Friday, November 20, 2015

Top 52 Things I Love About Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (that no one talks about)

Kill Bill: Vol. 1 is best known, at least by Quentin Tarantino himself, as Tarantino’s first Movie Movie Universe film. To explain. Tarantino has said he makes two types of films: ones belonging in The Realer than Real World Universe, and others in The Movie Movie Universe. The Realer than Real World Universe is for films that are based in a slightly heightened version of reality. This is where Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown belong. The Movie Movie Universe is an alternate, fantastical reality. To put it simpler: characters from The Realer than Real World Universe would likely go see a film from The Movie Movie Universe. Which makes sense. I mean, can’t you imagine Ordell Robbie loving the shit out of Kill Bill?

So, in short, Kill Bill: Vol. 1 was a real departure from the QT films that came before. It literally opened the filmmaker up to a whole new world.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Top 59 Things I Love About Jackie Brown (that no one talks about)

My countdown to Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight continues with a dissection of Jackie Brown. Jackie Brown could very well be Tarantino’s most underrated film. Hell, its Top Critics score on Rotten Tomatoes is currently 61%, the lowest of any Tarantino film. Which means that many major critics didn’t really dig the film when it was released, but I think you’d have a hard time finding one who didn’t like the film today. Be sure to check out my previous posts on Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction, and come back next Friday for my take on Kill Bill: Vol. 1.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Gaspar Noé’s Love

Gaspar Noé is the most polarizing film director currently in the game. He makes uncommonly challenging and profane works. For more than a decade, I have passionately defended Noé’s films not only as art, but great art at that. I understand Noé’s intention, and, while extreme, I find value in it. His first feature, I Stand Alone, climaxes with a massive title card warning the audience that they have 30 seconds to leave the theater. When the title disappears, Noé spends the remainder of his film justifying that warning. Bad things happen in I Stand Alone. Horrible, brutal things. But look closer. Did they happen the way the main character perceived them?

Friday, November 6, 2015

Top 75 Things I Love About Pulp Fiction (that no one talks about)

The Hateful Eight countdown continues as I dive into my second favorite film of all time, Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction. I absolutely adore this film, so I did have a lot to say about it, which I hope you dig. Come back next Friday as I dissect Jackie Brown!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015


Victoria is a very, very good film about people who make very, very poor decisions. And that’s okay. Really, it’s okay to watch a movie about people who spend 138 minutes of their lives making bad choices. Faulty character choices isn’t necessarily faulty filmmaking. In the best hands, such choices are realistic depictions of people with particular flaws. The titular character in Victoria, played harrowingly by Laia Costa, makes a lot of choices throughout the film that you may not agree with. In fact, I let out an “Ohh, nooo” early in the movie, partly because I thought Victoria was acting stupidly, but mostly because I really cared about her and didn’t want her to get hurt. And that’s the difference. That’s the character balance good films know how to achieve. They make you care about someone, as opposed to making them knife bait to setup the next kill.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Top 51 Things I Love About Reservoir Dogs (that no one talks about)

Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight drops this Christmas in glorious throwback fashion. For the first two weeks of its release, the film will screen in theaters specifically equipped with a projector that can properly display the film’s 70mm film stock. I’m beyond excited for a new QT film, so in preparation for The Hateful Eight’s release, I’m going to spend every Friday between now and Christmas discussing Tarantino’s body of work. Today, we start at the beginning, with Tarantino’s fierce and iconic debut, Reservoir Dogs. Enjoy! And remember to come back next Friday for Pulp.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Top 10 About-Face Films

We all have what I refer to as “about-face” movies. These are films that did nothing for you on the first viewing, but that you grew to love when you revisited them. Maybe you didn’t “get” the movie the first time around, maybe you were too young to comprehend its obscurity. Maybe it was too long, too weird, too plain. Or maybe it hit too close to home, and you were afraid to open yourself up to it. Below is a list of films I’ve completely redefined my opinion on, simply because I gave them another go. Do feel free to share your favorite about-face films as well!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

In Character: Paul Sorvino

Paul Sorvino has been killing us with his charm since the early ‘70s. Even when he plays lethal thugs, we can’t help but be drawn to him. We hinge on his every word, studying his slow, purposeful movements, and letting his soothing Italian New York voice school us in the lessons of life. Sorvino has clocked a ton of credits in his career, so do please feel free to share your favorites as well.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Top 52 Things I Love About A Few Good Men (that no one talks about)

Rob Reiner’s A Few Good Men is one of those movies I can watch anytime, anywhere. Which is fitting, given that it’s one of the most popular TNT Movies (Cinema Romantico™) around. It also contains one of Aaron Sorkin’s finest scripts to date. So with the Sorkin-penned Steve Jobs hitting theaters tomorrow, here’s a look back at some things I love about A Few Good Men that are rarely discussed.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

the Directors: Denis Villeneuve

There are two sides to Denis Villeneuve: the playful surrealist, and the dead-serious dramatist. The best of his films often combine those two sides, creating a story juxtaposition that makes the work memorable. And the fact that they all look amazing certainly doesn’t hurt.

In addition, Denis Villeneuve is one of the few modern directors who always include strong parts for women. His films often show what desperate people do in desperate situations. Sometimes they respond with harsh violence, other times with frank sexuality. Many lie, some kill, most make poor decisions. But all of them face dilemmas in the context of a great story, executed masterfully by the filmmaker in question.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

6 Years

You ever have something really bad happen to you but it takes you a long time to realize how bad it actually was?

I have friends (more than I care to admit, though I suppose any number greater than zero is one too many) who have been sexually assaulted. Some of them continued to hang out with their assailants in the hours, days or even weeks after their attack. Had coffee, grabbed dinner, went to a movie. This is for two reasons. One, they knew their assailants personally and, up until the assault, always assumed they could trust them. Two, my friends didn’t have the emotional context to understand how horrific their attack was. It took weeks to fully settle in.

Friday, September 25, 2015

My Top 11-20 Films of All Time

Yesterday marked the eighth anniversary of And So it Begins. Eight years. Holy hell, where does the time go? Exactly three years ago, I posted my Top 10 Films of All Time, and it’s about time I follow that up with the next 10. Keep in mind, this list only serves as a reflection of my own personal tastes. For better or best, this is how I see them. A huge thank you to all the readers of this blog, and the friends I’ve made because of it.

Monday, September 21, 2015

the Directors: Wes Craven

It’s easy to say that Wes Craven’s name is synonymous with horror. The man created Freddy Krueger, The Hills Have Eyes, Ghostface. Hell, even the name “Craven” sounds scary. That name and the horror genre will be forever linked, but labeling Craven as just a master horror filmmaker isn’t entirely fair. The man was a master filmmaker, period.

When Craven died of brain cancer last month, generations of movie fans mourned his loss. My mother was 16 years old when she saw Craven’s first film, The Last House on the Left. She said she sat in the theater in a horrific daze, mesmerized and terrified by what she was watching. Nearly 25 years later, I was roughly the same age when I watched Scream with the same exact emotions running through me. That was the power of Wes Craven at his best. His best films cut through and became iconic, scaring millions along the way.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Top 41 Things I Love About Drive (that no one talks about)

Has a cooler American movie been made since Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive? Every frame of the movie oozes style, every note of sound is polished, everything about the movie is just… cool. By pure coincidence, I’m posting this list on the exact same day as the film’s American release four years ago. That’s four years of watching Ryan Gosling’s The Driver cruise around L.A., getting a feel for the streets, kicking ass and taking names and falling in love. Here are some things I love about one of America’s coolest films, that rarely get discussed.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Top 10 Movies I’ve Seen the Most

I thought this would be fun, to make a list of films that have nothing in common, other than the fact that they are the movies I have watched the most. Interesting and random trends I noticed in drafting this list: Most films here are from the ‘90s (a by-product of my mid-‘80s birth), seven of the movies have one-word titles, all are in the English language, only two of my top 10 films of all time are here, and no movie on this list is from the ‘70s (my favorite decade of film). The truth is, I watch at least one of these films every few months. Do feel free to share the movies you’ve seen the most in the comments – I love knowing what flicks people watch a lot.