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About this Site: I see a lot of movies. I go to at least one movie a week in the theaters (usually more) and get surly if I don't get out to the multiplex from time to time. It is fair to say that the movie monkey on my back is about the size of King Kong. And that doesn't even account for movies on television and video. I used to see even more movies than I do now--at one point, movies were a business for me. Thank god THAT'S done with. I still see more than I can afford. I got in the habit of reviewing movies when I was a teen-ager. It was my substitute for a diary or journal, I guess. Most of those early reviews were remarkably naive. I've been reviewing movies for my own edification for well over two decades now.

When you see a lot of movies, you begin to think you know something about them. When you think you know something about them, you begin to want to tell other people about them. The internet has made this poisonously easy. Everyone, it seems, is a critic. I'm no different. Just keep in mind that William Goldman's famous accusation that "No one in Hollywood knows anything" is doubly true for film critics on the internet. This is, after all, primarily a vanity site.

The categories listed in the sidebar are broadly conceived. Currently, my main areas of interest are horror movies, film noir, and Asian movies. That's not ALL I write about by any stretch of the imagination, but those three categories do happen to be the most active parts of the site. It can't be helped. There is not currently a breakout category for musicals, though I'm considering one. I'm also considering sections on specific directors (though I'm not much of an auteurist) and on more specialized sub-genres (the samurai film, for instance, and the giallo mystery); I'm also considering a page for international cinema. These plans may come to nothing. I never underestimate my own laziness when I consider some new venture. And so it goes...

Some of the older reviews were written as capsules for a video store newsletter. I've been slowly--very slowly--upgrading some of these, but there are still a bunch on the site. My apologies if these seem insubstantial. They were fodder for the site when it first went up in 1997. At the time, I didn't have a lot of web space, nor did I have a comfortable format or guiding mission. I've been resisting the temptation to simply delete these; I know that my opinions on many of the films that are covered by these reviews have changed, some drastically so.

On Ratings: I'm occasionally asked why I don't use a star system, or letter grading system, or whatnot to rate the movies I see. My response is two-fold:

First, I hate rating movies. I'm four-square in agreement with Francois Truffaut when he said that he despised any kind of heirarchy in cinema. The notion that, say, Citizen Kane is somehow "better" than, say How Green Was My Valley, or vice versa, is absurd. It's all a matter of taste (and the LAST person you should trust on the matter is Oscar, by the way). Ratings are slippery things. One of the best experiences I've ever had at a movie was a 3-D showing of The Creature from the Black Lagoon, but that doesn't make it the best movie I've ever seen, or even one of the best. Context is everything.

Second, if you can't tell what I think of a movie from what I've written, then I've failed. If you're looking for a consumer guide, that's fine, but that's not the mission of this site. The trouble I see with ratings is that once you've put a rating to a movie, you have to defend it. If, for instance, I were to put a one-star rating to Independence Day (to pick a movie out of a hat), then I would be obliged to run down its flaws almost to the exclusion of its virtues. To my mind, this skews the review process. I'm not sitting in the theater with a red pen, marking the movie down for each clumsy passage.

Screeners: I occasionally get screeners from people who want me to review their movies. I'm more than happy to do this if I think the movie fits the overall theme of the site. Horror movies, film noir, and Asian movies are a preference, but any variety of fictional film is fair game, as are some kinds of documentaries. I have no interest in "special interest" videos about golf or children's shows designed to keep the kids quiet while mommy does the laundry. If you have a film that you'd like me to review, feel free to get in touch, but caveat emptor: screeners get treated the same as everything else.

Note: as of January 27, 2006, I've decided to try putting this site to work for me. If something I've reviewed intrigues you, please consider buying it through one of my Amazon links (putting those links onto the appropriate pages will occupy some of my time for a while). This will help offset my hosting costs and it will give me an added incentive to post new content more often. In the immortal words of Bartles and James, "Thank you for your support." I'm also a contributor to Horror 101, a reference book on horror movies written by fans of horror movies. If you buy it from the Amazon link below, I see a little bit of cash. Thanks.