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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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,
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
What if I want to know what you thought of a movie that you haven’t
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