Friday, November 26, 2021



The regulars over at The Pink Smoke got together to share some of their favorite Scorsese-recommended films. 

Click here or the image above to go to the article.


Friday, November 19, 2021


The absolute best thing about The Souvenir II is how Joanna Hogg managed to do the multi-layered meta storytelling thing without falling in to the trap of being overly “quirky”. This isn’t a 2-hour long music video with inside references. I don’t mean to take down other filmmakers in order to prop up stuff that I like but so often there’s this urge to add a heavy layer of fantastical dreamy quirkiness to deeply personal semi-autobiographical stories. This is just a personal thing. Some people like it. I don’t. A recent example of this would be Charles Kaufman’s I’m Thinking Of Ending Things. Actually, a lot of stuff related to Charles Kaufman fits in to what I’m talking about. From Adaptation to Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind (I enjoyed these Kaufman-scripted movies when I was in my early 20’s but now that I’ve reached my 40’s, I’ve sort’ve grown out of them).
Without being too pretentious or eye rollingly personal, Hogg pulls off the task of making a film about a younger version of herself in a mostly realistic way. There are some isolated abstract moments, but at the end of the day this movie is grounded in reality.

The Souvenir II’s entire existence almost goes against a very poignant exchange that takes place towards the end of the film:

Patrick: Did you avoid the temptation to be obvious?

Julie: I think so.

Patrick: That’s all you can hope for, isn’t it?

I bring this exchange up because the movie is so obviously about Joanna Hogg (right down the protagonist having a similar name and the exact same initials as Joanna Hogg) yet there is this theme of not being too obvious as a filmmaker which makes for an interesting contrast. But perhaps that’s part of it all. Another layer of personal contradictory inside references stuffed in to the “cinematic universe” of the Souvenir (by the way - I’ve been using the term “cinematic universe” long before the marvel stuff took off). 
I actually wouldn’t mind seeing a third Souvenir story. These movies are so incredibly niche but they absolutely deliver for their niche audience…

While you should see the first entry in order to get the backstory of the latest, you could blindly watch the sequel and it still stands on it’s own. We pick up right where the first part left off and we follow Honor Swinton’s “Julie Hart” as she combines her grief from the events in the film first with her final student film.
A lot of the shots in The Souvenir II take place on a movie set which puts an emphasis on what I was talking about earlier. We see “Julia” (…Joanna) directing a film about herself which means we’re really watching Joanna Hogg direct a fictional version of herself directing a fictional version of her movie-self. It’s a breath of fresh air to see someone be incredibly open & personal without hiding behind that mixture of comically dramatic quirkiness I spoke of earlier (I’m sorry for using that word quirky so much but as soon as other filmmakers stop relying on it so much I’ll stop using it).

Another highlight of The Souvenir II is Richard Ayoade’s supporting performance as “Patrick”. It’s almost like Joanna Hogg went out of her way to please us folks who wanted more from his character after the first movie. It’ll probably go slightly unnoticed & under the radar but Richard Ayoade’s performance is one of the best supporting roles I’ve seen in years. For the folks that wanted more than just his one (brilliant) scene in the first film, your prayers have been answered.

Hogg also does the Olivier Assayas “thing” of making wealthy/privileged people seem interesting & fascinating. Dare I say she does it even better than Assayas?

At times, Hogg's latest feature feels like a love letter to UK cinema (which makes sense considering this is a movie about making movies). Some of the dialogue in the film directly addresses a lot of the basic stereotypes that come along with films set in the UK (rainy dreary kitchen sink settings) and Julie’s student film within the film comes off like an homage to both Derek Jarman & Terence Davies (Jarman-regular Tilda Swinton’s presence in The Souvenir II adds an additional layer to this).

This was the first movie-going experience I’ve had since February 2020 so it’s nice that my return to the movie theater ended up being the best thing I’ve seen I all year.

Friday, November 12, 2021



I got the chance to chat with Wendell B Harris Jr. about CHAMELEON STREET, the Black Star album, CATCH ME IF YOU CAN, his random appearance in Todd Phillips’ ROAD TRIP & more…

This convo was the culmination of a personal 23 year journey that started for me back in High School.

Click here or the image above to go to the interview...

Thursday, November 11, 2021


 Just a quick update...

I made some recent podcast appearances talking about two of my favorite things: Claire Denis & LL Cool J

Check me out on the latest episode of Shoot The Piano Player where we talk about Claire Denis' White Material.

Click the image below to go to the episode...

Also make sure to listen to my return to the Call Out Culture podcast where we delve in to the career of the legendary LL Cool J...

Click the image below to go to the episode...


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