Father. Realtor®. Movie nut. After pestering my parents for their commentary on “Star Wars” when I was four years old, my mind went into a creative frenzy. I’d imagined something entirely different than the actual film, which I didn’t end up seeing until its 1979 re-release at the Uptown Theater in Washington, DC. This was my formal introduction to the cinema.
During that long wait, which felt like an eternity to a child, my mind was being molded by more corrosive stuff like “Trilogy of Terror” and “Rosemary’s Baby”, most of which I’d conned various babysitters into letting me watch on television ( I convinced one poor lady that “Jaws” was actually “Moby Dick”).
The folks were pretty strict in that regard, so the less appropriate it was for a kid to watch, the more I was fascinated by it. Horror staples like “Halloween” and “Friday the 13th”, as well as lesser-known low-budget fare like “Madman”, “Sleepaway Camp” and “Pieces” all ended up sneaking their way into the VHS on a regular basis.
Since then, I’ve developed an obsession with the entire film industry. Even though I watch and review a wide breadth of films these days, my appreciation for the campy, poorly lit micro-budgeters still lends itself to my evolving perspective on movies just as much as the summer blockbusters and Oscar contenders. As I recall my trips to the movie theater, I realize that this stuff is about much more than just a fleeting piece of entertainment.
A couple years ago, I was finally given the opportunity to lend my opinion on films to a publication, The Rogers Revue, with a subsequent run at Reel Film News. It's been both a privilege and a gateway to what we’re doing now. Most of my experience has come from interviewing independent filmmakers, who consistently promote innovation. The filmmaking process is grueling and relatively unforgiving.
Fellow film enthusiast Eddie Pasa and I have created DC Filmdom as a medium for film reviews, discussion, and (inevitably) some debate. And so, the creative frenzy continues.
(Michael is a member of the Washington, DC Area Film Critics Association).
(This review was originally published on September 23, 2011 at The Rogers Revue) “Killing is easy. Living with it is the hard part,” says Danny Bryce, Jason Statham’s character in “Killer Elite”. Though this nugget of wisdom is not imparted until well into the second half of the film, it’s a pretty good meter of […]Read More
(This review was originally published on September 16, 2011 at The Rogers Revue) A Straw Dog – highly regarded, but when no longer need, discarded. In 1971, Sam Peckinpah’s psychological thriller “Straw Dogs” created a ripple in a generation of filmgoers with its unprecedented depiction of human brutality. Censors struggled with an appropriate rating in England […]Read More
(This review was originally published on September 9, 2011 at The Rogers Revue) We’ve seen plenty of pandemic films before. Varying from big budget successes like “Outbreak”, independent pictures like 2009′s “Carriers” and Danny Boyle’s gruesome vision “28 Days Later”, the possibility of a global health emergency has been explored in movies for decades. It’s no wonder that this fictionally enhanced topic continues […]Read More
(This review was originally published on August 31, 2011 at The Rogers Revue) Oftentimes when thrillers attempt to weave the realism of a historically relevant era into their plot, they get wrapped up in the mechanics of what the characters are doing instead of the characters themselves. “The Debt”, John Madden’s re-imagining of the 2007 Israeli thriller […]Read More
(This review was originally published on August 30, 2011 at The Rogers Revue) For an Oscar nominated director, John Madden is a modest man. From theatre and radio to television and eventually feature films, he is also a Jury Member at Filmaka, a studio that harnesses up-and-coming talent in the filmmaking industry. Perhaps best known […]Read More
(This review was originally published on August 26, 2011 at The Rogers Revue) For a film as dependent on visual texture as “Don’t be Afraid of the Dark”, it makes sense that Guillermo del Toro would choose graphic novelist Troy Nixey to direct his updated vision of the 1973 made-for-television horror classic. Stepping behind the […]Read More
(This review was originally published on August 23, 2011 at The Rogers Revue) When asked by acquaintances what he was like around the house, Bill Cosby’s wife Camille simply stated, “After being married to a comedian for forty years, he’s not that funny.” This was preceded by a recollection of Bill falling asleep on the […]Read More
(This review was originally published on August 21, 2011 at The Rogers Revue) “Summer Pasture” is a keen, unimposing observation of Tibetan culture that finds an emotional common ground with its audience, a curious comparison to our own domestic lives and how we interact. Directed by Lynn True and Nelson Walker (with co-director Tsering Perlo), this 86 […]Read More
(This review was originally published on August 19, 2011 at The Rogers Revue) If throwing caution to the wind and developing a few basic ideas for an inexpensive alien invasion comedy produces a film as entertaining as “Attack the Block” in the UK, it might be time for Hollywood to reach out to the Brits for […]Read More
(This review was originally published on August 12, 2011 at The Rogers Revue) When a film franchise consistently attempts to deliver a greater spectacle than its previous installments, there is an inherent risk as the gap between a recycled premise and its ability to surprise the audience widens. The “Final Destination” series has had the potential […]Read More