Rob’s Quick Review: Nerve

Nerve has gotten much more realistic since I walked out of the theater a few weeks ago. It seems scarily prescient in the wake of Pokemon Go’s release.  Millions of people walking

Rob’s Quick Review: John Wick

John Wick is a stylish, fast-paced take on the revenge action genre. It’s very well written, interlacing funny moments into the action sequences, reminding me of the best of Shane Black’s writing.

May Movie Preview: Part 1

We hope that many of you went to the movies this past weekend.  Maybe you saw the new Spider-Man, or maybe you caught up on something that you’ve been meaning to see.

From The Web: Supercut of 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

If you’re not familiar with the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die book, I really recommend it for movie lovers.  The book itself (in any of its many updated versions) is

April Movie Preview: Part 1

Now that we’re post awards season, we’re in that weird in between before the summer movie explosion.  That being said, there are several movies of note trying to get the jump on


Staff Bios

About our staff

A Little About Me – Jennie Stoddart

Hi, I’m Jennie, and here’s a little info about my movie life.

Top Five Favorite Movies

(as of today… maybe…  Also, please note that these are my personal favorites, not necessarily the movies that I think are the 5 best movies made.)

In alphabetical order:

American Beauty: 1999

Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers: 2002 (I love the whole Trilogy, but The Two Towers is my favorite of the 3.)

The Matrix: 1999

Rear Window: 1954

Stranger Than Fiction: 2006

Favorite Childhood Movie

According to my mother, when I was very young, my favorite movie was “Swan Lake”, but I can’t really recall that.  My recollection is that one of my favorite childhood movies was 1964’s My Fair Lady.  I would watch it over and over again.  This movie is 170 minutes long and I remember that it was on 2 Beta (yes BETA) tapes and I had to get up and change the tape halfway through the movie.  I still know every word to every song.


A little About Me – Rob Bernard

Hi, my name’s Rob, and I’m Cinedraft’s founder and tech guy. (The latter kind of leads to the former.) Me and my friends love movies and are eager to tell you what to think about them.

Top 5 Favorite movies:

1. Casablanca (1942)
4. Amelie (2001)
4. Roman Holiday (1953)
4. Once (2006)
5. Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983)

Favorite Childhood Movie:

Aladdin (1992)

Guilty Pleasure Movie:

Starship Troopers (1997)

Favorite Movie Scene:

I’ve thought about this question for quite a while, and I just can’t narrow it down to one scene. Casablanca is just one great scene after another. The entire freaking movie is quotable.

Types Of Movies I Just Can’t Get Into:

Movies that aren’t internally consistent.
Torture Porn.
Crude humor.

My Film Background:

I’m self-educated in the movies.  I first started getting into films my freshman year of college when I got a DVD drive to avoid having to interact with other people and I started to go to the on-campus movie screenings. I went through and watched every single film on AFI’s 100 Years, 100 Movies list, and I’ve tried to see as many Oscar-nominated movies as I can before the Oscar ceremony. For the 2013 Oscars I saw every nominated film except for The Gatekeepers, and Chasing Ice.

What I Watch For In Movies:

I tend to take a rather holistic approach. Yes, you have your auteurs out there, but for the most part a lot of things need to come together correctly to make a film work. Snappy dialog and nice cinematography are good, but what’s great is something that really draws you into another world, something that grabs you and really gives you an experience.

A Little (or a lot) About Me – Dave Bernard

This is the obligatory “Hi, my name is Dave and I like movies” post…so… Hi, I’m Dave…I like movies…like a lot…like way-too-much sometimes…

So the point of this initial post is for you all to be able to get to know a little about me, and my taste in movies. That way you may stand a better chance at knowing why I review something like “Independence Day” better than “There Will Be Blood.” (Seriously. “There Will Be Blood” had great acting and bowling-ball-related homicide, but, like just about every other PT Anderson film, it also had no plot. “ID4” [that’s right I just called it “ID4.” it’s what all the cool people in 1996/tragically uncool people in 2013 are calling it…] on the other hand had the best presidential speech ever caught on film, and Will Smith welcomes an alien to Earth by punching it in the mouth. Seriously, he’s all slimy and gross and Will Smith just rears back and punches him right in his big stupid face…there’s no way Daniel Day-Lewis, in all his acting/milkshake drinking glory, can come close to that…) Soooooo….anyhow…sorry for the parenthetical aside there…I tend to do that from time to time (read: ALL THE TIME). We all thought that we may be able to tell you a little about ourselves by answering the below questions related to our love of movies. Feel free to read as much (there’s a lot), or as little (I’d get bored too) as you like. (more…)

A Little About Me – Felix Ortiz, Cinema Draft Winner

My Film Background
-Winner of the Cinema Draft Racso.

-My parents were always fans of movies, and watching and analyzing movies. My dad, in particular, likes music scores and songs. My mom always tried to get at the “ulterior” meanings of movies; why is this character portrayed in such negative light? Why is that person being stereotyped? That influence helped me look beyond the movie, and focus on other aspects of the cinematic experience. Also, I lived abroad, so the only time I would watch movies was while visiting during Christmas break. That meant that the only movies I had access to in the movie theaters were Oscar nominated (or potentially nominated) movies. This allowed me to feed my movie appetite a healthy diet of great storytelling. It is because of my love of storytelling that I wanted to be a screenwriter, but life, and natural disasters, got in the way, and I had to change majors. Thankfully, Al Gore stole the Internet from the gods, and gave it to humanity. This allowed me to continue my “learning” of writing by being able to download screenplays, first drafts, shooting scripts, rewrites, etc. This allowed me to see that sometimes the best lines were left in the editing room floor, or how a five page scene was reduced to a minute by the brilliance of the director.

-I still remember my first Oscar telecast: It was the year that Jack Palance won the Oscar for City Slickers (1992, Silence of the Lambs won Best Picture, but I was too young to watch it), I felt excited that I was watching a historical moment. In 1994, I convinced my cousin to stay up past his bedtime so we could watch if Schindler’s List would win it all. To this day he makes fun of me. In 1996, my grandmother sat down to watch the Oscars. She didn’t watch movies, but thought that Mel Gibson was cute, and she wanted to see him lift his skirt again. It was one of my favorite memories of her, as she passed shortly after (no, Mel’s fanny didn’t kill her). Every year, I watch the Oscars, and I care about the pageantry, the speeches, the nominations, the snubs, the hosts, the musical numbers, the tributes, the movie theme of the year, or what the Oscar voters think recaps the year in movies. I try to watch as many of the Oscar nominated films as I can, the shorts, the animated shorts, the documentaries, the movie that only got nominated for costume design, even though it was a horrible movie to watch. I try to watch them all.

-Growing up abroad gave me access to international films. I was exposed to two-act French films, or melancholic Argentinean films at a young age. Being able to speak different languages also allowed me to enjoy films in their native languages, enjoying the play on words and rhythm and rhyme of the lines delivered by actors.

What I Watch For In Movies
-The writing. For me a good movie is a combination of original stories and great dialogue. Dialogue that sounds as if the actor is ad-libbing is proof that there is a screenwriter at work. I also enjoy when dialogue is witty and carefully crafted. For that reason, I think that Aaron Sorkin is a genius. “A Few Good Man” is smart, witty, carefully driven drama. He follows that with “The American President”, a romantic comedy that still delivers.

-I have a new respect for adapted screenplays. I had always been a fan of William Goldman (“Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”, “All the President’s Men”, “Marathon Man”, “A Bridge Too Far”, “The Princess Bride”, “Maverick”, “Absolute Power”). I felt in his movies (most of them adapted screenplays) he did an amazing job of keeping great dialogue, wit and humor, and great storytelling. Then I found out that he was famous for dropping major characters and still making the movie work. For example, in “Absolute Power” the main character was left out of the movie, and that movie was still awesome! Lately, I’ve decided to start reading Oscar nominated “Adapted Screenplays”. Yes, a lot of times things are left out of the movies, but a great adaptation can make the story work, or in the case of “Up in the Air” make it an even better story.

Top 5 Favorite movies
-Truman Show
-Lord of the Rings Trilogy (I watch them back-to-back so they count as one)
-Fight Club

Favorite childhood movie

Guilty Pleasure Movie
-Jerry Maguire

Favorite Movie Scene
-This is hard to describe, because a great scene can only exist in the context of a great movie. In “Network”, my favorite scene is when Arthur Jensen’s speech belittles Howard Beale into submission. The scene is simple, there are only two characters, but as Arthur goes into a crescendo, Howard becomes so small and hopeless.

Types of Movies I just can’t get into
-Multicharacter Romantic Comedies (Valentine’s Day, New Year’s Eve, etc)
-Terror/Slasher Films