Posted on Thursday, April 17th, 2014 by David Chen
What do you get when you combine a hit song from the highest grossing animated film of all time with one of the most insanely popular TV shows of all time? A “Let It Go” mashup for the ages, of course.
My Cast of Kings co-host Joanna Robinson approached me to put together a music video of “Let It Go”, but using some fun Game of Thrones inspired lyrics performed by her talented friend Gail. Check out the results after the jump, and subscribe to A Cast of Kings to get your regular Game of Thrones podcast fix.
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Posted on Wednesday, March 26th, 2014 by Angie Han
Many a comic book movie has contemplated the emotional cost of being a superhero. You’re constantly in peril. You regularly have to put your civilian life on hold while you go battle baddies. All your loved ones are at risk of being captured by the enemy at any moment. And it can really sting when the public you’ve worked so hard to save doesn’t seem all that grateful for your help.
But then there’s also the dollar cost of being a superhero. Sure, Steve Rogers may have started out as an middle-class kid from Brooklyn. But super-soldier serums and cutting-edge equipment don’t come cheap, and — since S.H.I.E.L.D. is a government agency — we taxpayers are the ones footing the bill. So how much does having a Captain America cost the U.S., really? After the jump, a video breaks down the total price tag.
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What would you do if you discovered that there was another person in the world who looked exactly like you? How quickly would your world be torn from its moorings? What would you do? Would you ignore that person? Or would you obsessively track him/her down? Either way, you’d probably feel like something was gravely wrong with this universe.
Denis Villeneuve’s Enemy, which features Jake Gyllenhaal playing two versions of himself, provokes this hypothetical unease, drawing it out expertly until it’s almost unbearable. The film is out in theaters this weekend. After the jump, check out my video review of it.
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Posted on Wednesday, March 12th, 2014 by Angie Han
Though he only has three features to his name — one of which, Brother Tied, was little seen to begin with and isn’t even available on home video now — Derek Cianfrance has already established himself as a filmmaker worth paying attention to. Today, a new video does just that. Described as a “guided tour” of the process behind Blue Valentine and The Place Beyond the Pines, Kees van Dijkhuizen‘s Insight: Derek Cianfrance combines the footage and Cianfrance’s DVD audio commentary from the two movies. Think of it as a commentary track for people who don’t have four hours to spend re-watching the films, if you like. Check it out after the jump. Read More »
Posted on Friday, February 14th, 2014 by David Chen
In a video essay published last week, Amy Nicholson (from LA Weekly) and I dove into some of the intricacies of Charlie Kaufman’s Synecdoche, New York. This week in Part 2, we examine the role of Sammy Barnathan, ponder why Caden wears a wig later on in the film, reflect on the role of Madeline Gravis, and try to figure out why everyone is everyone, as the world outside of the play collapses.
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Posted on Friday, February 7th, 2014 by David Chen
The Lego Movie is probably the most fun I’ve had at the movies since seeing Pacific Rim last summer. Writer/directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller have taken a film that could have been a shameless, lifeless tie-in and infused it with so much life that it’s bursting at the seams with jokes, movie references, colorful set pieces, hilarious dialogue, and even characters from other universes.
Hit the jump for my full video review. Read More »
Posted on Wednesday, February 5th, 2014 by David Chen
The recent, tragic passing of Philip Seymour Hoffman prompted me to look back at some of his most memorable work. One of his films that I’ve always wanted to delve more deeply into is Synecdoche, New York, Charlie Kaufman‘s meditation on mortality and creativity. While I admired much about what the film is trying to do and say – and Hoffman is tremendous in it – I found that even after repeated viewings, many of the film’s meanings and themes eluded me (despite already having recorded a lengthy podcast episode on the topic 4 years ago). I was fortunate to team up with someone way more knowledgeable than me to create a video essay about Synecdoche: Amy Nicholson from LA Weekly and the Village Voice podcast.
In the below video essay, Amy and I discuss the meaning of certain elements in the film, such as the burning house, Caden’s ailing health, Violet’s poisonous tattoos, and the fluidity of time. We chatted for so long that I had to break our conversation up into two separate parts, making this part 1 of a 2-part video essay (part 2 will come next week). Check it out after the jump.
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Posted on Wednesday, January 29th, 2014 by David Chen
The first time I saw Edgar Wright’s Shaun of the Dead, I was blown away by the close-ups. They seemed to bombard me at every turn in the film, their rapid-fire nature grabbing me by the metaphorical collar and pulling me face first into the next scene. Wright went on to make several more films which make ingenious use of the close-up, and I became so intrigued by these shots. What was Wright’s purpose for them in each film? Why did he seem to employ them so copiously? How did he fit them into his shooting schedule?
Edgar Wright generously agreed to chat with me at length on this topic. I edited our conversation into a video essay exploring the art of close-ups. Check it out after the jump and be sure to pick up Edgar’s The World’s End on Blu-Ray when you get the chance.
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