Finding new value – and a great back story – in an old film

D-Day the Sixth of June was based on an award-winning novel by Canadian journalist Lionel Shapiro

Finding new value – and a great back story – in an old filmTurner Classic Movies marked the American Memorial Day weekend by showing a string of war films, one of which was D-Day the Sixth of June. Released in 1956 and based on a novel published the previous year, I’d seen it at the local cinema in Dublin, Ireland, more than 60 years ago. Back then, I’d…

A close-up look at J.F.K. on the campaign trail

Primary, a 1960 documentary, shows Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey battling it out in the Wisconsin primary trenches

A close-up look at J.F.K. on the campaign trailI recently came across a gem on the Turner Classic Movies schedule. Called Primary, it’s a 1960 documentary. The film is ostensibly a fly-on-the-wall record of the final days of Wisconsin’s 1960 Democratic presidential primary. In an era with far fewer such contests, it pitted U.S. Sen. John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts against U.S. Sen.…

Zombie firms a danger in post-COVID-19 economy

Government actions to reduce financial pressure on firms create dangerous conditions over the longer term

Zombie firms a danger in post-COVID-19 economyWe spend double the amount of time on our streaming platforms compared to last year, close to 45.4 billion minutes on Netflix alone in the first few weeks of March 2020. Movie titles such as 28 Weeks Later, Quarantine,  Carriers and I Am Legend have provided an escape from our quarantined hideouts. Unfortunately, such movies about a…

New Netflix parental controls a cure for kids’ prying eyes

Netflix Parental controls provide timely solutions for families at home on lockdown: PIN protocol, maturity ratings, activity logs and more

New Netflix parental controls a cure for kids’ prying eyesThere’s plenty of Netflix binging going on with many people at home on lockdown. Folks perhaps have a guilt-free opportunity to finally binge on Ozark or that most-talked-about, love-it-or-hate-it new series Tiger King. But for parents, the lockdown creates issues around managing TV time. While Mom and Dad are working from home, the kids could…

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance stands the test of time

The classic film takes an unusually nuanced look at the Old West. Heroes aren’t necessarily who you think they are

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance stands the test of timeJohn Ford was an Irish-American film director whose active career began in the silent era and extended into the 1960s. Along the way, he picked up four Academy Awards for best director. Immense talent notwithstanding, Ford had a dark side. He was, to put it mildly, a bully. You might call him a tyrant. Belittling…

Cats turns literary genius into lumpy kitty litter

The movie offers a fun-house-mirror examination of our souls and why we've allowed this kind of cultural plundering to go on for years

Cats turns literary genius into lumpy kitty litterCats the movie is worse than bad. It is offal. Its director, Tom Hooper, utterly guts the gentle soul of T.S. Eliot’s classic Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, from which the film is drawn. What’s been dropped at the paying public’s shoes is a cinematic blood sample so horrifying it could make Old Possum’s…

Cheers to Ricky Gervais

Cheers to Ricky GervaisMy wife has always watched two awards shows every year: the Golden Globes and Oscars. Which means, in effect, I watch two awards shows every year. (If you listen closely, you’ll hear the sound of many married men nodding their heads in agreement.) However, there are infrequent moments that make these experiences enjoyable. In particular,…

Watch on-demand movies and TV shows for free

Plex is making thousands of ad-supported movies and TV shows available free for streaming

Watch on-demand movies and TV shows for freePlex is a streaming media service known for making it easy to stream your personal media – movies, music, photos from your computer or attached hard drive to all your devices. The company has recently announced they’ll be making thousands of movies and TV shows available free for streaming. And while the service is ad-supported,…

Truth always leads to healing

Though the story of Frozen 2 is a fairy tale, it contains many deep truths

Truth always leads to healingI have to admit I’m not a big fan of fiction and less a fan of blockbuster films. I prefer to know what actually happened and is happening in the world. Still, great fiction is great because it reveals deeper truths about humanity. My intention in seeing Frozen 2 during the opening weekend of its…

Rising from the ashes to achieve greatness

It hurts to be rejected or see a dream come to an end, but it shouldn't impact our ability to live with integrity and find success

Rising from the ashes to achieve greatnessWe all face disappointments and challenges. We don’t get picked for a team, we don’t get a promotion, we’re turned down by a potential lover or we see a dream come to an end. What’s important in life isn’t what happens to us, however. It’s how we respond. Great people aren’t without problems. They’re people…

When TV westerns ruled the roost

The longevity and sustained popularity of Gunsmoke and Bonanza put them in a class apart

When TV westerns ruled the roostWhen Bonanza made its debut on Saturday, Sept. 12, 1959, it was joining a TV schedule littered with series westerns. During that 1959-60 season, over 30 westerns regularly stalked North American home screens. And most of them were on network evening TV, thus occupying plum spots during peak viewing hours. ABC’s 1959-60 Sunday night roster…

YouTube knocking down Canada’s protective cultural wall

Canada’s creative lobby may have turned its back on the world but that doesn’t mean Canadians are joining them in their quest to hide

YouTube knocking down Canada’s protective cultural wallCanada’s creative lobby may have turned its back on the world but that doesn’t mean Canadians are joining them in their quest to hide behind a big wall of regulations aimed at protecting them from foreigners. A recent study by Ryerson University’s Faculty of Communication and Design, entitled  Watchtime Canada: How YouTube Connects Creators and…

Superhero movies teaching us the wrong lessons

No matter their appeal, superheroes fall far short of teaching us principles which will make our world better

Superhero movies teaching us the wrong lessonsRolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards once said, “I don’t think rock n’ roll should be analyzed or even thought about deeply.” As much as I admire Mr. Richards as a musician, I can’t say that I agree with him. In fact, as I developed my own thoughts I found myself listening to his band less…

Wild Bunch showed True Grit in demythologizing the Old West

Fifty years ago, True Grit and The Wild Bunch opened in theatres. They were both westerns, but they were dramatically different in tone and intent

Wild Bunch showed True Grit in demythologizing the Old WestThe big stories from the summer of 1969 were Neil Armstrong’s moon walk and the counterculture music extravaganza at Woodstock, N.Y. But there were also two classic westerns. One was True Grit and the other was The Wild Bunch. In fact, they debuted within a week of each other. True Grit opened on June 11…

Featuring more female sources should increase audience engagement

From entertainment to business to news media, the evidence is clear: audiences want gender diversity

Featuring more female sources should increase audience engagementWhat would happen if news media struggling to survive applied the productivity mantra “What gets measured gets done” to the sources they quote? Business research, Hollywood sales data and anecdotal evidence from the news industry all suggest it’s worth a try. In many western democracies – the U.S., the U.K. and Canada included – most…
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