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Why have apocalypse-style films and TV shows become so mainstream in recent years?

The idea of an apocalypse has existed in history for hundreds of years, but why in recent times has the idea of an apocalypse become to mainstream? Whether it’s zombies, nukes, or anything in between, these stories have taken a deep root in our modern culture. Is it because we feel detached from our primal survivalist selves? Take for example the show The Walking Dead. The show is a massive success, second only to Game Of Thrones during its run time. Apart from the amazing writing and impeccable acting performances, there is a certain allure to the idea of a group of at-first strangers growing into a family through trials and tribulations and lots of zombie guts. It is also interesting to see how these stories are received in different cultures around the world. For example I know that in many parts of Asia, there is a massive love for all things zombie. Why do you think this is?

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    The Marvel Trajectory: Cinematic Potential or a Downward Spiral?

    In light of the relatively recent comments on Marvel films made by the likes of Scorsese and Coppola, does the superhero film have a place as an artistic work? Is it a modern reiteration of older genres of filmmaking (the Western, the gangster film, etc.) replete with popular cultural furnishings? Or, as the New Hollywood filmmakers suggest, does Marvel’s cinematic universe mark a downward spiral in quality for the cinema of America (and likely the world at large)?

    • The most important part of writing on this topic is establishing what is a "good" and "bad" film. While Scorsese and Coppola are considered great film maker's, their opinion on films at times are subjective. And while they've have been praised throughout the years, we have to acknowledge that they have bias on what they believe is "good" and "bad". Most people will simply let their comments go without actually questioning them, because they've established themselves as an authority on film through their successful career. But by that same metric we could say people Micheal Bay and Seth Rogen are great film makers, as they have had successful films. Meaning simply finding someone in film that believe superhero movies are "good" would be enough to counter the opposing opinion. What makes a quality film can vary from person to person. Good example of this is many people felt Star War's the last Jedi was a good movie. Though when you look at critical and fan opinion the feeling were split. So, I would recommend using your early paragraphs to establish how you will be measuring a films quality and then apply that to modern Superhero films and the films that Coppola and Scorsese believe are "good". I find this topic really interesting, albeit a difficult one to discuss. This is mainly because people use personal enjoyment to decide if a film is "good" or "bad" when that is entirely subjective and can vary from person to person, as how we may react to an experience can vary greatly. My last bit of advice is there are people out there who get pleasure from pain "masochist". And people who can enjoy eating shit. Pleasure is always subject to the individual. It is the same when discussing the quality of a film. – Blackcat130 5 days ago
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    Scientific accuracies in Sci-fi movies

    Christopher Nolan’s Tenet (2020) is said to employ many physics theories. Compared with historical drama films, sci-fi movies tend to receive less attention on accuracy – critics and viewers alike often note historical inaccuracies in Braveheart (1995) or Gladiator (2000), but much less so do we discuss scientific inaccuracies. We all know movies to a certain extent are worlds of make-believe, but why such difference? Is it because history and most films are narratives but scientific concepts and theories are not?

    • I think scientific inaccuracies have been discussed in YouTube videos. I think that a simple examination of scientific inaccuracies in science fiction movies would suffice. If anyone had one particular one in mind, that’s fine too. – J.D. Jankowski 2 months ago
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    • I agree that scientific in/accuracies are discussed over YouTube videos, but my question is why is there a bigger general disregard than accuracies in historical dramas. – KM 1 month ago
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    • Interesting topic. I would wager that it has a lot to do with history being significantly more accessible to laymen than the hard sciences typically are. Anyone who's done as little "research" as skimming William Wallace's Wikipedia page can boast a relatively firm grasp on the inaccuracies plaguing Braveheart, but the same can rarely be said about doing minimal research on quantum mechanics to know if/where Tenet errs. In light of the average spectator's inability to recognize scientific inaccuracies, they'd likely have an easier time taking the film's claims at face value. Neil deGrasse Tyson owes much of his early reputation as a public intellectual to some series of tweets he made about the inaccuracies in various science fiction films; it's noteworthy that the one-two punch of his scientific credentials paired with the easily consumable quips (in 280 characters or less) made the flaws comprehensible enough for a largely scientifically illiterate general audience to suddenly feel intellectually superior to Hollywood screenwriters. – ProtoCanon 1 month ago
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    • Great topic, but I have to quibble with the idea that science doesn't rely on narrative. I'm pretty sure it does, in fact. Natural selection and global warming seem to me like good examples of scientifically-grounded narrative. Scientists can complete small, controlled experiments or analyze big data for years, but in the end their findings -- if those findings are to have any larger significance -- have to be related through narrative and ultimately woven into the much larger narrative of what we call "science." – JamesBKelley 4 weeks ago
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    Future Ways of Filmmaking

    The film industry is always changing and innovating the essence of storytelling.

    For example, "Malcolm & Marie" is one of the latest Netflix films to be released. Focusing on only two characters, as the title suggests, has a vastly unique way to present how it is not like most films that are released for millions to see in these current times. The almost two-hour film explores the character’s emotional complications within the intensity and fragility of a very passionate relationship. Between the woes of their pain, pasts, insecurities and the powerful love they have for each other, the film being a back and forth conversation highlights the lack of communication about their real emotions. Whether these emotions are justified or not, this noir film does provide drastically distant perspectives of their relationship and who they are not only as an individual, but as a couple. This conversation centres around a range of topics. An example of the "distant perspectives" is when Malcolm passionately challenges how the filmmaking industry seeks validation from millions of people that try to generalise the reasoning of every little detail in films, specifically the one he made. Malcolm suggests through this comment that like the film industry, Marie seeks validation from him constantly as her way to give a concrete confirmation that she is appreciated and loved by the man that supposedly saved her life multiple times, as he suggests in their chaotic debate-like talk.

    The question of whether Malcolm and Marie are ultimately compatible with each other will be continuously debated. However, I want to address if Netflix and the filmmaking industry will make more films in this matter. The concept of turning films where one of the goals is to convince the audience of a fictionalised world being humanly possible and appealing into films where the characters have a conversation driving the story doesn’t sound strongly convincing. Let me put it into perspective with one of the most instantaneous grabs of relevance of shows of all time, "13 Reasons Why". Imagine the show condensed into a movie with Clay and Hannah as the two main characters having a conversation where she reveals the whole truth, even the truth that she wants to kill herself instead of having 4 seasons of a show that first begun with tapes to find. The potential for this hypothetical film has a higher ceiling than the show in its entirety. Does it not?

    • Given how skittish the cinematographic (and most artistic industries in general) are about risk in terms of these kind of things, my bet would be that you don’t see much in the way of film-making form innovations unless you have someone already well-established. – J.D. Jankowski 6 days ago
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    Get Out (2017)'s Grand Conspiracy

    In Jordan Peele’s psychological thriller, wealthy, homogenous individuals congregate to buy and possess other humans. Motives vary, between desire to live past one’s own ‘natural’ lifespan, to replacing physical function that one has lost. The hosts relinquish control of their body, retaining limited consciousness as they become slaves to whoever won the bid.
    This concept feels far-fetched, but is it plausible? The movie presents this ‘new’ form of slavery directly, as all hosts shown in the movie are Black, whereas all known possessors are White. The master-slave duality is certainly present, with White characters navigating delicately (and awkwardly) around unpossessed Black characters; however, what current systems are in place to enable this conspiracy?
    Does this movie accurately display the race relations in America by enabling this new-age slavery to exist? How does it comment on current forms of slavery in America, such as the prison-industrial complex? I’d argue that this movie could easily take place in other countries, such as Canada, by substituting Black characters with First Nations–Canada’s got a brutal current and historical reputation with the treatment of First Nations.
    Nonetheless, is it plausible for groups of elite, wealthy, aging individuals to meet at an undisclosed location to auction a living body to possess? Disregarding the scientific plausibility, what might compel such a conspiracy to form and crystalize? Could this film be metaphorically commenting on the appropriation of Black culture and art by White-owned corporations? How so? Is this conspiracy already in motion, present in a form that treats culture as hosts, and elites as slaveowners?

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      Peter Weyland is Responsible for Everything in the Alien Franchise's Universe

      Upon rewatching "Alien Covenant" for the third time recently, the discovery of just how deep the influence of Peter Weyland and his company, Weyland Yutani, have drastically impacted the known universe which the Alien films take place came into full view.
      Weyland funded the mission to discover the engineers in "Prometheus," he created David, the self aware and free-willed Android that is ultimately responsible for creating what we know as the xenomorph, his company is responsible for discovering them on LV-426, for returning there to capture them and use them as bioweapons, his company returns in the next film to take Ripley in order to extract the queen inside of her, and even Alien Resurrection" could be tangentially tied to Weyland’s company as who else in this future hellscape of interplanetary discovery would have the resources to fund studies into cloning and making a xenomorph queen/human hybrid?
      The article I propose is taking a deep dive into how Weyland was far more integral to the creation and manipulation of ever single person and android connected to the Alien films (we’re going to disregard AVP as those two films break cannon) like a spider knows everything that occurs within its web. Weyland had the resources and capability to look out into the known universe/galaxy and see how interconnected everything is and how he could control events even past the death of his physical body (spoiler alert, I think he also created an AI that is himself that continued to manipulate everything still even beyond his death). I would like to conclude on the theory of what the next film would then have to accomplish in order to complete the new trilogy and tie all six canonical films together.

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        What is the place of psychological horror and thriller in a world gone 'mad'?

        Depression, anxiety disorders, and other mental and emotional malaises are more rampant than ever. The stresses of everyday life and the constant feed of nearly apocalyptic news reaching us on a daily basis surely have something to do with our collective plight.

        How well do psychological horrors, like Psycho (1960), The Shining (1980), Jacob’s Ladder (1990); and psychological thrillers, such as The Machinist (2004); capture our current state of dis-ease?

        • Great idea. You could easily turn this one into a book, breaking the movies down by decade. You could also focus this idea into two articles: pre 9/11 and post. The major aspect is to research the experts of each era. Hitchcock, for example, is certainly guided by outdated notions concerning psychology, whereas Brad Anderson is attempting to be more informed with contemporary theories. – Michael J. Berntsen 2 years ago
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        • I second that. I'm intrigued about the respect aspect, too. That is, are these stories respectful to real people with mental illnesses? For instance, I don't watch Rain Man or many, if any films whose main characters have disabilities because they all seem to be saintly, severely affected, childlike, etc. That doesn't represent me and I don't think it respects me and other members of my minority group who are not that way. I wonder if people with mental illnesses feel the same way when they watch these films, or yet another film where the villain's primary raison d'etre is tied to psychological or psychiatric illness. – Stephanie M. 2 years ago
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        • Claims of mental illness being more "rampant than ever" would require some rigorous data research to back those up, but this is an interesting topic for sure. I wonder if this could be slightly re-framed. Instead of looking back at old films that have been rigorously analyzed for their symptomatic representations of political landscapes at the times of release, it would be interesting to try and explore films of THIS decade to try and determine a common trend in mental illness representation, and how these representations are in reaction to current events. JOKER is an obvious one, and would be an interesting centerpiece since it's just released now, and two months before the decade ends. A sort of retrospective look at this decade's cinematic view of mental illness could be very interesting and illuminating, especially with Trump's presidency taking place halfway through it. A comparative analysis between pre- and post-Trump administration films maybe. – calebwhutch 2 years ago
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        • I love the suggestion that Calebwhutch made. I agree that might be a generalization (or at least would take a lot of research to prove) that mental illness is more widespread now than ever before. BUT, as with all art forms, social fears and anxieties are well reflected in art, and it would be interesting to see an analysis of various films that provide such a reflection. Joker is a great choice. Get Out is another that comes to mind. – JCBohn 1 month ago
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        The Genre Blending of Benson and Moorhead

        Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead have been making horror films for almost a decade. At least, that’s how their films are classified. Upon watching them, there aren’t any jump scares, no masked killers, no creepy asylums, nothing like that. Instead, in their films Resolution, Spring, and The Endless, a large part of the running time consists of characters discussing their complicated feelings towards their situation, while the horror quietly unfolds in the background, leading to works that feel like they’re about ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. With thick atmosphere and deep writing, the filmmakers instead seem to make other genre films with horror elements. Resolution is a character drama, Spring is a romance, and The Endless is science fiction, but all three have horror undoubtedly featured. Try to explore why each film might be called horror, and also why they might avoid the label. Also some points to keep in mind are how the character arcs are informed by the horror parts of the narrative, how the directors are able to maintain a grip on atmosphere, and why the scarier elements are essential to the development of the plot.