Not that any of this has to do with the monthly photo quiz (well, maybe a little), but the mind wanders in coming up with categories for the amusement of the unseen masses. Anyway, regarding women behind the wheel, there is a fascinating history of this documented in all directions of the world cinema that simply is too ripe for the picking for easy exploitation. So, without further ado we present yet another edition of Norway’s favorite national pastime, the Monthly Classic Film Images Quiz, brought to you, as always, by those good folks who distribute and sell SKITTLES, the favorite candy-coated contraceptive of Mumbai. In this edition we feature twelve images of femmes footloose and fast down the breakdown lane: your mission, as always, is to identify all twelve films. (And if you really wish to show off, relay the route numbers as well.) The first two readers to correctly identify all twelve film images will become the personal property of the auspicious CSR Culture Shock Award, the world’s most ominous celebratory totem. Good luck.




Posted in blogs, comedy, crime, Film, Film Reviews, Hitchcock, humor, movie reviews, Movies, Puzzles, Reviews, women, writing | 2 Comments

Tourist Trapped: “Dracula Prince of Darkness” (1966)


      “Dracula Prince of Darkness”  (1966)

   Religious piety receives a refreshing shot in the arm in Terence Fisher’s “Dracula, Prince of Darkness”-  the long delayed direct sequel to the 1958 “Horror of Dracula” (or “Dracula” 00000000draculaOS883for purists situated outside of the 50 States)  -in the form of Andrew Keir’s Father Sandor, who is a cross between Van Helsing and Quatermass; a know-it-all who is also a good sport: a teddy bear vampire killer with a hair-trigger intolerance for stupidity and an even shorter fuse toward superstition, despite his encyclopedic level of knowledge of supernatural lore. (Not the least example of the film’s distracting quantity of unexplained contradictions.) Keir also provides a solid authority to which the forces of darkness are less than likely to emerge victorious without the aid of a series of illogical actions which are the essence of the enervated script by John Sansom (a nom de plume for regular Hammer scribe Jimmy Sangster) to invent momentary lapses of logic or oddball convenient circumstances in which the most obvious of vampiric gambits might fortuitously operate without detection.

 To read the complete review,click the following link to


Posted in Film Reviews, Hammer films, horror, movie reviews, movie sequels, Movies, Reviews, vampires, writing | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment


00000000xmas1         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 falling of celestial dandruff on the empty branches of winter, it falls upon the magnetic tug of nostalgic yearnings for a 00000000xmas2return to the warm caress of innocent days of youth, replete with schoolyard bullies, practical parents whose wisdom allowed for their child riding a bike or playing hopscotch without their binding their offspring in protective body armor that would make Navy Seals envious and a common sense view of society that allowed little Butchie to roam the neighborhood unaccompanied while 00000000xmas3selling subscriptions to Grit did not assume that every suburban block is saturated with oddballs seeking to replicate the Lindbergh kidnapping. But beyond the magnetic pull of a wishful return to such societal naivete lies the special prize that was the annual Sears Wish Book, the ultimate bible of kid’s greed for all things shiny, whirring and buzzing. The catalog of fingertip wonders that, through advanced practices of footnoting, annotations and cross-referencing skills that would make college professors shudder in awe, became a common mental meeting ground for generations of children who insatiable seasonal gluttony for unchecked merchandise acquisition was one of the founding cornerstones of the American economy, first notated in The Federalist Papers and later explored in great depth in the collected papers of both Hillel Hassenfeld and John Foster Dulles. In the great spirit of the Wish Book, we present our annual  Christmas cinema want list, keeping in mind that the boy has been a lot less naughty this year than most of the Silver Screen offerings of the calendar year:

To read the complete Christmas list, click the following link to:







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

Cowboys Will Be Boys: “The Sons of Katie Elder” (1965)


           “The Sons of Katie Elder”  (1965)

     If the challenge for any film is for that movie to deliver an original and memorable experience, then that challenge may become doubly daunting in the case of genre pictures; the available crutch of formula genre tropes, whether conscious or mentally assembled through an almost unavoidable mental osmosis of influences past. It is especially dispiriting when a film unreels revealing little to no reason for the film to exist, despite the participation of many whose earlier work indicates an ability to produce far more interesting work, leading000000sonsOS to the unsatisfying conclusion that the participants are displaying a far too callous willingness to coast their way through insubstantial material which doesn’t even make a minimally reasonable effort to justify its own production. (There are, of course, more undeniably celluloid wasteful vehicles to consider in such a discussion, but the sheer scope and creative resource squandered in such a major production should-  in all critical fairness  -elevate such a vacuous expenditure of said resources to the top of the pyramid of ignominy.) Henry Hathaway’s “The Sons of Katie Elder” takes the aimlessness breezily exalted in Howard Hawks’ “Rio Bravo” to a level of narrative torpor that begs for immediate resuscitation by objective critical defibrillator paddles.

     The funeral of Katie Elder creates an occasion for a reunion of her four sons, each seeming to possess a certain level of disreputability if one is to believe the generally negative reaction to their reemergence by the local townspeople who simultaneously, and without exception, hold the memory of the expired Elder in an almost ridiculous elevation of rapturous reverence, regarding her as a veritable melding of Mother Teresa and Mother Courage. The filmmaker’s most canny instinct is to deny the audience any direct physical manifestation of Katie, transforming her into a purely mythic personality rather than risking subverting her image through a more direct representation which could-  with injudicious casting  -have resulted in a dangerous overdose of treacle (imagine Helen 00000000ons2Hayes in the role) which could have easily transformed the texture of the film from sagebrush to syrup. However, such a distancing device-  necessitating a constant flow of testimonials concerning Kate’s selflessness  -results in the unforeseen consequence of making the adoring community appear more selfishly one-sided on the Good Samaritan scale (how else to explain the saintly woman’s   fall into squalor while more prosperous citizens continue taking advantage of her blind altruism?) with the subsequent result of increasing a general sense00000000sons1 of public hysteria toward the four Elder “boys” that seems entirely out of synch with the events of the film; a burden which seems more advanced by the need of the screenwriter to create a needlessly convoluted conflict, rather than addressing any organic issues. This central conflict appears to be the legacy of the Elder Ranch, though even a most rudimentary consideration of that riddle could be solved simply by noting just who is living at the ranch, not to mention the lugubrious performance of James Gregory as the same Elder ranch resident Morgan Hastings, the most patently obvious figure of wrongdoing since the lugubrious performance of James Gregory as Sen. Johnny Eislin  in “The Manchurian Candidate”.

To read the complete review, click the following link to:

Posted in Drive-In Movies, Film, Film Reviews, John Wayne, movie reviews, Movies, Reviews, westerns, westerns, writing | Tagged | 1 Comment

Eucharist With Holy Water Chaser: Classic Film Images Photo Quiz, Dec. 2015 Edition, Vol. 3:10

000000dec8Eucharist With Holy Water Chaser:  Classic Film Images Photo Quiz, Dec. 2015 Edition, Vol. 3:10

      Being That December signifies several of the most important spiritual days of the calendar year: Christmas and Pearl Harbor Day (when the spirit finally moved us to bring a colossal dose of whoop ass unto our enemies), it seemed only fitting, as a holiday offering to all of you heathens who still deign to follow this site, to present an offering which might honor the brave and tenacious adventurers who-  despite all rational indicators to the contrary  -still maintain a stubborn faith that miracles do indeed occur in the modern world and thus they will find themselves justly rewarded during their mortal roma_o_GIFSoup.comlifetime with something resembling brand new timely offerings of rambling  critical dissemblance, the type of which CSR has come to be known. Well… not to be a naysayer, but if we were the betting types, we’d put the better odds more in favor of the chances of viewing a burning push in the middle of the New Jersey Turnpike. And with that sincere caveat we present yet another edition of America’s most notoriously low-budget national pastime, the monthly Classic Film Images Photo Quiz, this time brought to you by those good folks who manufacture and distribute SKITTLES, America’s favorite nutritional substitute: remember what Vatican II said: When thinking neon colored breakfast sacrament, think SKITTLES. In this edition we focus our attention on those good persons of faith and the cloth (no, not Manny the washroom attendant at Peter Luger; that’s a different kind of cloth) who persevere through spiritual and moral crises; not to mention dumb online photo quizzes. Each of the twelve images is from a feature film in which such a character is prominently featured. Your task (yes, there comes a heavy burden with reading this stuff) is to identify all twelve films and to confess your effort to a higher power (which would be us); the first five to do so successfully (it’s the holidays and we’re feeling generous) will be issued their own CSR CULTURE SHOCK AWARD, a nonsectarian token which (rumor has it) can substitute for tolls in the Lincoln Tunnel or tips at the Carnegie Deli. Good luck.








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Happy Hostage: “Bandolero!” (1968)


PILLOW TALK: Dean Martin and Raquel Welch share tender thoughts despite the fact that she is kidnapped and held ransom by the leader of a gang of bank robbers who murdered her husband, in the psychologically baffling western “Bandolero!”.

      “Bandolero!”   (1968)

     A most peculiar entry in the western genre is Andrew V. McLagen’s “Bandolero!”, a film which gives a fresh-  though unpersuasive -perspective to the notion of the Stockholm Syndrome, is also a vehicle which is plagued by an inevitably distasteful indecisiveness as to a moral focus which might address the material in a manner which does not elicit an unresolved temporal provocation; a particularly troublesome problem of a lack of contextual integrity which results in a constant shifting of tone that chaotically veers from savage drama (the film is peppered with a great  deal of not always mercifully off-screen violent slaughter) to supposedly folksy humor, the last reserved for the “bad” guys of the piece, though 00000bandoleroOSa natural sympathy seems to be awkwardly granted these characters since they are played by usual audience favorites Dean Martin and James Stewart, Thus when a woman’s husband is gunned down in cold blood during a robbery and the woman is later kidnapped by the same fugitive gang as a shield against the pursuing posse, the presumption might be for a tense  relationship between captor and victim instead of a warm and fuzzy meditation on burgeoning romance and a sentimental grab at second chances.

     Just what is going on in “Bandolero!” is an example of the unease with which more traditionally  filmmakers are dealing with the seismic shift within the western genre: from morality to immorality plays. Traditional heroes were swiftly replaced with, not anti-heroes, but characters of disproportionately unsavory mercenary aims. If McLagen’s film is clear about anything it is that in dealing with the violently transitional period in American commercial filmmaking that occurred with the relaxation of the00000bandolero4 industry’s rigid codes of morality (and the influx of a suddenly popular world market of film, which considering the bottom-line thinking within the movie community is an agent of change conveniently sidestepped in Hollywood’s historic version of its own of cultural evolution through a sudden transformative enlightenment), is that the first casualty of the traditional Hollywood mindset was the establishment of a consistent tone between the more comfortable (nee, tried and true) elements within the material and the panicked pandering to the presumed modernity of the audience’s taste.

To read the complete review,click the following link to:  http://chandlerswainreviews,wordpress,com/chandler-swain-reviews-nites-at-the-natick-drive-in/



Posted in Drive-In Movies, Film Reviews, James Stewart, movie reviews, Movies, Reviews, Romance, westerns, women, writing | Tagged | 1 Comment

Blue Lives Matter: Classic Film Images Photo Quiz, November 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 authoritarian-targeted  prejudice induces historical correction through the use of criminal misguidance; where diversity is an insidious new form of ethnic segregation with its enforced emphasis on cultural difference rather than human commonality, and forced political correctness (especially on college campuses where weak minds are a terrible financial waste) is a totalitarian means thought control with its hysterical calling for a cessation of all but the most invidious rhetoric as a foundation of political philosophy rather than free exchange of Socratic discourse: the kind of atmosphere which cannot fail but conjure an ill-advised trek down the Cahulawassee and being subjected to the hillbilly soapbox orthodoxy of the Hillabernie totems while being forced to assume the porcine position.  Certainly the professional retainers of our national Constitutional guarantees should be more enlightened than the troglodytic grunts of a certain Hollywood director whose unabated dishonoring of the concept of fact v. fiction (assuming he might ever be cognizant of a difference) can be partially blamed upon the unrelenting aggrandizement of an unjustifiably exalted mediocre artistic sensibility by a shameless, easily impressed new critical corps whose standards seem to be set primarily in a self-congratulatory ability to recall the sources of the director’s unceasing plagiarisms.  And what does this all mean? What all that means is that it’s time, once again, for America’s favorite legal mental narcotic: the Classic Film Images Photo Quiz, brought to you, once again, by those who enjoy SKITTLES, America’s favorite addictive (but legal) breakfast candy. In this month’s edition we feature eighteen photographic representations of those bastions of law and order: the police as depicted in the cinema. Your task is to ferret out the title of each of the eighteen films and report your findings (here would be helpful). The first to successfully do so will be the proud recipient of the brief and mercifully unchatty CSR Culture Shock Award, suitable for use in repelling denizens of the Underworld or residents of Vermont (different practitioners in terms of styles of ungracious social intercourse but equally unpleasant). Good luck.

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Kitty Litter: “Confessions of a Psycho Cat” (1968)


HOW DO I LOVE ME? Could this bizarre Michael Findlay moment be intended to illustrate society’s unhealthy addiction to narcissism or is it merely a demonstration of an exotic method of mirror cleaning without the aid of Windex? In either case, neither explanation has more relevance to the central plot of “Confessions of a Psycho Cat” than the rest of the shameless volume of padding intended to extend the material to something resembling a minimum of feature length.

           “Confessions of a Psycho Cat”  (1968)

    While the variety of adaptations of Richard Connell’s seminal short story The Most Dangerous Game is impressively eclectic-  with the tale attracting cinematic interest from filmmakers on both ends of the creative barometer from handily professional to jaw dropping incompetence (What is trendy to call “surreal”, which is a contemporary context00000confessionsOS is generally an academically naive way of avoiding identification as “lousy”)  -perhaps none achieve a similar level of almost psychotropic weirdness as “Confessions of a Psycho Cat”, a film which certainly attempts a stubbornly consistent substitution of bizarrely inappropriate exploitation elements when faced with gaps of narrative logic, the restraints of meager budgetary resources, wince inducing bad performance skills and directorial indecision; explaining lengthy insertions of Doris Wishman-like orgy scenes in which (once again) the participants engage in the same endless ritualistic foreplay that was characteristic of the 1960’s nudie and roughie films, in which sexuality was generally expressed by a dispassionate guy slowly rubbing his hands over a topless woman’s body as if her were applying Turtle Wax to an old car, with peculiarly specific avoidance of all erogenous zones in dispiriting exhibitions of carnality as ennui; without either intimacy nor interest on the parts of the “lovers”.


To read the complete review, click the following link to: at-the-grindhouse/



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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 Midnight Movie circuit, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” is a movie discussed in terms of its post-initial release cultural phenomenon rather than as simply a film; albeit one which has profited by taking advantage of a novelty scheduling strategy with each screening’s unashamed encouragement to engage the full range of its audience’s exhibitionist participatory propensities: to, in0000rockyhorrorOS
essence, become a member of the cast, and thus a culprit in obscuring the genuine merits or demerits of the film on an unpolluted aesthetic level. Cultism run amok-  especially when coupled with novelty populist enticements  -is bound to generate a great deal of misplaced emphasis on disingenuous critical assessment based on an artificial cultural impact which has more to do with the emergent in-theater pageantry rather than with any intrinsic value in the film: the seduction of empty Populism as an easy and thoughtless substitution for critical acumen.

     Every area of cultural endeavor demands a certain amount of popular reactive observant filtering, not only for the necessary promulgation of said endeavors (unfortunately the pursuit of culture is shackled with the necessary evil of some form of patronage, were Art to exist in a vacuum it would lose all meaning) rather than the very idea of Art which is the result of efforts beyond mere craft and into the purview of certain indefinable tangents of humanist instincts. However, when that same audience patronage intrudes on the attended work’s intention-  as designed  -the resultant deliberate alteration for the sake of the audience’s own self-generated idiosyncratic amusement, a breach is created between artistic intention and mere 0000rockyhorror3 populist utility, and when the critical estimation of a work is entirely regenerated with this altered form is prominently evaluated above that of the original form-  allowing the individualistic interests of public patronage counter the original , a schism is created beyond the mere empty idolatry of cultism, with the work overwhelmed by popular external stimuli; thus not being in actuality what the creative artists intended, but instead becoming a substitute wish fulfillment for the audience: an intentionally calm body of water may be given active ripples by a bystander throwing a rock into the surface. Unfortunately, in critical terms, a puddle is often just a puddle.


To read the complete review, click the following link to:



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