My name is Matthew Sims and I am a 25 year-old journalist from Victoria, Australia, writing about film and TV on the side.
The Anomaly of M. Night Shyamalan: Will "The Visit" Be Worth Seeing?
Explore the filmography of M. Night Shyamalan, i.e. what marked his growth in popularity as a director/film-maker and why he has fallen so far and so rapidly to become, essentially, a joke of the film industry. Analyse what makes some of his most notorious films (i.e. The Happening, The Last Airbender, After Earth) both bad, but entertaining to watch. Is there is still a place for his well-intentioned film-making in modern Hollywood or should he be dismissed as an anomaly of the 90’s which happened to be lucky twice in a row with The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable. Will ‘The Visit" be worth seeing or will it fail both financially and critically, and potentially, mark the end of his career? Or is he invulnerable from this sort of flak?
The Elusive Attraction of "Feel-Bad" Movies: Disgust and Shock as Selling Points
Explore the world of "feel-bad" movies, or films which appear, to aim, first and foremost, to disgust, offend or shock its audience. You could focus on films like The Human Centipede franchise, especially because the third instalment is in the process of being released. Analyse how these films are marketed, how the content aims to attract (or rather repulse – and by doing so, attract) the audience? Why are people drawn to such films and why do they continue to be green-lit? Can they ever exhibit any sort of artistic significance or social weight or are they just gratituous exploitation and a waste of time? Other examples or case studies could include: A Serbian Film, the Saw franchise (especially the later ones post-Saw 2 or 3), Antichrist, Dogtooth, Funny Games, Requiem for a Dream, Salo. Or, in addition/alternatively, you could stray away from horror and focus more on films which dwell in the realms of sadness and suffering or leave your with a bad taste in your mouth or just, generally, sad. These could include: American History X, The Green Mile, The Mist, other von Trier works (haven’t personally seen the older stuff, yet, but I have heard they are depressing), Melancholia, Seven, Gone Girl, Happiness. I am sure the list could go on and on.
Would most likely focus on film, but if you could come up with case studies from other mediums, go for it.
Working Towards Understanding: A Place for Narrative Complexity in Modern Art
Mainstream art/entertainment production appears to create works which are reducible to either an easily explained concept or premise, which can usually be understood with one interaction with it. This also fits into the industrial nature of entertainment production, wherein an artist usually approaches a production company with an idea and that production company decides whether they will fund said idea. With examples of works which exemplify not being able to be summed up briefly, intentionally or otherwise, juxtaposed to those which aimed to be easily explained and understood, analyse the current landscape of art and entertainment. Is there a place for narrative complexity and the potential of a lack of understanding in modern art?
Examples could include Inherent Vice, Infinite Jest, Synecdoche, New York, Primer, Donnie Darko, Cloud Atlas, Upstream Color, Mulholland Drive, House of Leaves.
Could focus on film, literature or arts in general.
|Fargo's Lorne Malvo and the Enjoyable Villain|
|Masters of Sex: The Division Between Fiction and Reality|
|Spoiler Alert! The Science of How Spoilers Can Ruin TV|
|The Controversial Art of Sally Mann|
|One Hour Photo: Viewing Humanity Through a Camera Lens|
|Loneliness in Fallout|
|Three Foreign Films For Novices|
|The Most Influential Musical Acts You Never Have Heard Of|