Film Archive

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Video Games are not Films. They are TV.

The most recent trend in video game storytelling is releasing the games in monthly chunks that are entirely concerned with advancing a narrative. This trend, of telling stories in interconnected […]

The most recent trend in video game storytelling is releasing the games in monthly chunks that are entirely concerned with advancing a narrative. This trend, of telling stories in interconnected semi-regular releases is meant to emulate the feeling of TV. And yet, as of right now, TV has moved closer and closer towards using the season as the main unit of storytelling (versus “the episode”)

The argument could be made, especially considering Telltale’s resolution to continue both The Walking Dead and the Wolf Among Us in a format akin to a TV season, that the season is still a valid construct that could apply to the critical discussion of these games. However, the emphasis on the season on TV in recent years is quite different than the one exhibited by The Walking Dead or Life is Strange. Stories like True Detective’s seasons are more like volumes of a book series, while told on regular weekly installments (equivalent to a book’s chapters) each one to be interconnected into a bigger whole.

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Nightcrawler tips his hat to cinematic history while still carving its own place.

At the core of Nightcrawler, its clear to see the forefathers that Dan Gilroy studied for his impressive debut as a director. Its central idea of portraying the inherent power […]

At the core of Nightcrawler, its clear to see the forefathers that Dan Gilroy studied for his impressive debut as a director. Its central idea of portraying the inherent power of film and how it could be abused is easily linked to Network and Peeping Tom, movies that put forth the question of whether our entertainment with murder and suffering has any limits both by questioning the audience itself and pushing the characters over Ethical Street and way past Mental Breakdown lane. Whereas its character-centered structure and main character’s disregard for social rules/narrow focus on transformation are both reminiscent of Taxi Driver. However, much like with Tarantino’s films, Nightcrawler is still joyously unique without being bogged down by its references and ancestry.

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Why Blockbusters Franchises Won’t Destroy Cinema

I just returned from seeing the Hobbit. I had enough fun, having seen the things that I expected to see with the creativity that Peter Jackson brings, but felt that […]

I just returned from seeing the Hobbit. I had enough fun, having seen the things that I expected to see with the creativity that Peter Jackson brings, but felt that the intent of a children’s book was lost in favor of conforming to the current model of high-octane action franchises. This was something the original Lord of The Rings trilogy managed to pull off without losing the appeal and charm of the initial book. With the Hobbit, a lighthearted children’s book, things became a bit more of a problem. There are plenty of angry reviews of the Hobbit though, so I find it immensely more interesting to talk about its place in the current landscape of films.

As 2014 has passed, you’ve no doubt seen a number of articles, discussing the very subject, many lamenting the overpowering presence of the franchise, bemoaning the presence of Young Adult novel and comic book adaptations. Oftentimes the word ‘teenager’ will be used in a derogatory context, as though teenagers are some subhuman mass dedicated to ruining meaningful film rather than a subset of the human population that are no less deserving of fiction that speaks to them. The general idea is simple, that the dominance of big franchised blockbusters is polluting the market and preventing more meaningful, artistic films. There was even a pretty good movie that lived under that pretense this year.

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Foxcatcher; A hunt for the Gold.

Walking into the theater, I hadn’t known what to expect of this film other than that it was about two brothers and wrestling. From the trailers and brief glimpses of […]

Walking into the theater, I hadn’t known what to expect of this film other than that it was about two brothers and wrestling. From the trailers and brief glimpses of hype I perused before seeing the film, I had come to expect a movie about triumph, about two brothers pushing themselves harder and winning gold for their nation. The haunting tale of depression, failing families, and utter mental lapse was not what I expected to find.

Feeling jaded at the way his country has spurned him, at the shadow hanging over him Mark Schultz (played by Channing Tatum) falls easy prey to the wise words from John E Du Pont (portrayed by Steve Carell) . He’s quick to find a kindred soul in Du Pont over the fact that he echoes the same thoughts. Their nation is in trouble and they need to save it, a very brave statement from an Olympic wrestler and one of the wealthiest men in America.  The hunt is on but instead of hunting for the fox, Du Pont is setting the hounds for the gold medal in the 1988 Olympics.

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Birdman, (Or The Unexpected Virtue of Superhero Hate)

I walked into Birdman accidentally and apprehensive. I had planned on seeing Whiplash but there’s only one theater playing it and because of traffic, my friend didn’t make it in […]

I walked into Birdman accidentally and apprehensive. I had planned on seeing Whiplash but there’s only one theater playing it and because of traffic, my friend didn’t make it in time. In order to save the night, we decided to watch another movie. It was a choice between Birdman and something I don’t remember. The reason I was worried I was wasting my time and money was Scott Tobias’ review for the Dissolve, which makes a pretty comprehensive case against the movie and my own personal conflicted feelings about the Marvel and DC empire.

See, I love superhero stories. They’re powerful, meaningful operatic depictions of humanity’s best virtues put on the microscope so that they can be observed at their grandest and yet experienced at their most nuanced. This could be said of all genre fiction, but DC and Marvel’s spin is filled with an idealism and a humanism unparalleled in my experience consuming all sorts of media. I always point to the fact that Guardians of the Galaxy is a movie that ends literally with five friends holding hands to vanquish the antagonist…  As many problems as that movie has, the good moments feel so sincere that I could not look away.

But then there’s the business side of things, Marvel’s current film universe has stuck to a very specific formula and tone. While the films have been wildly varied in milieu, everything about them feels factory made. Taken on an individual basis and when we had few releases, this was tolerable because the outings were still fun. But by the time we reached a mediocre Thor 2 and a flawed Guardians, it was quite easy for me to jump off the bandwagon (and occasionally laugh whenever the train went off the rails) while mourning the death of my love for the genre.

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