The Place Beyond the Pines vs The Cool

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Before “epic” became bro shorthand for some major stunt or accomplishment, it was defined as “a long poem…narrating the deeds and adventures of heroic or legendary figures or the history of a nation.” The Place Beyond the Pines stands appropriately as a traditional epic, tracing the generational sins & legacies of fathers and sons. Starring Ryan Gosling as a heist man on two wheels this time, it’s the yin to Drive‘s yang.

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George Romero: More to Him Than Zombies

MV5BMTQwNzAwMTYwOV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwOTgwNjYz._V1_UY1200_CR160,0,630,1200_AL_It seems unreal that one of the godfathers of horror George A. Romero died last year. Since 1968, his presence at comic-cons or on DVD making-of features was almost taken for granted. I’ve made several short films since 2006, trying so hard to get better with each that I almost forgot how much Romero influenced my first efforts: my friend Hank as a chained up zombie coated in chocolate syrup like they used in Night of the Living Dead; gray-ish blue zombie makeup in my short Dawn of the Living, a nod to Dawn of the Dead‘s (1978) unique zombie design. It was a safe space to play as I grew into filmmaking by exploring different narratives in a world Romero created. But his world was more than just zombies – it was about art, politics, being a generous collaborator, and the way we create in a capitalist world. 
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The Florida Project: True Movie Magic

florida-project.jpgIt’s December, which means we’re deep into award season–where the standard offerings might include family dramas you’ve seen before, but with a slight new flavor (Lady Bird) or the period drama your grandparents will rave about (Darkest Hour). None of these films will do anything inventive with the form because they’re like pizza – not fine dining, but you know what to expect regardless of where it comes from.

The Florida Project is the kid that steals that proverbial pizza, throws it on the ground, and asks if you want to go spit on cars.

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Lessons for 2017 Superhero Films: Spider-Man (2002)

spider-man-stills-006.jpgReleased in 2002, the original Spider-Man is what arguably kicked off the superhero movie craze*. As we enter what might be the peak saturation point for the genre, re-watching the spidey film for perspective reveals less how far the genre has come, and actually highlights where it has faltered. 

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mother! is the Allegorical, Social Commentary Horror Film 2017 Deserves

mothermotheris a scathing critique of patriarchal gender roles and a deformed, Cronenberg-esque literalization of the horrors of celebrity, all wrapped in a theological metaphor that paints God as a cosmic asshole we’d all be better off without. No wonder people are pissed about it.

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Video

Fire, Flashbangs, Filmmaking: Inauguration 2017

Fellow filmmaker and friend Georg Koszulinski invited me to DC to help him shoot a documentary focusing on the  inauguration of Donald Trump. There were massive protests scheduled on inauguration day and the day following; they would include a coalition of the willing that would make George W. Bush jealous. We ran amok with DSLR cameras trying to capture the feeling of the space and the feeling of the people (protesters and Trump supporters alike). We wanted to find a way to make sense of the madness during this shocking plot twist in American history, as a reality TV star (which already sounds like I’m making this shit up) was sworn in as President of the United States of America. Continue reading

Star Wars: The Force Fights Nerds

CTjp0HBWsAEs1N5.jpg-largeNow that Star Wars: The Force Awakens (TFA) is finally out, box office records are being broken and fans are gushing with praise. Quietly though, the film’s greatest success may be its smackdown of the nerd community’s Dark Side.

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