Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Top 20 Films of 1999

So far in my lifetime, I can confidently say that there hasn’t been a movie year more impactful than 1999. Veteran filmmakers and young auteurs alike released bold, independent, experimental films that continue to hugely influence pop culture. And as we close out one decade, I thought it be fun to jump back two decades and list my favorite flicks from a truly great film year.

Friday, December 20, 2019

In Character: The Cast of The Irishman

As of this writing, I am currently on my fourth viewing of The Irishman. I love everything about this movie; it’s demanding, singularly paced, and expertly acted. To highlight many of the performers involved, I thought it’d be fun to dedicate an entire In Character post to them. Please note that because seemingly everyone is in The Irishman, not all of the actors are listed here.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019


I watch movies as someone who desperately wants to make more movies. I try to find inspiration in everything I watch, whether that inspiration motivates me to create something similar, or cautions me to avoid themes and techniques completely. In real life, I’m constantly putting images into aspect ratios; I’m listening to songs on repeat and creating montages around them. There is a mechanism in my brain that does not allow me to experience situations idly. I am always trying to frame my experiences into a film.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

I Am Alive: Watch Now

It’s been one hell of a long journey to get to this point, and I’m so grateful to anyone who spends some time watching my latest film, I Am Alive.

Time to pull back the curtain and let it all play out.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

I Am Alive: Official Trailer

Ahead of the release of my new short film, I Am Alive, on October 19, I’m thrilled to share the film’s official trailer.

Memory. Pain. Sadness. I wasn’t interested in pulling punches with this film. The exercise was to tell a very specific story and push it as far as it could go.

If you’re familiar with my work (which, by the way, thank you!), you may see some friendly faces in the trailer. Nick Dostal, whose film, There I Go, I shot and edited in 2016, and Andrew Bongornio, who gave a devastating performance in my film, Wait, are absolute powerhouses. Mikki Hernandez is new to my troupe, but after witnessing what she did in I Am Alive, you can bet we’ll be working together again.

Monday, October 14, 2019

WAIT: Watch Now for Free

With my new film, I Am Alive, coming out this Saturday, a few people have asked me how they can see my previous film, Wait. Until now, Wait has been behind iTunes, Amazon, and Vimeo pay walls, but I figured it was time to finally make the movie more easily accessible. 

Wait was my first feature film; a labor of pure love that was equally rewarding and grueling to make. If you’d like to give the movie a look, it is embedded below, along with the film’s trailer. And if you’re a crazy person, and want to read my exhaustive breakdown of Wait’s genesis, production, and release, you can scroll through that series here.

Thanks so much for watching and reading! I’m so thrilled to share I Am Alive on October 19!

Saturday, October 5, 2019

My New Film: I Am Alive

Here we go! I’ve been a little quiet on this blog and social media lately, and that’s because for the past 12 months, I have been working steadily on my new film, I Am Alive.

And after a year of writing, producing, shooting, editing, and mixing, the movie will be released for free on my Vimeo page on October 19, 2019.

I Am Alive is a short film about love, loss, and family. I was lucky enough to make it with some very talented people who mean the world to me, and I am so excited to share it with you all in a few weeks.

I’m trying a somewhat different distribution approach this time. In the past, I detailed the making of my films, Earrings and Wait, while I was actively producing them. For I Am Alive, I’ll reserve my comments about the film’s production (which went great!) until after the film is released. But look out for more pictures and a trailer for I Am Alive before its release on October 19. Stay tuned!

Monday, September 23, 2019

My Favorite Scene: Jarhead

My grandfather died a few weeks ago. His name was Robert Withrow, he was 94 years old. Robert was known as “Whitey” to everyone who knew him, a nickname he acquired early in life due to the jet-white hair he had from his birth until his passing day. But his grandchildren knew him as Pap, and Pap was a very good man.

Monday, August 26, 2019

In Character: Michael Madsen

Michael Madsen doesn’t like to stand still. At least not for very long. His characters move, they assess, they act. And whether Madsen is playing a shit kicker, cow puncher, mob boss, or psycho thief, there’s an unpredictability to his characters that is so appealing. Michael Madsen inhabits his roles with a unique persona that is equal parts charm, menace, vulnerability and rage. Madsen’s imposing figure makes him a suitable choice for the many antagonists he’s played so well, but his capacity for emotional openness is something that has helped make many of his roles so memorable.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Top 56 Things I Love About The Hateful Eight (that no one talks about)

I’m fresh off a first viewing of Quentin Tarantino’s masterful new film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and while I wait until I can marvel at that film again, I thought it’d be fun to highlight a few things I love about Tarantino’s previous film, The Hateful Eight.

There are three versions of this film: The Roadshow Version that Tarantino displayed in 70mm in select cinemas, the somewhat shorter Standard Cut that was widely released in theaters and on Blu-Ray, and the Extended Version currently on Netflix. I’ll be covering the Standard Cut for this post, but if you’re a fan of this film, check out the Extended Version on Netflix. Tarantino oversaw the assembly of it, and it’s a really cool narrative experiment.

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: 2018 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.