Alfred Hitchcock was no stranger to the optical point-of-view shot, inserting a camera into the heads of his characters in nearly every film throughout his career. The Master of Suspense knew that this shortcut to conveying a character’s experience could be a powerful tool if used artfully. In Vertigo, this artfulness resulted in one of the greatest POV shots of all time, the discombobulating push-in-zoom-out (technically a “dolly zoom”) that simultaneously suggests our hero’s unbalanced frame of mind. More importantly, Hitchcock routinely tied these POV shot choices to significant narrative moments. In Vertigo this served to heighten the most intense action scenes by placing us directly in the action; elsewhere, the POV shot served to convey vital information, revelations, twists and — you guessed it! — suspense:
With Rear Window, Hitchcock structured an entire film around this single technique. It may not register on first viewing just how much of the movie is comprised of true POV shots, mostly because there’s a consistent pseudo-POV gaze out of Jeffries’ (Jimmy Stewart) apartment toward those of his neighbors. Insofar as such a thing can (or even should) have one unwavering, concrete definition, this analysis will define a “POV shot” as one that is truly mirroring the vantage of the character. There are a number of sweeping pans during Rear Window in which we see much the same thing Jeff is seeing, but many of these end up incorporating Jeff into the shot and are therefore technically objective, “false” POV shots.
Continue reading Rear Window (1954)
Apart from an apparent drive to write about movies with single-word titles beginning with “C” — Christine, Constantine, Calvary, Coma, etc. — we were also given another reason to revisit Cloverfield in the form of a surprise pseudo-sequel, that being the upcoming 10 Cloverfield Lane. Lane was announced out of the blue last week by J.J. Abrams and Co., having already been completed and somehow kept under wraps until a mere two months before release. Impressive marketing strategies aside, the film actually looks pretty interesting. Here’s that trailer:
Cool, right? It seems like the kind of thing that just happens to take place in the world of Cloverfield, but might really be a self-contained story that could conceivably exist without the other movie. Judging from that brief look, the only thing that links the two films is the alien invasion itself, not the human characters nor the location nor any of the events of the first film. There’s no way to be certain of that, of course, but the good thing is we don’t have to wait long to find out. Presumably, this is more of a psychological thriller than Cloverfield, and presumably future sequels could follow the same format and use only the alien invasion as the linking factor. This, of course, results in the hilarious romantic comedy Clove at First Sight and the franchise crossover Angels in the Cloverfield.
Continue reading Cloverfield (2008)
- The great Alan Rickman passed away last week after a battle with cancer. We’ll be watching Die Hard in his honor, marathoning Harry Potter, and recommending is writer/director efforts The Winter Guest and A Little Chaos to anyone who’ll listen.
- HBO has reportedly halted production on Westworld, the Jonathan Nolan-helmed series adaptation of Michael Crichton’s seminal original film. That’s the latest in a long string of mysterious production shakeups at HBO, but it’s hard to get too rattled about it considering nearly everything they put out is of impeccable quality.
- A lightsaber with a crossguard hilt will apparently crop up in Star Wars Rebels, and it’s possible (although highly unlikely) that Supreme Leader Snoke will make an appearance as well. I’m all for bringing elements of The Force Awakens into the earlier-set parts of the Star Wars saga, but the lightsaber concept alone kind of makes Kylo Ren’s iconic weapon a little less special. I hope I eat those words.
- Can we talk about the impressive unveiling of 10 Cloverfield Lane? Consider how impossible it is to keep anything a secret these days. Consider how we only have to wait two months for the film, rather than two years. Consider how J.J. Abrams must have known that the Force Awakens marketing blitz would effectively serve as its own smokescreen, press outlets wrongly assuming that J.J. wouldn’t dare think of multitasking with a Star Wars film at stake (even if T.J. Miller sniped it). Trailer below.
Continue reading Film & TV News: January 18