Oh, Grow Up!

JoanThe world could not afford to have lost two talented, funny people like we just did in recent weeks. Fanatical religious factions, power hungry world leaders and a seemingly uncontrollable breakout of Ebola just seem to have made the world a much sadder and frightening place.

Just a few weeks ago we lost the genius of Robin Williams and now Joan Rivers, leaving us in a much darker place with less to smile about. Like Williams, Joan Rivers was brilliantly fast with the comeback. She was an equal opportunity offender who targeted herself just as much as she did the rest of the world. Insensitive at times? Shocking? Offensive? Rivers would reply, “Oh, grow up!” Continue reading

Colombo: Murder by the Book (1971) Steven Spielberg

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I was never a big fan of Colombo. I did watch it. However I found the disheveled, cigar chomping, looking like he just rolled out of bed, wearing the same clothes he wore the day before, annoying. For some people, that was all part of his charm. That everydayness quality made him the guy next door.

Colombo seemed to be the kind of guy who did not have a clue. You wondered, how the heck he ever made Lt. But you soon come to realize, underneath this rough exterior, he was way ahead in the game. The sloppy clothes, the clueless look were all a façade, at least the clueless look was, all distractions to throw suspects off. That said, there were two reasons why I would watch the show. There were many episodes that rose above the ordinary TV fare and second, Peter Falk. Falk always had a down to earth quality.  Oh yeah, he also had some cool friends like John Cassavetes and Ben Gazarra (1). Continue reading

Billboards on Broadway

itch2Back in the glory days, Times Square had more movie theaters than there were peanuts in a peanut factory. The bright lights of the theaters were part of what lit up the Great White Way. Today, there is not one movie theater to be found in the Broadway area. Some of those now long gone palaces were huge like the Roxy that had close to 6,000 seats. As big as the theaters were, the signs advertising the movies were even bigger. Sometimes they were ever better than or at least as interesting as the movies themselves. Continue reading

Finding a Book Cover

I love old movie theaters. Ever since I began to have an interest in still photography I have been photographing theaters. It began in New York City back in the 1970’s. Back then, the theaters I photographed were not considered old, or classic. At the time, they were just the theaters where you went to see the latest new releases. Over the years, whenever I travel, I have always remained on the lookout for old theaters wherever I go. Theaters that have managed to survive the wrong arm of society’s law; old needs to be replaced. When we, my wife and I, moved to the Tamps Bay area in the late 1990’s we discovered the Tampa Theater. It’s a 1927 movie palace that was, and still is, actively showing current independent films, classic films as well as live shows. The building fortunately has been declared a landmark, so we should be able to enjoy its pleasures for years to come. In early 2008, we went to see “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.” An art film, the Tampa Theater was the only place in town showing it at the time. On this particular occasion I took my camera and a tri-pod with the intent to photograph not only the outside, but the theater inside. I asked permission and management was gracious enough to allow me to shoot a few photos as long as I was not shooting during the showing of the film. Anyway, I took a series of shots both outside and in, some of which are shown here. Continue reading

A Mother’s Day Flick

She’ll never win any “Best Mother of the Year” awards but Anjelica Huston as Lily Dillon in Stephen Frears THE GRIFTERS, based on Jim Thompson’s pulp fiction classic, gives a superb performance as one of the nastiest Mom’s on screen. After a scam gone wrong and her son Roy (John Cusack) gets beat up badly, she tells the ambulance medic “He’s gonna be alright ain’t he? If not, I’m going to kill you.” Yet, she has no problem stealing her boy’s money at the same time. Ah, motherly love.

With a screenplay by Donald Westlake, THE GRIFTERS is a great neo-noir and makes for an terrific alternative Mother’s Day flick.

The Grifters

Film Noir at Twenty Four Frames Per Second

A small bit of self promotion here. My first e-book Film Noir at Twenty Four Frames Per Second is now available in the Kindle version on Amazon. Twenty essays and reviews from classics like “Ace in the Hole” and “Detour” to lesser known works like “Cause for Alarm” and “Roadblock” are looked at. Within the next few weeks or less I hope to put out a Nook version over at the Barnes and Noble site. Here is the link…http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00JZCDPEW
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