Archive for the ‘Movies’ Category

This video essay looks at how the 1999 horror film The Blair Witch Project manages to frighten its audience; in particular, how its pseudo-documentary technique generates an unsettlingly familiar aesthetic and evokes themes of technological paranoia.


VASSALS OF KINGSGRAVE: EPISODE 308
[MP3] Download or play this episode directly
[iTunes] Subscribe to us on iTunes
[WordPress] VOK podcast feed
[Forum] Episode Thread

The Vassals make you an offer you can’t refuse. Join Duncan (Valkyrist), Matt (Varley) and Nadia as they discuss Francis Ford Coppola’s 1972 crime epic The Godfather.

And stick around after the 3-hour mark for a few salvaged highlights from our failed commentary of The Godfather: Part II.

Warning: Contains spoilers for The Godfather film trilogy

Credits:
Edited by Valkyrist
Audio Clips owned by Paramount Pictures

forceawakenscandycane

VASSALS OF KINGSGRAVE: EPISODE 248
[MP3] Download or play this episode directly
[iTunes] Subscribe to us on iTunes
[WordPress] VOK podcast feed
[Forum] Episode Thread

Kingsgrave – has there ever been a more wretched hive of scum and villainy?

Join rebel pilots Michal (inkasrain), Zach (Alias), Katie (Lady Griffin), Duncan (Valkyrist), Adam (drownedsnow), Amber (Amberrocks), and Scott (Shaggy Dog) for an explosive foray into Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens. And stick around the hangar lounge for the Aftershow (at 2:06:05), which includes a brief dissection of the Prequel Trilogy.

Warning: Contains SPOILERS for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, along with all previous entries in the Star Wars saga.

Credits:
Edited by Valkyrist
Audio clips owned by Disney

This is a video essay looking at how Kevin Smith’s 1995 comedy Mallrats depicts the American shopping mall as a simulated world. In particular, it draws on Anne Friedberg’s theory of the mall as a distinctly cinematic and performative space.

FULL TRANSCRIPT

In Mallrats (1995), Kevin Smith interprets the American shopping mall as a distinctly cinematic and performative space. Like movies, malls are all about creating a fantasy, a simulacra of the real world, in which the shopper is privileged with the spectarial gaze, and feasts upon the visual and auditory pleasures laid out before them. The character Brodie signifies something of a postmodern (or anti-modern) flâneur, using consumerist and popular culture as way of mediating his place within society. Like the nineteenth-century “city stroller”, Brodie is compelled to capture the “convergence of new urban space[s], technologies and [the] symbolic functions of images and products”. He enjoys simply wandering that space without any particular destination in mind, enthralled by the “pleasures and potentialites of a world removed from the presence, stricture and restraint of tradition” (Clarke 5). The postmodern irony lies, of course, in the fact that the mall is not the cityscape, but a microcosm of the cityscape, complete with all of the consumerist luxuries the modern mind has become accustomed too, but with none of the complexities of life. (more…)

ROTK2

BINA007 MOVIE REVIEWS: EPISODE 76
[MP3] Download or play this episode directly
[Website] Bina007’s Homepage
[iTunes] Subscribe to Bina007 on iTunes

Bina007 is  joined by Duncan and Matthieu for a DVD Commentary of The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. This is the second in a two-part podcast, and will cover disc two of the Extended Edition. The podcast will contain spoilers for all of J. R. R. Tolkien’s oeuvre, as well occasional references to A Song of Ice and Fire.

ReturnOfTheKing1

BINA007 MOVIE REVIEWS: EPISODE 73
[MP3] Download or play this episode directly
[Website] Bina007’s Homepage
[iTunes] Subscribe to Bina007 on iTunes

Bina007 is  joined by Duncan and Matthieu for a DVD Commentary of The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. This is the first in a two-part podcast, and will cover disc one of the Extended Edition. The podcast will contain spoilers for all of Tolkien’s oeuvre, as well occasional references to A Song of Ice and Fire.

This is a video essay looking at how Francis Ford Coppola’s 1974 thriller The Conversation explores the psychology of sound. In particular: Kaja Silverman’s theory of the “maternal voice”.

FULL TRANSCRIPT

The maternal voice is a fantasy of origins: a representation of an individual’s pre-lingual, pre-cultural form, and their inauguration into subjectivity. Kaja Silverman writes that it is “a moment prior to the creation of the world”, when the infant is wrapped in the “sonourous envelope” of the mother’s voice, and unaware of its own selfhood (72). However, this state of “uterine night” is soon severed once the child becomes aware that it is a separate entity from the mother, thus establishing the subject-and-object (73). This realisation creates in the individual a feeling of incompleteness, and a desire return to the “bath of sound” the mother has nourished them with, which now serves as the “prototype for all subsequent auditory pleasure” (84). The fantasy contrasts the maternal “voice” (which is identified with sound and sense) with the paternal “word” (which is identified with meaning). From a psychoanalytic viewpoint, the subject enters language and symbolic order, but yearns to return to the pre-lingual “wholeness” of the maternal voice (Zizek 47). (more…)

The Story of the Kelly Gang is a 1906 Australian silent film that traces the life of the infamous outlaw and bushranger Ned Kelly (1855-1880). It was directed by Charles Tait, and based on the play by Arnold Denham. The film ran for more than an hour, making it the longest narrative film yet seen in Australia or the world.

The Story of the Kelly Gang was shot outside Melbourne, when the Kelly legend was still fresh, and was first screened at the Athenaeum Hall in Collins Street, Melbourne, on 26 December 1906. It was believed to have been lost for many years. However, in 2007, 11 minutes of material was discovered in storage in the United Kingdom, and has been re-incorporated by the Australian National Film and Sound Archive. The restored version now runs for 16 minutes and includes the key scene of Ned Kelly’s last stand.

Film historian Ina Bertrand writes that the tone of The Story of the Kelly Gang is “one of sorrow, depicting Ned Kelly and his gang as the Last of the Bushrangers.” Bertrand identifies several scenes that suggest “considerable sophistication” as filmmakers on the part of the Taits. One is the composition of a scene of police shooting parrots in the bush. The second is the capture of Ned, shot from the viewpoint of the police, as he advances.

The film is now recognized by the UNESCO Memory of the World Register for being the world’s first full-length feature film. The piano accompaniment was composed by Mauro Colombis, from the Pordenone Silent Film Festival.

TWOIAF

VASSALS OF KINGSGRAVE: EPISODE 164
[MP3] Download or play this episode directly
[iTunes] Subscribe to us on iTunes
[Stitcher] Subscribe to us on iTunes
[WordPress] VOK podcast feed
[Forum] Episode Thread

In this (not)161st podcast, the crew gather around a coffee table to give their first impressions of George R. R. Martin’s The World of Ice and Fire. Vikram (fortytwo), Duncan (Valkyrist), Zach (Alias), Michal (inkasrain), and Greg (claudiusthefool) outline their plans for a future podcast series on the book, and in the Aftershow they offer their thoughts on the movies Fury, and the upcoming Star Wars and Hobbit installments.

0:00 – Pre-Podcast Discussion (minor spoilers for GoT season 5)
9:20 – Podcast Begins
1:12:00 – Aftershow

Credits:
Edited by fortytwo

Happy Halloween! This is a video essay looking at why people are so attracted to horror movies, and the artistic and psychological insights that the horror genre can provide.

FULL TRANSCRIPT

Why do people watch horror films? It’s a fair question, I think. Why would any sane person seek out something that they know is going to frighten or disturb them? Is it the sign of an unhealthy mind, an unhealthy society? Few would dispute that the horror genre has played an essential role in the evolution of cinema—as a narrative medium, as well as an exercise in formal and technical craft—from the German Expressionism of Nostferatu (1922), to the Academy Award winning The Exorcist (1973) and Silence of the Lambs (1991). There are countless elements of horror that a film critic can appreciate – the delicate symphony of visuals and sound necessary to draw in the viewer, capture their nerves, and elicit a physical response, is truly a dazzling example of filmmaking potential. (more…)