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. Continue reading “We’re All Spectators Here: How We Watch Movies Dictates How We React”
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. Continue reading “NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD: Why the Classic Still Holds Up”
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.
Hollywood is, as I’m sure we all subconsciously know, not as much of a noun at times as it is an adjective implying a kind of attitude, style, and set of expectations we carry with us. What then can we do with these expectations when a film might subvert them so seamlessly? Well, as I watched an Italian film called Nuovomondo from 2006 (with the English title The Golden Door, as if to intentionally deny the viewer any chance at thinking they know that they’re getting into as they would have done had they translated it literally to the seemingly trite “new world”), these expectations proved refreshingly useless. It satisfies on a level that Hollywood historical epics so seldom do, perhaps because we are not shown the typical set of images and conventions we are used to, which can grow as stale and dry as a textbook teaching us the very same story, albeit much less melodramatically. I am taking the time here to write not only an analytical review of this film but to also raise a kind of commentary that I think is pertinent through it: How do foreign films make history not merely interesting again but also filled with a kind of imagination and spirit that our domestic cinema’s run-of-the-mill period fictions hardly ever do?
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.