film criticism

Violent entertainment

countdown gif masterViolent entertainment in a violent world is an obscenity and a danger to humanity.
As Benjamin says in the Epilogue to his Art Essay (1936):  ‘…the fascist Marinetti…
expects war to supply the artistic gratification of a sense perception that has been
changed by technology’....The current film censorship laws, for example,  strike
a balance between freedom of expression and the need to protect minors from
extreme acts of gratuitous violence, e.g. the film rating system. Rather, where
appropriate, we point out the degrading effects of violent entertainment, etc.

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The Tarantino ‘Phenomenon’
If any one film maker epitomises the cynicism and opportunism of the postmodern zeitgeist,
it is Quentin Tarantino. Like Scorsese, but with even less justification, he has attracted serious
attention from film critics and reputable institutions, such as the BFI.

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What Makes a Movie Classic?
Although it is a useful starting point, falling back on ‘personal choice’ as the sole basis for film
 appreciation is not
enough; certainly for members of a home movie group! We need to consider
 whether it is possible to reach a general
consensus as to what constitutes a move classic.

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When the Remake is Better than the Original
Adorno may be criticised for his abstract methodology or a refusal to examine individual works on their 
merits, as a result
of a theoretical bias. It follows that industrially produced artefacts, by definition, are 
not works of art; rather they can only
be regarded as commodities aimed at fulfilling the needs
of the masses.

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But Things are Not Black and White
Despite my preference for art - and film making - which errs on the side of semblance/ innovative realism,
 it is important
to note that we must not see things only in black and white terms, i.e. the idea that only 
films which are based on the notion
of  semblance are ‘good’, whereas those which are based on mimetic
effects/conventional realism, are ‘bad’.

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Blade Runner
Phillip K. Dick - Fabulist or Fantasist?
According to the dictionary, a fabulist is some one who tells a fictitious story which is intended
to underline an important truth.
Whereas a fantasist tells stories which can only exist in the imagination. 
I would say that the American science fiction writer,
Phillip K. Dick (1928-82), is closer to the former
than the latter.

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Critique of Django UnChained
On Thursday, 10th January, 2013,  two news items caught my attention. One was about what I call quotidian 
economic violence;
the other was an interview with Hollywood director, Quentin Tarantino, about his latest
 violent movie, Django Unchained.

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Battleship Potemkin
Battleship Potemkin, 1925. Dir. Sergei Eisenstein, 80 mins.
Perhaps the first example of a new art form which also shook the world. The scene of the Odessa Steps
 massacre has been
described as ‘the most famous scene in the history of cinema’. As the inventor
 of montage (wherein the film’s success lies
in the editing or the cutting room, see below), Eisenstein
 revolutionised the way in which the world could be shown.

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Un Chien Andalou
Chien Andalou marked the entry - via film - of Bunuel and Dali into the Surrealist movement in the 1920s,
led by Andre Breton and Louis Aragon in Paris. But during the making of its sequel, L’Age d’ Or, the two
film makers fell out. (Maybe this happened because, Bunuel wanted to introduce Marx as well as Freud,
in opposition to Dali?).

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