Sunday, December 13, 2015

$tar War$....

The Eternal Cycle for All Star Wars Sequels is as Follows: Hype, Mega Hype, Omnipresent Hype, Toxic Hype, Disappointment. *** And then there is J.J. Abrams who brilliantly recast Star Trek and created a whole new milieu and look for that franchise and then hedged his bets with two scripts that aren't worth watching twice let alone archiving on your smartphone. I think, at the end of the day it'll be the same thin with "Star Wars: The Force Awakens"....just sayin'.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

The Peanuts Movie (2015)

Liked it, didn't love it, funnier than I expected even if it seemed disjointed despite the nominal focus on Charlie Brown's hapless pursuit of the Little Red Haired Girl. What I did enjoy thoroughly was the air combat sequences, it is surrealism worthy of Salvador Dali when Snoopy leads a squadron of Sopwith Camels aloft against the Red Baron from atop his red dog house. My only other observation is that Linus seemed somewhat in the background, normally he is Charlie Brown's only reliable confidante since the rest of the cast treats the "Round Headed Kid" so abominably....I kept waiting for Linus to quote Friedrich Nietzsche or at least C.S. Lewis.... Ah well there will be sequels no doubt...the movie is making mad phat moolah time enough to move Linus to center stage...

Monday, November 02, 2015

I guess Steven Spielberg is right...

when he asserts that comic book movies will eventually saturate the mediaverse and lose their appeal like westerns. He is right, in the long run. However it is worth pointing out that all up "adult westerns" had a very strong twenty six year run if we reckon the phenom from 1939 and "Stagecoach" thru 1973 and "High Plains Drifter". So I agree while it feels like a bubble...but it main last a quarter century....

Sunday, October 25, 2015


My mind is not easily blown, its a result of seeing "2001 A Space Odyssey" at an impressionable age. Be that as it may Theo Jansen's "kinetic sculptures" the "Strandbeests" definitely blow my mind. They walk, sense water, they evolve after a fashion, feed and store fuel (compressed air) and look like a Steampunk Dream of robotics powered by sails. The Strandbeests are literally HG Wells' martian tripods which evolved out of culture that knew nothing of The Wheel....everything is delicately articulated, one holds one's breath when the Strandbeest is set into motion....if Doctor Frankenstein was an artist, he'd be Theo Jansen. The Peabody-Essex Museum is hosting this exhibit thru the end of December, sell the house, sell the car do whatever you must to see it!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Rumor Has It that the Harvard Film Archive

is gonna run the second part of their Orson Welles Retrospective in December, which is at last my best hope of see "The Stranger" on the big screen at long last. If the HFA was smart they'd check their diaries for the screenings that got snowed out and re-run those films (Hint "The Trial").... :)

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Why Welles?

Channel Zero has an admitted "Thang" for Orson Welles, his life, his legacy, his unique style, all of it. We freely concede he has many many contemporaries in the pantheon of Great Film Directors, but none exceed him as a storyteller of rare power and skill. And his life, with all the Wellesian setbacks and catastrophes, self induced and inflicted from without is a living narrative on the sheer power of ambition and the vital necessity of staying true to oneself. Because at the end of the day what is Orson Welles' real sin? None of his movies made enough money to give him John Ford/Alfred Hitchcock class leverage over the studios. The audience wasn't there so the accountants claimed. Which is ironic because Welles held his audiences in the highest regard he thought they deserved the very best he could offer, he thought well of their patience, sense of humor and appetite for the offbeat. In Death, his faith in his audience is completely vindicated regardless of the tortured production story behind say "Touch of Evil". Because truly today's Orson Welles audience is literally tomorrow's the and end Welles won the argument hands down. So tomorrow night, Channel Zero is pleased and proud to screen what is admittedly one of Welles' lesser efforts "The Orson Welles Show" a self directed self produced 1979 pilot to a proposed late night talk show hosted by Himself. Don't for a moment think this format was somehow beneath Welles, he hosted almost the exact same program on the radio back in the 1940's and did pretty well by it all told. Besides between the poetry reading the magic tricks, punchy banter, The Muppets and his guests Angie Dickinson & Burt Reynolds the whole format is ineffably "Orsonian" in character. And besides that, Channel Zero has come into possession of a sort of "Wellesian Artifact" from the 1950's (duly preserved on DVD) which is a very short film one indeed that we can guarantee has never ever screened in Boston Ma. SO PLEASE TELL YOUR FRIENDS... Channel Zero can survive anything we were once chased out into the streets of Brookline after all....but we can't bear the thought of Letting Down Orson Welles and his Legacy! "The Orson Welles Show" (1979) The Somerville Theatre (Micro Cinema) 55 Davis Square Somerville MA Friday October 2nd 8pm (sharp) Admission a mere $7.50

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Channel Zero Returns to the Somerville Theatre, Friday October 2nd!!

2015 is Orson Welles’ One Hundredth Birthday! To Mark the Occasion Channel Zero is screening “The Orson Welles Show” a 1979 talk show pilot directed by & starring The Great Auteur Himself featuring Burt Reynolds, Angie Dickinson, The Muppets and Jim Henson as his guests. This proposed talk show may well constitute Welles’ last completely realized directorial project & was a sincere effort by The Auteur to bring fresh ideas to the Late Night Talk Show Format! Plus a few surprises in a definite “Wellesian Vein…” The Somerville Theatre (Micro Cinema) 55 Davis Sq Somerville Ma Friday October 2nd 8pm (sharp!) Admission: $7.50 (cheap!) 617 625 5700 Channel Zero, Boston’s Most Obscure Award Winning Repertory Film Series!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Jack Larson R.I.P.

The actor who single handed elevated "Jimmy Olsen" from cameo status to featured co-star in the Superman mythos, Jack Larson has died at the age of eighty seven. Never has a performer so lightly and expertly escaped the bounds of typecasting as Jack Larson who effortlessly segued into writing producing and directing in the theater after his seven year stint as "Superman's Pal". Larson piled up enough accomplishments in other areas of show biz that he was always able to bear the burden of "Olsenishness" very lightly, he didn't need to sell his autograph to survive he could play paterfamilias to the Superman fanbase sans worry or woe. Along the way to "Grand old Man of DC Comics", Larson did something pretty amazing his goofy trouble-prone characterization of Jimmy Olsen was deemed so central to the TV show's popularity that he inspired a comic book "Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen" which had an impressive nineteen year run on the spinner racks. And I swear, Jack Larson that out and proud playwright lived a good long life in part so he could remind people that scandal, a tangled personal life & mysterious death aside, George Reeves was still a very nice man and a princely castmate. Or as he once told a rapt audience at the Brattle Theatre (on the occasion of Superman's 60th anniversary) "Jimmy Olsen has been good to me, so I am going to be good to Jimmy Olsen".

"Black Mass" (2015)

I've finally come to the conclusion that the elusive "Boston Accent" never sounds right in the movies not because the actors can't do it, but because we Bostonians don't get it right ourselves. So once I concede that I can sit back and relax and enjoy "Black Mass" for the sheer vicious confirmation that Whitey Bulger (Johnny Depp)really was in the end a treacherous thug who never killed anyone who was in a position to give him a fair fight. That and credulous former FBI Agent John Connolly (Joel Edgerton) who is really the last of the Southie kids who believed all that shit about honor and tribal loyalty as his alleged key informant Whitey Bulger went on a city wide criminal rampage. Yup the whole stupid story is there baldfaced for all to see, it might not play in Peoria but it resonates here by Ghod...right down to Depp's Bulger who struts around South Boston in a belted black leather jacket like he is Rotwang the Mad Scientist from "Metropolis". And what da hell, "Black Mass" has brought Johnny Depp back from the dead, this is a fifty year old actor last seen playing "Tonto" the Lone Ranger's Faithful Indian Scout. What he will do with his resurrection is an open question...likely something self destructive & inane like a remake of "The Wizard of Oz"....but if Depp wanted to stick with Bostonians he'd do worse than a big biopic of notorious 19th super criminal Adam Worth...

Friday, August 21, 2015


Let the record show that the late Yvonne Craig, back in her Batgirl Days, was a skilled practitioner of the Art of Running in Spike Heels. Likely she took the secret to her grave.... *** Ah but Batgirl was a true pioneer, DC Comics's first all-up super heroine on TV. Watching the show today she seems quick to get her tongue in her cheek and give the aud a very knowing look indeed even as Adam West & Burt Ward occasionally stray into oinkerish territory. That and her almighty physical poise, Yvonne Craig could throw out her hip at a veritable ninety decree angle and still look dollsome and perfectly balanced. One gets the impression that Yvonne Craig was a bit of a thwarted comedienne but the usual wife-girlfriend fodder would have never have engaged her enthusiasm. Otherwise Yvonne Craig (who was a former professional ballerina) was an able journeywoman actress with a preposterously long list of TV credits on her resume having worked with everyone from Tommy Kirk to James Coburn and even a very young Davey Jones. TV back in the 1960's was strange incubator indeed, where else could Yvonne Craig work with future Oscar Nominee Bruce Dern on an Episode of "Land of the Giants"? Last year the big news on the super hero front was the long delayed release of the Batman TV show to DVD, we saw quite a bit of Adam West and Burt Ward and nothing of Ms. Craig and guess now we all know why. Ah but today's actors could learn something from Yvonne Craig, chiefly the subtle art of looking like you are having a grand old time fighting crime while gunning around town on a lace trimmed Harley Davidson..... Despite the fact that the producers never ever let Batgirl throw a punch at a villain she was still in the vanguard of Equal Rights. A lot of young girls starting writing themselves more heroic narratives on the basis of what they got off of Batgirl's single season on "Batman". That downstream effect is always the most telling and the most fraught with change. Yvonne Craig will be missed, peace to her ashes, succor to her loved ones.

Sunday, August 09, 2015

"Jurassic World" (2015)

I was profoundly Impressed with Bryce Dallas Howard and her ability to outrun a tyrannosaurus rex in high heels & a pencil skirt. Other than that I had to check the calendar to make sure it was really 2015 out there and not 1955 as seemingly postulated by the film's producers....

Friday, August 07, 2015

The Big Literary Flap This Summer

is of course the paternity and worth of Harper Lee's "Go Set a Watchman" the alleged sequel to "To Kill a Mockingbird". I'll skip over all the handwringing over the Fate and Characterization of "Atticus Finch" in favor of the simple observation that sometimes the mark of a Global Literary Classic is a Truly Dubious Sequel. And I can say that as someone who has read 's nominal sequel to "Inherit the Wind" "The Gang's All Here", which is otherwise a play that delves deep into the dramatic possibilities of the Harding Administration. Ever heard of "The Land of Mist"? Conan Doyle's sequel to "The Lost World"? His bumptious Professor Challenger goes from dinosaur hunting to mewing over the revealed truth of spiritualism. The biggest literary damp squib of 1926 and very much the "Go Set a Watchman" of it's time. And this is to say nothing of "Let Em' Eat Cake" a direct musical sequel to "Of Thee I Sing". Said follow up apparently features among other things singing & dancing fascists years before "The Producers". I haven't see "Let Em' Eat Cake" (not for lack of trying) or "Bring Back Birdie" (sigh...YES a sequel to "By By Birdie") but they both spring from a strange cataract where creativity and perhaps the lure of sure money glitter gush and intermingle. "The Land of Mist" I think I can pass over there are limits even to my advocacy for the underdog misbegotten sequel. So in a way be glad, the outrage attending on "Go Set a Watchman" only redoubles the worth of the original. And if that doesn't work I invite everyone give some reconsideration to "Shock Treatment" the infamous 1981 sequel to the "Rocky Horror Picture Show".

Monday, July 06, 2015

Channel Zero Proudly Presents "Sing Boy Sing" (1958)

1950’s Teen Idol Tommy Sands stars as a rising rock-n-roll singer who comes under intense family pressure to give up stardom & become a rural Preacher! It is the Pulpit vs Pop Music! Featuring Edmond O’Brien, Lili Gentle, Nick Adams & a classic rock-n-roll soundtrack! Also featuring short subjects from local film maker John McGinniss! The Somerville Theatre (Micro-cinema) 55 Davis Square Somerville Ma Friday July 10th 8pm (sharp) Admission: $7.50 (cheap!) (617) 625-5700 Why Tommy Sands? Why this film? Rock-n-Roll was young brash and the upstart's upstart in 1958, very controversial and already hard at work creating it's own stereotypes & cliches. Tommy Sands (who was signed by Colonel Tom Parker at the age of fifteen) is the very embodiment of that process, a musical malleable country boy rocker who yearned for stardom, he was literally Elvis Presley's first true impersonator a harbinger of hip thrusting sequined Incubai to come. Ah but if Elvis passed thru Hollywood on his way to Mount Olympus (a throne next to Marilyn Monroe surely), Tommy Sands fell short, got married to Nancy Sinatra (it had to be love, what man in his right mind would want Frank Sinatra as his Father in Law??) and then vanished into the ghetto of sixties TV guest star roles. But in "Sing Boy Sing" we have a good solid musical miniature portrait of A Hollywood Studio's Amusing Ambivalence towards a rising style of music in part hyped by other corporations. One the one hand they wanna crash in on this crazy kid's stuff on the other hand they are just concerned enough to want to defang the alleged monster. Thus we get Tommy Sands playing a nice likable preacher's grandson who is himself "conflicted" over his fame as a rocker. To say the least Tommy Sands is literally playing himself here...which is why his acting stands up reasonably well against Nick Adams histrionics and Edmond O'Brien's beetlebrowed Bluto act. Anyway Channel Zero just wanted to reach back to when Rock-n-Roll first starting literally thinking about itself and indulge a little counterprogramming along the way, drop y if you've had your fill of CGI Saurians.... :)

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Sir Christopher Lee, 1922 to 2015, Rest in Peace.

There are some actors who literally perish from their typecasting, George "Superman" Reeves certainly did, others let is burden and cripple them despite their manifest talents Bela Lugosi being a good representative example in this category. And then there are actors like the late Christopher Lee who enthusiastically EMBRACE the typecasting and strive to use it to the very best advantage. Lee had a staggering filmography over the course of fifty years with a good share of junk ("Sherlock Holmes and the Deadly Necklace") to outright weirdness ("The Return of Captain Invincible")and even a dose of peplum ("Hercules in the Haunted World"). But if Christopher Lee stumbled into some bad movies he himself is rarely bad in them, the man had a singular talent he could not be corrupted or dragged down by mediocrity. Along the way Sir Chris also managed a true horror film trifecta playing Count Dracula, The Frankenstein Monster and The Mummy a record only bested by Lon Chaney Junior (who was All That AND The Wolf Man as well)... Always welcome in any film he did, never a bore, never miscast Christopher Lee literally caught the last train out of Horror Star-dom. He made it all work for him and managed to keep his marriage intact through-out. And what the hell, he made literally the single greatest exit in the history of sound film, at the very climax of "The Face of Fu Manchu" (1965), when the evil Doctor's plan is thwarted and his secret hideout is blow up Lee is seen superimposed over the conflagration resplendent in his Dragon Robes and intoning in that priceless baritone "The World...Shall Hear From Me....Ahhhhgainnnnnn!!!"

Monday, June 01, 2015

Archie's Betty (2015)

I give Gerald Peary credit, he has managed the implosion in the film criticism market with aplomb reinventing himself as a Professor of film Studies and now lately a director of documentaries. And he wants to spend three years tracking down the real life inspiration for "Betty Cooper" (from Archie Comics) who the hell am I to judge? Gerald Peary is unique, he is a comics fan with no abiding interest in super heroes, his tipple from boyhood was Archie Comics. Hence this his current documentary which among other things explores the career of Archie Comics artist Bob Montana who grew up it turns out in Haverhill Ma and likely based a lot of the characters on his friends at the local high school! And from there Peary traces the inspiration for blonde Betty Cooper to one Betty Tokar, the ninety four year old Hungarian widow of the Police Chief of Perth Amboy New Jersey. The detective work seems pretty definitive & Peary's narration is breezy the whole concoction though is more akin to a "Essay Film" focused as much on the director's lifelong relationship with Archie an his universe as it is on the career of Bob Montana and the quest for "Betty Cooper". Nevertheless the facts are all there and Ms Tokar's claim to being the perpetually lovelorn Betty Cooper's avatar seems as secure as it can be given the slippery committee driven nature of comic book artistry. I think though, Peary have hit on something here, there are literally dozens of good stories from the golden age of comic books begging for documentary treatment. the Rise and Fall of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, Who Really Created Batman? or even good long sit down with Ramona Fradon one of the few women artists who date back to the golden age of comics and that just off the top of my head. Anyhow the ICA is screening this film twice more on June 14th I advise all and sundry to check it out....

Saturday, May 30, 2015

H 6 v2

RUN don't walk down to the Suffolk Modern Theatre (located atop the ruins of the Combat Zone on Washington Street in Downtown Boston) to see Shakespeare's Henry VI, Part Two, ably directed by Shakespeare & Company's own Tina Packer. *** I won't try to hide it, I love Henry the Sixth, Part Two, part of the appeal lies in the repulsive portrait of the scheming English Nobility and their endless cabals and schemes against their hapless inept but goodhearted King could easily infer that Shakespeare Had It In for ambitious aristocrats. Quite literally every single character in the course of this sprawling two and a half hour play comes to a sad or violent end from Monarch down the most inauspicious Knight. Its not quite as relentlessly violent as "Titus Andronicus" with it's thirty plus gruesome homicides, but Henry the Sixth has the same grim tone and waiting in the wings like a grinning incubus is arch hell hound himself Richard the Third. Yes it is a long play with a convoluted plot, but like any good renaissance schemer, Director Tina Packer knows how to impart celerity to her proceedings, the production just seems shorter and so much more intense by some directorial alchemy only known to Her and perhaps her best creative Grand Sire Orson Welles. And I'd also like to take this opportunity to decloset myself a bit and declare; I Love Jack Cade he is one of Shakespeare's most inspired creations, a blusterly authoritarian would be revolutionary leader whose plan for England's reformation includes abolishing money and burning down the grammar schools. Cade is himself nothing but the dupe of the power-hungry Duke of York who hopes to use the uprising as a means to depose Henry and Seize Power. This is Shakespeare neatly illustrating Edward Luttwak's famous dictum that their are revolutionary leaders whose rebellions do nothing except hold the bridle that some glittering Generalissimo may Mount Up and Ride. Allyn Burrows is superlative as the overburdened Duke of Gloucester (Henry's defacto First Minister) but his turn as Jack Cade has a sort of Strangelovenian glee to it. Given all this and the sheer amount of fun I had watching one Shakespeare's less well known histories I'd like to renew a public plea for Tina Packer to please direct Marlowe's "Doctor Faustus" As Soon As Possible. Her reputation is made, the Actor's Shakepeare Project has a vast amount of talent on hand and Boston needs a definitive staging of Marlowe's Faustus...think about it Tina Now Is The Time, This Is The Moment.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Happy Birthday Orson Welles

One Hundred Years Young as of Today! Y'know Orson there are maybe a dozen or so directors, worldwide whose total filmography in and of itself a complete film school education, and you are one of them, shit you may be first in line. That pre-eminence comes at a terrible cost, lost and or abandoned projects litter your resume from a filmed record of your stage adaptation of "Moby Dick", to your last unfinished film "The Other Side of the Wind". I can honor your memory by extolling your movies or pine away for one of your lost or missing projects, but I've done all that already. No the best way to enhance your legacy is help someone else get their dream project realized. Like maybe John McGuiness, one of Channel Zero's occasional collaborators who has been working for years on a Holocaust Documentary, like Orson, he needs "End Money" to finish up his film, Unlike Orson he has recourse to Kickstarter to stimulate funds. I know John to be a serious and able man, he needs short money doesn't seem so far fetched that he can't dig up the remaining funds on line, click on the link and if it seems worthwhile make a contribution. He is a tenacious man who talked with some truly tenacious people, death camp survivors, the very guarantors of our civilization. The footage looks promising...Just like "It's All True" except now WE can make something happen instead of hoping for some studio to come to it's senses. Film and filmgoing must become democratized if the cinema is to survive, projects like this with their open fundraising appeal to the public can make that happen. Think about it.

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Channel Zero Returns to the Somerville Theatre Friday April 10th @ 8pm

With a screening of: "The Perils of Pauline" (1967) Pamela Austin Stars as Cinema’s First Action Heroine in this Colorful High Camp Pastiche of the Classic Serials from the Swingin’ Sixties! Costarring Pat Boone as her fearless fiancée and Terry-Thomas as Pauline’s Lecherous Nemesis along with a Police Line Up of Memorable Character Actors! Friday April 10th @ 8pm (Sharp!) The Somerville Theatre (Micro Cinema) 55 Davis Square Square Somerville Ma. 617 625 5700 Admission: $7.50 (cheap!) Why screen "The Perils of Pauline" (1967) ? Because it is a unique cinema artifact from a brief era in Hollywood when everyone was trying to duplicate the colorful, campy success of the Batman TV Series. There were sitcom superheroes like Captain Nice, Mister Terrific as well a proposed pilots for Dick Tracy and yes even Wonder Woman (both of which were screened at the very first Channel Zero event twenty years ago BTW). The Producers of "The Perils of Pauline" decided to emphasize Batman's "cliffhanger gimmick" and cast the dollsome Pamela Austin (known for her work in commercials mostly) with Pat Boone as her square-ass boyfriend (taking a break from the usual ne'er do wells and beatniks Boone usually played) and the buffoonishly ineffectual Terry-Thomas as the villain. The campy pilot never sold, but the resulting material was deemed strong enough to form a stand alone film that is itself crammed with some of Hollywood's best character actors, everyone is in this movie, Kurt Kasznar, Leon Askin, Vito Scotti, Billy Barty, Edward Everett Horton and even June Foray manages to contribute some voicework! Hell this is psychotronic cinema at it's best and most obscure, why wouldn't we screen it??

Friday, March 27, 2015

Richard III AKA "Crookback Richard"

last of the Plantagenets and late King of England, was finally laid to rest this week with Full Pomp and Circumstance having been duly dug up from underneath a parking lot after he lost the Battle of Bosworth in fourteen something-or-other. His Majesty was buried....according to the Anglican Rite despite the fact that Richard was a nominal Roman Catholic, indeed his Monarchy came and went decades before Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation. You'd a thought, Richard's bones might have been at least handed over to the Franciscan Friars for stately reburial (they having allegedly concealed his body the first time)...but no the Archbishop of Canterbury presided without anyone in the U.K. turning an eyebrow. This is a muted example of the Catholic-Protestant schism in England that was rage on and off up to Bonnie Prince Charlie at the Battle of Culloden in 1702. It is also an ironic inversion of Machiavelli's famous Dictum from "The Prince", in this case "The Religion of the People Shall Be the Religion of the Prince".

Friday, February 27, 2015

Requiem for the West End Kid...

It seems incredible that Leonard Nimoy is dead. Despite his age and recent ill-health he is one of those select few among actors who is utterly ubiquitous in the popular memory thanks to millions upon millions of "Star Trek" re-runs on UHF stations back in the 1970's. He was right up there with Adam West, Burt Ward, Lynda Carter or even Billy Mumy faithfully & reliably there every weekday at 4pm or so. He was so inexorably imprinted on my memory in That Role, that I can recall being shocked to see him in other parts smiling most naturally....all very UnVulcan-like. He was in the end, an actor who after some discontented pushback decided to embrace the Mister Spock typecasting and Make It Bleed Money. It also rare for an actor to revive an iconic part forged in relatively youthful days and add new depths to the character sans the slide into self parody. For a performer who had a long journeyman's pedigree in episodic television, Nimoy was clearly the most "methody" of the original Star Trek Cast...this stood him in good stead when it came time to feign mind melding with foam rubber or perhaps strumming a futuristic lyre all with a perfectly composed Mug. But then I've always had a profound respect for actors like Leonard Nimoy who made the typecasting work for them, the Boris Karloffs' and Betty Whites'of this world, their phone rings and rings right up until the end every time. And to think by all accounts his father (a barber in Mattapan so I read) wanted Nimoy to take up the accordian thinking he'd never lack for work as a performer....

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Oscar Predictions...

(More like....Oscar Prejudices quite Frankly) Best Picture Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) – Alejandro González Iñárritu, John Lesher and James W. Skotchdopole "Birdman" was for better or worse the only film nominated that spoke to me as a fifty year old man....I wish it well. Best Actor: Michael Keaton – Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) Deserves it, suffered for it, will likely never be in the room again. Although the rumor is a sizable collection of English Academy Members united behind Eddie Redmayne he might just pull off a coup at the last minute, otherwise Cooper, Cumberbatch & Carell are all out of position. Best Actress: Reese Witherspoon – Wild (as Cheryl Strayed) This is why I call them prejudices, Reese will be skunked by Julianne Moore, but I wanna stay to true to my whims. Best Supporting Actor: J. K. Simmons – Whiplash (as Terence Fletcher) Again suffered for it, deserves it, did the work for it...Norton might make it a tight race although in a perfect universe Ruffalo would be right in there at the last minute as well. Best Supporting Actress Laura Dern – Wild (as Barbara "Bobbi" Grey) Again a prejudice, Dern has labored a long time in the vineyard, likely she won't win (I'm guessing Arquette will grab it off fuh real, Streep been too many times to the Oscars an the rest are Able Fledglings...) As for "Best Director" that is too many prejudices for me to pick....:) Anderson would be Poetic Justice, Iñárritu would be Restorative Justice...and Linklater a cunning Plea Bargain by a slick small town lawyer played by Pat Buttram. So figure Linklater....:)

Saturday, February 14, 2015

"Whiplash" (2014)

I wanted to like "Whiplash" a lot, really I did, and before I go any further I wish to laud all the performances, Miles Teller, J.K. Simmons (who deserves the Oscar nomination in every way) even down to Melissa Benoist in the thankless role of the hapless girlfriend. They all done good believe me. But... I had one of those revelatory movie experiences halfway through, the thought more or less slammed into me, to the effect "J.K. Simmons is torturing poor Miles Teller to make him into a kind of Suffering Jazz Drummer Messiah...All so the poor schnook can tour the USA playing thirty one seat venues in front of an aging and shrinking audience that simply hasn't figured out how to steal his music on line for free". If Simmons REALLY wanted to torture the kid he should have made it clear that his youthful passion for Jazz will inevitably into a quaint time consuming second job that will literally drain the joy from his life. And with that, the Movie Imploded Completely. It was supremely well acted, but the premise was almost hilariously flawed from the git-go. And anyway what is our cultural obsession with torment as the only path to excellence? The Ancient Greeks held that happiness was a function of the full use of one's powers along lines of excellence, here in the USA we have come to believe that excellence is impossible without a long tortured apprenticeship full of physical and psychological agony. Thats why these "drill instructor" characters (J.K. Simmons, R. Lee Ermey etc etc) never get second guessed in almost any drama or comedy...ever notice that? Its a sign of insecurity....just sayin'.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Channel Zero Returns Friday February 20th at 8pm Sharp!!

Join Us when we screen: "The Pueblo Incident" (1973) Starring Hal Holbrook, Richard Mulligan & James Hong This is an Ultra-Rare TV historic dramatization of the 1968 seizure of the intelligence ship, USS Pueblo, by North Korean Armed Forces & the brutal treatment of the crew during their year of captivity as depicted via flashbacks during the 1969 Senate investigation. The Somerville Theatre (micro-cinema) Friday February 20th 2015 8pm (sharp!) 55 Davis Square Somerville Ma 617) 625-5700 Admission: 7.50 (cheap!) Trust us North Korea really doesn’t want you to see This True Story! Channel Zero, Now in Our Twentieth Year and the Adventure is Just Begun!

Saturday, January 03, 2015

My Top Movies for 2014...

"Her", Spike Jonze needs to make MORE science fiction films and if they revolve around people in heavy romantic entanglements with their smartphones, so much the better. "The Grand Budapest Hotel" Wes Anderson believes in Irony the way The Pope believes in Transubstantiation...and Anderson will dish it out any way he can, subtle heavy handed, silly...and if along the way he makes a great comedian out of Ralph Fiennes then it is all for the good. "Jodorowski's Dune" This might be THE BEST science fiction movie I saw all year which was nothing more than an exhaustive documentary about Alejandro Jodorowski's attempt to make a movie out of Frank Herbert's SF novel "Dune" back in 1975. The film would have been an eccentric catastrophe but Good Lord What a Production Notebook! Fading Gigolo The only thing cooler than casting Woody Allen as a Pimp is casting John Turturro as a Brooklyn Gigolo. Snowpiercer Loved it, I'll never dismiss Chris Evans ever again, even if he decides to wreck the Doc Savage franchise I will always forgive him because he starred in Snowpiercer. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes I dunno, somehow 2014 despite a plethora of shitty tentpole franchise super hero flicks and fantasy extravaganzas still managed to squeeze out a really really good SF movie like every three months or so...this one is doubly memorable for being a sequel but a robust one in every way...what can I say sometimes remakes work. "Lucy" While we are at it, Luc Besson should make nothing but science fiction movies with Scarlett Johansson...I'd watch them both tear into a revisionist Flash Gordon all done from Dale Arden's perspective. "Art and Craft" I love fakes and phonies, and this documentary on Art Forger Mark Landis is amazing because the poor sod gets away with his forgeries because he has never made a dime off them! He DONATES carefully executed simulacrums to museums out of a spectrumy need for approval. Fascinating story. "St. Vincent" I don't care if Bill Murray has done better work elsewhere, JUST GIVE HIM THE DAMN OSCAR!! "Birdman or the Unexpected Virtues of Ignorance" If you love this movie, chances are you are a man over the age of fifty, and its about time someone did something for me and my homies. "The Homesman" Tommy Lee Jones can just play grizzled drunken cowboys for the rest of his life and sooner or later the rest us (much as was the case with the late John Wayne) will finally catch up to him creatively speaking. "Nova Express" This is a shout out to director Andre Perkowsky who apparently is allowing a ninety minute version of his projected three hour long adaptation of the novel by William S. Burroughs to circulate....STOP RIGHT HERE DUDE!! You got it right the first time, the select readings from the novel, the surreal stock footage this movie is perfect as is!! Don't push your luck! "Foxcatcher" I have a dreamy dream that the Best Actor Oscar is a dogfight between three avowed comedians, Steve Carell, Bill Murray and Michael Keaton...can't say who I'd root for....after all, when are those three ever gonna be in that room ever again? "Wild" I love survival stories...and if Reese Witherspoon wants to make a movie about swimming the English Channel in January...I Am There. My only complaint about this flick is that clearly thousands of dollars were spent trying to make Ms Witherspoon look worn, filthy, fetid & dirty....all of it wasted. "Big Eyes" No one is ever gonna accuse Tim Burton of being subtle...but then again this could have been a sort of comical "Female Ed Wood" film but for a subtle performance from Amy Adams who turns everything into a plea for artistic integrity even for hacks (who need it most of all).