A list of all the films that I've watched for the first time in 2014

 

Heaven is for Real

The Iceman

Hateship Loveship

The Invisible Woman

Grand Piano

Taxi Driver

Raging Bull

Rashomon

The Virgin Suicides

Capote

Linsanity

Hoop Dreams

Manhattan

Annie Hall

Mitt

The Talented Mr. Ripley

Flirting with Disaster

Joe

Inside Llewyn Davis

Hitchcock

Beasts of the Southern Wild

The Usual Suspects

Devil’s Pass

Shredder

Carnivorous

The Proposition

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Magnolia

Kill Bill Vol. 1

Kill Bill Vol. 2

The Room

Milius

Enemy

Dallas Buyers Club

The Blair Witch Project

The Blair Witch Project 2: Book of Secrets

Julie and Jack

Trance

Devil’s Knot

Blue Ruin

Draft Day

Adult World

Under the Skin

On The Road

Kill Your Darlings

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Neighbors

Citizen Kane

Ruby Sparks

The Railway Man

A Serious Man

On The Waterfront

Riddick (Unrated)

The Lego Movie

X-Men: Days of Future Past

The Monuments Men

Nebraska

Short Term 12

Blue Jasmine

Lone Survivor

Metallica: Through the Never

Blood Lake: Attack of the Killer Lampreys

George Washington

Piranha 3DD

Pig Hunt

Ghost Month

Election

Dark Ride

Dark House

Mimic

Fragile

Haunted Forest

Frankenfish

Hallow’s End

The Conjuring

Unhung Hero

Silent Night

Super

Anna Karenina

Girl Most Likely

V/H/S

V/H/S/2

Jodorowsky’s Dune

Haunter

Jackass Presents Bad Grandpa: 0.5

Monsters in the Woods

They Came Together

Beneath Loch Ness

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

The Tall Man

The Starving Games

Dark Skies

Snowpiercer

Texas Chainsaw

22 Jump Street

Stitches

It’s a Disaster

Zombie Ass: The Toilet of the Dead

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Noah

The East

The Angriest Man in Brooklyn

Divergent

Lucy

As I Lay Dying

Don Jon

Intruders

Child’s Play

Child of God

Overcoming Mountains

Without Perfect Answers

A Most Wanted Man

The Birdcage

Bernie

After.Life

My Soul to Take

Palo Alto

Life After Beth

Black Rock

Nymphomaniac: Volume I

Dead Poet’s Society

Boyhood

The Man Who Wasn’t There

Bait

Ragamuffin

Silent House

Are You Here

Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark

Bongo: Killer Clown

Nothing Left to Fear

Shark Night

The Trailer Park Boys: Countdown to Liquor Day

Good Morning Vietnam

The Bling Ring

The Longest Week

Nymphomaniac: Volume II

Sinister

Martha Marcy May Marlene

Tusk

Sin City: A Dame To Kill For

White Bird in a Blizzard

Gone Girl

7 Below

Fury

Friday the 13th 3D

Dear White People

Nightcrawler

Your Sister’s Sister

Krampus: The Christmas Devil

The Babadook

Insomnia

Interstellar

An American Ghost Story

What If

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

Dumb and Dumber To

One Hour Photo

Guardians of the Galaxy

The Skeleton Twins

Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger

Knights of Badassdom

Bronson

Sling Blade

The Truman Show

Cold In July

Obvious Child

Night Moves

Bad Words

The Rover

Foxcatcher

The Homesman

Birth

The Interview

Into the Woods 

Unbroken

2014 Best and Worst

The following are my best and worst rankings in accordance with all of the films that I've seen that were released in 2014:

Best Films:

1. Blue Ruin

2. Boyhood

3. Foxcatcher 

4. Birdman

5. Gone Girl

6. The Grand Budapest Hotel

7. Interstellar

8. Fury

9. Under the Skin

10. Cold In July

Worst Films:

1. Tusk

2. The Amazing Spider-Man 2

3. Divergent

4. Lucy

5. Life After Beth

6. Obvious Child

7. Child of God

Best Leading Performances:

1. Macon Blair: Blue Ruin

2. Steve Carell: Foxcatcher

3. Michael Keaton: Birdman

4. Ralph Fiennes: The Grand Budapest Hotel

5. Rosamund Pike: Gone Girl

6. Jake Gyllenhaal: Nightcrawler

7. Matthew Mcconaughey: Interstellar

8. Essie Davis: The Babadook

8. Phillip Seymour Hoffman: A Most Wanted Man

9. Scarlett Johansen: Under the Skin

10. Scott Haze: Child of God

Best Supporting Performances:

1. J.K. Simmons: Whiplash

2. Ethan Hawke: Boyhood

3. Edward Norton: Birdman

4. Logan Lerman: Fury

5. Patricia Arquette: Boyhood

6. Mark Ruffalo: Foxcatcher

7. Sam Shepherd: Cold In July

8. Tessa Thompson: Dear White People

Best Ensemble Performance

1. Fury

2. Boyhood

3. The Grand Budapest Hotel

4. Foxcatcher

Best Documentary: Jodorowsky's Dune

Best Screenplay: Blue Ruin

Best Directing: Boyhood

(Runner up: Foxcatcher)

Best Cinematography: Birdman

Best Editing: Gone Girl

Best Sound Design/Editing: Fury

Best Art Direction/Production Design: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best in Ability to Create a Consistently Significant and Challenging Mise-en-Scene: Blue Ruin

Up and Coming/Ones to Watch: Jeremy Saulnier - Writer, Director, Cinematographer - Blue Ruin 

Honorable Mention: Justin Simien - Writer, Director - Dear White People

Most Overrated Film of the Year : Guardians of the Galaxy

Most Underrated Film of the Year: The Homesman / Calvary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Projects Update

I'm almost ready to begin pre-production on "Grit" but have a few other things to accomplish first. I've been freelancing pretty consistently this summer, and I've spent most of my free time helping friends on projects of their own. I'm currently working with Dawson Burdick on a fantasy film that he's concocted, and I will be working as Director of Photography on Adrian Jackson's film, "Charlotte Bound" in August. Between these projects I'm preparing lesson plans for the Wilke's County Film camp that I'm teaching at in a week. 

To donate to the "Charlotte Bound" cause, you can visit: 

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/charlotte-bound/x/1231049

Also, I recently completed a script entitled, "The Fury of the Abused." I will be filming this after "Grit", and it will be my last film for 2014. I'm particularly excited about this film, as it blends narrative approach with experimental style. You can check out the full script at the corresponding page on this website. 

Thanks for reading!

Grit

As we reach the end of post-production on, "Inescapable", I am beginning pre-production on my next film, "Grit." I'm itching to get back into production on a period piece, and this film will take place during the Civil War. I find this time in American history to be quite fascinating. Brother fighting brother, families torn apart, and a nation divided on issues that still haunt us today.

My thesis film, "Where the Wolves Lie", also took place during this time, so I have a bit of experience in bringing the late 1800s to life. This film will require substantially less production, as it takes place during one conversation between a Confederate soldier and a Union soldier. The script is available to read on the "Trailers/Films/Scripts" page of this website. 

Here is the first visual for the film, and there will be a teaser in the coming weeks. 


New Film / Freelance

I've been drumming up from freelance work lately thanks to my good friend Jordan Ellis. We shot a memorial service today and will be collaborating on a music video for a client later this month. As much as I enjoy shooting and conceptualizing music videos, nothing quite satisfies my desire for film like working on a good ol' narrative piece. Since we wrapped on Blue Sunday and are in the middle of post-production, I decided to set a shoot date for my next directorial effort at the end of the month. The film is called, "Inescapable", and is another story from the mind of great actor, Todd Brown. He created Blue Sunday and has many other short scripts he's been wanting to film. He sent this one to me a couple of weeks ago, and I can't wait to see it come to life. It's an intense thriller with just one character, so this will be a new challenge for me. I won't reveal story details, but I will say that I'm going plant shopping next week, and I've never had to do that for pre-pro on a film. Attached is the first bit of conceptual art for the film, and I will continue to update this blog during production and post-production. 


Triangle Campus Film Festival Acceptance

Two of my films, "Where the Wolves Lie" and "The Deb-t" have been selected to screen at The Triangle Campus Film Fest. It's the inaugural year for this particular festival, and I am proud to be a part of it with two drastically different examples of my work. "Where the Wolves Lie" is the most dramatic film I've made, while "The Deb-t" is mostly an improvisational comedy. 

The festival will run from 7:00-9:00 p.m. on April 9th at The James B. Hunt Memorial Library on North Carolina State's campus. 

 

Manifesto Reflections Projections Film Festival Acceptance

Three of my films have been chosen to screen at this year's Manifesto Reflections Projections Film Festival. The festival is put on by The Art Institute of Charlotte, the school from which I earned my bachelor's degree. The festival will be held at McGlohon Theater at Spirit Square in Uptown Charlotte on Thursday, March 27th at 7:00 P.M. 

The following are the accepted films:

The Bishop Boys


Where the Wolves Lie (6 min. cut)

Young Athletes


You can watch all of these films on my Vimeo page. 

Thank you to all involved in the creation of these films. 


Best and Worst Films, Performances, and Creative/Technical Achievements of 2013

Films I wanted to see but haven't yet, and would no doubt factor in to my lists. In no particular order:

Philomena

Rush

Captain Phillips

Blue Jasmine

All Is Lost

Dallas Buyers Club

You're Next

(Unfortunately, I did not have the opportunity to see many documentaries or foreign films that were released this year. 'Gonna make a conscious effort next year.)

From what I watched this year, in ranking order:

Best Films:

1. Prisoners

2. Her

3. Mud

4. The Spectacular Now

5. 12 Years a Slave

6. The Place Beyond the Pines

7. Fruitvale Station

8. Spring Breakers

9.  Ain't Them Bodies Saints

10. The Kings of Summer

 

Worst Films:

1. Gravity

2. The Purge

3. Man of Steel

4. Only God Forgives

5. Crystal Fairy and the Magical Cactus

6. Now You See Me

7. Side Effects

8. This Is The End

9. Warm Bodies

10. The World's End

 

Best Director:

Steve McQueen - 12 Years a Slave. 'Nuff said. His ability to control an environment consisting of the most dynamic group of characters compiled on screen all year (Prisoners comes close to rivaling this) is unparalleled. Intense, grieving performances blend with photography in mesmerizing fashion at this film's high points, achieving emotions that can only be felt as a result of brilliant direction. I did have problems with this film's structure and some of the female performances. These are the only reasons why this film doesn't rank higher on my "best of" list.

Jeff Nichols (Mud) does come in a fairly close second here. He achieved a lot of what McQueen did, but it was hard for anyone to match McQueen's intensity this year.

 

Best Screenplay:

Mud/Prisoners - This is pretty much a toss up for me between these two films. If I was forced to choose, it would be Prisoners. Mud's length was a bit of a problem, and the final act seemed to lose some control of what the film established. Although Prisoners was lengthy as well, the subtext established within each character throughout the film felt appropriate at all times. Particularly in the film's final shot. 

 

Best Lead Performances, in ranking order:

1. Chiwetel Ejiofor - 12 Years a Slave

2. Matthew Mcconaughey - Mud

3. Jake Gyllenhaal - Prisoners

4. Brie Larson - Short Term 12

5. Michael B. Jordan - Fruitvale Station

6. Steve Coogan - Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa

(Wish there were more females here, but I haven't seen many of the films produced this year with particularly strong lead female performances.)

Best Supporting Performances, in ranking order:

1. Michael Fassbender - 12 Years a Slave 

2. Shailene Woodley - The Spectacular Now

3. Paul Dano - Prisoners

4. Woody Harrelson - Out of the Furnace

5. Ben Foster - Ain't Them Bodies Saints

6. James Franco  - Spring Breakers

7. Rooney Mara - Ain't Them Bodies Saints

Worst Performance: 

Jodie Foster - Elysium (The fact that she was allowed to do what she did speaks volumes about Neill Blomkamp as a director. I am a strong District 9 fan, but not only was Elysium utterly vapid, Jodie Foster was abysmal.)

Miscellaneous ------

Guilty Pleasure: Pacific Rim (I'm still surprised that Del Toro co-wrote this script, but, robots versus Dinolizards...)

Creative Achievement: Escape From Tomorrow (See this if you get the opportunity and research how they developed and produced the project. I attended the Fantastic Fest screening of this film and took part in the Q&A. Very enlightening.)

Technical Achievement: Only God Forgives (A textbook on telling a story through visual communication. If only there was a story to tell.)

Can't wait to see what they do next: Dane DeHaan - Shailene Woodley - Michael B. Jordan (Dane Dehaan hasn't been anything short of excellent in everything he's done since graduating from The North Carolina School of the Arts. Shailene Woodley has completely shaken off, "The Secret Life of the American Teenager", and Michael B. Jordan has taken his talents from, "Friday Night Lights" and cemented himself as a determined actor with stunning range.

Inaugural Bloggin'

Hello there! Writing is my favorite activity, thus I look forward to continually updating this page with any and all information in regards to my involvement with filmmaking. I'm sure at times I will fall into a Kevin Smith like trend of writing incredibly wordy, overly descriptive blog entries, thus I aim to stay on point and focused with the information that I relay on this page. 

Firstly, I love film. When I'm not working on a film related project I am reading about films and watching films. My obsessive love for film flourished around the age of sixteen. I played video games relentlessly as a teenager, always wondering "how" the stories I enjoyed so much came to life. Before college, I researched the gaming industry and discovered that a fair amount of mathematics were involved in developing games. Not for me. The less technical side of gaming development lay in the hands of concept artists and storyboard sketches. Not for me. I held no talents in these areas and decided to begin my undergraduate career at Appalachian State University with a focus in Electronic Media Broadcasting. I was primarily enrolled in general education courses during my time at App, and after a year decided to transfer to the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. I dedicated my time to earning a degree in English, the only traditional academic field that I had always really loved other than history. After a year of revisiting American literature and taking Technical Writing courses, my love for film and the curiosity of how script became image overpowered my desire for anything else academic. Thus, I transferred to The Art Institute of Charlotte, pursuing a Bachelor's of Arts degree in Filmmaking and Video Production. Three and a half years of film classes and hands on production experience lead me to now. I sit in a classroom participating in the last general education course that I will ever have to take as I type this inaugural blog entry. 

I graduate on December 12th, and am preparing myself for the rest of my life, so to speak. I am currently interning on a feature film and preparing pre-production on my next short. I am dedicated to film and genuinely look forward to what each day in this creative universe will be like for me. I hope this entry was an educational introduction, and I will continue to post not just about current happenings, but about the past and future as well.