HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM CHANDLER SWAIN REVIEWS

                       SEASONAL NOTES FROM THE CRITICAL ESTABLISHMENT

IS THIS THE FACE OF CHRISTMAS CHEER? Regardless, this moment is courtesy of CHANDLER SWAIN REVIEWS’ favorite Christmas film , 1968’s “The Lion in Winter” which appears to be the most realistic depiction of a “well balanced” family holiday get-together available on film. Enjoy.

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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:

Animated Gif Christmas (384)01) The discontinuation of the new trend of dine-in movie theaters, a development which can only lead to the inevitable “slippery slope” of bad patronage behavior. In a world in which rudeness has become as commonplace as breathing air, and the rules of etiquette are regarded as bothersome and antiquated as medical bleedings, there is little doubt that fortifying any notion promoting a public venue as a natural extension of the patron’s domestic altar of slobbery is a toxic step in the wrong direction. If the past offenses of discourteous chatter, seat kicking, noisome snacking and distracting illuminated phone texting were considered intrusive,  just imagine the encrusted traces of an abstract array of greasy hand wipings leaving tar-like particulate trails of festering bacterial colonies genetically proprietary to the Black Plague finding succor in the folds of ridiculous reclining chairs that will certainly be subject to the indignities of  snoring, the kinetic ballet of restless leg syndrome and incontinent nocturnal urination. Theater seats should not be a modern substitute for a field trip to the pre-Giuliani days of the Port Authority. Was sitting upright  for two hours without the benefit of a nine-course buffet (to satiate the inevitable pangs of unquenched obesity) really such a burden?

Animated Gif Christmas (384)02) The return of visible ushers whose function extends beyond sleepily yawning  and flirting with the candy counter girls. Whatever happened to the days in which local teens or young adults, armed with red jacket and flashlight, were suddenly imbued with the same stern authoritative swagger as a Stalag watchtower guard? 

Animated Gif Christmas (384)03) The elimination of pre-sold movie tickets. Listen Chester, this isn’t Broadway, it’s the movies and part of the communal enjoyment of attending a film is the excited buzz of anticipation waiting in a ticket line. Where is the once treasured sense of camaraderie in seeing a film? Arriving at a theater only to find that the film will be unavailable for the next six days is not an enticement to patronize an already increasingly grating cinema experience. (And no, the endless lines at the concession stand, waiting for the Master’s Degree candidates endlessly perplexed over the difference between small, medium and large beverages is not a suitable substitute for communal filmic enthusiasm.)

Animated Gif Christmas (384)04)  A bit of restraint exercised in advertising upcoming DVD releases of films which are still playing in first-run houses. Recent sightings of DVD/Blue Ray pre-orders for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” on the day it opened at theaters attests, not to the film’s then-unproven quality, but to insatiable corporate greed. Can a film be enjoyed without it becoming an enforced perpetual lifestyle? 

Animated Gif Christmas (384)05) Less Robert DeNiro. An actor, who by now, it must be apparent to all, is no longer the legend-in-the-making actor of his youth, but merely an older, less energetic but equally mercenary version of Nicholas Cage, seems to appear more regularly on the movie screen than bedbugs in a New Orleans flophouse.

Animated Gif Christmas (384)06) A ban on SNL alumnus from ever again starring in, directing, writing (or how about even attending?) another film. Lorne Michaels’ band of self-amused merrymakers has had a more detrimental impact on the American cultural landscape outside of hip-hop and, perhaps, Elizabeth Taylor. Michaels’ current controlling position at a major television network is a sufficient killing field in regard to the continuing degradation of modern comedy, and perhaps it is time to consider construction of an additional isolating immigration wall to be built around one specific Canadian?

Animated Gif Christmas (384)07) Enough with the commercial  product sponsorship of new films. Does Bond use two or single-ply paper towels? What does a Minion use to ease the painful itch of hemorrhoids? Does Hans Solo drive a Buick? Does anyone really care?

Animated Gif Christmas (384)

08) The return of Gene Hackman, long absent and long missed, to the screen. movie

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0000christmasstory    In the continuous spirit of the late lamented Sears Wish Book- that compendium of childhood greed (ignoring the adult sections which focused more on anti-urchin merchandise such as clothing and dehumidifiers) that provided invaluable practical a-christmas-story_a_GIFSoup.coma-christmas-story-leg-lamp_a_GIFSoup.comexperience in the lost art of cross-referencing, footnoting and indexing one’s Xmas toy want list -CSR presents our second annual memo of desired gifts to the Jolly Fat Man in an attempt to plead a case for a happier, more worthwhile and perhaps even artistic cinematic year to come. In the event all of the following requests actually materialize, there is no need to thank me, simply slip a box of Cubanos  under the door. (Thanks Obama Claus!)

Animated Gif Christmas (384)01) No more Seth Rogen or James Franco films. Actually, the North Koreans seemed fairly aligned with this type of thinking recently, but- as is the pattern with most insubstantially intelligent dictatorships who fail to properly organize their thoughts -limited their ire to one specific film instead of going for the long-term prize. This is why you really can’t count on brutal, repressive regimes to do the responsible thing.

Animated Gif Christmas (384)02) A demonstration of humility by Sony Pictures for an insubstantially intelligent dictatorship bailing their creatively vacant hides out of the proverbial accountant’s red by making a dim piece of work such as “The Interview” the subject of substantial public interest (read: dollars), especially by a demographic who would be hard pressed to find Korea on a map (no Harvard graduate, it’s not the capital of Nebraska) never mind be able to guess with 10,000 tries just who Kim Jong-un is anyway.

Animated Gif Christmas (384)03) Finally an admission of an inbred lack of taste by those same people who will flock like lemmings to “The Interview” with the excuse that they are interested in the controversial subject as a matter of concerned public interest. Humbug! Let us imagine if a similar cultural curiosity would be piqued in these poser charlatans had the film in question been the latest by Michael Haneke.

Animated Gif Christmas (384)04) Might we not add Adam Sandler to this short list of disposable offenses? Certainly it has taken longer to type this request than has been the average booking at the local megaplex of his last five films combined.

 

Animated Gif Christmas (384)05) A moratorium on unnecessary ethnically condescending remakes. Is there really a need for yet another film version of “Annie” (weren’t the first two editions punishing enough?) except as Hollywood’s latest excuse to revisit easily exploitable materials through racial colorization? Also, aren’t there stories indigenous to The Black Experience (capitalized in deference to viewers of PBS who seem to take this kind of distinction seriously to the point of apoplectic self-righteousness-  residents of Newton and Cambridge, MA take note) that might not only proffer projects directed on fresher paths, but give attention to worthy voices heretofore given little or no recent cinematic exposure? For instance, where are representations of the works of August Wilson? The novels of Chester Himes?

 

Animated Gif Christmas (384)06) A cessation of the evolutionary program to modernize the movie theater. After the digitalization of projection, expansion of concessions (would you like dry sherry with that popcorn?) and a retrograde return to banked seating (in the old days considered practical not revolutionary), the local megaplex may have finally reached a zenith of insanity with the installation of reclining chairs, perhaps the final ingredient to make the theater going experience as close to watching a film in your living room as possible, except that you don;t have to pay a hefty premium to watch a movie in your own home. A message to theater owners: don’t charge for admission and then you can install all of the sofas and throw pillows you want.movie

papermoon

Time again for major disappointment. It’s no secret that Chandler’s been a bad kid once again and will get the sock of coal (or the promise of a continued career of Jennifer Aniston, which is infinitely worse as coal burns for warmth, but there’s no use for a Jennifer Aniston movie) instead of what he wants out of the dog-eared 1965 Sear’s Wish Book (make-you-own-cigarette machines adjacent to the toy pages? Santa, I’m in!) but one must persevere until the sweet release of flaming Hades. So in that holiday spirit , here’s the new list for Mr. Kringle befitting the cinema season which never ends. (Nor does the lingering annoyance of sitting through “The Blue Bird”, but that’s another story for another time…)

Animated Gif Christmas (384)How about a film in which the undead show some real taste (as opposed to reel taste)? A zombie movie in which someone worth consuming with gratuitous relish is shown: like an opening feast on the offices of the ACLU?

 

Animated Gif Christmas (384)A  real western not starring an Internet favored pretty boy who mistakes moussed hair and a stylishly chic, moisturized two-day stubble as a substitution for the ability to portray a “man”.

 

Animated Gif Christmas (384)An absence of any film supposedly portraying the mythical “Boston accent”.

 

 

Animated Gif Christmas (384)And while we’re talking about Boston, how about a year without Mark Wahlberg?

 

Animated Gif Christmas (384)Or Matt Damon?

 

 

Animated Gif Christmas (384)A realistic film about the American slave experience as there is no more an occasion for a film about this era with an uplifting message any more than it is possible to have an uplifting Holocaust story.

 

Animated Gif Christmas (384)The discovery of more silent films. Any and all would be appreciated. (This is an occasion where the phrase “back to the salt mines” is welcome.)

 

Animated Gif Christmas (384)Sensible volume control during the coming attractions in any theater.

 

 

Animated Gif Christmas (384)The return of cartoons, short subjects and even old newsreels (its about time the younger generation learns the world revolved before they gave it permission to do so) to fill the gap between showings. Theaters claim they had to get rid of these as they had to squeeze in more showtimes to make a profit (yes, that $80 tab that comes with a large popcorn and two beverages isn’t a sufficient profit bubble), a claim which is undermined by the incessant displays of slideshow ads (no dammit, I don’t want to buy a house from my local realtor who insists on showing their ugly mug shot) or promotional films for the most insipid cable TV (Didn’t we pay to go to the movies to get away from television, and why advertise your consumer competitor anyway?) or worse yet- movies production films that agonizingly reveal no interesting facts (except for more screen time for hack Hollywood egotists [the Will Smith family, you’ve been outed!]) about films you haven’t chosen to pay to see in the first place?

Animated Gif Christmas (384)A federal law passed that film reviews can only be written by people who have actually seen a movie predating the year 2000.

 

Animated Gif Christmas (384)A year of movie posters which return to artistry rather than just enlarged photos of the actors.

 

Animated Gif Christmas (384)A year of non-generic titling of films.

 

 

Animated Gif Christmas (384)A recall of the critical designation of “Vertigo” as the greatest film of all time. (Why not pick “Topaz” if the voting is going to be as illegitimately uninformed?)

 

Animated Gif Christmas (384)A ban on all print or broadcast ads quoting internet rave reviews.

 

 

An afterword: The opening comments are not intended as an endorsement of child smoking (except in the case of obnoxious, out-of-control brats- you know who you are -who I would never discourage from doing anything that would hasten their premature demise) nor as an admission to personally smoking (proudly smoke free since- forever) but this disclaimer seemed a good idea just in case the ACLU (or any annoying watchdog organization whose membership would never pass muster under the scrutiny of a 10 watt bulb) wants to get their- hopefully zombie targeted -knickers in a twist.movie


 THERE’S MORE TO CHRISTMAS THAN FRUITCAKES

     Seasons Greetings Film Enthusiasts. Since the holiday season is upon us, it also means it is that time of year when movie reviewers will rapturously wring their hands with delight as they may spend the next several months wasting time ruminating over the worthless conception of their The Best Lists, or worse, endlessly contemplating the upcoming Awards Season (End of December thru October) where the American film industry puts on it’s lowest cut ill-fitting dresses, cocaine stained spats and Botox enhanced capped toothed smiles to attend the never ending parade of ceremonies of clueless  self-inflated narcissism, leaving all confused lovers of film in the dust wondering from what lofty land upstream on Denial River comes the wince inducing pronouncement: “It’s been a great year for film!”

    Still, being the holiday season, it also means that the year is coming to an end bringing with it hopes of renewal and rejuvenation, and with it the promise of better film seasons to come. To those of a more pessimistic nature, the passage of time brings you closer to the sweet release of death which happily marks the end of prospects toward your attending further Adam Sandler, Michael Bay or Taylor Lautner films. (Not to mention the umpteenth rebooting of superhero franchises.) So rejoice!

COULD “SCROOGE” BE A FILM CRITIC? Given his noxious nature as an unrepentant miserly skinflint, ill mannered, callously opinionated and completely dismissive of others feelings, could not old Ebenezer be an ideal model for the professional film critic? A member of the lofty Critical Establishment? Not so fast Horace. Our Mister Scrooge, if you recall, did an appalling 180 degree shift at the end of the tale and became a decent, caring, philanthropic individual. A model citizen. Or what would be known in the Critical Establishment as a sucker. A man equipped with weak, wishy-washy attitudes. And by all evidence, rather unhygienic as well. No, better society be served by someone with the strength to do the right thing and kick that worthless Cratchit bunch, especially that obnoxious little Tiny Tim, out into the snow where they belong. “God bless us, every one!”

  THE ANNUAL CHRISTMAS PUZZLER

                    Brought to you by Skittles, the All-American Christmas candy

The object of the puzzle is easy. Simply identify the Christmas movie from which each of the following ten images were taken. If you answer all ten correctly, you get nothing, not even a lump of coal in your stocking. However, we may refer your name to Santa, in which case he may be cross at your abject greed and stuff a dead squirrel in your chimney. Good luck, may the wisest  and most accomplished of you prove triumphant, and- oh yeah- have a Happy Holiday!

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3 Responses to HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM CHANDLER SWAIN REVIEWS

  1. beetleypete says:

    I’m with you on Rogen, Sandler, and many, many more. As well as countless and pointless re-makes, sequels that are not really, and all sorts of (sorry-mainly US) mainstream crap that passes as entertainment these days. Have a great 2015, and I will look forward to more incisive dismantling of the ‘industry’ soon.
    Regards from England. Pete.

  2. Chandler, loved your Christmas wish list. Since it brought a little more holiday cheer for me, it should be good for a get-out-of-Santa’s-doghouse free card, or knock off a couple of demerits from your naughty record.

    1. Loved the zombie movie and ACLU reference. I’m so tired of zombies and vampires. I don’t watch them, but feel bombarded by all the trailers and advertisements that crop up. And I have to listen to relatives and friends talk about them. I respect their rights to choices, but I don’t want play by play commentaries about something I despise. Pure torture.

    2. And Gott in Himmel !! Thank you for pointing out the “pretty boys” dressed up in fashionable whiskers to help us get a clue to their masculinity. Give me Yul Brynner and Charles Bronson any day. And for a man’s movie (which definitely appeals to the feminine gender), there’s never been one to equal Quigley Down Under, and is the best role Tom Selleck has ever played (I think). That man walks calmly through that film exuding testosterone from every pore without breaking a sweat. And he definitely did not have to be dolled up to do it.

    3. Don’t know anything about a Boston accent, mythical or otherwise. What comes to mind when I think of Boston is this little ditty —

    And this is good old Boston
    Home of the bean and the cod,
    Where the Lowell’s speak only to Cabots,
    And the Cabots speak only to God.

    Now your name comes to mind along with old movies.

    4. Liked Mark Wahlberg in The Shooter. Nothing much since then that shouts at me in neon.

    5. Matt Damon. The new wore off long ago and now he’s like a guest who’s over stayed his welcome. He’s getting more than a little hackneyed,

    6. Amen, brother.

    7. “The Artist” was mesmerizing. I didn’t have an appreciation of silent film until then. I’ll bet you could recommend a couple of good ones.

    8. I think that’s why I’m half deaf now. I’m reduced to having to switch on the captions when I’m watching from home, not only because of my diminished audio capacity but because it’s seems to be the in thing for actors to mutter now. Also, so many movie makers think that keeping their scenes in the dark makes them artistic. Artistic, my hind foot. You can’t see what’s doing or who’s doing it. Do they think this is a new version of Film Noir? And everything has to be grey and depressing. In the old black and whites they knew how to get across depressing without being depressing. (I know that does not make a lick of sense, but it does to me). And they could film a dark room without totally knocking the viewer out of the loop.

    9. Yes. Yes. And yes yes yes. I love cartoons. Good ones, mind you; not “adult trashy”; not children’s space odysseys; but cartoons that will make anybody laugh at any age. Like Scrat the prehistoric squirrel on Ice Age. That would be infinitely better than sitting through an infinite number of COMMERCIALS that you’ve paid through the nose to NOT see. Or being a captive audience to bits of lame TV shows.

    10. Yes. The current crop of young reviewers and their incessant penchant for anti-social language and the emotional depth of a thimble gets on my last nerve.

    11. I love watching Antiques Roadshow when people bring in old posters from attics and trash bins and who-knows-where. The main “body” of posters now focuses on in-your-face sex appeal. No art required.

    12. You must mean “originality”. It’s been so long since I’ve seen any I almost had to look up the spelling.

    13. I like all Jimmy Stewart, and, of course, Vertigo. But it’s not anywhere near the top of my list.

    14. Rave reviews are about as sincere as an air kiss.

    Christmas Puzzler:
    — # 1 is probably A Christmas Story. I only know that because I tried to watch it a couple of days ago.

    — A couple of my dirty little secrets is that I love Bob Hope and Charlie Chan movies. But don’t ask me which Bob Hope this is. My half-heimers is kicking in this morning.

    I enjoyed reading all of this. Keep up the good work. Merry Christmas to you.
    P.S. Do you know any Lowell’s or Cabot’s? (Grin)

    10.

  3. C W says:

    Chandler whats up bud its CBL I was on the old site, where my attendance continues to be spotty at best due to complete boredom mostly and the stringent unyieldingly politically correct attitudes that permiate big big media and their blantantly apologetic followers, is that postured correctly????

    Ha Ha no I, stumbled across ur review on “It Came From Beneath the Sea” and started cracking up. Found this on ur old homepage…. Ur the only man with 27000 page views and no friends….. fucking awesome! Ill be looking in to further digest this new aggregation of your considerable efforts.

    cbl

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