DOLLHOUSE and the Unconventional Pilot

Joss Whedon’s / Eliza Dushku’s Dollhouse had a lot going for and against it. Whedon had some blank checks to cash, Dushku had a deal with FOX, the premise was fascinating, and one actor playing multiple roles week to week is always a juicy prospect. Whether because of marketing, timing, direct competition in an era … Continue reading

Inside the Fast Turnarounds and Wild Stories of Live-Shoot K-Dramas

The more k-dramas I watch, the more impressive it is to know how the sausage is made. Part of the fun in movies and TV is studying how they write and shoot; in the case of k-dramas, some are fully pre-produced, but the ones which aren’t are usually still shooting the middle episodes when the … Continue reading

Character Introduction: Johnny Guitar

Introducing characters is an art form. I’ve been working on a TV pilot and while we’ve had the plot arcs nailed for months, making sure we get the characters across economically while being interesting and not too expository and using action while fitting them seamlessly into the plot and explaining how they relate to other … Continue reading

How Editing Mimics Memory in Lulu Wang’s “The Farewell”

The Farewell is absolutely one of my favourite films of the year, and one of the few which made me cry (twice, if we’re counting) yet want to rewatch immediately. Awkwafina is a star. I look forward to her career of interesting choices and varied projects. I hope she ends up getting offered all the … Continue reading

Shooting, Editing, and Crossing the Line on HBO’s “Succession”

Succession has all the hallmarks of HBO Prestige Television: big names, stunning production design, Shakespeare out the wazoo. It crosses the line as much in its shooting as its characters cross it morally, and just as often for kicks; see Episode 1.04 “Sad Sack Wasp Trap” (video for educational purposes): I did a more detailed … Continue reading

Glitch: Pilot

This is the first in a series of pilot analysis, where I review how the pilot works as such. Eventually if there’s enough interest I may pick up a whole series. First up is Glitch. A good pilot establishes; that’s almost its only job. It establishes the main story, the setting, characters, the look and … Continue reading

The 100: Season 03, Episode 01, Wanheda Part 1

Starting the episode off exactly where it left of in S2, and with Murphy – whose story was mostly ancillary the last couple seasons and whose ending was not really crucial to any plots so far – felt like quite the bold move. Murphy putting the gun to his chin immediately followed by something life-saving … Continue reading

Shot Details and Framing in Wentworth

Wentworth is an Australian prison drama, actually a remake of the show Prisoner. It’s dark and tense and manages some nice plot turns, it’s got a very teal and gray palette but breaks it up with reds and greens, it’s well acted, it uses slo-mo and occasional fantasy sequences to great effect. But you should discover that for yourself. I’m here to just talk about some details in the framing of shots.

Movie Review: The Fifth Estate

a version of this review first appeared here. Much has been said about the movie’s mishandling of actual events, and those reviews are fascinating to be sure. Most of us, however, forgive that to one extent or another if a ‘based on true events’ biopic is remotely interesting, well shot, anything. The Fifth Estate is … Continue reading

Movie Review: Inch’Allah

On my list of movies to watch I mentioned several female filmmakers whose work I’m interested in. One is Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette. This review of her film starts a loose series on Women In and Making Film.  A shorter version of this review appeared on Letterboxd here. This film easily could have been a cliched tale about a … Continue reading