It's been a week since I've seen The Historian and I'm still digesting it. This fact alone should say something about the impact it had on me.
The film explores the politics and roadblocks of academia, something I have no personal experience with yet can still relate with the themes of the story, unfortunately.
Miles Doleac has said that The Historian is his most personal film and it truly shows. For a debut movie I was surprised at just how great it was. That's not to say I doubted the filmmaker's ability but debut films can be hit and miss. TheHistorian is a homerun and that's due to its character development and honesty.
I loved all the characters (except one that I'll get to later) and my main complaint with the film's runtime is I wish it were longer. I think it would have made a great miniseries.
My favorite character is Anna (Jillian Taylor) , which makes a scene toward the end all the more gut-wrenching. Jillian brings such a positive energy to Anna's character, reminding me of Erin from The Office.
William Sadler gave a phenomenal performance as Valerian Hadley, head of the History department. Dr. Hadley is a completely unlikable dick but Willaim Sadler brings a complexity to the character, making him more human and relatable in a sense. We see Dr. Hadley as someone who's lost the fire they once had and having to watch his father suffer of alzheimers disease adds insult to injury. Yet, in those last moments where we might hope to see a sliver of change in his heart, Dr. Hadley lowers himself even more by forcing himself onto a young woman. It's a scene that would piss anyone off, even more so if you've experienced this situation first-hand.
In closing, The Historian is, to me, a perfect film that shows the grim realities of life. In this movie we see the flaws and underbelly of academia but I believe these issues lie within most work environments, personally.
I've seen all of Miles Doleac's movies so far except for The Historian. I really enjoyed The Hollow but I wasn't too fond of Hollowed Ground or Demons. Both were okay but didn't scratch that horror itch for me.
Now we have The Dinner Party and my opinion is that this is Miles Doleac's best movie since The Hollow. I'm a fan of slow-burn horror (such as The Invitation or The Witch) so The Dinner Party was right up my alley.
The acting was spot-on. Bill Sage as Carmine was brilliant, going from charming to flat-out-scary within seconds. I particularly enjoyed the dialogue between Sebastian (Sawandi Wilson) and Vincent (Miles Doleac). I laughed several times at their snappy exchanges. Lindsay Anne Williams is always wonderful but in this movie she is downright sinister.
Now let's talk about the show-stealing Alli Hart as Haley! Holy damn. It was so rewarding watching her character grow throughout The Dinner Party. When she comes out of her shell she is a force to be reckoned with!
The Dinner Party is witty and intelligent. It's a beautiful, bloody, classy horror story- not for those who want a mindless popcorn flick.
The Hollow, written, produced, and directed by Miles Doleac was, for lack of better wording, a damn good movie. This is not normally the type of movie I would seek out but believe me, if I see anything with Miles' name attached to it I will be giving it a watch.
The pacing is slow but it works perfectly for this movie. The dialogue is rich and often times funny ("Cutler's dry as a bone. Thank you, Jesus") and the characters are believable with all the flaws of real people. The acting is top-notch and the story unfolds a little at a time, just enough to keep you guessing.
The Hollow exposes small town corruption. Anyone who has lived in a small town can relate to this. If you live(d) in a small town and cannot then you either (A) are blind or (B) are part of the problem.
Now I want to put Miles Doleac on a high pedestal for a moment. I was anxious to see how well he could act in a movie he both wrote and directed. This man is one hell of a good actor. He blew me away with his performance as the corrupt Ray Everett. This was a complex character as I both disliked him but wanted the best outcome for him in the end. Wow is all I can say right now.
I've seen some harsh reviews for this movie and I truly don't understand why. To the overcritical viewers I just have to say simply, eff off. We as movie viewers desperately NEED fresh movies like this. Screw Marvel, screw D.C., screw all the needless sequels and remakes. Give me more original ideas like The Hollow and I'll be a happy camper.