Category Archives: Critical Analysis

No Need For Vulgarity: Auteur Theory Finds An Unnecessary Offshoot

Without spending too many words because too many have been spent already, the problem with ‘Vulgar Auteurism’ as a theoretical movement is not so much its goals as it is a fundamental misunderstanding of auteur theory.

MoF

Continue reading

Advertisements

The Uncanny Function of Photographs in Film… The Shining, Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Blade Runner

About the only law that I think relates to the genre 
is that you should not try to explain, to find neat 
explanations for what happens, and that the object of
the thing is to produce a sense of the uncanny. Freud 
in his essay on the uncanny wrote that the sense of 
the uncanny is the only emotion which is more powerfully 
expressed in art than in life, which I found very
illuminating; it didn't help writing the screen-play, 
but I think it's an interesting insight into the genre. 

And I read an essay by the great master H.P. Lovecraft 
where he said that you should never attempt to explain
what happens, as long as what happens stimulates people's
imagination, their sense of the uncanny, their sense of
anxiety and fear. And as long as it doesn't, within itself,
have any obvious inner contradictions, it is just a matter
of, as it were, building on the imagination (imaginary 
ideas, surprises, etc.), working in this area of feeling. 

Stanley Kubrick, "El Pais Artes" (1980)

Continue reading

Gramps Asks Who Wore It Best? Chen Zhen Showdown!

The legend of Chen Zhen has been a mainstay in Chinese martial arts films for the past 40 years, ever since Bruce Lee exploded on the screen. There have been many incarnations of the folklore hero, who fights off the Japanese’s claim that the Chinese are the “sick men of Asia” during World War II through espienage, political rebellion and, of course, kung fu madness! It never gets old, however, as watching the ‘main men’ Lee, Li, and Yen (see the rhyme there?), brings with it a distinctive style and storyline for each man. Thus, the highlights of Fist of Fury, Fist of Legend, and Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen are vastly different. The question is: who wore it better? Continue reading

The Ultimate Under-Lizard: Rango and the State of Animation

Ever since the Academy introduced the Best Animated Feature category in 2001 eighty percent of the winners have out-grossed the Best Picture victor of the same year. The only exceptions are Finding Nemo, which was second at the box-office to the franchise juggernaut The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, and Spirited Away, which out-grossed Chicago only internationally. Even Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit was more profitable than Crash. These dual achievements—critical and commercial—of animated features over the last ten years have been split between Disney/Pixar and DreamWorks Continue reading