The Last Ten Movies I Saw

1. The Card Counter* (Schrader) – A-
2. Short Cuts (Altman) – B+
3. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Wiene) – A
4. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Wiene) – A
5. Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (Lynch) – A
6. Our Hospitality (Keaton) – A+
7. Our Hospitality (Keaton) – A+
8. Sherlock Jr. (Keaton) – A+
9. Candyman* (DaCosta) – C
10. Housekeeping* (Forsyth) – A

* – first-time watch

RELATIVE Poster Revealed!

I am excited to unveil the poster for my fourth feature film, RELATIVE, here and across all social media platforms. The poster was designed by the multitalented Armani Barron using a still from the film originally captured by killer DP Olivia Aquilina. The actors depicted are Wendy Robie, Francis Guinan, Cameron Scott Roberts, Clare Cooney, Keith D. Gallagher, Emily Lape, Melissa DuPrey and Arielle Gonzalez. The World Premiere will likely be late this year or in early 2022. Stay tuned for more info!

The Last Ten Movies I Saw

1. Summer of Sam* (Lee) – C
2. Oh! My Dear Desire* (Ross) – C+
3. Thelonious Monk: Straight No Chaser* (Zwerin) – A-
4. Glen and Randa* (McBride) – B+
5. Annette* (Carax) – A
6. After Dark My Sweet* (Foley) – B-
7. Whirlybird* (Yoka) – B
8. Hard to Handle (Armstrong) – A-
9. Pig* (Sarnoski) – C+
10. Dr. T & the Women* (Altman) – B+

* – First-time watch


I reviewed Matt Yoka’s WHIRLYBIRD for Cine-file Chicago. It begins a (live!) run at the Gene Siskel Film Center beginning tonight.

A still from Whirlybird by Matt Yoka, an official selection of the U.S. Documentary Competition at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Los Angeles News Service. All photos are copyrighted and may be used by press only for the purpose of news or editorial coverage of Sundance Institute programs. Photos must be accompanied by a credit to the photographer and/or ‘Courtesy of Sundance Institute.’ Unauthorized use, alteration, reproduction or sale of logos and/or photos is strictly prohibited.

Matt Yoka’s WHIRLYBIRD (US/Documentary)
WHIRLYBIRD, Matt Yoka’s documentary feature debut, is a tale of two movies. It’s a portrait of the complicated, occasionally toxic marriage between journalists Zoey Tur (then known as Bob) and Marika Gerrard; it also serves as an informal history of “newscopter” journalism in Los Angeles during the 1980s and 90s. With its plethora of manicured lawns and backyard swimming pools, LA has always been an exceptionally interesting city when seen from a bird’s-eye view, and Yoka’s use of archival aerial footage is frequently stunning (even in 2021, when unnecessary drone shots have become overused by filmmakers intent on showing off “production value”). Anyone who lived through this era might be surprised to realize how many familiar images from the national news were captured by Tur and Gerrard’s video cameras: Michael Jackson being admitted to the hospital after suffering severe burns while filming a Pepsi ad; the riots that followed the exoneration of the police officers responsible for beating Rodney King; the infamous O.J. Simpson “white Bronco chase.” In each instance, Tur and Gerrard were there first, adrenaline junkies determined to capture the latest breaking news. But the film is more arresting on the micro level, primarily as it examines Tur, who’s now retired and living quietly in rural northern California. In a series of compelling interviews, she visibly wallows in regret over her hectic, often rage-filled former life, which she alternately blames on the testosterone then flowing through her body and the fact that she was physically abused as a child by her father, a person she hated but who nonetheless fears she’s turned into. The way Yoka offers a subtly empathetic look at this ambitious but deeply flawed individual (and in the latter stages of the film in particular) may sneak up on you. (2021, 103 min, DCP Digital) [Michael Glover Smith]

Offscreen Interview

I do not want to turn this website into the kind of joint where all I do is link to interviews that I’m giving to other publications. And one day soon, perhaps when I am done editing RELATIVE, I promise I will get back to writing about other people’s movies — something that I genuinely miss doing. In the meantime, I would be remiss if I didn’t link to this interview David Hanley conducted with me for the great Canadian film journal Offscreen. This is the longest and most in-depth interview I’ve ever done. It encompasses my entire career as a filmmaker to date:

Talking RELATIVE with Hollywood Chicago’s Pat McDonald

Pat “Uber Critic” McDonald interviewed me about my forthcoming feature, RELATIVE, at He also gave me the chance to talk about some of my favorite artists including Agnes Varda and Bob Dylan. It’s always a pleasure talking to Pat! Listen to our two part podtalk interview below:

The Last Ten Movies I Saw

1. The Campus Corpse* (Curtis) – C-
2. The Annotated Field Guide of Ulysses S. Grant* (Finn)
3. Heat (Mann) – A
4. The Most Popular Things in the World to Do* (Higgins)
5. Kitâb al-Isfâr: The Book of the Journey* (Hillman)
6. Topology of Sirens* (Davies)
7. Her Name Was Europa* (Dornieden/Monroy)
8. Bloodshot Heart* (Malfitano)
9. Patching Topias* (Deltrieux)
10. Skagit* (Thompson)

* – First-time watch

Most of the titles on this list are submissions that I previewed for an upcoming film festival and I’m therefore not assigning them letter grades. I have made no secret of my fondness for Topology of Sirens, however, a film I consider to be one of the year’s best. You can read my review at Letterboxd here.

RELATIVE in Screen Mag Again

We are deep into post-production on RELATIVE and every time I see the footage, I couldn’t feel more proud of the work put in by our tremendous cast and crew. I anticipate a World Premiere in early 2022. In the meantime, Screen Magazine published a second article to coincide with the wrap of our shoot that you might be interested in checking out. It features new quotes from me and producer/actress Clare Cooney about the making of the film:

The Last Ten Movies I Saw

1. Seven (Fincher) – B+
2. Manhunter* (Mann) – A-
3. The Revolt of Mamie Stover (Walsh) – A-
4. Rachel Getting Married* (Demme) – B+
5. The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It* (Chaves) – C-
6. Gates of Heaven (Morris) – A-
7. The Thin Blue Line (Morris) – A+
8. Her Man* (Garnett) – A
9. Spring Blossom* (Lindon) – B
10. Shiva Baby* (Seligman) – B+

* – first-time watch

RELATIVE in Screen Magazine

Nice story about RELATIVE in Screen Magazine:

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