Monthly Archives: April 2011

Fast Five’s heist mildly interesting

If you’re a film critic aiming to be taken seriously you draw up reviews of awesome little-known films like Night of the Hunter and level sniper shots at the latest Transfomers flick.  Anything heavily marketed to mass audiences is normally regarded as terrible before official screenings begin, and that sentiment isn’t without its reasons.  But even the most erudite critic has a guilty pleasure, and mine happens to be any film that tries to do as much real special effect work as possible before going to the computer, which is what made me curious about Fast FiveContinue reading

Batman goes mental in amazing fan video, The Batman Complex

When you come across fan-made videos, whether they are trailers to a film they’d love to see or short film musings on an aspect of a beloved character, they’re at best entertaining.  The fan-trailer for The Batman Complex however, goes beyond casual amusement and straight into, “Why haven’t they already made this?!” Continue reading

Night of the Hunter a visual treat

The Classic Hollywood System is typified by films like Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Casablanca, and The Wolf Man, where a kiss implied sex, the sound of a gunshot with dramatic music implied death, and Clark Gable’s famous line in Gone with the Wind was scandalous.  It’s the reason your grandparents complain about modern films being too dirty, thanks to the films they saw under the censorship of the  Hays Code (as opposed to milder censorship through the MPAA).  The code forbade nudity, exiled homosexuals, and put restrictions on the ways in which institutional authority could be depicted.  Which is what makes Night of the Hunter (1955), a tale in which parents and other adults in the community fail to protect two children from a widow-killing preacher, stand out as a haunting horror thriller. Continue reading

Special Effects you won’t believe were done for real

Here at The Filmsmith we have a great love for all the hours that go into practical special effects, those pieces of wizardry that aren’t created by computer animators.  These guys have to battle the restrictions of the real world (time, space, gravity) in order to do their job well, because when they do, you feel the term movie magic.  So here are some of the highlights from Cracked’s, “8 Special Effects You Won’t Believe Aren’t CGI.” Continue reading

Episode 3: Rambo, Night of the Hunter, Sucker Punch

In this episode, Scott Molling and I talk about Rambo, Night of the Hunter, and offer an amusing but fair take down of Sucker Punch and the films of Zack Snyder. Continue reading

Win Win: Can’t argue with the title

Judd Apatow’s last film Funny People was unjustly criticized for being a drama that happened to be funny, which is what you’ll get with Win Win. Continue reading

Mercy for Monsters: Humanizing child killers and Nazis in M and Inglourious Basterds

Next to Metropolis, Fritz Lang’s M is one of his most famous films. The film’s narrative (police and criminals alike searching for a child killer), the noir lighting, its breakthroughs in sound (introduced a mere four years prior), and Peter Lorre’s infamous monologue all cement M as a classic, even nearly a century after its release.  Meanwhile, Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds is unjustly infamous for its manipulation of history. What I find most fascinating about the two films is how they treat their respective monsters (child killers and Nazis) and how their stories reflect attitudes toward societal ills.

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