Intertextuality

The Nerdwriter’s latest video “Intertextuality: Hollywood’s New Currency” takes a look at how Hollywood is using our nostalgia to play with our emotions in sequels, remakes and even original movies. Inspired by the recent record-breaking live-action Beauty and the Beast trailer (and heres a good side-by-side comparison that furthers the point of this video essay), Nerdwriter presents the idea of a new kind of currency in Hollywood movies called Intertextuality. Hit the jump to find out what Intertextuality is and watch the video essay.

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens Everything is a Remix Video Essay

In 2010, Kirby Ferguson created a video essay called Everything is a Remix, about how it’s not just Quentin Tarantino, but every single artist (authors, musicians or filmmakers) who borrows something old to make something new. The video essay spawned a series of essays, which was later combined into an almost 40 minute long documentary (which you can watch here).

Ferguson has returned once again with a new Everything is a Remix video essay, this time focusing not just on Star Wars: The Force Awakens but also the overall storytelling career of JJ Abrams. The video isn’t just a visualization of all the complaints we’ve heard about Force Awakens being a rehash of A New Hope (we’ve already seen that before), but a serious look into the screenwriter, director and producer’s filmography, as well as an examination of how Abrams copies, transforms and combines his stories to create his art. But it also asks: is the remix method growing stale and have we hit the limits of remixing?

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The Force Awakens Video Essay

Star Wars: The Force Awakens has come and gone from theaters and it now sits in our digital libraries and on our movie shelves. But unlike some of the movies we have at our disposal, we’ll be talking about this one for a long time. Now the excitement and hype has died down over Star Wars: Episode VII and the dust has settled on Jakku, allowing us to take a closer look at the film.

Recently, a video showed a side-by-side comparison of shots and sequences in The Force Awakens compared to Star Wars: A New Hope, enforcing the observation and criticism that the sequel was a copy of the original. This is something that J.J. Abrams recently addressed as intentional, and his thinking behind this decision made sense. But The Force Awakens still has its detractors, and those people should give this new video essay from Movies with Mikey a chance to help clear the air a bit so they might cut the movie a little slack. Read More »

Demolition trailer

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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Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice

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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Kissing in Movies

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 »

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Star Wars Video Essay

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 »

Jurassic Park T-Rex Scene

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 »

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

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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