Thursday, February 26, 2015

WAIT: Red Carpets and Handshakes at HRIFF

This has been the most insane month of my life. Getting to screen Wait at the Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival (HRIFF) feels like a dream. My participation in the festival resulted in three wondrously surreal days that I will never forget. Words simply cannot do those days justice. Or the days I’ve lived since.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Oscar Night: Always Holding Out For a Brody

The Oscars are mere hours away, and I find myself particularly excited for the show this year. One reason is because the two films vying for the biggest awards – Boyhood and Birdman – were two of my favorite films from 2014. But moreover, I’m thrilled for the Oscars because we have a few legitimate chances for an Adrien Brody-type upset.

In 2002, the Best Actor race was a two-way dead heat. Jack Nicholson was either going to become the first man to win three Best Actor Oscars for his against-type work in About Schmidt, or Daniel Day-Lewis was going to take home his second Best Actor trophy for his ferocious turn in Gangs of New York. But when Halle Berry opened the envelope and took a long, stunned pause before saying Adrien Brody’s name, we witnessed one of the best, most unexpected Oscar shocks in awards history.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

In Character: David Paymer

David Paymer is one of film’s most recognizable character actors. And while few may know him by name, Paymer has consistently delivered stellar performances for more than two decades. He’s played dumb and down, smooth and hip, wise and eccentric, always to excellent results. All told, he’s one of my favorite actors in the business. A guy who makes everything he’s in that much better.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Top 10 Performances by James Bond Actors (in non-Bond roles)

Since making my way through the James Bond catalogue, I’ve been thinking about the six actors who have played 007. Some of them peaked with Bond, while others went on to have illustrious careers. Below are my favorite non-Bond performances by actors who have played Bond. Note: I only considered performances that were played during or after the respective actors’ tenure as Bond.

Friday, February 6, 2015

James Bond Franchise Breakdown

It’s hard not to love the James Bond franchise. Running for more than 50 years, it remains the most iconic franchise in cinema history. It’s had its ups and downs, sure, but there’s a comfort in knowing no matter how bad a Bond film may be, he’ll always be back for more.

A few weeks ago, I decided to watch every Bond film in a row. I crushed them all out in 10 days, and I thought it be fun to share my thoughts on each film here. I hope you enjoy the post, and feel free to comment on which Bond films you love, hate, and love to hate. There’s never a bad time to talk Bond.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Watch Micah Parker on THE FLASH Tomorrow Night!

Hey everyone, I wanted to post a reminder that my great friend, Micah Parker, will be starring in tomorrow night’s episode of The Flash on The CW. Details about the episode have been on the hush, but I know that Micah plays a villain named Clay Parker (love the name) who is on the run with his girlfriend. Having worked with Micah pretty much non-stop over the past year and a half, I know that he’s an actor capable of great intensity, and I’m so pumped to see what he does with Clay.

Micah walked into his audition for a lead role in my feature film, Wait, in October 2013, and since then, we’ve established one of the most fulfilling creative collaborations and friendships that I’ve ever had. In addition to Wait, we’ve made short films together, shot music videos, and have been talking ceaselessly about our next feature. He’s one of my best friends, and I’m so proud to see his career taking off.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Top 20 Films that Lost Sundance

A lot of films are premiering at Sundance this week, but only a handful of them will walk away with awards (and even few with major awards). But if Sundance has proven one thing to be true over the years, it’s that getting into the festival is in fact the award itself. Below are my favorite films that premiered at Sundance, but lost major in-competition awards. 

Note: I only considered films that screened in-competition for Dramatic and Documentary Grand Jury Prizes at Sundance. Films that premiered at Sundance, but already had theatrical distribution in place (like, say, American Psycho) were not considered. Similarly, films that screened in World Competition categories were also not considered.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Top 10 Films that Won Sundance

The 2015 Sundance Film Festival kicked off yesterday, and what better way to remember the famed fest than by highlighting some of the finest films to ever premiere there? Below are my picks for the best films that have won Sundance. For the purposes of this post, I only considered films that were awarded the Dramatic or Documentary Grand Jury Prizes.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

WAIT: the Thrill of the Festival Circuit

Self-promotion is not my thing. I’ve spent my life learning about film and filmmaking, acquiring skills and honing them in. I didn’t go to film school and I didn’t grow up knowing anyone with a leg up in the “biz.” So when teaching myself how to make a movie became the most realistic option, that’s what I set out to do.

And I love being a student of film. It’s a craft that so few people perfect, because there’s always more to learn. I can talk about this learning process all day, but the one thing I don’t love about filmmaking is talking about myself.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

In Character: 2015 Oscar Nominees Edition

With this morning’s release of the Oscar nominations, I thought it’d be fun to dive into the careers of every acting nominee. Below is an expansion of my usual In Character column, highlighting the best roles of the 20 actors vying for film’s top prize.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Top 10 “Rotten” Films of 2014

Last year, Alex Thomas of Time for a Film had the great idea of highlighting his favorite films of the year that were deemed “rotten” by Rotten Tomatoes. I loved the idea and borrowed it for my own list. Keeping in that tradition, here are 10 “rotten” films from 2014 that I quite enjoyed. Be sure to share your favorite “rotten” films as well.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Top 10 “Background” Performances of 2014

Whether you’re an A-list movie star who occupies every frame of a film, or a relative unknown who only appears for one scene – solid acting is solid acting. Below are my favorite background roles from 2014, a handful of performances that, while all great, didn’t get nearly the attention they deserved.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Top 15 Male Performances of 2014

Here are my favorite male performances from 2014. There were many to choose from, so do feel free to share yours as well.

Oh and due to some confusion on my Top Female Performances of 2014 post, I only include films that were distributed in America in 2014. If a film premiered at a festival in 2013, but wasn’t released in the U.S. until 2014, it counts. Inversely, if a film premiered at a festival in 2014, but is being distributed in 2015, it does not count.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Top 15 Female Performances of 2014

This was such a strong year for women in cinema. In general, my movie tastes frequently identify with darker material. Films that explore pain and emotional turmoil. Many of the performances below were delivered in such films. Other roles listed here were about discovery and manipulation, anger and comfort. I hope you enjoy my picks, and as always, do feel free to share your favorites as well.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Top 15 Films of 2014

I set no rules for myself when drafting my list of the best films of the year. Only to stay true to the movies that I loved. With that in mind, it’s always fun when the movies on this annual list are so wildly different from one another. A lot of great films were released in 2014, and these were my 15 favorite. Enjoy!