VOTD: How Important Is Realism in Cinema?

Speed Racer - Movie Realism

For most people, going to the movies is meant to be an escape from the real world. Therefore, it’s somewhat surprising that there are viewers who have a hard time connecting to movies simply because they’re not realistic. Whether it’s because the science of a movie isn’t accurate, or stylized visuals make it hard to relate to the narrative, some people just can’t suspend their disbelief enough to get lost in a movie like Guardians of the Galaxy, The Lord of the Rings or La La Land.

A new video essay attempts to explain the importance of realism in movies, why people seem to look for even the most fantastical of movies to have some semblance of realism, and why realism isn’t really what those viewers should be looking for. Watch the movie realism video essay after the jump. Read More »

Logan Film Genre Video Essay

Easily one of the best movies of 2017 so far is the surprisingly emotional comic book movie Logan. As Hugh Jackman‘s final turn as Wolverine, we get a film unlike any comic book blockbuster that came before, and Logan is all the better for it. When looked at as the second bookend of the superhero genre, connected all the way back to the start of the superhero/comic book movie craze that truly began with X-Men back in 2000, Logan becomes the perfect metaphor for how film genres change over time.

Watch the Logan film genre video essay after the jump. Read More »

The Fifth Element - Born Sexy Yesterday Video Esssay

Every film genre has tropes, recurring themes or elements that sometimes help define the kind of movie we’re watching. They can be portals in the sky, training montages, the final girl, or as a new video essay called Born Sexy Yesterday explains, a naive but mature, sexualized female character with the mind of a child.

Jonathan McIntosh, aka Pop Culture Detective on YouTube, put together this video essay to explain a trope that you might not have even realized was so prevalent in sci-fi. But it’s right there in movies such as TRON: Legacy and The Fifth Element, not to mention other sci-fi-esque fantasy movies Splash or Enchanted. Watch the Born Sexy Yesterday video essay after the jump to see what we’re talking about. Read More »

Rogue One vs. The Force Awakens

When I got out of the premiere for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, one of the first questions I got was: how does the first Star Wars standalone film compare to JJ AbramsStar Wars: The Force Awakens? And for me the answer was simple, while both movies are good, The Force Awakens is better because it offers better-written characters and a story in which I became more emotionally invested in.

One of my favorite YouTube channels, Lessons From the Screenplay, has just published a video essay taking on this exact topic and I want to share it with you since it says everything I have felt about the differences between these two stories.
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Martin Scorsese Cameos

Much like Alfred Hitchcock, director Martin Scorsese likes to make cameos in the movies he makes. They’re not always as overt as those that Hitchcock made, and there are probably some that weren’t even aware of, but they always have some kind of larger significance. Whether it’s revealing his own hand guiding his characters acting as a character who calls attention to the core of his stories, Martin Scorsese makes his cameos matter.

A new video essay takes an in-depth look at a bunch of the Martin Scorsese cameos there have been over the years, including roles that you would even consider more than a cameo. However, it’s some of the movies that Scorsese doesn’t appear in that may reveal even more about the director himself. Watch the video essay below. Read More »

Who Framed Roger Rabbit Video Essay

Who Framed Roger Rabbit? is a classic movie for a number of reasons. Not only is it a stellar mash-up of two completely different genres, the family movie and film noir, but it’s also a technical marvel. The 1989 Academy Awards gave Robert Zemeckis‘ film Best Film Editing, Best Sound Effects Editing, Best Visual Effects and a special honorary Oscar for its creation of animated characters. not to mention nominations for Best Cinemtography, Best Art Direction/Set Decoration and Best Sound.

Now a new Who Framed Roger Rabbit video essay dives into some of the elements of the film that make this combination of live-action and animated footage work so seamlessly. You may have already realized some of these details yourself, but they’re also the kind of details one might take for granted so that you may never really notice them. Read More »

Moonlight and Wong Kar-Wai Visual Comparison

After Moonlight won Best Picture at the Academy Awards in the most spectacularly crazy fashion last weekend, hopefully more viewers are heading to theaters to seek it out. The film from director Barry Jenkins is truly a masterpiece, telling a story that is relevant, timely, powerful and moving. And when you pay closer attention, you’ll see that the film takes clear influence from the work of master filmmaker Wong Kar-Wai.

A new video essay takes footage from Moonlight and puts it alongside the visuals of Wong Kar-Wai’s films such as Days of Being Wild, In the Mood for Love and Happy Together, which all seem to inform some of the decisions that were made behind the camera in order to tell the story of this young boy discovering and embracing who he is. Watch the Moonlight and Wong Kar-Wai visual comparison after the jump. Read More »

Academy Awards Diversity Nominations Numbers

Despite the snafu in announcing this year’s winner for Best Picture at the Academy Awards, the fact that Moonlight came out on top after La La Land dominated the awards circuit all season is a big deal. It shows that Oscar voters may finally be embracing diversity in a big way, and not in a way that’s pandering to minorities. They’re just finally starting to recognize more bold and diverse movies, filmmakers, actors and more. But they have a long way to go.

For the 89th Academy Awards, there were 27 total minority nominations. That’s fantastic, but the fact is that there is still a of work to be done. A new video essay takes a look at the stark contrast in numbers between white nominees and minority nominees, and it should come as no surprise that one is favored far more often.

Watch the video essay on Academy Awards diversity nominations numbers below. Read More »

When Harry Met Sally Video Essay

Romantic comedies where a man and a woman who are at odds eventually fall in love are a dime a dozen. That’s a story that has been kicked around Hollywood for decades, but audiences keep eating it up. More often than not, nothing new is brought to the table in these movies, but in the case of When Harry Met Sally in 1989, director Rob Reiner and writer Nora Ephron crafted a romantic comedy that adhered to the conventions of the genre but also played with them in a new way.

A new video essay from the Lessons from a Screenplay YouTube channel breaks down how When Harry Met Sally succeeds where many romantic comedies fail, proving why the film is one of the most highly respected, praised and imitated in the genre. Watch the When Harry Met Sally video essay below. Read More »

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the dark knight michael mann influences

If you ask me, Christopher Nolan‘s The Dark Knight is a masterwork, not just as a superhero movie but as a film. But like most great filmmakers, Nolan wears his film influences on his sleeves, and it’s very evident in his work. We’ve talked previously about how Nolan’s love for the James Bond franchise has shown up in his films from time to time (For instance, The Dark Knight Rises opening sequence was clearly inspired by 1989’s Licence to Kill). A new video essay presents scenes from director Michael Mann‘s films side by side with sequences from Nolan’s work on The Dark Knight.

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