The Top 10 of 2010? (2010 Jan 10)

Every year begins with high expectations: a handful (or perhaps more) of titles that tantalize with the possibility of greatness or, at the very least, of providing a satisfying two hours in a movie theater. When it comes to quality, "Best of" lists...

Sour Gripes and Fearless Predictions (2010 Jan 05)

Let me begin this look back/gaze ahead by remarking on the webmaster's equivalent of "sticker shock." I'm referring to January ad revenue. Historically, it has always been low at the time of the calendar change, but in 2010, it's positively putrid...

Closing out the Decade with Another Top 10 (2009 Dec 31)

[Note: I don't want to get drawn into tedious arguments about whether the next decade begins in 2010 or 2011. Purists will argue that it starts in 2011 and, in an absolute sense, they're correct. But who really cares? Relativistically, any 10-year...

Another Decade Bites the Dust (2009 Dec 29)

If the 1990s represented the early years of the Internet (not really its birth, but the time when the general public first became aware of it), the 2000s were when it came of age. Most of the common applications and sites we use on a regular basis ...

The Top 10 of 2009 (2009 Dec 27)

Here they are… the best of the best, the cream of the crop, the acme of 2009, etc. Top 10 lists serve a few purposes. For the person making them, they represent an opportunity to clarify what emerged as memorable from the year gone by. For those...

A Dozen Top Performances of 2009 (2009 Dec 24)

It's that time of the year again. As December winds to a close, critics of all sorts gaze back at the past 12 months and try to provide intelligent, insightful reflections about things that happened, trends, and so forth. You won't find any of that...

Torrents and the TARDIS (2009 Dec 13)

If you were to ask a random group of Hollywood executives what the greatest problem facing the industry is, three out of four would probably say "piracy." They would cite, chapter and verse, the overinflated numbers being circulated about how much ...

Turkey Day! (2009 Bottom 10) (2009 Nov 26)

The year's not over yet, but let's pretend. Thanksgiving, with its image of turkeys, is just too good a day to pass up for reflecting on the junk of the past year. Let's reserve late December for remembering what was good about the year gone by (...

The NEW MOON Gender Gap (2009 Nov 24)

An email sent to me yesterday read: "James, See that you loved NEW MOON as much as I did. You gotta check out the imdb rating splits. It will blow your mind."First, a word about IMDb ratings: they have their uses but to rely too heavily on them for...

Permutations of Change (2009 Nov 22)

"A change, my dear, and it seems not a moment too soon…" So spoke Colin Baker at the end of "The Caves of Androzani," the actor's late-inning introduction to the role of Doctor Who. Those words might just as easily apply to the American Presidency...

Backlash (2009 Nov 17)

It happens every year. Critics see a film and praise it. Early audience response is rapturous. Adulation pours in from every corner. The director and stars are interviewed and the photogenic ones find themselves in a paparazzi-generated fishbowl...

The DVD Blues (2009 Nov 12)

Home video sales haven't gone as expected in 2009. Is it the economy or is the cause more fundamental? Only a few years ago, studio executives were dancing in the streets because of the torrid rate at which revenue was pouring in from DVD sales. ...

R.I.P. Miramax (2009 Nov 05)

To be 100% accurate, Miramax is not "dead," meaning it has not ceased to function as an entity. But, after recent cutbacks by Disney have left the art house subsidiary with only a skeleton crew of 20 and almost no operating budget (about four titles...

Staying Home (2009 Oct 18)

Roger Ebert once commented that he believes a movie good enough to warrant a recommendation for home viewing is good enough to see in a theater. A recommendation considers only the movie, not the situation in which it is viewed. If only it was that ...

All the Best (Pictures) (2009 Oct 11)

When it comes to reviewing older movies, I'm at my best when some kind of "series" is involved. So, after completing my nostalgic journey through the '80s, which resulted in my watching about 90 movies and reviewing a little more than a third of ...

Isolation (2009 Oct 06)

And now for something completely different…It's the afternoon of Sunday, September 1, 1985, and I'm feeling strange. Outside, there's the bustle of a Sunday afternoon in a city. The temperature is mild but not unbearable, recalling the heights of...

From 'Wanted and Desired' to 'Reviled and Captured' (2009 Oct 01)

Originally, I wasn't going to write anything about Roman Polanski's capture in Switzerland. It seemed to be a relatively minor news story. After all, his detainment and future extradition (or lack thereof) doesn't impact me directly. He's an old ...