Writers and Staff


Carlo - A Self Portrait

Carlo Cavagna
Philosopher-King and Web Master

Excerpted from the North American Field Guide to Film Critics:

The Carlo (woppus giganticus): The Carlo aspires to recognition as a great hegemon of cinematic critique, but usually finds its niche as a shifty-eyed site administrator. Composing diatribes in its ratty paper-lined lair, the Carlo expends great energy quixotically scheming to topple the bloated ranks of the Hollywood hierarchy. Not possessed of a lengthy attention span, however, the Carlo can instead often be found consuming unhealthy quantities of cheese.

Carlo Cavagna has been a member of the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS) since June 2000.

Jeff Vorndam?

Jeff Vorndam
Curly-Toothed Nawab; Uvula Pendragon

You may be wondering what a handsome man like Jeff is doing writing movie reviews. The truth is, Carlo kidnapped Jeff's brother and threatened to shoot him unless Jeff agreed to contribute to AboutFilm.Com. After some soul-searching, Jeff agreed on the condition that Carlo mail him his brother's left index finger to prove he was all right. When Jeff received the finger in a plain envelope the next day, he knew he was dealing with a straight-shooter. (If you look closely, this entire site is a palindrome!) Jeff's hobbies include air guitar, stacking things on top of one another, and eating flapjacks. A tasty flapjack would sure hit the spot right now, wouldn't it?

Jeff has been a member of the Cinemarati since May 2002.

Claudia Smurthwaite
Technical Director, Design Consultant, and Occasional Contributor

Dubbed the quiet one, Claudia is able to form, yet is reluctant to speak, multi-syllabic words. She keeps the wheels of the AboutFilm boards greased with stealth-like efficiency. Often told she was all wet growing up, Claudia took that as a compliment, not to mention her natural state of being as she practiced the glamorous yet decidedly unsissy sport of synchronized swimming. Yes, Esther Williams was her idol! Destined to live the Lifestyle of the Rich and Famous, she has many champagne wishes, not the least of which is sharing a bottle of vintage Veuve Clicquot with George Clooney. Until then, she remains sequestered in sleepy Silicon Valley, where she splits her time designing web sites, watching movies, and, after years of sun and chlorine, searching for the perfect shampoo.

Erika Hernandez?Erika Hernandez
Cómplice en Crítica

Raised in an extremely conservative environment, Erika started a grade school underground film/video exchange network called WNWTC ("We're Not Watching This Crap") for kids like her who were only allowed to see G-rated movies. The network collapsed after two weeks, because everyone was seven years old and had no money. She then made it her life's mission to study, teach, and write about "what the big people were hiding from us." Erika divides her spare time between trying to get the theme from Shaft out of her head, and insisting that she is NOT related to Laura San Giacomo, Christina Ricci, Nora Jones, or Helena Bonham Carter.

Erika has an M.A. in Television/Film and teaches Film Studies at Irvine Valley College.

E. Alison Tweedie-Perry?
Image © Sevenarts Ltd.

E. Alison Tweedie-Perry
Luminous Sub-Chief Potentate and Grand High Errata Exterminator

Alison has a great many names and feet that just reach the floor. Her primary pursuits include making lists and peppering her conversation with humorous small mammals. Reknowned for her lack of a fixed habitat, she has a range of the Mid-Atlantic seaboard and northern California with an annual winter migration to southeastern Texas, though there were reports of sightings as far away as New Zealand in 1990. Feeding primarily upon Mexican food and chicken Caesar salads, her great ambition is to teach the world to yowl in cacophonous dissonance. She hopes to one day run a pickle orchard and raise up a herd of champion truffle-snuffling squid. She guarantees that the answer to what ails you can often be found at the movies.

Dominic Varle
Professional Dilettante

An English childhood deprived of all Americana except the first eight bars of the Starsky and Hutch theme, a bizarre Sun-In accident that coincided with the release of Top Gun, and the absence of more productive inclinations meant that Dominic misspent his youth making wakka-wakka noises on his guitar and aping Val Kilmer's look du jour. Inspired by seeing Fort Apache--The Bronx for the 37th time, Dom emigrated to New York City in 1993, just in time for Guiliani-era Disneyfication. An incurable addict of non sequiturs, Dominic's command of Romance languages extends as far as kitchen Spanish, menu French and Serie A Italian, drawing praise from the National Pork Producers Council for his insistence that any recipe can be improved by adding double-smoked bacon. To conserve energy in his leisurely pursuit of high culture and the procurement of pork products, Dominic lives just two blocks from the Brooklyn Academy of Music and his favored carniceria, so expect reviews of Frantisek Vlácil retrospectives and "Bacon of the Month" tips. Emerging relatively unscathed from a Willow-inspired bad hair nadir, and drawing the line at Kilmer's Fat Elvis period, Dominic now sports a look best described as "hungover John Ritter."

Frances Nicole Rogers?

Frances Nicole Rogers
Junior Bird Thwapper

Frances Nicole, otherwise known as Frankie, once took an online quiz that labeled her as avoidant and dependent. Then, later on in her life, she took an online quiz that claimed her perfect celebrity match was a particular young actor whose looks she cared not for. Since then, she has firmly believed online quizzes to be the work of the Devil, as well as butterflies, suspension bridges, go-go music, and the new "Dexter's Laboratory" cartoons. The reasons behind her collaboration with AboutFilm.com are unknown, though she would like to attribute it to her amazing ability to render stick figures, Art Nouveau style. When she is not repeatedly going over the lives of young wizards, whiny hobbits, ill courtesans, untalented schoolboys and doomed Mafia bosses, she likes to head bang to loud Bernard Herrmann music with a much shaken bottle of soda in one hand and a large bottle of apple juice in the other. One day, when she is older and wiser, she will dominate the filmmaking industry. Until then, all she wants to do is buy a new Bible.

Former and Occasional Contributors

Dana Knowles?
Nonchaloir (Repose), 1911   
John Singer Sargent   
National Gallery of Art,   
Washington D.C.

Dana Knowles
Devi of Critique

Dana's somewhat (!) obsessive love of films may have begun in the womb, though she has no concrete proof of that. Dana does know that she can't recall a time when her world didn't revolve around movies, so it's as good a guess as any. She spent her childhood annoying her family with this obsession. As a teen, Dana annoyed her friends. As an adult, Dana annoyed her colleagues at work. And–with the advent of the internet–she is now able to annoy the entire world. Someday, Dana hopes to become an inter-galactic annoyance. Stay tuned....

Kris Campbell?Kris Campbell
Pom-Pom Squad Leader and Designated Driver

Age: indeterminate
Height: lofty
Weight: light as a spring breeze
Sex: theoretically
Profession: free trade advocate
Likes: book clubs, sing-a-longs
Dislikes: nothing

Kristian Wiggert?Kristian Wiggert

Kristian truly intended to write a biography, but found himself so dull that he fell asleep before he could finish.

Jen Walker?Jen Walker
Sous-Chef and Hall Monitor

Jen used to read movie reviews and think, "Who the heck writes these things?" They never seemed to give a positive review for anything Jen liked, and the things they gave "four stars" or "thumbs up" never appealed to her. They would pan a movie simply because it was mindless entertainment, and rave about an artsy film that Jen found painfully disturbing and/or boring. Why couldn't these critics just buy some popcorn and licorice and just sit down and enjoy a darn movie? Why did they always have to pick everything apart? Jen now knows the answer. They see a lot of movies. A LOT of movies. After a while, the same old stories, the same old explosions, and the same old cliches become not only tiresome, but irritating. After watching hundreds of films, they can't help but become critical.

You may ask yourself, when you read Jen's own reviews, "Who the heck writes these things? Why can't she just sit down and enjoy a darn movie?" Jen's answer: She sees a LOT of movies.

Glenn Sheridan?Glenn Sheridan
Chieftain of the Northern Territories

Not long ago, the good folks at AboutFilm.Com got wind of Glenn's existence. Together, they vowed to do their utmost to prevent this hideous creation from ever befouling their hallowed halls. Obviously they underestimated the immeasurable power of bribery--because Glenn is here to stay (pending results of litigation). To find out how Carlo & Co. were taken in by this swindler, watch the movie All About Eve and substitute the image of Eve Harrington with something far more duplicitous, dank and squishy.

Glenn was allegedly deported from his native Ireland after his entrepreneur-of-the-year winning business, "George Bernard Rickshaws" (very popular with tourists in Dublin), was found to be a petty thievery operation. Glenn now lives and works in Toronto as a part-time moose emancipator, and dreams of becoming the world's first unwritten lawyer. Meantime, delivering singing telegrams keeps him in popcorn. The highpoint so far? Singing Meatloaf's "Deadringer for Love" to Director David Cronenberg.