Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Allow me for a moment to be serious...

I know it's cliche, and perhaps even a little cheesy, to type a list of things one is thankful for, but I felt compelled to compile this short post in light of some recent reading on this eve of the day we give thanks.

To Jim Emerson: Your Scanners blog never fails to remind me that time spent reading the internet is not time wasted. Thanks, too, for always getting me to think at a higher level about what is on the screen. Your blog reminds me daily of the fond memories I have sitting in my English Literature classes during my undergrad; every day was exciting because of the truths discovered through deep explication and deconstruction of the material.

To Sam Juliano: Your generosity and enthusiasm (not to mention your willingness to allow others to add their own posts at your blog) is something I'm glad to have come across in my short time blogging.

Thanks to Jason Bellamy and Ed Howard: Your "Conversations" series is hands down, without hyperbole, my favorite thing to read. Whenever I see a blog update stating that there's a new entry in the series (like your latest fantastic take on the film's of Arronofsky), I take a deep breath, grab a beer, and sit back on my couch and enjoy the ride. I rarely contribute to the conversation in the comments, but that is not because I'm unimpressed with that I've read; it's because your writing and analysis makes my own feel so obsolete. I mean that as the kind of compliment that should be interpreted as such: I don't comment because there's nothing left to add to the conversation; you've covered it all in your leave-no-frame-unanalyzed approach to film criticism. It's detailed, exhaustive, and always brilliant. It's the kind of film criticism that makes one stop and think: "Damn, this needs to be on my bookshelf!" Thanks for helping me see new truths in films I've seen more than a few times.

To Tim Brayton: Your blog, Antagony & Ecstasy, reminds me of why I love not just watching movies, but writing about and discussing them. Your reviews are the most densely packed with a gift for never having a feeling of over staying their welcome; they are the most hilarious, wonderfully irreverent, insightful, entertaining reads on the web. The fact that you can pack all of those into a movie review and not make it come off as cynical, pretentious, or overly verbose is truly amazing.

To my readers: Thanks to everyone who takes time to leave comments on here. It's a petty thing, but those comments always make this recreational writer feel like what I'm doing is at least somewhat useful.  There are so many of you (if your blog is listed on the right, then know that you are definitely thanked) that leave flattering comments, and a lot of you that will leave an insightful addendum to some of my musings. I appreciate that. To those of you that have been here from the beginning (even if I don't see you around here anymore): Ali Arikan, Rick Olson, Greg, Bill R., J.D., Alexander Coleman, Sam (of course), Tony Dayoub, Adam, Ryan, Jake, Bryce Wilson, Troy, Neil, Marylin, Rod, and so many more (again, look to the sidebar).

Thanks, everyone.  Whether you realize it or not, with this crazy thing called blogging, you all bring moments of joy, humor, intellectual stimulation, and new insights into my daily routine. Thank you for that.

So there you go.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Some Quick Thoughts on "Boardwalk Empire"

Thanks to my hometown's propensity for closing everything down when an inch of snow and a little bit of ice accumulates on the street, I don't have to work today. My school is closed for the day which gives me the opportunity to catch up on some episodes of my new favorite show "Boardwalk Empire." Once again, for great, insightful (and more detailed than what you'll find here) weekly recaps visit Ed and David (and of course Alan) at their sites. Spoilers abound if you aren't caught up with the most recent episode. Thoughts after the jump...

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Social Network

Not since last year's Inglourious Basterds have I left a movie theater so exhilarated; I couldn't wait to get home and type out my thoughts about David Fincher's latest The Social Network. But then a funny thing happened: I realized I was about a month late to the party, and, perhaps most pressing, what could I possibly add to the already invigorating and intellectually stimulating conversation that was taking place in the blogosphere. As you may recall this is exactly the same quandary I faced last year when talking about Tarantino's magnum opus, and it was at that time that I realized that the conventional review was not only less interesting to read, but, with a film as hyped and written about as The Social Network, even less interesting to write. Therefore, after the jump I'll simply present, for brevity's sake, eight bullet points on why The Social Network is a movie that I've seen multiple times: once in the theaters, and multiple times in my memory and in my dreams. That may sound strange, but I can't shake this film, and much like Inglourious Basterds last year it's a film that deserves more than a generic review about the film's narrative, how it is or isn't historically accurate, and whether or not Facebook changed the way we interact with the internet. No, I was more struck with what was on the screen, how it got there, and how those elements helped create one of the breeziest two hour films in recent memory.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Spend the holidays with Ken Russell!

Yes, folks, that is correct, I will be spending my holidays with a man obsessed with apt! Apt, I say! (to quote Lisa Simpson) Beginning December 7th or so I will begin my second attempt to cover a director's oeuvre. Ken Russell is the man the majority of you voted for last month, and I have to say that you all must hate me. I don't want to tip my hand to how favorable or unfavorable my retrospective will be, but let me just say this: I have now moved through all of Russell's mainstream 60's and 70's films...and I can only think of two that have made this endeavor worth while. But I'm here to please the voters, and the voters wanted Russell, so I will deliver. I'm a classical music and opera neophyte, so I think naturally some of Russell's early looks at musicians and artists were right over my head. I tried my hardest to look at them objectively, but some of these films could only take me to a certain place because of my lack of knowledge about composers. That being said, I will give it a go in about a month, and the retrospective will be the focus of this blog all December (with some more capsule reviews of 2010 films sprinkled in). I hope you'll join me; it should be fun times. See everyone in a month.