The following is a collection of some of the more interesting or in-depth film-related pieces on the page.
An extended essay looking at the depictions of small town life in Hollywood movies of the 1940s and outlining some of the features that distinguish our idealised communities from those that were actually constructed in the great suburban boom from the 1950s onwards.
Clever Meets Stupid: Criticism, Theory, and Spielberg Apologists
A look at two books on Steven Spielberg that also ponders the merits of various critical and theoretical approaches to film studies; something of a sequel to my article “Is Film Theory Bullshit?” (see below).
Is Film Theory Bullshit? A Look Back at Noël Carroll’s Mystifying Movies
A discussion of good and bad film theory with particular reference to Noël Carroll’s book Mystifying Movies.
Beowulf vs Animation
What is the point of the animation in Bewoulf and what does it mean for the artform?
Thoughts on the importance of location in movies.
Close and Choppy
A discussion of the oft-cited scourge of modern cinema: overly shaky and choppy filming styles, as seen in the Bourne films.
Stop Giggling, Zeffirelli
The Goodies and their war on artistic snobbery.
“This Never Happened to the Other Fellow:” Bond, Vesper and Tracy
James Bond and the two great women in his life.
My appreciation of uber-critic Pauline Kael, looking at her influence, style, and weaknesses, as well as some wider observations about the cultural status of critics.
Life Reproduced in Drawings: Realism in Animation
This is a slightly revised and extended version of the essay originally published in Animation Journal. It discusses the way in which assumtions about realism that are applied to live-action film fail to translate when applied to animation, and attempts to outline a model that will allow more sophisticated discussion of realism in animation.
My career profile of Steven Spielberg, written shortly before the release of Munich.
Did Andy Serkis deserve Oscar nominations for his roles as Gollum and Kong?
The Endearing Charms of Friz Freleng
My contribution to the Friz Freleng blog-a-thon, which marked the 100th anniversary of Friz Freleng’s birth on 21 August 2006.
Independent Cinema: The New V!@GR@?
A look at the limitations of new technologies for digital production and distribution, and the implications these restrictions have for both independent filmmakers and audiences.
Bob Clampett: It Can Happen Here
A tribute to the great animation director Bob Clampett.
Interview: Jonathon Nossiter, Mondovino
An interview with director Jonathan Nossiter, relating mostly to his movie Mondovino. Discusses the controversy surrounding the film, and his use of handheld digital cameras.
Better than Ever
A response to an old bugbear of mine: the idea that movies are getting worse. Instead, I argue that movies just keep getting better and better.
Only a Conservative Deals in Absolutes
An examination of the politics of Star Wars.
Asking the question: can Stallone and Schwarzenegger ever be successful at the same time?
Two Murders in Dallas: Documentary, Reality, and Dubious Truths
A look at two controversial films dealing with real life murders: Oliver Stone’s JFK and Erroll Morris’ The Thin Blue Line. The essay uses these two fascinating films to look at the arguments about whether documentaries can ever really claim to be “true.”
The Enigma of Rosebud
A round-up of critical approaches to Citizen Kane.
Chungking Express, Happy Together, and Postmodern Space
A look at the representation of space in two of Wong Kar Wei’s films, following up some ideas from my essay on Clara Law (below).
Autumn Moon and Urban Bewilderment
A look at the depiction of Hong Kong in Clara Law’s Autumn Moon.