Up Your Shaft, and Other Kind Wishes (2005 Jul 27)

Generally speaking, I am amused by hate mail. Sometimes, it's banal - along the lines of: "You suck. You wouldnt know a good movie if it bit you on the ass." (Real e-mail from a couple of days ago.) Those are boring and are punished for their lack...

Sequels and Backwards (In)Compatibility (2005 Jul 26)

Now that seemingly every third motion picture is a sequel, the question has to be asked: How does a subsequent installment of a movie series impact the viewer's impressions of what has gone before? It's a tricky question, and not one that many movie-...

The Two R's (2005 Jul 25)

There's an example of the MPAA's unfairness and irrationality on display in theaters for everyone to see. If you believe that using the ratings is a reasonable way to determine the moral suitability of a film, this may cause you to re-think your ...

Harry Potter and the Chocolate Factory (2005 Jul 16)

When Warner Brothers determined the opening date of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, they carefully examined the release schedule and decided this was the best weekend to put it into theaters. The only other "major" is the R-rated Wedding Crashers...

Rise of the Docs (2005 Jul 15)

If you are a documentary lover, this is as close to heaven as it gets this side of a film festival. A few years ago, documentaries were few and far between. Even in art house theaters, only the occasional high profile effort like Hoop Dreams or ...

Random Mid-July Musings (2005 Jul 14)

As a critic, sometimes I think it's good idea to take off the month of August. The dog days, indeed. What can one say when the biggest cinematic event of the month is the release of The Dukes of Hazzard? Hollywood's cannibalization of their small-...

Postscript for THE PRICE OF THE CROWN (2005 Jul 10)

Spoilers follow...This may be written for only a couple of hundred people, but for those of you who hung in there for all 36 days (actually 35, since I posted the final two chapters at the same time), here are some of my thoughts on the book I wrote ...

Guilty Pleasures Part II (2005 Jul 09)

If you conduct an on-line search for one particular word, you will get an amazing array of responses. It's the "Orginal Hypertex Project." It's a language and translation wizard. It's a swingers club in Manchester. It's an undersea adventure ...

Censorship By Any Other Name (2005 Jul 08)

For those of us who write movie reviews, there's a phrase we all know: "review embargo." In layman's terms, this means that reviews are not supposed to appear on a website until the day the movie opens. Studios like to employ embargoes because it ...

Format War (2005 Jul 05)

I remember the last big format war: Beta versus VHS. It's the thing that kept my parents from buying a VCR until the path forward was clear. It kept the video recording industry from exploding until 1985, when VCRs could have become big three or ...

But First a Word from Our Sponsor... (2005 Jul 03)

Like a dog to its vomit, I keep coming back to rants about the same pet peeves. Maybe it's because I spend so little time at general admission multiplex movies, but it's tough to surpress a wince of outrage every time a commercial appears on screen...

The Halftime Top 10 View (2005 Jul 01)

The "accepted" time of the year for Top 10 lists is the end of December, but the half-way mark is as good a point as any to give a snapshot of where things stand with most of the summer's big movies already on screens. As I list my mid-year Top 10, ...

Cruise Control (2005 Jun 29)

A certain degree of eccentricity is expected from celebrities. After all, considering their offbeat career choices (they spend their time pretending to be someone else) and stratospheric salaries, it's unreasonable to think they'll be "just like ...

Has the Superhero Boom Gone Bust? (2005 Jun 28)

As amazing as it is to consider, box office receipts of $125 million in 12 days are viewed as disappointing. I'm sure the executives at Warner Brothers aren't in mourning, but there is no doubt that Batman Begins has underperformed. Expectations ...

Ads for Ads (2005 Jun 26)

In the 1980s, I was a big Star Trek fan. Not the kind who would dress up as Spock to attend a convention, but one who had seen all of the episodes multiple times and could rattle off an alarming number of quotes. A few weeks before the much-...

Generation Gap (2005 Jun 24)

I was at a concert this past Saturday evening, and a little thing got me thinking about how much culture has changed since I was a kid. Change happens so slowly that it's almost imperceptible to those who are living through it. But when you examine...

Summer Ramblings (2005 Jun 22)

In the northern hemisphere, the calendar has turned from spring to summer, bringing on thoughts of hot afternoons under a blazing sun and lazy, sultry evenings with thunder rumbling in the distance. For me, summer is nature's refund for winter. I ...