Saturday, July 28, 2012


Well, the time has come.

I’ve spent the past year putting my heart and soul into my short film, Earrings, and now it is finally ready to be viewed.

To all of you who have lent your support over this past year, I will never be able to fully express my gratitude. My praise and admiration for you is limitless. I simply could not have done this without you.

I really hope you enjoy the film.

Here we go.

Click here to read more about Earrings

Thursday, July 26, 2012

My 10 Most Memorable Movie Watching Experiences

When you’ve dedicated the majority of your life to watching films, you’re bound to walk away with some lasting memories. This list represents the most memorable movie watching experiences I’ve ever had, and to be honest, a list like this is, for me, completely boundless. There is simply no limit to the amount of fond memories I have from watching movies, but these 10 are the ones that stick out the most.

Some of these experiences are moments that happened privately, others are remembered because of the significance a film I love had over someone else. The films are presented in the chronological order in which I watched them. And please, do feel free to share some of your memorable movie watching experiences in the comments!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

EARRINGS: Long Way Down, One More Thing

In early September 2011, I pitched an idea I had for a short film to my good friend. She told me it sounded dark and intriguing, and advised me to run with it. So now, nearly a year later, I’m ready to share that film with whoever is kind enough to watch it.

I know I’ve mentioned this before, but the hardest part for me personally as an artist is translating the vision I have in my head onto the page. Or, in this case, the screen. Very specific images of a young woman unraveling have been engrained in my head for years, and as production on Earrings developed, I knew exactly what I wanted it to look like, but was sure I’d never be able to fully execute it on film. Well, when I watch the final film now, I can honestly tell you that it is exactly what I wanted it to be. It speaks very accurately of my initial vision, as well as where I am as an artist.

I am very happy with it and extremely eager to share it with you.

Few things. Many have asked when the film will be available on Saturday. And after some deliberation, I’ve elected to make it live at noon on Saturday July 28. High noon, eastern standard time. I’ll have it embedded here, as well as on the Vimeo page where the trailer currently sits.

A handful of people have told me they plan on reviewing the movie after they watch it. That’s something I never expected and am still trying to wrap my head around (which I mean in a very good way). The only thing I ask of people who choose to review it is that you be honest. Love it, hate it, indifferent or ecstatic – just be true. I respect every blogger who has told me they plan to review it, and I know your reviews will be tasteful, no matter what.

To everyone who has tweeted, commented, facebooked, e-mailed, called, texted – to everyone who has lent the faintest shred of support toward myself and this film, thank you. I really hope you like what you see come noon Saturday.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Movie Confessions Blogathon

Nostra from My Filmviews has done it again, cooking up another fun, engaging blogathon that is equal parts informative and entertaining.

Some of the questions in this Movie Confessions Blogathon were really difficult for me to answer. I’ve spent my entire life watching all kinds of films from every era imaginable, and I honestly have no huge unseen classics that demand to be viewed. (There are plenty of hidden Criterions that I need to check off, certainly, but as far as “classics” go, I’m pretty content with where I am, viewing wise.) I am a film addict, through and through, but at any rate, let’s get this thing going.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises

In concluding his game-changing Batman trilogy, the great Christopher Nolan has done the impossible: he’s made his films sustain.

Batman Begins changed everything about the comic book film. It was dark, mysterious, genuine and real. It was also as smart as it was entertaining, a rarity among super hero summer action blockbusters. It’s a very fine film, but, watching it now, it’s clear that Batman Begins is a first, timid step toward changing things. Batman Begins opened the door, and The Dark Knight completely blew it off its hinges.

Friday, July 20, 2012

My Favorite Scene: Insomnia

Warning: Critical plot details will be divulged in this post. Certain aspects of the ending will be spoiled.

The thing I love most about Insomnia are those ingenious quick cuts. Several times throughout Christopher Nolan’s shifty, perfect crime thriller, rapid editing is implored to demonstrate frustration, confusion, and general lack of coherence in the film’s main character, Detective Will Dormer (Al Pacino). Because Dormer is plagued with a wicked bout of the titular affliction, his subconscious slowly eats away at him, making all his life troubles that much harder to solve.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Polarization of The Prestige

I’ve discussed this a few times now, but early last week, as I watched The Prestige for the first time in two years, I innocently tweeted my admiration for the movie. It was a random, almost thoughtless tweet that turned my Twitter timeline into a firestorm. Within 10 minutes, I was flooded with people bashing the living shit out of Christopher Nolan’s dueling magician thriller.

I was stunned. I honestly – no bullshit – have never once heard anyone saying anything remotely negative about the film, so when people shared their distaste for it, I was completely thrown off. The following morning, I asked Twitter outright: do people love or hate The Prestige? This time, the response was unanimously positive. Since then, of the responses I’ve seen, the split is almost perfectly 50/50. Some love it, others hate it. Who knew? But fair enough.

You can place me proudly in the Love column, but because I’ve shared my opinions on this topic ad nauseam, I thought today would be a good time to let two bloggers I love step in. Below, you’ll find the reasons as to why Josh from The Cinematic Spectacle adores The Prestige, and why Nikhat from Being Norma Jean hates it.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

In Character: Joe Pantoliano

Joe Pantoliano, the king of the whine. No matter what role Pantoliano (or Joey Pants, as he is commonly known) is playing, he always manages to bring his signature bitch-and-moan to the forefront. And with his nasally voice, bald head and small physical presence, who better to pout than him?

Don’t get me wrong, Pantoliano’s characters aren’t all gripe. In fact, he often uses his seemingly innocent demeanor to his advantage by playing psychopaths who either buck at the slightest sign of red, or quietly stab you in the back when you aren’t looking. As my Week of Nolan continues, it only seems appropriate to dedicate today's In Character to a man who never shies from stealing the show.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

My Favorite Scene: Inception

Warning: Critical plot details will be divulged in this post. The ending will be spoiled.

I can’t mention a favorite scene from Christopher Nolan’s thrilling spectacle, Inception, without first discussing the hallway fight. The first time I saw Joseph Gordon-Levitt jump off a wall, fall to his hands and spider walk across the hall to fight a suited thug, I gasped out loud. Literally gasped. You don’t understand, this kid doesn’t gasp in movies, because this kid sometimes naïvely thinks he’s seen it all. How futile of me. That fight scene, which by now most know was achieved with visual trickery, not computer effects, is as fascinating as any gravitational deceit found in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Chills run through my spine everytime I watch it.

So, in understanding how iconic I find that sequence, it may come as a surprise that my favorite scene from Inception is something far subtler. Really, it’s just a series of looks.

Monday, July 16, 2012

the Directors: Christopher Nolan

I have yet to see a Christopher Nolan film that I consider good. From my estimation, the man has no idea how to make a good movie; instead, he makes thrilling spectacles of visual wonder. Whether he's playing with linear narrative in a tiny indie thriller, or showing us what a dream within a dream within a dream (within a dream) looks like, Nolan’s movies always have a way of displaying something new.

Most filmmakers with his technical skill rely on just that, technical prowess to tell the story. Nolan’s too smart of that. Like his idol, Stanley Kubrick, Nolan’s films are aesthetically stunning, but smarter than all hell. I sure hope readers enjoy seeing the letter A in bold, because that’s much of what is to follow. Nolan’s movies aren’t good, they’re otherworldly. Here’s why.

The Week of Nolan

Like many people across the world, I plan on spending at least three hours marveling over Christopher Nolan’s Batman conclusion this weekend. My excitement for The Dark Knight Rises is dangerously high; I simply cannot wait to be in its presence. And believe me, this is coming from a guy who doesn’t get excited for blockbusters. Ever. Point in fact, that last two big Hollywood movies I was seriously jazzed about were the last two films Nolan released.

Which is why I feel it’s appropriate to dedicate this blog to the charming, talented, gracious Christopher Nolan for this entire week. Here is what you can expect from The Week of Nolan on And So it Begins. 

Friday, July 13, 2012

A Few Words on Steven Soderbergh’s Ploy for Naturalism

I’ve been on a serious Steven Soderbergh kick following Magic Mike, a film I loved more than just about anyone I’ve come across (in person or online). I’ve seen all of Soderbergh’s films multiple times, so to fill the void, I’ve been relistening to his many exquisite director’s commentaries for his own movies.

In those commentaries, which Soderbergh elects to never do alone, the person he is talking with often asks Soderbergh about his choice to convey naturalism in his movies. It’s an interesting and fair question, as Steven Soderbergh is, arguably, the most naturalistic mainstream director currently making films. This is for a number of reasons, but for the purpose of this post, I’m going to focus on some of Soderbergh’s casting decisions in helping to achieve his naturalistic vibe. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

In Character: Philip Baker Hall

In any given year, if you were to randomly stroll into a movie theater without knowing what you were seeing, there’s a damn fine chance Philip Baker Hall may grace the screen at some point during the film. Seriously, this guy has been in so much, it’s practically cruel to narrow his career down to just six essential roles. But narrow we shall.

Philip Baker Hall is the essential scene stealer. He pops up a handful of times each year, and steals scenes from A-listers without breaking a sweat. A few directors have been smart enough to cast Hall as the lead, and with his trademark red, sunken eyes, short stature and raspy, slurred speech, there’s simply no forgetting a Hall performance, no matter the amount of time he’s on.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


Oliver Stone’s Savages is a mild return to maniac form. For more than a decade, Stone has cooked up safe character studies (Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, World Trade Center, W.), surefire duds (Alexander), and excellent documentaries that hardly anyone saw (Looking for Fidel, Comandante). Not since his excellent Any Given Sunday has Stone made a movie as charged as the drug drama Savages. And make no mistake, Savages is Stone flexing his madasscraziness, problem is, he’s not flexing hard enough.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

To Rome with Love

Where do I even begin with To Rome with Love, the new romantic comedy that is as disastrous as anything the great Woody Allen has ever made? We can start by trying to dissect the purposefully and pointlessly incoherent plot. By the end of my summary, hopefully you’re as confused as I was while watching the movie.

Set in the Eternal City, To Rome with Love simultaneously tells four separate stories that have nothing to do with one another, the only reason they are presented in one whole films is, well, shit, I have no idea. 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Katy Perry: Part of Me 3D

Okay, this is some funny shit. On Friday, my good friend Evan sent me a text message saying he was planning on catching a few flicks this weekend. As a joke, he threw Katy Perry: Part of Me 3D out there, and, as a joke, I told him that if he wrote a review of it, I’d post it on my blog.

Well, given the lack of tone and context in text messages, at some point, one of us stopped taking the other one seriously, which not only resulted in this poor bastard sitting through the Katy Perry movie last night, but actually writing me a review of it this morning.

After we figured out that something had been seriously lost in translation, I was mortified. I wouldn’t wish a movie like this on my worst enemy, and to make them write 700+ words on it is utter torture. So, to try and save face, here is Evan’s review of Katy Perry: Part of Me 3D in all its glory. Thank god for Evan, he as willing to go where very few of us are. 


In Ted, a little boy with no friends wishes that his Christmas teddy bear was real. The next morning, much to the denial of Ted’s owner, John, and John’s parents, Ted is a walking, talking, breathing thing. Ted soon becomes famous, hitting the late night show circuit, signing autographs – because, you know, he’s a goddamn talking teddy bear. Jump cut a few decades later and John and Ted have remained best friends, but instead of snowball fights and cartoons, they now opt for weed, booze and…cartoons.

Friday, July 6, 2012

EARRINGS: The Trailer

I’ve spent the better part of three and half months issuing preambles about my short film, Earrings, throughout which I have received support from my friends, family and digital family that has been unexpected and unspeakably inspiring.

I really want you all to see the trailer, so I’m not going to do much more talking, but a few things: this trailer is, to me, a very accurate representation of what the final film is. Everything about it is purposeful and deliberate. It is, in a word, me.

My only request is that you watch the trailer loud. As hell. I hope you all enjoy it, and thank you so much for your continued support.

So here we go…

Thursday, July 5, 2012

What Oscar-Worthy Performances Have We Seen So Far?

Earlier today, I posted on Twitter that, unless I was gravely mistaken, the only Oscar-worthy performance I have seen so far in 2012 is Matthew McConaughey in Magic Mike. Several followers fired back a few picks, which I’ll get to in a minute, but permit me to gush over ol’ McConaughey for a few paragraphs.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Amazing Spider-Man

Best to be clear from the get-go: I’m not a terrible admirer of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man films. Any of them. They’re not horrible or anything (well, maybe the third one), but for the most part, they are too glossed over. Too clean and happy and forced. J.K. Simmons helps make them bearable, as does a batshit crazy Willem Dafoe, and, later, Alfred Molina.

Point is, I wasn’t fan of the originals, and when it was announced that a new Spider-Man reboot was being released just five years after Raimi’s last Spidey flick, I couldn’t help but roll my eyes.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Magic Mike

I usually start my reviews for Steven Soderbergh films on the defensive. I slowly back into my praise by issuing a handful of disclaimers about how taken I am with Soderbergh’s command of the cinematic medium. How, even if you don’t like what he’s doing, it is simply impossible to deny that he knows exactly what he’s doing. The way he uses color as a storytelling device, his penchant for digital technology, his seemingly effortless and equal skill behind the camera and the editing bay, and so on.  

Technically, I consider Steven Soderbergh’s films to be flawless. There’s a scene very early in his new excellent film, Magic Mike in which the camera is placed in the back of a pickup truck. There’s nothing going on, just the camera tracking the gorgeous Tampa landscape, but suddenly, the camera pivots and shows us the view from the other side of the truck.

That’s it.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Top 10 Great Movies I Never Want to Watch Again

We’ve all got them, that handful of films we love, but have never watched twice. Maybe it’s because they’re disturbing, maybe it’s because they’re long, or gory, or complicated – whatever the reason(s), there is something strange and unusually beautiful about a really good movie that you have virtually no interest in seeing more than once. Here are 10 from me, and please feel free to tell me yours in the comments!