Welcome to my newsletter! Every month you’ll receive this update featuring all of my writing, and my favorite film and television watches.
One bit of advice: Never lose your passport. I misplaced mine on a flight back from a film festival back in November, and didn’t notice my grave error for a couple of weeks. I filed a claim with the airline (which took a month to process) and they found nothing. And then I had to gather up my materials to get a new one. Did you know that if you lose your passport you can’t simply renew it? You’ve got to apply for a brand new one as though you’ve never had a passport (and the wait times to receive one are extremely long , right now. So apply sooner rather than later). Needless to say, it’s been a long ordeal that finally came to an end over a week ago when I received my brand new passport. And not a minute too soon because I had to book some flights for a couple of events I hope I can publicly announce soon.
In the meantime, between fitful panic attacks, I actually had a surprisingly productive month! I worked on major listicles, did a few think pieces, remembered a Hollywood legend, and did an interview with an acting great. So here’s everything I published in April:
This month, I also saw quite a few movies stemming from other work I took: I served on the Narrative Features jury for Florida Film Festival, guest lectured for a class at DePaul University, and helped program the Chicago Critics Film Festival, which is starting in a few days on May 5th (be on the lookout for my festival preview!!). In that time, I watched 52 films. A bit down from my usual mark, but between working my day job and crawling up in a corner, what can you do? As always, you can follow all of my film watching by subscribing to my Letterboxd. But here is a selection of my favorite watches:
13 Going on 30 - One of’s favorites sees Jenna Rink, a 13-year old who desperately wants to be accepted by the "cool" girls who bully her, wishes herself to be 30-years-old (played by Jennifer Garner) in a rom-com that has big Romy and Michele's High School Reunion and an adorable Mark Ruffalo to boot.
A Bronx Tale - Robert DeNiro’s directorial debut about a teen making the local Italian gangsters led by a refined Chazz Palminteri his idols, borrows much from Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas. But this coming-of-age tale, from its sweetness to its picture of a colorful neighborhood, most reminded me of Spike Lee’s work.
An Unmarried Woman - The writer/director Paul Mazursky’s sex-positive, feminist film remains ahead of its time as Jill Clayburgh lights up the screen in the role of a wife who from tragedy, the disintegration of her marriage, finally begins to live for herself.
Air - Though I do have issues with this Air Jordan origin story, I can’t deny that Ben Affleck and Matt Damon remain an entertaining double-act.
Anguish - I watched Bigas Luna’s surreal psychological horror film for Aaron Hillis’ monthly movie night, and lord was I blown away. The recently departed Michael Lerner plays a serial killing optometrist with mommy issues in a movie within a movie that’s playing within a movie theater where a potential killer lurks. Gory and fun, Lerner, a tremendous actor, is simply electrifying (we lost a good one in him).
Beowulf - Misunderstood at the time of its release, Robert Zemeckis’ reimagining of the classic epic about an ultra masculine hero is a smart subversion of the genre and features pitch-perfect casting with Angelina Jolie as the irresistible temptress of hypocritical men.
Lady Snowblood: I recently rewatched Lady Snowblood at my day job, it just happened to be on in the background, and this story about a woman swordsman seeking revenge for the murder of her parents still slays in its use of color, composition, and buckets of blood.
Modern Times - Another random rewatch makes me the bearer of some breaking news: Charlie Chaplin is still hilarious.
Scarface - I had watched Howard Hawks’ gangster classic years ago, but recently rewatched it for a DePaul class. And I just love how gleefully violent it is and how intoxicatingly over-the-top Paul Muni is as Tony (somehow even Al Pacino couldn’t totally match his exuberance).
The Sixth Child - I was quite surprised by how invested I was in Léopold Legrand’s narrative about a frantic woman and her unmoored husband desperate to take advantage of the dire finances of a impoverished family who are expecting a baby they can’t financially support. At points, the psychology in this felt like what Pieces of A Woman wanted.
54 films! I still need to clone myself to keep up with you, Robert! Also, losing a passport is the worst. I think mine fell out of my little handbag in a movie theatre in Fort Lauderdale when I was a kid, and I didn't discover what I did until I was on my way to MIA. I still remember that feeling of hopelessness.
excited to watch lady snow blood and for the critics festival!