Awesome Film Essays

Brilliant Movie Crimes

Brilliant Movie Crimes

(PG-13, Gore) CineFix celebrates the 25th anniversary of Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs by building a list around it. Watch them tick off their favorite movie crimes and its parts: the plan, the members, the getaway etc. And no, City on Fire is not in it.

Spider-Man: A Character Study

Spider-Man: A Character Study

“Peter loves being Spider-Man, but he doesn’t love being Peter Parker.” ScreenPrism contrasts the approaches of the three modern Spider-Man movie adaptations while breaking down the symbols and philosophies of Marvel’s teenage icon.

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Telling a Story from the Inside Out

Telling a Story from the Inside Out

“The mysterious thing about telling stories is that it ends up changing you.” Lessons from the Screenplay relays how co-director Pete Docter and the rest of the story team for Inside Out got stuck in a rut, and how they eventually figured out how the movie would play out.

Sofia Coppola: The Beguiled

Sofia Coppola: The Beguiled

Whether you think she’s underrated or overrated, we can’t deny Sofia Coppola’s eye for beauty, visual storytelling and willingness to evolve. ScreenPrism explores the filmmaker’s trademarks and how they show up in her movies.

Tense Movie Moments

Tense Movie Moments

“Suspense isn’t always about delay of the inevitable. It’s also about the anxiety that comes with predicting whether that inevitable will actually come.” CineFix shares its top 10 picks for tensest movie moments, from romance and drama to horror and action.

Creating Light Amongst the Dark

Creating Light Amongst the Dark

(PG-13: Language) Lessons from the Screenplay wonderfully parallels the journeys of the main characters of True Detective and Se7en to break down arguably the most important aspect of fiction: the character arc.

Brilliant Science Fiction Films

Brilliant Science Fiction Films

(SPOILERS) “Using an exploration of where we might be, to explore where it seems like we’re heading, in order to reveal exactly where we are.” CineFix compiles their favorite sci-fi films. They chose lots of obvious classics, but they also tipped their hat to many modern films.

I Lost the Magic

I Lost the Magic

(Flashing images) “Sometimes the only answer is that it got away from you.” The Royal Ocean Film Society reminds us that everyone – even the ones you look up to – makes enormous mistakes. Then he looks inward and wonders if this very video is one such example.

Edge of Tomorrow vs. All You Need is Kill

Edge of Tomorrow vs. All You Need is Kill

(SPOILERS, Gore) CineFix compares the underrated Edge of Tomorrow aka Live Die Repeat with its manga counterpart All You Need is Kill, which is a more faithful adaptation of the eponymous light novel. The movie cut a lot of corners, but it’s still a great film.

Iron Man: How to Build a Franchise

Iron Man: How to Build a Franchise

In 2008, Marvel gambled on an unfinished script, an unproven director, a controversial actor and a B-list character. It went on to become a stepping stone and a blueprint for success that even Marvel has forgotten to follow. Films&Stuff looks back to Iron Man.

The Philosophy of Logan

The Philosophy of Logan

Logan’s spaghetti Western structure is blatantly obvious, but Wisecrack has a lot more to say about this excellent movie. Watch their video to find out how the film can be seen as a commentary on intellectual property and superhero movies.

David Lynch: Surrealist of Americana

David Lynch: Surrealist of Americana

“The strange within the familiar, and the reality within the dream.” ScreenPrism’s brief profile of filmmaker David Lynch. Like Stephen King, Lynch loves to expose the dark side of suburban American life. But he’s not out to condemn, only to show.

Arrival: Examining an Adaptation

Arrival: Examining an Adaptation

(SPOILERS) “The third version of a movie is always found in the editing.” Lessons from the Screenplay uses Arrival to examine the practical and artistic considerations for rewriting a book – or in this case a short story – to fit the big screen.

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Aki Kaurismäki: Hopeful Cynicism

Aki Kaurismäki: Hopeful Cynicism

(PG-13: Language) Channel Criswell outlines the philosophy of Finnish filmmaker Aki Kaurismäki. Known for his dark and deadpan comedies, Kaurismäki is the anti-Wes Anderson – his movies find humor in the most miserable of conditions.

David Fincher: Invisible Details

David Fincher: Invisible Details

(Gore) Kaptainkristian highlights what David Fincher so deftly hides: the director’s extensive use of CGI and other digital effects in his films. From the Winklevoss twins to digitally perfected hair, Fincher stealthily bends reality in service of the story.

Storytelling with Sound

Storytelling with Sound

Sound is one of the most edited aspects of a film. Not in terms of being modified, but in terms of reflecting what’s on screen. Filmmakers often isolate one or two sounds, or even add one that’s not coming from the scene itself in order to better tell a story.

Listening to Blade Runner

Listening to Blade Runner

Blade Runner is one of the most visually influential films of all time, but there’s also much to be said about the film’s sound design, which seamlessly blends Vangelis’ score with atmospheric audio. Nerdwriter1 points out just how integral sound is to this 1982 masterpiece.

Hidden Meaning in Prometheus

Hidden Meaning in Prometheus

(PG-13: Language) Wisecrack’s Garyx Wormuloid sums up the events in the Alien prequel Prometheus, points out its religious references – it’s a prequel to the New Testament! – and proves that even advanced alien species love The Wire.

It’s Always Sunny: The Anti-Sitcom

It’s Always Sunny: The Anti-Sitcom

(PG-13, Gross) “I’m trying to push myself and we’ll see how far I can go.” Wisecrack enumerates the ways that It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia has managed to intentionally go against and even mock the tropes of its genre for the past 12 years.

The White Stripes & Michel Gondry

The White Stripes & Michel Gondry

Film Radar digs into the techniques that director Michel Gondry used to create The White Stripes‘ most classic videos. Gondry’s sense of whimsy and effective use of simple visual effects were the perfect accompaniment to Jack and Meg’s reductive sound. (Thanks Daniel!)

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Some Kind of Connection

Some Kind of Connection

“Time is the story and we are the characters.” The Royal Ocean Film of Society looks back at Michael Apted’s Up Series. Arguably the best reality show ever, its 48-year (and counting) span, grounded perspective and willing cast make for a fragmented mirror of our lives.

Rogue One vs. Force Awakens

Rogue One vs. Force Awakens

Lessons from the Screenplay compares Rogue One and The Force Awakens to teach the basics of storytelling: creating active protagonists, adding flaws for characters to overcome, introducing events that drive the story forward, and more.

Hidden Meaning in Arrival

Hidden Meaning in Arrival

(SPOILERS) “Arrival depicts humanity’s response to a profound paradigm shift. Which is also what I call my bowel movements.” An extra sarcastic Garyx Wormuloid expounds on the sci-fi drama Arrival and its themes of time and perspective.

Shameless: Making Tragedy Entertaining

Shameless: Making Tragedy Entertaining

(Spoilers/PG-13: Language) The Showtime series Shameless is one of our favorite TV shows. The writing and acting is top notch, and its ability to blend laugh-out-loud comedy and tragedy is unmatched. CrackerJacked looks at just a small bit of what makes it work so well.

Rick & Morty & Szechuan Sauce

Rick & Morty & Szechuan Sauce

(PG-13: Language, SPOILERS) Wisecrack argues that Rick’s obsession with szechuan sauce is no bombshell. Instead, it’s merely another display of the show’s advocacy of Albert Camus’ brand of absurdism: existence is meaningless, and trying to find meaning is a fool’s errand.

Brilliant Movie Plot Points

Brilliant Movie Plot Points

CineFix gives their top examples for each of a movie’s five chapters: the call to adventure, the start of the adventure, the adventure itself, the climax, and the resolution. We’re sad that Your Name, The Usual Suspects or Se7en aren’t even mentioned here.

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