How long has this website been active for and how frequently do you post updates?
Film-Review.org has been active since May 1, 2008. On average, 5 posts per week.
What is your favorite movie?
I guess the reason why I get asked this question a lot is because people like to get a quick feel of the kinds of movies I’m into. This is a difficult question for me to answer because I don’t only have one favorite.
There are those that mean a lot to me such as Tom Holland’s “Child’s Play” and Bernardo Bertolucci’s “The Dreamers” because they sparked my interest in films. There are those that I find fascinating every time I watch them because I believe each frame is perfectly executed such as Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining” and John Carpenter’s “Halloween.” And then there are those that just capture me emotionally such as Richard Linklater’s “Before Sunset” and Jonah Markowitz’ “Shelter.”
So when someone asks me this question and I say, “I really don’t have one,” it’s the truth. I’m not trying to avoid the question because I can’t come up with a title on the spot. I’m not one of those “film buffs” who feels the need to name the most obscure independent movie or a classic picture from the film noir era. My answer requires a little bit of explanation. Sometimes people aren’t interested in an explanation.
Do you accept news articles, editorials, and/or feature stories from contributors?
No, I do not accept any of the above items at this time. One of the main reasons for this is because my current readers expect to read posts of movie reviews only.
Do you accept film submissions from independent sources? If so, do you review these films?
Yes, I do accept submissions from all sources and I review them. In addition, I make it a priority to publish reviews of these movies. It must be noted, however, that although I accept submissions of short films, I do not review them.
Why do you not review short films?
Because it is my brand to review feature length films only. My definition of a feature length film is a movie with a running time of at least 40 minutes, excluding opening and end credits.
Is there any film critic you look up to?
I look up to Roger Ebert, former film critic of the Chicago Sun-Times. I admire that his reviews were very accessible yet they maintained level-headedness, wit, and sense of humor. I noticed that he was quick to establish a tone that made it feel like he was talking to his readers directly. With a lot of critics and reviewers, breaking that barrier proves difficult. As a result, the writing feels awkward and forced, sometimes pretentious and insincere.
When he loved a movie, he expressed it in a way that inspired us to look more closely at the content as well as the craft from behind the camera. Conversely, when he didn’t particularly care for a film, he wasn’t afraid to say exactly what did not work for him and did it in a way that was entertaining.
Here is an excerpt from Ebert’s review of Michael Bay’s “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen”:
“If you want to save yourself the ticket price, go into the kitchen, cue up a male choir singing the music of hell, and get a kid to start banging pots and pans together. Then close your eyes and use your imagination.”
How do you choose which films to watch and write about?
Coming Soon provides a list of independent and mainstream films released each week. I make sure to visit every Thursday, read the synopses, and if I find something of interest, I add it to my Netflix queue. I try not to read too many reviews. I find trusting my instinct is the best way to decide whether to watch a particular film.
Since I started this website, I made a commitment to review each movie I watch with the exception of short films. When I revisit a movie and I happen to have evaluated it already, I reread that review. If I feel I did not do it justice or my feelings toward it have changed, I write another review and replace the last one.
Who are your favorite actors (♂)?
Dane DeHaan, Eddie Redmayne, Emile Hirsch, Ethan Hawke, Ezra Miller, Gael García Bernal, J.K. Simmons, James Dean, Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Michael Fassbender, Michael Pitt, Paul Newman, River Phoenix, Steve Buscemi, Timothée Chalamet, Tom Hardy, Tommy Lee Jones, Willem Dafoe, William H. Macy
Who are your favorite actors (♀)?
Cate Blanchett, Frances McDormand, Hilary Swank, Jessica Chastain, Jodie Foster, Julianne Moore, Léa Seydoux, Laura Linney, Meryl Streep, Naomie Harris, Nicole Kidman, Patricia Clarkson, Rachel Weisz, Rosario Dawson, Sandra Bullock, Susan Sarandon, Tilda Swinton, Uma Thurman, Viola Davis
Who are your favorite directors?
Alfred Hitchcock, David Fincher, Hayao Miyazaki, James Wan, Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Jeff Nichols, Ken Loach, Lars von Trier, Louis Malle, Luc Dardenne, Martin Scorsese, Paul Thomas Anderson, Pedro Almodóvar, Quentin Tarantino, Richard Linklater, Stanley Kubrick, Steven Spielberg, Terrence Malick, Todd Solondz, Werner Herzog, Wes Craven, Woody Allen
Do film critics need to know about film history?
My quick answer is, “Of course they do.” I don’t consider myself a movie critic; I am a film reviewer. And there is a difference. Still, in order to be able to discuss film in a knowledgeable way, one has to know the history (and sometimes communicate or cite the relevant history) so that a review or criticism can be put into context.
The same applies to science. I read books about the history of science. Yes, on one level, I highly enjoy it. I think it’s thrilling and there are times when I am inspired by what I come across. But because it is what I do, that it is my field, it is paramount that I know about certain historical figures, their discoveries, what they did wrong, what did they right, and the implications or applications of their work to the technologies that we take for granted today.
I think that if you are someone with a passion, whether it be movies or science or something else, it is your responsibility to be knowledgable. You don’t have to know everything. That would be impossible. But it is important that you are a person that you yourself would take advice from.