THE BEST Film Essays

The Life and Death of 3D

The Life and Death of 3D

(PG-13: Language) After a period of popularity in the 1950s, 3D movies all but vanished. Then, the gimmick made a huge comeback in the 2000s, even invading TV sets. Then, as quickly as it peaked, the boom was over. The Royal Ocean Film Society explores the history of 3D cinema, and what causes it to fail every time.

Joker: The References

Joker: The References

We all know that Joker was in many ways inspired by Martin Scorsese’s The King of Comedy. But as Jared of Wisecrack points out, there were many other references to 1970s and 1980s movies woven in. The cynicism of the era served as a perfect source of inspiration for Todd Phillips’ dark masterpiece.

Advertisement

The Troubles with Darkness in Horror

The Troubles with Darkness in Horror

It’s tough to make a really scary movie or TV show without shadows for creepy things to hide in. But as filmmaker David F. Sandberg explains, it’s not always the easiest thing to film dark scenes and have them come off as realistic, while still being visible on everything from projection screens to smartphone displays.

Why Miyazaki’s Animation Feels Alive

Why Miyazaki’s Animation Feels Alive

There’s so much to love about the style, stories, creatures, and characters in Hayao Miyazaki’s catalog of animated films. But what is it about these artful pieces of cinema that make them so dear to us? Kaptain Kristian digs into how Studio Ghibli breathes such life into every frame.

Hollywood Went to the Moon First

Hollywood Went to the Moon First

More than five decades ago, NASA landed the first humans ever on the moon. But prior to the 1969 Apollo 11 mission, Hollywood took us there thanks to a heaping helping of imagination and movie magic. The Royal Ocean Film Society looks back at some of these early examples of science fiction films.

Little Horrors: Gremlins

Little Horrors: Gremlins

Joe Dante’s 1984 Gremlins is a classic popcorn flick, packed with offbeat humor, gross-out gags, memorable monsters, and its share of charming moments. But In Praise of Shadows thinks it’s much more, establishing a whole new direction for how little creatures have been treated in horror and fantasy films ever since.

Destroying Wacker Drive

Destroying Wacker Drive

The area along Wacker Drive near State Street is one of Chicago’s most architecturally significant and iconic locales. Perhaps that’s why Hollywood loves to destroy it over and over again. The A.V. Club looks at some of the many movies which made a mess of the place.

Gene Wilder: Master of Pauses

Gene Wilder: Master of Pauses

Gene Wilder was one of the best comedic actors of all time. With performances in films like Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, and The Producers, his timing and pacing of his speech are still unequaled. Editor Rishi Kaneria and Raging Cinema Extras present some of those perfect moments, minus Willy Wonka.

Hayao Miyazaki’s Airships

Hayao Miyazaki’s Airships

There’s a whole lot to love about the visuals and storytelling in Hayao Miyazaki’s films. Among his regular subjects are flying machines, and The Royal Ocean Film Society takes to the skies to find out why they’re a recurring theme, and why aircraft are so important to this master of anime.

A History of The Joker

A History of The Joker

While audiences are abuzz about Joaquin Phoenix’s take on The Joker’s origin story, The Take looks back at some of the many versions of the Clown Prince of Crime over the years. Each interpretation may be very different, but they all share a love of anarchy, a warped sense of humor, and a terrifying grin.

The Kubrick Close-Up

The Kubrick Close-Up

(PG-13) Film essayist The Discarded Image explores one of director Stanley Kubrick’s many techniques – the strategic use of tight shots to accentuate a character or story’s most pivotal moments. While most directors use close-ups, Kubrick was a true master of this primitive filmmaker’s tool.

The Weird Wisdom of Beetlejuice

The Weird Wisdom of Beetlejuice

If you can believe it, it’s been 30 years since Beetlejuice first came out. ScreenPrism looks back at one of Tim Burton’s most memorable films, and how it defied genres like horror, comedy, and teen films to go its own way, leaving a long-lasting impact.

Costume Design 101

Costume Design 101

Film Radar made this great video about wardrobe design in film and TV. Good costume designers inhabit the minds of both the characters and the director. In terms of production, costumes are often custom made, even for extras, and may have multiple replicas.

Advertisement

Every 1999 Movie Is the Same

Every 1999 Movie Is the Same

Film essayist Now You See It looks back at the end of the 20th century, and how many of the movies of 1999 seemed to have a consistent theme running through many of them. He dubbed it “The Year of the Cubicle Movie,” with films like Office Space, Fight Club, and The Matrix leading up his theory.

Rango: A Bizarre Masterpiece

Rango: A Bizarre Masterpiece

(Spoilers) If you’ve never seen Rango, drop what you’re doing and stream it now. It’s honestly one of our favorite animated movies ever. Film essayist Josh Keefe looks at Gore Verbinski and Johnny Depp’s underappreciated western, and how its genre-bending and aesthetic imperfections helped make it so damned great.

Sound Design: Lying to Your Ears

Sound Design: Lying to Your Ears

Now You See It points out how great sound design in movies doesn’t just mean creating realistic or believable sounds. The right sound reflects or amplifies a character, the emotion behind a scene, and even the theme of the movie itself.

Minority Report: Dismantling Precrime

Minority Report: Dismantling Precrime

Lessons from the Screenplay points out the strengths of Minority Report. The film makes exposition dramatic by adding conflict, makes the sci-fi parts believable by adding a personal stake, and makes the world more than just a setting by making it the antagonist.

Unnecessary Movie Gimmicks

Unnecessary Movie Gimmicks

We prefer seeing movies in their purest form, without 3D, meal service, or other distractions. But over the years, movie studios and theaters have attempted other gimmicks to draw viewers in. The Royal Ocean Film Society explores a some silly and superfluous movie add-ons, including Smell-O-Vision and the terrifying EMERGO!

Richard Williams: Animating Movement

Richard Williams: Animating Movement

The Royal Ocean Film Society spends some time looking at the works of Richard Williams, one of the last of his breed of hand animators – a man known for his fluid and dynamic style, and ability to create worlds with a tremendous sense of depth and perspective.

GoT: Daenerys & Cersei

GoT: Daenerys & Cersei

(SPOILERS) ScreenPrism shows how Game of Thrones’ Daenerys Targaryen and Cersei Lannister mirror each other. They started at opposite trajectories, responded differently to similar experiences, and ultimately share the lust for power.

Advertisement

The Matrix: A Different Perspective

The Matrix: A Different Perspective

“…it wasn’t so much a death, as it was a discovery.” The The Matrix trilogy, particularly its first movie, can be interpreted in so many ways. Now You See It offers that it can also be read as the expression of the Wachowskis’ desire to come out and be true to themselves.

Spider-Man: Homecoming’s Car Ride

Spider-Man: Homecoming’s Car Ride

Lessons from the Screenplay joins YouTube creators in doing breakdowns of Marvel movie scenes. His pick is the wonderfully intense car ride scene from Spider-Man: Homecoming, in which Adrian discovers Peter’s secret.

Why Superbad Is a Masterpiece

Why Superbad Is a Masterpiece

(PG-13: Language) We’ve seen Superbad at least a dozen times, and it doesn’t get old. The Cosmonaut Variety Hour provides his take on why he thinks the 2007 film is the greatest teen comedy of all time. It’s a great coming-of-age story disguised as a horny teen sex comedy.

Adapting Adaptation

Adapting Adaptation

Lessons from the Screenplay breaks down Spike Jonze’s meta movie Adaptation by mimicking the movie’s structure itself. It’s both a film essay and a comedic behind-the-scenes look at the channel’s production process, complete with YouTube cameos.

Brilliant Movie Production Designs

Brilliant Movie Production Designs

CineFix presents its picks for the best production design in movies, from the flashy and stylized like Wes Anderson’s Grand Budapest Hotel, to the understated and naturalistic like Mike Mills’ Beginners, as well as standout picks from various movie genres.

ADVERTISEMENT

Use Arrow Keys ← → for Faster Navigation

Home | About | Suggest | Contact | Team | Links | Privacy | Disclosure
Advertise | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Sites We Like

Awesome Stuff: The Awesomer | Gadgets, Games & Geeks: Technabob | Cool Cars: 95Octane
Site Design & Content © 2008-2019 Awesomer Media / The Awesomer™
Visit our Friends at: Not Always Right