On Cleveland

Posted by on Jul 14, 2014 in Commentary | 0 comments

I get frustrated when I read about Cleveland. It was my home for six years, three of which I spent living inside the city. It’s not just the jokes about a city that really is on the rise that bug me, though. It’s the way the Clevelanders defend it. I loved Cleveland for a lot of reasons, and had I not had the opportunity to move to Austin, Texas, a cinephile paradise, I would probably still live there today. But these are not reasons I would have stayed: If anyone else wants to make up a list about Cleveland, feel free to mention our world-renowned Cleveland Museum of Art, world-class Cleveland Orchestra and world-famous Cleveland Clinic. If you toss in University Hospitals Case Medical Center and MetroHealth, you’re in medical Mecca. That was Regina Brett’s defense in her article...

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TARGETS, Guns and the Violence Norm

Posted by on Jul 13, 2014 in Commentary | 0 comments

I come from a gun family. There were more guns in my house than there were pieces of furniture. It wasn’t due to paranoia or even the idea of safety. No, my father simply like to hunt. And my first gun was a .30-06, which I used to shoot my first—and last—deer. I didn’t have the stomach for it. Still, guns have never put me off. The gun I used while hunting was the same type a spree-killing sniper uses in Peter Bogdanovich’s first movie Targets. It’s a film both modeled after and in response to the Charles Whitman massacre at the University of Texas, where, after killing his wife and mother, he climbed the UT Tower and killed another 16 people. He wounded 32 more. At the beginning of the film, there’s a message tacked on by the...

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Posted by on May 30, 2014 in Big News, Movie Comment | 0 comments

I love The Avengers. I’ve seen that movie more than a dozen times, four of which were in a theater. In the era of the superhero film, The Avengers stood above the rest as not only the most entertaining of the bunch, but also as a revelation of what could be possible with the genre. Is it the greatest? Maybe so. What Marvel did to get to The Avengers is a miracle. But after seeing X-Men: Days of Future Past, The Avengers seems like seeing Jesus’ face on a piece of toast compared to the X franchise’s resurrection. X-Men and the Reinvention of the Franchise Reboot Sure, The Avengers laid the groundwork for what is possible with a cinematic superhero franchise. The character introductions. The narrative build up. The final execution. It was as risky as it was visionary. More...

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Hot Guy/Funny Guy: A New Comedy Dynamic?

Posted by on May 23, 2014 in Big News, Movie Comment | 0 comments

With this month’s hilarious comedy Neighbors, starring Seth Rogen and Zac Efron, and next month’s 22 Jump Street (the sequel to 2012’s hit, 21 Jump Street), starring Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum, my friends and I began to notice a kind of trend emerging. The duos at the forefront of these films exhibit a kind of hot guy/goofy guy dichotomy— a sort of binary between a traditionally funny actor and an actor who is, traditionally, considered eye candy. I wanted to explore this dynamic a little further, but I found it difficult to think of films besides these recent ones that truly fit. In the past, I think it was more common to see a straight man/silly man dichotomy, more generally: Steve Martin and John Candy in Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987) might be a good example of this...

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The Foreign Mainstream: Why Cinema’s Biggest Oxymoron Deserves More

Posted by on Apr 24, 2014 in Big News, Movie Comment, The Pictures | 0 comments

When I was in Berlin, Germany for a few months last spring, I wasn’t sure what to expect when it came to movies, despite my understanding that Berlin has always been, to varying degrees over time, a major European film hub. I was there for the Berlinale International Film Festival, and there were art house cinemas all over the city as well, showing everything you’d expect an art house movie theater to show regardless of location, really. I saw a couple foreign films being shown at the festival, and they were good, don’t get me wrong, and I was expecting them to be good. But besides the art house, and the festival fair, and the American films dubbed into German (which played at every larger multiplex in the city), what did German audiences really watch, anyway? The question didn’t...

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Why Horror Films Need Their Own Oscars

Posted by on Feb 14, 2014 in Awards, Big News, Movie Comment | 0 comments

With the main exceptions of The Silence of the Lambs and The Exorcist (which in my opinion should have won the Oscar it was up for), horror films are nearly always ignored come awards season. This is no longer a disappointment to me. In fact, it makes perfect sense given what these awards have become compared to horror’s B-genre classification. Horror used to be considered only a notch below comedy. But, the comedy genre (when done artfully, intelligently or heartwarmingly enough) can actually still get elevated by Academy recognition—think Little Miss Sunshine or even this year’s American Hustle. I have no valid argument to put forth in a debate about whether horror films deserve mainstream industry accolades. I do, however, think they deserve to be considered in a similar way—why can’t an awards show exist that understands the genre...

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