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Old 01-11-2018   #31
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Re: The Big Screen vs The Small Screen

Quote Originally Posted by James View Post
Quote Originally Posted by GirlyGirlMask View Post
Maybe I'll check a few of those out. I'm just incredibly snobbish and pretentious about films. I hate the way modern cinema is edited, and I don't like the pacing of most newer films I see. Shots never linger...I think I read that the average length of a shot in a film these days is 3 seconds. It's all so A.D.D. And over half the shots in a film these days are close ups, it's like watching two hours of floating heads. The close up was intended to have an impact, to put an emphasis on an important detail or highlight a character's emotions in an intense moment. I want to see things in a beautifully composed wide shot, where the actors and director have worked hard to establish blocking and camera movements, where the shot is a longer take and the talent is on display. It's too easy to just cut back and forth between close-ups of actors' faces with a fuzzy background. That doesn't take any skill at all. I'm rambling here, my apologies.
I would strongly argue that the editing you are referring to at the end there (the 'shot reverse shot') was far more prevalent during classic cinema than it is today. Even in big budget shlock the camera movement and editing is generally more dynamic in conversations than the average 1940s film:



Both random examples of mainstream studio films from both eras I could YouTube. The Spidey scene soon settles into the same grammar as the 40s scene.

In terms of the length of a shot, I don't find a fast or slow editing style more valid than the other, and each can be executed wonderfully or poorly. It doesn't take any less skill if the shots aren't around for as long a time. If anything there is even more pressure for the director and cinematographer to convey all of the information and beauty in a shorter span of time.

All good points. I know what the "shot/reverse shot" is, I am an amateur filmmaker myself. But I lump Casablanca in with today's formulaic Hollywood fare, blasphemous as that may be. It was, essentially, a product of the studio system. In the late 50's/early 60's cinema underwent a radical change and became much more director driven, as opposed to producer driven and the films were more artistic and original, those great New Hollywood movies, the French new wave, etc. It seems things have come back around, and we are now back at the studio system of the 30s and 40s where the studio heads are calling the shots and films are all about marketability (formulas that sell, actors that sell). It's sad to me.

And while you're correct that today's close ups are more dynamic, I don't find that appealing. My problem is the over reliance on close ups and medium and two shots in general, whether the camera is moving or not. Hitchcock, Kubrick, Tarkovsky, Polanski, Coppola-- all of those great filmmakers during that wonderful 60s and 70s golden age of cinema used close ups for a reason. To draw attention to a detail you would miss in medium or wide, or to get close to the eyes, to the emotions. There are many other issues I have with modern films. Too much exposition these days, which breaks the "show, don't tell rule"-- I'm tired of being treated like an idiot that can't figure things out on my own. Bad actors that have gigs because their faces are marketable. Cookie cutter scores that sound like every other score in their particular genre. Predictable scripts that hit every beat like they are following a template (they are).

I don't expect many to agree with me, many of my friends love today's films and that's perfectly fine, as this is a very subjective thing. But, to me, post millenial films are inferior to most of what came before. I hope nobody is offended by this, I don't think my preferences are superior to anyone else's, but they are my preferences and I stand by them.
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Old 01-11-2018   #32
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Re: The Big Screen vs The Small Screen

Quote Originally Posted by Robert Adam Gilmour View Post
I like ADD films when done well but I think the real problem is just mainly lazy storytelling and overuse of computers. Perhaps a narrowing of visual language?
Yes, I'm not fond of the proliferation of CGI. It can work and many films I love have used it well. But I miss the days of in camera and practical effects. No matter how good the CGI is, it lacks the "weight" of the real thing. Many of the trailers I see are showcasing scenes so busy and overwrought with effects and CGI that I am immediately turned off. What other men find as thrilling action I find boring. I'm in the minority here, I know this. If that kind of thing determines whether I'm right or wrong, then I'm definitely wrong.

Agreed on the lazy storytelling remark as well. It's amazing to me how many directors these days rely on really bad, obvious exposition to tell us things that anyone with the IQ of a carrot could surmise on their own. I find it really insulting to the audience's intelligence. One of the first rules of screenwriting used to be "show, don't tell" but apparently, at least in Hollywood, that rule no longer exists. This is what keeps me from considering a guy like Christopher Nolan a great filmmaker. He's talented, the bravura is there. There are interesting concepts. But my goodness, the actors are constantly standing around explaining things to each other (to us) that are painfully obvious. And even if we don't understand everything, what's wrong with that? I like a bit of mystery. Let me participate and fill in a few of the blanks. This is what I love about Ligotti's writing. He leaves a lot to the imagination.
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Old 01-11-2018   #33
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Re: The Big Screen vs The Small Screen

Quote Originally Posted by bendk View Post
What keeps me out of the theater more than anything is that they will list a movie as starting at 2:00 PM, and then it doesn't start until almost 2:30. They force you to watch nearly a half an hour of commercials first. The last movie I saw at the theater was Blade Runner 2049. It was a fine film, but a little longish. I bet I was in the theater for three hours. That's a bit much.
Blade Runner 2049 was a fine film, no doubt. That's an example of Hollywood getting it right, and I did see that in a theater with my friend, who is a huge fan of the original. It was worth the price of admission. Not perfect, but worth seeing on the big screen.
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Old 01-11-2018   #34
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Re: The Big Screen vs The Small Screen

I think you might be right about the template thing.

However samey old Hollywood films might be, they had superior photography to current Hollywood.

Perhaps worse than obviously fake cgi creatures and characters is that films digitally cut and paste backgrounds like collage, in all sorts of genres. You might not be able to tell that plane isn't really there or that the background is made up of several different locations with numerous edits but the fact that they can't accurately do the lighting of the environment will make a difference to your immersion. And the actors might be reacting to their surroundings better if they were in the same place as the one that ends up on screen.
In old films, even if the sets were fake, the shadows were all real (matte paintings and some other special effects excepted) and there was a greater sense of real spaces being inhabited.

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Old 01-16-2018   #35
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Re: The Big Screen vs The Small Screen

Quote Originally Posted by GirlyGirlMask View Post
It's amazing to me how many directors these days rely on really bad, obvious exposition to tell us things that anyone with the IQ of a carrot could surmise on their own. I find it really insulting to the audience's intelligence. One of the first rules of screenwriting used to be "show, don't tell" but apparently, at least in Hollywood, that rule no longer exists.
That ties into your good point about the "overreliance on closeups, etc." thing, too, since an emphasis on closeups is a cheap way to spoonfeed emotional information to the audience, which is why it's been pretty much the standard technique in every afternoon soap opera since the dawn of time.

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