Monday, January 27, 2014

#WatchlistScreenCaps, 1/12 - 1/19


Here are the last ten films I watched, with a screen-captured image and caption. Linked titles lead to my posts on that film. There was no particular theme or pattern to my viewing, but coincidentally three films involve whales. Visit my #WatchlistScreenCaps archive for images from everything I've watched since February.

Monday, January 20, 2014

If These Frames Could Talk: My 10 favorite first-time viewings, 2013

from a house made of celluloid film strips,
part of "Agnes Varda in Californialand" exhibit at LACMA
visited November 29, 2013

Recently, Twitter has been abuzz with "best of 2013" lists. Considering I saw fewer new releases in the past twelve months than in any other year of my life (one to be exact: The Great Gatsby) I couldn't really contribute. But another phenomenon piqued my interest: discussions about films people had seen for the first time in 2013.

As my theatergoing habits attest, last year was not a banner year for my cinephilia: rather than exploring new and adventurous directions, my viewings were mostly dictated by completion (films I owned but hadn't watched, titles I had to see for polls I was participating in, online lists I was trying to work through), research (themes which echoed or amplified screenplay ideas I was working on), or nostalgia.

That last impulse was very strong, and I counted 76 feature films I watched for at least the second time in 2013. But that still left 143 features I'd never seen before. Add in a huge percentage of the 314 shorts and 102 music videos I kept tabs on (I can't be sure which were re-viewings), and I had hundreds of films from which to select my top 10 new viewings.

My picks are below; surprisingly, half are from a 3-week period in April when I was on a lucky streak. I watched over a dozen miniseries last year, resulting in a couple selections, and of the many shorts I only picked one. I would gladly recommend these series, shorts, or features to anyone and have included links to further reviews or visual tributes were applicable. A full list of every miniseries and feature I saw for the first time in 2013 follows my top 10. Enjoy...

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Class of 2002: The First Anniversary


Exactly one year ago (to the minute!) I posted my first short film on this blog. Class of 2002 is a dramatic mockumentary in which a man in his late twenties looks back on the lives of five classmates, before and after their graduation. As their biographies intersect his own (as well as real-world events), we learn more about him, them, and an entire generation.

I created the movie by combining snapshots from the cast's personal collections (stretching back to their own childhoods) with recorded narration, found footage, and original video shot by myself. I was responsible for every aspect of production, from writing, directing, and editing to poster design and financing (it cost less than $600 - including the used computer I bought for the occasion; about $1400 if you include the editing software I'd bought a half-decade earlier and the price & monthly bill of the iPhone I used to capture a few images).

Since premiering the whole video online, I have received encouraging feedback from several viewers. I have yet to submit it to any festivals, though I may do so soon - at which point I would probably close or make private the YouTube and Vimeo videos, at least temporarily. If you haven't seen Class of 2002 yet, now's the time. I've embedded the clip here:


And if you like it, please do share on Twitter, Facebook, or elsewhere (and let me know)! Right now, my readers/viewers are my only promotional campaign.

Monday, January 13, 2014

#WatchlistScreenCaps, 12/26 - 1/11


Here are the last ten films I watched (except my final viewing marathon, which was gathered on its own page), with a screen-captured image and caption. Linked titles lead to my posts on that film. Visit my #WatchlistScreenCaps archive for images from everything I've watched since February.

Monday, January 6, 2014

The Last Viewing Marathon (#WatchlistScreenCaps, 1/5)


On Sunday I watched a dozen movies and began three celebrated TV shows. This will be my last viewing marathon before I end #WatchlistScreenCaps in a month (for all the images included in this hashtag since last February, you can visit my viewing diary archive). I used the day to catch up with the last batch of films on my backlog, mostly unseen till now (though a few were revisits). From now on, the rest of the movies will be Netflix selections watched at my leisure; just as with books and music, I'm trying to let myself be more casual and less structured in what I watch.

Mostly by coincidence, the first four films I watched were kids' films centering around a journey, followed by four 80s action classics (none of which, believe it or not, I'd ever watched before), and after squeezing in a couple more random films I finally watched some notable television pilots (I don't usually include screen-caps from TV episodes unless I'm documenting a viewing marathon). Until now I'd avoided these shows, knowing their addictive reputation. Now that my movie backlog is cleared, maybe I can finally make room for them.

So here is the first #WatchlistScreenCaps round-up of 2014, and the last to focus on a single day's lineup...

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Lost in the Pages: The books I read, July - December 2013


This is the second time I've posted a list of the last 20 books I've read, complete with snapshots of the covers and samples from the text. The last time was in June, and it covered the same number in only three months. For whatever reason, I've become a much slower reader! Since the spring, I've been reading four books at a time - fiction, nonfiction, film-related, and finally something tied into screenplay ideas I'm working on. The majority of titles below fell into that fourth category - the Kafka- and Grail-themed books, the Lowry novels, Tommyknockers, and the Marlowe novels all bore on story ideas I was working on throughout the year, with disappointing results though the work continues. In the New Year, I'm hoping to just stick to one book at a time. We'll see; my eyes are often bigger than my literary stomach.