MUBI Community Editor (as of June 10, 2013).
I’m an aspiring film critic who writes film reviews for his website (http://stevethemovieman.proboards.com). I also publish frequent blog entries, make Youtube videos, and try and discuss surrounding sub-genres of film such as music and television.
As of May 2013, I’m currently a staff writer for Influx Magazine, an online magazine devoted to film culture and criticism.
My full website: http://stevethemovieman.proboards.com
An index of my reviews: http://stevethemovieman.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=reviews
My Influx Magazine Reviews: http://influxmagazine.com/category/contributors/steve-pulaski/
My Youtube Channel: http://youtube.com/moviewhiz1
My Twitter Account: http://twitter.com/stevejpulaski
My Reddit Account: http://reddit.com/u/frontrowsteve
My MetaCritic Account: http://www.metacritic.com/user/StevePulaski
My A.V. Club Account: http://www.avclub.com/users/stevepulaski,152032/
Favorite Auteurs/Directors Explained:
*No particular order.
KEVIN SMITH (OFTEN CITED AS “MY FAVORITE DIRECTOR”): A man of sure cleverness and wit. A person who can take the caricatures and flesh them out into full-fledged characters, with depth and personality. Not to mention, packs more information in his three hour long Q&A’s than many directors pack in a novel. Also unintentionally pioneered the “raunch with heart” genre of comedy.
MARTIN SCORSESE: One of the kings of modern day American cinema. An invaluable talent, with not an imperfect or lesser film in his filmography. Makes the best rise and fall stories around.
JOHN WATERS: One of the best transgressive satirists working in the field today. A person who can make a watchable shock film, and incorporate so much worthy commentary on society itself. Guaranteed to give a brilliant interview, as well.
MIKE JUDGE: A great satirist on modern culture, with two great works under his arms. In my eyes, an underappreciated talent.
JOHN HUGHES: The voice of the teenagers, whose voices often go unheard. Shows most of us have personality, aspirations, and deep comments/criticisms on how society views our kind and how we are humans with imperfections. Another invaluable soul.
MORGAN SPURLOCK: A great documentarian. Even if I don’t agree with the man (cough, cough Super Size Me) he still makes valid points and makes a very interesting film out of something you’d think just isn’t there.
JUDD APATOW: A great director and writer who can be handed almost any setup and, again, make recognizable humans out of the previous stereotypes. Has one winner after another in his filmography.
TREY PARKER AND MATT STONE: Two of the funniest, most driven pop culture satirists in film today. Sadly, South Park has taken up much of their time and they don’t have the ability to put out as many films as we’d like. Oh well, we still have the brilliant satire Team America: World Police to admire in the meantime – a film that will surely be looked on as a viable commentary on our society in future years.
ADAM RIFKIN: Truly one of the most underrated directors in the business. Directed one of the most provocative films about privacy in America and the power of surveillance footage called LOOK. Not to mention, has made other bizarre works that have sadly went under the radar, as well, such as The Dark Backward, Detroit Rock City, and a segment in the film, Chillerama. Gives a whole new meaning to the term, “eclectic.”
GEORGES MELIES: People should be required to know where there favorite things came from. Whether they like them or not is not so much a standard, but the understanding of where their favorite thinks originated from (such as video games and music) should definitely be examined and researched. Melies was and still is an invented illusionist with a keen eye for detail and craft. Thankfully, MUBI has chosen to keep most of his work on file and much of his old shorts can be found on Youtube.
JOHN SINGELTON: My favorite black filmmaker, but also must give much needed respect and credit to Spike Lee for showcasing simplicity and complexity in many of his films (Do the Right Thing is the prime example here). Singleton crafts the deepest, most entrancing hood dramas that have sadly gone unnoticed, with the exception of Boyz N The Hood. Can always be counted on to make an immersing account on trials and tribulations young black males often go through.
WOODY ALLEN: A neurotic, weirdly-appealing gift in cinema. His films are often hit or miss, but when they hit, they hit hard and they hit the memorable mark.
TI WEST: Horror needs hope. West is on his way to bringing hope. His latest picture, The Innkeepers, is one of the finest films from the genre I’ve seen in quite some time.
ROBERT W. PAUL: Another pioneer who uses playful music to liven up his offbeat setups.
LARRY CHARLES: Has directed numerous episodes of my favorite TV show that is still running, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and has created four films that occupy a special place in my heart. Another unsung comic director, all about the feel and timing of his work.
LARRY CLARK: Provides us with setups taken to the extreme. His films, Bully and Kids to be specific, are films with real life stamped all over them. He is provocative, often controversial, but an important figure in the drama genre and another unsung talent.
WES ANDERSON: Even if I am not totally fond of his films (and there are many in that respect), he is truly one of the most original directors around, with everyone of his films occupying a distinct look, feel, and presence. He creates quirky characters, sticks to familiar casting, and knows the methods to concoct a charming, if somewhat depressing story.
JAY DUPLASS AND MARK DUPLASS: Pioneers of the mumblecore movement in cinema, and immensely talented writers and directors that have made several films dealing with family/human disconnect, along with providing naturalistic vibes in their scripts and direction.
BOBCAT GOLDTHWAIT: Yet another director that can make an unappealing subject appealing with character development, exceptional pacing, and sometimes, even throwing a subversive moral or a brilliant commentary straight out of left field. Sad to see most of his films have gone down the path of, what I like to call, “criminally underrated.”
ALEXANDER PAYNE: A director, much like the Duplass brothers, who can take situations and characters and place them casually and believably in a series of realistic events that are not played for laughs, but played for subtle wit and intelligence. His strongest works are “The Descendants” and “Sideways,” although “Election” has keenly gone under the radar for years as well.
INGMAR BERGMAN: Every cinephile has their reasons for liking this man and mine are really no different. I find Bergman unbelievably skilled at developing and directing characters, a meticulous skill when it comes to raising existential questions, and an art with the camera and close ups that is copied but almost never duplicated.
RICHARD LINKLATER: A self-taught musician with a pen in hand or his hands on a camera. A director in love with the common man and his eccentricities. From directing a soothingly competent and surprisingly deep and meaningful debut, to an enthusiastically quirky extravaganza about murder and secrecy, the man is, like many of my favorite directors, and eclectic soul who can work wonders with just about any story.
STEVEN SPIELBERG: I explain my love for Spielberg in my blog, “An American Game-Changer,” http://stevepulaski.blogspot.com/2012/09/sports-and-entertainment-marketing.html
GIUSEPPE ANDREWS: A master of avant-garde cinema and style, Andrews compiles deranged surrealism and obscure subject matter into a fascinatingly quirky stroll on the other side of the road. Not to mention, his music is absolutely wonderful and powerfully gripping.
ROB ZOMBIE: A terrifically originally, daringly subversive director, hellbent on replicating seventies style and more often than not succeeding. If only he’d spend more time on original stories rather than dead-end remakes.
BEN AFFLECK: I’ve long appreciated Affleck as not only a director but as an actor in general. His sophistication, confidence, and aptitude for being on screen is seen with almost everyone of his films (Argo, Chasing Amy, Dogma, Good Will Hunting, and Jersey Girl to name a few). He had his ups and downs in the 2000’s (I think we can all forgive him for Gigli, Surviving Christmas, and maybe Daredevil), but his sophistication and confidence as an actor allows me to completely forgive any bad films and any “mistakes” he made earlier in his life. His talent for concocting ordinary setups and not making them fall prey to conventions, and his adoption of slick, professional scenery in every one of his films is a talent few directors with as checkered of a past as his could pull off so quaintly.
SPIKE LEE: Perhaps it’s a cliche for a cinephile to regard Spike Lee as one of his favorite filmmakers, but I must. Next to Singelton, Lee is one of the most capable and reliable black auteurs in the business. MUBI’s headlining quote for the man is, “I think it would be very boring dramatically to have a film where everybody was a lawyer or doctor and had no faults. To me, the most important thing is to be truthful:” a quote I wholeheartedly agree with. Rather than take the Tyler Perry route and dehumanize and alienate his characters with shallow stereotypes and senseless buffoonery, Lee paints his characters with vivid, gentle strokes equally outlining their flaws as humans and their strengths as characters. I have only seen three films by the man, all of which I’ve regarded highly, and still feel there’s a side to Lee I’ve unfortunately ignored.
ANG LEE: Quite possibly my favorite visionary director as of now. Erects beautiful, elegant photography that leaves the viewer at a loss for words. Lee is also man that isn’t afraid to tackle any genre under the sun, such as the martial arts world, the world of superhero films, the world of queer cinema, and even the world of heavily morality and religion. Whenever he touches a genre, he doesn’t make a simple piece, he makes a milestone, that could potentially set the stone for further works.
DON HERTZFELDT: A terrific animator, making some of the funniest, quickest little shorts of the 2000’s, including Genre, which every cinephile should see and adore.
GUS VAN SANT: An underrated impressionist. In both Elephant (a must see for the masses, put primarily the youth of today) and Paranoid Park show how one could paint a simple, visceral picture and extract many deep and valid explanations for the project. Van Sant is an underrated director, capable of churning out thought-provoking films, sensitively directed and wonderfully imagined.
JOE SWANBERG: Another terrific mumblecore director that centers his sights around character developmental, methodical, but never uninteresting monologues, technology-driven communications, sex, and “post-college listlessness” as I call it.
JAMES D. ROLFE: Star of the popular Angry Video Game Nerd internet-comedy show, and scheduled to release his first film in 2013, James D. Rolfe is a true personality, combining excessive vulgarity with unprecedented wit and seriousness for a combination that shouldn’t work but does. Even one-hundred episodes deep, his show is still unpredictable and very, very engaging.
FREDERICK WISEMAN: Even after only seeing two of his films, it’s hard not to say that Frederick Wiseman is one of the best, if not the best, documentarian that ever lived. His observational style (a term he loathes, but I can not find one more fitting) and naturalistic, realism-driven approach to his subjects (whether they be deaf, blind, multi-handicapped, etc) or specific places of institutions (welfare offices, zoos, mental hospitals, etc) are as gripping and as thought-provoking as can be. He’s an immensely underrated talent and his work is purely timeless.
PES: An animating visionaire to say the least, “PES” has made and directed many shorts, his latest, Fresh Guacamole nominated for Best Animated Short at the 2013 Oscars, that primarily show common household items being made into something more extraordinary and part of a larger package. It’s impossible to describe the level of whimsy and craft in his animated shorts. Watch Fresh Guacamole and Western Spaghetti (both under two minutes a piece) and you’ll emerge riveted by two of the damnedest shorts ever created.
STEVEN SODERBERGH: Another director I do not hesitate to name a cinematic treasure. Much like Ang Lee, Soderbergh is a genre-enthusiast, bouncing around all across the board from drama, mystery, noir, comedy, suspense, thriller, etc, leaving solid marks on each with his ability to pose commentary, insight, and fascinating directorial charms on all his subjects and innovations. His camerawork, too, is one to look out for as well. Rumor has it that his latest film_Side Effects_ (the first must-see of 2013) will be his last film. That would be an absolute travesty. Just after watching that film, you can not imagine this man doesn’t have anything else to say or anymore stories to tell.
T. ARTHUR COTTAM: T. Arthur Cottam predominately focuses on sex, eccentricities, and pseudo-eroticism when making his shorts. That’s about all I can say. See 52 Takes of the Same Thing, Then Boobs and Filthy Food for more information…
The Many Quotes of Steve Pulaski:
“If the shoe fits wear it, and if the truth hurts bear it.” – Hank Williams III.
“I’ll never get out of this world alive.” – Hank Williams.
“The government isn’t the solution to the problem, the government is the problem.” – Ronald Reagan.
“I’m a firm believer of a philosophy of a ruling class, especially since I rule.” – Randal Graves, Clerks.
“I’m not even supposed to be here today!” – Dante Hicks, Clerks.
“In 100 years you’ll be dead” – Fuller, Joy Ride.
“I like the rain. Keeps everybody inside, washes everything clean.” – Rusty Nail, Joy Ride.
“When you need it, and don’t have it, you sing a different tune.” – Burt Gummer, Tremors.
“You beat Nicky with fists, he’ll come back with a bat. You beat Nicky with a knife, he’ll come back with a gun. And if you beat Nicky with a gun, you better kill him, because he’ll keep comin’ back till one of ya is dead.” – Sam “Aces” Rothstein, Casino.
“Ask and you shall receive.” – Kevin “DreX” Buchar.
“There’s no sense getting all riled up every time a buncha idiots give you a hard time. The universe tends to unfold as it should.” – Guy in jail, Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle.
“The other guys are selling certainty, not me. I’m on the corner with doubt.” – Bill Maher, Religulous.
“You need to have a reasonable amount of unreasonability.” – Kevin Smith, Kevin Smith: Burn in Hell.
“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.” – Ray Bradbury.
“I like being weird. Weird’s all I’ve got; that and my sweet style.” – Moss, The IT Crowd.