History lesson: Who is the K in RKO?

Film buffs know RKO Pictures as one of the “Big 5” studios of Hollywood’s Golden Era, along with MGM, Warner Brothers, Paramount and 20th Century Fox. (See this Wikipedia article for more on that.) Film historians might also know that “R” stands for “Radio” and “O” for “Orpheum.” But few can tell you where the […]

A series of firsts for Oscar

For me and the Oscars this year, it’s a series of firsts, or lack thereof. It’s the first time that not a single one of my choices for best picture (Ready Player One), best actor (Ethan Hawke, First Reformed) and best actress (Toni Collette, Hereditary) has been nominated. And throwing salt on the wound, the […]

A poem

We interrupt this regularly scheduled movie blog to bring you a political poem: “The Man of Steel Slats” by Cameron Meier Faster than a speeding bigot, More power-hungry than a loco fascist, Able to leap to terrible assumptions in a single bound. Look! Up in the White House! It’s a turd, it’s a bane. It’s […]

Quotas at the Golden Globes?

Congratulations to Regina King for winning best supporting actress at the Golden Globes on Sunday. Her performance in If Beale Street Could Talk (directed by Barry Jenkins) was stellar, and her selection as best supporting actress was one of the few decisions by the Hollywood Foreign Press that I agreed with. But her acceptance speech […]

Misplaced enthusiasm

Bird Box is definitely a B-movie, but one with stars, some good acting (Sandra Bullock and particularly Tom Hollander, who practically saves it) and a cool premise. I almost feel a bit guilty for giving it a slight thumbs-up (2 ½ stars on 0-5 scale). But I really wish people could work up similar enthusiasm […]

New photo pages

Happy 2019! The new year begins here at MeierMovies with some additional photo galleries. Check out my visual tributes to The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and The Truman Show, along with a revamped main photo page. And if you missed my page of travel photography that I created last year, you can see it […]

Going places

My five top films of 2018 all sent me places I can’t go in real life. Ready Player One embedded me in the virtual world, Roma allowed me to travel to Mexico City in the 1970s, First Man sent me to the moon, and Mary Poppins Returns whisked me away to a London that never […]

Year in review: 2018

My year-in-review article is now online. Read it here. Also check out my ranking of the best films of 2018. Ah, when you get caught between the moon and Mexico City … (Image by Tortoon)

My top 12 Christmas films

You didn’t want it. You didn’t ask for it. But I’m giving it to you anyway. I’m proud to present my top 12 list of the best Christmas films (features and shorts) of all time!

Five quick recommendations

I’m furiously catching up on 2018 films in preparation for my “year in review” article and voting in the Florida Film Critics Circle, of which I’m a member. Three I’ve seen in the past couple of days that I highly recommend are Puzzle (4 stars on my 0-5 scale), If Beale Street Could Talk (4 […]

Golden Glob

Dear Hollywood Foreign Press, I’d like to introduce you to a little movie that you apparently didn’t see. It’s called First Reformed. Also, in what universe is Black Panther and Blackkklansman better than Roma? (It actually seems like you might agree with me on that last point, as you nominated Roma for best director and […]

Four films to consider this week

It’s been a busy few days of new releases. Bohemian Rhapsody (3 stars) might be getting most of the media, but Beautiful Boy (2 ¼ stars) is attracting attention too. (Check out my reviews of those movies by clicking the title.) Two other films are also worthy of discussion. Can You Ever Forgive Me? (3 […]

‘The Guilty’ returns

The Guilty (4 stars on 0-5 scale) is back for a limited time at the Enzian Theater in Maitland, Florida. If you’re not in Central Florida, look for it at other arthouse cinemas around the country. It was the best film I saw at the Florida Film Festival back in April, when I said the […]

The year of the doc?

In a year of good documentaries (Eating Animals; Won’t You Be My Neighbor?; Love, Cecil; RBG; The Sentence; Three Identical Strangers; Whitney), I think I finally found the best: Free Solo (4 stars). Although some of the others have received more press, it’s Free Solo (about death-defying rock climbing in Yosemite) that impacted me the […]

Malick’s teaser trailer?

I just watched the longest teaser trailer ever: Terrence Malick’s To the Wonder (1 star on 0-5 scale). If you haven’t experienced the pretentious, experimental drama-romance from 2012, don’t, as it’s probably the visionary director’s worst film. Starring Ben Affleck, Olga Kurylenko, Rachel McAdams and Javier Bardem, the movie will leave you scratching your head, which is more […]

A cinematic god among children

Seeing 2001: A Space Odyssey at Regal Pointe Orlando IMAX on Friday was sort of like visiting a museum that has a single Leonardo da Vinci painting and 20 finger paintings by children. (The digitally remastered masterpiece is in limited release this week on IMAX screens around the country to celebrate its 50th anniversary. Yes, […]

J Law waited for ‘Red Sparrow’?

Jennifer Lawrence said she was reluctant to go naked until the right film and/or artistic opportunity came along. She also said that doing the nudity was about empowerment and taking control of her own body. I respect that. But she used Red Sparrow as her vehicle? What a hot mess of a film (1 ½ […]

The next Tom Cruise film

The next Tom Cruise movie has been announced. Mission: Impossible – Dorian will depart from the action genre and instead feature Cruise just staring at a portrait of himself in his attic.

Stinky fish

The Meg (1 star on my 0-5 scale) stinks like last week’s sushi. The best part of this film is when I got up to go to the bathroom.

R.I.P. Oscar (1929-2018)

Oscar died an undignified death this week at the age of 89. Read his obituary here.

Today we call it a movie

I just stumbled upon this description of a proposal for a patent on an invention in 1876 by Wordsworth Donisthorpe: “The taking of a succession of photographic pictures at equal intervals of time, in order to record the changes taking place in or the movement of the object being photographed, and also by means of […]

Leo Tolstoy meets Cecil B. DeMille

Leo Tolstoy meets Cecil B. DeMille in the latest Avengers flick. Cinematic excess accompanies more characters than even the Russian novelist would have attempted. Yet most Marvel fans will be entertained, and even I (a casual fan) recovered from the mind-numbing action in the film’s second and third acts enough to embrace the ending, which […]

Happy 30th birthday, Roger Rabbit!

Happy 30th birthday, Who Framed Roger Rabbit! Celebrate tonight with a screening at the Garden Theatre in Winter Garden, Florida. (See https://www.gardentheatre.org/movies/). I first saw the movie on June 25, 1988, at Carmike 8 Cinema in Clarksville, Tennessee. I’ve seen it 15 times on the big screen since. Here’s my interview with Charles Fleischer for the […]

Best films of 2018 so far

When December rolls around, one invariably sees critics taking stabs at top-10 lists. I’m always a bit reticent, as my true “best of the year” list usually doesn’t take its final form until March or April of the following year, after I’ve caught up on foreign films and documentaries. So when some of my fellow […]

Bill Gibron

I awoke today to some extremely sad news: Bill Gibron, chairman of the Florida Film Critics Circle, has died, following a heart attack. Bill was two days shy of his 57th birthday. He was supportive of me in my career, and I regret that I never got to know him personally. Film journalists aren’t always […]

From film to Fringe

Now is the time of year when my attention briefly turns from cinema to my first love, theatre. Specifically, I’ll be reviewing nearly a dozen productions at the Orlando Fringe. Running May 15-28 (mostly in Loch Haven Park in Orlando, Florida), this is the oldest and largest Fringe festival in the United States. To read […]


The number 1888 isn’t just the year that cinema was arguably born (see my Louis Le Prince page for more on that), but it’s also the exact number of short films I now have rated on my short-film lists. Check under the “Short Lists” tab on the menu bar.

Festival frenzy

If it’s March, that probably means I have just been to a film festival and am likely getting ready for another. I was lucky enough to attend Filmapalooza in Paris last week (for which I was a judge). Check out my wrap-article article here. And if you’re in Florida, you’re probably looking forward to arguably […]

BAFTA insanity

So let me get this straight: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri won best British film at the BAFTAs tonight over films such as Darkest Hour and Dunkirk, which are so British they practically bleed tea. I realize Three Billboards was written, directed and produced by a British man, but doesn’t this seem kind of insane […]

Love Your Shorts Film Festival 2018

The eighth annual Love Your Shorts Film Festival begins tomorrow in Sanford, Florida, and runs through Sunday, February 11. Check out my Orlando Weekly article here, and also see my blog, which contains useful information and resources for filmmakers wanting to make scary movies. (That’s the topic of Thursday morning’s discussion panels.)

Florida Film Critics: ‘Dunkirk’ best of 2017

The Florida Film Critics Circle, of which I am a proud member, has selected Dunkirk as the best film of 2017. Christopher Nolan was selected as best director. (I voted for both.) For a full listing of all the awards, click here.

The “Game” is up, Molly

After 140 minutes of Molly’s Game (2 stars on 0-5 scale), I STILL don’t know how to play Texas Hold ‘Em. But I did learn one thing: Aaron Sorkin sure loves to listen to himself write. His screenplay has all the speedy dialogue of  a screwball comedy but not quite enough of the charm. Jessica […]

Enzian Theater dedicates new oak tree

The Enzian Theater in Maitland, Florida, dedicated its new oak tree today, with servings of hot apple cider and cookies. Executive Director David Schillhammer also read The Giving Tree to the kids who had just watched the Enzian’s special screening of The Wizard of Oz. May this new tree last hundreds of years, just like […]

A brief thought on the Disney-Fox deal

There’s a lot to digest in the sale of most of 20th Century Fox to Disney, but I was struck by the fact that although Disney is taking over the movie production, the historic movie lot (begun by William Fox in 1928 as the first production facility in Los Angeles designed expressly for sound films) […]

Golden Globe noms are pear-shaped

The nominations for the 75th Golden Globe Awards have just been released, and, as usual, they are eclectic mix of mistakes and well-deserved recognitions. But should we expect anything less from this odd collection of roughly 90 foreign journalists whose tastes range from the staid to the sleazy to the sublime? For a complete list […]

Misplaced comedy

Fancy a comedy about assault, child abuse and spousal beatings, all scored to your favorite classic rock tunes from the ‘70s and ‘80s? Then I, Tonya (1 ¾ stars on 0-5 scale) is your film. Directed by Craig Gillespie (Lars and the Real Girl, Million Dollar Arm) and written by Steven Rogers, this is a […]

‘Daddy’ deserves to be seen

I started watching Louis C.K.’s I Love You, Daddy (2 ¾ stars on 0-5 scale) with trepidation. Would I be able to forget the recent deeds of the man and instead concentrate on the art? Could I ignore the (masturbating) elephant in the room? At first I could not, and that bothered me, as I’ve […]

‘The Peacemaker’ to screen at UCF

From The Orlando Weekly, November 6, 2017 The University of Central Florida will present a free screening of The Peacemaker (4 stars out of 5), an award-winning documentary about an influential peace negotiator, on November 14 at 6:30 p.m., at the UCF Visual Arts Building Auditorium. Tickets are not required. The film might just have […]

Reasons to (not) visit Jewish Film Festival

The Central Florida Jewish Film Festival began tonight and will continue through Monday at the Enzian Theater in Maitland, Florida. Read my article. Although I strongly encourage you to attend, there are, admittedly, a few reasons for not attending. Let me address each one individually: Reason #1: You don’t like movies. Rebuttal: This festival might […]

Audience vs. critics

The psychological thriller It Comes at Night (1 ¼ stars on 0-5 scale) is a rare example of the public getting it very right and the critics getting it completely wrong, except for this modest critic, of course. The film is at 89 percent on Rotten Tomatoes but received a D grade from audiences on […]

Are they worth the hype?

The Florida Project (3 stars on 0-5 scale) and Baby Driver (1 ½ stars) have little in common except the fact that they are critical darlings. The former has been well received on the festival and limited-release circuit while the latter was lauded by critics as one of the best action films of the summer. […]

Manhattan Short Film Festival

The Big Apple meets Maitland as the Enzian Theater will host the 20th annual Manhattan Short Film Festival on October 2, at 6:30 p.m. But Central Florida’s leading art-house cinema is not alone, as the 20-year-old event – which bills itself as the largest global film festival – will screen in more than 250 theaters […]

Mixed doubles

Pairing a film set in the 1890s with a film set in the early 1970s may seem like an odd objective for a blog, but Victoria and Abdul (4 stars on 0-5 scale) and Battle of the Sexes (3 ½ stars) actually have quite a bit in common. They both address themes of either racism […]

Florida Film Critics Circle

I’m happy to announce that I’ve just been accepted into the Florida Film Critics Circle. Thank you to all at the FFCC who supported me, and to all my other friends, particularly those at The Orlando Weekly, who encouraged me.

Three films with nothing in common

So what do Collide, Modern Times and Manos: The Hands of Fate have in common? Absolutely nothing — except they were the subjects of my last three (unrelated) posts. If you missed them, check them out here by clicking the titles above. It’ll help you pass the time while waiting for Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk to […]

‘Collide’ wastes a good cast

Congratulations to Eran Creevy, the director and co-writer of Collide (1 ½ stars on 0-5 scale). You took a movie with Anthony Hopkins, Ben Kingsley and Felicity Jones and instead focused your cameras almost entirely on Nicholas Hoult and car crashes. At least the car crashes were impressive. The same can’t be said for the […]

‘Colossal’ returning to cinemas

After enjoying a nice festival run, including an appearance at the recent Florida Film Festival, Colossal (3 stars on my 0-5 scale) is returning to cinemas for a limited general release. The film is a unique blend of fantasy, science fiction, comedy and dark drama. That mix of genres isn’t always blended just right in […]

Enzian to show ‘Bonnie and Clyde’

The Enzian Theater in Maitland, Florida, will screen a 35mm print of Bonnie and Clyde (5 stars) at 9:30 p.m. tonight. The 1967 masterpiece, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary in August, is part of the theater’s Cult Classics series. Directed by Arthur Penn and produced by Warren Beatty, the film is a landmark of […]

Florida students win filmmaker awards

From The Orlando Weekly, March 9, 2017 Thirteen high school and middle school students from Winter Park and Maitland, Florida, have won prizes in C-SPAN’s 2017 national StudentCam competition. Students were asked to create short documentary films answering the question: “What is the most urgent issue for the new president and Congress to address in […]

Worst film of 2016?

I still think Jackie (4 ½ stars) is the best film of 2016, but until now I wasn’t sure about the worst. It’s Dirty Grandpa (½ star), directed by Dan Mazer and starring Robert De Niro and Zac Efron. Calling it a train wreck is an insult to train wrecks. Train wrecks are at least […]