Tuesday, May 26, 2015

the Directors: Alfred Hitchcock

This is the one. The post I’ve been leading to. When I started my “the Directors” column in 2009, I knew that covering the great Alfred Hitchcock was a necessity, no matter how long it took. I’ve been chipping away at Hitch’s filmography for a good long while, and below is what I (finally) have to report. I do hope you enjoy my thoughts on every film by the Master of Suspense, and feel free to share your favorite Hitch films as well!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Every Secret Thing

The girl is missing. Three-year-old Brittney Little was last seen in a furniture store as her young mother, Maveen (Sarah Sokolovic), and Maveen’s boyfriend (Common), playfully argued about which type of couch to buy. Two detectives are called to investigate, and they soon begin to unravel a complex plot that could help explain Brittney’s disappearance.

But that’s not where Every Secret Thing begins.

LAMBcast Discussion: Spring Breakers

Last week, I was invited to participate in a podcast discussion about Harmony Korine’s masterful film, Spring Breakers. The Vern, Jay CluittJD Duran, Nikhat Zahra and I spent 90 minutes talking about all aspects of the film – from the neon cinematography to the hyper editing, dangerous perceptions to surprising (but very welcome) feminism. It’s always a pleasure to be a part of the LAMBcast, especially when I’m such a huge admirer of the film in discussion. Click here to give the podcast a listen!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Top 46 Things I Love about Spring Breakers (that no one talks about)

A few months ago, I called Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers one of my favorite films released so far this decade. It’s a neon-infused mind fuck freak show that I can’t get enough of. I was recently invited to participate in a LAMBcast discussion of the film (which will be posted on or around this Friday), and in preparation for that podcast, I decided to rewatch the movie. But this time, I paid close attention to the things I love most about Spring Breakers that are rarely discussed. Here’s what I found. 

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

In Character: Vincent D’Onofrio

Vincent D’Onofrio is a character actor’s character actor. Frequently altering his voice, appearance and general mannerisms from role to role, D’Onofrio has been one of acting’s best chameleons for decades. Make-up can help with physical change, sure. As can elaborate costumes. But when they’re at their best, D’Onofrio’s transformations cut to the bone. He’s a notoriously dedicated Method actor who never shies from going all in. I hope you enjoy this trip into D’Onofrio’s dark world.

Friday, May 1, 2015

the Directors: Noah Baumbach

Noah Baumbach’s films are about people of a certain age, and how they respond to the time they’ve had, and the time they have left. These ages vary – from the confused collection of college grads in Kicking and Screaming, to the fortysomethings with twentysomething hearts in While We’re Young. Isolation is another theme of his work; how one deals with the confusion of the hyper world around them. 

In discussing Baumbach’s career, I’m going to be talking a lot about time. The time expressed in the films themselves, but also how time in real life has allowed me to appreciate his work more. Rarely have I had a reversal on so many films by the same director. Proof that, as we get older, sometimes films really do get better.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

In Character: Dennis Hopper

Dennis Hopper’s film and television career spanned nearly six decades, in which he delivered more than 200 roles. From loyal sons to crazed photojournalists, easy riders to drunk fathers – there was never a role too dark, or an area of the psyche left unexplored. A pioneering Method actor who trained under Lee Strasberg, Hopper was known for fully immersing himself into his work, which often caused problems, but consistently generated amazing performances. There were many roles to choose from for this post, but I do hope you enjoy my picks. As always, feel free to share your favorite Hopper roles as well.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Top 97 Things I Love About The Thin Red Line (that no one talks about) Part 2

A few days ago, I highlighted several things I love about Terrence Malick’s The Thin Red Line that I feel are rarely (if ever) discussed. Here’s the second part of the post, which will, to be clear, spoil all major plot points of the movie. So please see the movie first before reading this post. This is too good a film to have ruined in print. 

Catch up by checking out Part 1 of this post here.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Top 97 Things I Love About The Thin Red Line (that no one talks about) Part 1

Terrence Malick’s The Thin Red Line is the best war film I’ve ever seen. I’ve always considered it one of my favorite films of all time, and in watching it for this post, I couldn’t contain my praise. So, for the first time, I’m splitting one of my “That No One Talks About” lists into two parts. Part 1 today, Part 2 later this week. I hope you enjoy my thoughts on this film. And fair warning: I’m discussing The Thin Red Line in full here. If you haven’t seen it, I suggest doing so immediately, then, if you want, coming back and checking out these posts. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

In Character: Marcia Gay Harden

It’s no secret that, unfortunately, the film business is notoriously unkind toward women. But amongst all the horror stories and latent misogyny, it’s always very affirming when a talent like Marcia Gay Harden is able to brave through and keep her insanely impressive career going. Harden caught her first big break when she was 31, and her second, even bigger career launch, exactly 10 years later. Since then, she’s remained one of our finest working actresses. Her filmography is stacked with excellent characters, women who make whatever they’re in, that much better.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Top 10 First Date Movies

One of the best parts about getting to know someone is showing them movies I love. But in the beginning, I’ve found that it’s important to be slightly cautious. On date two, for example, I wouldn’t suggest watching Cries and Whispers while you eat a nice dinner you’ve prepared (not that I’ve ever done that or anything). Instead, below are a handful of great films that, in my experience, are good at easing your way into the movie side of a relationship. Some are romantic, others are funny, and some are just plain fun. No matter the genre, whether you watch them on your first date or fifth, I’m confident that they’ll all go over well.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

In Character: Frank Vincent

Frank Vincent is one of the premiere mafiosos currently in the film game. For nearly 35 years he’s brooded and beat his way all over contemporary classic cinema. With notable tough guy work in various Spike Lee Joints and Martin Scorsese Pictures, it’s impossible to look at Vincent and not be intimidated by him. I hope you enjoy my thoughts on Vincent’s career (and the embedded clips). When you’re done checking out the post, I expect you to go home and get your shine box.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Top 5 Uses of Marvin Gaye’s Music in Film

Yesterday was the great Marvin Gaye’s birthday, and I was reminded yet again that, for some very strange reason, there has never been a movie made about him. Gaye has been my favorite musician since I was 15. He lived such a beautiful and tortured life; his story is so naturally cinematic, it just begs to be given a worthy film treatment. So while we wait for a much deserved filmic version of Gaye’s life, here’s a look back at the films that have utilized his soulful sound the best.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Top 15 Films of the 2010s (so far)

We’re a few months past the halfway point of the 2010s, and I thought it’d be fun to take a look back over the past five years and highlight which films I’ve loved the most. It’s funny, while I typically remember 2010 as a weak year for films, after drafting this list, that’s clearly not the case. Most of these movies are about pain. Others are about love. Few, but some, are just plain damn fun.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

In Character: Tom Noonan

We all know Tom Noonan. Whether he’s masked by monster make-up, shadowing Philip Seymour Hoffman, pulling a cameo in a Michael Mann flick, or terrorizing young women, Tom Noonan is a character actor whose face is impossible to forget. His career is full of such excellent choices. Large roles in tiny films, or tiny roles in large films, Noonan always delivers with his unique brand of restraint. I just love watching this guy work.