I was a big fan of Jean-Marc Vallée‘s last film Wild, which featured Reese Witherspoon playing the real-life author Cheryl Strayed and taking on a physically impossible task as a means of working out issues in her personal life. When I heard Vallée would be directing a similar film with Jake Gyllenhaal, I was excited at what new aspects of the human spirit the movie might illuminate.
Demolition (out today in theaters) has many of the same virtues of Wild, only with a male protagonist. Both films are shot beautifully and have some of the best editing I’ve seen, using cuts in footage not just to convey the passage of time, but also to establish mood, and to explain a character’s mindset. On a technical, they are exceptionally executed.
Unfortunately, I found Demolition ultimately amounted to less than the sum of its parts. Hit the jump for my brief video review.
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Posted on Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016 by David Chen
Nearly three years after Man of Steel, Zack Snyder is back with Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, an ambitious film that not only attempts to play out the aftermath of the attack on Metropolis in the last movie, but also set up Warner Bros’ DC Universe film franchise. Batman v Superman is a overlong, poorly plotted, thinly characterized, painfully dour mess, but it’s a gorgeously shot mess that has the kind of spectacle and grandeur that you’d hope for from a major big budget release.
Hit the jump to see my full video review.
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It doesn’t matter whether it’s between a radioactive spider guy hanging upside down in the rain and his childhood crush, two cowboys in the mountains, or two ballet dancers in bed, a kiss is one of the most pivotal moments that can happen in any given movie.
This display of affection has a long history that goes all the way back to early movies from inventor Thomas Edison in 1896, andn ow a new video essay dives into the 120-year history of kissing on film including some of the more controversial moments such as the first French kiss, the first kiss between two men and the first kiss between two women. Watch below! Read More »
With Star Wars: The Force Awakens just landing the biggest opening weekend of all time, it’s clear that the appeal of tales from a galaxy far, far away is still high. And since the new sequel shares quite a few story beats and similarities with the original Star Wars from 1977, there’s no better time to look back at what made one of the most iconic sequences in the movie work so well.
A new installment of The Discarded Image takes an in-depth look at the Death Star assault from Star Wars: A New Hope, taking into account the political climate of the time, technical aspects such as sound design, John Williams‘ iconic score and the change in George Lucas‘ storytelling style when compared to his previous filmmaking endeavors. Read More »
This year Jurassic World made a huge splash at the box office, proving the dinosaurs and nostalgia make a pretty lethal combination, even if the movie in question could have benefited from a little more innovation and a little less tribute. And even though the film’s opening weekend box office records were just broken by Star Wars: The Force Awakens, there’s still a sequel on the way in 2018, and we’ll see if audiences are still in the mood for more blockbuster dinosaur action.
In the meantime, let’s take a look back at the modern classic that started it all with a video essay that dives into the perfectly crafted T-Rex attack from Jurassic Park. Read More »
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Posted on Wednesday, December 16th, 2015 by David Chen
When I first heard JJ Abrams was taking on the Star Wars franchise, I got excited. With his first Star Trek film, Abrams showed he could take an iconic and beloved franchise and transform it into something new and exciting, while still respecting its roots.
I think with Star Wars: The Force Awakens, he’s done the exact same thing again, except that the Star Wars franchise fits in even better with Abrams’ sensibilities. The Force Awakens is an exciting return to form for Star Wars. It extends the Skywalker saga while introducing some great new characters whose stories I think audiences will get really invested in. Hit the jump to see/read my spoiler-free video review of the film.
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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 »
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 »
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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