Category Archives: How Movies Work

Learning All The Wrong Lessons

(Editors Note: Spoilers for Theeb, a movie you should really see.) If you see Netflix gently suggesting strongly urging you to watch Theeb, do yourself a favor and check it out. If you’re worried about subtitles (it’s in Arabic), don’t- it’s not … Continue reading

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Eat Your Heart Out, Dick Van Dyke

Several years ago I was on the train into New York City when I overheard some people talking about tracking down a print of an old Buster Keaton movie. Naturally, I had to turn around and introduce myself. It turned … Continue reading

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The Frontier Strikes Back

(Minor spoilers? Probably not.) I made my peace with the newest Star Trek movies long ago. They’re decent action movies, but not the Star Trek that I got hooked on. This is fine. I enjoyed the newest installment, Star Trek Beyond more … Continue reading

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Abbas Kiarostami

Over the weekend, Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami passed away at age 76. You’ve probably never heard of him. Kiarostami won the Palme D’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1997 for his film A Taste of Cherry. He raised the stature … Continue reading

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Strangers on a Train Watching a Movie Together

Editor’s note: This one talks about some upsetting topics, including graphic shootings and terrorism. Based on true events, no less! A few days ago I was taking the train into New York City. It was probably 8:30AM, part of the morning … Continue reading

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You Have Meddled With the Primal Forces of Time, Captain Kirk!

(Spoilers ahead for a fifty-year-old TV episode. Proceed at your own risk.) I haven’t seen most of the original Star Trek series from the 1960s, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. For me, Star Trek is The Next … Continue reading

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Being Present

“A process cannot be understood by stopping it. Understanding must move with the flow of the process, must join it and flow with it.” -The First Law of Mentat, quoted by Paul Atreides to Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam Once, during … Continue reading

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When You Give Yourself Tangerines…

There’s an inherent risk to experimenting with something. Especially when creating a work of art, deviating from what you know will work means that you run the risk of winding up with bubkiss at the end of it all. Often … Continue reading

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Don’t Just Stand There, Do Something!

One of my favorite essays film theorist David Bordwell has ever written is this one on the development of CinemaScope. Some technical details and some history: The shape of a movie’s image is called its aspect ratio, which refers to the relationship … Continue reading

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Don’t Get Your Hopes Up

Don’t you just hate it when someone tells you that this movie is sooo amazing? You have to see it! You will absolutely love it! When I finally do see it, my reaction, with rare exceptions, is “Ehh. It’s okay.” … Continue reading

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