Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Cover Blurbs

I'm working on gathering some blurbs for the back of the Cashiers du Cinemart book. So far these are the best I've come up with:

"An amateur fanzine put together by a bitter hack... poorly executed and a waste of time. The writing is weak and uninformed." - Chris Gore, Film Threat

"A thin, primitive hobby publication with an obvious ax to grind... Killing one more tree for [this] pointless, directionless, self-aggrandizing 'zine with nothing to offer is a sad, selfish waste." - Dave Williams, Film Threat Video Guide

For some reason I think I'm rather proud of getting these badges of honor over the years. I continue to hunt for other opinions by people I respect.

Indy Jones Story

As promised, I returned to my story from Cashiers du Cinemart #9 with the release of INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL. The new piece, "Digging at the Bones of Indy Jones," is featured in this week's Metro Times.

It's funny but I feel like I'm in the minority of critics with my opinion of Indy Jones 4. It's not the best film ever made, that's for sure, but my expectations were so low and it didn't slap me in the face with suckiness that I gave it a passing grade. With George Lucas behind the scenes we should all know that it could have been a lot worse.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Not Done with D/s

I've been thinking about going back and expanding my piece on D/s in film that I wrote for the Metro Times last week. I'm not done exploring the way that this has been portrayed in film and I continue to find more movies that employ it as a central theme including:

  • The Piano Teacher
  • The Image
  • Demonlover
  • Dominatrix
  • The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant
  • Conspirators of Pleasure
  • Tipping the Velvet

And more. I may just go ahead and review these flicks and post 'em here if I can't find another venue. Something to look forward to!

Monday, May 26, 2008

The Next David Goodis Film

Of all the David Goodis works that have come to the silver screen, it's remarkable that one of his most popular, Cassidy's Girl, eluded adaption. Not so fast, hardboiled/film fans. Photographer/filmmaker Edward Holub has been working fervently to bring the tawdry tale to a theater near you.

Duane Swierczynski interviewed Holub back in March 2007 over at his Secret Dead Blog. I have yet to see Holub's film NIGHT RUNS RED (it's on order) but I'm very familiar with his photographic work, having done scads of covers for Black Lizard and other publishers. One of his images has been appropriated by at least one video seller on iOffer for their film noir selections. If Holub brings his photographic eye to his film work, we'll all be in luck when CASSIDY'S GIRL gets off the ground. Keep up to date at

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Hold on to your hats (and your whips and guns), Indiana Jones is back. The Jones saga has survived the near two decade hiatus, returning free of dismal comic relief, extraneous characters, and cutesy references that stop the story in its tracks. In other words, fans of the Indiana Jones films need not worry; George Lucas hasn’t pissed all over another one of your cherished series. Despite early reports, Shia LaBeouf’s character of Mutt Williams is not the second coming of Jar Jar Binks.

Recalling the mirth and mystery of Raiders of the Lost Ark, Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is rife with fistfights, high adventure, and (gasp) plenty of scenes of Indiana Jones exploring ancient ruins. If Temple of Doom and The Last Crusade were lacking any one thing, it was Jones doing what he did best; fighting through layers of cobwebs in search of items lost to antiquity. Also, you can forget the bizarre “This belongs in a museum!” mantra (a sour note from The Last Crusade), this Indiana Jones loves unwrapping riddles and the thrill of discovery.

Elements of the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull plot have been bouncing around for years, going back to a script by Jeb Stuart in 1995. The title of the script, “Saucer Men from Mars” even makes an appearance in the ‘new’ David Koepp script. Likewise, Crystal Skulls have plagued the good doctor in four of the Indiana Jones adventure books penned by Max McCoy.

Apparently the nearly two decades since Indiana Jones rode off into the sunset in The Last Crusade have allowed story ideas to percolate and congeal in a fine, cohesive film.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Kink on Screen

I'm pretty darned happy. I got quite a few column inches in this week's Metro Times. Check it out!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Back in the New York Groove

I'm off to NYC next Thursday (May 29). Andrea's never been to the Big Apple and I haven't been there for nearly a decade. We're going to be doing some touristy things -- going to a Broadway Show (Ave. Q), taking a bus tour of the city, etc -- but I'm leaving some time to meet with my "New York Peeps." Gimme a shout, maybe we can get a beer while I'm there.

BTW, I was so psyched to maybe go see something at Film Forum. Unfortunately, they're in the middle of a Jean-Luc Godard retrospective while I'm there. If you know me, then you know that Godard and I don't see eye-to-eye.

Artist Wanted

I'm not having any luck contacting my regular artists for Cashiers du Cinemart. I'm really hoping for a great/memorable/eye-catching cover for the Cashiers du Cinemart book -- and I want to pay my usual price (not a damn cent).

If you're interested, please send me some samples: mwhite at impossiblefunky dot com

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Book Status

Work on the Cashiers du Cinemart book is going nicely. Revisiting these older pieces has been interesting. I've been working to reconcile some of the similarly-themed articles, eliminate some of the time references ("recently this new movie came out" ten years ago), and kill some of the more glaring grammatical errors.

One of the more onerous chores has been the elimination of my qualifiers. Too many "however"s, "therefore"s, et cetera. I want to tighten this thing down with a socket wrench.

Logistically, I've been trying to track down Nathan Kane to get his permission to reprint his cover art in a discussion of the zine's evolution. No luck yet. I'm also wondering what the heck I'm going to do for the cover of the book and if I'm going to just call it "The Cashiers du Cinemart Book" or if I'm going to give it an easier title. Maybe I'll take Charles Willeford's advice and use a two word title. "Stinky Britches"? "Tough Facade"? I'll think of something. I won't bother asking for help or suggestions since the "Comments" button on the site doesn't seem to be working.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

State of Film Criticism Part 2

Last weekend I was privileged enough to host a panel at the Maryland Film Festival on the state of film criticism.

Michael Sragow of the Baltimore Sun was unable to attend but Andrew O'Hehir from filled in for him. I regret Michael not being there but Andrew was a great addition to the panel as he represented the online world that had been missing from the "all print" panelists.

Things ran pretty much as I expected with O'Hehir, Gardner, and Kaltenbach anticipating my notes. We didn't break any new ground or change the world but it was a lively discussion nevertheless. I tried to not interject myself into things too much, though I found that I was playing Devil's advocate at times and the naive idealist at others.

Some of the takeaways included:

  • Chris Kaltenbach differentiated between "film reviews" and "film criticism" in a concise way; in film criticism you can talk about the end of a film where a film review should never give it away! This is a pretty good rule of thumb.
  • Lee Gardner talked about a fascinating project he attempted; writing down the names and affiliations of every critic associated with blurbs found in movie ads in the New York Times. He tried tracking all of these critics down and found himself running into a vast number of movie reviewers who suddenly seemed to have gone missing.
  • Andrew O'Hehir explained the editorial process through which his reviews undergo. It's quite a bit different from print.

It was a rather rousing discussion and one I hoped that would continue over drinks but the panelists scattered to the four winds afterwards.

As we were wrapping up someone mentioned, "If you want to read more of our reviews they're all available on to which I had to add, "Except me."

I found out yesterday that my application to the OFCS (Online Film Criticism Society)--a gateway to Rotten Tomatoes--has been refused. "The vote didn't go your way," is how it was explained to me. I had thought I was a shoo-in after being both online (eleven years) and writing reviews (fourteen years) but it's not in the cards to be part of the club, I suppose.

Friday, May 09, 2008

This Week's Movie Reviews

Here are this week's movie reviews from

If you enjoy 'em, be sure to leave comments on Detour's site so they know someone likes what I'm doing.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

FRONTIERE(S) (Xavier Gens, 2007, France)

I see that this film is coming out to DVD on Tuesday. Be warned!

To say that this French thriller is derivative would be a compliment. FRONTIERES follows a road map of other previous films. It travels from RESERVOIR DOGS Place down PSYCHO Lane as five (soon to be four) friends escape Paris with a duffel bag full of cash. There’s a signpost up ahead. It reads “FRONTIERES” with an arrow pointing right to HOSTEL and one pointing to the left to TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE (in little letters below that it says “the remake”). A little on up the road there’s a detour marked THE DESCENT. All of these places are in the idyllic French countryside in the county of HAUTE TENSION.

Throw in a Nazi war criminal as a patriarch, some terrifically hot girls, and a few thuggish brutes and you’ve got all the makings of the next Rob Zombie film. I was casting the American remake in my head as the events of FRONTIERES predictably unfolded. The joke, of course, is that the film is named FRONTIERES but it doesn’t boldly go into any territory that horror fans (especially those enthralled with torture porn horror) haven’t been to before.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Dollar Coins: Stating the Obvious

Andrea brought home a new dollar coin tonight. It commemorates our fifth U.S. president, James Madison. It also signifies the stupidity of the U.S. treasury.

Considered "The New Coke of Coinage," the Susan B. Anthony coin was a disastrous attempt at reinvigorating the dollar as metal rather than paper. It was significantly more portable than what it replaced, the Eisenhower dollar. The Eisenhower dollar had a diameter of 38.1 mm compared to the Susan B. Anthony's 26.5 mm. That's a rather huge difference of 12.4 mm. While 38.1 mm is too big, 26.5 mm is too small, when compared to a quarter. At 24.26 mm, there's only a 2.26 mm. In other words, not enough of a difference to feel when digging into your purse or pocket for a dollar and coming up with a quarter, or vice versa.

Between the Susan B. Anthony (disparagingly known as "The Carter Quarter"), the Sacajawea dollar, and now this Madison coin, the U.S. Mint seems insistent on sabotaging an American dollar coin. I'm not against dollars, per se, but dollar coins will never have a chance in the U.S. as long as they're the "same size" as quarters.

This is yet another time when we can learn from Canada. The difference between their quarter and their dollar coin (loonie) is significant. The loonie differs in color (bronze vs. silver), thickness (.17mm), and weight (1.27g). The numbers aren't drastic but the contrast is more than enough to avoid confusion and pass the "pocket test." C'mon, America, get with it!

Travel Pictures

Below are a few pictures taken on my recent trips.

A sign in a restaurant (SEN5ES). Usually animals (other than service animals) are allowed in restaurants. The addition of the word "live" makes me wonder what would happen if I dragged a rotting animal corpse in.

The TSA spares no expense on either "Recomposure Areas" (the place to put your shoes back on) or signage.

Big ups to my pal Nick for snapping this picture of some great public art in Baltimore.

This Week's Movie Reviews

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Thursday, May 01, 2008


Pssst, that's not the name of the film. In case you don't remember, there was no "Indiana Jones and the...." before "Raiders of the Lost Ark." I know they did this earlier but it always burns my buns when I see this. Have they changed the film to match it, yet?