Awesome Film Essays

Why Sitcoms Look the Same

Why Sitcoms Look the Same

In many sitcoms, everything is in focus and brightly lit, and the camera angles are similar as well. It’s all thanks to a system that was developed nearly 70 years ago so that studios could keep filming in front of a live audience.

Why Our Heroes Are Different Now

Why Our Heroes Are Different Now

(PG-13, SPOILERS) Wisecrack looks at what the depictions of Wolverine in Logan, Kratos in God of War and Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: Episode VIII: The Last Jedi mean, and why their symbolisms resonate so much in today’s times.

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The Last Jedi: Forcing Change

The Last Jedi: Forcing Change

After seeing Star Wars: Episode VIII: The Last Jedi, Lessons from the Screenplay was disappointed by Finn’s character arc, but impressed by Kylo Ren’s story. He decided to compare the two to show us why he didn’t approve of the former and loved the latter.

Star Wars’ Lost Limbs Explained

Star Wars’ Lost Limbs Explained

Star Wars has a long tradition of having a character lose a limb or five. It started as an homage to Akira Kurosawa’s films, but ScreenPrism points out how a lost limb – in Star Wars and other works of fiction – can represent a change in that character.

Atlanta: What TV Can Be

Atlanta: What TV Can Be

(SPOILERS, Gore) ScreenPrism explores how Donald Glover’s Atlanta is driven more by themes of helplessness and the absurdity of reality, rather than a forward-moving plot, escalating stakes or likable characters, even though it has those as well.

Gus Fring: Man as Corporation

Gus Fring: Man as Corporation

Breaking Bad’s Gustavo Fring was one of the greatest bad guys ever. His cold, impersonal, and professional demeanor made his character even more menacing. ScreenPrism delves deep into Fring’s psyche to see what made this methodical madman tick.

Collateral: The Midpoint Collision

Collateral: The Midpoint Collision

In fiction, villains are often needed for the hero to have a point. But Lessons from the Screenplay uses Michael Mann’s action film Collateral to show that the good guys – and the audience – can also learn a thing or two from the bad guys.

Mindhunter: A Game Called Dialogue

Mindhunter: A Game Called Dialogue

(PG-13: Language) Netflix’s Mindhunter has a repetitive flow and is heavy on dialogue. But it keeps viewers watching by recreating Clarice Starling and Hannibal Lecter’s conversations in Silence of the Lambs – conveying information through framing and body language.

Black Mirror & The Twilight Zone

Black Mirror & The Twilight Zone

The creators of Black Mirror were partly inspired by The Twilight Zone. In fact, as Lessons from the Screenplay points out, USS Callister is an updated version of a particular The Twilight Zone episode. He also points out the masterful efficiency of USS Callister‘s script.

Westworld & Solving The Pathetic Fallacy

Westworld & Solving The Pathetic Fallacy

(Spoilers) Science fiction often relies on the idea that robotic uprisings come from androids gaining human-like emotions. Trekspertise provides their thoughts on why Westworld’s approach is more compelling and believable in this excellent video essay.

Littlefinger vs. Varys: Ideologies

Littlefinger vs. Varys: Ideologies

(SPOILERS, Gore) “He would see this country burn if he could be king of the ashes.” ScreenPrism compares the ambitions and methods of Game of Thrones‘ two spymasters. One is unabashedly self-serving, while the other is – seemingly – for the people.

4 Brilliant Movie Shots

4 Brilliant Movie Shots

CineFix continues its list of its best movie shots of all time with an episode that focuses on the cinematic potential afforded by the camera lens. They pick one shot each for the telephoto, the wide angle, the zoom and the focus.

Hidden Meaning in The Truman Show

Hidden Meaning in The Truman Show

(PG-13: Language) Wisecrack’s alien film critic Garyx Wormuloid takes on Peter Weir’s sci-fi classic, The Truman Show. Despite the overabundance of jokes in the video, it still does a good job of explaining the movie’s theme.

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Cinema Under the Influence

Cinema Under the Influence

(PG-13) From overblown colors, to double vision, to reverberating sounds, filmmakers have tried for years to provide a cinematic representation of being stoned out of your mind. Fandor explores some of the many ways films try to replicate the state of being high.

Get Out: A New Perspective in Horror

Get Out: A New Perspective in Horror

Lessons from the Screenplay looks back at one of 2017’s best films, a psychological horror that blends in biting social commentary, and scared the living pants off of people while still being intelligent and original. Man, that “no, no, no” scene with Georgina still gives us chills.

You Know It’s Stanley Kubrick If…

You Know It’s Stanley Kubrick If…

(PG-13, Gore) ScreenPrism breaks down the trademarks of a Stanley Kubrick film, from scenes and shots that were symmetrical and clean, yet cold and unnerving, to their pessimistic view of technology and humanity.

The Legacy of Monty Python

The Legacy of Monty Python

(PG-13) Wisecrack looks at how Monty Python influenced some of today’s most popular comedy shows and films by breaking down the three main elements of the group’s style: relentless postmodernism, absurdity and political satire.

The Spielberg Light

The Spielberg Light

Despite the breadth of his work, there are still trademark stylistic touches that appear in many of Steven Spielberg’s films, not the least of which is his use of background lighting. Jorge Luengo Ruiz put together this short reel of some of these visually powerful moments.

10 Brilliant Thrillers

10 Brilliant Thrillers

Looking for movies that will have you itching to know what happens next? Look no further than thrillers. CineFix presents its top 10 picks from the genre, from ones that dole out fear or absurd comedy to the ones about desire, conspiracy or simply the need to survive.

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo: Outlier

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo: Outlier

After defining a movie act and looking at the oft-used three-act structure, Lessons from the Screenplay looks at a film that breaks those conventions. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo has an odd structure, but each act has a self-contained story that keeps the film engaging.

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The Avengers: Defining an Act

The Avengers: Defining an Act

Spurred by David Fincher’s comment that Marvel’s three-act structure is constricting and formulaic, Lessons from the Screenplay sets out to define what exactly an act is, using The Avengers as an example before even beginning to issue a verdict on how Marvel uses acts.

The Work of Hiromasa Yonebayashi

The Work of Hiromasa Yonebayashi

“Not to pursue reality, but to replicate an impression of emotions.” Channel Criswell pays homage to former Studio Ghibli animator and director Hiromasa “Maro” Yonebayashi. Maro-sama’s work uses the surroundings and objects to reflect a character’s inner state.

Breaking Bad: How a Man Becomes Evil

Breaking Bad: How a Man Becomes Evil

(PG-13) “I am awake.” 10 years ago, Breaking Bad introduced us to Walter White and Heisenberg. It’s easy to say that the former changed into the latter, but ScreenPrism argues that Heisenberg was always there. Walt simply let him out, then refused to rein him in.

How Editing Shapes a Story

How Editing Shapes a Story

(PG-13: Language) Film Radar explores Michel Gondry’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and how footage that was left on the cutting room floor could have dramatically changed the way the story played out and how characters are perceived.

Spielberg: See with Your Ears

Spielberg: See with Your Ears

The use of sound in film is often times just as important – if not more so – than the visuals you see. Film essayist Nerdwriter1 explores how director Steven Spielberg and Sound Editor Ben Burtt effectively use audio to build tension, tell stories, and set a mood in the theater.

Blade Runner 2049: Humanity’s Evolution

Blade Runner 2049: Humanity’s Evolution

(SPOILERS) Jack’s Movie Reviews made this great summary of the underappreciated Blade Runner 2049. He looks at how Joe, Luv, Deckard and the other main characters serve as answers to the movie’s central question: what it means to be human.

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