Author Archive: Josef Steiff

Josef Steiff

Joe Steiff would gladly spend his days and nights watching movies and TV with a little writing on the side. Oh, and teach a class or two at Columbia College in Chicago. And maybe play Uncharted. But sleep gets in the way. He's edited Popular Culture and Philosophy volumes on Battlestar Galactica, Anime, Manga and Sherlock Holmes for Open Court Books, wrote The Complete Idiot's Guide to Independent Filmmaking and is a co-author of Transmedia: One Story, Many Media (forthcoming).

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Arachnia

Arachnia

| October 14, 2003 | 0 Comments

If you didn’t get enough of Arachnophobia or Eight Legged Freaks to quench your fear (or love) of all things spider, then this film is for you. Written, directed, and special effected by apparently one-man crew Brett Piper (jack of all trades–well, you know how the rest of the saying goes), Arachnia is marketed as […]

Cold Creek Manor

Cold Creek Manor

| September 22, 2003

Making a film that wants to be part thriller and part cautionary tale for the Two-Thousands, director Mike Figgis and screenwriter Richard Jefferies borrow images from films like The Ring, Unlawful Entry, The Godfather and Hell House; backstory snippets from films like The Silence Of The Lambs and the TV show Mad About You; the […]

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Dark Shadows DVD Collection, Volumes 1-6

Dark Shadows DVD Collection, Volumes 1-6

| June 23, 2003

To hear my mother tell it, she began coming home from work only to have her 9-year old son (me) talk incessantly about witches and ghosts and vampires and time travel. After some careful sleuthing, she attributed my strange dinner conversations to a little known (but rapidly becoming popular) soap opera. Without so much as […]

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X2: X-Men United

X2: X-Men United

| May 6, 2003 | 0 Comments

Okay, I’ll admit it. I’ve never watched the X-Men animated series, nor have I read the comics. For years, the closest I ever came to the X-Men was one of those samples bins at Walgreen’s. You know the kind: bins of bite sized soap and shots of mouthwash for ill-prepared travelers and unexpected overnighters. During […]

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Films and Life in 2002

Films and Life in 2002

| January 15, 2003 | 0 Comments

2002. The year AOL, Enron, Worldcom and Arthur Anderson tried to convince us that they are not crooks despite grossly misrepresenting their profits or net worth. The year that the distinction between public and private spaces disintegrated even further thanks to reality shows and exhibitionists with cell phones. All the world is a stage, it […]

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Solaris

Solaris

| December 1, 2002

You can almost smell the desperation of the marketing department, with its tightly cropped luminous photograph of George Clooney and Natascha McElhone’s kiss filling up the movie poster – the TV spots repeating over and over that this is “a love story” – interviews with the stars who state this is one of the most […]

Bloody Sunday

Bloody Sunday

| November 17, 2002 | 0 Comments

Though they can’t seem to get around a peace table, the UK and Ireland were able to jointly produce this assault on the senses based on the events of January 30, 1972. Shot in a “you are there” documentary style (shaky handheld camera, bad sound and all), the film is chaos, structured in blackouts that […]

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Invincible

Invincible

| November 2, 2002 | 0 Comments

After many years in documentary, Werner Herzog returns to narrative filmmaking with a modest film based on a true story. Real-life bodybuilder and strongman Jouko Ahola plays Zishe Breitbart, the incredibly strong son of a Polish Blacksmith, who is encouraged by a roving talent agent to go to pre-World War II Berlin. Though Breitbart’s father […]

Ghost Ship

Ghost Ship

| November 2, 2002 | 0 Comments

Horror films are evidently the hot thing right now. And I don’t mean because of Halloween. But rather the notion that horror films are effective outlets for audience’s anxieties about the world around them. This theory doesn’t necessarily require that the horror film parallel metaphorically the real life events creating that anxiety, though one can […]

Barbershop

Barbershop

| October 2, 2002 | 0 Comments

A fraction of the typical Hollywood budget. No action sequences to speak of. Characters who lay their lives bare as much in their dialogue as their actions. Forget about Full Frontal. Here is a film that rests firmly in the tradition of low-budget independent filmmaking. Two of the film’s producers, Robert Teitel and George Tillman […]