Tim Burton’s stylized 1989 Batman film was responsible for bringing the masked vigilante back onto the movie screen in a more serious light than Adam West’s comedic portrayal of the caped crusader. He brought many interesting elements to the introduction of The Batman, which I would like to examine in detail.
Peter Sellers was an enigmatic enigma – at least, if we are to believe the 2004 biopic The Life and Death of Peter Sellers. This film combines a fascinating biographical picture of Peter Sellers the man with the relatively unused technique of sliding effortlessly between not only epistemological layers, but also expository styles and even points of view. Peter Sellers effectively retcons his life.
Spike Lee’s 2000 film Bamboozled was seen by many (including the late Roger Ebert) as being too shocking to effectively convey the social message it had wrapped in its unusual satirical bent, steeped heavily in elements of Lumet’s Network. I’d like to examine some of the more subtle camera angles, movement, and composition to dig deeper into the way Bamboozled tells its story.
“All people know the same truth. Our lives consist of how we chose to distort it.” - Harry Block
Although film scholars tend to focus mainly on Woody Allen’s early body of work, especially films like Annie Hall, many of his later works can teach us an impressive amount about the subtle craft of creating a film. Deconstructing Harry, made twenty years after Annie Hall, can teach us about the power of discontinuous editing to further a narrative.
“Do you know what the scariest thing is? To not know your place in this world, to not know why you’re here.” - Elijah Price
How do you isolate a character in a crowd of people? How do you film an entire train scene with only three actors? M. Night Shyamalan managed to pull this off in his second collaboration with Bruce Willis, the superhero / drama film Unbreakable.
If you haven’t watched the film yet, this is your warning that THERE BE SPOILERS HERE.
“I’ll tell you what – Buy me lunch, my friend, and I’ll tell you the best Christmas story you ever heard. How’s that? And I guarantee, every word if it is true.” - Auggie
Smoke is Wayne Wang and Paul Aster’s first collaboration on a serendipitous independent film, to be followed up by the less-successful Blue in the Face. I’d like to examine an extremely long take in the third act of the film, and the way it helps tell the film’s story.
If you were asked what John Carpenter’s They Live had in common with the campy 1980s sci-fi pastiche The Adventures of Buckaroo Bonzai Across the Eight Dimension, the first answer to come to mind might have something to do with aliens; I’m going to examine the way that a hidden truth, or additional story/film layer is exposed to some characters within the epistemic system of a film.
I suppose the moral here is: You must be careful what you pretend to be… because in the end you are what you pretend to be. - Howard W Campbell, Jr
There are many interesting facets of the film adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut’s novel about the fictional Howard W. Campbell, Jr, a self-described American spy who functioned as a Nazi propagandist during World War II; I’m going to focus on one particular series of scenes during the third act of the film.
Scorsese’s The Departed netted the venerable director his second “Best Director” Academy Award and only his first “Best Picture” Academy Award in his entire 20+ year career, despite being a remake of another film.
Many film critics and scholars have examined the film’s themes and visuals, but I would like to concentrate on a single character’s introduction and early visualization on the screen: Nicholson’s Frank Costello.