Awesome Film Essays

Brilliant Movie Soundtracks

Brilliant Movie Soundtracks

CineFix presents its picks for the best movie soundtracks. There are soundtracks that seem like scores, familiar ones that evoke nostalgia, anachronistic soundtracks, ones that introduce us to new genres or artists, soundtracks that inspired the movie itself, and more.

Stripes in Movies

Stripes in Movies

Now You See It looks at the evolving meaning of stripes, particularly striped clothing, in history, art and fashion, and how these meanings translate into motion pictures. Striped clothing can indicate that the character is an outcast, a rebel, childish and more.

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The Sound of ’80s Movies

The Sound of ’80s Movies

Julian Palmer of The Discarded Image takes a look back at the unique sound textures found in movies from the 1980s. While some of the highly-synthesized soundscapes feel dated or shallow, others were pioneering and perfectly suited the content on screen.

The Root Cause of Your Unhappiness

The Root Cause of Your Unhappiness

(PG-13: Language) ScreenPrism looks at how the fourth season of Bojack Horseman is all about addressing the root cause of one’s unhappiness. The show reminds us that those who’ve done us wrong are people too, that we have to face our past, and more.

Telling a Story with Sound

Telling a Story with Sound

Lessons from the Screenplay looks at how the screenwriters and sound designers created the sounds of A Quiet Place. The writers became creative with the screenplay, while the sound designers avoided extended silence, and used sound to mimic the flow of tension.

Don’t Underestimate the Audience

Don’t Underestimate the Audience

Lessons from the Screenplay looks at how No Country for Old Men makes us put its story together instead of using dialogue alone. Characters are given depth and the plot is implied through actions, and the film’s progression clues the audience into its moral.

The Grandmaster of Kung-fu Films

The Grandmaster of Kung-fu Films

“Watching a Lau Kar-leung film is similar to watching an illustrated guide or documentation of kung-fu and its philosophy.” The Museum of Modern Art’s La Frances Hui talks about the history of kung-fu films before breaking down the work of legendary filmmaker Lau Kar-leung.

Brilliant Film Scores

Brilliant Film Scores

CineFix presents its top 10 picks for best movie scores. There are ones that are great at setting the mood, ones at expressing or emphasizing ideas, ones at transporting us to a place or time, and the evocative theme song that’s stuck to a character or scene.

Chasing the MacGuffin

Chasing the MacGuffin

Jacob T. Swinney and Fandor dive into the film trope of an object of desire that its characters are searching for, but the audience doesn’t necessarily care about. It can drive motivations and momentum, but as we’ve learned before, MacGuffin’s aren’t always the best plot device.

You Know It’s a Coen Brothers Film If…

You Know It’s a Coen Brothers Film If…

(Gore) ScreenPrism talks about the trademarks of a Coen Brothers film. It often starts with a crime that goes awry, and eventually punishment gets dealt but in a roundabout manner, with random acts and vile characters as the jury. But it’s not totally hopeless.

The Hidden Meaning in Jaws

The Hidden Meaning in Jaws

Wisecrack’s extraterrestrial critic Garyx Wormuloid takes on the first summer blockbuster hit, Jaws. Not that anyone needs further motivation to watch and appreciate Steven Spielberg’s classic, but it does have timely messages within.

Why Sci-Fi Loves Dystopias

Why Sci-Fi Loves Dystopias

There are obvious reasons why works of science fiction are often set in dystopian scenarios. The setting makes for struggle, and magnifies our present problems and fears. But CineFix adds that it also gives us hope that love and kindness are the solutions.

You Know It’s Spike Lee If…

You Know It’s Spike Lee If…

(PG-13) “Waaaake Up!” It’s set in Brooklyn, the scenes and language are vibrant and colorful, there’s a shot where the characters glide, oh and Spike Lee’s in it. But there’s more to Lee’s films than that. So what else is in a Spike Lee joint? ScreenPrism breaks it down.

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Characters without Character Arcs

Characters without Character Arcs

In most movies, the protagonist changes either for better or for worse. But it doesn’t mean that a character who hasn’t “learned his lesson” or “evolved” will be boring. Just Write shows how a staunch believer can still be an interesting and inspiring character.

How Heath Ledger’s Joker Was Born

How Heath Ledger’s Joker Was Born

The makeup of Heath Ledger’s Joker may seem easy to imitate. But during The Dark Knight‘s production, makeup artist John Caglione Jr found himself at a loss. Caglione spoke with CineFix about the iconic makeup and Chris Nolan and Heath Ledger’s contributions.

Mission: Impossible: The Perfect Heist

Mission: Impossible: The Perfect Heist

Lessons from the Screenplay looks at two Mission: Impossible movies to show how they’re well laid out heist films. A large part of the movies lead up to a tense heist. Even though we know that the heroes are going to succeed, we’re still excited by it.

The Fall of Chuck McGill

The Fall of Chuck McGill

Better Call Saul returns on August 6, 2018. And while we’re excited for new stories, and more Breaking Bad connections, we’ll miss one of the show’s most compelling characters, Chuck McGill. ScreenPrism looks back on Chuck’s story arc, and what it tells us about Jimmy.

Darth Vader: An Icon in 34 Minutes

Darth Vader: An Icon in 34 Minutes

The Dark Lord of the Sith sits atop many lists of greatest on-screen villains of all time. But how did he achieve such status? The Nerdwriter explores Vader’s appearances in the original Star Wars trilogy, and how they would have such an enormous impact.

Tarantino: Poetry Between the Lines

Tarantino: Poetry Between the Lines

(PG-13: Language, Gore) “I want to be the conductor, and you’re my orchestra.” Now You See It stitched interviews with director Quentin Tarantino about his childhood and influences with footage from movies that inspired specific scenes in his movies.

Creating an Empathetic Villain

Creating an Empathetic Villain

Movies often make villains straight-up evil, or have a thinly-explained motives. Lessons from the Screnplay explores how Black Panther’s baddie Eric Killmonger’s motivations are much more relatable than most, creating a well-rounded and compelling character.

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Incredibles 2 and Superheroes

Incredibles 2 and Superheroes

“It’s crazy right? to help my family, I gotta leave it. To fix the law, I gotta break it.” ScreenPrism explores the themes of Incredibles 2, including distrust in government, civil disobedience, social media and perception, gender roles and more.

Brilliant Musical Movie Moments

Brilliant Musical Movie Moments

CineFix presents its top 10 picks of movie scenes where there’s music originating from the scene itself. There’s the ironic background track, the song that’s become synonymous with a character, the hymn of celebration and more.

Pulp Fiction’s Briefcase

Pulp Fiction’s Briefcase

“My boss’ dirty laundry.” ScreenPrism muses on the possible contents of the briefcase in Pulp Fiction. Is it Marcellus Wallace’s soul? The diamonds from Reservoir Dogs? Or is it a literal MacGuffin, important only to the characters?

Using Theme to Craft Character

Using Theme to Craft Character

“Mr. Hammond, after careful consideration I’ve decided not to endorse your park.” Lessons from the Screenplay uses the original Jurassic Park as an example of how a movie’s theme can be used to flesh out characters – to become an embodiment of important questions.

Waltz on the Road

Waltz on the Road

(Gore) Video essayist Rick Perales presents a crisply-edited look at the role that vehicles, driving, and roads play in the films of Joel and Ethan Coen. Take a wild ride from Blood Simple to Raising, Arizona to Hail, Caesar!, and everywhere in-between.

When Directors Debut

When Directors Debut

Andrew Saladino aka The Royal Ocean Film Society is an aspiring director. He wanted to find out if he’s on track at becoming successful in his chosen career, so he looked at the ages of 750 directors to find out the average age at which they debuted.

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