National College Decision Day

Today is National College Decision Day, and I would like to formally announce where I will be going to college.


Starting this August, I will be studying at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, otherwise known as UNC Wilmington or just UNCW.  I’m planning on double-majoring in Film Studies and Political Sciences.

Not familiar with UNCW?  To some, it’s the school that (barely) lost to Duke this year in the NCAA Tournament.  To others, it’s the school near a beautiful shore called Wrightsville Beach.  To me, it’s the school that I visited about two years ago and have been madly in love with ever since.  I’m not gonna lie: moving from Pennsylvania to North Carolina for college isn’t going to be an easy change.  But it’s 100% worth it: I’m going to be living in the Hollywood of the East!

A few fun facts about Wilmington:

  • It was settled along the Cape Fear River, which might ring a bell if you have seen the film Cape Fear with Gregory Peck or the remake directed by Martin Scorsese.  I still haven’t seen the older version, but I highly recommend the remake.  It’s one of those movies that you forget about for some reason, but then you hear someone mention it in conversation and suddenly you remember what a great movie it is.  (I wrote a review on it a while back, while I was on my Scorsese marathon.  Click here to read it.)
  • The Cape Fear River is a blackwater river.  As in, old black water, keep on rolling, Mississippi moon, won’t you keep on shining on me….okay, I’m getting a little sidetracked.
  • The riverfront in Wilmington was named the Best American Riverfront in 2014 by USA Today.
  • Screen Gems has a studio in Wilmington.  In fact, it’s the “largest domestic television and movie production facility outside of California,” according to Wikipedia.  And no, I’m not citing an edit that I made myself.
  • George Washington Glover is buried in Wilmington.  He was the first husband of Mary Baker Eddy, who founded the religion of Christian Science.

And, since it’s the Hollywood of the East, here’s a list of just a few films that were shot in Wilmington:

  • A Walk to Remember
  • Blue Velvet (another David Lynch movie, Wild at Heart, mentions Cape Fear and Wilmington in the beginning, as well)
  • The Conjuring
  • The Crow (the movie that killed Bruce Lee’s son)
  • Enchanted
  • Firestarter
  • The Hudsucker Proxy
  • Iron Man 3
  • Maximum Overdrive (the only movie Stephen King directed)
  • Safe Haven
  • The Secret Life of Bees
  • Sleeping with the Enemy
  • Tammy
  • Weekend at Bernie’s
  • We’re the Millers

I’d say the next four years of my life are going to be pretty enjoyable.

My endorsement of John Kasich


In my four and a half years as a film blogger, this is the first time that I have posted about something other than movies.  This post may also be the most important post I have ever written, and I encourage you all to read every word of it.  My blog has 3,897 followers, and if each one of you reads this PSA, and spreads the word to every American voter you know personally, then together we could make the change that America truly needs.  I now present to you my personal endorsement of Governor John Kasich as President of the United States, which I posted on Facebook only a few minutes ago:

I had said at an earlier time that I would donate money to Marco Rubio’s campaign when I got money back from filing taxes. Unfortunately, Marco has ended his campaign. Lately, however, John Kasich has started to seem more and more like the President America needs. I plan to contribute regularly to his campaign and vote for him in the primary election. I encourage every one of you to do the same.

I have great hope that Governor Kasich can win the Presidency. If he and Ted Cruz can together earn enough support to stop Donald Trump from receiving 1,237 delegates by July, then the result will be a brokered convention. Seeing as the Republican establishment does not want Trump as their leader, we will see a battle between Cruz and Kasich. If Cruz earns the nomination, the Republicans will lose to the Clinton machine this year, but if Kasich prevails, we will have an honest, moderate President who sincerely cares about America.

Seeing Kasich win the general election would be a beautiful catharsis to the chaotic state of politics during this primary season. I support him not as a Republican but as a centrist American thinker. Kasich is the only Republican candidate who is well-loved by Democrats. If he earns a nomination, then America earns a President that fits the interests of all people. As a governor, not a senator or a businessman, he is the only candidate in either party who has the experience most needed in a President.

Kasich has proven to be an underdog in the race for the Oval Office. He has seemingly been an unknown in the race until recently, and I am positive that he has a chance to win the election in November. I encourage all of you to support and vote for John Kasich as your great nation’s next leader.

The Best Films of 2015

One of the best movie years in a long time has now come to a close. I didn’t see everything that was released (it would be quite a challenge), but I saw far more than I have in previous years. I’ve assembled a list of everything I’ve seen, going from the worst of the year to the best of the year. You may disagree, of course, because it’s all based on my opinion. If you agree, let me know, and if you disagree, please still let me know!

Anyway, without further ado, here is that list:


Happy New Year! I hope 2016 is an amazing year for all of you and your families!


T-Minus 19 Days

That’s right: in exactly 19 days, Star Wars: The Force Awakens will open here on the East Coast.  Okay, maybe 19 days isn’t all that exact.  In exactly 19 days, the trailer reel will start, and then, 10 to 20 minutes later, Star Wars: The Force Awakens will open here on the East Coast.  (Hint: If you go to an independent theater, you’ll probably get closer to 10 minutes of trailers.  At Cinemark, you’ll most likely get around 15 minutes.  At AMC, it’s more than likely around 17 or 18 minutes.  At Regal, you’re looking at about 20 minutes.  But I digress.)

Yes, I admit, I am growing a little more obsessed with the new Star Wars movie each day.  And guess what I found online today.

No, it’s not leaked, if that’s what you’re thinking, and if it were leaked, then I’d shun you for watching it leaked.  You don’t watch Star Wars leaked online.  You don’t watch movies leaked online, period.  Even if you’re at a ridiculously overpriced theater paying 30 or 40 dollars, it steal beats the cost of being in jail for several years.  But I digress.

What I found online today was an article on  I’m not sure how many articles they’ve been doing this for, or if this is the only one, but apparently, there’s a button right at the top of the article that says, “Activate Star Wars mode.”  And it is pretty awesome.  Click here for the article, and if you don’t read it in Star Wars mode after all my rambling, then you might be as inattentive as you are boring.  And, to quote Darth Vader, you might also be as clumsy as you are stupid.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailers

Just a few hours ago, another Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer surfaced online.  It’s not the most exciting trailer we’ve seen for the movie, but it is pretty damn exciting.

And why?  Because it’s the most revealing trailer to date.  You might’ve noticed (although I honestly didn’t until seeing the newest trailer) that a lot of the past trailers seem to use the same footage.  I gotta say, it’s about time we see an interaction between two of the three new leads.  Almost a year ago, we got our first look at the new movie, which is roughly 41 days away as of my posting this, but if you want a better and more exact idea, there’s a website called that can tell you just that.  (Note: the countdown on the website assumes that the movie comes out at 12:00 am on December 18th.  A great many of us are seeing it at 7pm on December 17th, so just subtract 5 hours from what it tells you, and then you’ll have a better estimate.)

I love what Lucasfilm and Disney are doing here.  They’re giving us a closer look at the movie, but not much closer.  They know that we’ve been waiting for the movie so long that just an interaction between John Boyega and Daisy Ridley is enough to put us in a fit of excitement.  I don’t know about you, but the fact that we don’t know a darn thing about the plot, other than the names of characters that will be showing up, triples the anticipation I am feeling.

What’s so awesome about the world today is that if you’ve never heard of Star Wars, your cultural literacy is probably worse than someone who doesn’t know who Shakespeare is.  And if we’ve seen Star Wars, we have stories about seeing it because when you’re getting your first taste of George Lucas’s saga, you’re not just watching a movie; you’re living an unforgettable experience.  I can recall at least half of the many occasions on which I’ve watched the original, and my parents have vivid memories of seeing it in theaters.  My mother saw it sitting in the front row.  Since I decided to order my tickets almost 24 hours after they’d gone on sale, I will be seeing the newest entry in the front row as well.

I’m getting a little off track, but I guess this post is sort of a stream-of-consciousness.  And let’s be honest, you’d be doing the same thing if you were a movie blogger.  Admit it, you’re as excited as I am, maybe even a little more.

Anyway, here’s the new trailer.  Again, it’s not my favorite, but it’s still pretty doggone awesome.

And, just for kicks, here’s a timeline of all the other awesome teasers and trailers we’ve seen so far for The Force Awakens.

Teaser #1 (November 28, 2015)

Teaser #2 (April 16, 2015)

International TV Spot (August 10, 2015)

Trailer (October 19, 2015)

Seriously, if the movie doesn’t reach or exceed the bar it’s setting, then I’m just going to go on my merry way out of the theater and pretend Disney doesn’t exist.

Keep Cinemaniac Reviews alive!

Hi, everybody!

Just wanted to let y’all know that I added a “donate” button to the sidebar, as many, many people have urged me to do. If you’re feeling generous, then I implore you to donate and help me keep my blog alive and running.

Why should I donate?  My blog had its “heyday” from the third quarter of 2012 through the second quarter of 2013, and publicity has dropped significantly in the time since.  To give y’all a sense of what that looks like, I averaged 82 hits per day in 2012, but have averaged 44 per day (a 46% drop) over the past ten months.

Where will my donations go?  I’d previously said that 100% of donations will be used for movie tickets, but as I look back at my stats, I am noticing that there is virtually no correlation between the number of movies I see in theaters and the number of views my site gets.  Therefore, I’m taking a much more straightforward (and much less foolish) route: 100% of every donation will be recorded and used for advertising.

Thank you greatly.


Happy 4th Anniversary to Cinemaniac Reviews!

Has it really been four years? I’m kind of amazed. Actually, I’m really amazed, and I’d like to thank you all for making these past four years possible.

As you may or may not have noticed, we’re coming up on Review #1,000, as well. Here’s to four more great years and 1,000 more great (or awful, depending on how you look at my prose) reviews.

Peace, y’all.

— The Cinemaniac

R.I.P. Omar Sharif


Yesterday, the great actor Omar Sharif passed away in a hospital in Cairo, after suffering a heart attack. He was 83.

Sharif is remembered for his performance as the titular character in “Doctor Zhivago”, for which he received a Golden Globe award. He has also garnered two Golden Globe awards and an Academy Award nomination for his performance as Sherif Ali in “Lawrence of Arabia” three years prior; and a César Award for his portrayal of the titular character in the French film “Monsieur Ibrahim” (2003).

Sharif appeared in as many as 70 films throughout his career of more than 60 years. He has performed in films from a variety of countries, including Egypt, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States. For his final film role, an upcoming, animated, British, educational short called “1001 Inventions and the World of Ibn Al-Haytham”, he delivered a voice role as the film’s narrator. His final full-length film was a French-Morroccan drama called “Rock the Casbah”, released in 2013.

Outside of film business, Sharif led a career as a contract bridge player, and was at one point among the top 50 players in the world. He has written about bridge in numerous books, as well as a column for the Chicago Tribune. He remained a regular at French casinos until his death.

Sharif is survived by his son Tarek El-Sharif and his grandsons Omar Sharif, Jr. and Karim Sharif. He continued to work in the film industry until May of 2015, when it was reported that he was suffering Alzheimer’s disease.

Temporary Hiatus 

Dear followers,

Cinemaniac Reviews will be on hiatus for three weeks. We shall return on March 31st with reviews as usual, starting with a review of Dear White People from Red and a review of Rosewater from me.

I wasn’t planning on scheduling the hiatus for another three months, but I am getting so busy these days that I haven’t had a second, much less a full hour, to sit down and craft a movie review. I apologize for my inability to notify all of you of this earlier, as I have missed several days on my posting schedule due to unwritten movie reviews.

–Alexander Diminiano