Around the World in 16 Directors

There are many extremely talented directors from countries other than the United States who have made several films (or more) which deserve wider recognition. Since both internet streaming and DVD via mail services such as Netflix ( or even your public library!) make access to most of these films very easy, I strongly recommend that you take a journey of discovery around the world and investigate the work of these talented, but often (but not always) unrecognized filmmakers. Continue reading

Here Are a Few Spotify Playlists That You Might Enjoy

I haven’t posted in over two years, but having created a cluster of Spotify playlists, this seemed like an obvious home for them. I announced these on Twitter and one actually received a retweet ! But my Twitter account and this blog are very much trees which fall unheard in the woods. Nevertheless, I believe in random events thus I’m creating the opportunity for someone to stumble upon what I believe to be rather interesting collections of music. Hope you enjoy.

A complete, up to date list of all my playlists (there are many) may be found by simply clicking here My Spotify Playlists. Then select Public Playlists.   Continue reading

A Certain Type of Film

There is a type of film that doesn’t fit any genre description particularly well and is relatively rare. There is humor but it’s usually either low keyed and subtle or deadpan and dark.  They tend to be the product of directors with a very specific sensibilty. They have affection for their characters and plot development is secondary to observing the central characters interact in a variety of contexts.  If there is a prototype of this kind of film is might be Jean Renoir’s The Crime of M. Lange or  Francois Truffaut’s Stolen Kisses.    Continue reading

Musicians You Should Know: A YouTube Sampler

It occurred to me that rather than merely suggesting the names of recommended singers who deserve wider recognition, I could provide links to performances by them that are available on YouTube.  I should have thought of this long ago, but better late than never. A click on the musician’s name will link you to their All Music Guide profile.  A click on the song name will link to a YouTube video. Keep in mind the sound and video on YouTube varies widely, but I selected songs that I particularly enjoy and felt represent the singers well.       Continue reading

Male Singer Songwriters

One of my early posts featured a large sampling of female singer songwriters, so this post is way overdue. I’m waiting breathlessly to read this after I finish writing it.

The artists listed below have all produced multiple worthwhile albums during their careers . I’ve selected two of the best by each artist. While there’s obviously no need to include the screamingly obvious artists like Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Van Morrison, Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder or Paul Simon.  I’ll list some recommended albums by each at the end for the sake of completeness.  Continue reading

A Personal Selection of Mystery Writers

I would not presume to describe myself as a dedicated or voracious reader of mysteries. However, I enjoy reading books in this genre when they are well written and not formulaic. I expect that these prerequisites would tend to narrow the field rather dramatically.  In my experience, not even the best series writers are consistently first rate.  My own taste runs toward a darker, film noirish sensibility with a greater interest in characters and situations that are vividly drawn rather than complex,  puzzle oriented plots. Without further ado, here are the writers who have sustained my interest for multiple books, whether in a character driven series or individual works.  Author’s name will link to their entry in Fantastic Fiction.    Continue reading

Can Sight and Sound’s Best Film Poll be Improved?

Perhaps with a major revision of the methodology. Someone else will probably have to do it  though. Institutions tend to view themselves as sacred and immutable. They are not and should not be either. If you are careless about the questions you ask and do not collect sufficient data, your poll will at best be boring and at worst irrelevant. Ask any professional pollster. Here are my recent Tweets on suggested changes that could produce a far more interesting and relevant poll.   Continue reading