Category: TV/Movies

  • Ridley Scott’s Alien (1979) Film Analysis

    Alien is a 1979 film directed by Ridley Scott. The story was created by Ronald Shusett, also known for Total Recall. The screenplay is by Dan O’Bannon, also known for The Return of the Living Dead.

  • Nomadland Film Study

    Nomadland is a 2020 film directed by Chloé Zhao, starring Frances McDormand, David Strathairn and real people engaged as temporary actors, playing a version of themselves.

  • The Power of the Dog: How Did Phil Die? and Other Questions

    The Power of the Dog is a 2021 film directed by Jane Campion, based on the same-named 1967 novel by Thomas Savage. Like a lyrical short story, this film is designed for a repeat viewing.

  • The Lost Daughter: Why does Leda steal the doll?

    The Lost Daughter is a 2021 film directed by Maggie Gyllenhaal, based on the novel by Italian writer Elena Ferrante (2015). This is Gyllenhaal’s debut as feature-length film director. I look forward to seeing what she does next.

  • The Bridges Of Madison County Film Study

    The Bridges of Madison County is a 1995 American one-true-love romance. The film is based on a 1992 best-selling, terribly written novel by Robert James Waller. Stephen King gives the novel a roasting in his well-known book On Writing. Almost everyone who wants to be a writer seems to have read King’s writing book, part autobiography, part […]

  • Films That Centre Characters Over 40

    Are you weary of films about people younger than yourself? You may be over 40. Here are some suggestions. Most films about people over forty are men, so the list below is woman heavy. Some of these stories are really about young people, but told with the framing story of an older person looking back,…

  • Donnie Darko Film Study

    Donnie Darko

    Donnie Darko is a 2001 film set in 1988, in a fictional Virginia town called Middlesex. This genre blend of drama, mystery and science fiction is precisely ambiguous enough to generate much discussion about what is meant to have happened. This is ideal ‘cult-following’ material. Note that Donnie Darko didn’t make much of a splash when…

  • How are the characters on Mare of Easttown related?

    If you’re struggling a bit to decipher the web of characters on crime drama Mare of Easttown, rest assured you’re not the only one. In line with more mimetic stories such as The Wire, the writers are making us work for basic info, including how characters interweave. This post avoids major reveals. However, some relationships…

  • Fish Tank Film Study

    Fish Tank by Andrea Arnold

    When it comes to storytelling, certain themes are easy to get wrong. Attempts at subversion can end up reinforcing a culturally dominant message. Specifically, attempts to show the sexual vulnerability of teenage girls can tip into objectification in the wrong hands, or sometimes mostly by the people in charge of the marketing materials. When Netflix…

  • Films To Watch With A Twelve Year Old

    The ‘parents guide’ section of any given movie on IMDb tells you what to look out for in these films. My kid saw these but not all can. Boy (a New Zealand film) Sci-Fi Gattaca Artificial Intelligence I, Robot Horror A Quiet Place The Ritual Carrie The Others Anime to watch while you’re still a…

  • Silicon Valley and Comedy Character Ensembles

    The creators of Silicon Valley reveal to their audience early in the show the thinking behind their ensemble of “five guys”. This may or may not have some realworld application — I don’t know the real Silicon Valley. But even if it doesn’t ring one bit true, every time we do see this particular ensemble in real life tech teams, fans will now think of Silicon Valley, the fictional comedy show. This ensemble will seem more common than it ever was before.

  • Jane Campion’s The Piano Film Study

    The Piano Film Landscape

    The Piano (1993) is a lyrical, fairytale film written and directed by Jane Campion, set and filmed in New Zealand near the beginning of white colonisation. SETTING OF THE PIANO Like many creative New Zealanders, Campion comes from Wellington. I don’t know why so much creativity comes out of the Wellington region, but I suspect…