“All hail the dimwitted masses — summed up elegantly in the busy, busy activity of the world’s dumbest, cheesiest, sappiest, and most mind-numbingly unimaginative Facebook statuses.”
“The term ‘snob’ is a timeless synonym for hipster.”
Express Elevator to Hell is a personal blog devoted to one young man’s love/hate relationship with modern filmmaking. I originally planned this site to be a mix between popular art analysis and current world issues. There was a general intention when this site first launched that I would provide a sizable amount of coverage on recent events in scientific research, national and global politics, human rights movements, and other sociopolitical matters as well as my major interests in film, music, and other modern artistic projects.
Since then, though, my focus has largely centered around popular arts, with the vast percentage of my efforts focusing on film. There has been a little emphasis here and there on music and videogames, and of course how can I neglect the passion with which I write about politics? But for all intents and purposes, Express Elevator to Hell has become a movie blog with a strong emphasis on individual feature-length film reviews. Everything else is secondary.
This realization and reassessment is not one tinged with regret — far from it. I am quite proud of everything I’ve written for EEH and stand by pretty much every piece I’ve ever written. If you’ve come for the latest movie reviews and in-depth analysis of pop culture art, look no further. This is the blog for you. I analyze and will continue to cover films from all across the globe and from every genre. Although I am inclined to “gritty” science-fiction pictures that include ferocious, scary monsters, I am a supporter of any quality movie or piece of art, no matter what its genre or intended audience. And if you’re looking for bad movies or films of a certain lower-brow persuasion, well rest assured, I allot plenty of time for analyzing those projects as well.
It is also past due to explain this site’s name and explain the various fearsome pictures of science-fiction beasts one sees if one takes only a few minutes to peruse this blog. I am an Alien-Predator fan, meaning that I’m a longtime follower and borderline worshiper of the twin biopunk 20th Century Fox franchises that spawned the androgynous, slime-dripping, face-hugging, chest-bursting, double-mouthed, technorganic xenomorphs, the seven foot tall, dreadlock-wearing, wrist-blade wielding alien sport hunters known as the Predators, and of course two of the baddest sci-fi heroes in cinema: Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Commando Dutch and Sigourney Weaver’s Warrant Officer Ellen Ripley. James Cameron’s Aliens (1986) is my favorite film of all time and several other entries in the series are some of the best, most well written, well directed, and well put together movies I’ve seen in my time as a fan of cinema.
In many ways, the Alien-Predator sister franchises are the movies that made me realize and develop my love of film. I was introduced to them at an early age yet did not understand them until I stumbled across them again as a young teenager many years later. About the time that I finished Aliens and John McTiernan’s Predator (1987) I realized I had discovered something special and I have been engrossed with the series ever since. The Alien and Predator films are the center around which all my other interests and passions with film have been established. This site is as much dedicated to the sci-fi works of Ridley Scott, James Cameron, and John McTiernan as it is to film and popular art in general. That is why EEH is headlined by Alien-Predator banners and titled with the series’ catchphrase. What better films could I use to summarize my love for the movies than those fearsome double-mouths and cool-as-hell extraterrestrial dreadlocks?
With that explanation of EEH’s colors out of the way, it’s time to orientate newcomers to this site’s layout. On the middle right side of the screen you will see the “main articles” of EEH, including my discussions of everything from the birth of the American blockbuster to analyses of so-called independent filmmaking to my thoughts on cinephilia in general to my contemplation of film subjectivity itself. Above the main articles you will find what is now the meat of the site, which are review posts on a wide assortment of movies, musical albums, television series, and videogames. The former is grouped by nationality of film productions, so you may check out features I have reviewed from all corners of the globe. Most of these reviews are updated frequently.
Expect more reviews about new releases as well as evaluations of older projects in the future, as well as different analytical posts examining modern entertainment industries in ways other than those presented by my standard reviews. I’m always looking for new ways to enjoy and evaluate the popular arts, so expect new posts every couple weeks.
What else can I say about EEH’s inclinations and my love of film? Well, I can say that other than the Alien-Predator films, I love many films from all different genres of cinema. I enjoy crime dramas, action movies, historical fiction, comedies, romantic dramas, musicals, as well as both mainstream and smaller, independent films. As an American, most of my favorite films and viewed movies originate from the United States and Hollywood in particular, but I’m a fan of all good movies from any country or industry. I’ve recently developed an endearing affection for Bollywood cinema, and I’ve seen just about every major Shah Rukh Khan hit you can name. Korean cinema has also blossomed in the past fifteen years or so, producing quality pictures as impressive as anywhere in the globe, so keep an eye out for those and other east Asian movie reviews on this site. Being an English-speaker, I’ve also been exposed to a myriad of British films, from Slumdog Millionaire (2008) to the James Bond series to Shaun of the Dead (2004) to Lawrence of Arabia (1962). I would also be negligent to acknowledge the great movies I’ve watched from other European countries, most notably France, whose cinema has heavily influenced American film and vice versa ever since the invention of cinema, as well a diverse, if limited array of films from Africa and Latin America.
I am both a staunch defender and critic of mainstream Hollywood blockbusters, treating them as both a curse to be condemned and as something precious to be celebrated. I find “independent films” (whatever the hell that term means) refreshing and also extremely irritating. In other words, it’s hard for me come to grips with the many tradeoffs and unique vices of every branch of film. Every category has its surprises. One day, I may be thanking my lucky stars for a foreign film showcasing a new, inventive perspective on cinematic power, while the following week I may be falling asleep trying to sit through another feature from the same country or industry.
This is first and foremost a film blog, but I still intend to make the site as versatile as possible for the future. For now, enjoy the movie reviews, screen rants, and fierce, scary pictures of xenomorphs and Predators as you make your way through EEH. Just always keep in mind the two quotes at the top of this homepage and what they mean. My advice, if I have any at all to give from EEH, is that we should all avoid (in both film analysis, but also in other areas) both extremes of the fan spectrum: The elitist, condescending, snob and the dimwitted, ignorant masses. As a passionate film fan and lover of cinema, I’ve done my best to stand in the middle as a simple, mature cinephile. I’m not always successful, but I try to remain as true to that ideal standard as possible, and I think everyone else should too.
So, without further ado, have fun reading my rants and random musings, and be sure to leave feedback if you have the time. I love hearing from other film fans and stimulating discussion, both with those whom agree and disagree with me. Thanks for reading, and welcome to hell. — TRB