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Wednesday, Oct 9, 2013
In the spirit of Rodney Ascher's recent documentary, here are two films that I find differing meanings in vs. the rest of the mainstream moviegoing public.

Over the last few weeks, my fellow films critics and I have been having an interesting debate. No, it’s not who will win Best Picture or why certain studios fail to screen specific titles for us. Instead, we’ve been arguing over the documentary Room 237 - you know the one, Rodney Ascher’s film about the various secret interpretations and intentions within Stanley Kubrick’s “horror masterpiece” The Shining. In said movie, the filmmaker follows a group of individuals and pseudo scholars as they argue that one of the greatest cinematic auteurs in the history of the artform turned Stephen King’s novel about a haunted hotel into an apology for the Native American genocide, an explanation of the Holocaust, a mea culpa for Kubrick faking the moon landing, and at least two other equally obtuse deconstructions. For some in my brother (and sister)-hood, the project is akin to mental masturbation. It’s geek obsessives fetishizing a film that, for the most part, seems pretty straight forward.


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Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013
Think about how you, even at an advanced age, can set the agenda when it comes to this film and preserve its legacy the best way you see fit. It's hard to do that when you're gone, Jerry.

Dear Comedy Genius:


No, I am not being facetious. Yes, I understand that you get said compliment, on occasion, in a backhanded way, all the time. It’s become a running joke, a repugnant bit of ridicule that’s patently offensive to any film fan with half a brain. You are a genius. Sure, not every movie you made was a masterpiece. Yes, you played to the baser instincts of the genre. True, your ‘trained ape’ persona onscreen can be grating and a bit overbearing. But anyone who looks over your creative canon these last six decades, anyone who witnesses your growth as both a filmmaker and an artist understands that you are much more than a French cinephile’s talking point. You’re a brilliant director, a consummate performer, and a flailing egotist who has a right to believe in their own excellence.


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Monday, Aug 12, 2013
At some point, some theater will acquiesce and open up an "all access" venue where you can do anything you want short of sexual liaisons with your partner and we will then see how much of a demand there is for such an outlet.

You’ve seen them and if you haven’t you’re damned lucky. If, in fact, you really have never experienced it, head on over to YouTube and type in the name of your favorite band. Then add the word “live” to the search bar and see what comes up. There they are, dozens upon dozens of clips featuring your beloved pop/rock/country combo, image jittering and jumpy while the distorted noise pouring from your speakers reminds you that, even with the convenience factor and ease of use, a cellphone still has a long way to go to be a really reliable portable video camera. It is, however, the new go-to accessory for anyone who believes in the democratization of art, who doesn’t know the word “bootleg” or the decades of artistic angst over the illegal capturing of a concert or song.


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Thursday, Aug 1, 2013
What was the first film to debut on over 1,500 screens simultaneously? Well, it wasn't some specious fish story, that's for sure.

In response to a recent New York Times article asking that film fans stop blaming Jaws for what is now seen as the annual unveiling of increasingly superficial popcorn season fare, we present a reasoned response. It’s not Steven Spielberg’s fault. Tom Laughlin and his Billy Jack character are gleeful guilty parties. Don’t think so? Read on…


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Wednesday, Jul 17, 2013
Turbo is borderline racist. No, it doesn't actually come out and call any of its minority characters by recognized hate crime names, but it sure does use stereotypes as a shortcut to any real character development.

It seems innocuous enough—the story of a little snail who dreams of winning the Indianapolis 500—and the execution has all the bedazzling bright lights of a post-Pixar production. Indeed, Turbo has a lot going for it, especially when you consider that it follows in the footsteps of lesser family films like Ice Age (and its various sequels), Madagascar (same on the series) and any other ancillary CG knock off you can name. But there is a bigger problem brewing with this soon to be sensation (it’s an animated movie in the middle of Summer - it would have to suck slug warts not to make a bunch of money), a problem parents might not recognize initially, but should make them approach this latest electronic babysitter with a giant sized salt shaker and a few lessons on intolerance.


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