Flashbacks are a controversial device in movies nowadays. I’ve heard a lot of screenwriters be adamantly opposed to them. “They’re a lazy way to relay information,” those against them argue. We’ve all seen movies in which we’re jolted out of a story by a flashback. My take is that they’re useful cinematic devices and not just for giving backstory.
A few days ago, The New York Times published an article about a guy who claims to have come up with an algorithm that will predict whether or not your script will be a box office hit. Among his pearls of wisdom is the following statement:
“Demons in horror movies can target people or be summoned,” Mr. Bruzzese said in a gravelly voice, by way of example. “If it’s a targeting demon, you are likely to have much higher opening-weekend sales than if it’s summoned. So get rid of that Ouija Board scene.”
Recently, I began streaming Friday Night Lights on Netflix. I had heard such buzz about this show while it was on, but somehow never got around to actually watching. After all, it was about football in a small Texas town, two things that are completely foreign to me. I was never exposed to the game and always found it too complicated when people tried to explain it. (Also, I think I must suffer from some type of spatial dyslexia because whenever I think I’ve witnessed a great play, it turns out that I’m looking at the wrong part of the field.)
Anyway, I finally got around to watching it and I’m completely hooked. I’m talking addicted as in staying up till 2 a.m. — and I take my sleep seriously. If anything, I look forward to learning more about Coach Taylor, his wife, and, of course, Riggins, Street and Lyla. How did such an improbable show reel me in?
Warning: Spoilers after the cut!
That’s right. We all know you secretly watch a certain British period soap while pretending to watch more manly fare like Homeland, or Justified. It’s okay, dude. Seriously. We are all dying to know what colors Mary chose for her wedding and whether Edith is finally going to meet a nice boy and settle down. And who doesn’t have an inner diva who takes notes on the Dowager Countess’ perfect putdowns? Well, lucky you, cuz I’m recapping Downton Abbey for Basket of Kisses again. Get your snark on, peeps!
As far as I’m concerned, a chilly Sunday is the perfect day to stay indoors for a movie-marathon session while drinking hot chocolate. (Return to your workout tomorrow.) What better way to immerse yourself in a master filmmaker’s work? Today I suggest the sumptuously gorgeous movies of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, aka The Archers.
Together Powell and Pressburger wrote, directed and produced 19 movies, of which many are considered masterpieces and influenced many great filmmakers, including Martin Scorsese.[*] Their films are characterized by a masterful use of color that heightens the story’s emotional thrust. There’s a dreamy, surrealistic quality to their work and the effect verges on the hallucinatory, especially when viewed on the big screen. If you’re looking for quiet, understated filmmaking, you’ve got the wrong team. This is melodrama at its most emotionally satisfying. As a woman, I also find the main characters in I Know Where I’m Going!, The Red Shoes and Black Narcissus interesting and compelling studies of women’s complex emotional world.
Continue reading Marathon Movie-Viewing: Powell and Pressburger