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Latest Topics

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Musical communication in films: What happens when the soundtrack is not historically acurate?

A poignant scene in Django Unchained, directed by Quentin Tarantino, is when the free slave Django rides his horse alongside Calvin Candie’s carriage and henchmen. The rap song complementing the scene -100 Black Coffins by Rick Ross – is a stark historical juxtaposition. The song is certainly attractive to the ear, but does this choice of music go deeper than aesthetic? Does it allude to both the enslaved plight of African Americans whilst also drawing parallels to their modern plight (one often expressed through Hip Hop culture)? Does this ring true for other films? If so, what films and why?

  • Yes, this is a great topic. Hope I'm not overstepping here, but I think the word you're looking for anachronistic: when does an element in a work of art, whether editing, sound, lighting, etc. seem out of place or out of context? In Django it appears to enhance the experience, but perhaps in other films, in the hands of someone differently skilled, the use of anachronistic music might instead alienate the viewer. Really interesting topic. – Matchbox 3 months ago
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  • Thank you for that correction and insight - makes things much more succinct! – danielleraffaele 3 months ago
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Ocean's 8: Women Who "Win"

Although the idea of "winning" is complicated, the female cast of Ocean’s 8 "win" in so far as they are successful in their heist (even beyond their original expectations), form a strong alliance and friendship, and, in the case of Debbie, get their revenge. Although the film originally foreshadows the heist plan backfiring due to Debbie’s desire to get revenge on her ex-boyfriend by framing him, this expectation is not fulfilled as he is sent to jail. What does the film’s conclusion mean in terms of the film’s conception of feminism?

  • I think feminism is integral to the film but also the theme is not portrayed in a straight forward way. Think about the humour at the end when Sandra Bullock's character talks about how they are inspiring young girls to steal. This speech anticipates how the film will be thought of as an empowering feminist manifesto and makes a joke of it. We are reminded that the film is a comedy and just because of a heavily female cast we should not only think of the film in terms of a political agenda. It is a good film in its own right. – elizask 1 week ago
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The idealization of your significant other

In 500 Days of Summer, we see how Tom exalts Summer and puts her on a pedestal. From the beginning, she explains she isn’t interested in a formal relationship, but he falls in love with her anyways, and he expects the feeling to be reciprocated. When she doesn’t correspond him, he is devastated.

Many people get terribly hurt because they create an idealization of their significant other. We are all human, hence, none of us are perfect. However, we still strive to achieve what is best. Do romantic films shape us into thinking we have to find "the one"?

I’m not saying we should be conformists with any person that appears into our lives, but to an extent, what is –or should be — the limit to measure what is best or who is "the one"?

  • The "ideal" significant other is an extremely interesting subject to explore. There is a really interesting theory posted on YouTube that explores the link between parental figures and adult attraction. They theorize that attraction is determined by behaviours exhibited by the adults present during childhood. For better or for worse, there is a certain amount of comfort that comes with being around something familiar, be that a parent's supportive or emotionally distant nature. That might be an interesting topic if it can be mixed in with how ideal partners are explored in the film. – maticusarts 2 months ago
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  • It would be good to link this to abusive and toxic relationships in society ... those parallels would work well :) – Zohal99 1 week ago
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  • This is a great idea for an article! Maybe you could tie in how accessible romantic connections are in the modern age? How can we commit to 'one' when there are an infinate number of 'ones' out there? Also internet dating often takes away accountability, allowing people to 'ghost' with incredible ease. We are at once desperate to find the idealised relationship of films and unwilling to face the realities of a monogamous relationship. – elizask 1 week ago
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The Importance of Accuracy in TV and Movies About Computers

Discuss the spectrum of realism in the media’s portrayal of those in the world of computers, such as hackers or security experts in Mr. Robot, visionaries and coders in Halt and Catch Fire, all the way back to films such as Tron or War Games. Is accuracy as important as story, or even more desired in the past ten years? Perhaps speculate on how these shows impact people’s views of computers and how important they are to society.

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    Sharpay Evans: High School Villain or Hardworking Young Woman?

    In High School Musical, the villain often identified is Sharpay Evans, but is she really the villain? We come to see her as the villain because she is constantly trying to win her place in the school’s musical by ruining Troy and Gabriella’s chances. But there are many things we don’t think about till later on such as: Sharpay’s dedication to her schools drama club, the unfairness of Troy and Gabriella’s call-back when they didn’t technically audition, and even the fact that the story is told from the point of view of the more popular characters. Sharpay fromt he beginning of the story was considered alike to a "mountain lion", something that can be cute but you definitely wouldn’t pet. So, is she a villain?

    • Might be interesting to look at Sharpay Evans through the frame of how films portray successful or hard-working, determined women, rather than looking at it in a vacuum. – Zohal99 1 week ago
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    The perpetuation of the "chill girl"/"cool girl" in modern film

    I would love to see someone analyse how the concept of the "chill girl", the girl who fits in with "the boys", who doesn’t show extreme emotions and has sex without getting feelings, is constructed, perpetuated and idolised in modern romantic comedies.

    • maybe add some films you would like to see investigated to get people started! – ees 3 months ago
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    • I feel like John Green is really good at writing roles that fall into this category. – Kiranpreet Sandhu 2 months ago
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    • This sounds like an exploration of the Manic Pixie trope, which might be useful to look into :) – Zohal99 1 week ago
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    The Empowerment of Women in Mad Max Fury Road

    After recently watching Mad Max Fury Road for the first time (I know, I’m late!) I was astonished and kind of amazed by the movie’s representation and empowerment of it’s female characters. The primary cast is made up of heavily pregnant slave brides escaping from their tyrannical homicidal maniac warlord of a "husband" as Mad Max and the excellently-done female character: Furiosa. Watching all the intense action scenes where the pregnant women actually play a huge role in helping fight off the antagonists was really something new, and showed how the femininity of these women empowered them in this cruel desolate world. Their bodies belonged to them, and a huge reason for their desire to escape is to protect their unborn children from the abusive husband who treats wives and children like slaves and possessions. This inherently feminine anti-patriarchal rebellion is honestly the last thing I expected from the Mad Max series – which usually features a lot of exploding cars. That said, there were still a fair few exploding cars…

    So what does everyone else think? Does Mad Max successfully empower it’s female characters through these horrible situations, or is it perhaps wrong of the movie to even put these girls in these dangerous and horrible life situations?

    I feel like there’s a reasonable argument for either side, honestly.

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      Why Are So Many Gothic Stories Geared Towards/Concentrated on Children?

      Coraline, IT, Stranger Things, Pan’s Labyrinth, The Babadook…the Gothic and horror genres appear to have a fascination with children. Does it stem from our primal instinct to protect our offspring from threat? Does it illustrate how our childish fears never really leave us? Also, are these texts really geared towards children, or to the adults watching with their children? Or both? So many questions with some possibly fascinating answers.

      • Great topic. There are a /lot/ of examples, including Henry James' long short story "The Turn of the Screw" or the film The Village of the Damned. My initial guess is that there's some sort of play on the oppositions of innocence and monstrosity. (Children can be at least a little monstrous in some ways. One of the characters in Williams' Cat on a Hot Tin Roof calls the children in the play "no-neck monsters.") – JamesBKelley 7 months ago
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      • There's certainly an aspect of empowering, encouraging wish fulfillment in that the kids face the manifestations of their fears and defeat the nightmare monsters. – noahspud 6 months ago
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      • Another aspect might be the trope that children are more perceptive than adults, as in It, where only children can see Pennywise. – tedytak 3 months ago
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      • Love this topic, and the construct goes back a lot further than you think. The actual name escapes me, but there is an entire collection of ancient German stories, passed down through generations, that show disobedient children meeting horribly grim fates. You could start there, go into Grimm's Fairytales, and then discuss some of the other examples you mention (Coraline is a great one). You might also consider discussing some examples that aren't classic "horror," but do place children in significant and ongoing peril. The example that comes to my mind is Matilda, wherein the protagonist and her schoolmates are physically and emotionally tortured by an over-the-top headmistress. – Stephanie M. 3 months ago
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      • I, for one, was an angst child - partly due to the fact that I had absolutely no life experience. I loved horror, but didn't actually understand all of it. I grew up when I understood that horror and darkness exists everywhere. Especially in a dead end desk job. Those are the real goths. – nolarmade69 3 months ago
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      • Lemony Snicket immediately comes to mind, but I wonder if you could also talk about modern day spoofs? For instance Scooby Doo deals with a lot of traditional gothic elements but shows that monsters don't exist -- it is only humans that are monsters – Mela 3 months ago
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      • This is such an interesting topic to consider! I have actually never thought about it but I do agree with previous comments about Grimm's fairytales and how they stem from that. Also, maybe because they do have children in the stories, it can kind of be more relatable to an audience? – ambermakx 2 weeks ago
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