Paul Preston

Paul Preston

Welcome to The Movie Guys!

The Movie Guys are film-drenched wise-asses with no shortage of insightful and hilarious things to say about all things movies. Paul is pretty much the Kermit of this gang of renegade film freaks, leading the way and inspiring insanity and a fierce love of movies.

Paul can tell you what day of the week it is any day of the year based on what movies have come out that weekend and whether the grosses are final or not. Paul’s brain is hard-wired to the movie screen for film trivia, facts and 24/7 sensory overload from the entertainment mecca of the world. Paul serves up a cerebral take on what the world’s greatest industry is dishing out. He has worked in a movie theater, video store, film set, video production company and movie-themed amusement park. He’s worked movie premieres, written screenplays, directed short films, served as editor on numerous television shows, written and directed commercials, performed stand-up comedy around the country, performed with The Second City, kick-boxed a grizzly bear, stared down a tank, and defeated all thirteen Halo games and Scientology. He’s qualified. Now sit down.

Click all over the site to find blogs, reviews, video sketches, games and opinions you’ll only get from The Movie Guys!

Paul’s latest obsession – watch one movie a day for the rest of his life! He’s writing about it in a series of posts called “Today I Watched…”
Find it HERE and posted below!

Raiders of the Lost Ark

5. Everybody Wants Some!!
4. Hell or High Water
3. Manchester By The Sea
2. Captain America: Civil War
1. La La Land

A Ghost Story
To The Bone
Wind River
Atomic Blonde
War For The Planet of the Apes
Despicable Me 3
Hired Gun
Cars 3
It Comes at Night
Wonder Woman
The Mummy
Alien: Covenant
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
I Am Not Your Negro
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
The Fate of the Furious
The Discovery
Beauty and the Beast
Fist Fight
Kong: Skull Island
Table 19
Get Out
I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore
Colin Hay: Waiting For My Real Life
The Lego Batman Movie
Hidden Figures
Assassin’s Creed
Paul has written the majority of the Archives from 1991 – present, use links in the footer, use the search tool or the dropdown menu at the bottom of the page for more.

The Best Way Out of Movie Jail
Reporting From the Floor of Comic-Con 2017
La La Land: The Defense Rests
Oscar Rant 2017
Hollywood’s Backloading Problem
Vikram Gandhi – The TMG Interview
Enough with the Spending – Hollywood’s Addiction to Squandering Money
Batting .1000 – Hollywood’s Winning Streaks
Search the ARCHIVES links on this page’s footer or use the search tool for more of Paul’s articles.

Paul has hosted, appeared in and contributed original comedy material to every Movie Guys video (200+), seen at the VIDEOS PAGE, or at their YouTube page.
Most recently The New Movie Show.

Paul hosts THE MOVIE SHOWCAST on iTunes. New episode every Thursday!
Paul has been interviewed on several radio stations here and abroad, hear the interviews at the AUDIO PAGE.
Liberty Devitto, Russell Javors & Chris Johnson – The TMG Interview
The Download on WGN – 9/8/16

Paul is a writer/performer for The Movie Guys LIVE, and has appeared at many red carpets, festivals and screenings, mixing it up with actors and filmmakers of all kinds, moderating Q&As and getting the audience involved.


A Ghost Story


A Ghost Story

Review by Paul Preston

A Ghost Story is the film director David Lowery has chosen to follow his remake of Disney’s Pete’s Dragon, about a boy and his invisible dragon who lives in the woods. Points to Lowery for not wanting to get pigeon-holed, because his follow-up is a languid, patience-testing meditative experimental film with big-name actors in it. Pete’s Dragon was a folksy take on the famous story of the orphan and his best friend dragon. It was a very good film that earned about $143 Million worldwide on a $65M budget, which, taking into account the marketing budget, means that it wasn’t much of a hit. Perhaps it needed to be…worse? 2010’s Alice in Wonderland and this year’s Beauty and the Beast are both box office smashes…and awful.

A Ghost Story

Nevertheless, it seems Lowery is signed on (according to IMDB) to direct Disney’s live-action Peter Pan. Given the Disney/Hollywood ventures, he’s certainly doing what he wants in between because A Ghost Story doesn’t give a DAMN what you’re used to seeing on the movie screen.

Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck play a common couple in a house, going through what couples do – arguing about the house, working from home, canoodling – until Affleck is killed in a car accident. He is last seen in human form left on the slab at the morgue with a sheet over him. After a long take of him lying there, he eventually rises and walks through the hospital, with the sheet now draped over him and two eyeholes cut out, assuming the “ghost” position we’ve known in movies, TV shows and stories for decades. But there are no Scooby Doo adventures to be had, A Ghost Story takes the piss out of the costume previously worn by the Peanuts and turns it into a uniform of sadness.

A Ghost Story

There have been plenty of ghost stories where people are visited by a ghost. Here’s one where we’re following the ghost and the people come and go in front of him (and he can do very little to interact). Just to prepare you, there’s SEVERE mundanity in the afterlife of a ghost. Affleck returns to his home, sheeted-up, and wordlessly observes the changes in the air. One moment involves Mara’s character grieving and eating a pie given to her by a neighbor. Lowery holds the camera on her for roughly six minutes while she eats the pie. She stabs at it with her fork, she cries, and she eats a pie. It’s an intolerable sequence, and as much as I didn’t enjoy watching it, I know that’s the point. To sit and watch her lengthy, unpleasant, hopeless pain. Just like Affleck’s ghost.

Eventually, it’s determined that the ghost isn’t just observing his house, but he’s rooted there. He sees a neighbor ghost, attempts to fling objects around the house in his frustration and eventually A Ghost Story’s themes become some of the more ambitious and lofty of the year as the ghost explores history and time itself! Seriously. It’s kind of insane. He shoots the majority of the film in 4:3 aspect ratio, as if to literally take a Polaroid snapshot of the moments in these character’s lives. Lowery is also in love with the long take, not just pie-eating, but Mara listening to a song Affleck wrote going on and on (she cries again), the two of them snuggle for eternity and you warm up this Lynchian love of stillness early or you’re gonna be out early.

A Ghost Story

I’ll stick around for any director who’s got a vision that’s executed well (and that last part is the key. There aren’t enough directorial signatures out there in the producer-run studio system, but there are fewer signatures that result in vivid execution). By the end, Lowery’s mopey ghost (and I) witnessed a lot. Slowly. I was hoping for a more emotional payoff and didn’t get it, but there is an effective bit of mystery in the finale that casts its own spell on everything you’ve seen before it, which is the final vivid execution of a movie that’s got balls in its minimalism.
Directed by: David Lowery
Release Date: July 7, 2017
Run Time: 92 Minutes
Rated: R
Country: UK/Canada/USA
Distributor: A24



Alone, Pressure & Supermom

Reviews by Paul Preston

Welcome to Today I Watched…, a series of posts documenting my new challenge – watch a movie a day for the rest of my life. Keep coming back to to find out what I watch each day…and get my take on it.

When I see a movie that’s a new release in theaters or on demand, I’ll give it a proper review in the “Reviews” or “Home Viewing”, otherwise, I’ll write about it here.

Alone - depression film

May 29, 2017 – Alone

If you don’t know, I’m going to watch all the short films with the title Alone on YouTube till I run out. There are…a lot of them (50+ until I stopped searching).

This Alone is called a “Depression Short Film” and is also called “Award Winning”. This Alone did not win an award for cinematography and sound design, like a previous Alone, but instead, it won the Irving’s Superintendent’s Shining Star Award. So…this is a high school project. I can’t really review it in the same vein that I’ve reviewed Blow Out and The Limey on these pages. They don’t have great acting, they have the high school willing participants and they don’t have mics, so you struggle to hear what they’re saying but young filmmaker Eric Nguyen has made a film that looks like the ones I made when I was young and his heart’s in the right place to address the struggles of pressure and bullies on a high school student. The film ends with a call to action to reach out to those struggling with depression and for that, he should be encouraged.

This content plus good more mature filmmaking can be seen in the short Pressure. Read about that film next.


May 30, 2017 – Pressure

More cheating! I went to Dances With Films film festival and saw a block of short films that I’m spreading out over a number of days to make up for an otherwise busy week. So expect a few days worth of short film reviews from Dances With Kidz!. My overall thought would be: Who knew it would take seeing programming for kids to catch a block of good films at a festival. They do all have the ease of being viewed through the filter of kids’ programming, and that often gives lenience to a number of things, artistically, but still, more than the last horror shorts block I saw, these films for young people were overall entertaining.

Pressure, a short film by Adria Dawn and David Tarleton, addresses the mounting strain on school kids, from parents, peers, schoolwork and sports. The best part about this short is the adult manner in which all these issues are handled, even though it’s technically a short for kids. I’ve always believed that you should shoot high with entertainment for kids and let it trickle down to them, rather than undercut their intelligence with easier choices. The result is a complicated adventure for our young hero as he navigates a lot of issues. And if you think it’s easy being a kid and you wish you were one again, give Pressure a look-see and you’ll realize we all have to work our asses off to get by in this world, no matter what age you are.


Pressure trailer from Tarleton/Dawn Productions on Vimeo.


May 31, 2017 – Supermom

This was my favorite film of the Dances with Kidz! Program. There’s a superhero out there named Skyfire and our young girl lead of Supermom thinks her mom is that superhero. She overhears her mom telling her father about the people she saved that night and gets even more suspicious. Then real danger kicks in and things become treacherous for Skyfire/Mom. Up to this point, the movie has employed some cartoonish superhero tropes to tell its story, but the danger gets real at the end, and effectively, almost too heavy, but leading to a wholly satisfying finale. The end of this movie is everything and I can’t tell you a thing about it. Just know it’s got a payoff more satisfying than half the feature-length blockbusters out there.