Category Archives: Film Philosophy / Editorials

In-depth articles analyzing films based on their thematic ties to philosophy or psychology. Also editorials about films and film criticism.

Film Criticism: On Grading Movies

Criticism of art, as reviled and looked-down upon as it is, is a necessary and inextirpable facet of art itself. It is the checks and balances of the creative industry. As it relates to film, it is a mediated industry within what is perhaps arts most mediated field.

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In many ways, the work of a critic is easy

Let us not, however, get caught up in the semantic confusion that is the claim that Continue reading Film Criticism: On Grading Movies

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How Political Should (Documentary) Movie Reviews Get?

The other night—over a round of drinks, admittedly—I engaged in a lively and animated debate over certain political issues facing America today. This debate, held with a good friend of mine, stemmed off of a discussion of a film that I had seen that day.

The film was a documentary by the name of I Am Not Your Negro. Talk of this and another politically-charged doc from last year, 13th, sparked a conversation that I did not foresee, and it made me think about the nature of documentary criticism.

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In my review of I Am Not Your Negro, I lauded the film for reminding U.S. audiences of James Baldwin’s poignant words, saying that they are Continue reading How Political Should (Documentary) Movie Reviews Get?

The Blair Witch Effect, Reboot Culture, and the Question of Quality Horror

A few months back I wrote an article pertaining to the cliches of the horror genre and how these cliches could possibly be subverted in order to make a refreshingly unique horror film. It was something I wrote on a whim while thinking about screenwriting, and it is more light in an attempt to be humorous than it is indicting or inquisitive.

With the upcoming release of The Blair Witch Project reboot, I find it pertinent to revisit the classic horror film and how its innovation was at the same time historic and sadly prophetic.

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1999’s The Blair Witch Project has, since its inception, been the origin of a deeply passionate debate. The question is simple: Is the film Continue reading The Blair Witch Effect, Reboot Culture, and the Question of Quality Horror

Horror Cliches and How to Fix Them

The cell phones don’t work. Maybe the service is out in these abandoned backwoods, or swamp, or desert, or rural town. If they do, the police sure are incompetent. Or get murdered feet from their car, in front of everyone inside the cabin in the woods, or placid lake with one lone raft in the center that will surely come back later, or house at the end of the street, or the last house on the left, or the isolated graveyard. Also, they always insist on coming alone. Screaming people on the other line doesn’t prompt at least one car of backup. Never. It’s a sin.

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And how about them character archetypes. The Whore. An incessant one-track mind locked on to phallic obsession and Continue reading Horror Cliches and How to Fix Them

The Cabin in the Woods: Cliches Manipulated or Perpetuated?

Note: This is an in-depth analysis of the film The Cabin in the Woods. As such, it is heavily-laden with spoilers. Proceed with caution. If you want to watch The Cabin in the Woods, you can find it on Amazon Video to rent and buy here.

 

The 2012 film from Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard, The Cabin in the Woods, presents an original take on an old favorite. The film on its face, and by its title, is just another teen horror romp, but this “cabin in the woods” narrative is more than meets the eye, as the film quickly progresses down the path of a strange mythology.

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In approaching the conventional horror movie narrative with a unique take, Goddard and Whedon use their pen to turn Continue reading The Cabin in the Woods: Cliches Manipulated or Perpetuated?

Adult Swim, Anti-Comedy, and Cringe Humor: What’s the Appeal?

Note: This in an in-depth article on Anti-Comedy and Adult Swim programming. If I mention a given show, short film, or feature film, there is a strong chance that I will be giving spoilers for that video, so be cautious. Also, this is a multi-page article; the links to subsequent pages sometimes get lost at the bottom of the page.

 

Anti-Humor. Anti-Comedy. Meta-Humor. Non-Comedy. Whatever hyphenate you want to use to describe the brand of comedy that is purposefully not funny or otherwise lacking in traditional comic structure.

Anti-Comedy, as I will refer to it throughout the rest of this article, is a highly divisive form of comedy (my fascination with the divisive is well founded). Some dismiss it as destructive to quality comedy or simply lazy. Others can’t digest it as something humorous or necessary.

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Late-night television programming block Adult Swim, launched in 2001 as a complement to Cartoon Network’s children’s programming, has harnessed these alternative forms of comedy to seeming success. With shows like Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!The Eric Andre Show, and the short film series of Infomercials, Adult Swim has Continue reading Adult Swim, Anti-Comedy, and Cringe Humor: What’s the Appeal?

The Philosophy of Antichrist: Expulsion from Eden

Note: This is an in-depth analysis of the 2009 film Antichrist, and, as such, there will be plenty of spoilers for the film. Additionally, the film being discussed here is extremely graphic in nature, and some of these graphic moments are explored in this article. As such, reader discretion is advised.

Note: This is a multi-page article. The links to the subsequent pages often get hidden near the bottom of the page, so just know that the article does not end at the bottom of this page. It is a four-page article.

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Lars von Trier’s 2009 film Antichrist might be the single most divisive movie I’ve come across, which shouldn’t come as much of a surprise given Continue reading The Philosophy of Antichrist: Expulsion from Eden