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VIDEO ESSAY: R.I.P. Lauren Bacall

When watching Lauren Bacall in her older films, it is impossible to not think of "sexy" as one of the adjectives to describe her, and yet where is that sexiness coming from? In part, it comes from a sense that she might say something barbed, or worse, at any turn, and that if she doesn't, she's choosing not to.
  • By Serena Bramble and Max Winter
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  • August 19, 2014 7:27 PM
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  • 1 Comment

VIDEO ESSAY: White Knights and Bad People

It’s exhausting as a woman to constantly see the female body on the brink of violation. I’m tired of the voicelessness of those bodies, by the fact that we still need to spread awareness about how horrible sexual assault actually is.
  • By Arielle Bernstein and Serena Bramble
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  • June 18, 2014 4:52 AM
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  • 2 Comments

A Video Essay on THE X-FILES: Home Is Anywhere You Hang Your Head

What is the American Dream? Is it wealth? Power? Or it is something more existential like raising a family with a particular set of values?
  • By Ken Cancelosi and Serena Bramble
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  • October 30, 2013 12:36 PM
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  • 1 Comment

VIDEO ESSAY: Female Sexual Agency in a World of Blurred Lines

We live in a culture where female bodies are constantly on display. However, most images of female sexuality we see are passive and two-dimensional.
  • By Arielle Bernstein and Serena Bramble
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  • September 16, 2013 9:00 AM
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  • 0 Comments

VIDEO ESSAY: BEAVER'S LODGE: THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL (1952)

Reckoned by many to be one of the best films about Hollywood, The Bad and the Beautiful is pungent and occasionally acidic, and at the time of its release a clear sign that things were changing in the movie capital.
  • By Jim Beaver
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  • November 14, 2012 12:12 AM
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  • 1 Comment

VIDEO ESSAY: From Mr. Chips to Scarface: The Evolution of Walter White

"Walter's a shithead!" I had just walked in the door to the family home in Forestville, California. My dad had just finished the second season of "Breaking Bad."
  • By Serena Bramble
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  • July 13, 2012 8:55 AM
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  • 5 Comments

VIDEO ESSAY: A Drop of BLOOD Through the Heart - A TRUE BLOOD Tribute

It's perhaps either a fitting coincidence or a realization of my own 20-something existential crisis that the making of this "True Blood" montage came shortly after I completed my video contemplation of the world of "Mad Men"'s Don Draper.
  • By Serena Bramble
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  • June 8, 2012 9:00 AM
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  • 2 Comments

'SHOULD WIN' VIDEO ESSAY SERIES: Best Picture TREE OF LIFE

All of the 2011 Best Picture nominees have their merits, but one towers above the rest: "The Tree of Life," writer/director Terrence Malick's film about...well what is "The Tree of Life" about, anyway? For a free-associative non-linear movie that skips back and forth through time and space, and that includes a lengthy early section recounting the creation of the universe, the movie was a surprising commercial success, dominating discussion among cinephiles throughout a summer moviegoing season that is usually overshadowed by much louder, dumber movies. And at the center of the discussion were very basic questions about writing and direction – about storytelling generally – that cut to the heart of what movies are and what they can be.
  • By Matt Zoller Seitz & Serena Bramble
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  • February 21, 2012 12:13 PM
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  • 26 Comments

MAGIC AND LIGHT: THE FILMS OF STEVEN SPIELBERG: Chapter 1: Introduction

Steven Spielberg is one of the most popular storytellers of all time. Based solely on box-office receipts, that’s an inarguable fact. It's been true since 1975, when the box office take of his breakthrough Jaws redefined the the word "blockbuster." Look at the top grossing movies of all time, and you'll see that a startling number were produced or directed by Spielberg. And yet this almost forty-year streak hasn't been enough to insulate him against charges that he's a frivolous director – or that, at the very least, his success is an example of style, or more accurately technique, over substance. That he does not persuade or even seduce viewers, but that he overwhelms them. With sound. With light. With music. And special effects.
  • By Matt Zoller Seitz, Ali Arikan & Serena Bramble.
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  • December 15, 2011 9:34 AM
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  • 18 Comments

CHAPTER ART: MAGIC AND LIGHT: THE FILMS OF STEVEN SPIELBERG debuted Dec. 15

It's almost here! Press Play's first video essay series in direct partnership with IndieWire: "Magic and Light: The Films of Steven Spielberg." On Dec. 15, 2011 on this blog, this series will examine facets of Spielberg's movie career, including his stylistic evolution as a director, his depiction of violence, his interest in communication and language, his portrayal of authority and evil, and the importance of father figures -- both present and absent -- throughout his work.
  • By Press Play Staff
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  • December 14, 2011 5:24 PM
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  • 0 Comments

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