Updated Reel

I updated my reel! Enjoy!

Top Ten Films of 2016

Mid-May isn’t too late to do a top ten of the year is it? I don’t think so, at least not when you’ve spent the previous year traveling the world! That’s my excuse anyways, for this super-late post on my favorite films of 2016.

2016 was not the strongest year for film. Due to traveling I didn’t see a lot; I was selective and only saw the good stuff, but even the best films I had issues with, they were the best because their strengths were so strong I was willing to overlook their weaknesses, but not because they were strong all around. I actually feel this way about a number of films every year, but usually I find enough great films that the “good but I had issues with it” films only make the bottom two or three in my top ten. This year, however, they made it all the way into my top three!

That being said, I still enjoyed a lot of what I saw from 2016, and regardless of quality, I had a great time seeing them all (have you ever gone to the movies in a foreign country, it is super-fun!).

I would like to note here that six out of the ten films below are the respective director’s first or second feature. And two more were a third feature. I did not set out for this, but I think it is a reflection of where the industry is, with established filmmakers moving to television or being relegated to franchise fare. It seems that you have to seek out new, fresh voiced filmmakers, ones who are still young and hungry, to find exciting filmmaking right now.

I should also note that there are still a couple popular/critically praised films I still haven’t seen from last year, like Hidden Figures, Elle, The Salesman, Moana, and probably some others that could make it onto this list once I see them. But I believe I’ve seen enough to put this out as it is.

Alright, no more preamble. Here’s my list:

10. American Honey

I’ve seen all Andrea Arnold’s films, including her shorts, and I have no idea how she does what she does. Her style is incredible, her films so raw and unique; as far as I’m aware, no one makes films like she does. As for this one, it is set amongst the young middle American door-to-door magazine subscription scene, a subculture filled with characters I’ve never seen on the big screen. But Arnold nails it, and this despite her being British; she’s a Brit but she understands America better than most Americans.

My only qualm with this film: it is two hours and forty-five minutes! It definitely overstays its welcome, being about forty-five minutes longer than it should be. I still recommend it though, just like I recommend all of Arnold’s work. She’s one of the most exciting filmmakers working today!

Read more of this post

Where I’ve Been

Hello all! I haven’t posted here for a while and maybe you’re wondering where I’ve been. Well, I’ve been doing a lot of writing, and Inna and I are also taking a year off, to travel! That’s right, a whole year: Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, India, Thailand, Vietnam, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, and of course road tripping across the United States! Maybe we’ll even get Africa in there, if we can manage it.

I started a new blog about my travel endeavors, so check it out! Otherwise, I don’t know how much I’ll be posting around here, but I’ll put up some stuff and I’ll talk to you soon!

2016 Oscar Predictions: Part Two

My 2016 Oscar predictions, continuing from part one, onto the technical categories!

Read more of this post

2016 Oscar Predictions

oscars

Again, I have big shoes to fill. Last year, I predicted all of the big six and 14 out of 21 overall (not as good as two years ago but still pretty good). This year the frontrunners are not as clear so this’ll be harder, but here goes!

Best Picture

  • The Big Short
  • Bridge of Spies
  • Brooklyn
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • The Revenant
  • Room
  • Spotlight

Read more of this post

Top Ten Films: 2015

waynesworldtopten

Here it is, my annual top ten films of the year!

2015 was the year of the blockbuster, with tons of franchise fare hits (The Avengers, Jurassic World, Star Wars VII, Furious 7, Minions, The Hunger Games, etc). With it, the year had a correspondingly lack of original/indie/art films, but I still saw a lot that I liked and have made what I think is a pretty solid top ten. And there’s even a franchise blockbuster in here, read below to check out which one it is!

Final note: I still have not seen Carol, Brooklyn, Creed, Bridge of Spies, Son of Saul, and probably some others that might make it onto this list once I do see them.

Without further ado, my top ten films of 2015:

Read more of this post

Goals: 2016

goal

2015 was a rough year. Those who’ve been here know that all too well.

But despite the hardship, I still got a lot done! I finished The Engaged Life (2015 goal #1) and got it into two festivals, I took two parts of a four part screenwriting workshop that completely transformed my writing, and I wrote a short (from the writing class) that I will make early next year. I also produced a short and an educational video on Hindi dance, I ADed and PAed on several projects, and I even did a podcast on the box office giants throughout Hollywood’s history.

On the writing front, in addition to the two part class I took and the shorts I wrote, I wrote lots more flash fiction and have continued to improve the 5000 word neo-noir I wrote last year. I’m now submitting it to literary publications and plan to adapt it into a feature once I finish my writing workshop.

I also did a lot outside of filmmaking and writing this year. Inna and I celebrated our one-year anniversary with a brief best-of-California trip, stopping at Big Sur, Davis, Tahoe, and Lone Pine. We took trips to Palm Springs, Newport Beach, and San Diego, and I even went on a desert camping trip as well. And last but not least is Christmas and New Years, which we’re spending in Costa Rica (blog post coming soon)!

Other cool things I did this year: I saw Florence and the Machine as well as 2001: A Space Odyssey and The Nightmare Before Christmas with live music at the Hollywood Bowl, listened to an Aerosmith concert from a hotel balcony, drove on a dried up lake bed, visited the house with the top rated view in Malibu, started playing soccer again, refereed the Los Angeles city section high school soccer championship, shot a shotgun and a handgun and an AR15 and a .357 magnum, went to four weddings, took apart a school bus with only a wrench and a screwdriver, and met lots of cool, interesting, wonderful people!

Oh yeah, Inna and I also adopted the best freaking dog in the world.

leia

In 2016, I will:

1) Finish my writing workshop and write the big short I’ve been searching for.

2) Make said short.

Now it’s time to get it done!

Blind Spots: 2016

blind spot

I only saw three films on my Blind Spots list this year, two less than last year. However, I did see a lot of television shows that would have been on my blind spots TV list, had it existed (it does now!). That counts for something, right?

Blind Spots:

  • Ace in the Hole (Wilder, 1951) Peeping Tom (Powell, 1960) A Man Escaped (Bresson, 1956)
  • Predator (McTiernan, 1987) Dancer in the Dark (von Trier, 2000) Imitation of Life (Sirk, 1959) The Host (Bong, 2006) If… (Anderson, 1968)
  • The Big Parade (Vidor, 1925)
  • Straw Dogs (Peckinpah, 1971) The Double Life of Veronique (Kieslowski, 1991) No End (Kieslowski, 1985) Vanhalla Rising (Refn, 2009)
  • Solaris (Tarkovskiy, 1972) Stalker (Tarkovskiy, 1979) The Mirror (Tarkovskiy, 1975) A Bridge Too Far (Attenborough, 1977)
  • The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Hooper, 1974) Pandora’s Box (Pabst, 1929)
  • Fitzcarraldo (Herzog, 1982) The Frighteners (Jackson, 1996)
  • Mildred Pierce (Curtiz, 1945) Pierrot le Fou (Godard, 1965)
  • Battle Royale (Fukasaku, 2000) Underground (Kusturica, 1995) The Tenant (Polanski, 1976)
  • Friday the 13th (Cunningham, 1980) The Jerk (Reiner, 1979) Point Break (Bigelow, 1991) Working Girl (Nichols, 1988)
  • The Last Temptation of Christ (Scorcese, 1988)
  • Rocco and his Brothers (Visconti, 1960)

Blind Spots TV:

  • The Sopranos (1999-2007)
  • Fargo (2014-present)
  • Battlestar Galactica (2004-2009)
  • The World At War (1973)
  • Roots (1977)