Movie Review: Independence Day: Resurgence

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We always knew they were coming back, and I sincerely wish they didn’t. I rarely, if ever listen to the critics before a movie that I’m interested in comes out. Negative reviews are no deterrent for me, but as far as Independence Day: Resurgence is concerned, this is one time when they should have been. This is the year in which the world declared in one voice that this was a sequel that was not only twenty years too late, but was also stripped of everything that made the original 1996 blockbuster so great. Continue reading

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Movie Review: The Shallows

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We’ve seen the classic shark-attack movie Jaws, in which an entire shore town has an inordinate amount of trouble killing one man-eating beast. We’ve seen Deep Blue Sea, in which intelligent and genetically-modified sharks break free of their captors and start striking back. Now we have The Shallowsa refreshing suspense flick that pits scrappy surfer and med student Nancy (Blake Lively) against one terrifying and relentless shark. Continue reading

Movie Review: The Big Short

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In a modern cinematic landscape that is packed to the rafters with superhero, sci-fi, and fantasy flicks, sometimes a movie based on a true story is refreshing, even if that movie tells the depressing story of the worst economic disaster the United States has seen is generations. Enter The Big Short – a film about four men in the game of finance who exposed the quagmire of greed and stupidity that eventually dragged the country down into the housing market crash of 2008.  Continue reading

Film Analysis: One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest

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When it comes to studying the history of film, there are four main approaches employed by historians, theorists, critics, and fans to assign importance or value to any given film. The aesthetic approach, otherwise known as the masterpiece approach, focuses on movies that are said by the film-watching population at large to be works of arts, and also gives credence to the directors that bring those films to life. The technological approach delves into the advancement of technology associated with the production of film, as new inventions have blessed movies increasingly better quality of picture and sound. Continue reading

Must-See Christmas Movies

Since movies are just about my favorite thing in the world, and Christmas would be my favorite time of year if there was no such thing as summer, what better joining of forces is there than the Christmas movie? In keeping with the theme this week here at The No Seatbelt Blog, I present to you five of my absolute favorite Christmas movies, and explain why you need to see them. Right now. Continue reading

Film Analysis: Amélie

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Editing, one of the most essential aspects of filmmaking, is the combination of techniques that combine elements such as visuals, sound and special effects, to create a complete cinematic product. The French film Amélie exhibits a variety of editing techniques that are employed by the filmmakers to convey its story. For the most part, the film’s main storyline uses continuity editing, which is the prevailing method for piecing together shots in modern filmmaking at large. Continuity editing exists for the purpose of creating a logical and smooth flow of shots throughout a film, keeping the plot in line and moving in a particular direction. Continue reading

Film Review: The Gift

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Last week, I finally got to watch The Gift, a thriller that I had heard mostly good things about and was eagerly awaiting. The directorial debut of Joel Edgerton (who also wrote and starred in the movie), The Gift revolves around Simon and Robyn (Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall), a young couple whose lives seem to be coming together as they move into a new home, Simon gets a significant promotion at work, and they work on starting a family. This ultimate happiness comes crashing down when they run into Gordo (Edgerton), a former classmate of Simon’s who harbors a dark secret. Continue reading

Ryan Remembers…The Strangers

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One of my favorite horror films of all time came to the big screen in 2008 in The Strangers. Supposedly inspired by a true story, the film revolves around James Hoyt (Scott Speedman) and Kristen McKay (Liv Tyler), a young couple, who after her rejection of his marriage proposal, return for the night to a summer house owned by his parents. As if the night wasn’t bad enough already for the two of them, a mysterious woman knocks on the door in the wee hours of the morning, asking for someone who is not there. From there, the same woman, along with another woman, and a man, all now wearing masks, start terrorizing the couple from outside the house. Continue reading

Film Analysis: Memento

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The concepts of story and plot may have similar connotations, but when it comes to filmmaking, they are two different elements. In the context of the world created by a given film, the story is all-encompassing – it consists of the explicit events presented, as well as everything that the viewer can infer that is not explicitly shown or told by the narrative. Conversely, the plot of a film is comprised of actions and events that are deliberately chosen by the filmmaker in order to convey messages and manipulate the audience. Christopher Nolan’s 2000 film Memento manipulates the viewer by telling through narration a story which may or not be true, and carefully selecting what it actually shows on screen as part of the plot. Continue reading

Film Analysis: Citizen Kane

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will present ÒLinwood Dunn: Celebrating a Visual Effects Pioneer,Ó a program exploring the contributions of Linwood Dunn and the techniques he used in creating optical effects for Orson WellesÕs ÒCitizen Kane,Ó on Friday, October 9, at 8 p.m. at the Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood. The evening also will feature a screening of a newly struck print of ÒCitizen KaneÓ from the Academy Film Archive. This event is sold out, but standby tickets may become available. Pictured: CITIZEN KANE, 1941.

Released in 1941, the film Citizen Kane, often hailed as “the greatest movie of all time” was groundbreaking for its time. The film was directed by Orson Welles, and because of the controversy it caused, it both made him a star and effectively blacklisted him in Hollywood. Citizen Kane undoubtedly laid the groundwork for many films to come, with its brilliant understanding of the elements of design, as well as of the concept of mise-en-scène, which is a French term that is roughly translated as “what is put into the scene.” Welles clearly understood that the way a scene is set up – the placement of props, the use of lighting and shadows, the movements of the camera, and the positioning of the actors within the frame – can reach out to the audience in a way that dialog alone cannot. Citizen Kane is a fantastic film to use as a template in the exploration of the crucial aspects of filmmaking that go beyond what is explicitly said on screen.  Continue reading