Awesome Film Essays

Joel & Ethan Coen: A Tribute

Joel & Ethan Coen: A Tribute

(PG-13) Editor Alexandre Gasulla reminds us that Joel & Ethan Coen are still two of our favorite filmmakers, with this captivating supercut of emotionally powerful, tragic, darkly comic, and visually stunning scenes from the Oscar-winning brothers.

Why Do We Love Gangsters?

Why Do We Love Gangsters?

(Gore) Now You See It takes a look at our obsession with the members of organized crime families in American movies and television series. Despite their darkness and extreme violence, we live vicariously through the on-screen gangsters’ uninhibited power.

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The Philosophy of Darth Vader

The Philosophy of Darth Vader

Wisecrack explores the things that drove Anakin to head to the Dark Side, along with the psychological fuel that continued to keep his evil fire burning until his (1983 spoiler alert) ultimate demise.

Martin Scorsese: God’s Eye View

Martin Scorsese: God’s Eye View

(PG-13) Martin Scorsese has lots of tricks up his sleeves, but one of his most effective is to peek in on his character’s often tragic lives from above their heads. Jorge Luengo Ruiz created this stellar compilation of the director’s many top-down moments.

Every Story Is the Same

Every Story Is the Same

Inspired by Dan Harmon’s simplified theory of story structure, video essayist Will Schoder explains how the vast majority of stories in books, movies, songs, and television shows share a few key elements which unify them all.

Whiplash & Black Swan

Whiplash & Black Swan

Lessons from the Screenplay looks at the similarities in the scripts of Whiplash and Black Swan to see how one can tell a story about the obsessed artist – specifically the obsessed performer. Then he points out how their endings diverge to emphasize different points.

AKIRA: How to Animate Light

AKIRA: How to Animate Light

The Nerdwriter takes a look at one of the greatest animated films of all time to look at how its creators hand-illuminated scenes in a way that created tremendous depth, richness, and a sense of place.

Brad Bird on Animation

Brad Bird on Animation

Director Brad Bird is the man behind classics like The Iron Giant, The Incredibles, and Ratatouille. Editor Kees van Dijkhuizen Jr. assembled sound bites from home video commentary tracks to provide insight into the craft of animation, and what inspires Brad.

Movies with Mikey: John Wick

Movies with Mikey: John Wick

(PG-13: Language, Gore) Chainsawsuit Original presents John Wick – which was marketed as a flick with an absurd premise and flashy action – as a well-rounded project about grief that also bids goodbye to an era of action movies while seeming to be a mere continuation of it.

The Origin of Found Footage Films

The Origin of Found Footage Films

(Gore) Long before 1998’s breakout hit The Blair Witch Project, there were the infamous 1960s Mondo films, and in 1980, the sleazy and exploitative Cannibal Holocaust, the lowest point of an Italian film fad consisting of culturally insensitive fake documentaries.

How Godzilla Changed Monster Movies

How Godzilla Changed Monster Movies

Frame by Frame explains that the original Godzilla’s real enemy was time. Given only 6 months to finish the film, director Ishiro Honda eschewed stop motion in favor of rubber suits, puppets and miniatures to create his 1954 classic, a setup that persists today.

The Marvel Symphonic Universe

The Marvel Symphonic Universe

Tony Zhou of Every Frame a Painting examines the oddly forgettable and superfluous music in the Marvel cinematic universe. To be honest, the only music we can remember from any one of their blockbusters is Awesome Mix Vol. 1 from Guardians of the Galaxy.

Touch.

Touch.

Now You See It compiled this short, but well done video of moments in film where the characters’ experience was less about what they saw or heard, and mostly about what they physically felt. The track is you n’i by rainlord.

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Shane Black’s Awkward Violence

Shane Black’s Awkward Violence

(PG-13: Language, Gore) Nerdwriter praises the messy but purposeful violence in the work of writer and director Shane Black. Beyond eye candy and cheap laughs, Black’s brand of violence is relatable and adds depth to his characters.

The Art of Gun Fu

The Art of Gun Fu

Aside from doves and dual-wielded pistols, John Woo’s most lasting contribution to the world of cinema is Gun Fu. He first used the mix in his 1986 film A Better Tomorrow, combining martial arts with firearms to create exciting close combat gunfights.

When Words Fail in Movies

When Words Fail in Movies

Filmscalpel’s video essay reminds us that sometimes the greatest moments of impact in filmmaking require no dialogue at all, with this compilation of scenes in which characters’ silent expressions and lost words spoke volumes about their states of mind.

Zombies

Zombies

Detail-oriented YouTube channel Ahoy explores the mythos of zombies. There have been countless movies, games, and TV series about the undead, and we owe a great deal about their traits to George Romero, and to video games for the gore and survival horror.

The Rise (and Fall) of Hollywood

The Rise (and Fall) of Hollywood

Now You See It made an abridged history of the movie-making capital. Hollywood started as a rebellious albeit greedy movement, then devolved into a monopoly of studios. The rise of the internet and affordable equipment could finally put an end to the blockbuster factory.

Lars Von Trier: Deconstructing Cinema

Lars Von Trier: Deconstructing Cinema

Channel Criswell takes on the filmmaking approach of Lars Von Trier. Von Trier’s films are made not for moviegoers but for his fellow filmmakers and artists – brazen reminders to keep art fresh and self-defining.

Japanese vs. American Horror

Japanese vs. American Horror

The Film Theorists compare Japanese horror films’ use of sound effects and timing with their American counterparts. Also, American films love to telegraph scary parts through the music and the environment, whereas Japanese horror can ruin even freakin’ broad daylight.

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The Dude Behind the Dude

The Dude Behind the Dude

“Yeah maybe they don’t take me seriously, umm you know, why would you take somebody seriously that doesn’t know what day it is?” Meet Jeff Dowd, the Coen Brothers’ main inspiration for Jeff Bridges’ character in The Big Lebowski. Props to Redditor th3rp for the title.

How Ghostbusters Became Ghostbusters

How Ghostbusters Became Ghostbusters

Lessons from the Screenplay breaks down the two main purposes of a screenplay to examine how, despite being “unremarkable”, the original Ghostbusters script gave the cast and crew a solid foundation for a good movie.

The Evolution of Steven Spielberg

The Evolution of Steven Spielberg

From his earliest feature films like Duel, to classics like Jaws, Raiders, and E.T., to dramas like Schindler’s List to his diverse later works like War of the Worlds and Tintin, Burger Fiction reminds us just how amazing, prolific, and versatile Steven Spielberg is behind the lens.

The Importance of Off-screen Sound

The Importance of Off-screen Sound

(PG-13: Language) “Sounds shape what you see and what you think you see.” In film, sound has a unique variant: the ones made by unseen objects or beings. RocketJump Film School points out the various ways that off-screen sound can be used to paint a picture.

What Independence Day Did Right

What Independence Day Did Right

Independence Day is a mediocre film at best. But Lessons from the Screenplay points out that its script did get a number of things right. It kept the bad guys mysterious for a long time, and made an effort to endear the heroes to the audience before harming them. Sound familiar?

Scorsese: The Mirrors

Scorsese: The Mirrors

(PG-13 Language) Editor Ali Shirazi explores director Martin Scorsese’s effective use of mirrors in his films to provide an intimate look at the inner thoughts, demons, and motivations of his characters. The music is Howard Shore’s The Chase from the Hugo soundtrack.

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