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Healthy Relationships in Romantic Comedies

Romcoms are an incredibly popular genre, and some of the relationships – from the perfect meet-cute to the inevitable dramatic finale – are truly dream-worthy. But a lot of romantic comedies also feature clearly unhealthy relationships. Consider The Wedding Planner, where the male lead is engaged for the majority of the film, or How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, where both sides of the couple are trying to trick one another. There are countless other examples.

It would be interesting to explore why this is. Does a relationship need to be unhealthy (or, commonly, founded upon lies) to be "funny"? Why can we set aside critical judgement of blatantly unhealthy behaviours when we’re watching these movies?

  • Add screwball comedies to that and it would improve it greatly. – leitercary 7 days ago
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  • The questions you pose here are very interesting. How would we define “unhealthy” in this inquiry? You seem to imply dishonesty or deception as informing that qualifier, which I think is right, but also, what of other problematics like sexist gender roles set as expectations via swoon-worthy rom com get-togethers? Perhaps this is where some of the unhealthy humor of this genre comes into play, where we laugh at the blunders the characters commit as they themselves attempt to fit the expectations of idealized heteronormative relationships— ‘boys will be boys, girls will be girls.’ – duronen 6 days ago
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The Hulk's Character Development (or lack thereof)

The Incredible Hulk is the movie most likely to be forgotten when thinking about the MCU. Arguably, its poor reception is the reason Mark Ruffalo has yet to get his own Hulk movie. Because Hulk/Bruce Banner doesn’t get solo movies like Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor, all of his character development has to happen in the Avengers movies and Thor: Ragnarok. Analyze what arc or Hero’s Journey he has, if any. Perhaps compare his arc to that of other Avengers.

  • I'm not certain why Mark Ruffalo never got a solo Movie as the Hulk. But, the reason Edward Norton was let go of was, due to problematic interactions with the rest of the cast. I think this topic is interesting as many fans complained about Ruffalo's and Johanson having no romantic chemistry in the films. I would say his arc is more about gaining control over his darker nature (something we see at the happen in Avenger End Game.) https://www.cbr.com/why-mark-ruffalo-replaced-edward-norton-mcu-hulk/ – Blackcat130 1 month ago
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  • I think this is a good topic. Mark Ruffalo was a major star even before his casting as the Hulk, so for him to not have his own solo film is definitely a question mark on the studio's part. I think it's also interesting to look at his relationships with the other characters and Avengers as a whole. Why is he now paired with Thor? Why did his relationship with Black Widow not grab audiences attention? Also of note is that Ruffalo has worked with multiple directors in his turn as the Hulk, including Joss Whedon, the Russo Brothers, and Taika Waititi. It might be interesting to analyze which of these directors, if any, have captured the strongest essence of who the Hulk should be. – Sarah 4 days ago
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2

Pros and Cons of Fan Theories

Theorizing about things going on in TV/movies/books that may or may not ever be confirmed in canon is a favorite pastime of many fans. But some fan theories take the fun out of things rather than inspiring fun conversations. Analyze what features or circumstances, if any, make a fan theory "worth considering" or not.
Examples to consider include Jon Negroni’s Unified Theory of the Pixar Theory, the 007 Codename Theory, and any of the "They were dead the whole time" theories.

  • This is an interesting discussion, and fan theorizing has certainly boomed alongside social media. It might also be helpful to consider how fan theories might have an affect on ongoing creative work. Fans often theorize what might be happening in a show or series before the finale is written. Do writers ignore these theories? Do the intentionally thwart them? Or do they read fan theories for inspiration? – JaniceElaine 2 weeks ago
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  • One pro I find is that several fans (presumably from all over the world) are able to geek about their respective fandom, and get together and engage in whatever they are discussing. It is a great way to discuss new ideas, and further immerse oneself into the show/game/whatever a group is talking about. One con, however, is someone can go too far with proposing a theory and not letting anyone discuss their disagreements with said theory. People are allowed to have their own ideas, but only if they are allowed to open up criticism to the theories they present. – DrSpaghet 6 days ago
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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?

  • Good topic! I think apocalypse-style media is cathartic. People consume it as a way to reassure themselves that what they see can't really happen for one reason or another, or that if it did, they would survive. Sometimes people consume this media and plan what they would do in certain situations. There's also an element of dark humor, as in, if we laugh at the poor decisions we think characters are making, the apocalypse won't seem so threatening and potentially realistic. – Stephanie M. 5 months ago
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Negotiating the Politics of Otherness in Disney's Luca

Analyse Disney’s new animated movie Luca from a cultural andracial angle.By showing everyone to have a place in society, it deconstruct the self-Other binary paving the way for a greater acceptance of all races and cultures.

  • Well, the movie reminded me of the academy award-winning film The Shape of Water, which addresses the self-other binary. Sea-monster can be considered to be a metaphor for the racial or the cultural Other (the immigrants) who are denied a place in the white supremacist society. This is just a suggestion. There are innumerable other ways in which the racial/cultural angle can be applied to an academic analysis of this movie. – Madhukari 2 months ago
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  • This is a very interesting topic. – Sean Gadus 2 months ago
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5

Babyteeth and the Subversion of Terminally Ill Tropes

Almost everyone is familiar with the coming of age genre in which a teen is diagnosed with a terminal illness. From the popular adaptation of John Green’s A Fault In Our Stars, to more recent additions such as 5 Feet Apart, this type of film is normally associated with its ability to provoke tears rather than to impart the cinematic experience. Unlike its predecessors however, Babyteeth is simultaneously both moving and cinematic. It is not a movie about death, but rather the pursuit of life.

By avoiding the cliches of its genre, Babyteeth is ultimately able to impact a greater audience. Rather than portray its protagonist as a victim, Milla (Eliza Scanlen) becomes the film’s hero and is able to retain the dignity that her illness threatens. With the film in mind, examine the way that illness is conceived and thought of in today’s society. What shift in thinking has contributed to this change? In your opinion, what is the best way to present terminal illnesses in film?

  • A thing that grinds my gears would be the representation of mental illness, specifically, as something that either provides a limitation or a superpower... because plot. Often depictions are oversimplification of a person's experience or comically inaccurate. A bipolar charming-but-secret-murderer or autistic savant hacker with trouble speaking are some stereotypes. Another issue is when it feels like a checkbox has been crossed out. One egregious example would be in "The Predator" a while back where the main character's son is depicted as a school child that feels compelled to put back a chess set that has been knocked over into its original mid-game position, but then in the next scene is bullied after some kids pull a fire alarm that begins making loud noises. Main character's-kid-with-autism balls their hands and rocks back and forth to deal with the stimulation... of course later in the movie the kid is able to understand the Predator technology and language and is literally called a pinnacle of human evolution to be harvested for his DNA. This is lazy and uninspired writing at the expense of those with the mental condition being misrepresented, courtesy the media industry. – DancingKomodos 3 months ago
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  • Yeah a lot of times those kinds of illnesses feel like a cheap way to the audience's heart. I remember feeling this in Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl. I wanted to like the film, but I felt like the "Dying Girl" was a convenient plot device to the protagonist's character. He even straight up lies about the true ending of the film, and later tells us the truth: this was to keep the emotional beats of the film in check. How to do it properly? I'm not sure, that is a good question – JuanGomez 2 months ago
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Historical Accuracy, Costumes, and the Oscars

In this day and age, historical accuracy is more important than ever. At least, to some people. When "Little Women" won the Oscar for Best Costume Design in 2019, a few people were unimpressed, given the inaccuracies of the costume design compared to what people would have worn at the time.
This article would look at various films in Oscar history that won or were nominated for Best Costume Design with some modifications made to period clothing that raised a few eyebrows. These could be to send a powerful message (see Emma Watson’s corset-less dresses in "Beauty and the Beast") or to make a fashion statement (Elizabeth Taylor’s wardrobe in "Cleopatra"). The films can implement changes for the better or for worse, so long as they are slightly different from the outfits they’re based off.
Some sources that the author might want to look at are Bernadette Banner and Karolina Zebrowska, YouTubers who not only know their fashion history, but also try out fashion items, critique films, and debunk myths. Of course, other sources besides YouTube can be used.

  • Another source to consider is the TV series, Outlander, which prizes itself on historically accurate costume (there are many resources about this online and YouTube with interviews from cast members who comment on how their costume impacted their abilities) – telltaletalovic 4 months ago
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5

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 months ago
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  • As with any form of media, trends come and go. The initiation of the MCU encouraged a lot of failed imitations of the "cinematic universe formula" (see universal's Dark Universe, the DCEU, and the limping corpse of Sony's Spider-Man universe). However, I would argue that such criticisms from Scorsese etc are indicative of the wider blockbuster "genre", the commodification of individual films into franchises owned by huge conglomerates, and the frequency with which blockbuster films are now produced. As Warner Bros, Universal, and especially Disney continue to churn out more and more productions, it's almost inevitable that the quality will begin to decline. We're now looking at several tv series and 3 or 4 MCU movies per year, as opposed to waiting three years between each Star Wars film, as it was in the 70s. The commodification of franchise cinema has a lot to answer for, and the MCU's consistency in terms of quality can likely be attributed to the singular vision of Feige, so at least everything is consistent. The lack of this same vision is the same reason that the new Star Wars films have felt so dissonant from one another and have been suitably lambasted. So yes, I think a case could be made for the MCU signalling the end of "quality" blockbusters, but less mainstream art pictures, smaller studio productions, and independent films will likely remain unaffected. However, the precedents set by the MCU have bled into other blockbuster franchises who all want the same financial returns; so I'd argue for blockbuster cinema their concerns are valid. – NathanialEker 5 months ago
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