Friday, May 22, 2015

Torso: Feminist Politics in the Slasher Genre

Torso is a colorful and sexy murder mystery with elements of horror which helped continue the ongoing development of the giallo in Italy and inspire the creation of the slasher in America.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Un Chien Andalou: Experiments in Cinematic Storytelling

One of the most well known (and notorious) short films of all time, Un Chien Andalou is a surrealist experiment with the structure of cinema and its ability to deliver a unique type of imagery.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Notes on Fargo: Shooting in the Snow

"How was Fargo?"
"Ya, real good."

For me, Fargo is a perfect movie. I had some free time, so I put the film on with commentary from cinematographer Roger Deakins. Here are a few points I found interesting (basically my screening notes converted to full sentences):

Monday, May 18, 2015

Notes on Zodiac: Exposition & Detective Stories

"Whoever this is, you owe me another lamp."

I had this on in the background while I worked from home today (living the dream) so I won't be doing a full-fledged review as I wasn't able to spare as much attention as I usually like to. So yes, I owe you all another review; although, with an intricately designed film like this, you're much more likely just to get another lamp. Instead, here's a peek behind the scenes at some of my raw, unorganized thoughts on the film (edited into complete sentences from my nonsensical scribblings):

Thursday, May 14, 2015

The Man from Earth: Narrative vs. Narration

The Man from Earth is a lo-fi science fiction movie that compensates for its low budget with its high concept. It's hard to say anything about the plot without getting into spoilers (the synopsis and poster and even its genre feel a bit like spoilers, even if for plot points which are revealed fairly early on), so if you're a fan of hard sci-fi or stuff like Primer then do yourself a favor and see this before reading anything else. Written by Jerome Bixby, a contributor to both Star Trek and The Twilight Zone, it concerns a group of scholars debating the possibility of a man living from prehistoric times into the present and what he might be like today, and it all takes place in and around the house where they're meeting to say goodbye to one of their fellow professors.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Security, Surveillance, and Morality in Minority Report

Minority Report's PreCrime division may be a science fiction concept in the sense that it relies on three characters with genetic mutations that allow them to magically see the future, but the idea of arresting people for something they intend to do but have not yet done feels less and less like a futuristic concept.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Ex Machina: Humanity & Sexuality through Science Fiction

While Ex Machina opens on the eyes of Domhnall Gleeson's aspiring programmer as he wins a trip to join tech genius Oscar Isaac on his reclusive estate and test out his new artificially intelligent robot Alicia Vikander, the strength of the narrative rests in its ability to be seen through the perspective of any of its three central characters. Gleeson's Caleb is the obvious audience surrogate, but the characters are all strong enough to support their own points of view, and by the end of the story I found myself gravitating most toward Vikander's Ava.

In fact, the most telling detail of the film's production is writer/director Alex Garland's statement that he wrote the script from Ava's perspective. Not only is her performance impressively subtle (particularly for something which could be as gimmicky as a human pretending to be a robot pretending to be a human), she also strikes me as the most sympathetic character—ironic, considering she's the only one of the three who isn't human.