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).
Sevé Schelenz is just a regular everyday guy trying to make a difference. In the stripper-horror subgenre. It’s been five years since my one and only meeting with the director, when Schelenz’s creepy minimalist found-footage flick “Skew” left much to our imaginations at the 2011 Spooky Movie Fest in DC (it went on to great […]Read More
Written by Elias (“Gut”) and directed by Nick Basile (the documentary “American Carny”), this psychological thriller finds a prematurely washed-up model battling some pretty formidable inner demons during the widespread 2003 NYC blackout. I stress inner. “Dark” is kind of a nasty movie, but never as overtly as one might predict from the steamy opening […]Read More
Albeit a very different style, DC-Area native writer/director Jeremy Saulnier’s “Green Room” competes with “The Invitation” as the best horror/thriller of the year. While the latter is a subtle, clever twist on the “Ten Little Indians” premise, Saulnier’s follow-up to “Blue Ruin” is more like a grenade going off in an over-crowded sub-genre. It’s tense, smart, and […]Read More
Area Theaters May 6th Directed by Joe and Anthony Russo Written by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeeley Starring everyone except for Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo and Samuel L. Jackson Note: Stay through the credits for two additional scenes Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) makes some enemies in the third “Captain America” flick, among them Tony Stark (Robert […]Read More
Every once in a while, I like to chime in on a big film after heated opinion has waned (i.e., I couldn’t make the press screening). The big question is: is the clash of the cleft chins as bad as all the reviewers are saying it is? Though I had the same reaction to the battle between […]Read More
A few years back, I spoke with a guy named Sevé Schelenz, who was out peddling a found-footage flick that he wrote and directed called “Skew” on the festival circuit. I caught him at the Spooky Movie Fest in DC where I took maybe the best photograph of a Canadian horror filmmaker ever. Then I found […]Read More
I could probably wrap up my feelings about “Demolition” in a couple of sentences, but I’m obligated to write at least 400 words, so enjoy the diatribe. The film, directed by Jean-Marc Vallée of “Dallas Buyer’s Club” and “Wild”, is one of the more aggravating experiences I’ve had at the theater this year. I mostly […]Read More
I really want to tell you how director Atom Egoyan’s “Remember” ends. I will refrain, of course. But if I could tell you, you would understand why I liked the movie so much. So I’ll just say that Christopher Plummer gives another riveting performance and get on with the synopsis. Zev Guttman (Plummer) is a […]Read More
The bromance continues between the Commander-In-Chief (Aaron Eckhart) and his trusty guardian (Gerard Butler) as the West Wing heads east to face another terror attack from the usual suspects in “London Has Fallen”. To compare the scripts of 2013‘s “Olympus Has Fallen” (a.k.a., “Fuqua’s Mulligan”) and its sequel, “London Has Fallen” (a.k.a.,“Olympus Has Moved Overseas […]Read More
Director John Hillcoat (“Lawless”) takes a page from David Ayer’s playbook with his dim perspective of law enforcement in the violent crime thriller “Triple 9”, which follows a gang of bank robbers embroiled in a heist that spirals out of control. A multi-character drama with talent to spare, Hillcoat’s foray into the urban jungle proves an invigorating […]Read More