Volume XVI, No. 21


Frank Fax Facts

And Reviews


Volume XVI, No. 21

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Monday, my brother, George, was in a bad car wreck, but managed to escape with no serious injuries. His car was totaled and he had to be rescued with the "jaws of life" (which I had never heard of). He is back home, with only one fractured vertebrae in his back. It is nothing short of miraculous, and we all feel blessed that he is all right.

On Wednesday, Steve Vintner, from St. Edmund’s drove over (after my monthly pedicure) and took me to Providence Hospital for a visit with our good mutual friend, Donald Dorr. Donald looks wonderful, and his attitude is still positive, although he has been hospitalized since early April. Please help us all to pray for this saintly man’s recovery. Later, I had Steve over for a lunch of roast beef, with small new potatoes backed around it, and a can of petit pois and another of shoe-peg corn in the mix. This made for a delicious repast.

Cat Wisdom

“Cats do not go for a walk to get somewhere but to explore.”

Sidney Denham

DVD Reviews

Billy Elliot (Sony)

 The film this week fits right into my current treatise on movie remakes. This was accidental. I had seen an earlier version a few years back, and was fascinated with the charm of its highly original story. Billy is the youngest son of a British coal miner. There is a strike in progress for most of the film, with the miners picketing and fighting the “Scabs”. The entire town is affected. Each week, Billy’s father gives him 50 pence (?) for a boxing lesson. He hates this, and looks longingly at a ballet class, which is in progress at the same time in the gym. The director (Julie Walters in an Academy Award nominated role) invites the boy to join the girls’ class. He becomes an expert at it. How it all works out is touching and funny as a crutch!

Actually, I preferred the earlier version, because the language was tamer (sorry, but I will never adjust to certain words in films. Also, as I remember it, there was more music in the original than in this remake. But rent either version if you have not seen either. It is well worth the effort. (***)

The End of an Era

“At the Movies”

Yesterday, at 5:30 AM, Channel 5, in Mobile, broadcast the last installment of “At the Movies”. This was the 30-minute program begun by Roger Ebert and Gene Siskal thirty-five years ago. These two pioneers (both were newspaper film critics from Chicago) created a new genre, and became almost overnight sensations with their wit and appealing method of reviewing movies: they discussed and argued; They were the originators of the giving of “Thumbs Up” or “Thumbs Down” letting us know if they liked it or not. By yesterday’s finale, the ratings had been modified to accommodate DVDs, to “See It”, “Skip It” or “Rent It”. The original critics were so much fun to watch, because they did not always agree at all, and the more they disagreed; the more most of us enjoyed it!

After five years on PBS, the Disney syndicate took over the show in 1980 and had maintained it ever since.

Tragically, Gene Siskal died of cancer in 1994, and Ebert tried several movie critics as his co-host and finally settled on Richard Roper, a colleague at his newspaper. Their rapport was never as spontaneous as his and Gene’s had been, but they were a likeable pair. Ebert developed cancer of the jaw, and had to give up broadcasting. He still lives and writes movie reviews on the Internet. He has been writing books on cooking, .in spite of the fact that he can neither eat nor talk.

Roper, like Ebert, tried many co-hosts, but finally retired, leaving Ben Menkowitz  (of Turner Classic Movies) and Ben Lyons (of ”E” Entertainment) in charge for a short period of time.

The final hosts were two of many who had vied for the job when Ebert was auditioning: A.O. Scott and Michael Phillips. The last three films they reviewed were: “Eat Pray Love” starring Julia Roberts (they split on their rating, with one “See It” and one “Rent It”; “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World” with Juno’s nerdy boyfriend—I forget his name) with both agreeing it is worth seeing (U seriously doubt that I could suffer through it); and “The Expendables: with Sylvester Stallone (Yet!) and a cast of ex-macho men, like Bruce Willis and Dorf Lundrin) one “See It” and the saner advising us to “Skip it”.  And as a stuttering Porky Pig would say, “Th-th-th-th-that’s all Folks!”



Yet another Editor’s Apology:


Here it is, almost 8PM, Sunday night and I am going to send this abbreviated edition out as soon as possible. I had a much better edition almost finished when my computer just suddenly caused it to disappear. I began another version and after a few sentences, lost that one too. I almost gave up, but being nothing if not persistent, I began this one at 5 PM, saving every three or four words. I will have the promised articles next week, the Lord and this piece of junk willing. FI



















Tuesday, November 2, 2010