Sunday, July 13, 2008


This is a site where readers can expect many up-to-date reviews of films currently in theaters. These reviews range from the dumbest summer blockbuster to the most intelligent art house film. I always intended this site to be a variety of things, but one of its main purposes is to be an outlet for strong criticism and analysis of current film.

But there is a vast, endless vault of films out there...classics, cult classics, ignored masterpieces, and overpraised stinkers. We do not just watch current film...there is too much wonderful cinema out there to simply zero in on the here and now (though the 'here and now' is still very important).

As a result, I vow to do two things. One is to try my best to continue the 'Video Picks' posts I started a few weeks back but have never continued. The other is a new invention:

The Cinema Squared Jukebox.

Here is how it will work: Once each week, I will put up a new post labeled "Jukebox" and the week in question (for example, next week could be "Jukebox: Week of 7/14"). There will be pretty much nothing written by will be an open forum for any of you wonderful readers to select what films you want to see reviewed, for whatever reason...kind of like a jukebox. You pick the title, and we spit the review back out for you. 

Maybe you haven't seen a film but want to know what we think. Maybe there is a personal anecdote behind your selection. Maybe it's just a film you really love (or really hate) and want to hear a few words on it. Whatever the case, and whatever the film, let the selections fly...pick as many as you want, but realize that we can only do so much in one week's time (so maybe hold some of your requests back for subsequent weeks).

As the selections roll in, we will try to get some thoughts out there in a timely fashion. Hopefully it will go week-to-week: you make some suggestions, and then by the time the next week's Jukebox rolls around, there will be some reviews of the previous week's selections.

There is pretty much nothing else to say. You now know what to do. Think about what you want to see reviewed on this site. Some of you won't have to think too hard...others will. But whatever the case, let your requests fly...the Jukebox is now operational.


the WIZARD, fkap said...

We have a movie discussion group at work and we've recently been discussing WALL-E. This led us to an in depth discussion on Howl's Moving Castle, which we all felt was considerably superior to WALL-E as grand story telling (and in several other ways).

At any rate, that reminded me that I had requested you review this classic. Your new Jukebox gave me the opportunity to repeat ths request. I'd love to read your opinion on Howl's Moving Castle.

J McKiernan said...

What a great start. Revisiting a film by the world's greatest living animator, Hayao Miyazaki, will be a pleasure. And yes, I am taking this seriously...I will re-watch the film before offering some fresh thoughts.

My hope is to have the review up by Sunday, attached to next week's Jukebox.

Come on, people, more suggestions, please!

Stella said...

J, that's an awesome idea. I'm about to watch The Seeker on PPV because Ian McShane, my favorite actor, is in the movie.

Howl's Moving Castle is one of my all-time favorite movies. But I'll leave the reviewing to you. I adore Miyazaki, with the exception of Porco Rosso.

I'd love to get your take on the Japanese versions of The Ring 1, 2, and 0, as well as Ju-On (The Grudge). The American versions were great, but didn't have the atmosphere and psychological fear-producing mood of the Japanese versions.

One more. Ready? Don't laugh, OK? The Spongebob Squarepants movie. (He's my hero.)

Take care, Mr. J. You and K rock.

J McKiernan said...


Wow...don't tell Vigilante, you're seeing a kids movie!

By the way, if you watching the damn "Seeker" because of McShane's presence, then I assume you've been busy watching the 76 other films he's starred in over the past couple years. Have you seen "Kung Fu Panda" yet? Have you rented "Scoop" or "Hot Rod"?

As to the Japanese films you mentioned, I will take them into consideration. Have you seen "Audition"? It is very different than any of the Ringus...but it one of the best examples of Japanese extreme cinema I've ever seen. Funny, scary, and completely fucked-up.

I will have to disagree with you about the American versions of these great Japanese imports. The first "Ring" was solid (though not as brilliant as its trailer), but that's about all. The American version of "The Grudge" was honestly one of the worst films ever made...Sarah Michelle Gellar has a tendency to star in films that are among the worst ever made (just watched "The Return" the other night...holy christ). Same with "The Eye" went from an intriguing Japanese film to a watered-down American yawner.

Obviously, one of the only American films to live up to and surpass the Japanese original is "The Departed." I could go on and on about that one...Scorsese is king of all.

Stella said...

Audition sounds right up my alley. Is that the movie where the guy throws a cat or dog through a window? If so, I may have to pass. Thanks for the suggestion. I'll definitely check it out.

OK, since we're being honest, I agree with you. The American remakes were terrible compared to their Japanese counterparts. I haven't seen any of McShane's movies yet that you mentioned because he's such a great actor, I shudder when I see him in crappy films. So, The Seeker is crappy, too? (~sigh~)

I'm not sure Spongebob is totally for kids. I loved the movie: completely absurd. Some of the cartoons are pretty dark, so I really enjoy deconstructing them.

Well, better run. Thank you so much for the suggestions and give my best to K. It's always great visiting both of you.