Author: Jonathan Miller

Reel Q Film Festival: Interview with Mitchell Leib

Reel Q , the Pittsburgh LGBT Film Festival, is currently in progress and celebrating its twenty-ninth year of showcasing gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered writers, directors, actors, and their work. Featured by Pittsburgh Magazine as as the best way to sample films from various cultures, the Reel Q festival continues to be a staple of the Pittsburgh cultural and cinematic experience. Located at the Harris Theater in Pittsburgh’s beloved Cultural District, the festival runs all this week with closing night being Saturday, Oct. 18. I was fortunate enough to sit down with Reel Q organizer and Pittsburgh Lesbian and...

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Colliding at the Top: Perfectly Timed Pairings of Actor and Director

Last week, we here at Audiences Everywhere discussed our all-time favorite movie trailers. This came on the heels of the release of the Interstellar full-length theatrical trailer. The buzz surrounding this movie is palpable. And it’s easy to understand the hype considering the film marks the convergence of an actor and a director who are both enjoying a historic upward trend from a career perspective. After The Prestige, The Dark Knight Trilogy, and Inception, Nolan is a can’t-miss director, and McConaughey is riding a year’s worth of hits that include Dallas Buyers Club, Mud, and True Detective, His turns in each of these works not only generated high praise and awards, but the performances were so deserving of praise that no one even blinked or called into question when he thanked himself in his Oscar acceptance speech.  So now these unstoppable forces converge, at the right time, on a movie poised to be both a mega-blockbuster and an award season contender. Seems like an ideal scenario, and that got me thinking. When has this happened before, and what were the results? As stirring and powerful as the trailer for Interstellar makes the movie seem, it’s really the strength of Nolan’s last decade and  McConaughey’s last year that makes this feel like a recipe for success. Nolan has certainly enjoyed similar success by way of casting the best actors in the...

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Father’s Day Reflections: My Second Chance at a First Favorite Movie

So, we all like movies.  Where do you think that came from?  Did you watch (and become subsequently ruined by) the movie Bambi as a child?  Did your parents not allow viewing of movies or TV, leaving you to stumble upon Die Hard one weekend on network TV at your neighbor’s house and realize you were growing up in a cult?  Regardless of all the other brainwashing you received as a child, you were no doubt exposed to movies or television at some point during your childhood.  Unless you grew up in the very early 20th century, you had...

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5 Failed Tough-Guy Lines

I consider myself an expert on badass movie one-liners for one reason:  I’m a pacifist.  Every day in my normal existence, I encounter instances in which I wish I could come up with an on-the-spot quip of strength, brevity, and intimidation.   In my imagination, I roll through the office like Snake Plissken, leaving a cloud of awesome in my wake.  Say some meeting is taking way too much time.  My impulse tells me I should hit em with “I’ll be back” and bail to the strip club.   Or half the office is mad at me because I...

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9 Great Movie Pranks for April Fool’s Day

We all love a good practical joke.  Even our earliest scholars and authors have recounted tales of playful tomfoolery.  The art of pranking has become much more prevalent since methods of mass-communication have evolved.  Matter of fact, one of the first pony express telegraphs ever sent was a simple note: “Suck It.”  It was this act that spawned the phrase “Don’t shoot the messenger.”  Maybe. In more recent times, the great Orson Welles sent widespread panic to the whole nation with his iconic War of the Worlds radio broadcast.  Despite being fooled millions of ways and millions of times,...

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Wet Hot American Summer

Overview: Wet Hot American Summer follows a group of counselors and campers during a crazy final day of summer camp in 1981. USA Films; 2001; Rated R; 97 min. A New Way:  Well, actually nothing in this movie is new.  This is a pretty standard parody, so standard that it’s almost a parody of a parody (we’ve all watched Meatballs).  So, there isn’t anything groundbreaking here.  Do we really have to expect that out of a comedy though?  I was introduced to Wet Hot American Summer without any prior knowledge of the movie’s existence.  I am a child of the 90’s and a huge fan of MTV’s The State. Matter of fact, The State was my introduction to sketch comedy and opened the door for my discovery of milestone works like Monty Python’s Flying Circus and eventually, my all-time favorite, Kids in the Hall.  The creators of The State, David Wain and Michael Showalter, penned the script for Wet Hot American Summer.  You can see the influence these sketch comedy giants had on this movie, with certain scenes playing out in Python-esque irreverence.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not putting Wain and Showalter on the same footing as Monty Python, but the influence is strong enough to amuse fans of any flavor of irreverent sketch comedy. It is, and it isn’t:  Wanna know what works in this movie?  Well,...

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Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace

Overview: The narrative beginning of the Star Wars saga, two Jedi Knights are embroiled in a conflict between the questionable Trade Federation and the diplomatic planet of Naboo. Lucasfilm; 1999; Rated PG; 136 Minutes. I Have a Bad Feeling About This: When you hear someone talk about this movie, they will undoubtedly get to a point where they vent their absolute hate and frustration with Jar Jar Binks, and it will likely come on pretty quickly. This character’s presence permeates every single conversation about Phantom Menace (and now seems to be a scar on the face of the entire...

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Blue Velvet

Overview:  A meek and curious college student finds himself embroiled in a life-threatening mystery that will change his perception of reality.  DeLaurentiis Entertainment Group; 1986; Rated R; 120 minutes. Innocence Lost:  After the commercial and critical failure of Dune (1984), director David Lynch produced an original work that incorporates his dark and atmospheric cinematic trademarks.  Blue Velvet centers on Jeffrey (presented modestly by Kyle MacLachlan), a well-mannered and inquisitive college student who is home to tend to a family illness.  The location is Lumberton, NC, a suburban utopia on the surface, the perfect example of small-town USA.  Jeffrey has...

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The Fountain

Overview: Darren Aronofsky weaves together a tale of love, mortality, and obsession in a time frame that stretches over a millennium. Warner Bros. Pictures; 2006; Rated PG-13; 96min. The Fountain of Youth: For thousands of years there have been stories of people searching for the Fountain of Youth, the mystical fountain with restorative healing powers.  In modern times, the search continues, but under the realization that the “Fountain of Youth” is more likely found within a lotion or prescription medication.  Aronofsky’s The Fountain is concerned with the eternal hope for found immortality.  True Love: The movie follows Tomás, Tom...

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