Author Archives: jen

How Real is Too Real?: Exploring “Reality” in Film and Television

The Real World logo via Wikipedia

The Real World logo via Wikipedia

While some of the most successful films at the box office have swept audiences off into galaxies far far away filled with incredible creatures, there are some audiences that crave a more real experience. As evidenced by the rampant success of animated films as well as their live-action comicbook-based counterparts, some degree of fantasy is still alive and well. However, within that fantasy, sometimes we seek some degree of realism. Do the characters react in a realistic manner? Do the fight scenes seem plausible? And what about the world they exist in — does that look like a world we can immerse ourselves in? Achieving the right degree of realism, however, is a delicate balance and can often find us questioning: how much is too real?  Continue reading

Looking Back at the 14th annual Tribeca Film Festival

There are many film festivals across the country and a critical mass occurring in New York City alone. Perhaps none of the NYC festivals is met with more buzz than the Tribeca Film Festival which, now in its fourteenth year, has achieved the status of the long-running Sundance Film Festival. In short, appearing in the Tribeca Film Festival is a feat as the festival represents some of the best upcoming films. And speaking of the films, here are some highlights to which you can look forward, or look back at depending on how you think about it, when the festival opens next week.  Continue reading

Best of the Worst: Guilty Pleasure Movies

Still of Alicia Silverstone and Brittany Murphy in Clueless (1995) via IMDB.com

Still of Alicia Silverstone and Brittany Murphy in Clueless (1995) via IMDB.com

While we spend a lot of time here talking about great movies, the truth is that not every watchable movie is great. In fact, some are actually pretty terrible in some ways but provide enormous entertainment value — and sometimes not in the way the original filmmakers intended. These are essentially our “guilty pleasure” movies. Though we may not always want to admit to watching, or even liking the movies, we can’t deny tuning in when they happen to be on television or when we happen upon them while browsing streaming services like Netflix.  Continue reading

The Significance of Seven

Image via CinemaFlair.com

Image via CinemaFlair.com

As we approach the release of the seventh installment of the blockbuster Fast and Furious series, we noticed that no new releases are even attempting to compete with the blockbuster film. To understand why the movie owns the holiday weekend, it may be useful to investigate the significance of the number seven.  Continue reading

A Whole New World: Virtual Reality

Last year, I attended SXSWi and one of the longest lines (besides that for meeting with Grumpy Cat) was for the chance to experience the popular virtual reality tool acquired by Facebook, Oculus Rift. Oculus VR had created a virtual reality experience for the popular HBO series Game of Thrones that allowed users to ascend the icy wall that keeps the seven kingdoms of Westeros safe from the zombie-like white walkers. Though I didn’t get a chance to experience it myself, most of the feedback around the “Ascend the Wall” experience was overwhelmingly positive. That said, it brings into question the future of these types of experiences and what will make sense for storytelling moving forward.  Continue reading

Matthew Weiner’s Mad Men in NYC

Photo of Matthew Weiner on the set of Mad Men

Photo of Matthew Weiner on the set of Mad Men via Museum of the Moving Image

As we’ve already noted, Mad Men is definitively one of the best shows on television. And, as we are all acutely aware, all good things must come to an end. This year, we get the final seven episodes of the popular program. In celebration of seven seasons, the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens, New York has launched an exhibit called “Matthew Weiner’s Mad Men.” Continue reading

Mad Television World

From left: Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, Vincent Kartheiser, John Slattery, Christina Hendricks, January Jones and show creator Matthew Weiner

Photo by Joe Pugliese via The Hollywood Reporter

Television executives have the, sometimes enviable, job of selecting programming to go on their networks. For every gem of a script they read, they also encounter many duds which can sometimes make it difficult to distinguish when something will be a hit. For example, many networks passed on the drama ER citing that its pilot’s script was fairly rough. The popular drama Mad Men is a perfect example of a show that many passed on as it really had no business succeeding. Period pieces were often deemed too expensive relative to their potential for success. The much talked about but unsuccessful Pan Am, hoping to receive tail winds of the Mad Men success, is an example of this. So why was Mad Men a success and not Pan Am? Mad Men had the perfect storm of being positioned with the right script for the right network with the right cast. Continue reading

Television Revolution: New Sources of Content

Image via TheDailyBeast

Image via TheDailyBeast

If you would have told me ten years ago that streaming video would be ubiquitous and that every major media company would be trying to compensate for this, I wouldn’t have believed you. And yet, this is exactly what has changed over the last decade. Instead of online video being a fringe experience, it is now the leading source of traffic across the internet, especially during prime time.  Continue reading

Twenty Years of French Cinema in NYC

Still from Breathe

Still from Breathe

When people think of French films, generally the work of directors of the French New Wave immediately comes to mind. Certain stylistic elements that were very specific to the work of Godard, for example, became synonymous with all the work coming out of France. However, this could not be further from the truth. Much like American filmmaking, there are diverse types of genres represented in the French filmmaking world. This is very prominently on display in the Rendez-Vous with French Cinema festivalContinue reading

The Audience’s User Experience

Image via SEMRush.com

Image via SEMRush.com

In technology, there is a growing area of focus in making sure users have a good experience with a given digital product.  There’s a level of baseline experience that users expect and then there are the things that take a user above and beyond (these are the things that surprise and delight).

Recently, I realized that there are many parallels between how this works for a tech project, with which I have a lot of familiarity, and how this works for a film project.  Without further ado, here are a few things filmmakers can learn from technology:  Continue reading