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Freeheld stumbles over too many hurdles to recommend it. The film’s heart is in the right place, but its focus is not.



Cassel’s latest movie that smartly keeps his innate menace on a slow, low simmer, isn’t nearly as convincing or compelling as its star.

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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…


Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

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Big Change for Moneypenny


Rumors suggest the next Bond film will put Moneypenny in the field with James. Bond expert Jeffrey Westhoff has some thoughts on that.

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We could shoot a Russian unicorn


"I got a porcupine called 'Zazoom' He leaves his scent on people's graves." -- "Russian Unicorn"

You know the Kuleshov Effect, illustrated by the famous Soviet montage experiment in which an actor's performance seems to change, depending on whatever image (a bowl of soup, a child in a casket, a beautiful woman) appears before identical footage of his face in close-up. Performances in the movies only begin with what the actor does on the set. They are created and re-created every step of the way, from editing to final sound design and mixing (effects, looping, punching, music, etc.). There's also what I would propose we call the "Russian Unicorn Effect," after the amazing music video parody by Bad Lip Reading.

OK, it's already kind of got a name -- the McGurk effect -- and it was "discovered" in 1976 by cognitive psychologist Harry McGurk and his research assistant John MacDonald -- and it explains how sounds can change perceptions of images and vice-versa.

I saw and heard the parody above ("Russian Unicorn") a few months ago, which led me to check out the original Michael Bublé video ("Haven't Met You Yet"), below. I could not believe the difference. Try it yourself -- first the parody, then the original here (embedding disabled, unfortunately).

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