Disney’s Frozen Get Chilly Reception (From Some of My Favorite Critics)

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"There’s nothing I’d like more than to tell you, at the end of this year of relentlessly disappointing family fare, that Frozen — very loosely inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen — is a musical fairy-tale triumph: a throwback to the days of Beauty and the Beast, like many critics are saying." That's how the great Steven Greydanus begins his review of Frozen. Can you sense the pending "But..."?  Here it comes. … [Read more...]

How to Be Rebellious and Have a Better Black Friday

Black Friday

You could go out into traffic, join the long lines at Best Buy and Target and Wal-mart and [name your favorite box store here]. Or... You could sit at your computer and sift through the sales announcements that are filling up your in-box. Or... … [Read more...]

Hi 5: Creativity in the Dark; Sam Phillips; Todd Fadel; Mike D’Angelo; Matt Zoller Seitz; John Sayles; and More.

Hi 5's Cravis Frankly gets his best ideas when he works in the dark.

What is Hi 5 to the Face? Find out here. This week, Hi 5s go out to... Fast Company's Eric Jaffe: For this fantastic article on "Why Creativity Thrives in the Dark." I've known instinctively since childhood that I'm more creative in a dimly lit, or dark, room. And since high school I've felt frustrated in rooms brightly lit with fluorescent panels, sensing my best creativity and capacity for learning is going to waste beneath them. Under fluorescent arrays, I feel like a bug on a bug … [Read more...]

A Dog Named Inigo, A Cat Named Scully… and Other Pets Named After Movie Characters

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A few days ago, I asked people to speak up about the pets that they've named after characters from movies. And I introduced people to my own — Jonathan "The Duke" Mardukas, named for Charles Grodin's white collar criminal in Midnight Run. Sure enough, I began to hear from pet owners. Not many, but some. … [Read more...]

U2: Rattle and Hum is 25 Years Old! Share Your Concert Film Memories…

bono rattle

Phil Joanou's groundbreaking concert film U2: Rattle and Hum opened during my senior year of high school, on the birthday of my lifelong friend and musical co-conspirator Todd Fadel. And I was so jealous. Todd would automatically have the most awesome birthday party ever. And he pretty much did, because we gathered at his house, ate a bunch of Pizza Hut pizza, and then headed out to Portland's Eastgate theater on November 4, 1988. That was our formula for fun in those days. Yeah. I … [Read more...]

12 Years a Slave (2013)

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Next month marks the 20th anniversary of Schindler's List. In July we reached the 15-year mark for  Saving Private Ryan. Those two films stand out in my moviegoing memory as landmark "event films" about America — films that inspired what the news media likes to call "a national discussion" about important chapters in historical horror. Both films were, in their own way, horror movies. But as painful as it was to watch them, the suffering that we experienced was not degrading or … [Read more...]