All posts filed under: film

Top 3 films of 2014

Only Lovers Left Alive (2013) I’ve been mentally drafting this entry since I saw this film back in April. It’s technically a 2013 movie but it was released so late and hit most theaters in 2014. It’s an art film, for sure. It had a limited release. It’s by Jim Jarmusch, who’s has had one of those careers I can only envy. I don’t think I’ve had such a visceral attachment to a film since David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive (2004). I think I would have loved it regardless of who was cast as the two vampires Adam and Eve, but Tilda Swinton is just such an otherworldly and beautiful creature that you don’t doubt for a second that she is an actual vampire. This is a strange film. I don’t really care about the story, or the mythology of vampires in this universe. It’s not about that. It’s a true film about the human condition, told through the eyes of a pair of vampires who consider themselves above humanity. And that’s the only way to …

Review: The Goddess of 1967 (2000)

Picking a movie to watch is sort of like going on a blind date; you’re never complete sure what you’re going to get. I’m not a film snob or a very harsh critic – I usually give most movies a passing grade just for effort – but I do ask to be taken on a journey to somewhere I’ve never been before. It’s just usually never as literal as The Goddess of 1967. My movie picking process occasionally goes something like this. [insert actor] is really cute. I like her. I’m going to see what other movies she has on Netflix. In this particular case it was Rose Byrne. At the time she had three movies. One was called The Goddess of 1967 and had a gorgeous cover of a pink sky and a pink car with a couple inside. My brain snaps to judgement: ok, so it’s about a guy who meets an amazing girl in the year 1967 but it looks kinda indie so maybe it will be an insightful and pretty road …

Old Hollywood on the page

A well-written biography is the intersection between life, story and truth – my three absolute favorite things. To follow someone’s journey through their whole life, their highs and lows, regrets and lessons learned, is a very intimate thing. And unlike fictional stories, it feels more intimate because it is all true. Sure, they can’t all be gems, and it’s up for debate whether the fault lies with writer or subject, but the really good ones – oh gosh. It really is like gaining a friend. You come to know this person. You laugh with them at their silly stories, you read the poignant moments over and over, marvel at their perfection, and ultimately, you cry when they die, no matter how rich and wonderful a life. Mainly, because it was so rich and wonderful. In October I went to Hollywood for a few days to hang out with my favorite girls – Rita Hayworth and Gene Tierney – and I took a tour of the Warner Bros lot to get the feel of a historic …

A guide to watching independent movies and review: YellowBrickRoad (2010)

Being bedridden with a migraine is definitely on my list of least favorite things to do but finding random little film gems is pretty high on my favorite list so I’m calling this weekend a draw. After high school I worked on and off in an independent video store for a couple of years where the only perk was free access to a 30,000 titles film library. This was before the dawn of torrents so this was the best film education that money could not buy. I’m sure everyone who is interested in filmmaking knows this, but the best way to learn about what makes a movie good is to watch independent non-Hollywood movies. Hollywood movies are too flashy and too filled with good-looking famous people that feel like your friends to really notice if the story works or not. And because Hollywood movies are so expensive to make, they can’t be very complex because it has to reach a wide audience in order to make their money back. There can be no ambiguous endings …

Review: Spring Breakers (2012)

Damn. So I just watched Spring Breakers and I was honestly expecting some version of ‘Disney Grows Up’ Bubblegum Movie with a Morality Lesson at the end. Now I wonder where the hell I got that idea. What I got was a highly stylized, gritty, glamorous, pornographic violence fantasy set an unlikely soundtrack. So I looked up the writer/director. Harmony Korine of Kids fame. Ok, I get it now. The universe has once again aligned. Now I expected to really not like the movie, so imagine my surprise when I did. The movie makes me sad, and I’m happy it makes me sad. The so-called glamour of collage kids gone wild is degrading to both women and men. Alcohol consumed with tubes, bikinis coming off, coke snorted off naked bodies. Beer bottles masquerading as penises and the girls can’t get enough. And that’s just the first minute or so. I am a HUGE sucker for unexpected contrast in films so that’s the main reason this movie appealed to me, even more so than the story, …

All-time favorite TV shows

I’m a creature of habit when it comes to entertainment so starting a new TV show is kind of a big deal. I also stick with shows way too long, even after they have ceased to entertain me and I only watch out of loyalty to the characters. Occasionally the creativity picks back up but most of the time I guess I’m just wasting my time. (Although I vaguely remember something about reading bad books is better practice for writers than reading good books, and since being a screenwriter is my end game I’m hoping it works the same way with TV and movies. But I doubt it!) I’m also going to admit that I choose TV shows based on the level of attachment I have to an actor or show creator. What this usually means is that I will watch anything with any member of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer alumni.ย Read my love story with Buffy here. Sometimes this turns out to be a mistake (re: How I Met Your Mother. WHY WON’T IT …

If this was happiness

Rita Hayworth was the most beautiful woman in the world. She said the happiest time of her life was with her second husband, Orson Welles. She was so proud he picked her; at the time he was the wizard of Hollywood, everyone wanted a piece of him and he wanted her. He’d seen a picture of her in Life magazine, a picture of her sitting on her bed in a satin slip, and he said, “That’s the girl, I’m gonna marry her.” And he did, and it was the happiest time of her life. The shyest girl in all of Hollywood who never wanted the title “The Love Goddess.” She worked so hard for him; reading the literature he gave her, took a stand on current politics, his, of course. Everything to keep up with his restlessness and nationally declared genius. He left her. Twice. Then her beloved husband later said, reflecting back on their time together, “If this was happiness, imagine what the rest of her life had been!” In The Lady from Shanghai, …

First love is all right, as far as it goes. Last love, that’s what i’m interested in

Tracy, Hepburn, 1942 Now I’m going to tell you about Spencer. You may think you’ve waited a long time. But let’s face it, so did I. I was thirty-three. It seems to me I discovered what “I love you” really means. It means I put you and your interests and your comfort ahead of my own interests and my own comfort because I love you. What does this mean? I love you. What does it mean? Think. We use this expression very carelessly. LOVE has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get – only with what you are expecting to give – which is everything. What you will receive in return varies. But it really has no connection with what you give. You give because you love and you cannot help giving. If you are very lucky, you may be loved back. That’s delicious but it does not necessarily happen. It really implies total devotion. And total is all-encompassing – the good of you, the bad of you. I am aware I …

TV’s strong heroines

It’s no secret that I love storytellers. They come in all forms; writers, filmmakers, journalists, musicians, painters, photographers. It is the basis for this blog – that the stories we tell ourselves shape the way we live our lives, and so they are very important. The question is what kind of stories are we exposed to? What were the stories that shaped my core that holds the beliefs after which I construct the world around me? Do my stories correspond to those of the people around me enough so we can co-exist peacefully together? In many places around the world the stories people tell themselves cause very real conflicts leading to suffering, plights and death. Politics is about making your beliefs into a reality that benefits the majority of the people living in that area, but leaving enough liberty for those who do not agree with you to also live fulfilling lives. But every day we witness the terrible consequences when people in power take it upon themselves to force their stories, with violence, persuasion …