Ask Ceil – My Life, In Film and Song

Dear Ceil, I need to make a video about a story from my life for a project, but I don't know where to start. I know you don't know me, but what event should I use? Taping in Tuscaloosa Dear Taping, Well, there are a few events that every person has in their life. Birth, … Continue reading Ask Ceil – My Life, In Film and Song


Movie Review: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

The holidays are the perfect time of year to join friends and family in enjoying holiday themed music, books, and, of course, film. It explains why TBS can get away with a twenty-four hour marathon of A Christmas Story or Home Alone. Christmas puts people in a good mood, and they want that reflected in … Continue reading Movie Review: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

Movie Review: The Nightmare Before Christmas

Boys and girls of every age, would you like to see something strange? Come with us and you will see--this, our town of Halloween... There’s something deliciously exotic about Halloween, given that it’s not really celebrated in Australia. I think my cul-de-sac is one of the few exceptions where parents actually bother taking their children … Continue reading Movie Review: The Nightmare Before Christmas

Movie Review: When Harry Met Sally (or, “Yes, Baby Fish Mouth, This Is a Holiday Film”)

Surprised to find this 1989 Rob Reiner/Nora Ephron classic on the holiday movie lists? Well, why not? When Harry Met Sally is snappily written, gracefully directed, and lusciously filmed, with a rich dollop of holiday atmosphere--on the side, to quote Sally Albright. Two Christmas and New Year’s seasons, a year apart, bookend the last hour … Continue reading Movie Review: When Harry Met Sally (or, “Yes, Baby Fish Mouth, This Is a Holiday Film”)

Movie Review: Casablanca

The 1942 film Casablanca is beloved by millions. With its achingly romantic setting in 1940s Morocco, the nostalgic, smoke-filled den of Rick’s Cafè Amèricain, and the tragic love story between Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) and Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman), the film’s lasting legacy gives weight to the idea that "yes, they really don’t make them … Continue reading Movie Review: Casablanca

Movie Review: Graceland

Violence against children is a taboo rarely violated by mainstream cinema. Kids are often perceived as innocents in conflicts often waged by adults, but most movies avoid placing children in any active danger. Besides, is there ever a good reason for actors to simulate child abuse? But films aren’t only meant to provide entertainment; they … Continue reading Movie Review: Graceland

Movie Review: The Skin I Live In

Pedro Almodovar’s The Skin I Live In (2011) begins as an effective thriller, akin to David Cronenberg’s own entries into the body-horror genre of the 1980s. We are introduced to an odd Spanish family: Robert Ledgard (Antonio Banderas), a brilliant doctor who has been working on artificial skin, and is driven by the tragic death … Continue reading Movie Review: The Skin I Live In

Movie Review: Captain Phillips

As I left my screening of the new Paul Greengrass (Bourne Ultimatum, The Green Zone) film, Captain Phillips starring the ever-likable Tom Hanks, I didn’t really know what to make of it. Phillips is a dramatization of the Maersk Alabama hijacking in 2009. It focuses on the titled character’s capture by Somali pirates and eventual rescue by the U.S. Navy. But as the film cut to black and the credits began to roll, I was left more cold than relieved by its ending. There is no doubt in my mind that I saw a well-crafted thriller; and yet I felt emotionally detached throughout the majority of the film, partly because Phillips relies too much on Hank’s star-power to fill in for any sort of development for Captain Rich Phillips.

Medium-Shaped Stories, Part 2 – Film

This week, I’m looking at the medium of film. Movies, TV shows, Youtube videos, anything that can be watched by others--how does this provide a different way of storytelling from books and games? The biggest distinguishing feature about film is that it’s all about showing, not telling. Sure, you can have a narrator, to a … Continue reading Medium-Shaped Stories, Part 2 – Film

Interview: Writer Adam Dickinson (part two)

In early October, local film production company Words Pictures Movies will premiere their first feature Everything Fred Tells Me is True. (Here's the trailer.) This is the second half of an interview with Adam Dickinson, who wrote the screenplay. (Here's the first half of the interview from last week.) Magnificent Nose: What's your writing routine? … Continue reading Interview: Writer Adam Dickinson (part two)