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

The Dude With A Thousand Faces: A Screenplay Template

I recently broke down the Stumptown pilot to examine hyperfunctional formulaic writing. Yes, times have changed and templates can be outdated, but I argue a formula isn’t necessarily a bad thing; it’s how you execute – story, characters, themes, acting, direction, dialogue, every fleshy detail – which matters. So when some mates released this short, … Continue reading

CARRIE and the Split Diopter

While I most recently saw discussion around split diopters after Jordan Peele’s Us, Brian De Palma famously uses these shots often. Like all his cinematic language, it’s not just to look pretty, but has a distinctive effect or feeling to convey. Let’s talk first about focus in general. If you’re sitting in a room, you … 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

Colour in DRIVE and IL CONFORMISTA

Drive and Il Conformista ‘s use of colours make for great comparison and contrast symbolically, emotionally, and technically. First: Refn is colourblind, which impacts his work in a preference for heavy colour saturation. Second: because of its time, Il Conformista required everything from on-set lighting to colour timing to be planned far more thoroughly in … Continue reading

Veronica Mars: The Movie, The Woman

By now you’ve probably all read the reviews, most of which agree Veronica Mars functions more as an extended episode of TV than a movie . . . and then most of which, inexplicably, seem to think this is a bad thing. !!! The film took quite a bit of time updating us on where … Continue reading

Music Video: Pitch Perfect’s “Since You Been Gone”

Start with the fact this is generally an average-to-well edited movie. During the big dance numbers, we get plenty of closeups and glimpses of each character, especially when a character is starting to sing. Still, the overall action is always well-established enough so when it pulls back to a wide/master shot, the viewer is not … 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

B-I-N-G-O

Does the word ‘BINGO’ conjure images of blue-haired ladies in church parlors waving excitedly? Well, this will probably do nothing to expunge that mental picture, but it is fun!  I did summer movie bingo and you can see my results above in lovely paintbrush fashion. Of course, the actual card languished on my desktop until the … Continue reading

Cry Havoc, and Let Slip the Dogs of Blockbusters

The Affleck casting (which, full disclosure, I don’t hate at all, though I’d much rather he direct the thing) has been rattling around in my brain, and I’ve decided people should admit Daredevil is as good a movie as The Dark Knight or The Dark Knight Rises. To this end, I will argue Daredevil is underrated … Continue reading