Allison Lyzenga is a Washington, DC-based film writer with a two-film-a-day Netflix habit. When not fuelling the habit, she is a lawyer. Since 2007, Allison has blogged about film at her website, My Film Habit. She is also active in various Washington, DC film festivals. She reviews films for the DC Asian Pacific American Film Festival, and she screens films for DC Shorts. Friends have accused Allison of being willing to watch just about anything—the good, the bad, and the mediocre alike. But Allison is most partial to horror-comedies and dark humor. You can visit Allison at the blog and follow her on Twitter at @MyFilmHabit.
Q. Was there a particular film that sparked your interest in writing about movies? If so, what movie and why?
A. I think that’s gotta be the joint projects of directors Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro. They’re the French directors responsible for The City of Lost Children and Delicatessen. I saw both films as a young teen, and the cinematic worlds those men created together were so magical, yet sinister and unsettling that their films really caught my attention. As a child, I wasn’t accustomed to seeing this kind of ominous material treated with such whimsy, and I found that combination very fascinating. I’ve been drawn to darker films ever since.
Q. What is your most memorable movie moment?
A. I’ve always been a big fan of obscure, artsy films, and I have distinct memories of driving to the local art house theater by myself as early as high school because no one else ever wanted to go with me to these. Of course, these screenings were always very sparsely attended, and usually by single viewers just like me. I remember seeing Northfork and Twin Falls Idaho this way.
Q. Movie theater or home...where do you prefer to watch movies?
A. Home, definitely. I have a chronic case of ants in the pants, so I enjoy being able to get up and do things in the middle of a movie—grabbing a snack, throwing in a load of laundry, or even watching the whole thing from the bathtub. I’d definitely be interested in paying a premium price to stream current releases in my home. You listening, movie execs?
Q. What is your favorite movie quote?
A. I have no memory for this kind of question. And, whenever anyone asks me, all I can think of is all the witty one-liners in Aliens. That’s probably because my brother and I spent much of our childhood watching and re-watching the trilogy. (There were only three when we were little). So, all the funny quips between space marines, and between Ripley and the Queen Alien are probably burned into my mind permanently—more from sheer repetition than any other reason.
Q. How many movies do you think you’ve watched in your lifetime?
A. It’s hard to say, because I really started renting and watching tons movies when I was really little. Although, I have rated about 4200 movies on Netflix. And, I try to remember to rate stuff I watched a long time ago.
Q. What movies are you most looking forward to seeing later this year?
A. Does Zero Dark Thirty count? I know it officially came out in 2012 for Oscar season, but it won’t be widely available ‘til the New Year. That’s certainly at the top of my list. I’m very interested in seeing how World War Z will turn out. I really liked the book, so I hope they do a good job with the movie. Same for the next installment of Hunger Games. And, I love the idea of Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters. I know that turning classic literary characters into monster killers is a big trend these days, but I’m totally on board with that kind of wacky fun. I just saw the trailer for The Great Gatsby, and it looks very exciting—lots of dancing and wild partying. Star Trek: Into Darkness looks like it’ll be a big, fun blockbuster too. And, I know I’ll have to go see the next installment of The Hobbit, because I’ve already paid into the system by watching the first one. In the guilty pleasure category, I’m planning on going to 300: Rise of an Empire purely for the eye candy. A film that I’m looking forward to simply because my friends are excited about it is Pacific Rim. My brother always enjoyed watching monster movies, so I think that’s a little bit of a nostalgia pick for me. Plus, I love Guillermo Del Toro.
Q. What type of movies are you typically drawn to and why?
A. I prefer a good horror movie over a romantic comedy any day. And, I really enjoy movies that combine genres in fun and unexpected ways. So, I’m really into stuff like horror/comedy or spooky fairy tales. I also really like the new trend of self-aware comedies that break the fourth wall a little bit to address the audience’s thoughts and feelings. That’s as long as it’s well written. Even though these methods can often backfire, when they’re done right there’s nothing better. Good writing is essential, and this kind of comedy gives an experienced screenwriter plenty of room to play.