Defending The Found Footage Subgenre

Posted by on Dec 4, 2013 in Commentary, Movie Comment | 0 comments

Ever since I saw Cloverfield in theaters twice over opening weekend, I have had a soft spot in my heart for the found footage, shaky cam subgenre of horror film. I still firmly believe that when they’re done right, they can be profoundly interesting takes on typical horror iconography, scary for their implied, supposed realism and the way this realism necessitates that we don’t see more than our civilian videographer would. But what makes a good found footage film? For one thing, it can still be effective and innovative at times, and that is why I still want to advocate for it. First, let me just say however that I haven’t seen Blair Witch Project in many years, but I know enough to retrospectively argue that this film was the game changer. I think more so than even filmmaking...

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We’re All Spectators Here: How We Watch Movies Dictates How We React

Posted by on Nov 14, 2013 in Commentary | 0 comments

In my undergraduate senior film seminar, we’ve been talking a lot about issues of spectatorship, and it made me realize that how you watch movies really matters. In an age where we’re increasingly more apt to see films in solitary ways via Netflix on screens that are likewise decreasing in scale, I have become all the more aware that the way we experience movies can be really dependent on things completely outside of the movie itself. When I saw Kick-Ass 2, which I gave a positive review of on my blog, it was 5 days before the actual release. I went to a free pre-screening with 500 or so other fans of the first film (as evidenced by our mutual wearing of Kick-Ass garb as we waited in line for the chance to get in). Seeing a film in...

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NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD: Why the Classic Still Holds Up

Posted by on Oct 29, 2013 in Commentary, The Pictures | 0 comments

Seeing a beloved classic or just a personal favorite replayed on a big screen years after its actual theatrical release can be like getting stuck in a cinematic time warp of sorts. We have come so far in our movie-making abilities that sometimes these older films come across like fossils or time capsules, evoking a strange combination of nostalgia, reverence, and laughter. Seeing George A. Romero’s 1968 masterpiece Night of the Living Dead in a small but beautiful art house movie theater was, on one level, such an experience. In our current zombie-obsessed pop cultural moment, the visual effects and archaic aims for suspense can come across as humorous; I was in no way offended at people’s laughter at certain moments that The Walking Dead would put to dramatic and gory shame, with its arsenal of modern violence and makeup....

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The Day Geek Pop Culture Went Mainstream

Posted by on Oct 15, 2013 in Commentary | 0 comments

At your local movie theater, you’ll probably be able to find something “nerdy” at any given moment: some comic book adaptation or a high-budget sci-fi flick for instance. But with both San Diego and New York Comic-Con (the latter of which I attended this past weekend) increasing in popularity and variety, I thought I’d take this time to just muse on why and how these phenomena came to be the hottest, most prestigious and sought after events of the year for fans and professionals alike. Comic-Con specifically encompasses all that is pop culture, even though once it literally was a convention about comic books and nothing much else at all. Now, the former stereotypes given to people who attend and the specificity of the genres and mediums represented by panels, guests, and vendors on the show floor are practically...

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Who Are Horror Movies For Anymore? YOU’RE NEXT, THE CONJURING And The Future Of A Genre

Posted by on Sep 3, 2013 in Movie Comment, The Pictures | 0 comments

For decades now, the stigma surrounding horror has encompassed similar disdain to lower forms of entertainment all together, some media research even comparing the pleasures these films give us to the seedy and singular experience that pornographic films denote. Then, in recent years, we’ve been given regurgitated remakes, gratuitous gore-nography and trite torture porn. Now, don’t get me wrong—I love the first two Saw films and both Hostel films just as much as the next person, actually. I wouldn’t even necessarily venture to say they’re guilty pleasures because I see them as just one of many coexisting subgenres with merits and flaws alike. But when even those things which start off as brilliant become exercises in merely how many horrific ways of killing people on screen writers can concoct, things do get a little stale. I likewise have no...

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John Waters should have directed THE HELP

Posted by on Sep 15, 2011 in Movie Comment, The Pictures | 0 comments

I avoided seeing The Helpfor a few weeks because what looked like a solid picture was dogged by controversy. It’s true that the film has uncomfortable moments, but it’s no more racist than  the Coen Brothers film The Ladykillers. It’s certainly less so than Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. But that’s not the problem here. Over and over again while watching this movie it felt like the perfect material for John Waters. As it stands, The Help feels like a movie John Waters would have made in a shameless Oscar grab. You know, like David Cronenberg’s three most recent pictures. Proper, upper-middle class white people are the villains. An ugly girl, a tacky white lady and a bunch of black people team up to take on those pretty, porcelain southern belles. And there’s a scene where someone eats a...

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