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Filmmakers have a variety of tools at their disposal to affect audiences, and while some – blocking, lighting, camera angles – have been used for roughly a century, canny modern directors can also take advantage of that century of moviegoing and the expectations it has inculcated in audiences. For reasons of convenience, commercial success, and sometimes just laziness, tropes and techniques are repeated enough times that sophisticated audiences can see them coming, or at least think they can. Continue reading Undercutting Expectations With David Lynch’s ‘Mulholland Drive’ [Watch] at The Playlist.

With “Wonder Woman” still currently reigning supreme at the theaters — $708 million worldwide and counting—now seems like the perfect time to take a look back on the evolution of Diana Prince and her alter-ego through the years with a new video essay from Burger Fiction. Surprisingly comprehensive, the video shows not just the higher profile outings like the Lynda Carter TV series, but also spoofs and lesser-seen iterations, like several TV pilots that weren’t picked up and a variety of the animated depictions of Wonder Woman and the Justice League (including my personal favorite, the Hanna-Barbera show “Super Friends,” where Wonder Woman and Batman got to rub shoulders with crime-solving talking animals). Continue reading An Exhaustive Look At The Evolution Of Wonder Woman [Video Supercut] at The Playlist.

Director Denis Villenueve’s “Arrival” is unique among sci-fi films for its thoughtful and humane depiction of alien first contact.  Visually, cinematographer Bradford Young uses a muted color palette and an austere sense of composition to create an atmosphere of foreboding and awe.  This new video essay focuses on Young’s use of silhouettes, a technique used with great frequency in the film and for good reason.  In “Arrival,” the protagonists are put in the uncommon position of representing their entire species.  Continue reading Showing A Shared Humanity: Silhouettes in ‘Arrival’ [Video Essay] at The Playlist.

There’s been a lot of heated talk around Netflix and the Cannes Film Festival and so far, none of it is very good with the two sides warring about what is cinema and what is not (if a film debuts on a streaming platform, is it not a film?). Even Jury head Pedro Almodovar suggested a Netflix film was unlikely to win the palme d’Or or any other major awards. Continue reading Noah Baumbach’s ‘Meyerowitz Stories’: Watch The First Footage With Adam Sandler & Dustin Hoffman at The Playlist.

It has been disappointing to say the least that Warner Bros’ legendary marketing department has fallen down on the job promoting “Wonder Woman.” One would think WB wants “Wonder Woman” to fail, if not for the fact the studio is trying everything within its power to make the DCEU an equal to the “Marvel Cinematic Universe,” with diminishing results. I just hope Warner Bros’ marketing executive who made the particularly dunderheaded decision for “Wonder Woman” to enter into a product placement with thinkThin nutrition bars, a female lifestyle brand that encourages girls to “think thin,” tarred and feathered. Continue reading First Clip of ‘Wonder Woman’ In Action: A Woman’s Work Is Never Done at The Playlist.

Although summer movies have essentially been coming to theaters since the start of FEBRUARY with “The Lego Batman Movie,” the season officially kicks off tomorrow with the release of “Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2.” It’ll begin a run between now and mid-August that sees hardly a week go by without the arrival of some kind of $200 million spectacular, almost always tied to a franchise of some kind. Continue reading Get Pumped For Blockbuster Season With A New Supercut Of The Movies Of Summer 2017 at The Playlist.

As far as viral video #content goes, the Criterion Collection have got it nailed down with their Criterion Closet series. A sort of cinephile version of Supermarket Sweep, it’s seen all kinds of world-class filmmakers come to the headquarters of the great video label, and get to take with them whatever they can carry from their back catalog, while talking about some of their favorite filmmakers. The latest to get in there , following the likes of Barry Jenkins, Mike Leigh and Edgar Wright, is Ben Wheatley, who dropped by Criterion HQ on the press tour for his recent, highly enjoyable “Free Fire.” The “Kill List” helmer is, as most visiting filmmakers seem to be, visibly thrilled and like a kid in a candy store, and picks out a fine selection of movies, including “Seven Samurai,” “Seconds,” “Zatoichi,” “Things To Come” and “Fishing With John.” As ever, the highlight of these videos are always seeing directors get to talk about cinema, and Wheatley doesn’t disappoint, whether it’s discussing the influence of the camerawork in “Grey Gardens,” or recommending “Sweet Smell Of Success” director Alexander Mackendrick’s “On Filmmaking” (correctly) as the best book ever written about making movies. Continue reading Watch Ben Wheatley Raid The Criterion Closet And Talk ‘Seven Samurai’ & ‘Sweet Smell Of Success’ at The Playlist.

MTV might have stopped showing them a long time ago, but music videos were saved by the dawn of YouTube, which allowed the best, or the most-featuring-Justin-Bieber-ish, to go viral. And they continue to attract big name directors — only yesterday, we saw Paul Thomas Anderson helming the first track from the new album by Haim. And today brings another treat, and likely your first chance to see something directed by Kristen Stewart — her first short film has played Sundance and is headed to Cannes, but likely won’t be visible for the general public for a while, whereas this clip for a new version of great Scottish electro-pop band CHVRCHES’ “Down Side Of Me” is available right now. Continue reading Watch: Kristen Stewart Makes Music Video Directorial Debut With CHVRCHES’s ‘Down Side Of Me’ at The Playlist.

Well this is an unexpectedly awesome way to kick the day off. Paul Thomas Anderson is currently in production on his latest film, a re-team with Daniel Day-Lewis on a drama set in the fashion world in the 1950s, so we figured we wouldn’t hear much of him any time soon. But suddenly, this morning, a new music video dropped from the awesome band Haim — their first new music in several years — and it’s Anderson that’s directed the clip (which was shot last November). Continue reading Watch: Paul Thomas Anderson-Directed Music Video For Haim’s ‘Right Now’ at The Playlist.

Few losses will hit us as hard as the one announced early today with the passing of the great filmmaker Jonathan Demme. We wrote earlier about his life and career, but there are few better ways to commemorate a filmmaker than through their work, and there’s a chance to do that later tonight — an episode of “Shots Fired,” the FOX drama series, that Demme directed happens to air this evening (though it’s actually not the last thing that the helmer filmed: he’d apparently shot an episode of new Netflix series “Seven Seconds” just a few months ago). Continue reading Remember The Late Jonathan Demme With A Great Video Essay On His Use Of The Close-Up at The Playlist.