Q: What does “Cinemaphile” mean?
It’s a word used to describe someone who, in a sense, projects movie-like scenarios onto situations going on in real life, are able to quickly recall details from a film on a whim and are all-around aficionados of everything going on in cinema. Basically, I am one such person.

Q: Why did you choose that as the name of your site?
A: Because it was most appropriate at the time, and when you tell people the name of it, they tend to remember it better if it’s a more distinctive title.

Q: How long have you loved movies?
A: I appreciated them for as long as I have been watching them, but I didn’t really *love* them per se until, oh, 1994. When “Schindler’s List” came to video, I saw it and was floored at how a medium of such superficial proportions suddenly seemed so much more significant. Overnight, I realized that movies could be more than entertainment, they could also be learning experiences.

Q: What inspired you to write about the movies?
A: Siskel & Ebert. I had watched their show actively in early and mid 1997, and saw just how skilled they were at finding so many different and unique ways of saying whether a film was good or bad. Only later did I realize, of course, that their printed work surpassed even that of their on-air exchanges. At a certain point I just decided I wanted to try my hand at that, and I’ve loved it ever since.

Q: What was the first review you ever wrote?
A: One for “Friday the 13th,” back in the Summer of 1997 when the video store was my best friend, and a pad of yellow note paper held everything I wanted to say.

Q: Were all your early film reviews of horror movies?
A: For the most part yes, ’97 was the year I saturated myself with the genre (and plus, I found horror easier to critique than most other things – not as high a standard, I guess). I occasionally tried my hand at writing stuff for other movies too, though. In that first year I recall doing critiques of films such as “Ladyhawke,” “Lawrence of Arabia” and “Female Trouble.”

Q: Why are none of these reviews online?
A: Most of the early reviews, because they were either scrawled on notepad paper or written in simple text documents, simply got misplaced and never made the transition to public publication. Even if they were relocated, it is unlikely they will ever see the light of day; mid-to-late 1997 and early 1998 were periods of experimentation with my writing, and the early works represent something I am more than happy to leave in the past.

Still, some of my early works from the first part of 1998 managed to make it through the filter. Several of the reviews that were published in August of that year actually originate from several months prior: “Spice World” (originally printed in a high school newspaper in February), “Fantasia,” “The Man in the Iron Mask” (also printed in the high school newspaper), “Friday,” “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” “The Apostle” and “Barney’s Great Adventure.”

Q: What was the first review you wrote specifically for online?
A: “The Black Cauldron.” At the time the site first went live, Disney’s 25th animated feature had just seen its long-awaited video debut, and the picture so astounded me in the way it completely rejected the studio standard that I knew I had to write something about it. The review originally appeared on a tribute site for the movie, and days later I decided it was time to create my own little space on the web, of which the article became my inaugural piece.

Q: How many movies do you see a year?
A: On average, 200. Not all of them are theatrical though, particular in the recent years when I’ve learned to value the works of the past over the generally synthetic results of the present.

Q: Why don’t you do this for a living?
A: There is no career in film criticism anymore. We are in the internet age, where your average Joe with an opinion has the ability to create a blog, post a movie review and be done with it with relatively little effort. The necessity to have a fully professional and accredited movie critic at every corner has dwindled, and even those who find professional success in the venture are nowhere near as financially secure as I would hope to be if I were in their shoes. Besides, I find it’s more fun to be your own boss than to have someone else put limits and/or requirements on your written work.

Q: How long does it take you to write a review?
A: Depends on several factors: my time, my energy, the movie, and if there’s a deadline. When I physically sit down to do it, most often a draft can be completed within a couple of hours; revisions can take an additional hour, and are usually done a day or so after the fact (I find it’s easier to step away from something for a while and then come back to it, otherwise you over-saturate yourself).

Q: Why are there only a handful of reviews from the years 2005 and 2006 on this site?
A: Simple: because those were the years when life took me away from the past-time of writing, and my contributions to film criticism were rather sparse as a result.

Q: What is this “Signature Series” thing I keep seeing on certain reviews?
A: The “Signature Series” is a new thing I started with this latest relaunch of the site, in which I go through, re-evaluate all the work I’ve published, and pick out a few selections that I consider to be of my highest written quality. I’ve written over 700 movie-related articles in nine years, but not every endeavor is created equal; some articles are simply better than others. Whenever you see the Signature logo above a review, it means the review itself is a personal favorite, and an example of all my work yielding a fully satisfying result.

Q: Do you ever think about going back and rewriting reviews for movies that you previously critiqued?
A: Never, and three reasons why: 1) Movies are immediate experiences, and because opinions change, new critiques would not accurately reflect how I felt or responded at that specific time the first one was written; 2) the old reviews, while not of the best quality, represent where I was at in terms of my reviewing skills at that specific age and thus deserve to be preserved; and 3) it would be way too time-consuming to go through and reassess everything.

Q: Do you have a favorite movie?
A: No, and it would be pointless to encourage me to decide. There are too many great movies out there, each brilliant in their own way, and sometimes it’s impossible to choose between a handful of greats. But if you want a shortlist of personal favorites, they include “Wild Strawberries,” “Double Indemnity,” “The Exoricst,” the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, “The Shining,” “Full Metal Jacket,” “Throne of Blood” and “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.”

Q: What’s the worst movie you’ve ever seen?
A: Again, pointless to ask because so many are so distinctive in their awfulness, it’s difficult to choose. The most recent one I pick on quite frequently is “Alone in the Dark,” which is so bad that it doesn’t deserve more than a mere mention in a F.A.Q., much less a full review.

Q: Are your reviews published anywhere else?
A: Depends on what you mean by “published.” A lot of them are syndicated on movie-related sites like TopTenReviews.com, while others are routinely indexed at the Internet Movie Database and ShowbizData.com. And for the most comprehensive external listings of my writing, both Rotten Tomatoes and the Movie Review Query Engine index everything I put on Cinemaphile.org. Otherwise, I make sure that all of my written work winds up here first and foremost, although in the past some of it has appeared in outlets such as Cinema Confidential, and even in print at The Oregonian.

Q: What if I want to know what you thought of a movie that you haven’t reviewed?
A: You can always inquire to see what I thought of it, or if you’re even bolder, I don’t object to taking recommendations on stuff I view and write about either. You can contact me via the contact page of this site if you have any questions, requests and/or inquiries on the subject or any other.

 
 
           
     
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