Produced by: Tracy Droz Tragos, Andrew Droz Palermo, David Armillei
Edited by: Jim Hession
Cinematography by: Andrew Droz Palermo
Music by: Nathan Halpern
I am not a fan of reality TV. This isn’t exactly a bold statement, I know, but seriously – screw pretty much the whole entire exploitative genre. From absurdly overwrought drama, to manufactured hilarity to peddle some person’s brand or image, to outright delight in the misfortune of others, I hardly see any benefit in reality TV’s existence. The overflow this industry has had into actual reality, what with cameras everywhere at the ready to share some unsuspecting person’s personal issues with everyone, is even more troubling than the stuff people at the very least consent to divulging on television. There’s little artistry in manipulating perception and encouraging schadenfreude with whatever makes it to air. Shame on the people who produce it, and, quite frankly, shame on those who enjoy it, too. I’m not excluding myself in that, mind you. I’ve dabbled in taking pleasure at the horrific performances of admittedly terrible singers and judged the merit of people’s very existence based on a few minutes of footage aired weekly that could have very likely been a façade meant to make the footage seem much more interesting and outrageous than it actually was.
Documentaries, however – at least the good ones – differ from reality TV in that their primary goal is usually to invoke some kind of understanding and empathy; the goal is usually education over entertainment. Though documentarires, too, are edited to fit the purpose of the filmmaker, it’s often with artistic goals in mind, there’s usually a respect for the intelligence of the audience to understand the filmmaker’s intentions and the footage being presented to them. Read more…
Produced by: Gregory Goodman, Simon Kinberg, Robert Kulzar, Hutch Parker, Matthew Vaughn
Screenplay by: Simon Kinberg, Jeremy Slater, Josh Trank
Edited by: Elliot Greenberg, Stephen E. Rivkin
Cinematography by: Matthew Jensen
Music by: Marco Beltrami, Philip Glass
Starring: Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara, Jamie Bell, Toby Kebbell, Reg E. Cathey, Tim Blake Nelson, Dan Castellaneta
Based Marvel Comics characters created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby
This review contains spoilers.
Produced by: William Dozier
Written by: Lorenzo Semple, Jr.
Edited by: Harry Gerstad
Cinematography by: Howard Schwarts
Music by: Nelson Riddle, Neal Hefti (theme)
Starring: Adam West, Burt Ward, Lee Meriwether, Cesar Romero, Burgess Meredith, Frank Gorshin, Alan Napier, Neil Hamilton, Stafford Repp, Madge Blake, Reginald Denny, Milton Frome, Gil Perkins, Dick Crockett, George Sawaya, Van Williams
Based on the DC Comics character created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger and the TV series created by William Dozier
Confession time: Though it is one of my earliest memories of being at a theatrical showing, Batman Returns was not my first exposure to Batman. There was already a lot of love for Batman instilled in me by that point. Part of that was likely due to Tim Burton’s first film, but, honestly, it was far more likely that I was introduced to the Dark Knight in the form of the campy Caped Crusader portrayed in in the 1960s TV series starring Adam West. As a little kid, I didn’t quite understand that the series was essentially a satire of the comics and serials rather than a serious attempt to adapt the character to television. When I was finally exposed to the darker, grittier stuff, I pretty much thought it was silly because it was old, and older stuff was always sillier! Why else would they release all those ridiculous musicals back then that my mom enjoyed so much, right? With age, of course, I did catch on, and after getting over an initial feeling of betrayal that came with the understanding that the show was poking fun at my favorite superhero (and, by association, me), I also came to embrace the series for what it was. Read more…
Produced by: Chris Coen, Tatiana Kelly, Mikal P. Lazarev, Adam Sherman
Screenplay by: Goran Dukić
Story by: Etgar Keret
Edited by: Jonathan Alberts
Cinematography by: Vanja Cernjul
Music by: Bobby Johnston, Gogol Bordello
Starring: Patrick Fugit, Shannyn Sossamon, Shea Whigham, Leslie Bibb, Mikal P. Lazarev, Mark Boone, Jr., Abraham Benrubi, Mary Pat Gleason, Anthony Azizi, Azura Skye, Nick Offerman, Sarah Roemer, John Hawkes, Tom Waits, Anatol Rezmeritza, Cameron Bowen, Jake Busey
Based on the short story Kneller’s Happy Campers by Etgar Keret
This review contains some mild spoilers.
Lying in bed, placing a needle on a record, and then, to the tune of Tom Waits’ “Dead and Lovely,” we watch Zia, the lead character, at various stages of tidying up his mess of an apartment. Zia picks up every bit of trash and misplaced piece of dirty clothing, then wipes down every surface and piece of furniture from the dust and filth that has built up. He waters his plants, as well, then looks around to ensure he’s finished. He then looks at himself directly into the camera, fixes his hair, takes a peak outside his window mindlessly, and then around his room again to ensure he’s done everything possible. He then walks into the bathroom, but this time camera doesn’t show him until several moments later, when it begins to peek in on Zia, looking into a mirror as he works at something just off screen. His expression barely changes as he collapses to the tile floor. He leaves behind a pool of bloody water in the sink and a razor beside it. In his last few moments, he notices a single, large dust bunny in the corner of the room, barely moved by his last few breaths… Read more…
There was another version of this article that actually went on quite a bit of a rant, but I had to scrap it. I scrapped it not just for you, my reader, but also for myself, as I was writing more out of impassioned irritation than I was to make a coherent article about my relationship with film, as I had originally set out to do. I think this is a bit more focused, and a bit more biographical than that lecture, which I am honestly glad I had second thoughts about – and I do mean lecture as in “scold,” not “educational speech.” Part of what I almost lost sight of was an expression of my love for the medium of film, which, let’s face it, is the main topic of this blog is, after all!
I do love film, though. I even admittedly sometimes love watching bad films, when the mood strikes, despite the fact that I usually end up griping about how awful they are by the time the credits begin – oftentimes earlier. I guess I’m a part time hate-watcher. That being said, however, I am admittedly an amateur when it comes to film appreciation. I’m rarely driven by more than gut instinct when it comes to analyzing the individual parts of a film, so I’m often left feeling quite inadequate to judge things like the composition of shots, the quality of the score, and the inventiveness of certain other techniques unless they really stand out to me. And, honestly, so long as those elements are either so well done that they either don’t call attention to themselves or are so transcendently novel that I can’t help but notice, I’m largely okay with that. For me, film has always been more than just the sum of its parts and more about what it’s actually saying on behalf of the artists involved and the subject it’s covering. (And, sometimes, films are mostly just entertaining, and that’s honestly okay, too!) Read more…