First Films

  • In the grand finale of our “Debut Films” series, Cargill and I don our black suits, gather at the Junkfood Diner, and discuss the cultural and cinematic impact of Quentin Tarantino‘s explosive first feature, Reservoir Dogs. QT didn’t simply hit the ground running with a smart, engaging neo-noir, he also helped...

  • Continuing through our exploration of the first feature films of prominent directors, Cargill and I arrive at the debut outing of one of my absolute favorite filmmakers: Michael Mann. In 1981, Mann brought us a gritty, savvy techno noir that starred James Caan as cinema’s coolest Thief. From the growling...

  • We’re starting 2015 at the beginning, or rather with beginnings…we’re starting at the beginning with beginnings. Confused yet? Great! All January long, Cargill and I will be discussing the first films of four celebrated directors. We’ll be reviewing these movies on their own merits, but also striving to discover the...

  • I love looking at filmmakers’ early work. Sure, it might be juvenile or lacking the grace of experience, but it’s also the artistic eye before fame, celebrity personas or narrowly honed visions. It’s the work they made before output was partially (if not totally) influenced by investors, studios and critics....

  • Daniel Stamm‘s A Necessary Death is like a shot of whiskey that’s easy to pour but not easy to drink. His directorial debut (which won him the job for The Last Exorcism) follows a film student making a documentary about a man preparing for, and going through with, his suicide....

  • Why Watch? Charlie Chaplin‘s first film, Making a Living, features the man who would go on to be the planet’s biggest star donning a top hat and the creepiest face he could muster. It’s the earliest example of his potential for genius, and one of the few where we get...

  • For those of you new to the column: I’m retracing my personal history, recalling formative events in my life that made me what I am today: A Special Effects Make Up Artist looking for relevance in the 21st Century. I have learned about liquid latex and at this point, I...