My Florida Film Festival coverage begins

My coverage of the 24th annual Florida Film Festival in Orlando, Florida, has just begun with my first announcement blog on The Orlando Weekly‘s site. You can check it out here. And stay tuned to and MeierMovies for all the latest information. The full festival schedule will be revealed on March 18.

New photo galleries online now has a section devoted exclusively to photos from some of the most famous movie sights in and around Hollywood, including studio lots, sound stages and theatres.

‘Sharknado’ hits Orlando

From The Orlando Weekly, February 23, 2015 Sharknado fever has gripped Orlando! OK, that’s admittedly a line more suited to the famous SyFy Network movie series than the legitimate journalism of The Orlando Weekly. Nevertheless, Asylum Pictures has taken over parts of Universal Orlando’s theme parks and production facilities this week to film the third […]

Enzian announces expansion

Check out the plans for the upcoming expansion of the Enzian Theater, the Orlando area’s leading art-house and independent cinema. I was the first to reveal the news (in The Orlando Weekly), following the Enzian’s 30th anniversary party on Sunday, February 15. Thanks to everyone at the Enzian for the opportunity to report the news […]

Ranking the 2015 Oscar Shorts

The Oscar Shorts programs are always a reminder not necessarily of the quality of the films themselves, but of the odd nomination process. While the public undoubtedly imagines a room full of sequestered “film experts” viewing thousands of short films to determine the best of the year, that is, sadly, a fantasy. Instead, a short […]

Announcing a new list

To make it easier to peruse my list of short films, which had previously been organized only by star rating, I’ve added a second list of shorts: an alphabetical one. Both lists are available as PDFs under the “short lists” tab. And look for a third list in the coming weeks: one organized by year, […]

The first fiction film?

Thomas Edison is credited with a lot of things he didn’t do, or did at the same time as others, including inventing the movies. But one thing he DID do was produce arguably the first fiction film, The Execution of Mary, Queen of Scots, a couple of months before the Lumiere Brothers premiered their movies […]

It’s now easier to find reviews

Today on, I  launched my improved movie lists, which now contain direct links to roughly 200 movie reviews. This makes it possible for you to open one of the lists (by year, star rating or director, or the alphabetical list) and easily access one of my reviews or blogs. Even my list of short […]

‘American Sniper’ vs. ‘Whiplash’

I finally got around to seeing the two Oscar-nominated films that I hadn’t screened yet, American Sniper and Whiplash. Both are good, not great. Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper (3 ½ stars) is dominated by a solid performance (by Bradley Cooper) and a relentless series of combat scenes that drive home the brutality and fog of […]

When words just won’t suffice …

Words cannot adequately describe my hatred for this vulgar, sophomoric, disgusting, pretentious movie filled with meaningless plots, half-ass attempts at artistic statements, failed humor and animal cruelty, so instead of reviewing it, I’m destroying it. (If any of you are so inspired to also destroy Netflix property, I suggest you be responsible and pay the […]

Welcome the 2014 Sundance shorts!

The 2014 Sundance Film Festival Short Film Tour is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. today at the Enzian Theater in Maitland, Florida. It will be shown at other cinemas around the country too. It represents the best of the shorts from the Sundance Film Festival during the previous year, not the upcoming festival. For details on […]

Site updates coming soon!

I’m in the process of linking all my reviews to the films on my lists. I ask for your patience while this tedious task is performed. When it’s done, you will be able to pull up any of my lists (By Star Rating, By Year, By Director, etc.) and instantly tell if I’ve reviewed the […]

In defense of ‘The Interview’

Nothing is grander than art. Nothing is nobler than free speech. When we let small, hate-filled minds take those from us, we all lose something essential not just to the enjoyment of life, but to life itself. Let’s remember the words of Winston Churchill when he confronted something far more terrifying than this bunch of […]

Happy 75th birthday, ‘GWTW’

Happy 75th birthday to the greatest and still top-grossing (adjusted to inflation) film of all time. Gone With the Wind premiered 75 years ago today in Atlanta. As an interesting side note to history, see where Tara is today.

Regally disappointed

I thought everything was spectacular about Disney’s Big Hero 6 except the voiceover performances, the writing, the pacing and the music. It’s as if the greatest technical skills have been implanted into brains not yet capable of handling them maturely. I suggest taking adults with IQs under 100 and children with ADD. And while I’m […]

‘Interstellar’ in 70mm IMAX

I just saw Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar in 70mm IMAX at Tampa’s Museum of Science and Industry, one of just two places in Florida capable of projecting 70mm. (Sadly, this was the last major movie that will be shown in 70mm there, as they are switching out their film projector soon for digital.) As amazing as […]

Top 50 films for Halloween

Just in time for Halloween, here’s my list of the 50 best horror, mystery, thriller and/or suspense films of all time. While most Halloween lists focus just on horror, mine includes all types of spooky and mysterious movies, from slasher to classic mystery to film noir. Not surprisingly, the director with the most films on […]

Farewell to a journalistic giant

I’ve been a movie critic, writer, proofreader, editor and reporter, but regardless of the hat I’ve worn, I’ve always tried to be a journalist, adhering to the ethics of journalism. And there’s never been a greater journalistic inspiration than Ben Bradlee, who passed away today at the age or 93. The world is a less […]

‘Gone Girl’ good, not great

David Fincher’s Gone Girl seems like a combination of his brilliant The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and disappointing Zodiac in style, story and quality. It’s worth seeing and is one of the most memorable films of the year, but it seems almost as if he was swinging for a grand slam and could manage […]

The trend toward Hyper-realism

I wrote this blog back in 2011, but this is its first posting on this site: I spent last night watching Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant, and I was struck, as I am almost on a daily basis, with this generation’s obsession with realism. In contrast, Fassbinder’s 1972 movie is […]

IDEA showcases ethnic diversity of NYC

Those of you from New York City, or those who just appreciate dialects and accents, might find this information interesting. By the way, this is my other job: executive editor of the International Dialects of English Archive (IDEA). The Website is the largest online archive of dialects and accents of the English language from around […]

‘Umbrella’ is all wet

I’m always thankful to the Enzian Theater in Maitland, Florida, for showing hard-to-see classics, but The Umbrellas of Cherbourg?! I waited 50 years for the restoration of that? I actually admired the originality of the all-singing structure, and the color was beautiful. The trouble is almost everything else stank. I suppose if you enjoy contrived […]

48 Hour Film Project returns to Orlando

The 48 Hour Film Project, the world’s largest timed filmmaking competition, is back in Orlando. Although the Orlando event itself won’t take place until August 22-24 (with the public screenings scheduled for Sept. 10, 11 and 14 at Plaza Cinema Cafe), the meet-and-greets are already underway. Those meet-ups are designed to introduce filmmakers and foster […]

‘On the Waterfront’ on the big screen

Elia Kazan’s 1954 masterpiece On the Waterfront is coming to the Enzian Theater in Maitland on May 10, 2014. But what’s the correct aspect ratio for this film? Believe it or not, there are three. See my blog at for a discussion.

Cheers, Bob

A very sad goodbye to the great Bob Hoskins. Toons everywhere are crying today.

False ‘Frozen’

I’ve officially had enough of hearing that Frozen is the most successful animated feature of all time. It’s all bullshit perpetuated by the entertainment industry. Adjusted to inflation, Frozen is #109 on the list of highest-grossing domestic movies. Yes, #109! Snow White is #10, 101 Dalmations is #11, The Lion King is #18, and Fantasia […]

Masquerading Muppets

Life imitates art with Muppets Most Wanted (2 stars on 0-5 scale). In the new comedy/musical, Kermit is kidnapped and replaced by Constantine, an evil frog that looks remarkably like the leader of the Muppets. Surprisingly, virtually none of the other Muppets can tell a difference. Sure, the replacement looks like Kermit and does some […]

Susan Sarandon set for Florida Film Fest

Susan Sarandon will be attending a screening of Dead Man Walking at this year’s Florida Film Festival and will be doing a Q&A session after. For details, see my blog at

‘The Lego Movie’: time to play

I’m a little late to this conversation, but I figure that since I still have Lego that I made as a child and I refuse to let anyone touch it, you’ll forgive the tardy post. Yes, The Lego Movie is surprisingly worth seeing (3 ¼ stars on 0-5 scale). It’s superbly animated, with a great […]

Comparing the foreign films of 2013

Broken Circle Breakdown (3 ¼ stars on my 0-5 scale) is better than Blue is the Warmest Color (2 ½ stars). It’s more original, tighter, and displays more mature and effective storytelling. But The Great Beauty (4 ½ stars) is still by far the best foreign-language film of the year. See my review of it […]

A double dose of Sorvino at the FFF

Veteran actor Paul Sorvino will appear not once, but twice, at the upcoming Florida Film Festival. For details, see my blog at

Filmapalooza article now online

For a recap of my recent trip to Filmapalooza in New Orleans, including links to many of the best films, click here.

Florida Film Festival is coming!

We’re just three weeks away from the start of the Florida Film Festival. Read my blog at

Loved ‘Love Your Shorts’

A huge thanks to Nelson Beverly and everyone else associated with the 2014 Love Your Shorts Film Festival in Sanford, Florida. They treated filmmakers, judges and the public with great respect, and it was an honor to be one of the judges. We selected Spy vs. Guy as the best of the fest, but there […]

Get shorty!

My annual review of the Oscar-nominated short films This year’s Oscar-nominated live-action and animated shorts represent a wide variety of subjects and genres. And though I’m giving a thumbs-up to all 13 – the animated program contains the five nominees plus three more “highly commended” selections – there is quite a bit of variance in […]

Goodbye, Mr. Hoffman

I’m still trying to process the passing of perhaps the greatest actor of his (and my) generation last weekend. It feels like something on the scale of James Dean’s death, eclipsing or at least equalling the impact of all other similar tragic events, except probably the murder of John Lennon. Hoffman’s death falling on Groundhog […]

Worst of 2013

I don’t see as many bad movies as you might think. In fact, I try to devote my movie time to films I think are going to be good. So, unlike some of my movie buddies who have recently posted their “Worst of 2013” lists, I don’t have enough candidates for a “worst-10” list. Nevertheless, […]

Three movies that are dividing critics

Three movies I’ve recently reviewed have been dividing my friends and fellow critics: Saving Mr. Banks (big thumbs-up), August: Osage County (thumbs-up) and The Wolf of Wall Street (thumbs-down). I stand by my reviews and my placement of those first two films in my top 10 for 2013 so far, but I do understand the […]

Here we go again, zombies

As many of you know, I’m not a fan of the zombie sub-genre. I always feel like I’m watching the same movie over and over, and I’m not scared, just a bit disgusted by the violence and repetitive plots. (Yeah, yeah, you’re all going to say it’s not really about the zombies. Well then, why […]

McConaughey my top actor of 2013

I can’t believe I’m writing this, but in a year that has seen some of the best lead-actor performances ever, my pick for best male performer is Matthew McConaughey. With his roles in Mud (which actually premiered at Cannes in 2012) and Dallas Buyers Club, not to mention The Wolf of Wall Street, which I’ve yet […]

Enzian announces expansion plans first revealed in my ‘Orlando Weekly’ story

In a letter to Enzian supporters, Executive Vice President Elizabeth Tiedtke has confirmed what I first reported in my April article in The Orlando Weekly: The Enzian will indeed expand to a second and third screen. “To respond to our community’s hunger for what we offer, we have developed plans to add two theaters to […]

Observe Veterans Day with a patriotic film

Happy Veterans Day. If you’re in the mood for a patriotic film, let me suggest three unconventional choices: All the President’s Men, JFK and Harlan County U.S.A. Instead of the typical flag-waving, these films give you something deeper, something even more patriotic: the search for truth (however painful it may be) and the desire to […]

‘Lovelace’ exciting but hard to swallow

I can’t give Lovelace a full-throated endorsement, mostly because of its deep disrespect for the facts, but I was excited enough by the performances and the two-way plot structure to offer a slightly limp thumbs-up (2 ½ stars on 0-5 scale).

The camera of ‘I Am Cuba’ conquers all

If you’re a cinematographer and haven’t seen I Am Cuba, the Soviet/Cuban movie from 1964, watch it now! Although the film itself is mediocre in parts, the camera is fearless and beautiful. It conquers fire, water, smoke, heights and even gravity to get the right shot. (Note: Try to see the version without Russian overdubbing.)

’12 Years a Slave’ belongs in top 10

“Your story: It is amazing. And in no good way,” Bass (Brad Pitt) tells Solomon (Chiwetel Ejiofor). The same could be said for Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave (4 stars), which will surely end up among the top 10 films of the year, worthy of an Oscar nomination for best picture. It’s emotionally powerful […]

Orlando Film Festival update

The Orlando Film Festival started on Wednesday and continues today and Sunday. For general information, see Erin Sullivan’s story in the Orlando Weekly. The festival has expanded greatly this year, taking up one entire side of the Plaza Cinema Cafe in downtown Orlando. I spent all day there yesterday (Friday), and have a few tips […]

Bringing ‘Gravity’ down to earth

I admit it: I wanted to be blown away, like most critics and bloggers. I just wasn’t. Gravity, it seems, just didn’t pull me in as much as I had hoped. It’s still a good film and definitely one of the must-sees of the year. For me, it’s worthy of 3 ¾ stars, making it […]

Barry Anderson: Movie-Makeup Mayhem

Just in time for Halloween, famed movie-makeup guru Barry Anderson is doing a special demonstration of his art at the North Orange Branch of the Orange County Public Library in Apopka, Fla., from 3 to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 12. Learn tips and tricks from Anderson, whose work was featured in such films as […]

Disappointing ‘Don’

Despite a remarkably self-assured directorial debut by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who also wrote and stars, Don Jon is not a film I can recommend. It’s as crass as the pornography it depicts, and ends up being to sex what Natural Born Killers was to violence, although the latter film survived on style points alone, which Don […]

Expanded Short Films list now online

My updated and expanded Short Films list is now online. It contains ratings of more than 400 movies from 1888 to today. Most of the recent additions are films by groundbreaking French filmmaker Alice Guy, the industry’s first female director, from 1896 to 1907.