2020: The year in review

Before finally bidding farewell to 2020 and ushering in a new (and I hope better) year, let’s take a look back at the last 12 months in film with my annual year-in-review article.

FFCC announces awards, honors Enzian

The Florida Film Critics Circle has released our annual awards. Click here for a full list of the winners. For our Golden Orange award, we have selected the Enzian Theater, in Maitland, Florida. The press release reads: “The Florida Film Critics Circle also awards the Golden Orange each year to a person, film, or organization […]

Love/hate relationship with ‘Mank’

David Fincher’s Mank (2 stars on 0-5 scale), a largely imagined retelling of Herman Mankiewicz’s life (and relationship with Orson Welles during the writing of Citizen Kane), is now streaming on Netflix following a limited theatrical release earlier this year. I can’t remember ever disliking a film so intensely while simultaneously loving the look and […]

Christmastime is here again

In this weird, unconventional year that has seen movie releases delayed and cinemas closed, we still can rely on some old holiday standards to see us through. For my list of the top 12 Christmas films of all time, go here. But if you’re in a nihilistic mood, you might check out my four worst […]

A historic podcast

As a film historian, I’ve always been fascinated with the dawn of cinema. But this month I turn my attention to the dawn of recorded sound, as I was proud to be a guest on my dad’s In a Manner of Speaking podcast. We discuss, along with Patrick Feaster of FirstSounds.org, the earliest recordings of […]

A picture is worth …

Darkness, accompanied by a fittingly titled movie poster, greets passersby of a Regal cinema in Winter Park, Florida.

Halloween: The Ranking of Michael Myers

Ready for a Halloween marathon? Before you indulge, check out my ranking of all 11 films in the franchise here.

I was MIFFed

I got really MIFFed last weekend. Specifically, I attended the Melbourne Independent Filmmakers Festival (MIFF), in Melbourne, Florida. Read my summary of the festival here.

Love (of film) in the time of coronavirus

Can we love film and theatre like we love sports? I ponder that question here.

Regal closing again

With the continued postponement of major studio releases and audiences reluctant to return, Regal Cinemas — the second-largest chain in the United States — has announced it is closing all 536 American locations temporarily, again. Regal’s parent company, Cineworld, will also be shuttering its 127 cinemas in the United Kingdom. The timetable for reopening is […]

Short takes on three recent films

As we reflect on the year in cinema that should have been, let’s take a closer look at three films that deserved bigger releases: Onward, The Hunt and Waiting for the Barbarians. Check out my short takes on each of these films here.

AMC reopening, turning back time

AMC, the world’s largest chain of movie theaters, will begin reopening its American cinemas on August 20. And to entice moviegoers back — and to commemorate a piece of its own history — the chain will sell tickets for just 15 cents, which was the average ticket price in 1920, the year company founders Maurice, […]

Florida Film Festival underway

The 29th annual Florida Film Festival — the first major movie event in the Southeast United States since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic — runs August 7-20 in Maitland, Florida. For details, go here. And click here for my reviews. Update: The festival has added an additional day. It will now run through August […]

Old Hollywood has died: Olivia de Havilland, 104, is gone

To paraphrase Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind: It’s a historic moment. You can tell your grandchildren how you watched Old Hollywood disappear one night. Olivia de Havilland, the last major star of the Golden Age of movies, has died at age 104. The legendary actress is perhaps best remembered for co-starring in GWTW, the highest-grossing film of all time, adjusted […]

What’s on, what’s not during pandemic

Confused by all the recent cancellations and schedule changes from cinemas and film festivals? Me too. Here’s a brief summary of what’s open and what’s closed amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Black voices

Many of us have recently been reevaluating how we view Black voices and culture in America. For me, this reevaluation has taken two forms. First, as executive editor of the International Dialects of English Archive (IDEA), I’ve refocused my efforts on finding more African-American subjects, and I’ve encouraged our editors to do the same, while […]

Telluride Film Festival canceled

The 2020 Telluride Film Festival has been canceled, event organizers announced today. Considered one of the world’s top four fall festivals, the cancellation of Telluride due to COVID-19 will likely affect other movie events in the coming months, including the other three majors: Toronto, New York and Venice. (Venice, the world’s oldest film festival, and […]

Carl Reiner, the 98-year-old man

Hats off today to Carl Reiner, who just passed away at the age of 98. He didn’t make it to 2,000 — like the character in his and Mel Brooks’ famous sketch — but his life and accomplishments nevertheless deserve accolades. For more on Reiner’s life, see CNN.

Florida cinemas beginning to reopen

It’s been a long three months for cinephiles, but movie houses — at least in Florida — are starting to reopen. Check out my latest article here.

Rediscoveries

One way I’m passing the time during the coronavirus pandemic is to watch every single episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents. (Expect my ranking of the top 20 episodes later this year.) This smorgasbord of suspense has led me to rediscover two Hollywood icons: Nehemiah Persoff and Norman Lloyd. They both worked on Hitchcock’s show, Persoff […]

Short Film of the Day

As we practice social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic, it’s increasingly important to bring the world together through our most popular and accessible art form: cinema. With this in mind, I’ve created this Short Film of the Day feature. Enjoy.

Film industry faces Coronavirus

For an update on how the film industry is addressing Coronavirus, go here. This article specifically discusses the postponement of the Florida Film Festival and similar events.

Love Your Shorts underway in Sanford

The 10th annual Love Your Shorts Film Festival kicked off last night in Sanford, Florida, and will continue today and tomorrow. Read my Orlando Weekly article for more information. Congratulations to Age of Bryce, directed by Brian Elliott. The audience at the Opening Night group of films picked the coming-of-age comedy as the best of […]

Oscar 2020 predictions

Which films will win Oscars on Sunday night? And which movies deserve to win? Find out here.

All Oscar-nominated films ranked

If you missed my summary of this year’s Oscar shorts, check it out here. And for rankings and/or reviews of all the features nominated for best film at the 2020 Academy Awards (in addition to rankings and/or reviews of about 100 others), visit my Yearly list.

The death of a (Foxy) icon

Sadly, the Walt Disney Company has decided to rename the iconic 20th Century Fox Studios, apparently to avoid confusion with Fox Corporation, which is now a separate entity. The new name is simply 20th Century Studios (and Searchlight Pictures). Ironically, the death of the classic name means the rebirth of the original name, 20th Century […]

The death of auteur theory?

The Critics’ Choice Awards just proclaimed Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood as the best film of 2019 while awarding (in a tie) best director to Sam Mendes for 1917 and Bong Joon Ho for Parasite. So much for auteur theory. And in another baffling move, the Critics Choice Association gave best editing […]

Heaven can’t wait :'(

The best films of 2019 and the decade

As 2019 and the decade are coming to an end, best-film lists are compulsory. Here’s mine.

Tampa Theatre wins Golden Orange

The Tampa Theatre has won the Florida Film Critics Circle’s Jay Boyar Golden Orange Award for 2019. The historic movie palace was selected by the members of the Circle, upon the recommendation of Cameron Meier, for its contributions to the culture of Central Florida and its support of arthouse cinema. The award is particularly well […]

Short takes on December films

Need a brief rundown of what to see and avoid in December? Check out some of my mini-reviews, plus links to full critiques.

The Great Star Shift

Changes are coming to MeierMovies. For details, check out The Great Star Shift.

Disney+ vs. Netflix discs

The new Disney+ streaming service, which already has about 10 million subscribers, is apparently currently offering fewer than 1,000 movies. Meanwhile, Netflix discs offers roughly 100,000. That is not a typo. And, yes, Netflix discs has most of those Disney classics too. For more information on why millions of Americans still get DVDs and Blu-ray […]

Orlando Film Festival begins today

The Orlando Film Festival starts today at the Cobb Plaza Cinema Cafe in downtown Orlando and continues through October 24. Perhaps the festival’s biggest get of this year — or any year — is the Florida premiere of Taika Waititi’s JoJo Rabbit (3 ¾ stars on 0-5 scale). Wonderfully and irresistibly askew in its sensibility, […]

Check out my latest podcast

I’m the guest this month on the latest In a Manner of Speaking podcast. This podcast, hosted by my dad, Paul Meier, focuses on everything related to the spoken word. And this month the topic is movie dialects. Check it out here, or on your favorite podcast channel, such as iTunes or Stitcher.

Telluride epilogue

I’ve finally returned home from the Telluride Film Festival. (Thanks, Hurricane Dorian, for delaying my flight plans.) Check out my daily festival blogging here, and stay tuned for my Orlando Weekly article later this month. That article will incorporate my Telluride experience but also expand its focus to include a fall movie preview. And as […]

It’s festival time!

If it’s late August, that means film-festival time is just around the corner — not just here in Orlando but around the world. In Central Florida, we’re gearing up for the Love Your Shorts Film Festival Summer Rewind on August 23, the Central Florida Film Festival (CenFlo) on September 6-8, the Global Peace Film Festival […]

Experiments in 16mm

Have you ever felt like experimenting with a 16mm Keystone A-3 camera from the 1930s? I did. However, the results are not quite what I had hoped for. Check it out here.

VASTA conference set for August 4-7

The annual conference of the Voice and Speech Trainers Association (VASTA) will be held at the Embassy Suites in downtown Orlando, Florida, on August 4-7. I’m a proud member of VASTA and would encourage you to attend if you are an actor, singer or voiceover artist, or if you are simply interested in the spoken […]

And the Oscar goes to …

… Julianne Moore, for best actress, for Gloria Bell (4 stars on 0-5 scale). OK, I know it’s early, but Moore is spectacular in Sebastián Lelio’s remake of his 2013 Spanish-language Gloria. The redo might hold few surprises for those who have already seen the Chilean production, but it’s still worth watching, if only for […]

Take a bite out of these photos

Back from my latest photographic adventure, I present my new gallery: Jaws sights on Martha’s Vineyard (Amity Island). And for some new, non-movie-related photos, check out my Travel gallery. Enjoy!

‘Truman Show’ influences

I just rewatched the greatest film of the 1990s, The Truman Show. Though the Peter Weir movie is profoundly original, it — like all great art — had influences. For a quick summary of those influences, plus a photo gallery of the town in which it was filmed, click here.

Gilead by another name?

Republicans have rejected the Iran nuclear deal in part because of objections to Iran’s record on human rights. Meanwhile, in Ohio, Republicans have embraced a law that would force an 11-year-old girl to give birth to her rapist’s baby. In related news, I’m starting season two of The Handmaid’s Tale.

Remembering Jay Boyar

Jay Boyar, founding member of the Florida Film Critics Circle and respected Orlando journalist, died over the weekend. Please keep his friends and family in your thoughts. Here’s the FFCC’s tribute to him.

The best films of the decade

World of Reel has released its list of the 25 best films of the decade, with George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road and Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life coming out on top. The list is available here. The results are based on a poll of industry professionals – mostly film critics – who were […]

Florida Film Festival wraps

The 28th annual Florida Film Festival concluded over the weekend. Here’s an index of my coverage of the 2019 event: Program announcement Richard Dreyfuss to screen The Goodbye Girl Programmers balance quality with variety A look at domestic narrative shorts Richard Dreyfuss interview It’s a (shorts) wrap Award winners

Don’t go back to the ‘Sematary’

Before seeing the new Pet Sematary, I thought I’d catch up on the old ones. Not a good idea. Time has not been kind to what were already bad films. Mary Lambert directed both the 1989 original and the unnecessary 1992 sequel (from which Stephen King had his name removed). Hey, I’m all for giving […]

Backing the wrong horse

No, this isn’t a post about next month’s Kentucky Derby. It’s a post of cinematic regret. I often have harsh words for Academy members who vote for the wrong film, and for critics who compile faulty “best of the year” lists. Well, now I can direct those harsh words at myself, as I made the […]

Thursday’s box office

Notice anything unusual about this week’s box office? (Image from BoxOfficeMojo.com.)        

Last-minute Oscar thoughts

With the 2019 Academy Awards just a couple of hours away, here are some final thoughts about the nominated films. Enjoy!