Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Top 10 Darius Khondji Films

Looking at cinematographer Darius Khondji’s entire career, it’s interesting how he’s been able to balance classic with experimental, muted with neon. He can shoot one of the most visually dark crime thrillers ever made one year, then turn around and land an Oscar nomination for shooting a traditional biopic the next year. As we wait to see what visual wonder he brings to the Safdie Brothers’ Uncut Gems later this year, here’s a look at some of Khondji’s finest work to date.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Too Old to Die Young

Nicolas Winding Refn’s new Amazon series, Too Old to Die Young, is a lot of things, many of which are equally maddening and fascinating. It takes just a few minutes into the first episode to realize how the show is going handle the passage of time, which proves to be one of the most telling things about the entire series.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Top 10 Films of 2019 (so far)

We’re halfway through 2019, and while I haven’t seen everything, I mostly feel good about what I have seen, and I’m excited for what’s to come. Feel free to share your favorites so far this year as well!

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

In Character: Harvey Keitel

Harvey Keitel has been one of our finest screen actors since he exploded on the screen in Martin Scorsese’s Mean Streets. Thankfully, those two have maintained their collaboration (bring on The Irishman!), all while Keitel has carved out an astounding career for himself. Frankly, I can’t believe I haven’t covered him in this series yet. Maybe it’s because there are so many great performances to choose from. If I didn’t include yours, please feel free to share!

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Top 10 Benoît Debie Films

Audiences are guaranteed something every time they watch a film shot by cinematographer Benoît Debie: no matter what the film is about or how good it is, you can guarantee it will look great. Debie has mastered cinematography-as-character; when his work is at its best, Debie’s camera acts as its own character, fully immersing you into the film. Here’s a look at some of the finest work he’s captured yet.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

In Character: Chelcie Ross

Chelcie Ross is the man. After receiving a Bronze Star for serving in Vietnam as an officer in the U.S. Air Force (an achievement that can justly define a life), Ross quickly became, and remains, one of the finest character actors working in film and TV. While Ross has been decorated handsomely for his previous profession, his acting work is the gift that keeps on giving. Anytime this man appears on screen, he makes whatever he is in that much better.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Top 52 Things I Love About Miami Vice (that no one talks about)

The wheel came back around on Miami Vice. When the film was released in the summer of 2006, critical and audience reception was cold. But today, it seems like every few months there’s a new think piece hailing the film as brilliant. Those articles are great, because they encourage people to watch the movie for the first time, or revisit it with fresh eyes. Me? I’ve always adored the film, and I’m always looking for ways to explain my appreciation of it. (Please note that I’m going to spoil all major details about Miami Vice. And a few about Heat.)

Thursday, March 21, 2019

the Directors: Gaspar Noé

I love trying to explain the work of Gaspar Noé to someone who is unfamiliar with his films. How do you justify the carnage, the brutality, and the seemingly civility-free world that Noé loves to depict? Sometimes, you can’t. Noé’s films are so singular in their provocative vision, that they polarize everyone who sees them. Many revile his work, others embrace it.

For me, Gaspar Noé is the cinema provocateur. He’s a disruptor, a filmmaker who does not give a damn about adhering to convention. And he is a man who is very, very curious about how people behave when they lose control. I’ve spent the past week rewatching all of his films (what a week), and that was the theme that most clearly presented itself: The loss of control.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Music Videos I’ve Directed

The best part about making music videos is that it gives me the space to experiment, both visually and narratively. I take music videos very seriously, but there is far more playing involved than there is with a short or feature film. And that playing allows me to test out new ideas and find what works, which I then apply to my movies. Below is a list of all the music videos I’ve directed so far, and what I’ve learned from each of them.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Oscar Reviews: Best Live Action Short Nominees

Every year, I try to watch all of the Oscar nominees for Best Live Action short, and I can tell you with no hesitation that this crop of short films is by far the darkest, most brutal collection of Oscar nominated shorts I’ve ever seen. Below are my thoughts on each of the nominees, and my prediction of who will win. Check out these shorts if you can. They aren’t easy, but they’re all incredibly well made.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Who Will Win the Oscar for Best Actress?

The Best Actress Oscar has been a lot of fun to track this award’s season. Early on, the award seemed like a split vote between Lady Gaga (A Star Is Born) and Olivia Colman (The Favourite), but the Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild awards all but diminished that competition, making it clear that this is Glenn Close’s award to lose. Below is a deep dive into this year’s Best Actress race, including my thoughts on the nominated performances, and the Oscars awarding performers for their careers, as opposed to a single performance. (Note: This article ran as a part of the LAMB Devours the Oscar series.)

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Who Will Win the Oscar for Best Score?

When the Oscar nominations were announced last month, the Best Score category featured a glaring omission that people still can’t wrap their hands around. In this post, I’ll talk about the significance of the scores that actually were nominated, the surprising snubs that deserved inclusion, and who I think will ultimately win on Oscar night. (Note: This article ran as a part of the LAMB Devours the Oscar series.)

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Top 20 Best Cinematography Oscar Winners

On Monday, the Academy Awards confirmed what many of us had feared: During the 91st Oscars broadcast, four awards will be given out during commercial breaks, and the winners’ speeches will air sometime later in the show. For die-hard Oscar fans, this decision is complete and utter bullshit. The Academy has made some painfully dumb decisions this year, but I haven’t really been bothered by most of them. No host, fine. Three hour run time, go for it. Not performing each Best Song nominee, doesn’t seem very fair, but okay (this decision has been reversed). Creating a Most Popular Film category, ha, do your thing (this decision has been reversed).

Friday, February 8, 2019

In Character: 2019 Oscar Nominees

With the 91st Oscars only a few weeks away, here’s a breakdown of my favorite performances by each nominated performer. Please feel free to share your favorite roles from all of the nominees as well!

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Top 5 “Rotten” Movies of 2018

Every year, I look forward to publishing a list of movies I enjoyed that were deemed “rotten” on Rotten Tomatoes. This was a particularly strong year for movies of this kind, so please do share your favorite “rotten” films of 2018 as well. (Note: I’m using the Rotten Tomatoes scores each film had on December 31, 2018.)

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Top 20 Female Performances of 2018

Last year was such a great year for female performances that I was forced to cheat in creating this list, and lump a few of them together. This was not intended to slight the performers grouped together, but rather, make room for equally deserving ones. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Top 20 Male Performances of 2018

From child performers to esteemed vets, in great films or good, here are my favorite male acting performances from 2018. My list of my favorite female performances will be posted shortly. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Top 15 Films of 2018

Certain years are better for movies than others. In fact, there have been a few years when I’ve struggled to think of 10 worthy films to highlight in my year-end list. But 2018 started strong early, and kept delivering solid movies from talented filmmakers. And while a number of the most talked about films from this year didn’t fully work for me, here are the movies from 2018 that hit me the hardest.