Tuesday, December 26, 2017


On the final 2017 episode of Zebras In America, Scott & I break down our favorite films of 2017.



I wrote about Last Flag Flying for this year's cine-mas series over at The Pink Smoke. Click the image above to read my thoughts on the film. Enjoy...

Friday, December 22, 2017

THE BEST OF 2017!!

2017 was a wonderful year for cinema but not for the reasons/films some of you may assume. While a lot of the bigger/critically acclaimed films from this year were good (The Florida Project), very solid (Lady Bird), or fun to watch in a theater (Wonder Woman & The Shape Of Water), I found some of the smaller/under the radar movies like A Dark Song & Goon 2: Last Of The Enforcers to be the ones that (surprisingly) delivered.
That’s not to say any popular/critically acclaimed films didn’t make their way on to my Top 10, Jury Prize or Honorable mention. The Killing Of A Sacred Deer & Thor: Ragnarok both lived up to the hype and then some. John Wick 2 was criminally underrated, and while it was definitely a hillbilly remix of Ocean’s 11, Logan Lucky was fun and showed that Steven Soderbergh’s autopilot setting is still better than a lot of active filmmakers at their best (that movie seemed to disappear just as soon as it came but I think it deserved more attention).

Get Out
Wonder Woman

It should also be noted that quite a few hyped up indie/arthouse films didn’t live up to expectation either. Kaurismaki’s The Other Side Of Hope was fine, but not much more than that (in my personal opinion I don’t think political/“message” filmmaking is his lane. But that’s just me…). This seems to be an unpopular opinion because quite a few top critics & film journals seem to think otherwise as its on quite a few notable top 10 lists.

The Killing Of A Sacred Deer

Like every year my Top 10 and honorable mentions are broken up in to various categories & subcategories because I think movies are layered & complex and shouldn’t always be judged on the same terms & conditions (You’ll see The Killing Of A Sacred Deer & Goon 2 are both in my top 10 but in completely different categories).


TOP 10

All Around Great:
Top: Wonderstruck / The Killing Of A Sacred Deer
Bottom: Thor: Ragnarok / Get Out

Frustrating but rewarding:
Happy End / Slack Bay

Under The Radar:
Finding France (Nathan For You) / A Dark Song

These movies had no business being this good:
Goon 2: Last Of The Enforcers / The Disaster Artist

Jury Prize:
Movies I genuinely loved but have personal ties to in some form or fashion. I may know the filmmakers personally (like in the case of White Face & Lazercism) or show blind favoritism to other filmmakers (Terrence Malick), or the film may be about my hometown which I have a lot of favoritism towards (A Quiet Passion)
Top: Song To Song / A Quiet Passion
Middle: Whit Face / Ekaj
Bottom: Lazercim / Road To Magnasanti

Honorable Mention:
It wouldn’t be right to define an entire year with just a handful of movies. Below are some more incredibly solid films from 2017 that are definitely worth your time and then some...

Honorable mention - Top Tier:
Top: Beach Rats / Logan
Middle: Last Flag Flying / John Wick 2
Bottom: Lady Bird / On The Beach Alone At Night

Honorable mention - frustrating but kind of rewarding:
Top: All These Sleepless Nights / Good Time
Middle: The Florida Project / The Square
Bottom: Transfiguration / The Phantom Thread

Honorable Mention - this movie had no business being this good:

Honorable mention - Guilty pleasure:
Girls Trip / New Edition

Honorable HONORABLE mention:
A few more movies from 2017 worth your time...
Logan Lucky / Person To Person
Wonder Woman / Ric Flair 30 For 30
Blade Runner 2049 / Kuso
Raw / The Shape Of Water

Personal Favorite Performances of 2017:

*Millicent Simmonds - Wonderstruck
*Barry Keoghan - The Killing Of A Sacred Deer
Colin Farrell - The Killing Of A Sacred Deer
Harry Dean Stanton - Lucky
Colin Farrell - The Killing Of A Sacred Deer
Juliette Binoche - Slack Bay
*Wyatt Russell - Goon 2: Last Of The Enforcers
Adam Sandler - Meyerowitz Stories 
*Rooney Mara - Song To Song
Willem Dafoe - The Florida Project
Brooklynn Prince - The Florida Project
Cynthia Nixon - A Quiet Passion
*Lil’ Rell - Get Out
Cicely Tyson - Last Flag Flying
Bautista - Guardians Of The Galaxy 2
Bautista - Bladerunner 2049 
Hugh Jackman - Logan
Lesley Manville - The Phantom Thread
*Robert Pattinson - Good Time 

Personal favorite images from 2017:
Get Out

White Face

Good Time

A Dark Song

Beach Rats
Song To Song

Blade Runner 2049

Blade Runner 2049
The Florida Project

Slack Bay
The Square


Yes, I saw these: Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Okja, I, Tonya, Call Me By Your Name, IT, Wind River, Dunkirk, It comes at night , Mudbound, Beguiled , Baby Driver, Alien covenant, Bushwick, Mother!, Justice League , Spider man: Homecoming, Atomic Blonde, Guardians Of The Galaxy 2, The Other Side Of Hope, Meyerowitz Stories

Please just put a fork in the Alien franchise 

Not to beat a dead horse but this was not good (Mother!)

Nathan Fielder & Patrick Horvath showing up in The Disaster Artist

Woodcock is visited by his mother's ghost (The Phantom Thread)

Not gonna lie - I was kinda rooting for Colin Farrell by the end of The Beguiled 

“Pagina Man” (Meyerowitz Stories)

*Coulda used more Bokeem Woodbine (Spider-Man: Homecoming)

So we’re just ignore the creature from The Shape Of Water killing that cat? 

Michael Shannon reviving his role from Premium Rush in The Shape Of Water 

Hal Hartley regulars; James Urbaniak & Damian Young showing up in Wonderstruck

Could used more Bautista (Bladerunner 2049)

You really expect us to believe Ryan Gosling could overpower Bautista in a fight? (Blade Runner 2049)

*Too long but strangely not long enough (Bladerunner 2049

You’re better than this (Dave Bautista in Bushwick)

Apparently you can throw a guy out a window and almost beat him to death and not go to jail? (3 Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri)

The dinner scene (The Square)

Most French movie of 2017: Moka

Most American movie of 2017: Logan Lucky

Final moments of Logan

Colin Farrell tells his son about the time he jerked off his father (The Killing Of Sacred Deer)

The guys visit Cicely Tyson (Last Flag Flying)

*the flashback scene in Good Time

It was fine but didn’t Trouble Every Day already do this? (Raw)

Lemme guess - Mother! Will be considered a misunderstood masterpiece in 10 years? 

Crowd surfing baby in Mother!

I didn’t know polish trap music was a thing (All These Sleepless Nights)

Frankie slowly fades in to the swamp (Beach Rats)

*Being forced to say that Wonder Woman is a masterpiece and nothing less

Lexington Steele’s cameo in Kuso

The final moments of Happy End

“How long has this been goin’ on? This thaaang” (Get Out)

The joy in Daniel Craig's performance in Logan Lucky because he didn't have to play James Bond

*“I got some uranium! I bought it off my mom!” (Song To Song)

“I’m sorry that you’re not as proud of me as you are with my sisters” (Song To Song)

“No! No more fucking candy! What the fuck! Holy shit!!” (Goon 2)

"I don't care. I do it." (The Disaster Artist)

“I don’t really trust the government right now” (Last Flag Flying)

"I know everything there is to know about computers, ok? ALL the twitters. I know 'em." (Logan Lucky)

The final act of A Dark Song

The sunken place (Get Out)

People putting all the problems concerning race on the shoulders of a single movie (Get Out)

*Anya Taylor Joy’s presence in Split

Korg in Thor: Ragnarok

Bobby Brown’s antics in The New Edition movie

Juliette Binoche giving it her all in Slack Bay

Queens getting FIVE major shoutouts in one year (Spider-Man, Good Time, Wonderstruck, Meyerowitz Stories & Transfiguration)

Can we see more of you in 2018?: Bautista, Juliette Binoche, Tom Noonan, Millicent Simmonds, Daniel Kaluya, Michael B Jordan, Lupita Ngoyo, Alia Shawkat, Anya Taylor Joy, Lil Rell, Alex Descas, Hannibal Burress, Laurence Fishburne, Bokeem Woodbine, Michele Williams, Buddy Duress, Nathan Fielder.

Can we see less of you in 2018?: Amy Schumer, Jared Leto, Kevin Hart, Bryan Cranston, Jennifer Lawrence, The Rock (sorry it’s Bautista’s turn now), Caleb Landry Jones

Can we see just as much of you in 2018 as we did in 2017?: Cate Blanchett, Juliette Binoche, Isabelle Huppert, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore, Colin Ferrell

Friday, December 8, 2017


I certainly appreciate the positive feedback that I've been getting on these over the years but like any human being I sometimes focus on the 2 or 3 negative comments I get when I really shouldn't. In the last year I've seen the occasional hostile comment regarding image comparisons to the work of Tarkovsky and it really perplexes me. I mean - these are some of the same people who literally use the word "influential" to describe Tarkovsky and his work but when you show them an image like the one below they get all worked up...

Andrei Rublev  / The Element Of Crime

And you know what - I'm not even going to look up another Lars Von Trier interview where he gushes over & praises Tarkovsky. Go back and look at some of my previous entries or read a book (something I'm convinced these 20 year old know-it-all cinephiles are not doing because they think collecting all the criterion movies is what you need to do in order to understand cinema).

Just look at what this guy wrote recently on twitter about a comparison made by my friend Martin Kessler...

while he does kind of have point on some level, this was a Tree Of Life comparison. At this point does anyone (besides blindly combative people or stupid people) need any convincing that The Mirror was a major influence on The Tree Of Life both visually and story-wise?

With that being said, check out the next comparison in this new entry...

The Mirror / The Tree Of Life

Above you see a reenactment of each of the respective director's parents having an intimate moment rolling around in the grass. Both scenes are shot similarly. Both mothers have read hair. But there's probably someone out there who would still argue that these have nothing in common. Can I just say that people who are blindly combative or just want to argue something for no reason are the absolute worst and need to go away forever?

look at what this other guy wrote to me a while back...

Is it really that serious? I do appreciate the power I have to get a rise out of people by just posting images (I also appreciate the power I have to ruin cinema) but still...

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this latest entry made up of comparisons by filmmakers who were either directly influenced by Tarkovsky (as in, they said it themselves in books and interviews that people are obviously not reading) or have worked under older filmmakers (Carlos Reygadas) who were heavily influenced by Tarkovsky and it may have rubbed off in one way or another (Amat Escalante).

Oh and yes I admit that some of these are complete reaches (the David Gordon Green comparisons) but they still look cool next to each other. Enjoy...
Stalker / 4

Sacrifice / There Will Be Blood

Andrei Rublev / Wicker Man

Solaris / Les Rendezvous D'Anna

Stalker / The Untamed

Solaris / The Untamed

Ivan's Childhood / Undertow

Andrei Rublev / Undertow

Friday, December 1, 2017


Here is my contribution to the ongoing series over at Rupert Pupkin Speaks where guest bloggers/writers/critics examine various underrated films from 1997.

Click here or click the image above to go to the piece.

and make sure you follow their wonderful podcast as well (click the image below)


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