Thursday, June 26, 2008


Like the Jodorowsky character represented in his avatar, Andrew Bemis is a wanderer -- collecting and reflecting on cinematic treasures here and there, while also celebrating the greatest things in life: title cards and gratuitous nudity (occasionally at the same time). As one of the Men Who Make the Movies (see below), Andrew sees a lot of them, and shares his experiences at the charmingly-named Cinevistaramascope. Andrew writes his reviews in a way that will get you nodding your head often while reading them (especially if you agree with most of them, like me). But if you really want to see what makes him tick, check out his most recent Top 101 list. Oh, and definitely read up on his Top 10 80s Fantasy movies (Fire and Ice!).

EARLIEST MOVIE-WATCHING MEMORY: 'John Carpenter's Halloween at age three. Thanks, mom.'

LAST DVD YOU BOUGHT: 'The Player. I caught the last half hour on IFC a few weeks ago, and I'd forgotten how sharp it is. Can't wait to revisit the rest.'

IF YOU WERE A TCM GUEST PROGRAMMER, WHAT THREE FILMS WOULD YOU CHOOSE: 'I'd go with three films I saw back-to-back-to-back for the first time when I was thirteen: Vertigo, Lolita and Blue Velvet. One jackpot of a trip to Blockbuster and my mind was opened to cinema's transgressive possibilities.'

FAVORITE MOVIE ENDING: 'There Will Be Blood. I was loving the movie until it got to the bowling alley, then P.T.A. turned it up to eleven. I feel kind of silly naming such a recent movie, but Citizen Kane was new once.'

WHAT MOVIE ARE YOU ASHAMED TO SAY YOU HAVEN'T SEEN, AND WHAT'S YOUR EXCUSE: 'Probably half of my Netflix queue is made up of movies I'm way overdue on checking out. The most egregious of these, based on Netflix's prediction that I'll give them 5 stars, are Contempt and Nights of Cabiria.'

Date With an Angel
-- ' I watched Date with an Angel at least ten times in 1988 when it was in heavy rotation on HBO. I don't know why.'
Only Angels Have Wings
Angels in America
Angel Heart

WHO WOULD YOU AWARD AN HONORARY BEST ACTOR/ACTRESS OSCAR TO: 'Any of the four brilliant leading male performances - Gene Hackman in The Conversation, Dustin Hoffman in Lenny, Jack Nicholson in Chinatown and Al Pacino in The Godfather Part II - that lost to freakin' Art Carney in Harry and Tonto.'

LAST TIME YOU WERE AT A DRIVE-IN, WHAT DID YOU SEE: 'The missus and I went several times last summer when our daughter was still young enough to sleep through pretty much anything. The last movie we saw there was Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.'

FILM ERA OR GENRE YOU'RE A LITTLE OBSESSED WITH: 'Horror is my favorite genre and the '70s were the best decade for film, so I'd say '70s horror is my most specific obsession. And it really was an incredible time for scary movies - De Palma, Argento, Carpenter, Herzog's Nosferatu, Romero, Alien...I could go on and on...'

FILM CRITIC YOU TRUST THE MOST: 'The answer would have easily been Ebert until a few years ago - while I can't fault him for loosening up after everything he's been through, his once-reliable four-star reviews now have to be taken with a grain of salt. I guess I'll go with Ebert's spiritual opposite, Walter Chaw. I disagree with the Chaw on a regular basis, but he somehow always lets me know whether I'll like the movie he's writing about. When I saw he'd given Indy 4 two stars, for instance, I knew that I'd like it.'

FAVORITE BOOK ON THE SUBJECT OF FILM: 'The Stanley Kubrick Archives, a beautiful, comprehensive collection of interviews, production backgrounds, stills, essays and assorted ephemera. It's not only a gorgeous tribute to one of my favorite directors, it also contains just about everything you need to know to make your own movie.'

DESCRIBE THE FREQUENCY OF YOUR FILM INTAKE: 'My wife and I used to go to the cinema a couple of times a week, but since our daughter was born we only make it to the movies we're both dying to see (if any Cinevistaramascope readers were wondering why my sidebar of recently seen movies is always crammed with As, there's your reason). At home I usually watch at least one a day, and I usually see whatever's playing at my night job through a small window in the projection booth.'

THREE THINGS YOU'VE LEARNED FROM WATCHING MOVIES: 'If you find a human ear in a field, it's probably best to leave it alone; If you dream of unicorns than you're probably a replicant; Never feed your pet mogwai after midnight.'

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