Welcome to The Cinessential!
Each week we will exclusively highlight one film, providing a deep dive into its themes, genre, major players, and cultural importance. Big Hollywood blockbusters, indie darlings, cult genre favorites, beloved classics, and underseen gems will all get a spotlight, one at a time. Our group of writers will provide strong opinions and unique takes whether it be in a long-form essay on an important theme, a bite-sized group of related streaming recommendations, a first-viewing fresh perspective, box office analysis, and every other angle.
There isn’t any shortage of stellar film criticism online, but we hope that this approach will be a unique and insightful way to cover film.
Though we expect to grow over time, let us introduce ourselves…
Felicia Elliott is a high school English teacher living in Northwest Indiana. She graduated from Purdue University - Calumet where she earned a BA in History and an MA in English, where she made en effort to write about film in as many essays as possible. She saw Gone With the Wind on TV when she was a kid, and a love of classic films grew from there
John Gilpatrick first fell for the artistic medium that is film when the whale jumped over the kid in Free Willy (he's happy his tastes have evolved since then). He works in university communications in addition to being a freelance writer and member of the Online Film Critics Society. He graduated in 2010 with a degree in journalism from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA, where he resides today.
Sarah Gorr is a writer and professional editor in Chicago where she writes about books as well as movies. You can regularly find her around town yelling about her favorites of both.
Alex Moore is a freelance business consultant and writer living in Chicago, Illinois. He loves nothing more than to foist his movie preferences upon his long suffering wife.
Aaron Pinkston is a freelance writer and professional coordinator living in Chicago, Illinois. He graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in Cinema Studies in 2007 and is currently a member of the Online Film Critics Society. His love of film spawned from over-night horror film parties as a teenager growing up in a small town.
Christopher Siler is a freelance videographer and photographer in St. Louis, Missouri. He graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in Cinema Studies and English Literature in 2009 and a Master’s degree in Journalism from Georgetown University in 2012. He captures images by day and watches anime by night.
Matt Warren is a writer and video producer currently living in Long Beach, CA. By day, he works as the Digital Content Manager of Film Independent, the nonprofit arts organization that produces the Independent Spirit Awards and LA Film Festival. Originally from Park City, Utah, he developed his love of movies by ditching school and sneaking into Sundance—so much so that it caused a minor electoral scandal for his mother, a senior member of the Summit County School Board. Matt's mom is now retired.
In order to come out with a bang, we’ll be focusing on two films in our opening week: a James Cameron genre sequel double-feature Aliens and Terminator 2: Judgment Day—both films celebrating important anniversaries this month. In the near weeks you will see week-long discussions on Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Ghost in the Shell, Harlan County U.S.A., Evil Dead, and much, much more.
Thank you for coming and we hope you enjoy your stay.