Archive for December, 2015

The ApartmentBest holiday movie ever?  Well, here’s my vote (at least for grownups): The Apartment.  

Not a traditional choice, but there you go.  If you haven’t seen it, check it out — one of Mr. Wilder’s finest, and that’s saying quite a bit.

(Yeah, Pocketful of Miracles or A Christmas Story are pretty strong contenders too, for sure.  Of course, there’s lots from TV too, like the tradition of holiday episodes from ER or Dr. Who or How the Ghosts Stole Christmas from The X-Files.) 

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MurdererDocumentary filmmaking has long been at the forefront of the digital media revolution.

Making a Murderer, directed by Moira Demos and Laura Ricciardi is and will be a powerful case study for many phenomena of our interconnected, media-immersed world.

Choose the course: Media Literacy and Digital Video Production; Criminal Justice; Sociology; Psychology; or many other fields of study or secondary school departments — this series can be used for ripe investigation in all of them.

Here are a bunch of interesting questions ready for inquiry.

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The Revenant

DiCaprio and Iñárritu discussing a parenthetical.

Hollywood Studios and television networks are notorious for their thorny relationships with screenwriters throughout movie history.  Things change.  And some things don’t.

Here are some recent end-of-the-year pieces of interest for screenwriting-related issues.  The New York Times recently visited with a number of the top writers from feature films this year in this piece on Alejandro González Iñárritu, Amy Schumer, Aaron Sorkin, Paolo Sorrentino (Youth), Cary Fukunaga (Beasts of No Nation), and Phyllis Nagy (Carol).   

For fans of media literacy inquiry, here’s a question for your students: “What’s fishy about this article related to the movie Trumbo (about legendary screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, as played by actor Bryan Cranston) in the Times?”   (See answer 1 below.)

And here’s another: “What’s odd about the journalism — and lack of media literacy expertise — in this article by Cara Buckley about the new movie Joy, directed and written by David O. Russell and starring Jennifer Lawrence.”  (See answer 2 below.)

Happy New Year and be back soon!

1:  It’s not journalism.  It’s a paid piece posted amidst the online articles of the Times.  See also: irony.  [RE: Dalton Trumbo]

2: When the director and actors of a movie compare themselves to Cassavetes‘s or Bergman‘s collaborative “troupes” and it’s only their second movie together, please call them on it.  See also: puff piece.  


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