The Big Sleep (1946)

Despite Casablanca’s iconic status (fans consider it “bittersweet” while I classify it as brooding and enigmatic), I consider this Noir to be the epitome of its genre. For me, Bogart springs to mind when I think of classic film: charming and able to hold his own without diminishing the strength and wit of a bold […]

Houseguest (1995)

It’s a beautiful thing to watch someone in their element, i.e. the shared enjoyment—even between strangers—of someone’s creativity channeled into a well-crafted project. The most complex humor seems effortless, which it may be in that moment, but is resultant of much practice. If a plot is strong enough to withstand a few deviations from its script, an actor with true improv ability will elevate the believability of his character by using natural true-to-life spontaneity to generate chemistry with his costars. This quick-on-their-feet cast collectively sets the essential stage that allows its lead to shine in this hilarious case of mistaken identity.

Find Me Guilty (2006)

Expect the unexpected in this courtroom dramedy  that’s based on a true story; action star, Vin Diesel as a mobster choosing to legally represent himself rather than rat out everyone he knows is no exception. Co-writer/ director, Sidney Lumet’s resume (e.g. “Twelve Angry Men,” “Serpico”) makes him uniquely qualified to tell it. Moreover, it makes his casting decision undeniably instinctive rather than serendipitously meta.