X-Men Days of Future Past comic book movie comparison

In an exciting meshing of old and new franchise stars, X-Men: Days of Future Past effectively rebooted the comic book franchise again, complete with a new timeline that retconned the old one, and brought all your favorite characters who died in the original trilogy back from the dead.

And while the title and basic storyline is lifted directly from a Marvel story arc in the mutant comic book series, there are a significant number of differences between the comic book and the movie, and we’re not just talking little nitpick details here and there. For example, perhaps the biggest change is sending Wolverine back in time in the movie instead of the time-traveler being Kitty Pryde as it is in the comics.

If you want to know more about how the movie differs from the comic book, check out the latest 15-minute installment of What’s the Difference?, an X-Men Days of Future Past comic book movie comparison. Watch below! Read More »

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Artificial Intelligence video essay

While some movies are immediately beloved and acclaimed, destined to be one of the films we talk about every year for decades, others come and go without much pomp and circumstance. One of those movies seems to have been A.I. Artificial Intelligence, the former Stanley Kubrick project that was completed by Steven Spielberg and released in 2001.

The film certainly wasn’t a dud, but it wasn’t universally acclaimed either. At the time, Rotten Tomatoes wasn’t used as a reference point for the quality of a movie, but retrospectively, it has a 73%, which is a decent score for such a dense, wandering sci-fi fairytale of sorts.

Over the years, as the film has gotten older, some critics and bloggers have revisited the film, finding it to even improve with age and reexamination. And that’s just what a new video has done, examining the film in a 15-minute visual study. Watch the Artificial Intelligence video essay after the jump! Read More »

Star Wars: The Force Awakens: jj abrams visual style
This morning I came across a well-edited video essay titled Star Wars – The Force of Abrams by Dan Fox (aka Hello Film Guy). The video is essentially an examination of filmmaker JJ Abrams‘ visual storytelling skills, theorizing how his methods might affect Star Wars: The Force Awakens. How will the JJ Abrams visual style affect the next installment of the Star Wars series? Find out after the jump.

Note: The video essay focuses only on visual style and doesn’t delve into the reoccurring plot devices or story beats of Abrams work. So you can feel free to watch this if you’re trying to avoid spoilers or speculation about the plot of The Force Awakens. That said, the video does use clips from the two released trailers.

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VOTD: Find Out How Film Projectors Work

how film projectors work

If you’re a huge fan of movies, but you don’t know much about the technology that makes them possible, then we have the perfect informational video for you.

University of Illinois professor Bill Hammack, known as EngineerGuy on YouTube, has put together this informative video about how film projectors work. As the video description says:

Bill tears apart a film projector to reveal the amazing mechanisms used in the pre-digital age to trick the mind into seeing a moving image. He uses high speed photography and animations to show how the projector moves the film intermittently, how a shutter strategically blocks light as the film moves, and how the photo sensor reads the sound. He explains how all these mechanisms are synced.

Find how film projectors work after the jump! Read More »

The Weta Effect

With the advancement of technology happening at an exponential rate, it seems like almost anything is possible, especially on the big screen. Special effects are more advanced than they’ve ever been, allowing entire cities and civilizations to be destroyed with the click of a mouse (all right, it’s a little more complicated than that). But is that a good thing?

A new video essay, called The Weta Effect, offers the hypothesis that the reason people seem to not be as impressed by blockbusters and their special effects over the past decade is that special effects look too polished now. Technology allows the creation of such unrealistic characters, creatures and locations in such a realistic way, that it’s become harder to suspend out disbelief to accept them as they are. Does that make sense?

Find out more by watching the Weta Effect video below! Read More »

Jupiter

The Wachowskis’ Jupiter Ascending is a total mess. It’s plot is nearly incomprehensible. It feels like there’s a director’s cut out there with at least a half hour more of explanatory plot details and character development. It introduces various story lines and characters whose appear on the screen for minutes before they vanish and are never followed up on. It borrows heavily from The Wachowskis’ own film, The Matrix, yet is crammed full of ideas that have appeared in other, better fantasy and sci-fi films.

And yet, I couldn’t help but enjoy it. Hit the jump to see my video review of the movie.

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violentyear

A Most Violent Year is a slow burn of a film, primarily centered around a simple land deal that entrepreneur Abel Morales (Oscar Isaac) is trying to put together to sustain and grow his young oil business. Yet somehow, writer/director J.C. Chandor is able to up the stakes until they are almost unbearably tense. What hangs in the balance is not merely Morales’ business and the future of his family, but also his sense of self, his moral center. If you extrapolate it further, the film becomes and indictment of American capitalism, in the same way that films like Nightcrawler did in 2014.

With some beautiful cinematography from Bradford Young and some dynamite performances from the leads, A Most Violent Year manages to be haunting, wistful, and unforgettable. Hit the jump to see my full video review of the film.

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blackhat

Michael Mann’s Blackhat is an early contender for one of the worst films of 2015. It plays out like a really bad, excruciatingly boring parody of Mann’s films. The plot is paper thin, the relationships are completely implausible, and the dialogue is laughable, to the extent that much of my audience found the film unintentionally hilarious.

Sure Blackhat has some of Mann’s trademark flourishes, including a couple thrilling shootouts and some gorgeous cinematography of exotic locales. But there are so many elements that are truly terrible that they overshadow anything good about the movie. Hit the jump to see my full video review of Blackhat.
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the interview set visit

Despite all the controversy around Sony’s handling of The Interview, I quite enjoyed the film and found it to be a worthy of Goldberg/Rogen’s growing body of work. But even more interesting to me was how certain elements of it resembled Total Recall. There are a few vague, surface similarities – both films feature relatively normal people drawn into a world of espionage and intrigue, who are compelled to assassinate people in power and trigger a rebellion against oppressive forces. But there was one other thing that caught my attention. See my latest video essay and learn what I found the two films have in common. Hit the jump to watch my The Interview Total Recall video essay.

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