Cinema and combat: Is filming a great battle scene a lost art?

Is filming a great battle scene a lost art? I pondered this question recently after watching The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013) in all its lengthy, kill-the-orcs-in-creative-ways glory. Director Peter Jackson certainly knows how to helm an epic contest—the thrilling defense of Gondor in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) is…

By Simon Hardy Butler
Henry V - Shakespeare

Shakespeare’s history plays: Precursor to the film franchise?

Ahh, the film franchise.  A popular film with interesting characters and a decent premise soon spawns a sequel, then becomes a trilogy, and so on, until it becomes unprofitable, unpopular, or both.  If the franchise is based on a book series, every effort will be made to keep the money factory running as long as…

By Dawn Oshiro
The Sopranos

Cinema and ‘The Sopranos’: When two forms collide

Television, and the experience of watching television, have undergone a radical shift in the twenty-first century. While the internet promises (or threatens) to make the experience of watching broadcasted TV entirely redundant, as well as altering the viewing experience irrecoverably from that of a weekly drip feed to that of a televisual binge, the quality…

By James Curnow
Marlon Brando - A Streetcar Named Desire

Method in acting and science: Why there is no such thing

Growing up in China, with the state television often showing boring programs, I was hooked to our cherished VCR and movies. My favorite actors growing up were Al Pacino and Robert De Niro (no surprises there). It was only later on that I discovered while doing my PhD in the Netherlands, that actors like Pacino…

By Rameez Rahman
Inner Space

Only in the 80s: Five upbeat 80s films you may not have seen

Whether you think back on 80s cinema favourably or not, it can’t be denied that one of the distinct characteristics of films from this decade is “fun”. Even the more challenging or serious 80s films, like Blue Velvet (1986) or The Shining (1980), had more colour or were, somehow, easier to watch. The stories were zanier, genres were broader, but…

By Christian Kloukinas
Ben Hur - The Pictures

A trip to “The Pictures”: Watching movies in Post-WWII London

In London’s working class districts, during the late 1950s and well into the late 1960s, you did not hear the phrase ‘going to the cinema’. It would always be ‘going to the pictures’, or the common slang term, ‘the flicks’. This was a hangover from the earliest days of silent film, when the flickering of…

By Pete Johnson