Archive for June, 2013

much-ado-about-nothing-whedonEnglish teachers can move on from Baz Luhrmann (whichever frantic, begging adaptation) or excerpts from the 70’s Shakespeare movies or Gibson’s Hamlet or Branagh’s grand stuff because this is a very exciting new moment for Shakespeare stagings for the screen in many hues of silver.

Another little Whedon side project from Joss the writer

Another little Joss side project

Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing has arrived and I highly recommend this excellent interview about the striking tale of this project that grew out of his work on The Avengers.   His “Anatomy of a Scene” video featuring the “blanky-cam” is good for students to think about drama and its interpretation, and for more info, there is also the surprisingly rare case of a well done official site set up for the movie.  Great for Chapter 4 of Moving Images: contemporary b&w cinematography at the filmmaker’s home; working with actors and crew to discover “where do I go, how do I say this, what will give our choices meaning?”  (Mr. Whedon was featured in an earlier blog entry; that’s why these are “more surprises” with this filmmaker who is full of them; he would have been doing just fine with those miracles known as Buffy and Firefly. )

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hero_largeSick of it all already??  Feeling “been – BOOM! – there, CRASH! – done – BANG! – that,” yet?  Feel somehow assaulted leaving the theater?  Okay, check out this great New York Times interactive feature about the “tent pole” phenomenon.  This piece can be used as a starter for class discussion or for creating pitches and trailers to explore “how media works these days” — at least in the world of mega-budget, brain-squelching funtertainment.  So, how many Hollywood execs are thinking that now they’ll actually make the Times’s fictitious Red, White, and Blood?  And, as producer Linda Obst advises in her comments for this concept, “End on the sexy young thieves and not on the old guy. That’s going to set up your sequel. Duh!” 

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World War Z, White House Down, Olympus has Fallen: Happy movie world these days, isn’t it?

When visiting my local public library recently, the librarians were quite excited to tell me about a new program that they had subscribed to through which patrons will be able to stream films.  That led to us talking about film programs that I will be putting together with them, and the head librarian joked that we need to feature the topic that everyone seems to be talking about to get teens to read and engage with storytelling: zombies!  Meanwhile, integrating any horror movies into the classroom poses numerous challenges to find school appropriate material that passes the litmus test of the gore-skeptical average teen and that will also be interesting enough thematically.

Well, World War Z, here we come!  Yes, here is a mainstream, PG-13 movie that raises some interesting questions and offers lots of avenues for media literacy lessons, including a source novel by Max Brooks that has been an enormous hit with readers.  I highly recommend this very thorough set of questions and prompts that Peter Gutierrez posted on his superb blog Connect the Pop (referenced earlier on a mediateacher.net post about super-heroes).

night living dead

Poster by Florian Bertmer for Mondo

And here is an interview with director Marc Forster (World War Z, Kite Runner, Quantum of Solace, Finding Neverland).

Finally, I have to add that one of the most fun and successful commercials made by my students last school year was for a fall theatrical production of Night of the Living Dead.  They hunger…

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