What We Learned This Week: February 19-25

LESSON #1: THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH GOING TO NETFLIX— I don’t know where the stigma came that Netflix is where losers go to get work.  It’s probably because of the current career chapter of Adam Sandler being housed there.  Many auteur feathers were ruffled by the news that Martin Scorsese’s long-awaited reunion film “The Irishman,” starring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Harvey Keitel, and the long-lost Joe Pesci, was heading to Netflix instead of a wide theatrical release via Paramount Pictures.  This is a business decision, plain and simple, and Netflix has come to play.  They want to get into the prestige film business and have the resources to do it and exclusivity to offer.  I can completely see Paramount’s end of it too.  As deeply loved and respected (to death) as “Silence” was, the opus was a flop for Paramount’s bottom line, earning back a scant $7 million and change against a $40 million budget.  Also, let’s look at marketability.  What was the last marque hit headlined by De Niro or Pacino as legit leads?  Face it, they are legends mired in decline.  I don’t care how many people love the old days of “Goodfellas.”  If the modern stars of “The Wolf of Wall Street” can only mildly top the $100 million plateau after an Oscar push on a $100 million budget, “The Irishman,” bearing the same $100 budget and likely R-rated genre, doesn’t stand much of a better chance with old has-beens above the title.  Any junior marketing intern can show Paramount that math.

LESSON #2: DIRECTOR GORE VERBINSKI IS BROKEN AND NEEDS FIXING— Discerning movie audiences were stoked at the proposition of director Gore Verbinski going back to his “The Ring”-esque horror/thriller roots with “A Cure for Wellness” after five Johnny Depp films (three “Pirates” movies, “Rango,” and “The Lone Ranger”).  Gaudy results or not, the man has talent.  Audiences didn’t bite and the film debuted in a distant 11th place.  “A Cure for Wellness” should have been just what the doctor ordered.  He needs some career rehab now.  He needs something different and has to resist the temptation to go back to the Depp well for a weak commercial hit to stay on the radar.

LESSON #3: AWARD WINNERS ARE ALLOWED TO GET AS POLITICAL AS THEY WANT IN ACCEPTANCE SPEECHES— I’m going to put this out there in advance.  It’s called freedom of speech.  They earned their 45 seconds of mic time before the orchestra plays them off and it’s their choice to use it however they want.  If you don’t like it, turn the channel.  Go to the kitchen for a snack.  Take a bathroom break.  Problem solved.  It’s that easy.  I’ll forward the internet meme rant here: You lost the right to bitch about this when you elected an unqualified reality TV show host as the President of the United States of America.  Enjoy your TV dinner of hypocrisy and butthurt feelings.

LESSON #4: FOR EVERY OSCAR-WINNING FILM THIS WEEKEND, THERE ARE 10 OTHER NON-NOMINATED FILMS OF BURIED TREASURE WAITING FOR YOUR ENJOYMENT— Let’s say this too in advance before Sunday’s 89th Academy Awards.  The Oscars are a pinnacle for a politically-voted process of taste and preference.  Their taste can inform, but will never replace and should not solely dictate your taste or your barometer of preferences.  You get to like and shower the films you love with praise.  Fly your own flag and love the movies you love.  The amount of excellent films that will never win an Oscar is larger than those that will.  Dig deeper and find your own buried treasure.  If you need some picks from last year, here’s a list of 16 hidden gems from 2016, all making under $1 million at the box office.  Only one of them, the documentary “Life, Animated” was nominated for Sunday.

 

16144218_10211825217931692_226320391_nDON SHANAHAN is a Chicago-based film critic writing on his website Every Movie Has a Lesson.  He is also one of the founders and the current President of the Chicago Independent Film Critics Circle.  As an elementary educator by day, Don writes his movie reviews with life lessons in mind, from the serious to the farcical.  As a contributor here on Feelin’ Film, he’s going to expand those lessons to current movie news and trends.  Find “Every Movie Has a Lesson” on Facebook, Twitter, Medium, and Creators Media.

What We Learned This Week: February 11-18

LESSON #1: BATMAN IS THE BEST CHARACTER CREATION TO COME OUT OF THE WORLD OF COMIC BOOKS— When done with gusto, what makes Batman unique and special is that he works in any tone.  No one else can match his range of iconic interpretation.  Not Superman and not a soul over at Marvel Comics. He is, unequivocally, the Dark Knight with nearly 80 years worth of tomes written and drawn with infinite conflict, mood, and darkness.  At the same time, when necessary he is, as TV star Adam West dubbed, the Bright Knight of zest, color, and camp, because he is still a regular man with no superpowers dressed up as a bat.  Batman works in either setting because the human fortitude at the core of the character, his drive to right wrongs after personal tragedy, can be employed equally for heroic and virtuous causes and also for the vigilante and urban myth that takes matters into his own hands.  “The LEGO Batman Movie” checks all the Batman boxes.

LESSON #2: “FIFTY SHADES” WORE OUT ITS WELCOME IN ONE MOVIE— Don’t get me wrong, there will always be an audience for kink and the tawdry novel has a built-in audience of die-hards.  A second place box office finish pulling in over $46 million over the big holiday weekend proves enough of that.  But $46 million is a long way from the $85 million and change the first film drew in its debut frame.  The buzz was as cold as the sex this time around compared to last year’s must-see fever pitch.  I expect a 70+% drop off and the film failing to crack $100 million domestically.  The third film of the trilogy is going to be a tough sell.

LESSON #3: KEANU REEVES STILL HAS IT— “John Wick: Chapter 2” doubled everything about the cult hit 2014 first film, from squib budgets to box office earnings.  For the first time in a long time, Captain Whoa, Keanu Reeves, has a hit on his hands.  I’m not calling the comeback complete yet.  After all, this was still third place and behind a crappy “Fifty Shades Darker.”  Before we vault him back to the A-list, let’s see him successfully open a film not named “John Wick.”

LESSON #4: TAKE SOME ADVICE FROM THE BRITISH ACROSS THE POND.  YOU NEED TO SEE “LION”— This week’s BAFTA Awards, the U.K.’s equivalent to the Oscars, the underdog film of “Lion” pulled off a pair of high-profile upsets in Best Adapted Screenplay over “Moonlight” and Best Supporting Actor for Dev Patel over Mahershala Ali of “Moonlight.”  While “Lion” isn’t going to steamroll anything on Oscar night, take it from me, the film is worth your time.  It’s palpable true story of heartstrings that avoids more of the Oscar bait cliches than it exploits.

LESSON #5: SOMEBODY TAKE THE STICK FROM HARRISON FORD— Just short of two years after a self-piloted plane crash seriously injured the beloved actor, Harrison Ford nearly collided this week with a passenger plane on a taxiway while landing at John Wayne Airport in Orange County.  Harrison, you’re 74.  We know Paul Newman raced cars into his 80s and you’re doing what you love.  We get the appeal, but GET OFF THAT PLANE!  We still need you.

LESSON #6: WHAT’S YOUR FORGIVENESS LEVEL FOR MEL GIBSON?— Clickbait spun this week about “Hacksaw Ridge” Oscar nominee Mel Gibson being courted by Warner Bros. to direct a “Suicide Squad” sequel.  Even his inclusion of being considered brought out the “how could you hire this ___ (take your pick: philanderer, misogynist, homophobe, anti-Semite)” outrage, searing social media feeds.  You would think he was selected to be the next Secretary of Education.  Personally, I don’t think he even takes the offer, not after his public thoughts on “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” five months ago.  Still, swallowing the rainbow of opinions on your news feed begs this lesson’s question.  Has he paid for his past misdeeds?  Has his conduct improved?  Do you boycott his work? Does he deserve the chances he’s getting?

LESSON #7: BE CAREFUL HOW YOU THROW AROUND THE LABELS OF “WHITE-WASHING” AND “WHITE SAVIOR”— Months of silly and misguided speculation on Matt Damon and Zhang Yimou’s “The Great Wall” finally get answered this weekend when the film makes its North American debut.  I don’t mean to mirror Bill Maher, but here’s a new rule: See the film before you judge it.  Until then, you just add to the noise of internet trolls and alternative facts.  Point of fact, the film is a fantasy epic closer to “The Lord of the Rings” than a revisionist historical drama.   Honestly, the only opinions of integrity that matter are the people making the film.  Read Zhang Yimou’s strong words on the controversy and put your false argument to bed.

16144218_10211825217931692_226320391_nDON SHANAHAN is a Chicago-based film critic writing on his website Every Movie Has a Lesson.  He is also one of the founders and directors of the Chicago Independent Film Critics Circle.  As an elementary educator by day, Don writes his movie reviews with life lessons in mind, from the serious to the farcical.  As a contributor here on Feelin’ Film, he’s going to expand those lessons to current movie news and trends.  Find “Every Movie Has a Lesson” on Facebook, Twitter, Medium, and Creators Media.

What We Learned This Week: February 4-10

LESSON #1: 2016 WAS A BANNER YEAR FOR FEATURE DOCUMENTARIES— If you haven’t sought out the five Oscar nominees for Best Documentary Feature, do you yourself a favor and remedy that.  The multi-hour/multi-part “O.J.: Made in America” is going to win the Oscar and is available on Netflix.  The streaming powerhouse also offers Ava DuVernay’s powerful and comprehensive nominee”13th,” as well as the Oscar-snubbed Werner Herzog musing “Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World,” and “Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You.”  My winning vote would be “Life, Animated” was my #3 film of the year and is available on Amazon Prime Video along with “De Palma.”  If you can make it to the theaters, “I Am Not Your Negro” just opened and is expanding.

LESSON #2: HOLLYWOOD STILL CAN’T HELP ITSELF WITH THEIR OWN REMAKES OF FOREIGN FILMS— Germany’s “Toni Erdmann” from Maren Ade is the front-runner for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar.  Word dropped on Wednesday that Jack Nicholson wants to come out retirement to star in an American version with Kristin Wiig.  Adam McKay (“The Big Short”) is executive producing and the speculative fantasy casting and hiring has already begun.  Sure, I’d love to see wily Jack in the title role, but many cinephile fans of Ade’s original film are up in arms, and dutifully so, that Hollywood is going to water down and ruin a good thing for sake of fewer subtitles.  Little to no one is standing on the “this is a great idea” side of the line.

LESSON #3: HOLLYWOOD IS NO BETTER WITH REBOOTS— In movie news, get ready for “Pineapple Express” director David Gordon Green for “Halloween,” Kevin Smith stirring up his own redux of “Jay and Silent Bob,” “Arrival” screenwriter Eric Heisserer teaming with “Passengers” screenwriter Jon Spaihts on “Van Helsing,” “John Wick” steward Chad Stahelski next up on “Highlander, and, last but not least, a Coen brothers rewrite of “Scarface” for an unfilled director.  As always, ask yourself which ones of these you actually want to see.

16144218_10211825217931692_226320391_nDON SHANAHAN is a Chicago-based film critic writing on his website Every Movie Has a Lesson.  He is also one of the founders and directors of the Chicago Independent Film Critics Circle.  As an elementary educator by day, Don writes his movie reviews with life lessons in mind, from the serious to the farcical.  As a contributor here on Feelin’ Film, he’s going to expand those lessons to current movie news and trends.  Find “Every Movie Has a Lesson” on Facebook, Twitter, Medium, and Creators Media.

2017 Feeler’s Choice Awards Ballot

Voting is now open for the 2017 Feeler’s Choice Awards! 

A huge thank you goes out to all who submitted nominations. We have some award nominations very much in common with major award circuits and others that have some shocking differences.

All are invited to vote. Voting will close at midnight on February 21, 2017. Each award will be announced  at the same time as its corresponding Oscar category on Sunday night, February 26, via Feelin’ Film social media feeds (Twitter), (Facebook), and (Instagram), as well as in our Facebook Discussion Group which is open for all to join. We’ll recap the Feeler’s Choice Awards in our Oscar reaction podcast and also via blog post after the awards have all been announced.

Here’s that link to vote one more time: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/SZH3B2K

We can’t wait to see what films and performers this community selects!

What We Learned this Week: January 28-February 3

LESSON #1: THE LOCKS TO THE OSCAR DOORS FOR LEAD PERFORMANCES HAVE BEEN BLOWN OFF— The Screen Actors Guild Awards this past on Sunday shook up the Best Actor and Best Actress Oscar races in unexpected ways.  “Manchester by the Sea” star Casey Affleck has won virtually ever major and minor lead-up award (go look at the data here), yet here comes Denzel Washington for “Fences.”  Is a comeuppance coming (one that I hinted at last week) for Affleck?  Only three times in 21 years of the SAG Awards, and not since 2003, has the Best Actor SAG winner NOT gone on to win the Oscar.  Over in Best Actress, Natalie Portman and Isabelle Huppert have been deadlocked and trading wins all awards season.  In comes Golden Globe winner Emma Stone and the rush of “La La Land” to take the SAG.  Their category just became the hardest one to predict for February 25.  The SAG-to-Oscsar correlation in Best Actress is looser than Best Actor, but not by much with only five departures out of 21.

LESSON #2: THE SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL CONTINUES TO SET THE TONE EVERY YEAR FOR INDEPENDENT FILM— Robert Redford’s Utah-based festival always offers a first look at strong independent films that will be bouncing around the scene all year and gaining acclaim.  Last year it was “Swiss Army Man” and “The Birth of a Nation.”  Discovery for 2017 starts with the Grand Jury Prize winner “I Don’t Feel at Home in this World Anymore”from director Macon Blair and starring Melanie Lynskey and Elijah Wood.  It debuts on Netflix on February 24th.  Continue your checklist with audience award winner “Crown Heights,” directing winner “Beach Rats,” screenwriting winner “Ingrid Goes West,” breakthrough performance winner “Roxanne Roxanne,” and the documentary winner “Dina.”

LESSON #3: SUPER BOWL MOVIE TRAILERS AREN’T SURPRISES ANYMORE— Name the last time you were blown away by a surprise teaser trailer that aired during the big NFL championship game.  Mine might have been 14 years ago (which itself pales in comparison to its true first teaser).  I’m betting yours was a while back too. These formerly excellent 30-60 second spots used to be special.  They were unannounced, aired only once before the days of YouTube replays, and part of the thrill of the commercials being as must-see as the game itself.  Now, because of oneupmanship and drumming up supposed additional hype, we know which movie teasers are coming a week or two before the game.  Even worse, some studios (just like the product commercials too) have started to post them online ahead of Super Bowl Sunday, defeating any need or thrill to watch them on game night.  Overambitious and impatient marketing departments have made my bathroom breaks during the Super Bowl even easier.

LESSON #4: THERE IS ROOM FOR HUMAN HEART IN SCIENCE FICTION— Call me a softy or a sunny optimist, but I’m not afraid be in the minority to say that I greatly enjoyed “The Space Between Us,” currently getting blasted to the teens on Rotten Tomatoes.  Yes, it’s cheesy, corny, and light, but I’ll take “The Space Between Us” over the next “Percy Jackson and the Hunger Maze Runner City of Bones Games with the 5th Wave of Divergent Mortal Instruments.”  To me, the YA movie marketplace is overfilled with militarized kid-on-kid peril.  For as much as their is room for heavy, there should be room for sweet too.  I’ll take the cute and heartfelt teen romance for a change.

 

16144218_10211825217931692_226320391_n

DON SHANAHAN is a Chicago-based film critic writing on his website Every Movie Has a Lesson.  He is also one of the founders and directors of the Chicago Independent Film Critics Circle.  As an elementary educator by day, Don writes his movie reviews with life lessons in mind, from the serious to the farcical.  As a contributor here on Feelin’ Film, he’s going to expand those lessons to current movie news and trends.  Find “Every Movie Has a Lesson” on Facebook, Twitter, Medium, and Creators Media.

 

What We Learned this Week: January 21-27

LESSON #1: FAITHLESS HOLLYWOOD FORGIVES BAD PEOPLE— How’s this for irony?  The frighteningly devout and conservative Catholic who was ostracized from liberal Hollywood for anti-Semitic hate got himself and his gaudy, violent, and cheesy war film nominated over the most respected legend in the game who completed a passion project expressing, get this, frighteningly devout Christian beliefs.  That’s what’s going on when Mel Gibson and “Hacksaw Ridge” are recognized with Oscar nominations for Best Picture and Best Director ahead of Martin Scorsese and “Silence.”  Break out the SMH memes.

LESSON #2: I’M NOT SAYING THERE’S A DOUBLE STANDARD, BUT THERE MIGHT BE A DOUBLE STANDARD— While we’re on the topic of labeling “bad people,” the more Casey Affleck is showered with awards and frontrunner praise as the eventual Best Actor Oscar winner, the more his past allegations of sexual harassment and verbal abuse aren’t going away.  Piggybacking from the fickle forgiveness of Lesson #1, when Brie Larson reads Affleck’s name to come and accept his Oscar, the cheers are going to drown out the boos and shade.  I’ll be the one to ask it.  Where is that same blind forgiveness for Nate Parker? I’ll grant the criminal charges were different, but his transgressions are ancient and the man was acquitted a long time ago.  However, Affleck is looking at a place in history while Parker is going to have a hard time finding work.  Either forgive them both or hate them both.  Don’t create a double standard.

LESSON #3: AMY ADAMS IS BECOMING THE AMERICAN KATE WINSLET–Kate Winslet was nominated for an Oscar five times before winning on her sixth try in 2009 for “The Reader.”  She was 34 years old at the time.  Parallel to her, Amy Adams has been nominated five times and should have received her sixth nomination this week for “Arrival” (hell, even a seventh double nomination with “Nocturnal Animals”).  What if I told you Amy Adams is a year older than Kate Winslet?  She is.  Amy turns 43 this year and still waits.  She doesn’t deserve to be reach the casting death cliff of women 50+ without an Oscar.  I don’t know what the woman has to do more.

LESSON #4: THE PUSH FOR DIVERSITY AT THE OSCARS IS NOT OVER— It’s wonderful to see 35% of the acting nominations (seven total) go to performers of diversity.  Two of those, Mahershala Ali and Viola Davis, are near locks to win.  “Moonlight” filmmaker Barry Jenkins hit the trifecta as a nominee for Best Picture, Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay and Joi McMillion, one of his editors, became the first minority woman ever to be nominated in that category.  For one year, the #OscarsSoWhite pitchforks can be put away, but the playing field is still far from level.  Diversity doesn’t just mean black.  There is still a enormous dearth of Asian, Latino, Indian, and LGBT actors and actresses that are never recognized or even in positions for awards contention.  Only two female directors (Sofia Coppola and Kathryn Bigelow) have been nominated for Best Director in the 16 years of this young century.  Advocate for and improve diversity further after this good year.

LESSON #5: M. NIGHT SHYMALAN IS A CHEATER— In full disclosure, I’ve avoided M. Night Shyamalan’s films since “The Last Airbender.”  I’ve been done and I’m in the camp of not buying the comeback fires that were kindled by “The Visit” last year and spiked with gasoline this week by “Split” and its box office success.  To me, he’s still a one-trick pony where the “third act twist” is his only creative move.  He’ll meander unevenly through two hours and then dazzle you for five minutes at the end.  To me, that’s not enough anymore because it’s overused.  Now, he can’t even make an original twist anymore, as evident by the stinger of “Split.”  For more spoilers and more detail of similar feelings, check out this editorial piece from Mike Vanderbilt of Daily Grindhouse.  He nails it.

16144218_10211825217931692_226320391_nDON SHANAHAN is a Chicago-based film critic writing on his website Every Movie Has a Lesson.  He is also one of the founders and directors of the Chicago Independent Film Critics Circle.  As an elementary educator by day, Don writes his movie reviews with life lessons in mind, from the serious to the farcical.  As a contributor here on Feelin’ Film, he’s going to expand those lessons to current movie news and trends.  Find “Every Movie Has a Lesson” on Facebook, Twitter, Medium, and Creators Media.

Split: M. Night Shyamalan Returns To Form

Fear is suffocating.  To wake up, dazed and unknowing, in a dank, windowless, unfamiliar room, the only point of recall a heavy mist of inhalant with the sole purpose to get us to this point.  As the memory fog begins to lift, and the frightful recollection of the strange man who stole you from your normal life comes clearer, the dread and the panic start to set in.  You are trapped.  Welcome to the reawakening of maligned director M. Night Shyamalan.  Welcome to Split.

It probably needs to be said; I have a rather “split” appreciation for Shyamalan.  I love The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable, and am passively entertained by Signs and The Village.  But then, Shyamalan started to go a bit off the rails.  Lady in the Water was uninspiring, and The Happening was borderline unforgivable.  To go from one of the most masterful twist endings (Sixth Sense) to Marky Mark telling me that the grass and trees are conspiring against me broke my thriller movie loving heart.  And don’t even ask me how he got funding for a project after the abomination that was After Earth.  But, like a bad relationship I just can’t quit, there I was watching Split.  And everything I originally liked about M. Night Shyamalan came rushing back.  This is where he belongs; smaller world, condensed storytelling, a place in which he can utilize his deft, up close visual style.  A place to confine his narrative in a much more personal way.  And no angry trees.

Even though this film is smaller in scope to some of Shyamalan’s more recent work, the story still manages to tread into larger and interesting places.  Kevin (James McAvoy) suffers from Dissociative Identity Disorder (because apparently Multiple Personality Disorder needed a new name), wherein the personalities of twenty three others roam within the confines of his brain.  Only a handful surface for our purposes here; the dominant, particular Dennis, the proper, soothing Patricia, the 9-year old, playful Hedwig, and the semi-flamboyant fashionista, Barry.  These appear to be the most dominant personas of Kevin that jockey for first chair position through most of the film, but there is the threat of a yet unseen twenty fourth personality that lingers.

Shyamalan wastes no time getting to the meat of the story.  Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy) leaves a teen birthday party with two friends (we’ll call them friends, but because Claire is such a distant presence socially, acquaintances is probably more apropos), Claire (Haley Lu Richardson) and Marsha (Jessica Sula).  The girls are quickly rendered unconscious by the personality of “Dennis” and taken away.  When the three wake up in a drab, square room (with an oddly pleasant bathroom), disoriented and scared, Shyamalan begins to peel the layers back on the mysterious kidnapper and his psychological struggle.

A lot of the film is standard, “held in captivity” fare, in which the girls conspire and attempt various means of escape to little effect, but the demeanor of Casey; calculated, thoughtful, almost attempting to beat the villain at his own game, opens up for discussion what Shyamalan was trying to do here.  Flashbacks to Casey’s childhood are peppered throughout the film, and we learn that she is also psychologically damaged.  Is there a subtext here indicating that only the damaged can understand the damaged?  It’s clear that Casey and Kevin come from similar abusive backgrounds, and while they clearly have landed in different areas of mental strife, they are in many ways kindred spirits.

Just when the film starts to get claustrophobic, Shyamalan pulls away to asides with “Barry”, as he visits his psychologist, Dr Fletcher (Betty Buckley).  Within these scenes, the internal struggle that Kevin endures begins to reveal itself.  Dr Fletcher notices the nuances in “Barry’s” behavior, indicating some of Kevin’s personas are exerting dominance over others, and the threat of that aforementioned twenty-fourth persona, heretofore known as “the Beast” becomes more distinct.  I have to admit, the concept of “the Beast” was something that didn’t really connect for me.  I feel like Shyamalan couldn’t resist the urge to shoehorn a supernatural element into the story, and I’m not really convinced it was necessary nor effective.  For all of the intriguing dialogue to be had about mental illness, and the tension built around the peril the girls were in, something got lost once “the Beast” arc really took center stage, and I don’t think he completely stuck the landing.

Add Taylor-Joy to your “ones to watch” list.  Her turn in The Witch in early 2016 was a revelation, but here she shows a different style of nuance as the tactical, careful Casey.  Richardson and Sula are fine in their roles, but ultimately serve as wooden indians.  But let’s cut to the chase.  James McAvoy is on another level here.  His portrayal of the many faces of Kevin chews up scenes that would make Nicholas Cage bow in unworthiness.  He is diabolical, disturbing, and outright impossible to ignore.  I dare say it’s his best work to date.

Absent was the big twist to the plot, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a shock ending that will be sure to please Shyamalan fans.  In the end, I had a great time with Split.  It’s a return to form for Shyamalan, and I want to see him continue to play in this sandbox.  It’s an indication that he has matured as a storyteller.  Perhaps we can chalk up his unfortunate foray into big budget fare to ego, or the need to sow his wild oats on a grander scale.  Whatever the reason, here’s to hoping he has settled down.  Here’s to hoping he has identified that one personality that suits him best.  We’ll all be better off for it.

phpxnctheam

STEVE CLIFTON has been writing moderately well on the Internet at this blog, Popcorn Confessional, for the better part of the last decade.  His love for movies can be traced back to the North Park Cinema in Buffalo, NY circa 1972, when his aunt took him to see Dumbo.  Now living in Maine, Steve routinely consumes as much film, television, and books as time will allow.  He also finds time to complain about winter and Buffalo sports teams.  He is a big fan of bad horror films and guacamole, and mildly amused by pandas.