An artform for our times

Movies are the one true great twentieth century artform. Although they are the product of the late nineteenth century, they are the province of the twentieth century. It is likely that they will be superceded by other forms of entertainment in the twenty-first century. But not yet.

The development and popularity of the movies are a metaphor for the past century and, if you were so inclined, you could plot the cultural and social changes of the century by an observation of the changes and developments in the cinema.

The simplest metaphor is that the twentieth century has been the American century to the extent that the cinema has been a American art-form.

I'm a child of the movies - and of the American movie at that. There have been other cultural influences on me: radio as a youth; television as an adolescent and adult; books always; music, mainly as an adult; the musical theatre; art. But I'm truly at home culturally in the darkness of the cinema. And I am still most at home with the product of those great cultural imperialists, the Americans.

And that's why a major part of my website will be devoted to looking at movies. And that's why most of those movies will be mainstream American movies. There will be a few essays [From the Director's Chair] and some reviews [Critical Mess].

There: I've done my Charles Foster Kane impersonation. You have the manifesto.

Let's get off to the movies ...


also in

Opening Credits

Critical Mess - Reviews

From the Director's Chair - Essays



from the Director's Chair

ftDC is a "high concept" stream-of-consciousness rave meets "deep thought" analysis on movies. The end result is a series of thoughtful essays on film which trace eclectic thematic paths.

Given that this was originally a part of a website known as 'the Labyrinth', I'm started playing off the labyrinth theme and linked my look at the movies to it.

The first essay, Labyrithine Plots, deals with those incredibly scripted heist movies, such as Topkapi, Rififi and How to Steal a Million, before an aside on formulas and a consideration of the greatly under-rated Heat.

The second essay deals with The Literal Labyrinth: I looked at a couple of flicks dealings with Theseus and the Minotaur as well as Jim Henson's Labyrinth and James Cameron's Titanic.

In the sequels, I will go down several side tunnels which may have nothing to do with such a theme.


Critical Mess
CM is Featured Attractions film Review and Criticism section. The articles on these pages will mainly be reviews of contemporary movies but I may visit an old favourite if I feel the urge. See the introduction to Critical Mess for more detail.

There is a list of movies reviewed on that page.


Writeback@ya! Have your say
wb@y is Featured Attractions film forum. Post your comments to

I await your input.




The first of these are my suggested alternate Best Picture Awards for each year. Not an original idea ... but some original choices.

Other lists to which I refer and/or discuss include: Sight and Sound's top ten for 2002; the ABC's top 100 films, as voted by their viewers; and Empire's top ten directors, as voted in 2006.


Introduction | Biography | Trip reports | History | Movies | ANZAPA


Published by
Jack R Herman
Sydney, June 2012

All material © Copyright Jack R Herman.


Last updated: 17 June 2012

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