Monday, July 06, 2009

isabella rossellini: Tough Guy's Moll

Tentative Proposal for Autumn film-discussion series, 2009

"isabella rossellini: Tough Guy's Moll"
featuring films by: norman Mailer.guy Maddin.david Lynch & isabella Rossellini

No venue yet - proposed screening times: Monday evenings, 7:30 pm, September 21 - October 19, 2009.

Week One:
BLUE VELVET (R. 120 min. 1986)
Director: David Lynch
Starring: Kyle MacLachlan, Dennis Hopper, Laura Dern, Isabella Rossellini

Week Two:
TOUGH GUYS DON'T DANCE (R. 110 min. 1987)
Director: Norman Mailer
Starring: Ryan O'Neal, Isabella Rossellini, Debra Sandlund, Wings Hauser, Lawrence Tierney

Week Three:
WILD AT HEART (R. 127 min. 1990)
Director: David Lynch
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Laura Dern, Diane Ladd, Willem Dafoe, Isabella Rossellini, Harry Dean Stanton

Week Four:
THE SADDEST MUSIC IN THE WORLD (R. Canadian. 99 min. 2004)
Director: Guy Maddin
Starring: Isabella Rossellini, Mark McKinney, Maria de Madeiros, David Fox, Darcy Fehr

Week Five:
BRAND UPON THE BRAIN! (NR. 95 min. 2006)
Director: Guy Maddin

Week Six:
MY DAD IS 100 YEARS OLD (NR. 16 min. 2005)
Director: Guy Maddin
Writer: Isabella Rossellini
Cast: Isabella Rossellini - Herself, Isaac Paz Sr. - The belly of Roberto Rossellini
Music: Christopher Dedrick

GREEN PORNO. season 2:
Director, writer, host: Isabella Rossellini
Mantis (1 January 2008) - Actress, Director, producer, Writer (writer)
Snail (1 January 2008) - Actress, Director, producer, Writer (writer)
Worm (1 January 2008) - Actress, Director, producer, Writer (writer)
Fly (1 January 2008) - Actress, Director, producer, Writer (writer)
Firefly (18 January 2008) - Actress, Director, producer, Writer (writer)
Spider (18 January 2008) - Actress, Director, producer, Writer (writer)
Dragonfly (18 January 2008) - Actress, Director, producer, Writer (writer)
Bee (5 May 2008) - Actress, Director, producer, Writer (writer)

Clayton K. Lowe, Ph.D.
Emeritus faculty, OSU Photography and Cinema; Formerly: moderator, World Film Classics, Educable TV-25; programmer/co-host, Columbus Museum of Art Film Series; producer/co-host "It's Movie Time" WCBE 90.5 FM; Currently: occasional guest film panelist, "Open Line Weekends," WOSU 820 AM; programmer/co-host Film-Discussion series at Landmarks Theatre.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Proposed Film-Discussion Series: "The Original American Independent: John Cassavetes



As of 2007, John Cassavetes is one of only 7 actors to be nominated for Best Directing, Writing, and Acting Oscars over the course of his lifetime. The other 6 are Orson Welles, Woody Allen, Warren Beatty, George Clooney, John Huston and Kenneth Brannagh.

American Independent
John Cassavetes: Actor-Writer-Director

Date: Time:
SHADOWS (US 87 min. 1960)
Director: John Cassavettes
Starring: Lelia Goldini, Ben Carruthers
Music: Charlie Mingus
The Beat generation espoused a rejection of mainstream American values, and John Cassavetes's Shadows feels like a relic from that movement, with its improvisatory bebop jazz feeling, cameras in the street, method-style performances, frustration about accepted social norms, and an interracial romance between a hipster white guy (Anthony Ray) and a light-skinned black woman (Leila Goldoni) that eventually takes over the episodic narrative. Cassavetes was pushing the envelope at the time, reacting to the formulaic techniques of Hollywood movies. Shadows will forever have the novelty of coming first—frequently credited with being the pioneer American independent movie.
Jeremiah Kipp, The Criterion Collection, February 14, 2009

Date: Time:
Rosemary's Baby (R 136 min. 1968)
Director: Roman Polanski
Starring: Mia Farrow, John Cassavetes
Rosemary's Baby is regarded by many as Roman Polanski's finest achievement. Although it is now 32 years since Poland's enfant terrible brought his adapation of Ira Levin's 1967 novel to the screen, it stands up well to the test of time. Starring Mia Farrow, Ruth Gordon, and John Cassavetes, Rosemary's Baby is a stylish and brilliantly executed set piece, accurately reflecting the New York of the late 1960's. Set in the famous Dakota building - later to become infamous, following the senseless assassination of John Lennon, on its' doorsteps some two decades later - this masterpiece of suspense will chill even the most hot blooded spine.
Customer review,

Date: Time:
FACES (R 129 min. 1968)
Director: John Cassavetes
Starring: Lynn Carlin, John Marley, Gena Rowlands, Seymour Cassel
Financed by acting jobs in films like The Dirty Dozen and Rosemary's Baby, Faces premièred in 1968 and introduced the landscape that Cassavetes would return to again and again: the unquiet inner lives of those new houses that sprung up in the wake of WWII. John Marley and Lynn Carlin star as a couple testing the limits of their unhappy marriage, he with a call girl (Cassavetes' wife, Gena Rowlands), she with free-spirited gigolo Seymour Cassel. Partly improvised, partly scripted, and partly somewhere between the two, Cassavetes' films have frequently been likened to jazz. Faces bears the stamp of its particular era's jazz; it trades in long stretches of chaos, even ugliness, which produce unexpected passages of grace and beauty. As punishing as that ugliness can be, the graceful bits stick in the memory.
Keith Phipps, The Onion A.V. Club, October 18, 2004

Date: Time:
Director: John Cassavetes
Starring: Gena Rowlands, Seymour Cassel, Val Avery
"Minnie and Moskowitz" isn't much like anything Cassavetes has done before, except in its determination to go all the way with actors' performances - even at the cost of the movie's over-all form. Cassavetes, an actor himself, is one of the few American directors who is really sympathetic with actors. He lets them go, lets them try new things and take risks. This can lead to terribly indulgent performances, as it did in "Husbands." But in "Minnie and Moskowitz" it gives us performances by Gena Rowlands and Seymour Cassel that are so beautiful you can hardly believe it.
Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times, 1997

Date: Time:
Director: John Cassavetes
Starring: Peter Falk, Gena Rowlands,
. . . Gena Rowlands is mezmerizing as the working-class housewife, who buckles under the strain of a limited existece, a brutish husband (Peter Falk, in one of several strong collaborations with Cassavetes), insensitive relatives and an uncaring world. Rowlands is in turn heartbreaking, funny, delightful and a frightening as a woman who is overwhelmed by a desperate inability to stay connected.
TLA Film and Video Guide, 1998-1999

Date: Time:
TEMPEST (PG 140 min. 1982)
Director: Paul Mazursky
Starring: John Cassavetes, Gena Rowlands, Susan Sarandon, Raul Julia, Molly Ringwold
Phillip (John Cassavetes) is a successful New York architect who is fed up with his wife Antonia (Gena Rowlands), his job with a tycoon named Alonzo (Vittorio Gassman) and life in New York City. He wants to travel and dream. That wish is granted when Antonia, who is resurrecting her acreer as an actress, walks out on him. Philip takes their 13-year-old daughter Miranda (Molly Ringwald) to Greece where they meet Aretha (Susan Sarandon), a twice-divorced free spirit from Brooklyn. The threesome find their own little bit of paradise on a Greek island. Its only other inhabitants is Kalibanos (Raul Julia), a crazy man who lives in a cave with his goats.
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice


Programmer, with guest co-hosts to be announced

Clayton K. Lowe, Ph.D.
Emeritus faculty, OSU Photography and Cinema; moderator, World Film Classics, TV-25, Educable; producer/co-host, Columbus Museum of Art Film Series; producer/co-host, "It's Movie Time," WCBE 90.5 FM; occasional guest film panelist, "Open Line Weekends," WOSU 820 AM.

For further information contact:

"The Crazy World of the Not So Crazy David Cronenberg"

Category: Movies, TV, Celebrities
E-mail input to:

Film Discussion Series: OSU PhotoCinema Alumni & Friends Group, Facebook
Clay Lowe, programmer/host with special guest co-hosts
Venue: Landmark's Gateway Theatre
Meeting-screening room, 1550 N. High Street, Columbus, Ohio
All invited, free admission

"The Crazy World of the Not So Crazy David Cronenberg"

Week One
Date: April 29, 2009
Time: 7:30 PM Wednesday evening
VIDEODROME (R. Universal. 90 min. 1983)
Director: David Cronenberg
Starring: James Woods (Cable TV programmer)

In a bizzare demonstration of truly interactive TV, the Videodrome network unleashes its hallucinatory powers upon its unsuspecting viewers, such as Max (frantically played by James Woods), and literally sucks them into its own reality world of violence and passion. So what else is new . . ? The film's powerful and terrifying special effects. They dramatically heighten (psychologically and physically), the impact of Videodrome's violent images upon everyone who approaches the alternative reality world that diabolically lurks within its screens. Like no other film it vividly demonstrates, in extremis, how TV shapes the images that we create within our minds. A highly intelligent critique of television; but be forewarned, it's best to avert your eyes during its most difficult scenes, or you too may become one of its victims. -Clay Lowe, The Movies on Media Handbook, 1997

Guest co-host: Jennifer Ntiri, Actress-Dancer, Arts Psychology

Week Two
Date: May 6, 2009
Time: 7:30 PM Wednesday evening
The Fly (R. Twentieth-Century Fox. 100 min. 1986)
Director: David Cronenberg
Starring: Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis
Gruesome. yet witty, science fiction horrorfest that leaves the viewer simultaneously choking with laughter and gagging with nausea. The movie is blessed, fortunately, with acting talents that match the eye-catching special effects. Goldblum is perfectly cast as the somewhat nerdy, but ultimately macho, scientist leading man. Davis adds credibility as the inquisitive journalist who becomes Goldblum's lover. Her dedicated concern for him mixes well with her trace of a newsperson's quest for truth. -Wayne Miller, The Movies on Media Handbook, 1997

Guest co-host: Melissa Starker, Alive

Week Three
Date: May 13, 2009
Time: 7:30 PM Wednesday evening
Director: David Cronenberg
Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Maria Bello, William Hurt, Ed Harris, Ashton Holmes
Soft-spoken man (Mortensen) who runs a small-town luncheonette is suddenly confronted by two violent strangers--and is more than ready to respond. His actions lead to questions and repercussions. Sexually potent, harshly violent story based on the graphic novel by John Wagner and Vince Locke is arresting entertainment that means to hit us right between the eyes. (R-98m.) -Leonard Maltin, Movie Guide, 2009

Guest Co-host: Vicki Anne Bennett, Artist/Photographer, Novelist

Week Four
Date: May 20, 2009
Time: 7:30 PM Wednesday evening
CRASH (NC-17 Canadian. 100 min. 1996)
Director: David Cronenberg
Based on: J. G. Ballard novel
Starring: James Spader, Holly Hunter, Elias Koteas, Roseanna Arquette
When ....Crash'' premiered in May, 1996, at the Cannes Film Festival, some people fled the theater. The movie has played in Canada and Europe to widespread controversy, inspiring polemics both pro and con. Ted Turner, whose studio, Fine Line, is distributing the film in the United States, has said he hates it. Certainly it will repel and disgust many viewers. It's like a porno movie made by a computer: It downloads gigabytes of information about sex, it discovers our love affair with cars, and it combines them in a mistaken algorithm. The result is challenging, courageous and original--a dissection of the mechanics of pornography. I admired it, although I cannot say I ....liked'' it. It goes on a bit too long. Afterward, I found myself wishing a major director would lavish this kind of love and attention on a movie about my fetishes. (NC-17-100m.) -Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times, 1997

Guest co-hosts: Hope Madden & George Wolf, The Other Paper

Week Five
Date: May 27, 2009
Time: 7:30 PM Wednesday evening
EASTERN PROMISES (R. Canadian-British. 100 min. 2007)
Director: David Cronenberg
Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Naomi Watts, Vincent Cassel, Sinead Cusak
Viggo Mortensen's glower power is on full blast in David Cronenberg's Eastern Promises, in which he plays the taciturn chauffeur of a London-based Russian crime family. Naomi Watts is fetchingly fretful as the midwife who gets caught in the mobster trap after discovering a potentially incendiary diary. The stars are fine but the movie doesn't quite align: Cronenberg's Organizatsiya saga has moments that are clearly the work of a singular talent, but it frequently plays as melodrama. Dirty Pretty Things screenwriter Steven Knight endeavours once again to present London as a teeming hive of ethnic and ethical tensions, but the questions of cultural dislocation – of old and new worlds in conflict – seem cursory. There's more meat, much of it flayed and abused, in the material about Russian-prison tattooing practices, which strikes a rich metaphorical vein. The theme of the body as a kind of brutal canvas culminates in arguably the greatest set piece of Cronenberg's career – and one of the great recent movie set pieces, period. Breathless, brutal and disquietingly funny, this scene further entrenches Cronenberg's reputation as a grisly virtuoso, and unfortunately exacerbates the weakness of some of the surrounding bits. (R-100m.) -Adam Nayman,, September 13, 2007

Guest co-host: Melissa Starker, Alive

Also, special thanks to Deep Blue Edit for links posted on Facebook's Cronenberg Events invitation.

Programmer-host: Clay Lowe
Emeritus faculty, OSU Photography and Cinema
Formerly: moderator, World Film Classics, Educable TV-25; producer/co-host, Columbus Museum of Art Film Series; producer/co-host, "It's Movie Time," WCBE 90.5 FM. Currently: occasional guest film panelist, "Open Line Weekends," WOSU 820 AM.

Note: The dicussion series is intended to be an exploration of Cronenberg's views on violence rather than an exploration of his work as a whole.

E-mail input:

Friday, February 27, 2009

Lark and Termite, Jayne Anne Phillips - Novel, 2009

Lark and Termite, Jayne Anne Phillips-Novel, 2009
Clayton Kent Lowe

An astounding novel that reaches deep into the wellsprings of the
human heart, Jayne Phillips's Lark and Termite is one of the most
poetic novels I've read in years.

The structure of the novel is elegant and deceptively simple. The
action takes place in two widely separated locations. The first on a
battlefield in Korea. The second, in the small town of Winfield,
West Virginia. The events taking place are also seperated by nine
years of time.

Set in a battle zone somewhere in Korea in 1950, Corporal Robert
Leavitt reflects back on the story of his boyhood on the streets of
Philadelphia; his meeting with Lola; and his awareness that she is now
carrying their soon to be born son Termite. His last moments in life
are tragic, but heroic.

The novel then flashes ahead nine years in time to Winfield, West
Virginia where Termite-who was born handicapped- now lives with his
seventeen year old half-sister Lark, and his mother's sister Aunt
Nonie. What happened to their mother has not yet been revealed, nor
has the identity of the man who was Lark's father. There are more
mysteries yet to come.

Mythic in theme and substance (for instance, the father dies the same
moment his son is born); the characters tell their own stories using
words that appeal more to the senses than to the mind.

Termite himself, who was born nearly blind and can't walk, has to
express his view of the world through the sounds of words rather than
their articulate meanings.

Lark , who spends the most time with her little brother, attempts to
explain that: "(he) . . . remembers cadences of songs and rhymes, like
he recognizes sounds, not words." And then goes on to further
explain: "He doesn't need words. He needs his strip of blue and the
space under the rail bridge by the river. He needs to see the river
while the train roars over top."

Coming to a climax when a great flood hits the town-that's for these
folk, Biblical in proportion- the disperate threads of the story are
finally rewoven together and the novelist reveals, in her own poetic
way, how her characters come to accept the fragilities of what it means to become truly human.

A deeply moving reading experience, this novel will remind you how important it is to never lose your sense of wonder.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Slumdog Millionaire, Danny Boyle (2008)

Slumdog Millionaire, Danny Boyle (2008)
Clayton Kent lowe

Danny Boyle has a way of extracting joy, or at the very least hope, out of the most unpromising cinematic adventures. For instance, his earlier 28 Days Later—and now his Slumdog Millionaire. Okay, just a little bit of hope in 28 Days, where “hope” means simply trying to stay alive; but a whole lot of hope and joy in Slumdog, where “hope” means winning a million dollars.

Taking his cue from the slumdog young boy, Jamal, who deliberately falls into a waste pit so he can cut through a crowd and get his favorite movie star’s autograph, director Boyle immerses us in the hellhole of Mumbai’s (formerly Bombay) vast urban slum in order to spin out his rags-to-riches tale of Jamal Malik, an eventual TV quiz show winner.

As a child, young Jamal bonds in a three-way childhood tryst with his older brother, Salim, and a younger girl, Latika, who have all been orphaned by a Hindu mob. The three of them then advance their way through childhood and adolescence as they strive to work out their final destinies, which may have already been written.

The adventures that follow are integrated into the movie’s overall structure, beginning, out of sequence, with the 18-year-old Jamal (Dev Patel) being arrested, questioned, and then tortured by the Mumbai police.

It seems, as we soon discover, that the producers of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire didn’t expect anybody to be able to win their TV jackpot, so they bribe the police to try to force contestant Jamal to confess that he’s being fed the answers.

The story flashes from the interrogation and torture scenes to scenes of the children’s early meeting in the slums, and back to the super-dramatic moments of the on-going quiz show, where Jamal keeps answering the questions that he hopes will eventually win him a million dollars.

Not avariciously motivated, however, Jamal actually agreed to appear on the TV show in the hopes that Latika (Frieda Pinto), from whom he’s long been separated, will see him on TV, and they’ll reunite once again.

Fast-paced and masterfully intercut from past to present and back again, the film’s frenetic camerawork and exuberant soundtrack help to make us forget the pains that life has inflicted upon these children and encourages us, instead, to celebrate their determination to triumph over their painful misfortunes.

Manipulative? You bet. A sugarcoated morality tale for the naïve at heart? Maybe. But, at the very least, no more than Dickens’s tales of orphans who survive and transcend the evil conditions they were born into—and none more so than the character, Oliver, who survived the slums of London in Dickens’s novel, Oliver Twist.

A glorious movie, Slumdog Millionaire will, nevertheless, not let us easily forget the horrors of Mubai’s dreadful slums, nor the ever-present ethnic and political dangers that lurk there to this day.

True to the spirit of Vikas Swarup’s novel (originally titled Q&A), Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire has become even more relevant in the wake of the terrorist attacks that occurred in Mumbai at the end of the month of November, 2008—which were, allegedly, carried out about by Muslim extremists in Pakistan.

(As edited by Kristin Dreyer Kramer and appearing under "films" at

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Walhalla Book Review: Indignation, Philip Roth, 2008

Indignation, Philip Roth, 2008
Clayton Kent Lowe

Little Markie Messner always did everything just right. He received good grades, was well behaved, and, even when he became a teenager, he dutifully worked in his father's kosher butcher shop, slitting anddisemboweling chickens by knife and by hand. And he never complained because his intent in life was to please his father and to make his mother proud.

In return, his father passed his philosophy of grim resignation on to him: "You do what you have to do," and it's this self-effacing mantra that runs through Philip Roth's new novel, Indignation:

Work hard, do good, don't ask questions, and maybe, if you're lucky, you'll be socially accepted; and maybe, even more improbably, you'll make something of yourself.

That might have been an important lesson for those first immigrants who arrived in Newark around the turn of the nineteenth century, but the idea that they should keep their ambitions in check would be a source of frustration for their more upward-bound children - such as Markie."

Indignation" is set at outbreak of the Korean War, and it was the backdrop that Roth himself came of age. Not surprisingly, Roth uses one of his lead characters as a proxy for his ownself-discovery—which is a good reason to read him. On the other hand,his libido-driven male characters never seem to mature and grow up, which makes for a good reason not to read him.

Markie eventually transfers out of Newark's community college so as to escape his family problems, but he discovers that even while he's at Winesburg College in Ohio, he's still unable to escape himself and all of his emotional weaknesses.

It's at this point that, then, that "Indignation" becomes a more traditional andless sociological read. Markie fights with his roommates, has a run-inwith a popular dean, and continues to struggle with his oh-so-naïvelibido. He's also totally unforgiving of his would-be love interest, Olivia, primarily because he's never able to come to terms with the fact that she has an active libido of her own.

In this respect, young Markie becomes as reprehensible as the older womanizing professor in Roth's earlier novel, "The Dying Animal" - which was recently made into the film Elegy( that starred Ben Kingsley as yet another of Roth's professors of desire.

The sub-theme of "Indignation" is centered on the fact that Markie discovers that he can't escape the reality that his parents are Jewish; nor can he accept the fact that neither they, nor he, will ever be fully accepted into mainstream 1950s Americanculture. Yep, one more layer to an already conceptually complex novel.

Roth isn't an easy read, and it's easy to write him off as a novelist who has, himself, never emotionally matured, but that hasn't prevented him from continuing to add to his supply of literary trophies, which include a Pulitzer Prize. So perhaps you're going to have to read him yourself in order to find out what this guy's all about.

My own opinion? The jury's still out. And perhaps that's why I've had such a hard time writing this review.

"Indignation" is less precious than Roth's long ago "Goodbye,Columbus" and is more similar in tone to his recent novel "The Dying Animal". Nevertheless,Roth's novels are still much sought after as prime source material for Hollywood filmmakers. Maybe it's because filmmakers, especially independentfilmmakers, just love all of his angst.

Consequently, stay tuned for the upcoming movie version of "Indignation", because the producer of last year's critical hit( "No Country for Old Men", has already bought the rights to the novel.

But as regular readers of Roth have already discovered, it's no country for young men in Roth's novels, either.

Monday, December 01, 2008

WCBE 90.5 FM: "Australia," "Twilight," "Four Christmases"

WCBE90.5 FM: "Australia," "Twilight," "Four Christmases"
Recording time: Wednesday, 9:00am, November 26, 2008
Air Time: Friday, 3:01 pm & 8:01 pm, November 28, 2008


"Australia" is a good ole, rip-roarin' big screen epic . . .

John"Twilight" should get teen age girls' blood pumping . . .

Clay"Four Christmases" celebrates four family gatherings too many . . .


Richelle"It's Movie Time" in Columbus with John DeSando and Clay Lowe . . .



I'm John DeSando . ..


And I'm Clay Lowe.


John ("Australia")

Baz Luhrmann's Australia is one of the best epics ever, a down under Gonewith the Wind.


Or maybe even a George Steven's "Giant" . . .

JohnThe romance of history and adventure is present in every frame. In 1939 Lady Sarah Ashley (Nicole Kidman) voyages from London sell her largeAustralia ranch. Competition with the largest land owner over supplyingcattle for the Australian Army's war effort cannot eclipse the epic fightto save the Aborigines from cultural extinction.

Drover (Hugh Jackman), the embodiment of the romantic Aussie is more than People Magazine's sexiest man.


How can you be more than sexy?


But the real prize for this film must go to the cinematography for its epic sweep and robust movement. As he did in Moulin Rouge, Luhrmann creates visuals that draw the audience in and thrill with innovation and vitality.

Clay ("Australia")

No doubt Ausie cinematographer Mandy Walker's heading for a nod from Oscar, and there might also be one in line for the movie's composer David Hirschfelder. They are the one's who have made "Australia" such a successful spectacle.

Sure Hugh Jackman will having them swooning in the aisles when he ripples all of his "X-men" developed muscles, and Nicole Kidman will cause off the audiences to swoon over her own specially designed curves.

But special mentions should go to Brando Walters, the young lad of mixed-breed, who holds his own with both Jackman and Kidman; and to David Gulpilil, who plays King George, but who originally starred as the young Aboriginal boy in Nicholas Roeg's "Walkabout."

He has now come full circle.

John ("Twilight")

Almost every teenage girl knows the impossibly popular Twilight series byStephanie Meyer is about 17-year-old Isabella Swan's love for 17-year-oldEdward Cullen, a very handsome vampire.ClayI'd give my eye teeth to look like him.JohnOh, the longing. The nuns made us fear this as if girls were vampires.

Twilight does as well as any film could in figuratively embodying theRomeo-and-Juliet-like difficulties of romantic connecting.When director Catherine Hardwicke lingers over the hero and heroine withtheir painful stares of desire, you may wish for some stock vampire stuff to relieve the tedium.In fact, I am beginning to long myself for the hammy other Bella as Dracula (1931) to satisfy my yearning for scary bloodsucking.

Twilight advances the accepted interpretation of vampirism as unbridled lustand civilizes it.

Clay ("Four Christmases")

Unbridled lusts? Uncivil behavoir? Who needs vampires when family gatherings play host to the scariest blood suckers of them all? At least that's what Hollywood has recently been telling us at the approach of every new holiday season.

From Thanskgiving disaster films such as "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles," to "Home for the Holidays," and from "Christmas with the Kranks," to "Bad Santa;" Hollywood has been reacting for over a decade to the old, warm and fuzzie holiday films of the 40's and 50's.

And the reaction against those sentimental films continues with this year's "Four Christmases."

Featuring Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon as a marriage-shy couple, their worst dreams are realized when they visit the four respective families of their now divorced parents.

Take heed though, if you've seen the trailers, you've seen the movie. (pause)

But enough of waltzing with Jackman, vamping with Cullen, and choking on holiday treats, John, because it's grading time.



Holy Bela and the blood-loving babes, Hooray!"Australia" earns an A because AUSTRALIA is full of AMOUR . . .


"Australia" gets an "A" because AUSTRALIA'S ABORIGINES finally get their due .. .


"Twilight" earns a "C" because it CAN'T hold a CANDLE to CATHOLIC CONSUMMATION . . .Clay"Four Christmases" gets a "B" because BAD Santa movies have become pro forma . .



Clay, you stayed at Christ Church, New Zealand, while Ivan and I detoured to Sydney many years ago. Were you just being your usual ornery self, or was there something secret you stayed for?I'd like to think it was a young lady, for instance. It's the romantic in me.

I'm outta here.


Well, kind of a secret, I was just working on my novel called: The Auto-Biography of A Grizzly.

I'm outta here too.

See you at the movies, folks.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Walhalla: Election Night Elegant Responses & Comments

World News: The World Responds to Obama''s Election

The Washington Post: Editorial on Obama's Election

The London Standard: The Full Text of Obama's Chicago Speech
The Anchorage Press Responds to Palin's Return to

The Full Text of McCain's Concession Speech