Film Formally
1-Year Anniversary Q&A [Featuring Wong Kar-wai and Snyder Cut Hot Takes]

1-Year Anniversary Q&A [Featuring Wong Kar-wai and Snyder Cut Hot Takes]

April 29, 2021

It’s our one-year, 43rd-episode spectacular, and we’re once again answering your questions! We go deep on the new WONG KAR-WAI restorations, our thoughts on Zach Snyder’s JUSTICE LEAGUE, the merits of handheld camera operation, film scores, not one but TWO aspect ratio rants from Devan, and more!

But first, some NEWS.

We’re going to be taking a bit of a hiatus, and we’re adjusting our Patreon to reflect this. In the interests of keeping the quality of this podcast high and sustainable, we’re going to take our time with the next season. It’ll be ready whenever it’s ready, but it will happen! As such, our Patreon will now be structured on a per-creation basis. Our previous tiers will be retired in lieu of $1 and $2 per-creation tiers.

In this episode, we discuss:

  • (04:24) Criterion’s THE WORLD OF WONG KAR-WAI box set, and our mixed feelings on the changes made to the films contained within.

  • (29:11) Handheld vs Tripod: the final showdown.

  • (33:58) Will opines on this year’s film scores.

  • (40:43) Zach Snyder’s JUSTICE LEAGUE: it’s out! What do we think?

If you’d like to support the show, here’s a link to our Patreon. We’ve also released a bonus mini-episode wherein we discuss PREFACE TO A HISTORY and THE MARTYR.

 

S3E10 - Rescuing The Good, the Bad and the Ugly with Benji Heran & Jordan Krug

S3E10 - Rescuing The Good, the Bad and the Ugly with Benji Heran & Jordan Krug

March 30, 2021

How an acclaimed director’s versions of a famous film be unavailable for decades — when there’s nothing stopping their release? How can a small group of fans gather the evidence and means to reconstruct those versions? How can they finally have a hand in its official release? Endless passion — and a lot of luck. It’s a subject and film as near and dear to our hearts as any, and we’ve brought on superfans Benji Heran and Jordan Krug to talk about the film prints, continuity scripts, and years of tireless, unpaid passion that they’ve put into preserving Sergio Leone’s The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

S3E09 - Adapting Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy with Tim Brayton

S3E09 - Adapting Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy with Tim Brayton

March 23, 2021

Adapting literary works to the screen involves a certain amount of translation. There are certain things that are easily conveyed in writing that cannot be conveyed in a straightforward way onscreen; likewise, there are elements of cinematic language that open up new routes to expression. John Le Carre’s Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is a useful case study in this regard: it has been the subject of two acclaimed adaptations that could not be more distinct in the toolkit each uses to translate book to screen. We’ve invited Tim Brayton, film critic at Alternate Ending, to discuss both the 1979 John Irving adaptation as well as Tomas Alfredson’s 2011 take.

In this episode, we discuss:

  • Literary accuracy versus formal expressiveness in adaptation.

  • Focal lengths, zoom lenses, and the observational mode.

  • 1970s BBC television house style: is it any good?

  • Narrative obscurity.

  • John Le Carre’s stylistic toolit as a writer and the challenges it poses for adaptations.

  • The construction of performances through lighting and framing.

  • Mark Strong: MVP?

If you’d like to support the show, here’s a link to our Patreon.

Works discussed during this episode:

The Spy Who Came in From the Cold (1965)

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (1979)

Smiley’s People (1982)

The Little Drummer Girl (1984)

The Tailor Of Panama (2001)

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)

A Most Wanted Man (2014)

S3E08 - Colour Grading with Andrea Chlebak

S3E08 - Colour Grading with Andrea Chlebak

March 16, 2021

Colour grading, the art of manipulating the colour of a film digitally in post-production, is as omnipresent as it is misunderstood. To help demystify the process, we’ve invited supervising colourist Andrea Chlebak (Mandy, An American Pickle, HBO’s The Watchmen) to discuss the art of colour grading with us.

In this episode, we discuss:

  • Where does the colour grading process begin? Pre-production? Production?

  • Development of multiple palettes within individual films.

  • Digital and celluloid image capture and the implications on the colour grading process of each.

  • The future of colour grading and digital imaging.

  • The limits of colour correction: what can we change in post? What can’t we change?

  • Exposure ideologies for fun and profit.

If you’d like to support the show, here’s a link to our Patreon.

 

Works discussed during this episode:

Andrea’s Work:

An American PIckle

Mandy

Watchmen

Hello Destroyer

Elysium

Other Work:

Hekademia

Traffic

Game of Thrones S8e03: “The Long Night”

Blade Runner 2049

S3E07 - The Bourne Series and Chaos Cinema

S3E07 - The Bourne Series and Chaos Cinema

March 10, 2021

Extreme ways are back! In pog form! This week we’ve got a wonderful little discussion about the evolution of the Jason Bourne film series. In particular, we’re here to dissect how Paul Greengrass transformed it into the 21st century’s foremost example of Chaos Cinema. Handheld camerawork, fast editing, questionable focus? It’s all here, and we’re here to sift through the wreckage.

S3E06 - Wes Craven’s Meta Horror with Mike Thorn

S3E06 - Wes Craven’s Meta Horror with Mike Thorn

February 23, 2021

Geez, it’s been a while since we got spooky on the show, hasn’t it? High time we brought back Mike Thorn to talk about how Wes Craven fused meta storytelling and horror in two franchises: A Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream. We’ll permeate the membranes of reality, disassemble Craven’s views on horror’s social and political value, and laugh about how Matthew Lillard yells “BOO-GAH” when he imitates a gunshot.

Mike has a terrific new horror novel, Shelter for the Damned, that you can check out in print or e-book format directly through Journalstone, or you can find it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Walmart.

S3E05 - After Last Season and Outsider Art with Bram Ruiter

S3E05 - After Last Season and Outsider Art with Bram Ruiter

February 16, 2021

An Anti-Masterpiece is, as defined by our own Will Ross, is “an astonishing, essential work of art in spite of a distinct lack of conventional competence on the part of its makers”. After Last Season by Mark Region is one such film, and we’ve invited filmmaker Bram Ruiter to discuss it with us. In what is very much not a “bad movie” episode, we attempt to grapple with the nature of outsider art.

In this episode, we discuss:

  • The value of different competent cinema.

  • The many, many mysteries behind the production of After Last Season

  • More realism in cinema: Mark Region’s seeming insistence on pushing the boundaries of acceptable cinematic ‘reality’.

If you’d like to support the show, here’s a link to our Patreon.

Additional Resources:

Jason Coffman’s Article on After Last Season

Jason Coffman’s Follow-Up Oral History with the Cast and Crew

Filmmaker Magazine’s interview with director Mark Region

 

Works discussed during this episode:

After Last Season (2009)

The Room (2003)

Street Fighter: The Movie (1994)

Inland Empire (2006)

The Treasure Planet (1982)

S3E04 - Eighth Grade and the Internet with Bronwyn Henderson and Brietta Stewart

S3E04 - Eighth Grade and the Internet with Bronwyn Henderson and Brietta Stewart

February 9, 2021

For this episode our Associate Producer Paige Smith has relieved Devan and Will of hosting duties so that she can talk about Eighth Grade’s depiction and use of the Internet — and she’s brought on two friends who survived eighth grade with her, Bronwyn Henderson and Brietta Stewart. It's both a dive into how the film interweaves screens and scrolling with its characters and dramatic presentation, and a personal reflection on how strange and hard it is to grow up — and how much "growing up" has changed.

S3e03 - Documentary Verite with Sophy Romvari

S3e03 - Documentary Verite with Sophy Romvari

February 2, 2021

In part two of our Verite series we discuss truth in documentary filmmaking with returning guest Sophy Romvari. Sophy’s films have increasingly blurred the line between fact and fiction and are often classified as ‘hybrid’ documentaries. What can we learn from this type of fusion cinema? We go deep on the existential questions that inevitably ensue when one claims to be telling a ‘truth’ and explore the various ways different filmmakers have sought to build ideological frameworks for reaching their truths.

In this episode, we discuss:

  • Documentary, the genre: a contract?

  • ‘Hybrid’ documentary and the mix of fact and fiction

  • Cinema Verite and Direct Cinema: they’re different!

  • The Ecstatic Truth and Werner Herzog

  • Errol Morris’ epistemological meat grinder: is truth connected with style?

  • Kirsten Johnson and Cameraperson

  • Ethical representation of documentary subjects.

If you’d like to support the show, here’s a link to our Patreon.

Additional Resources:

Media:

Werner Herzog’s Minnesota Declaration

S3E02 - Narrative Verite with Whit Stillman

S3E02 - Narrative Verite with Whit Stillman

January 25, 2021

We're doing two episodes on truth in cinema, starting with one on standards of reality in narrative films. Whit Stillman (The Last Days of Disco, Love & Friendship) joined us, largely to register his animosity towards the idea of making stylistic decisions based on realism, and shared his thoughts on aesthetic decline, pretension, and the meowling cat sound in Damsels in Distress.

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