Awesome Film Essays

Ten Great Cinematographers

Ten Great Cinematographers

CineFix picks its top 10 cinematographers of all time. The next time you praise a movie’s lighting, camera movement, framing, coloring or even mood, know that it’s not just because of the director, set designer or cameramen. It’s the cinematographer at work.

Rushmore: A Young Wes Anderson

Rushmore: A Young Wes Anderson

ScreenPrism treats Wes Anderson’s breakout film Rushmore as the director’s coming-of-age. The movie sees the debut of Anderson’s dollhouse aesthetic – albeit raw and less ornate – and penchant for indie music, while the story and theme are lifted from his life.

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Blade Runner: Future Noir

Blade Runner: Future Noir

“There are no choices.” Blade Runner draws us in with memorable visuals of a dystopian future. But at its core, it’s a noir film. Lessons from the Screenplay lists the three key elements of noir and how they manifest in Ridley Scott’s classic.

The Glamourous Psychopath

The Glamourous Psychopath

(PG-13) Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange features a dark and disturbed main character, but somehow we still come to sympathize with Alex DeLarge. ScreenPrism brilliantly analyzes one of film’s greatest anti-heroes, whose charm and sophistication are oddly appealing.

Mad Men’s Subversive Venus

Mad Men’s Subversive Venus

(PG-13) ScreenPrism looks back at the character arc of Mad Men‘s other Don Draper. Wonderfully portrayed by Christina Hendricks, Joan Holloway started out believing that marriage was a woman’s best chance at happiness. But she’s too smart to stay that way.

Stranger Things’ References Pt.1

Stranger Things’ References Pt.1

Stranger Things borrows heavily from three titans of ’80s film and literature: Steven Spielberg, slasher and horror flicks, and Stephen King. ScreenPrism starts its list of the Netflix series’ references and homages with ones related to Spielberg.

Aronofsky’s Extreme Closeups

Aronofsky’s Extreme Closeups

Film editor Jacob T. Swinney compiled this intense reel of moments from Darren Aronofsky’s films in which the camera gets up close and personal with its subjects. The technique provides an immediacy and sense of involvement that’s about as visceral as it gets.

What’s in a Darren Aronofsky Film?

What’s in a Darren Aronofsky Film?

(PG-13, Flashing lights) Director Darren Aronofsky has an incredibly consistent filmography. It’s not only in terms of his movies’ quality, but also in the themes that he chooses to tackle and visualize: ambition, fantasies, and the gap between parents and children.

Ghostbusters: A Movie About Nothing

Ghostbusters: A Movie About Nothing

Video essayist Patrick H Willems explores an interesting notion in the world of film criticism – that the original Ghostbusters was missing something that virtually every other movie has ever has – a theme, subtext, message, or story arc for its main characters.

Jimmy McNulty & Good Police

Jimmy McNulty & Good Police

(PG-13: Language) “The f**k did I do?” ScreenPrism starts its discussion of HBO’s The Wire with an analysis of Detective Jimmy McNulty. McNulty truly cared about putting bad guys in jail. And that’s about the only good thing we can say about him.

Dunkey Reviews The Shining

Dunkey Reviews The Shining

(PG-13: Language) Videogamedunkey casts his analytical eye on his favorite horror film, The Shining. It’s a movie that needs no further introduction. But until every single human being has watched it, we think it qualifies as underappreciated.

Filming the Unfilmable

Filming the Unfilmable

(SPOILERS) CineFix’s latest compilation features five wonderfully finessed scenes that effectively use camera movement, sound, blocking and more to express emotions, foreshadowing and other intangible concepts and states.

Memento: Telling a Story in Reverse

Memento: Telling a Story in Reverse

Seventeen years ago, Christopher and Jonathan Nolan bamboozled us with their breakout film, Memento. If the film’s alternating backward and forward stories still puzzle you, imagine the mental gymnastics that the Nolan brothers had to go through to bring it to life.

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How to Do a Plot Twist

How to Do a Plot Twist

Now You See It suggests how you can tell if a plot twist is good: watch or read the story again and see if you still enjoy it. Because unlike reality, fiction has to make sense. Instead of being a complete tangent, the twist has to fit in with the rest of the tale.

Brilliant Western Films

Brilliant Western Films

Before Master Chief, before Superman, there was the cowboy. CineFix presents its picks for the best Western films of all time. You probably won’t agree with the list, but it’s a great reminder of the genre’s timeless relevance and appeal.

Reasons to Use POV Shots

Reasons to Use POV Shots

“The more removed the point of view is from our own, the more fascinating it is.” ScreenPrism enumerates the different meanings or purposes of the point of view shot. It can both reveal and conceal, excite and horrify, and empower and constrict.

The Wiseguy Behind Goodfellas

The Wiseguy Behind Goodfellas

…or rather, the wiseguys behind Goodfellas. The Film Theorists share trivia not only about the real Henry Hill – the mobster that Ray Liotta portrayed in the film – but also how the other actors were cast, and how they sought inspiration for their roles.

Deconstructing There Will Be Blood

Deconstructing There Will Be Blood

Film essayist Nerdwriter1 looks at Paul Thomas Anderson’s masterwork There Will Be Blood as an example of how its relatively modest use of edits and subtle framing adjustments have much greater emotional impact than the crazy rapid cuts we’re used to these days.

What White Walkers Represent

What White Walkers Represent

ScreenPrism ponders the meaning of Game of Thrones’ white walkers. Are they reminders that our dreams and issues ultimately mean nothing? Or do ice zombies have a literal connotation? Perhaps they’re misunderstood beings with their own problems?

Master of None’s Italian Film Influences

Master of None’s Italian Film Influences

(SPOILERS) Master of None‘s second season makes no secret of its Italian neorealist influence. But ScreenPrism gives a great breakdown of the show’s ambitious yet successful mission: adopting the dour style for the middle class while remaining sincere.

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Christopher Nolan’s Filmography

Christopher Nolan’s Filmography

ScreenPrism briefly analyzes Christopher Nolan’s diverse filmography. His movies are often morally ambiguous stories revolving around someone with multiple personas, but it seems he has taken a more positive turn beginning with Interstellar.

Game of Thrones: How to Evoke Emotion

Game of Thrones: How to Evoke Emotion

“There are only two emotions – pleasure and pain.” Lessons from the Screenplay gives two reasons why Game of Thrones remains fresh and engaging: its scenes often have a simple flow, but every now and then the show will break from convention to keep us guessing.

Hidden Meaning in Clueless

Hidden Meaning in Clueless

(PG-13) Wisecrack’s Garyx Wormuloid looks back at an Earthling cult classic: Amy Heckerling’s sweet and smart teen movie Clueless. He enumerates Cher Horowitz’s epiphanies while poking fun at the movie’s heavy-handed foreshadowing.

Science Fiction of Social Fears

Science Fiction of Social Fears

“The human way is violence and death.” Like other excellent examples of fantasy and science fiction, the Planet of the Apes movies urge us to look inward. ScreenPrism points out how the franchise’s movies served as signs of their times.

The Philosophy of Black Mirror

The Philosophy of Black Mirror

(PG-13, SPOILERS) Wisecrack uses The Society of the Spectacle to summarize Black Mirror: social media and ads encourage us to subscribe to a commercialized and self-fulfilling form of validation, instead of acknowledging our individuality and imperfections.

Costume Design in Movies

Costume Design in Movies

Now You See It reminds us that the clothing of characters in movies are meticulously chosen or made, and not just in superhero or fantasy films. From blending in with the setting to reflecting a character’s story, costumes offer viewers many clues to better understand a film.

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