I don’t entirely understand how it happened that ‘film analysis videos’ became such a big thing on YouTube. I suspect a lot of it is thanks to how fun and accessible Tony Zhou’s videos were — but even before him, creators like Kogonada (who went on to direct his own, acclaimed feature) were making film essays.
Nowadays, the genre is so big that there’s also a lot out there that… isn’t great. But this week, a film essay got posted that’s absolutely worth sharing: it’s an hour-and-a-half-long breakdown on film structure and how endings work from Michael Arndt, the screenwriter behind Little Miss Sunshine and Toy Story 3.
I watched the entire thing over the past few days, and while I’ll be the first to admit that it’s really long, it’s also a fascinating watch and an interesting insight into how a seasoned screenwriter thinks. Arndt put up another video — a much shorter one — about how film setups work as well; it’s probably the better starting point because it’s so much shorter (just eight minutes). But both are worth a watch.
Check out seven trailers from this week below.
Everything about this movie looks ridiculous — but that’s also exactly why it works. There’s no pretense of seriousness here. There’s a basic goal. An obvious structure (a literal, titular skyscraper to be climbed). And a hero who knows his situation is over-the-top ludicrous, but designed to be won. This is probably going to be a whole lot of fun. It comes out July 13th.
America to Me
The director of Abacus: Small Enough to Jail, which was up for an Oscar earlier this year, is behind this documentary series looking at the divisions between white and black students at a Chicago high school where white students’ test scores are rising at a disproportionately faster rate. The series doesn’t just speak with the faculty, but it goes into the lives of the students too, creating what appears to be a rich depiction of the life and struggles of everyone at the school. The series starts August 26th.
I Am the Night
Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins directs the first two episodes of this very eerie looking series about a woman who runs away from her family only to discover that she’s related to a doctor who’s under investigation for murder. The show is based on a real story — the doctor, George Hodel, was a prime suspect behind a particularly gruesome killing — and it seems to be turning the events all into a stylized and creepy series that’s part noir, part horror. It starts sometime next January.
Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story
Jay Z is the executive producer behind Rest in Power, a six-part documentary series about Trayvon Martin, the activism his death inspired, and the larger political movement it became a part of. The series starts July 30th.
Ponoc Short Films Theatre, Volume 1
Studio Ponoc — very much the successor to Studio Ghibli — came out with its first movie last year. And now, the studio is close to putting out its second work: a collection of three beautifully animated shorts, going under the title Modest Heroes. It sounds like it’ll be coming out in Japan this August; if it follows the path of Mary and the Witch’s Flower, it should come to the US in early 2019.
Netflix picked up this animated adaptation of Jack London’s classic story about the life of a wolf dog and the many families and cultures he encounters while growing up. This adaptation looks like a much more kid-friendly version of the story, but if nothing else, the dreamy, almost rotoscope-style animation should make it stand out. The film just came out, so you can stream it now.
IFC has a new horror film coming up about some kids who try to invent a wireless power transmitter but somehow end up bringing obviously evil spirits into the world and mistaking them for their dead parents. Classic error. It comes out July 27th.