Evolution of Gotham City

If you want to start a lively debate with your friends, try to come up with a definitive answer as what major U.S. city is represented by Bruce Wayne’s hometown of Gotham City.

After all, if Metropolis is supposed to be New York City, then surely Gotham City can’t be the same thing. Batman artist Neal Adams took inspiration from the 1940s mobster history of Chicago as the basis for Gotham, while Frank Miller sees Metropolis and Gotham City as two different sides of New York City in the daytime and night respectively.

No matter which city you see as the inspiration for Gotham, the evolution of the fictional city is an interesting one as it has changed and grown with the evolution of the Dark Knight himself, and a new video essay explores the relationship between the two. Read More »


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VOTD: The Significance & Importance of Movie Props

Pulp Fiction - Christopher Walken

While there are certain movie props such as a lightsaber, a time machine or a briefcase that have become iconic pieces of cinema, it’s easy to forget that movie props are everywhere when we’re looking at any single frame of a motion picture. Sometimes a movie prop is so important that it’s in the title of the film and the driving force of the entire story, as with The Maltese Falcon or Raiders of the Lost Ark, and other times they just add to the authenticity of any given scene.

A new video essay takes a look at the importance of movie props on film, whether they’re big or small, subtle or in your face and how they enhance the characters, story or setting of films across the board. Watch! Read More »

hidden edits in Birdman

With Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue Of Ignorance), co-writer/director Alejandro González Iñárritu (Babel) took a break from torturing characters to, well, torture some more characters. Birdman has a sense of humor, though, something we hadn’t seen much of from Iñárritu in his past work. The film went on to win Best Picture at the Academy Awards, a divisive win amongst movie fans. It is a popular opinion that the long-takes are dazzling, though, and if you want to see some of the hidden edits in Birdman, check them out after the jump.

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color and emotions

We’ve previously pointed out that movie posters have a tendency to use the colors blue and orange, because of how they work together as complimentary colors. However, it’s not just in marketing that movies use certain color schemes in order to catch our attention and influence our minds.

A new video essay takes a look at how color can manipulate our emotions in cinema (or really life in general), and even lays out which colors are used to stir up or convey certain emotions and qualities. This is one of those explanations where if you weren’t privy to this information before, you’ll begin to notice it all the time in not just the movies you watch, but all media around you.

Check out the focus on color and emotions after the jump! Read More »

Editing video essay

Editing is one of the most important parts of filmmaking. Ironically, when this integral element of quality filmmaking is working, you won’t even notice it. An editor should be cutting the movie without intruding on the audience, and it should be guided by the story, calling attention to exactly what you want the audience to see, when you want them to see it.

Now a video essay called Editing: Creating the Oh F**k Moment brings our attention to an editing technique that effectively walks the audience through the film without intruding on what they’re looking at, or rather, what the director wants them to be looking at. Read More »

Non-traditional aspect ratios - Lucifer

The aspect ratio of any given movie literally frames our experience of the entire work. Whereas real-life exists in 360 degrees in all directions, filmmakers must make very conscious decisions about what to put inside that box, what to exclude from it, and how to present it all to the audience.

For the most part, movies stick to a few standard widescreen aspect ratios, or, if the filmmaker is feeling a bit daring, the less common 4:3 aspect ratio. (For example, Fish Tank and Ida.) But one video essay argues there’s been a rise in experimentation with non-traditional aspect ratios, including films that change proportions mid-scene (i.e., Tom at the Farm or Life of Pi) or reject the idea of a rectangular frame altogether (Gust Van den Berghe’s Lucifer). Watch and learn after the jump.  Read More »

Cool Posts From Around the Web:

History of Color Movies

Though traditionally motion pictures are presented in color, the art of filmmaking didn’t always have the advantage of telling stories with the same visual spectrum that the human eye sees the world. Early films were only available in black and white, and even after color started being used in Hollywood, it took quite awhile before black and white wasn’t the norm.

A new video essay dives into the history of color movies and also illustrates how important it is to storytelling by conveying feelings, describing characters, influencing tone and much more. Because we see color everyday, we might just take for granted how it can be used to do more than just make something look pretty. Read More »

Escape from New York visual symmetry

Recently we highlighted a couple of videos that dove into the visual symmetry between the original Star Wars trilogy and the more recent prequel trilogy and also the original Indiana Jones trilogy and Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

Now the editor of those videos is taking a look at some darker and grittier fare by showing the Escape from New York visual symmetry compared the 1996 sequel Escape from LA, both films from legendary director John Carpenter. Read More »

Michael Bay

A couple video essays hit the web today that I wanted to share, one having to do with why a lot of action scenes “suck” and the other making the argument that you should respect Transformers series director Michael Bay.

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