Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Matineecast: Song to Song

Ryan McNeil’s Matineecast is one of my favorite film-related podcasts. I’ve been fortunate enough to be featured on Ryan’s show before, most recently to discuss Terrence Malick’s new film, Song to Song.

Song to Song is a complex flick. It joggles multiple love connections while enthusiastically ignoring the convention of time. There’s a lot to unpack in the film, certainly more than the limits of my review allowed, so it was great to have the opportunity to discuss the movie in-depth with Ryan.

Click here to head over to Ryan’s site, The Matinee, and listen to our discussion on Song to Song.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Top 71 Things I Love About There Will Be Blood (that no one talks about)

Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood is a masterpiece, certainly one of the best films made since its release a decade ago. Upon reflection, it’s incredible Anderson was even able to make this movie. Prior, Anderson had done a little-seen two hander (Hard Eight), two large mosaics (Boogie Nights, Magnolia) and a quirky character study (Punch-Drunk Love). The tone, pace, and execution of There Will Be Blood don’t have much in common with those other films. In hindsight, There Will Be Blood kind of came out of nowhere. Which makes it that much better. Here are several reasons why.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Song to Song

Watching Song to Song is like explaining an old romantic relationship to a new friend. You would certainly start at the beginning – how you met, how long it took to fall in love. And then you may suddenly jump to the end – the fighting, the apathy. Beginning to end, back to back. As you kept talking, your narrative might gradually shift to highlights – the highs, the lows, the vacations, the fights. In real life, stories of such personal importance are rarely told in order. We shape our own narrative to make things more compelling. It’s a challenging concept for film, but one that clearly interests director Terrence Malick.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Terrence Malick Q&A: The Meaning of Life and Other Small Things

Okay, well, first of all, I can’t just be all cool guy and publish a blog post about a Terrence Malick Q&A without geeking out a little. I mean, I saw Terrence Malick… in person. At one point, he was 5 feet away from me, smiling graciously to all those who acted as if they were staring at a mythical god.

Terrence Malick is one of my favorite living filmmakers. I love every movie he’s made, and so appreciate that he makes movies his own way. Part of his method has been his prior insistence on not speaking publicly. No interviews, no question and answer sessions, no Making-Of docs, no awards acceptance speeches – literally, nothing. But in his later years, Malick seems to be opening up a bit more. He has been spotted at science and history-based Q&As for some of his films (namely The New World and Voyage of Time), but he recently showed up for a lengthy Q&A for his latest film, Song to Song, at the South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas.

Voyage of Time: IMAX Director’s Cut

The late astronomer, Carl Sagan, developed the Cosmic Calendar as a way to explain the history of the universe to laymen. According to Sagan, if the entire history of the universe (from The Big Bang to present day) were represented in one calendar year, highlights would break down as follows:

January 1, The Big Bang occurs
September 14, Earth is formed
December 24, First dinosaurs appear
December 31, 11:54 p.m., Modern humans appear
December 31, 11:59:45 p.m., Writing is invented
December 31, 11:59:59 p.m., America is discovered

Sunday, March 12, 2017

In Character: Bill Paxton

When Bill Paxton died last month, cinema lost one of its finest character actors. For more than three decades, Paxton stole scenes in nearly 100 films, TV shows and miniseries. He wasn’t always in great films, but any film featuring Bill Paxton was a film worth watching. He made us laugh our asses off and cry our eyes out. He was the guy, every time, every role. On a recent episode of Marc Maron’s WTF Podcast, Paxton sounded eager to keep delivering great roles. Which makes his unexpected passing that much harder to take. Paxton’s loss is such a sad one, but we’ll always have his work, some of my favorite examples of which are below.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

In Character: 2017 Oscar Nominees Edition

With the Oscars set to role today, I thought it’d be fun to take a quick look at the careers of all the acting nominees. Be sure to let me know your favorite performances by each nominee!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Breaking Down Sound Mixer Kevin O’Connell’s 21 Oscar Nominations

With more than 35 years in the business, Kevin O’Connell is one of cinema’s most revered sound mixers. Most notably, O’Connell is the person with the most Oscar nominations in history, who has yet to win. O’Connell has been to the show 20 times (21 this Sunday, for sound mixing Hacksaw Ridge), but hasn’t made it to the podium once.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

LAMB Devours the Oscars: Best Actor

Below is my entry to LAMB’s Devours the Oscars column. Check out all of their Oscars 2017 posts here.

When the Oscar nominations were announced a few weeks ago, it seemed like Casey Affleck was a lock to win Best Actor for his searing work in Manchester by the Sea. But in a pleasant change of pace for the Oscars, most of the major awards are relatively open. The only real lock is Supporting Actress (Viola Davis, get it), with the other big categories are stuck in two, or even three, way races. Here I’ll take a look at Best Actor – what I think of each performance, and their chances at winning – before concluding with a few snubbed performances I would’ve love to have been nominated.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Top 10 “Rotten” Films of 2016

This is my favorite end-of-the-year movie list tradition. At the end of every year, I look at all of the “rotten” films on Rotten Tomatoes, and highlight ones I actually liked. Most of these aren’t close to being great films, but I enjoyed my time with them all the same. Be sure to list your favorite “rotten” films as well! (Note: I’m using the Rotten Tomatoes scores each film had on December 31, 2016.)

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Top 15 Male Performances of 2016

Much like my favorite female performances of 2016, I love that this list is comprised of heavy-hitting veterans and newcomers I had never seen in a film before. I hope you enjoy my picks. Do feel free to share yours as well!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Top 15 Female Performances of 2016

I love that 2016 was a year filled with so much fresh talent, with plenty of excellent veteran work filtered in. Seven of the performances listed here were by actors I either couldn’t recall seeing in a movie before, or simply hadn’t. I hope you enjoy my picks. Feel free to share yours as well!

Monday, January 9, 2017

Top 10 Films of 2016

Looking over this list, it’s interesting that nearly half of my choices made my Top 10 Films of 2016 (so far) list back in July. I suppose to some degree, 2016 gave us something to like throughout. Here are the 10 I enjoyed the most.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Curse of the Twin Movie

The twin movie was a curse that dominated the ‘90s. It happened before and has certainly happened since, but during that decade, when one studio announced an idea for a film that sounded commercially viable, it was common for a rival studio to scramble to create something similar. Other times, similarly themed flicks were released a year or so apart by pure coincidence. Either way, one of the films usually got screwed over in the process.

In terms of declaring “winners,” my decision was based on culture significance and profitably. No matter if these films are good or not (many aren’t), they were discussed plenty when they were released, and the release of one typically meant critical and/or commercial harm to the other. It’s not about which film is better. It’s about which film did better.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

In Character: Regina King

Regina King has been stealing scenes since her film debut in Boyz n the Hood. Her energy, wit, and unwillingness to be outshadowed by her male co-stars has long-since made her an actor who demands (and keeps) your attention. I’ve been a fan of her work from the beginning, and am thrilled that she’s currently finding so much success on TV. Here are a handful of roles I’ve enjoyed her most in.