Why do you go to the movies? What makes you say "Okay" to a two hour rental from Red Box? Are you there to escape from reality with a Sci-Fi thriller or a Super Hero fantasy? Are you into historical films that give you an idea of where we've been and make you feel proud and brave? Are movies about community and family and you just want to enjoy a story with your friends or little ones? Are you into documentaries and the details and truth that make up a real life story? There's no wrong answer and there's no wrong way to watch a movie, you are there to enjoy a story, it's fun. I love watching movies and talking about them with friends and I have the opportunity to write about films for a wonderful organization out of St. Louis called ZekeFilm. The Following are some of my reviews of films, shorts and TV shows that have caught my attention. And keep a lookout for film viewings with our Ithaka Film Forum, they are fun opportunities to watch a movie with friends.
For a couple years I have been exploring the genre of horror films. (Big thanks and shout out to my friend and fellow Ithaka Board Member Tim Trouten for walking me through this!) I am a scaredy cat so there's nothing too frightening in these reviews, and there's a lot of fun recommendations for you to check out! Click on the links below to read my ZekeFilm articles on Horror Films For Beginners.
Back in 2015 I gave the horror genre a try. I started with The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari, Halloween, Army of Darkness, Night of the Living Dead, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and Evil Dead 2. This was a great group to start with, some fun, some classics and some 80's jumps that really got me ready for the fall season.
In 2016 I stepped up my game and decided to try and watch as many classics as I could stomach. The list this year included Psycho, The Birds, The Shining, The Thing, April Fool's Day, The Lost Boys, Nosferatu, The Fly, The Abominable Dr. Phibes, The Mummy, Frankenstein, Dawn Of The Dead and Bubba Ho-Tep. I recommend all but The Shining really scared me and left my brain disturbed for quite a while!
In 2017 I decided to revisit my childhood and face some long feared "demons" from my past. This year the list included Gremlins, Friday The 13th, Friday The 13th: Part 2, Creepshow, Fright Night and They Live. I scaled back from the year before and had a lot of fun with this set of over-the-top horror, comedy & sci-fi classics!
If you are a kid from the 80's then Netflix's Sci-Fi/Horror Juggernaut Stranger Things will take you back to your childhood with some serious feels! Everything gets a little strange (and creepy) when a local Jr. High boy, Will Byers, goes missing and his mom believes she can communicate with him through the Christmas lights in her home. Now in it's third season, we are watching the families deal with the aftermath of a parallel universe being uncontrollably connected to their small community of Hawkins Indiana. While this series isn't for the faint of heart, it's a intriguing tale told beautifully by the Duffer Brothers with some amazing performances. CLICK HERE to read my first reactions after watching season one, and note, there are spoilers.
Eternity Has No Door Of Escape is a fascinating art documentary of the history of Art Brut movement and the way it has influenced artist and psychiatric care all over the world. Director Arthur Borgnis gives us a timeline for the discovery of Art Brut. Through wonderful interviews with curators, collectors, museum directors and art historians we see the Art Brut movement go from experimental to being ridiculed by the Nazi Party to current day where it’s exhibited in fine art museums all over the world. CLICK HERE to read my review, and this is a great companion piece to the upcoming lecture and workshop Raw Creation in November.
Game of Thrones just finished up this spring to some negative reviews and gigantic numbers. The effect this show had on worldwide culture is remarkable to me. From folks naming their children Daenerys and Tyrion to Pinterest crafts on how to make your own real life dragon eggs, GOT became the water cooler topic every Monday morning. CLICK HERE to read an article I wrote on the series after watching the 7th season in 2017. I talk about some of the major themes in the show and how it can be a redeeming watch.
In 2018 the director Felix Van Groeningen gave us a devastating look at a meth addict. Based on the books by father and son David & Nic Sheff, Beautiful Boy is true story based on a son who's Meth Addiction is a roller coaster ride that effects everyone he cares about. This is a tough watch, especially if you have someone in your life that has struggled with addiction or if there is someone close to you that has mental health issues, so it's not for everyone. But with deeply honest performances by Timothee Chalamet, Steve Carell and Maura Tierney this is a film that breaks your heart, helps with perspective on drug addiction and will hopefully start conversations. CLICK HERE to read my entire review for Beautiful Boy.