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  • MAPPING
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    by Michael Chasin     Legendary writers have claimed it was merely a concept—or cool character—or line of dialogue—that was needed to start—and finish without stopping—their famous screenplays. But the rest of us—mythology of great writers aside—need to know the beginning, middle, and especially end—before we start writing. Why? Because it seems impossible to create […]

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  • PLATOON Revisited
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    by Michael Chasin   Hollywood has represented war as glorious, gory, cool, comedic, surreal, and of course, heroic. But what is truly impactful are not cinematic battles or stirring strings accompanied flag-planting—but instead—real portrayals—of being a soldier. Perhaps the best film to have revealed the raw emotions of being a soldier—is Platoon. While arguably an […]

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  • NIGHTCRAWLER – IAFT Movie Review
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    by Michael Chasin   Louis Bloom solitarily drives the night—to take what he can from it. Whether it’s a stolen piece of chain link fence to be sold for scrap—or a human tragedy to be exploited—Nightcrawler’s Louis (Jake Gyllenhaal) tries to profit from it. One night, Louis stops to observe police officers rescuing the victim […]

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  • Reassessing UNFORGIVEN
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    by Robert Taylor / IAFT-L.A.   The Western genre has always been unique in the way it embraces the histories of its characters. Other genres, from horror to period drama to comedy, tend to sidestep backgrounds and history, giving the viewer the feeling that the characters begin existing the moment the story begins, complete with […]

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  • SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
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    by Michael Chasin   Film is arguably the most powerful medium in the history of storytelling. Neither stories told around a fire nor the acting and music on a stage can match film’s combination of story, moving images, acting, sound, voice-over narration, music, and graphics. Doubt that? While few can accurately quote lines from a […]

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  • Making Sense of THE SIXTH SENSE – IAFT Movie Review
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    by Robert Taylor / IAFT-L.A.   What I wouldn’t give to go back and watch The Sixth Sense (1999) for the first time again. I can easily imagine the pleasurable astonishment of a viewer discovering the film, knowing absolutely nothing about the premise or the now-infamous twist. Re-examining the film today, it’s extraordinary to note […]

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  • KNOWING
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    “Nobody knows anything…Not one person in the entire motion picture field knows for a certainty what’s going to work.  Every time out it’s a guess and, if you’re lucky, an educated one.” Screenwriting sage William Goldman famously wrote that in his 1983 Adventures in the Screen Trade. Today, Hollywood may still not know with certainty—but […]

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  • Revisiting THE GODFATHER – IAFT Movie Review
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    by Robert Taylor / IAFT-L.A.   The first miracle of The Godfather (1972) is not that we come to care deeply for its characters, but that we care about them in the first place. They are, after all, essentially despicable people who torture, murder and maim to ensure their power. And yet here is a […]

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  • THE NEW 1948 – IAFT Movie Review
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    by Michael Chasin   Netflix, founded as a mail DVD rental service, recently announced a deal to produce four upcoming Adam Sandler movies. This has further positioned Netflix—with its House of Cards—beyond being (a now online) content deliverer—to also being—a content creator. The Sandler deal will follow the Cards model in that these big budget […]

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  • Respinning VERTIGO – IAFT Movie Reviews
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    by Robert Taylor   IAFT-L.A. If Rear Window (1954) tells us the most about Alfred Hitchcock as a director, and Notorious (1946) tells us the most about him as a craftsman, then Vertigo (1958) tells us the most about Hitchcock as a man. If you have any familiarity with his body of work or his personal […]

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