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Purple links

And just when we had gotten over the death of Bowie, this happens. I remember back in junior high we'd occasionally debate who was better, Prince or Michael Jackson. It was probably an unfair comparison. As awesome as Michael was, he didn't play an instrument, whereas Prince - well, perhaps it'd be easier to list what he couldn'tplay.The film career of the Purple One was perhaps a little less distinguished overall, but hey, criticizing him for not being a great actor is kinda like criticizing Mozart beca... read more »

This is Spinal Tap

This is Spinal Tap from my DVD collection ...Let's face it: a lot of music being heard on the radio waves today does suck, particularly pop music. I know because I was forced to listen to it in work a few weeks ago. My work station is currently the front reception desk until our expanded office space is ready to use (we don't actually have a receptionist, but it was one of the few available places for me.)In the front reception area is a speaker. I have no idea who turned it on one afternoon, but all o... read more »

The link who fell to Earth

Unfortunately, I don't have any interesting stories related to the music of David Bowie. I never saw him in concert, nor did he inspire me to explore my sexuality or anything along those lines. Like many people, I simply dug his music, and I'm really sad to see him departed from this life. As an actor - and he had been one almost as long as he had been a singer - he had an eclectic range of roles, as you would expect from one who took on roles in his musical performances: Pontius Pilate in The Last Tempt... read more »

Plan 9 From Outer Space

Plan 9 From Outer Space YouTube viewingLet's start with the question everyone asks: is it really the worst movie of all time? Friends and neighbors, I have seen a lot of movies in my life, but I haven't seen nearly enough to even be remotely qualified to answer that question. Personally, I think the "all time" label, while it's certainly well-earned, is also part hyperbole, a gimmick used to get people to willingly engage in what they believe to be a "campy" experience that they can tweet about later.I'... read more »

New release round-up for September '15

Once again, I didn't see any new films, so I'll talk TV instead... ...and there's only one new TV show that's on my mind right now. When I first saw the print ads for the new Muppet TV show, The Muppets, at first I was excited. Then I looked at them closer and thought: What are the Muppets doing with cell phones? Then I remembered: it's 2015, not 1979. No matter how often I see Kermit, Piggy, Fozzie, Gonzo and the rest in a modern context, I simply cannot get used to it. To me, they'll always be of the ... read more »

Tod Browning

Maybe I should have waited until Halloween to write about Tod Browning. Though I didn't know much about the director prior to writing this post, I associate him with films dealing with the macabre and the weird. He spent most of his career in the silent era, when the medium was still very much in its incubation period, but it's his talkies that he may be best remembered for - in particular, two films that may not be as shocking now as they were in his day, but remain memorable and influential over eighty... read more »

Blyth Spirit: The Jacqueline T. Lynch Q-and-A

In the long history of Hollywood child stars, there are few who grew up and sustained their early success into a long and fruitful career: Elizabeth Taylor, Natalie Wood, and Kurt Russell immediately come to mind as examples. Another among that number is Ann Blyth, who at age sixteen, went toe to toe with the formidable Joan Crawford in the original Mildred Pierce and earned herself an Oscar nomination. She went on to make a string of stirring dramas and light comedies, with only occasional but memorable... read more »

Papa's got a brand new link

"You fathers will understand. You have a little girl.You're her oracle. You're her hero."I'd like to send out a big thank-you to everyone who re-tweeted or re-posted or commented on Facebook about my link to the story about Friends of the Loew's winning their court case against Jersey City. I had absolutely no idea this was gonna happen. I had planned to go to the Loew's Jersey City Friday night, yes, but mostly because I hadn't been back there in months and I wanted to get in one more movie before the s... read more »

The Princess Bride and fairness

Scott Roberts is a cartoonist friend of mine and is very erudite when it comes to American pop culture, and most other things, actually. Anyway, he recently wrote the following piece about the ending of The Princess Bride on his Facebook page and he has graciously allowed me to present it here, with only minor spelling corrections:...At the end of the story, the boy is disappointed that Prince Humperdinck is not killed or, in any way that he can measure, punished for his deeds. In a traditional fairy tal... read more »

Hungry links

Good news: I've got an ETA on the next issue of Newtown Literary which will include my short story "Airplanes." It'll be released in December... and that's about as specific as I can get right now. For those of you in the New York area, the magazine is available at Astoria Bookshopin Queens, a fine literary establishment which I heartily recommend.As for the WSW anthology, I admit I've slowed down on this because I've never published an e-book before and I'm kinda nervous about getting it right (although... read more »

The unexpected virtue of linkage

So there's this local literary magazine called Newtown Literary. It's still relatively new, but it's already built a bit of a rep for attracting Queens writers for short stories and poetry. The theme for their next issue is sci-fi/fantasy.Guess who's gonna be in it.Yep! I had had my eye on getting in the mag before, possibly by submitting a piece from WSW, but they only take original, unpublished work (a post on a blog counts as being published), so what I did was, I crafted a short story loosely inspire... read more »

Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxyseen @ Movieworld, Douglaston, NY8.19.14"Beware the movie that's Fun! with a capital F, the one populated with seemingly unpretentious characters that say adorable, clever things, the one that presents each off-kilter joke as if it were a porcelain curio, the one that boasts a comfort-food soundtrack of songs you've always liked but perhaps haven't heard in a while. On the plus side,James Gunn'sGuardians of the Galaxy, adapted from the Marvel comic book series of the same name, has... read more »

If everyone's a critic, then no one's a critic

...What if we subject ourselves to a piece of art and see something we’ve never seen before. What if it leaves us uncertain of its meaning and it effect on everything else we’ve ever seen? What if it moves us deeply, delights us immensely, or inspires us in the very best ways? What then? Are we supposed to stand cheer and be content to say “that was wonderful?”…or are we as audiences and critics supposed to be able to recognize artistic genius when we are in its presence? Shouldn’t we be able to recogniz... read more »

Life Itself

Life Itselfseen @ Walter Reade Theater, Film Society of Lincoln Center, New York NY7.22.14I've tried, but I'm finding it difficult to express the admiration I feel for the film version of Life Itself. Laughter and sadness in near-equal parts. A shockingly explicit inside look at Roger Ebert's final days that will make you better appreciate what he went through. A picture of courage, dignity and pure, unadulterated love in Chaz Ebert. A portrait of the late film critic that doesn't shy away from the not-s... read more »

The Spoiler Experiment pt. 1: Draft Day

Draft Dayseen @ Jamaica Multiplex Cinemas, Jamaica NY4.11.14In a sense, what I'm doing with this Spoiler Experiment isn't terribly new for me. There have been movies in the past that I've seen knowing either (almost) everything or (almost) nothing. This, however, will be the first time I've made a conscious effort to pay attention to whether or not it makes a difference either way.I'm writing this section on April 10, the night before I go to see Draft Day, the first of my two case studies. To reiterate,... read more »

Draft Day

Draft Dayseen @ Jamaica Multiplex Cinemas, Jamaica NY4.11.14In a sense, what I'm doing with this Spoiler Experiment isn't terribly new for me. There have been movies in the past that I've seen knowing either (almost) everything or (almost) nothing. This, however, will be the first time I've made a conscious effort to pay attention to whether or not it makes a difference either way.I'm writing this section on April 10, the night before I go to see Draft Day, the first of my two case studies. To reiterate,... read more »

All-american links

Last month, I was quite saddened to see that one of the last neighborhood movie theaters from my youth, the Jackson Cinemas in Jackson Heights, was closed for business. The movies on the marquee were Thor: The Dark World, Catching Fire and Frozen, so based on that, I'd say it's probably been at least three months since they closed their doors.I've written about this place many times in this blog,mostly positive but sometimes negative. As much of a beloved hot spot as it was for me growing up, those days ... read more »

Muppets Most Wanted

Muppets Most Wantedseen @ Jamaica Multiplex Cinemas, Jamaica NY3.27.14The superb movie site The Dissolve wrote a piece recently about Muppets Most Wanted from the angle of how a movie like this can't help but recycle certain themes from past Muppet movies because these days, that's the safest way to guarantee that people will actually go see it:...Is there an inherent limit to what talking, singing animal puppets can do in a movie? Or are studios simply too timid to push those limits? On the big screen, ... read more »

Links and an Oscar recap

Oscar winners:Best Picture: 12 Years a SlaveBest Director: Alfonso Cuaron, GravityBest Actor: Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers ClubBest Actress: Cate Blanchett, Blue JasmineBest Supporting Actor: Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers ClubBest Supporting Actress: Lupita Nyong'o, 12 Years a SlaveThe rest.They got it right. Can you believe it? The Academy actually got it right for once when it comes to bestowing their Best Picture Oscar. Color me amazed; it would've been easy for them to award a less challenging movi... read more »

Links and a remembrance

Wow, what a weekend, huh?The first time I recall really noticing Philip Seymour Hoffman was in Happiness, a mind-blowing movie that shows ordinary, everyday people at their most depraved. This was during the period when I was beginning to get a taste for independent cinema, so you can imagine how disturbing it was to see a character like Hoffman's on screen for the first time. I had studied acting in college for a semester, and I had taken classes outside school as well. I thought I was on my way to full... read more »

Would you prefer the 1925 Oscars?

'The Big Parade'So now that we've gotten over the pissing and moaning over who got snubbed and who got nominated that shouldn't have in this year's Oscars, allow me to present an alternative. Le from Critica Retro has put together a super-sweet video (made for the recent Classic Film History Project Blogathon) of a make-believe Oscar ceremony for the films of 1925, which was a pretty awesome year: Chaplin's The Gold Rush, Battleship Potemkin, the original Phantom of the Opera, the original Ben-Hur, a sil... read more »

Links and a NaNoWriMo recap

So as I mentioned back in the end of October, I spent the month of November participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), in which the goal is to write a manuscript for a novel in thirty days with a minimum of 50,000 words. I feel I should stress the fact that the goal is to make a manuscript, a first draft. There's absolutely no way that what I wrote is ready to be sent to a publisher right now. That would be way too embarrassing, to say the least.Nonetheless, I did make it to the 50,000 ma... read more »

Links, a book review, and blog news

Last things first: I have decided to take part in National Novel Writing Month (aka NaNoWriMo) this year. For those of you unfamiliar with it, it's a literary event in which a bunch of writers around the world get together and attempt to write a 50,000-word novel in 30 days. Well, 50,000 is the minimum, anyway; I'm told that this number is a relatively small one for the average novelist, but the challenge, obviously, comes in putting together a draft of a novel in such a constrained time period.I'm gonna... read more »

Gravitational links

October is sure to be an exciting month. Lot of potential Oscar-caliber movies will unfurl for the people, and while some may think the race is already over thanks to Twelve Years a Slave, well, all I can say to that is a lot of people thought the race was over with The Social Network a couple of years ago, and look what happened. I may not be any kind of Oscar prognosticator, but I know this much: the Academy will pick what it likes regardless of what the media or the public or anybody else says they sh... read more »

Books: Life Itself

What surprised me the most about the late film critic Roger Ebert's memoir Life Itself was how little he left to the imagination. Normally, I tend to take autobiographies with a small grain of salt; after all, there are always gonna be places where the truth is stretched or polished up to a certain degree to serve the author's agenda. I don't get the impression that Ebert did that here. He covered almost his entire life, in vivid detail, in his book, to the point where by the end you feel like you know h... read more »

International link festival

Stolen from Zap2It. Only... shouldn't Brodie be the one w/the punchline?First of all, all you people are crazy. Affleck will kill it as Batman.Second: the major film festivals are either here or approaching us, so that means it must be Oscar-watching season. I've never been the type to follow the Oscar race year-round - they don't mean that much to me - but for those of us who can't be at Toronto, or Telluride, or Venice, they let us know which movies to keep an eye on, whether Oscar-worthy or not, and t... read more »

Gone With the Wind

The Blind Spot is an ongoing series hosted by The Matinee in which bloggers watch and write about movies they've never seen before. For a list of past entries, visit the home site.Gone With the Windseen on TV @ TCM8.20.13I've loved classic movies ever since the first time I saw Sunset Boulevard in college and became fully aware of what movies can do. In the three years I've worked on this blog, I've made some good friends who share this love. Thing is, though, loving classic movies means accepting the fa... read more »

Smurf these smurfin' links

Not a whole lot to talk about this time out, except to mention that once again I'll be taking part in the TCM Summer Under the Stars Blogathon this month. Last year, I made an effort to make each of my posts different from each other, and I'm gonna do the same this year, even going so far as to play with the format a little bit. Also, last year I chose to pick one actor whom I had never heard of before, or at the very least, knew next to nothing about. That was Jeanette MacDonald. I've done the same this... read more »

Books: Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

The 2013 Summer Reading Classic Film Book Challenge is an event in which the goal is to read and write about a variety of books related to classic film, hosted by Out of the Past. For a complete list of the rules,visit the website. I recently shared a link to an article written by former child star Mara Wilson, from the films Mrs. Doubtfire and Matilda, among others, in which she talks about the hazards of achieving fame at such a young age. Celebrity can be a daunting enough prospect to face even as an... read more »

Monstrous links

Good news! Page and I have begun talking about rescheduling the Terrorthon. It was truly unfortunate that we've had to put it on hold for as long as we have, because we had a fairly large amount of people lined up to take part. I don't know if we can get as many the second time around, but I do know that Page has her heart set on making this blogathon happen, and I'm just as eager to help her with it. We haven't settled on an exact date yet, but sometime around Halloween might be a possibility (which, st... read more »

20 Million Miles to Earth/Jason and the Argonauts

20 Million Miles to EarthJason and the Argonautsseen @ Landmark Loews Jersey Theater, Jersey City, NJ6.8.13I've written before about the special effects wizard Ray Harryhausen, who died last month at the age of 92. In watching two films last weekend that he worked on, 20 Million Miles to Earth and Jason and the Argonauts, I was once again made aware of the difference between seeing movies like these on television, which I did growing up, and seeing them on a big screen.Stop-motion animation existed befor... read more »

Links of the living dead

Last month was a rough one for two of my favorite film bloggers, Page and Brandie, but I believe they'll get through it. Admittedly, I don't know them that well, but they both strike me as having the ability to overcome the adversity that life has thrown at them. Do yourself a favor and check out their blogs; let 'em know you're out there.This past weekend finally felt like summer for real after a cold and dreary spring, and I loved it! I spent both days out and about in the city, mostly Greenwich Villag... read more »

'Man of Steel' must escape Reeve's shadow

Christopher ReeveRuth recently wrote a marvelous and deeply personal post about what Superman means to her, which you absolutely must read. Yesterday, I was chatting with an old friend about movies in general and we spent a few minutes on the upcoming Superman flick Man of Steel (another movie title that's missing the 'the'), so I've had the big blue Boy Scout on my mind recently. Ruth's love for Superman is partly based in the concept of the character, but I think it's safe to say that a large part of t... read more »

Iron links

Oooooh boy, the summer movie season is finally upon us, and while my expectations for the summer blockbusters are fair-to-middling this year, it's still exciting to see what they have for us. As much as I've been kvetching on Twitter about the new Star Trek film, for instance, there's no way I can avoid seeing it, simply because it is Star Trek. The superhero movies, on the other hand, I've cooled down on a little bit - too much of a good thing, y'know - but hope springs eternal. Can Christopher Nolan's ... read more »

Ich bin ein Liebster!

So I got another one of these Liebster Award thingies. I don't know if this sort of thing is common among bloggers in general or film bloggers in specific - I never saw anything like it when I did my comics blog - but it's a nice idea, and if nothing else, it shows that somebody thinks kindly of this blog. In this case, that somebody is Brian from Films From Beyond the Time Barrier (awesome blog title).That said, this particular award has been rather... generously spread out, so I don't feel the need to ... read more »

Thumbs up

It took me awhile to truly appreciate the kind of film critic Roger Ebert was. I remember watching At the Movies during the 90s, when I was first getting seriously into movies, but at the time, I didn't think what he and Gene Siskel were doing was so unusual. By that time, there were similar film review shows on TV, and I figured these guys were simply part of the trend, though they were certainly more popular than most. I thought that was because they argued so much.Film criticism in general was easy to... read more »

What fools these bloggers be...

One of these days, I suppose I'll have to attempt to pull off an April Fool's joke here. I tried it a couple of times at my old comics blog, but I haven't felt all that inspired to attempt one here. WSW isn't a movie news site, so it's not like you'd expect me to have a scoop about whatever's going on in Hollywood. Maybe next year I'll come up with something. The nomination procedure is still going on in the LAMMY Awards, so if you're a LAMB, please vote for "City Mouse Makes a Movie" in the Best Runni... read more »

When filmmakers get thin-skinned

...I would not say I enjoy writing a bad review. I certainly don't walk into films looking to hate them. I will say that when a film is particularly hard to sit through, there is a satisfaction that comes from drawing a little blood in return, and some films seem to have such naked contempt for the audience that I don't mind returning some of the same to them. And while there is something about the relationship between critics and filmmakers that has to be contentious, just by its nature, should it ever ... read more »

My Brooklyn

My Brooklynseen @ reRun @ reBar, DUMBO, Brooklyn2.2.13The first time I worked in Brooklyn was in 2004. It was in Park Slope. For those of you who are unaware, this is one of the most popular, and heavily coveted, neighborhoods in all of Brooklyn, in large measure because of the beautiful brownstone buildings lying amidst tree-lined streets, next to Prospect Park. I had passed through it before when I was younger, but only fleetingly. Now, I would work there and experience everyday life there.Eventually I... read more »

Guild-ed links

The Directors Guild award is one of the most important awards on the road to the Oscars, but this year, because of the large disparity between those nominees and the Oscar nominees for Best Director, it had become even more difficult to predict. Then Ben Affleck and Argo started winning everything, and now it looks like that streak could continue this weekend when the DGA winner is announced. Whoever wins here could have the inside track on Best Director at the Oscars, and even Best Picture, but even if ... read more »

New year's links

The first link list of 2013 and I don't have too much to say other than I'm working on my contribution to this year's LAMB Devours the Oscars. As I mentioned on Saturday, it's another City Mouse strip, this time featuring Collie (she kinda kicked CM to the curb this year). It should be done this week and will hopefully go up very soon. In the meantime, please don't be shy about letting me know what you think of City Mouse Makes a Movie; if you like it, hate it, whatever, tell me about it.Similar to the C... read more »

Two Jews sing their 'Les Mis' review

Mostly, anyway. These two are so damn awesome and if you've never seen their show before, this video is a perfect example of why you should. Here's their YouTube channel.That's it for me in 2012. I'll be back January 2. Don't forget, my new weekly comic strip, "City Mouse Makes a Movie," debuts January 5 and will run on Saturdays throughout the year. Look for a sneak preview on my Twitter page next Thursday!Have a happy new year! read more »

Yuletide links

I should have a post for you about this movie next week.What a surprise - the world didn't end after all! Just like it didn't end a year and a half ago when everybody was screaming about the rapture, just like it didn't end when the Y2K bug had everyone in a panic, just like it hasn't ended for what, billions of years now? And still people fall for this crap. Why do people wanna believe in the end of the world so much? Seriously, it bugs me so much because it keeps people afraid and ignorant. I saw a lin... read more »

In defense of A Christmas Story

...Many moments of the film seem quite superfluous to the central plot. Why the broken furnace? Why the bully? Why the Little Orphan Annie decoder pin? At a mere 94 minute [sic], all these extra scenes, that have not made quite the splash in pop culture, havecome to feel like cheap padding. If it were just a story about being a kid, I'd understand but it's so specific to the holiday season, that these moments don't seem to really fit into the overall celebration of Christmas.The first time I saw A Christ... read more »

Gone fishin'

This is an especially busy and hectic week for me, so I'm afraid I'm gonna have to take a brief siesta until next week. In the meantime, take a look at this post from the Lady Eve on a movie that played on TCM yesterday called The Letter. It's the earlier version of a Bette Davis classic and apparently it's a real rarity, so much so that it's generated quite a bit of discussion among the classic blog community. I watched it; thought it was alright, but I don't have too much more to say about it, especial... read more »

Loop-de-loop links

So I was gonna write about The Master today, but I've pushed it back (again) because Vija wants to see it next weekend, and maybe some of our friends too (don't know for sure yet). Getting kinda anxious, I admit, but hey, I've waited this long...Is it madness to write about movies for 1000 days in a row (and counting)? Not if you're Ryan.The Lady Eve spotlights Mickey Rooney on the occasion of his recent birthday. (I had no idea he's made so many movies.)I have not become "the movie guy" to my friends ye... read more »

Masterful links

Not a whole lot to say this time round. On the Facebook page, I put up my schedule of films for Urbanworld next week, but I forgot to take after-show Q-and-As into account - another opportunity for pictures, not to mention behind-the-scenes information, so I may have to adjust it again. Also, it looks like the 70mm version of The Master will play at the Ziegfeld. I went there on Tuesday thinking I could get a ticket in advance, only I didn't realize Tuesday was an exclusive advance screening. I can't beg... read more »

Julie & Julia

Julie Julialast seen on TV @ E!9.2.12Julie Julia should've been the very first movie I blogged about here. I remember seeing it in the summer of 2010 at Hudson River Park for the first time. I passed on seeing it during its theatrical run because everyone kept saying it was only half of a good movie - the Meryl Streep-as-Julia Child half. But I wanna talk about the Amy Adams-as-Julie Powell half because I'm about to admit something that I was kinda embarrassed about for awhile: this movie is the reason... read more »

Sparkly links... and another award

So summer's winding down and I promised myself I'd go back to the beach. The past few weeks, the weather's cooled off a little bit, but I'm still hoping for some real beach-appropriate weather. This summer hasn't been too bad. I've seen my share of outdoor movies, got involved in some great blogathons, and made some new City Mouse strips. I'd like to make some more strips, and hopefully I will, once I come up with a new idea or two.I don't know what to say about the death of director Tony Scott beyond th... read more »

Bat-links

Life goes on. I had wondered for awhile whether or not I had overreacted to refunding my Dark Knight Rises ticket, since the Aurora massacre obviously wasn't stopping other people from seeing it. That in itself didn't surprise me. I was on vacation from my video store job when 9-11 happened, and when I came back, my co-workers told me the video store for the two or three days immediately afterward was packed. Movies are still a means to escape for many people, in spite of everything, and I think it's gen... read more »




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