Ann Dowd is having a moment. In the past two years alone she’s been featured in critically revered indies as well as some of the most popular shows on television. But diving into her filmography, it’s clear that Dowd has been killing it for quite some time (yeah, that’s her as Ton Hanks’ supportive sis in Philadelphia), she only just broke through recently. Here I take a look back at her career, from humble and humorous beginnings, to current career-best work.
Tuesday, June 30, 2015
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
Warning: Critical plot details are revealed in this post.
My first experience with Begin Again was under some of the worst viewing circumstances possible. It was on my birthday last year. I was flying back to L.A. after 30 consecutive hours of delayed planes, mile-long lines for flight exchanges, layovers that never ended, and airport workers “trying their best.” I was tired and pissed off and figured that Begin Again looked as good a film as any to help pass the time. I thought the film would be easy, silly, dumb – not worth the $15 to catch it theaters, but fine for free on a plane.
Friday, June 19, 2015
Editing is where the magic happens. It’s where you shape, explore, experiment – it’s literally where you find and make your film. But it’s also a damn tedious process. Because there are so many choices in editing, filmmakers often hire professional editors to help them craft their films. On rare occasions, directors will assume sole responsibility as the chief editor, thereby fully seeing their film to the bitter end. Below are 10 directors who took on the laborious task of editing their own films themselves. Ranking them seemed fruitless, so they’re presented here alphabetically.
Wednesday, June 17, 2015
Thursday, June 11, 2015
One of my favorite things about writing these In Character posts is that I occasionally discover a new reason why I love an actor I already admired. I’ve loved Benicio Del Toro’s work since he strutted away from the police in his opening scene in The Usual Suspects, but in writing this post, I realized what I like most about him are his silences. While widely regarded for the inspired voices he often gives his characters, Del Toro’s real skill is his stare. Here’s an actor I’ve always appreciated, but like even more now, just from stacking all of his best work together.
Tuesday, June 9, 2015
I know the popular thing to do right now is shit all over the new Entourage movie, but I was always a fan of the original HBO show. Excessive, juvenile, silly – it was consistently all of those things, but I enjoyed much of the bubblegum L.A. fantasy it maintained. One thing the show was always rich with was celebrity cameos, and in the wake of the film sequel, here are my favorite celeb cameos featured in the show’s eight-season run. (Note: I only included cameos in which the celebrity played themselves.)
Tuesday, June 2, 2015
Sometimes it feels like a song finds you. Like it was made specifically for you and it reached out when you needed it most. Hearing Andrew Shapiro’s “Mint Green” for the first time was one such rare and beautiful occasion. I came across the track by chance on Pandora and immediately stopped what I was doing and devoted my full attention to it. I was so touched by the song’s collection of layered pianos, delivering notes of love and hope and melancholy. When the track finished, I sat inspired and deeply moved.
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
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
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.
Last week, I was invited to participate in a podcast discussion about Harmony Korine’s masterful film, Spring Breakers. The Vern, Jay Cluitt, JD 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
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
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
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
Thursday, April 23, 2015
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.