About

Hi, and thanks for stopping by—for some opinions, some facts, some fun. The accent here is on that quaint virtue of fairness, skipping snide snob snorts, see-thru p.c. bleats and petulant ax-grinding. We try to keep write-ups succinct, balanced enough to applaud what works in a film, nudging what may be lacking. Synopses are brief: it’s a cheat when reviewers use up six paragraphs and minutes of your life to rake over the plot in detail. If you’re familiar with the movie, you don’t need to be told in detail what it’s about. If you haven’t seen it, here’s a concept: be surprised by what happens. War Of The Worlds—Martians attack the Earth. Bingo! All you need to know.  Now, is it good or bad?  Why or why not? That’s what counts.  Instead of relying on star-symbols, grades A thru F, or dangling angled thumbs, the gamble is you’ll read to the end of a piece, get a few clues, some handy info, and won’t lose patience with whatever my style is or feel the experience of seeing the movie was compromised. Cut to the chase, turn off your phone, can the chatter and roll ’em.

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Academy Award winners and nominations are cited since—nod or sniff—they’ve always been the industry gold standard. Naturally, your huffy host has opinions on the choices and comments on them, hopefully for perspective, assuredly for fun. The speech-summoning statuettes provide, aside from yearly amusement and/or irritation, a nice way of saying “Bravo!” from those toiling in the same field. In the bleachers, gushing “OMG, it won seven Oscars, it must be fabulous!” or “Those dumb statues don’t mean a damn thing!” are two sides of the aisle that both need to stop kicking my seat.
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Figures on production costs and grosses are included with the caveat that they are rarely 100% reliable, as accounting often was/is/will be shifted around by studios to address other outlays, punish errant producers or stars, hide, shift blame, cheat…With demonic inflation, things get ever more screwy to pin down.  Let’s leave it to the reader to factor that a million bucks in 1952 doesn’t square the same amount today.  Looking at $$ figures can also help place a film in historical context regarding The Market—“Wow, it’s so famous, yet no-one went to see it!”  A little romantic comedy that cost a million-five in 1962 now swallows sixty times that.  Today’s astronomical grosses reflect inflated prices and a surged population.
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The focus is on feature films from the Sound Era. We’re silent on Silents. Also not included are documentaries, shorts, made-for-TV films (unless also released in theaters as a feature) or mini-series. While fans will understandably bemoan it, animated pictures are not present, unless they are blended with live-action. So, Who’s Afraid of Roger Rabbit and Mary Poppins make the cut, but greats like Bambi, Fantasia and Toy Story find a warm home elsewhere. As with the exclusion of notable silent movies, that’s in no way a reflection on their quality.

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Some of my musings will agree with your own take, others you’ll dismiss, but do come along on memory trips to steamy jungles, raging seas and distant planets, to boudoirs and battlefields, peals of laughter and screams of fright. Rumble with Jets and Sharks, try to reach ‘The Big W’ before Ethel, see ‘the varmint’ with Linus, take Aqaba by camel and Ft. Knox by Galore. I’m not a film critic, I just love movies.  Cheers, Mark

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Larry Pennell, actor and a great brother-in-law

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