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Whiplash, Black Swan and Tar: the triumvirate of obsession

Black Swan, the obsession with being the best at the cost of all else.

Tar and the abusive teacher

Whiplash, the synthesis of obsession and abuse leading to a sort of harmony.

The films concern the performing arts in their various forms, each taking a distinct POV. But all of them run a similar line of thought which is "But at what cost"

At what cost do we sacrifice our essential being to become, "a great" in Whiplash?

Consequently what price is too high for "perfection" in Tar, and who pays when the tab is due?

If we aren’t our accomplishments, who are we in Black Swan?

In a society driven by a consumptive need to be the best, how much is too much to attain it?

  • It may be interesting to have The Perfection and I, Tonya as part of this discussion - especially in regards to the kind of personal motivations that drive the need to be best - even apart from individual ambition. – Janhabi Mukherjee 4 months ago
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  • You could make mention of Phantom Thread; this film includes a lot of references to psychoanalysis and the central character is a great example of the toxicity of a narcissistic perfectionist who projects his pedantry onto those closest to him. – Tahlia 3 months ago
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What makes regency era period pieces so popular?

Explore regency era nostalgia and how it is a big part of contemporary culture. Also discuss the role of technology and how and why people yearn for the pre digital age.

Look at film and TV adaptations of the Regency era, such as Pride and Prejudice, Bridgerton, Emma, Becoming Jane, Belle, Sanditon, Death Comes to Pemberley, etc). Many of these are based on or around Jane Austen and her works. Discuss Austen’s influence on the Regency era and the subsequent rise in “Regencycore” in fashion and entertainment.

  • I think that Dimension 20's "A Court of Fey and Flowers" demonstrates a good answer to that question. Regency relies upon emotional stories, as opposed to totally power driven narratives. They aren't necessarily about the clash of big G Good, and big e Evil, but about the messy, dramatic, and difficult parts of people's lives. They can be very emotional, and very exciting. I believe people yearn for a pre-digital age (consciously or not, intentionally or not), because the human connection available was both not as overwhelming (as say the internet, which contains perhaps all of human knowledge?), and also more personal, more intimate, more direct. Screens are screens. They literally stand between the people connecting. Regency is just one of many eras/genres which predates digital and film tech (and one of the most recent periods) – skjamin 1 year ago
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  • -It's glamorous and opulent, sitting at a sweet spot of history between the dirty and unenlightened middle ages so you can portray royal elegance without having to ignore the dirty and superstitious reality of Medieval Europe, country estates are a much more romantic setting than a castle. -It also takes place just before the industrial revolution and all of the social problems associated with modernity, -Jane Austen, The Bronte Sisters, even Marry Shelly are really one of the earliest cohorts of female writers with an enduring legacy that can be tied to a specific literary movement (in my uneducated opinion) and thus those stories persevere. – Cedarfireflies55 10 months ago
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  • Regency-era popular culture pieces significantly identified the manifestation of affect. The crucial contribution of feelings and emotions parallel to or in opposition to rationalism portrayed the complexity of regency-era productions that made them appealing to the audience. I think the sudden surge of highly sexualized films and storylines and an obsessive focus on individual identities led more than a few frustrated viewers back to the era of romantic relationships where human emotions were valued and not over-analyzed psychoanalytical. – Golam Rabbani 5 months ago
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  • I might suggest limiting the discussion to pieces like Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Bridgerton, Becoming Jane, and the like. Nothing wrong with Death Comes to Pemberley or Belle, but I see these two as crossing into different genres or belonging in other discussions. That is, Belle has a Regency backdrop, but is more about her life and search for identity as a biracial woman. Death Comes to Pemberley is a P&P offshoot/pays homage, but is more a mystery story. – Stephanie M. 4 months ago
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Are audiences losing media literacy?

Media literacy is the ability to understand and analyze works such as movies, television, books, and even video games. That said in recent years there’s been a notable lack of nuance in media discussions and even worse a rise in pushback against anything that challenges the audience’s comfort,
claims such as "All sex scenes are useless", "protagonists shouldn’t be bad/do immoral things" and "There should be a clear lesson in a story"

46% of American adults in a survey say that they didn’t learn media literacy in schools, which begs the question of why not? What consequences have arisen due to low media literacy and how can they be corrected going forward?

  • A good place to look at whether or not audiences are losing media literary is on Booktok. Creators who critically review books are often slammed and shamed for taking the pleasure out of reading. When in all reality, readers do not want to be made to feel uncomfortable with the authors and reading themes they choose to support. – morgantracy 3 months ago
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Burn After Reading - The Idiot Plot

"The Idiot Plot, of course, is any plot that would be resolved in five minutes if everyone in the story were not an idiot."
— Roger Ebert in his review of Narrow Margin (1990)

The 2008 black comedy "Burn After Reading" by the Coen Brothers is a film of fools doing foolish things to disastrous consequences. Each character for the most part overestimates their own standing and refuses to see the world as it is, but is that ideologically driven, do these people within the story have ideologies? For a film that is based in D.C. and told from the perspective of a C.I.A operative it’s politics are remarkably scant, so then what drives each character to behave the way they do?

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    Villainy in Puss in Boots: The Last Wish

    Jack Horner and Death

    Of the antagonists in The Last wish, these two stand head and shoulders above the rest. But between them who can be argued to be the "better" villain.

    Horner is a throwback, an old school villain, evil at his core. Unrepentant and callous his simplicity lends itself to easily understanding why he’s a villain but, that same simplicity could be critique as lazy or unoriginal due to him always taking the worst most inhumane option.

    Contrasting him is Death.
    Death plays with Puss in Boots but is solely focused on him. It could be argued he is cruel and unfair but he’s literally death and that is his nature. Is his simplicity better than Horner’s due to him being more of a force of nature than an character.

    What elements make each villain unique?

    • Great topic! Maybe comparing these villains to other villains in the shrek universe and puss in boots films would help strengthen this – Anna Samson 12 months ago
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    • Cool topic! Maybe comparing these two villains to other villains in all of the fictional universes you can think of that have a similar dynamic to both Jack Horner and Death would give some perspective to both these villainess characters in - Puss In Boots: The Last Wish – PinkLisa 7 months ago
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    Marvel: A Split World with Growing Divide?

    The MCU is timeless and well loved by many–both in its decades of comics, and in their evolution to a for-the-screen franchise. Afterall, the MCU was irreversibly expanded with Iron Man’s debut in 2008, and the 30 movies to follow. Amid these movie’s grandness, however, shows such as "Agents of Shield" served to fill in the gaps. They were not necessary for understanding the plot of each new movie, though they added extra glimpses of the MCU that the movies missed. More than this, they helped to tie eager audience’s over while each new movie was in production. In recent years, however, the role of MCU shows seems to have changed.

    Without watching "WandaVision", audiences would only have half the story of Wanda’s fall in "Doctor Strange: Multiverse of Madness." Without "Hawkeye," audiences would lack the entirety of Kate Bishop’s introduction to the MCU. In short, Marvel tv shows no longer seem to be the periphery stories they once were. More and more, the plot points, characters and events in these shows are pivotal to understanding the movie that comes next. One might claim this new emphasis has incited new investment in these shows–a depth of quality necessary for matching their film counterparts. At the same time, is the new weight placed on these shows too great?

    One of the most wonderful aspects of watching the Avengers movies, from first to last, was the shared experience for the audience. Each new movie was an event in itself, a key step toward where every arc intersected. But the necessity of MCU shows has created a far less linear path–one that is near impossible to follow without a subscription to DisneyPlus. Have the quality and value of MCU films been diluted by their television counterparts? Were MCU shows more enjoyable without the pressure of their greater plot stakes? Has the MCU simply spread itself too thin? While the MCU’s magic seems to be rooted in its ability to carefully weave many plots into one, have its shows thrown too many threads into the mix? For any franchise to remain in the public eye, it has to keep their attention–though one might wonder if MCU shows are the best way to do this. This article could go in a couple of different directions–both in support, or against MCU shows-examining one, or many. This is just a change I feel has greatly impacted the MCU in recent years, and one that might be interesting to examine.

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      Digital De-Aging and Resurrection: Its History and the Long-Term Implications for the Film Industry

      Digital de-aging has been around in the film industry for some time now, but its use has increased substantially as CGI technology continues to improve. Age-acceleration is also used, but winding back the clock instead is usually the more difficult feat to pull off well. What was once laughably unconvincing has now become an eerily good imitation. Instead of relying on younger actors to portray popular characters in flashback scenes, one can simply strip away the wrinkles and keep the visuals of the original actors intact. Think of a de-aged Johnny Depp for flashbacks of his character Jack Sparrow in The Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales or Harrison Ford’s Indiana Jones in the recent Dial of Destiny film, for example. Beyond that, one can digitally resurrect lost talent whether their deaths were abruptly in the midst of shooting a film or they passed away long ago (and never would’ve imagined such technology could exist). When Carrie Fisher unexpectedly passed, existing footage was apparently salvaged and cobbled together with CGI to fill in the gaps to reproduce Princess Leia for The Rise of Skywalker film. For a Dove Chocolate commercial, a likeness of deceased Hollywood icon Audrey Hepburn was used. Give some examples of films that successfully handled digital de-aging or resurrection as well as others that missed the mark. What went wrong and what went right? Before this technology was ever imagined and accessible, how did films handle the aging and deaths of actors? What does this mean for the future of the film industry, in terms of actors and production companies, etc.?

      • I think this is a fascinating idea. I've seen a lot of dislike around the use of this technology for 'resurrections' as you call it, with some feeling it's disrespectful, and feels a little dystopian (even in death, some cannot escape their jobs, and are puppeted without their say. A little melodramatic, but understandably so). Others are worried what it means for smaller actors - if you can just use someone's likeness, will we need real actors? Voice actors for audiobooks have expressed concerns over people using AI voices instead of more expensive voice actors, so some do worry we could end up with something similar happening in the film industry. This may be beyond the scope of a single article, but it's certainly an interesting topic. – AnnieEM 8 months ago
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      Fantastic Racism: The Universal Prejudice Metaphor

      Fantastic Racism is the term for writers creating a non-human race – aliens from outer space, vampires, werewolves, mutants, elves, orcs, etc. – and then using that race as a metaphor for real-world demographics that are the target of prejudice. The strength of this metaphor is that it can potentially be used in place of any minority group.

      In the world of X-Men, mutants have served as a metaphor for various real-world minorities over the decades, from Jewish people to Black people to LGBT’s.

      In many fantasy worlds, orcs are seen as barbaric, monstrous outsiders. A plot requiring humans and orcs to put aside their differences – such as the film Warcraft – can be used as a metaphor for international conflicts as well as domestic diversity. Meanwhile, in Max Landis’ urban fantasy world of Bright, orcs become a metaphor for any group with an antagonistic relationship with the police, due to poverty, ethnicity, or culture.

      Other examples include Skyrim, Supergirl, True Blood, and even Harry Potter. Analyze these and other examples of Fantastic Racism. Do some work better as metaphors than others? Can we learn different lessons from these stories that we may not see in stories about real-world human minority groups?

      • A topic worth pondering! The reference to eugenics could add further dimensions to this topic. And how whiteness, for example, the race of elves, is glorified against the narratives of demonizing non-white orcs. – Golam Rabbani 8 months ago
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      • I just loved this topic!! We can actually gain insights and perspectives that may not be as apparent in narratives centered on real-world human minority groups. I believe it can lead to a broader understanding of prejudice and discrimination. Amazing! – allan reis 8 months ago
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      • A great subject, considering how often Fantastic Racism can get messy if poorly handled. I'm almost wondering if the topic too broad for a single article, considering how often it comes up in media. You seem to be focusing on fantasy here, but scifi has a lot to offer the subject as well. Star Wars, The Animatrix, and Star Trek are all worth mentioning. – Petar 7 months ago
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      • True; the article's author would get to focus on whatever examples they're familiar with or the ones they most appreciate personally. – noahspud 7 months ago
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