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Latest Topics

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Modern villains in kids' movies are too nice

Many modern movies that are marketed to kids like Pirates of the Caribbean and Maleficent try to portray the villain in a more positive light. I think an interesting article would talk about the genre of kids’ films and how villains have changed over the years. For example, Goonies and Disney’s Little Mermaid have clear, evil villains.

  • Thank you for the help! I ended up clarifying the genre (removing the 80's reference) and focusing it a bit more. – tclaytor 1 week ago
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  • Are they "modern villains," or are they villains in "modern kids' movies"? Also might be nice to explore the apparent sanitization of movies targeted towards children over the last several decades. Do any characters ever die (murder, etc.) anymore, or does everyone end up talking about feelings by the end? – LaPlant0 6 days ago
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  • it's also interesting to explore how villains may change with demographic. For example, it might be easier to present a villain in a child's movie as inherently evil, to better teach morals. Versus, villains for older audiences are presented as morally ambiguous and complicated, which makes them relatable to us. – vmainella 3 days ago
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  • Such a cool topic! It might be interesting to see if this shift was due to any real world events that may have influenced society's opinion on how to portray villains. – MaddyKellas 6 hours ago
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What are some gadgets, or words, or concepts that have been made into reality?

Are there any words or inventions that we use today that once only existed in movies and books? For example, the word "muggle" is now understood by people who might not have ever read the Harry Potter series. I also heard that Star Trek was the inspiration behind many of the new technology that we have today.

  • From a language point of view one that must be discussed is Shakespeare who introduced a number of words to the common English language, including gossip and swagger! – SaraiMW 2 weeks ago
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The Rise of Hyper-Realism

There seems to be a growing trend in millennial produced cinema and television to take real life experiences and events and bring them to the screen (Girls, Master of None, Mr. Roosevelt, Lady Bird, and more, are based closely on the writer’s real life). While many of these works are widely acclaimed, is there a downside to this style of filmmaking? Can we continue to pull out unique insights from films that represent life as we know it? Or is fantasy more effective? What is it about seeing something essentially identical to our lives or our friends/families lives that stands out to us?

  • A good topic and good questions. I'd like to see this essay. – Joseph Cernik 4 weeks ago
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  • Interesting. I think part of the discussion needs to be about whether photography is, in and of itself, about “realism”. It’s a well-worn point to make, but Picasso’s “Guernica” can be argued to feel a more “realistic” expression of the visceral horror of the Spanish Civil War than many photographs. And if the “realism” of photographs lies significantly in the medium’s ability to capture a fleeting and ephemeral moment, does that change when the fleeting, ephemeral moment is artfully and skilfully staged? (Or, indeed, reproduced, as in much of the photo-realistic art on Ivan Terzic’s blog; as you quite rightly remind us, photo-realism is not the sole preserve of the 2D or 3D digital arts) I understand completely the attraction of photo-realism, particularly in archaeological reconstructions. After all, photo-realism is primarily about detail, and some of the data which archaeology captures is highly – even microscopically – detailed. But does “data-detail” really equate to “visual detail” or “representational detail”? And do we really understand the past in terms of the hyper-detailed snapshot – the moment frozen in time? Or do we actually understand the past in terms more like a tracking shot, moving spatially and temporally across an archaeological landscape, with objects, events and the relationships between them slipping in and out of focus? If the latter, then perhaps the practice of “photo-realism” needs to be blended much more into a continuum of representational techniques. – NikaGoddard 4 weeks ago
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Denzel Washington's true portrayal of addiction and alcoholism in "Flight"

Take a look at how Denzel Washington’s character, Whip Whitaker creates a disconnect between consciousness and his underlying alcohol and drug addiction. Modern cinema doesn’t often put viewers in the shoes of someone who realizes their problem by the end of the film. Some of the saddest scenes in the film occur when Whip is drinking. Additionally, he is a great pilot and his drunkenness does not seem to get in the way of that. Perhaps it would be interesting to see how addiction becomes reliance in this case, and how well the movie portrays two characters: drunk Whip and sober Whip.

  • I saw Flight a while ago and I was blown away by Washington's very raw performance and portrayal of an addict/alcoholic. – Sean Gadus 1 month ago
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  • Maybe this can be broadened to look at alcoholism in several movies so Denzel Washington's portrayal has some perspective. Are there general ways that alcoholism is presented? Are there significant differences? I was thinking of Ray Milland in The Lost Weekend and Frank Sinatra in The Joker Is Wild. – Joseph Cernik 4 weeks ago
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Mom and Dad and Soundtracks

Mom and Dad is a polarizing movie, to say the least. But critics are focusing on the acting, and not enough people are talking about the over-the-top and louder-than-necessary soundtrack that plays throughout the film. Were the music/audio queues a miscalculated mistake, or a statement?

Write an article assessing the accompanying audio to the movie. Do the loud stereotypical mood sounds take away from the narrative or add to it?
I found the soundtrack an interesting element that added extra commentary to the narrative. Although the actors took their roles seriously, the audio’s juxtaposition to their struggles, highlights a lack of seriousness (especially when scary buildup music is playing in the beginning, constantly threatening danger before any is close to being presented). The situation the characters experience are dire and unfortunate, but the noise in the background continuously reminds audiences that the premise itself is still ridiculous.

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    Where are the Australian sci fi fantasy films?

    I’m a big fan of the screen – films and tv shows, I wondered how come Australia doesn’t produce more films and television shows based on science fiction, fantasy or even the superhero genre which has taken over the world.
    America and Europe have many films and TV shows dedicated to depicting these things and Australia doesn’t have much and if we do, they don’t get much air time. This fact doesn’t irritate me but if depicting films and shows within these genre’s are such huge successes in other regions how come Australia hasn’t tried it?
    I know there are a few films and shows out there but if there a more I would love to know.
    Is Australia against these films?
    Is it against our film/tv industry to make these?
    Have they tried and failed?
    If/ when a film or TV show in Australia has elements of science fiction / fantasy involved how come they don’t get the same exposure?

    Has someone written about this already and I don’t know?

    • I tried looking for it again, but had no luck on finding it - but during my time at uni a few years ago, I read a fascinating paper on how Australian audiences enjoy and are open to fantasy and sci-fi media. But due to the scale and the risks associated with producing this kind of TV and film, our under-funded networks and companies are too hesitant to take the big venture. However, times are hopefully changing with the 2017's "Cleverman" an awesome show focusing on indigenous mythos that uses fantasy and dystopian elements to create a cool and engaging show that balances social issues with it's superhero-esque storyline. Stories and features on the production of Cleverman could perhaps tell us more about why sci-fi and fantasy films are so scarce in Australia? That's my suggestion at least. – Dimitri Adoniou 1 month ago
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    • You make some very good points and I think this is a subject well worth investigating. Off the top of my head I can name but a few 'purely' Australian sci-fi projects, such as the original 'Mad Max' (directed by George Miller), the wonderfully theatrical 'Farscape' series, 'The Infinite Man' (2014), 'The Death and Life of Otto Bloom' (2016) and 'Alpha Gateway' (2018). There are, of course, many other sci-fi and fantasy films that have been filmed in Australia. It might be worth looking out for a documentary entitled 'Not Quite Hollywood', which covers the subject quite well, for anyone wishing to pursue the topic further. – Amyus 4 weeks ago
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    Thoughts on the New Oscars Award for Outstanding Popular Film

    The Oscars recently announced that they are introducing a new award category for "outstanding achievement in popular film." Although the Oscars have periodically added new awards categories, some might think that this is a desperate ploy by the Academy to attract more viewers. On the other hand, others might perceive the introduction of this new category as a legitimate attempt to celebrate both the commercial and critical successes of box-office hits that are rarely nominated for Oscars. What do you think? In the context of this latest award category, do you believe that the Academy is under pressure to attain higher ratings? How have previous awards additions been received by the public, such as the "Best Makeup and Hairstyling" award in 1981? In comparison to the introduction of other awards categories, do you think this new award will have any kind of impact on the film industry?

    • I am honestly relieved after the announcement of this category, because while it seems to me less prestigious than "Best Picture," I feel it will take the pressure off of the "Best Picture" category to simply be the most popular film of the award season, rather than the objective best, or most artistic/creative/original, as the category should be. – jillholstad 3 weeks ago
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    • I absolutely think that it's an attempt for the Oscars to salvage ratings. They hit record lows last year (26.5 million I believe) and amid all the scandals and scrutiny that Hollywood is under I think people are getting too disillusioned to watch rich celebrities walk a red carpet. Even calling it a "popular film" award is really on the nose. Considering how many quality movies get snubbed because they don't exude the apparent "grace" that the academy swoons over. You may as well call it the MCU-Fast and the Furious sponsored Marketing Budget award, because those are the films that are going to be represented every year. I don't think it'll matter anyway because anyone who would care that those movies win that award still won't watch the ceremony. – JamesR 3 weeks ago
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    Is it possible to like Gone With The Wind while still realizing the often Mythic Image of the South it Presents?

    Gone With The Wind (1939) can be seen as a good movie. But, at the same time, it presents an image of the South which was never true in the first place and which presents slavery in almost passing reference ways. There is this time before the Civil War where, we are to believe, that the South had an ideal existence. Seeing the movie from the present, makes one quite aware of what is left out and glossed over and makes one want to go "Wait! Stop! Go back!" How can we and should evaluate the movie today?

    • It is important as always to remember the framework of literature, that it is a fiction and GWTW was always framed as a historical romance that drew on some elements of the civil war, but largely was about the journey of Scarlet O'Hara through a changing period. It is a story about the dangers of unrequited love and unrealistic ideals, but also about strength and resolution. In many ways the representation of slavery in the film/book needs to be balanced against the fact it is told from the perspective of a woman in that period, most of which had the same rights of slaves in the time. Scarlet is also an unreliable narrator as she perceives the events around her from a very self-centered lens. However, all in all it is still an interesting text to discuss. – SaraiMW 1 month ago
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