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).
Dutch/Japanese animated feature “The Red Turtle” is the first feature-length work of Michael Dudok de Wit, whose hand drawn production contains exactly the kind of fluidity and naturalism that modern-day CGI lacks. I love my Pixar and my Dreamworks, but this collaboration of Wild Bunch and Studio Ghibli (“The Wind Rises”) reminds that there is […]Read More
German filmmaker Maren Ade likes to let her characters…. marinade. At nearly three hours, “Toni Erdmann” is something of an anomaly. An epic study in unabashed, arid humor, it debunks any notion that German comedy is an oxymoron. Maybe because it takes place in Romania. Did I mention that it’s almost three hours long? I […]Read More
Unless we’re including an old summer camp video I just dusted off, “VooDoo” is probably the worst found-footage movie I’ve ever seen. The sub-genre has made horror more accessible for up-and-coming talent, but at the same time, it is burdened with two things: appearing authentic, and justifying why such footage would exist to be found […]Read More
Meet Dom Toretto’s tattooed twin brother Xander Cage (Vin Diesel), the X-gamer turned special operative resurfacing for “xXx” number three, a franchise that is taking a similar tack to the more popular “Fast & Furious” phenomenon. The appearance of Ice Cube, who took Diesel’s place in the second installment, “xXx: State of the Union”, suggests […]Read More
It may contradict its own eco-centricity by introducing a species of subterranean creatures that are less fuel-efficient than an 8.4-liter V10, but “Monster Trucks” is an entertaining family movie, and definitely the most ambitious Dodge Ram ad I’ve ever seen. After an oil crew in small town nowhere taps into a deep vein of water, […]Read More
Granola and punk are the diametrically opposed cultural mores of 1979 Santa Barbara in Mike Mills’ darling flick “20th Century Women”, which has the paradoxical quality of feeling both haphazard and polished. More distinctly, and with little previous work by which to compare, writer/director Mills (“Beginners”) has whittled the multi-generational retro-drama into a concise and […]Read More
Grief is a beast. For young Conor O’Malley (Lewis MacDougall), it’s a gargantuan tree-creature that he conjures from his sketches. On the cusp of being a teenager, Conor gets bullied at school and butts heads with his rigid grandmother (Sigourney Weaver) at home, where most devastating of all, Conor’s mum Lizzie (Felicity Jones) is succumbing to […]Read More
Paterson, New Jersey is the setting for “Paterson”, the new flick from existentialist auteur Jim Jarmusch, which stars Adam Driver as a character named Paterson. Existential can mean two things: one, exactly how it’s defined in the dictionary; two, there must be something deep going on here that I’m just not getting but I need […]Read More
Illumination Entertainment (the “Despicable Me” series) had a decent film on its hands earlier this year with “The Secret Life of Pets”, but its shining contribution to 2016 is “Sing”, a musical embracing big dreams while poking fun at the ridiculous “American Idol” craze. The film might immediately draw comparison to “Zootopia” with its […]Read More
By Michael Parsons Hello readers, and Happy New Year! Cutting right to the chase this year, here are 21 films you should put on your list from 2016 (in no particular order). Enjoy! Rogue One: A Star Wars Story — So now you’ve seen “Rogue One”, the first stand-alone “Star Wars” film. It’s another year […]Read More