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The Value of Incoherency: Taking Michael Bay’s Transformers Films Seriously

Michael Bay’s Transformers movies are incoherent. That is not a controversial claim; I doubt many would argue otherwise. Yet two questions remain: How do they achieve their incoherency? And is that incoherency of any value?
  • By A.D. Jameson
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  • July 11, 2014 1:04 PM
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  • 8 Comments

What Mise-en-scène Is and Why It Matters

Any student of the cinema quickly encounters the term mise-en-scène, and often comes away the worse for wear. The word is long and funny-looking (to those who don’t speak French). Also, the term isn’t always spelled the same way: sometimes there’s an accent, sometimes there aren’t any hyphens, and sometimes it’s written in roman type, not italics.
  • By A.D. Jameson
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  • June 25, 2014 4:59 AM
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  • 9 Comments

Some Thoughts on the STAR WARS: EPISODE VII Casting Announcement and the Reaction To It

The "Star Wars" prequels made a lot of money, but not as much as they could have. Only "Phantom Menace" cleared a billion dollars at the box office. Lucas left money on the table, and a bad taste in fans' mouths. Disney should be doing everything they can to change that. Instead, they’re creating more bad taste.
  • By A.D. Jameson
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  • April 30, 2014 3:24 AM
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  • 1 Comment

VIDEO ESSAY: Alfonso Cuarón's Cinematic Canvas

People sometimes ask me whether I think “the kids today” are all right. Sure, I always respond, “the kids today” should be totally fine, because they had Pokémon—surely one of the strangest cartoons I’ve ever witnessed—and what’s more, they had Alfonso Cuarón's Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
  • By Nelson Carvajal and A.D. Jameson
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  • October 4, 2013 9:15 AM
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  • 2 Comments

BLUE JASMINE's Complex Interior(s)

Critics have widely noted that the scenario of Woody Allen’s latest feature, "Blue Jasmine" (2013), is indebted to "A Streetcar Named Desire" (1947). However, cinematically, the film owes just as much—if not more—to an earlier Allen film: the obscure "Interiors" (1978).
  • By A.D. Jameson
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  • August 15, 2013 8:35 AM
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  • 3 Comments

The Longest Average Shot Lengths in Modern Hollywood

Director Alfonso Cuarón likes long takes, preferring to cut his films as little as he can. His 2006 movie "Children of Men" features three relatively long single takes: the scene where Kee gives birth (3:19); the roadside ambush (4:07); and the final battle (7:34). His new film, Gravity, supposedly opens with a 17-minute-long take.
  • By A.D. Jameson
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  • June 26, 2013 8:38 AM
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  • 9 Comments

Are Animated Gifs a Type of Cinema?

Well, are they? Elsewhere, I've proposed that cinema be thought of simply as “moving images.” Making that mental leap expands the cinema to include not just feature-length films and shorts, but also television shows, music videos, YouTube videos, video games, flash animations—and animated gifs.
  • By A.D. Jameson
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  • April 17, 2013 8:35 AM
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  • 7 Comments

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