Awesome Film Essays

The Most Original Films

The Most Original Films

(PG-13, Gore) CineFix picks its top five most innovative and unique films of all time. Whether its technological pioneers, or ones with left field stories, arresting presentations, uniquely cinematic or utterly experimental.

Rick & Morty: Who’s the Real Beth?

Rick & Morty: Who’s the Real Beth?

(PG-13, SPOILERS) “We are what we think or what we do.” At the end of Rick & Morty‘s third season, we are faced with an existential question. Who is the Beth Smith we see at the end? And does the answer to that question matter? ScreenPrism expounds.

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Why Love Never Works out in Star Wars

Why Love Never Works out in Star Wars

ScreenPrism talks about the reasons why romantic couples never last long in the Star Wars films. Whether it’s because the characters are too busy, noble or narcissistic, it seems the Force doesn’t want lovers to last.

Tommy Wiseau: The Last Auteur?

Tommy Wiseau: The Last Auteur?

Say what you will about it, but The Room’s enigmatic creator Tommy Wiseau had the brass balls to wear the hats of writer, director, producer, and actor on the film. Film essayist Kyle Kallgren provides his take on Wiseau’s narcissism and control over the film.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi’s Title Explained

Star Wars: The Last Jedi’s Title Explained

(SPOILERS) Star Wars: The Last Jedi has several major themes. But ScreenPrism argues that it has two main subjects that are implied in its title. One is the demystification of the past, and the other is the meritocracy of greatness.

How MacGuffins Can Ruin Movies

How MacGuffins Can Ruin Movies

The Mother Box. The Ark of the Covenant. R2-D2. These are examples of a MacGuffin – something that the characters in a movie worry about but for which the audience doesn’t care, at least not at first. Just Write outlines five ways that it can be used to good effect.

The Before Trilogy: Conversations

The Before Trilogy: Conversations

(PG-13: Language) The Royal Ocean Film Society credits the success of Before Sunrise, Before Sunset and Before Midnight to director Richard Linklater’s willingness to have a conversation with stars Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy on how best to flesh out the characters.

Star Wars: Lessons from the Force

Star Wars: Lessons from the Force

“Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter.” After explaining the meanings of the lightsaber, ScreenPrism continues its Star Wars symbolism series by enumerating the core tenets of the Force. Or at least its Light side. Empty your mind and be one with the Force.

The Evolution of the Movie Trailer

The Evolution of the Movie Trailer

New York Magazine looks at how trailers have changed over the years, starting out with basic explanations of the film’s plot, to booming voiceovers, to the over-the-top montages of today, along with some of the tricks today’s trailer makers use to minimize spoilers.

6 Brilliant Movie Shots

6 Brilliant Movie Shots

Video cameras move in six basic ways: pan, tilt, roll, push (or pull), track and crane. They can be combined, performed at different speeds, and cut into each other. But each one is rich enough on its own. CineFix presents its picks for the best use of each basic movement.

Aladdin: How Can We Be Free?

Aladdin: How Can We Be Free?

“But oh, to be free… to be my own master.” ScreenPrism argues that Aladdin has a nice message about freedom. The heroes each have different kinds of freedom. In the end, they learn that to maximize their own freedom, they should help others be more free as well.

Star Wars Symbolism: Lightsabers

Star Wars Symbolism: Lightsabers

The inner being expressed as external power. ScreenPrism takes a look at one of the best fictional weapons ever conceived. They focus on the Skywalker’s lightsabers, but also touch on many of the ways that Star Wars uses the weapon as a symbol.

Her: Shaping Character Through Music

Her: Shaping Character Through Music

Spike Jonze’s Her is one of those films with so many layers and details that it warrants numerous viewings. Film essayist Michael Thomas explores one such aspect – the way in which music directly reflects Theodore’s state of mind and emotions in the film.

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Hidden Figures & Subplots

Hidden Figures & Subplots

Nearly all movies have smaller stories embedded around and within their main story. Lessons from the Screenplay uses the wonderful biopic Hidden Figures to show how subplots enhance the main plot when executed properly.

Stringer Bell: It’s Business

Stringer Bell: It’s Business

(PG-13) Before canceling the apocalypse and becoming a twisted detective, Idris Elba brought to life one of The Wire‘s most memorable characters. ScreenPrism looks at the philosophy of Stringer Bell – the criminal who thought he was above his crimes.

A Study of “So Bad It’s Good” Movies

A Study of “So Bad It’s Good” Movies

Now You See It argues that awful movies entertain us beyond their obliviousness. He points out that the elements found in the Sharknados and The Rooms of the world – unrealistic acting, cheesy dialogue, outdated effects – are also used in good films.

Five Brilliant Remakes

Five Brilliant Remakes

Even though they appear to be more prominent these days, movie remakes have actually been around since the days of black and white film. CineFix picks its top five remakes, from shot-for-shot takes to ones that are loosely inspired by obscure films.

Underappreciated Horror Films

Underappreciated Horror Films

Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Alien. The Silence of the Lambs. The Shining. Psycho. CineFix believes that those five are unassailable horror films. But they picked an alternative for each of those classics, so you’ll have something different to watch this Halloween.

Stranger Things’ References Pt. 3

Stranger Things’ References Pt. 3

ScreenPrism ends its trilogy on Stranger Things’ mind-boggling list of references with the ones related to the show’s young characters. From Stephen King to Chris Claremont, Dungeons & Dragons to Twin Peaks, the kids are defined by geek classics.

Physical Injuries in Movies

Physical Injuries in Movies

Like a costume or a prop, a character’s physical condition can also be used to give us clues about their fundamental struggles, successes, or transformation. Now You See It drives the point home with examples from Forrest Gump, Bonnie and Clyde and more.

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Logan & Children of Men

Logan & Children of Men

(PG-13: Language) “The end is in the beginning.” Logan and Children of Men have very similar plots. But Lessons from the Screenplay points out that both movies also have nicely set up character arcs, and a literal journey that externalizes their change of heart.

Five Classic Horror Tropes

Five Classic Horror Tropes

(PG-13: Language, Gore) CineFix summon the Halloween spirit by listing some of the most popular horror movie tropes as well as some stellar examples. There’s the classic location, the person whom you just know is going to make it until the end, and… behind you!

CGI & Storytelling in Animated Films

CGI & Storytelling in Animated Films

Just Write compares the stories of Disney’s 2D films with 3D successors from Pixar and DreamWorks, then points out how 3D animation contributed to that change. We’re not entirely convinced of his thesis, but his comparison is food for thought.

The Philosophy of Mr. Robot

The Philosophy of Mr. Robot

(PG-13, SPOILERS) “You’re supposed to be my god.” Wisecrack nicely points out the central theme of the hit TV series Mr. Robot. Basically, the show’s characters are lost and lonely because someone or something else has control over their lives.

Stranger Things’ References Pt. 2

Stranger Things’ References Pt. 2

ScreenPrism’s Stranger Things reference list continues with the slasher flicks, teen movies and music that anchor the side story between Nancy Wheeler, Jonathan Byers and Steve Harrington. It’s amazing that the show even makes sense with all these homages.

Her: Building a Beautiful Future

Her: Building a Beautiful Future

Most films that take place in the future portray it as either stark or dystopian. On the other hand, Spike Jonze’s Her painted a picture of a hopeful future that seems more relatable. Kaptain Kristian explores how Jonze and production designer K.K. Barrett pulled it off.

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