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).
Director Matt Reeves and crew continue to astonish with the ostensible conclusion to a franchise that started as a respectable revitalization and proceeded to surpass all expectations as the best iconic prequel series of recent memory. “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” was a fantastic action movie, a fluid fusion of practical and digital […]Read More
A pretty decent “Blade Runner”/“Matrix”/“Fifth Element” blend that will no doubt draw criticism from hardcore manga fans, “Ghost In The Shell” is stimulating enough visually to warrant a view (if not necessarily requiring a visit to the theater). I am not of the fanatical ScarJo camp, she who’s managed through the last several action/thriller with scarcely […]Read More
You’d think you couldn’t go wrong with Alec Baldwin voicing an animated infant, but somewhere along the way Dreamworks Animation’s “The Boss Baby” becomes pretty familiar. The antithesis of last year’s “Storks”, in which a young boy wishes for a younger brother, this fart-fueled flick (not a criticism — the flatulence is undeniably funny) features […]Read More
To paraphrase critic Armond White, whose career is based on being a contrarian : “Get Out” is an attenuated comedy sketch that is tailored to please the liberal status quo”. Really? If that’s what you’ve taken away from this movie—hardly a comedy, by the way, though not without its comic relief—then I might say your […]Read More
Ever heard someone say they’d kill for a vacation? Ex-assassin John Wick (Keanu Reeves) will do anything to retire, even if it means shooting everyone who stands in his way. But it seems like the Hawaiian shirt and flip-flops just aren’t going to fit. What 2014’s “John Wick” did for tactical close range pistol-karate, “Chapter […]Read More
After two teens make the decision to do the very thing the title wisely warns them not to, the appetizer character is yanked out of his dorm room within about five minutes by a specter that was forged from the same template as a dozen other possession films this year. He’s never to be seen […]Read More
Even if an exception were made to Trump’s travel ban, it’s safe to say that writer/director Asghar Farhadi will not be attending this year’s Oscars. Iran’s official submission for Best Foreign Language Film “The Salesman” has indeed been nominated along with the likes of Germany’s “Toni Erdmann”, perhaps fortuitous timing to bolster the backlash, but […]Read More
Originally entitled “Jekyll Island”, in reference to the resort in Georgia where the Federal Reserve was established in 1905, “The Crash” is a fast-paced techno-thriller that envisions an imminent catastrophic cyber attack on the global economy. To thwart it, the powers that be decide to employ Guy Clifton (Frank Grillo), a debt consolidation expert and economist […]Read More
I was not a fan of Emory Cohen when I first saw him in “The Place Beyond the Pines”, but he won me over between the under-appreciated “Beneath the Harvest Sky” and what most would consider to be his breakthrough role as the love interest in “Brooklyn”. But it’s in the road thriller “Detour” that […]Read More
I made a mistake: I went and saw “Resident Evil: The Final Chapter” having only seen the original film and its two successors, “Apocalypse” and “Extinction”, which you’d think couldn’t get any more final-sounding. Apparently a lot happened in “Afterlife” and “Retribution”, but I have a feeling that seeing this movie would’ve been a mistake […]Read More