Action is a movie staple, but how do you do it right?
If you want to know how a clock works, take it apart. You look at the way one piece fits into another, the way the gears turn in relation to each other, how the parts become the whole. Then, whether you can put the same clock back together is irrelevant. You’ve learned something. Films work the same way. If you want to know how they work, take them apart, scene by scene, shot by shot, line by line.
Patrick Willems’s new video essay does just that with an action-packed scene from the short film The Wrong Trousers, in which the beloved Wallace and Gromit chase a duck named Feathers, who’s stolen some very valuable diamonds, to answer a question that’s probably on many young filmmakers’ minds constantly: how do you make a great action scene? Check out the video and read our top five takeaways below.
This technique will basically let you do an hours-long job in mere minutes.
Editing is a long, drawn-out process that takes days, weeks, and even months to do, and yeah, there are many different ways to shave off your work time by making your workflow more efficient, but for the most part, you’re in it for the long haul. That is unless you’re wanting to edit clips to music. Usually, the process of matching up your clips to the beat would take hours, requiring you to zoom in close to your audio waveform, pinpoint each peak, and then snap every clip to those exact places on your timeline. This was painfully tedious, but in this video, Peter McKinnon shows you a freakishly fast way to edit your footage to music in Adobe Premiere Pro.
The 43rd season of Saturday Night Live is in full swing. We’ve already had three episodes with hosts Ryan Gosling, Gal Gadot and Kumail Nanjiani ushering in some laughs (be sure to check out our reviews of each new episode over here), and there’s plenty more to come throughout the rest of the year.
Throughout this season, we’ll be keeping an eye on the three new featured players making their debut on the show: Chris Redd, Heidi Gardner and Luke Null. We were introduced to them just before the new season began at the end of September, but now a series of videos from behind the scenes of the late night sketch series allows us to get to know the new Saturday Night Live cast members a little bit better.
Saturday Night Live had the three new featured players try to answer 43 questions (because it’s the 43rd season) in just one minute. It’s the fastest way for us to find out more about each of the cast members, even if they don’t get anywhere near hitting 43 answers.
Like many Saturday Night Live cast members, Redd laid his comedy roots in Chicago by doing comedy at Second City. There he was a member of the touring company and co-wrote The Art of Falling, an improv-sketch-dance hybrid show that was pulled off with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago.
Taking the advice of Judd Apatow, Redd moved to Los Angeles and in addition to his role in Popstar, he’s also appeared in the Netflix shows Love and Wet Hot American Summer: 10 Years Later. But you probably recognize him most from his scene-stealing performance as Hunter the Hungry in Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping.
As another Midwesterner transplanted to Los Angeles, Heidi Gardner hails from the famous comedy house The Groundlings. Currently, Gardner can be heard on the animation series Supermansion on Crackle, and in her series of questions, she shows that she’s quite the sports fan. Maybe that’s something we’ll see her show off on SNL in some form.
Finally, Luke Null shows that he’s not exactly the quickest on his feet, or at least not as quick as Chris Redd and Heidi Gardner at answering these questions. But since he’s from Chicago, I’m gonna cut him a break, and I’m pulling for him to make a splash on the series, something that can be extremely difficult to do for featured players in their freshman year.
Michael Mann sat down with Guillermo del Toro and Thierry Frémaux at the Festival Lumière to share insights and his 4K restoration of ‘Heat’.
Michael Mann’s decades long career began in television, where he played a key role in designing the cinematic aesthetic of the crime drama Miami Vice. After that, he directed countless classics, many of them criminally underseen, including Thief, Manhunter (the first Hannibal Lecter movie, despite what you might have been told), The Last of the Mohicans, and his 1995 Robert De Niro-Al Pacino epic heist film, Heat. Guillermo del Toro and Institut Lumiére director Thierry Frémaux led Mann through an expansive conversation, in which the director discussed his long career. Here are three highlights from their talk (which you can watch below, or listen to on SoundCloud.)
This is one of those jaw-dropping stunning animated short films that you need to stop and watch right away. Fox and the Whale is animated short made by Robin Joseph about a fox that goes on an adventure to find a whale. While the plot is seemingly that simple on paper, this gorgeous film has so much more depth to it than that, and will leave your mind reeling. This film reminds me of Don Hertzfeldt’s animated shorts because there’s so much profoundness to it, and that’s not something easy to pull off. There’s nothing more to say now than please just take a moment to watch and enjoy this mesmerizing work of art. It’s so worth it. ›››
This classic scientific concept can help us create terrifying villains.
Why exactly is Pennywise from It so terrifying? It may be as much due to a theory from robotic science as it is a factor of great cinematic storytelling. Before we begin, it should be noted that, in the words of video essayist Karsten Runquist, while “technically Pennywise is an undefined morphable character….for the most part he’s a clown.”
Clowns are currently all over pop culture, for instance appearing in the current season of American Horror Story. And, morphable though It might be, Pennywise the Clown is the main attraction in the story.This video looks at the roots of Pennywise’s effectiveness of as a horror villain by examining, among other things, the concept of the Uncanny Valley, as well as his status as a modern-day troll (not the internet kind, though.)
Hooper’s work shows that there’s always room for experimentation.
The word genre is usually accompanied by the distant sound of cage bars descending and locking into place. Horror films have rules. Science fiction films have rules. Romantic comedies have rules. But do they?
Hooper’s ‘The Mangler’ is, rather than a late-night mental snack, a tour-de-force.
In his newest video essay in the “Unloved” series for RogerEbert.com, Scout Tafoya shows, with his characteristically nuanced and incisive commentary, that Tobe Hooper, known most for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and perhaps least for the subject of this piece, The Mangler, knew how to bust open the boundaries of whatever genre he might be working in—usually sci-fi or horror—and create something new that stayed new. He did this primarily through technique—camera angles, bizarre color sense. In so doing, he demonstrated by example that there is always room, regardless of what genre a filmmaker might be working in, for experimentation. Watch Tafoya’s video and read our genre-defying points from Hooper’s work that any filmmaker might appreciate below:
Here’s why button-pushing Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke chooses not to cut.
Starting his career in 1970s German television, Micahel Haneke has made 16 films since 1989. In the U.S., he first became more well known for Funny Games, an English remake of his own film, with action moved from Austria. He rose to further acclaim here in 2012 with Amour, which was nominated for two Academy Awards. The quality common to all his work, according to an essay on the director from n+1, is that his films are “’taxonomic’: [Haneke’s films] examine the possibilities of contemporary (haute) bourgeois life and consistently shows its protagonists to be at best trapped and ineffectual and at worst, much worse.”
“In a film, you’re constantly manipulating everything, but at least you can eliminate this kind of manipulation.”
(The Morning Watch is a recurring feature that highlights a handful of noteworthy videos from around the web. They could be video essays, fanmade productions, featurettes, short films, hilarious sketches, or just anything that has to do with our favorite movies and TV shows.)
In this edition, Jeff Goldblum tries to explain the meaning of Ragnarok in the title of Marvel Studios’ upcoming sequel Thor: Ragnarok. Plus, comic book artist and writer Neal Adams created a radio play version of the comic Batman vs Elmer Fudd, and Gal Gadot stars in a pre-recorded Saturday Night Live sketch that was cut for time last weekend.
Leading up to the release of Thor: Ragnarok, the Marvel Studios social media team is keeping things lively with a little Jeff Goldblum to keep us occupied. The Jurassic Park and Independence Day star reads tweets from various fans trying to define what “Ragnarok” means, and he expands upon them as only Jeff Goldblum can. For more, check out io9’s assembly of the best Jeff Goldblum moments, and check out more from the rest of the cast right here.
Next up, comic book artist and writer Neal Adams decided to pay tribute to his new favorite comic book, Batman vs Elmer Fudd, but turning it into a half motion comic, half radio play. Adams doesn’t do a bad Elmer Fudd, though his Batman does need some work, and it’s a fun way to experience one of the more unique comic book offerings in recent memory.
Finally, watch this pre-recorded Saturday Night Live sketch that was intended for the episode hosted by Gal Gadot, but ended up being cut out of the final show due to time constraints. It’s actually better than half the sketches we saw during that episode, featuring Kyle Mooney and Beck Bennett doing a cheesy 90s rap while the world goes to hell around them.
“Boy, Morty. I really Cronenberg-ed the world up, didn’t I?” —Rick
It’s nothing new for a TV show to reference pop culture, including famous and iconic films and TV programs—in fact, it’s kind of a right of passage. The Simpsons, Family Guy, and South Park have done it so much that referential jokes make up a decent percentage of their punchlines, but when Rick and Morty came along they took it to a whole new level—the show didn’t just dole out a bunch of movie references, it became the reference.
Aside from being a giant animated parody of Back to the Future, Rick and Morty has referenced a ton of great films and TV shows, namely ones sci-fi fans love and hold dear to their hearts. If you’re curious to see which ones are referenced, this Fandor supercut has got what you’re aching for.
Keeping with its genre, Rick and Morty tends to reference films and shows that are based in the realm of science fiction. As you can see from the list below, just about all of the titles are sci-fi or have sci-fi elements.