New Year’s Resolutions: Movie List for 2015

For me, movie resolutions are the hardest because I feel like I have such a long way ahead. That isn’t to say I’m not excited to introduce myself to new movies, but I do find it challenging to “keep up.” Which brings me to my first resolution for watching movies in 2015 . . .


Watch Movies at My Own Pace

For those of you who watch a lot of movies, have you ever felt like you can’t keep up with the rest of the movie blogging community? Perhaps it is just me, but I regularly struggle to “keep up” with everyone else. That isn’t to say that I need to see as many movies as the rest of you, but there is this feeling of falling behind when many other movie bloggers see films at pre-screenings, film events, and opening weekends. I say this to resolve that I will try to start watching movies more at my own pace, even if that means posting reviews a week or two later than the average viewer/blogger.


Make Progress on My Shame List

I started my own Shame List last September after being inspired by other bloggers who admitted to the Internet that there were a great many classics they have yet to see. So I made my own list of thirty-one titles of popular movies ranging from 1931 to 1999 that I’d like to see. I saw three of those last year (averaging one per month), and now my list is down to twenty-eight. I’d like to set my goal at crossing at least ten more of those movies off my list in 2015.


Start My First Blindspot Series

I realized how much I was missing out on classic films when I noticed multiple other movie bloggers were posting about their own Blindspot Series. I have wanted to start my own for a while, but the right opportunity hasn’t been present until now. I want the goal to be attainable, so copying what many of my film friends have done, I am starting my own list of twelve movies to be featured on my very own Blindspot Series. This series will be different from my own Shame List, because although I took recommendations for that list, I decided on the first twenty films myself.

Similarly to what I did with my Reading Resolutions for 2015, I’ll be taking only recommendations for this list, with one exception. I’m making Singing in the Rain (1952) my January film selection since it has been recommended to me more times than I can count (shout-out to my friend Cynthia who wrote out a list of movies I needed to see a couple years ago, making sure to emphasize that I see Singing in the Rain). I’d like to compile this list by the end of the month so I am set for the rest of the year. I’m all for new ideas in this series since I really haven’t seen many classic films, so include your suggestions in the comments section below. I will choose the eleven most popular choices, so long as I get at least eleven film recommendations.

2.-12. Your Recommendations


See All Films Nominated for Multiple Categories at the 2015-2016 Oscars

This was an unwritten goal of mine for the 2014-2015 season. I’m still working towards it, especially considering that the list of Oscar nominees hasn’t been released yet. I agree that it is a bit of a popularity contest. But the take-away for me is that I get to see a lot of great movies, regardless of whether they “earn” a golden statue or not. Below are the categories that I’d like to see all of the nominees before the award ceremony in February of 2016.

5. Best Picture Category

4. Best Actor/Actress Categories

3. Best Supporting Actor/Actress Categories

2. Best Original/Adapted Screenplay Categories

1. Best Soundtrack Category

After considering all of those hefty goals for this year, I’m excited (and a little nervous) to move forward into unchartered territory for All Eyes On Screen. Thank you for all of your support in commenting, liking, and interacting on the site . . . it has been the greatest encouragement to me, and I’m thankful to count so many of you as friends in my life.

Stay tuned for a final New Years Resolution post tomorrow, this time on blogging. Next week I’ll be posting about the Best and the Worst of 2014 for books, TV shows, and movies I’ve read and seen in 2014.

What are your movie resolutions for 2015?

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Roger Ebert, Film Criticism, and Writing

I had no plans to blog about film criticism or review, about Roger Ebert, or about blogging. But then again, I read that today is Roger Ebert’s 70th birthday, and thought I ought to pay the man homage in the only way I know how: talk about film criticism.

Gary Susman wrote a fascinating article about Ebert on MovieFone, titled “Roger Ebert at 70: Did He Save or Destroy Film Criticism?” (I highly recommend you movie buffs read it.) And instead of regurgitating the article to you here, there are a couple interesting points that Susman brings up that I’d like to discuss. He inserts Ebert only part of the time, primarily talking about how film criticism and review differ, whether film criticism is dead, and essentially, the roots of film criticism, with Ebert’s almighty thumb heading it–and now all his fingers typing away to keep the film criticism wheel turning.

Susman does all of us a favor and differentiates between film review and criticism. Take a look:

“There’s a lot of confusion over the difference between reviewing and criticism, and what each ought to be, or that there even is a difference. It’s a distinction that confuses even many critics and reviewers. One way to look at it is this: reviewing is a consumer service, directed toward people who haven’t seen the film yet, telling them whether or not it’s worth their money. Criticism is an analysis of a movie for people who’ve already seen it, part of the never-ending conversation that exists about each film. Reviewing is based on the (perceived) taste of your audience or readership; criticism is based on your own taste. “

I agree with the unfortunate thought that Susman makes on criticism in general today: it’s based on one’s own taste. It’s a popular thing to have an opinion and to be independently-minded today. Being learned and educated on a topic isn’t nearly as popular. Many readers and consumers today don’t seek enough counsel, review the options, or consider the possibility that words or products are(n’t) accurate today, depending on the source of the words or product.

I know I’m preaching to the choir when I say this, but perhaps the choir could use a little preaching once in a while. My opinion and your opinion don’t lack importance, but rather, are often based too much on the importance in which we place upon our own opinions. Each of us is a little voice in this loud and crazy world called the “Internet,” and I daresay that your voice and my voice do matter and have value. My point, however, is that is all that our voices have become today: opinions. An opinion about this movie, an opinion about the music, the acting, the visuals in this or that film.

And I would believe that to be a neutral thing. It’s neither bad nor good that an opinion is just that: an opinion. But when does a person’s opinion become just another voiceless blog in the Internet crowd, and does it matter whether it attains to be more than that?

An old friend and I used to joke about how many views we would get on our sites. He has an entirely different site than I have–a photography one, and he doesn’t score nearly as many views on average as I do. But how many of my views are from search engines, and how many are from actual people? I brag on my film blog community–it’s the first time I think I’ve ever had a voice on the Internet. He expresses himself via photos, while I use words on a specific topic: film. What I’ve learned is that in the beginning, being heard is far more important than influence. Because in order to influence at all, you first have to be heard.

Roger Ebert would never be such a huge voice of influence, previously on TV and now on the Internet, until he got his start at age 16 as a copywriter, living in an entirely different time and world than what today’s world has become. And not only us lowly film bloggers aspire to write about film the way he does. So do the other critics on Rotten Tomatoes. Ya know, the ones we’ve never heard of, but tend to grab attention when they disagree with the mass and purposefully write some cynical review in order to gain an audience? Susman lays it out.

“Unfortunately, what the inevitable copycats took away were the elements that made for good spectacle on TV: the pithy verdict and the heated rhetoric. Pretty soon, movie reviewing on television — and in print — was something anyone with an opposable thumb could do. Audiences became lazy, demanding no more of their reviewers than thumbs-up or thumbs-down. So newspaper editors and TV news producers filled reviewer jobs with people who lacked Siskel and Ebert’s qualifications or love of movies. (You can’t imagine news bosses hiring political pundits or sports commentators just on the basis of gushing fandom or snark, but that’s often how they hire movie reviewers.) Even in magazines that prided themselves on the literary quality of their prose, reviewing and criticism became acts of performance, meant to show off the writer’s erudition and wit rather than to engage the movie on its own terms.”

Speaking for myself and the friends I have made on the blogosphere, I believe I speak in truth when I say that we write because we love the movies. We love the analytical process of peeling apart each element of a film and putting it back together again, the creative process of understanding how each part of a film makes it a whole, and the enjoyably lazy process of escaping into a film and not thinking a single intelligent thought for a full two hours.

We notice the little details and appreciate the inspiration books have had on film. We make fun of the Kristen Stewarts and Katherine Heigls and we never forget the scenes in the movies that make us hold back a few tears so our friends don’t think we’re weird for crying. We love movies because they’re complicated and full of complexity, and at their foundation, are just simple entertainment that are fun to watch.

I’ve watched Ebert on his TV show since I can remember, and when he lost his ability to talk, I arduously followed his regular column on the Chicago Sun-Times. I still do, probably like many of you. Ebert believes that we live in “the golden age of movie critics.” Everything has moved on to blogging. When I first read that, I thought, Oh no, that must be a bad thing. Ebert doesn’t think so. Perhaps because he’s found some film blogs out there worth his time. In his article about this golden age, he praises many of the young critics he has found. In fact, he even offers great advice, first given by a friend of his named David Thompson, about whether or not a person with a love and interest in film, ought to pursue a career in it. Both Thompson and Ebert reached the same conclusion, summed up in one line:

“Don’t train for a career–train for a life.”

I’ve also often read and heard the popular cliche that you must write what you know. WordPress offers lots of cute little ditties after you publish a post, often some general and witty quotes about writing. I don’t remember the exact quote, but I do remember the gist of one of the sayings went along the lines of, “the greatest ideas for writing come to you not when you’re sitting down at your desk, but when you’re out living.”

I couldn’t agree more. I started blogging way back when because I loved writing. I didn’t know what I wanted to write about then, so my posts were much more limited. Even on days when I’m facing a little bit of writer’s block, I’m assured that tomorrow or next week, I’ll have something to write about, because the film world keeps turning. It doesn’t stop. And I love that aspect about writing and blogging as well. There will always be something to write about. There will always be something to blog about. And when I need inspiration, I turn to my friends’ blogs, and I read Roger Ebert’s blog, and wonder if someday I’ll be able to write to the level he does. I guess it’s not so important to be able to write like one of the world’s top film critics. As a writer, as long as you write about what you love, what else matters?

Support an Independent Film

Hey all! I’ve never had a post like this one before.

I wanted to take the opportunity to spread the news about an independent film, but who better to tell you than the filmmaker herself?

Before you check out the video, a couple things about Melanie:

  • Melanie was a college roommate of mine for one semester. She isn’t a stranger.
  • Melanie shares the same passion for making film that many of you have for writing about it.
  • Melanie already has some experience in the field, and among her experience, research, and understanding of film, I think she has great potential to create film.

Watch the video and get all the info on Melanie’s film, The Lilith Necklace, here.

Melanie never asked me to post about her project, much less to promote it. I chose to do this because I’m a big fan of film and even in this small, insignificant way, I’d like to lend a supporting hand to another person who loves film. You, too, can help support Melanie and her film, The Lilith Necklace, by giving as little as $5, or just by sharing the project with other fellow film friends.

Melanie’s also a blogger! If you’d like to learn more about her, check out her blog Grassroots Movement.

Thanks for reading! Do you know anyone who has a film he’s working on? Feel free to share it!

Backstage Spotlight: The Overlapping Themes of Hugo, The Artist, and Midnight in Paris

Having finally seen Hugo this past weekend, I was once again brought into France via the movies–this time, a Parisian world, namely a train station, built by Martin Scorsese. After seeing it, I noticed that Midnight in ParisHugo, and The Artist all share some overlapping themes that made 2011 film feel very full circle for me. These are the similar ideas/themes I gleaned from watching the three films:

French Influence/Setting

I started to think about how France majorly influenced some of the biggest pictures of 2011. The ArtistMidnight in Paris, and Hugo–all were nominated for Best Picture. The Artist took the big prize (and then some other big ones) without breaking a sweat, Woody Allen was once again MIA to pick up his Best Original Screenplay trophy, and Hugo ran away with five technical awards at the Oscars.

Midnight in Paris is perhaps the most self-explanatory in terms of relating to France. It was filmed in Paris! The City of Lights was highlighted most in Midnight in Paris of the three films. Castor over at Anomalous Material wrote this great article that acts as a travel guide for many of the locations where Midnight in Paris was filmed.

While Hugo was actually filmed in London, Scorsese built a Parisian world that was often viewed through the eyes of Hugo, sitting in a clock tower in a train station. Multiple shots of the Eiffel Tower sitting in the distance appeared throughout the film, although the majority of film took place on a train station set. Scorsese celebrates Georges Melies, the early French filmmaker and most notably the film, A Trip to the Moon. You can learn more about how Hugo celebrates Melies in this Star News article.

The Artist has become one of the great film feats of France to take place in America, having won most of the big awards, Best Picture at the Academy Awards sitting at the top. Other French actors and films have received accolade, but The Artist triumphed in showcasing relatively new director Michel Hazanavicius, French actors Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo, and French film composer Ludovic Bource. Jerry Garrett wrote a well-researched article about the different LA locations where The Artist was filmed and how some related to old Hollywood or were specifically chosen by Hazanavicius for inspired reasons.

Love Letters

It’s fitting that Paris is dubbed the “City of Love”–the theme of each of the three films had the idea of “love” well-integrated into them, each acting as a love letter of sorts: Midnight in Paris, a love letter to the past and to the city; Hugo, a love letter and homage to film; The Artist, a love letter to art and expression, and a well-developed underlining theme of love itself.

Not only was Midnight in Paris a masterpiece and a beauty to view as an audience, but the film elicited charm, bringing the early 1900s Paris to life, and showing the origination of some of the most celebrated artists and writers in the city. The “starving writer” Gil, seeks solace in a discovered early 1920s Parisian world filled with the writers and artist who inspire him. French culture abounds, taking center stage throughout the film.

The brilliant Martin Scorsese decided to share one of his loves with the world–a film about film. There’s a scene when Hugo and Isabelle sit in a library and open a book that talks about early film, silent film, and the first film made–about a train. Scorsese really thanks the past films that served as both mentors and inspiration for Hugo and his other films.

While Hugo hits the love of silent film, The Artist puts its complete focus on it, not only being a silent film itself, but telling the story of a forgotten silent film star in the rise of talkies. In the middle of the film emerges a love story that starts off innocently, transitioning to Peppy extending a saving grace to George, and then ultimately finds the two dancing alongside one another in the end.

Lost, But Not Forgotten

Each of the three films also press the issue of forgetting–Midnight in Paris reminds us to not live in the past, but also not to forget it and how it influences us today; Hugo tells the story of a forgotten filmmaker, and in the process delves into early film and how it got its start; The Artist takes the most personal route of the three, showcasing a silent actor’s life unravel as the world not only forgets silent film, but ultimately forgets him and moves on to “make room for the young.”

Woody Allen really plays a trick on us–the lesson Gil learns in Midnight in Paris is that you need to live in the present, that the past belongs in the past, and that you have to make decisions now and learn to live in the now. The trick is that the film also serves as a reminder of what was, and what past art and culture has done for the future. I viewed Midnight in Paris as Woody Allen’s way of saying, “Paris, art, beauty of the past–the world may have forgotten you, but I haven’t. Thank you for paving the way and opening it up for today’s artists. You continue to inspire me.”

Hugo shows the origination of film and brings to live a forgotten filmmaker and master of the art. It celebrates a life that was all built on a risk one day, turned to a dazzling career, and then seemingly forgotten, being shoved to the side with the coming of war, his films and effects destroyed in an impulsive act of sorrow and rage. Hugo journeyed back to the roots of film to share the beginning of one of the greatest mediums of time.

Yes, forgotten filmmakers and stars have “made room for the young,” and have also been left out to dry. George Valentin is a forgotten silent film star–along with the medium, watching as the world shifts its eyes toward younger stars and ears toward talkies. Valentin grasps onto what stardom and life he has left, trying everything in his power to get the world to divert its gaze just long enough to remember that silent film is still powerful, beautiful, and worthwhile. What do you do when the world forgets you? I think Michel Hazanavicuis answered that with bringing us The Artist in the twenty-first century.

What themes did you notice in the Best Picture nominees? Did you pick up any other common themes that I missed in these films?

Change Coming to All Eyes On Screen

Hi all! It’s been almost TWO WEEKS since I last posted! Miss me yet? It’s good to be back.

With a new year, I’m happy to be announcing some new changes to AEOS. But first,

A look back at 2011 . . .

  • First year of AEOS
  • Viewership went way up, specifically in October
  • The 5 posts/week trend started
  • Subscribers increased
  • Most popular post in terms of viewership was Women in the Director’s Chair
  • New movie friends were made!

Ultimately, the purpose of me writing AEOS isn’t to increase viewership or comments, but really to just express my opinions on movies and the many different aspects that accompany early and current film. It is great, however, to see upward movement for the blog. I’ve really enjoyed making some new friends on other far superior movie sites and blogs, and I really look up to many of you for your incredible writing style and educated opinion of various movies. I’ve learned so much about movies in 2011, and I have no doubt that 2012 will open up even more possibilities for this blog as well as teach me more about film as I continue to read many of your sites and discuss movies with you.

What’s in store for 2012?

While I’m still configuring a few new aspects I plan to employ on the site, let me share with you what I have decided on:

  • The 5 posts/week trend will continue year long.
  • “Recast Edition” will be a new type of post popping up on occasion. This new type of post will feature a movie recast with actors I think could have filled roles just as well or possibly better than a current cast.
  • Friday posts will now always be featuring a new trailer for an upcoming movie.
  • There will be at least one “AEOS Movie Review” post every week. This won’t always be a new movie that recently comes out, but as often as possible, I will be aiming to stay with the times and post about current movies.
  • One of the most exciting features for me to share is a new type of post called “Backstage Spotlight,” the name taken from my personal blog, ((backstage_spotlight)). This type of post will headline everything from bios on a film composer, to a film score review, to 10 facts about an actor, to an interview with a director. Any type of movie news that isn’t taking place on screen could possibly be mentioned in one of these type of posts.

To summarize –

Expect . . . 5 posts a week, one for each weekday; a new trailer every Friday; a movie review every week; occasional “Recast Edition” and “Backstage Spotlight” posts.

Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Let’s bring it in 2012!

Urban Dictionary Defines “Movie Snobs”: How Do I Add Up?

What makes a person a “movie snob”? Urban Dictionary defines one as the following:

The way you can tell if someone is a movie snob is by asking them what they like to do in their spare time. If they say “movies” they are normal people. If they say “film” they are movie snobs. Movie snobs are the kind of people who go see a movie like Spiderman and then whine that it’s unrealistic because there’s no way a real person could get bit by a spider and be able to fly from building to building.

I love this definition–it cracks me up. UD has a way of blatantly giving an opinionated description of something/someone. OK, let’s break apart that definition and get down to the nitty gritty here.

Terms: “Film” vs. “Movie” (1/1)

So according to that definition, I’m a snob because I use the word “film” interchangeably with “movie,” although I learned in film class (come on, it was called Intro to Film!) that movies should actually be referred to as movies, a.k.a., moving pictures (or motion pictures) because film reels are no longer used, similarly to photography, where digital cameras are all that are used anymore instead of old school cameras with film that needs to be developed.

Spiderman: Unrealistic? (1/2)

According to this part of the definition, I am not a snob (“Phew!” *wipes brow*). According to my film (oops . . . did it again!) teacher, and something I have always believed but never have had quite the right words to express it, is that movies are all about context. Movies, or film (forget it, I’m going to use the term! Dang it!!) is an art. It’s an expression. While the thought or idea may be original, the means (or methods) with which those originals thoughts and ideas are brought about to be shown are not original. They are recycled, and often are just imitations. There’s certainly nothing wrong with this. My point? Stop expecting film to be 100% realistic–it’s not. And often, it purposefully leaves out realistic concepts for very specific purposes, such as comedy, appearance, or dramatic effect.

Although, I have met many people who are somewhere near both extremes of the realism argument. The “it just isn’t real enough for me” side often like movies based off true stories, or dramas. No problem there. The issue with their thinking, however, is that they think less of movies that are based off ideas of fantasy, fiction book-to-film adaptations, or movies derived from original concepts (such as Inception). Obviously, this is a stereotype, and many times this is just a person’s preference.

The other side is far over into the world of “I’ve seen every Star Wars/Batman/Anime movie/episode and you’re an idiot if you don’t know all the details and share my opinion.” Again, this is an extreme view, and more than likely, most people don’t quite fit that bill, but are closer to that side of the spectrum than the other. These people usually have seen every version of certain said movies/series/trilogies and look down on those of us silly enough to not have clocked in enough couch/screen time into the same series.

No matter how you look at it, everyone has their preferences–what they prefer to see, what they think is worth their time, and what they consider “good” while the rest is “bad.” Movies is a such a subjective topic, from the general idea itself right down to the specific details of a particular film.

The Other Part of the Definition That Isn’t Included Above

You can usually find movie snobs posting 1000 messages a minute on imdb.com trying to make themselves look smarter than other people and telling everyone else they are using bad grammar. Chances are they are in their mid-20s, don’t have jobs, and live in their mom’s basement. They might try to make independent movies but don’t realize that everyone else thinks their movies are terrible.

IMDB.com (1/3)

Perhaps this is sad in the eyes of film geeks, but I do not have an IMDB account. So perhaps I remain unscathed from UD’s “movie snob” definition at this point too. But I do think IMDB’s site is a great resource and I use it often (also, a shoutout to Rotten Tomatoes, which is one of my favorite movie sites). I do have friends who have IMDB accounts and don’t think anything less of them. I guess I just haven’t met anyone who does that . . . at least I haven’t met anyone like that yet!

Bad Grammar (2/4)

Uh-oh. Being an editor, I might as well say this qualifies me as a snob, even in terms of UD’s definition. What I will say is that unless something is genuinely funny due to a grammatical mistake, I do my best to never point it out. I will say that often my opinion of someone can be lessened when he/she writes a post FILLED with grammatical and spelling mistakes. I do realize, however, that no on is immune to making grammatical mistakes, especially those who post often on blogs or sites. No one’s perfect when it comes to writing, and I understand that. It does crack me up that UD includes correcting other people’s grammar in their definition of “movie snob.”

Living Predicament (2.5/5)

Yes, I am in my mid-20s. But no, I do have a job–2 actually. And a third one if you count self-hire (teach piano lessons/ tutor kids). And no, I do not live in my mom’s basement–I live in my own apartment that I pay rent for each month. So in this sense, I do not live the life of UD’s “movie snob.”

Independent Filmmaker Amateur? (3/6)

I also pass with flying colors on this mark, although I almost rather deal with the snob part in this one. I’ve never attempted to make my own independent film. I’ve had interest in it, as well as started writing some scripts for ones, but nothing has ever come through. I have upcoming big plans to start in the future, though! The irony of this point is that although oftentimes beginning indie filmmakers’ work isn’t that great, it’s typically not a secret to that person. When someone starts out, clearly their best work doesn’t usually happen at the very beginning. You have to make mistakes to learn how to be better at something. That’s my take on it!

My Total Score is 3/6 = 50% Movie Snob on the Urban Dictionary Scale

How do you add up on this scale? Are you what Urban Dictionary defines as a “movie snob”?