Ian Miculan

Contributing writer for The Artifice.

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    Latest Articles

    Latest Topics

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    Grindhouse and B-Movie Homage

    An analysis of the appeal behind modern movies that attempt to re-create the aesthetics and storytelling elements of grindhouse and b-movies from the 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s. This analysis could explore themes of nostalgia, kitsch, and DIY film-making. Some examples could include "Black Dynamite," Kung Fury," "Italian Spiderman," "Hobo with a Shotgun," and "Planet Terror/Death Proof."

    • Let's not forget the Turkish 'Star Wars' - a classic! – Amyus 5 days ago
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    • This would not only be a great synthesis of the history of b-movies and how past b-movie themes are being seen in today's movies. I also think that this is a fascinating topic to explore. – FrankWebb 4 days ago
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    Sports as Storytelling

    An analysis of how sports create a promote story-lines to increase interest. This could discuss how sports journalism and online fan forums find points of interest and incorporate them into larger stories about teams, players, rivalries, etc. It could also discuss how Olympic coverage often use "Behind-the-Athlete" segments to catch-up on the story-lines of sports they might not be familiar with outside of the Olympics.

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      The progressive side of offensive stand up

      An analysis of how stand-up comedy bits deemed "offensive" by many can have positive and progressive effects on society. This could include humor as a method for minorities to gain acceptance, easing tensions between conflicting groups, and necessary questioning of social norms. Distinctions should also be made over helpful, value neutral, or harmful humor. For example, George Carlin’s 7 words bit or any number of Dave Chappelle’s bits on race as opposed to Michael Richard’s racist rant at the Laugh Factory or numerous bits done by Bernard Manning.

      • Russell Peters is another example of this type of humor but he has always stated that he is challenging stereotypes. – Munjeera 2 years ago
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      Making a "Good" B-Movie

      There has been much analysis over what makes certain films "so bad they’re good." This article would take this idea a bit further by discussing what makes a good B-Movie (a movie made to be laughably bad intentionally). The key to the article would be to explore how these films portray "do bad they’re good" material in a way that is entertaining and without seeming overly manufactured. The article would also likely juxtapose what makes B-Movies like Sharknado or Eight-Legged-Freaks entertaining and other B-Movies very forgettable.

      • Like Airplane and Naked Gun or any movie with Leslie Nielsen. – Munjeera 2 years ago
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      • I think it was the American Film Institute that placed Airplane as their number one comedy of all time. Can that really be a B-movie? – Tigey 2 years ago
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      • The categorization of B-movies can be biased. When reviewing the notes, theres already contention regarding what is and what is not a B-movie. When I think of a B-movie I immediately associate it with being cheesy, cliche, and silly. For example, though quite dated, the movie Meatballs would likely be referred to as a B-movie. What might be even more interesting is what is the connection between the common manner in which B-movie's become "cult-classics?" Is it because the movie has been downgraded and people feel they must support it? Could it be something a bit more heavy, such as vocalizing against the mores of societal expectations in reference to cinematic works? – danielle577 2 years ago
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      The Role of Expectation in Review

      A central issue that seems to plague even the most respected media critics (including the likes of the late Roger Ebert) is the potentially unfair expectations placed on the materials they review. For instance, if a film critic went into every movie expecting it to be Citizen Kane, it puts an immediate handicap on all films that do not intend to be critically acclaimed dramas like straight forward action movies, horror, etc. In turn, this can cause critics to give lower scores to pieces of media that are good but simply don’t fit their mold of success. On the other hand, one could also argue that judging a piece of media on what it intends to be lowers cultural standards and gives an unfair advantage to lesser works. This article would weigh both sides of this argument and attempt to find reasonable conclusions.

      • Wouldn't it be interesting if critics were divided into sub-groups, matched with their favored genre? Someone who enjoys witty dialogue and the mild intricacies that take place if film will likely be unimpressed by a blockbuster, 3-D, CGI based film. Therefore, the film is almost doomed for a mediocre review before the actual showing. Your use of the word "handicap" is precisely correct!! – danielle577 2 years ago
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      Battle of the Brows: The preconceptions and allowances given to high and low brow culture on film

      An analysis in what the benefits and drawbacks are from the label of high or low brow films. For example, lowbrow film is given low exceptions over depth and large box offices but is often pigeon-held as lacking depth by more high-brow audiences. Conversely, highbrow film is often held as almost always having deep meaning but is often criticized for failing to communicate clearly to their audience.

      • Sometimes ambiguity of meaning is preferred in the high-brow community. It keeps the film alive with infinite interpretations. Similar to classic literature, from what I know. – DrTestani 2 years ago
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      Latest Comments

      Something that I think could be added to this discussion is how propaganda had to work with real-world events to be as effective as it was in WW2. The American government was selling the war effort to a public that wanted retribution having just witnessed the Pearl Harbour attacks. I believe that this, rather that the propaganda alone, is what made their messaging so effective.

      World War II's Secret Weapon: Propaganda in Film

      I think you touched on an interesting point in that zombies (despite the fact that they are fairly consistent monsters in terms of appearance, strengths and weaknesses) have the ability to embody a variety of threats that are unique to a given time period. It seems that this ability to stay relevant at any point in time as well as the initial popularity and reputation of the genre has contributed to its longevity.

      Race and the Revived Dead: White Zombie and Night of the Living Dead

      Great article! It might be interesting to follow up on this article with medium or genre specific writing methods to see if there are any deviations from the general rules.

      The "Write" Way

      I briefly mentioned the New Wave of American Heavy Metal which would likely include BMTH, ADTR, and Asking Alexandria (and I actually wanted to expand on metalcore a bit but it turns out that its a much older subgenre than I initially thought). Admittedly, I didn’t spend too much time on it and probably should have fleshed it out a bit more. However, the problem remains that big bands now aren’t reaching the same mainstream as big bands from years ago. This is evident in both mainstream chart success and big concert festival line-ups which frequently place older, and more popular, headlining bands in front of newer ones. Another big indicator is simply how many non-genre junkies would know who Asking Alexandria or BMTH is vs. how many would know who Metallica or Nine Inch Nails is. (I should also note that popularity does not equal quality and that the genre has definitely not seen a dip in skill as evidenced by new bands like the ones you mentioned)

      Making Metal Great Again: How and Why Metal Music May Regain Mainstream Popularity

      I think a kind of underrated factor in all of this is the role of walkthroughs. As gaming criticism has become less diverse, and arguably more corrupt, walkthroughs seem to be the only way to get a truly unbiased sense of what a game is like. While some mistakes and glitches can be covered up in edits, the gameplay, storyline, and mechanics (the key factors in every game) get displayed in full view for viewers to draw their own conclusions.

      What Gawker's Bankruptcy Means for Gaming Criticism

      I think a lot of what makes a good soundtrack has to do with how and how well a film is edited. Quite often the degree to which the music fits the editing makes the difference between a good soundtrack and the director seemingly hitting shuffle on their iTunes. For instance, the movie Filth has a very diverse soundtrack that fits extremely well due to the cuts and colour correction of the film.

      The Importance of Scoring in Films

      This also seems to be part of the issue. I know many people, including myself, didn’t get into metal by listening to the most extreme/underground stuff off the bat (due to both accessibility and taste). There’s definitely going to need to be a “ramping up period before some of the harder or more underground stuff can get the attention it deserves.

      Making Metal Great Again: How and Why Metal Music May Regain Mainstream Popularity

      Good point! Demographics have been an issue for the metal genre for much of its history. However, recently it seems to be expanding its horizons so to speak. Metal has begun to be adopted and localized throughout the globe (as seen in Sam Dunn’s Global Metal documentary), bands like Mutoid Man and Ghost BC evoke a strong classic metal sound which can appeal to older audiences, and female fronted bands like Arch Enemy, Nightwish, or In This Moment are gaining in numbers and popularity (which is a reflection of the genre’s increasing popularity amongst women). This is in addition to a long history of gay acceptance and prominent gay performers like Judas Priest’s Rob Halford. The main problem the genre seems to have now is to gather these diverse demographics under one band or subgenre (as opposed to certain bands/subgenres being held down as “blank-kind-of-metal”).

      Making Metal Great Again: How and Why Metal Music May Regain Mainstream Popularity