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season 3

Inside A Scene: Mad Men (Season 3 – Guy Walks into an Advertising Agency…)

... and he doesn’t walk out. Instead he gets his foot run over by a lawn mower. “He’s lost the foot … He’ll never golf again,” they say. And thus Mad Men receives what is perhaps the most shocking moment in the whole series. Yet the rest of the episode is delightful and lighthearted – even after the foot mowing and blood splattering in the middle of the office. The tense parts come with the smaller things: office politics, Joan’s husband Greg not receiving chief residency, and Lane’s transfer to India. And this points to the way Mad Men reflects real life…Read On

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Inside A Scene: Mad Men (Season 2 – Meditations In An Emergency)

The second season finale of Mad Men takes place during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and concerns the way people respond to the possibility of annihilation. The threat posed by nuclear war is both imminent and abstract; near enough that some are prompted to seriously consider their mortality, distant enough that some choose to simply numb themselves by seeking bodily pleasure. Though the term is often used to refer to the end of the world, “apocalypse” simply means “uncovering,” and while “Meditations In An Emergency” does not conclude with nuclear catastrophe, it finds characters prompted to contemplation and revelation of what might otherwise remain hidden…Read On

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Inside A Scene: Mad Men (Season 1 – The Wheel)

The Carousel pitch from the first season finale of AMC’s Mad Men is perhaps the most famous scene in the entire series. It is probably the greatest pitch of the myriad pitches given throughout the series. It acts as a microcosm not only for the concept of the ad, but for the series as a whole, and even art in general. The lure of technology and the deeper, delicate pull of nostalgia are stand ins for a truth that is the same now as it was fifty years ago, and probably since man was created…Read On

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Undefended: Action Scenes of the 2000s

Mission: Impossible – Fallout is currently being hailed by critics as one of the greatest action movies ever made, and I recently used a sequence from the series’ Ghost Protocol to tackle the question of what makes for good cinematic action. As part of FilmFisher’s returning “Undefended” series, our writers were asked to name their…Read On

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Inside A Scene: Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol

What makes an action scene good? We are in the midst of the summer movie season, the time of year when theaters are swamped in Dionysian revels of car chases, fistfights, and explosions, the kind of stuff that often draws the ire and disdain of snobby, self-serious critics. I, for one, seem to find myself less…Read On

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Inside A Scene: The Bourne Supremacy

I’m going to cheat a little and write about two scenes. When Timothy asked if I could write an article for FilmFisher’s “Inside a Scene” series, I automatically thought of the Moscow apartment scene at the end of Paul Greengrass’ 2004 espionage-thriller sequel, The Bourne Supremacy. I’ve always been intrigued and moved by this scene, and it continues to…Read On

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Peace In Our Time: A Conversation on Marvel and Star Wars

Right now, Marvel and Star Wars are the two biggest franchises in Hollywood, producing a seemingly endless stream of movies and revenue. The past half-year alone has seen the release of two Star Wars films and two Marvel films – or three, if you stretch a little to include November’s Thor: Ragnarok. For several months…Read On

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Inside A Scene: Mad Men (The Doorway)

One of my favorite memories from college was watching the series finale of Mad Men with a few friends on the big screen in my university’s Cinema and Media Arts building. When everything faded, we sat there in the glow of the projector trying to find words for what had just ended. I don’t know…Read On

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Inside A Scene: Mulholland Drive

More than any director, David Lynch has figured out how to capture the disorienting logic and nightmarish sensibility of a dream on celluloid. His entire career has been defined by puzzle box narratives, ones that seem fragmented upon an initial viewing but come together quite nicely through introspection and thematic implication. Perhaps the apex of…Read On

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Inside A Scene: Spider-Man 3

Spider-Man 3 has shouldered quite a bit of abuse over the years. Widely mocked for its tonal shifts and surplus of plot threads, it is often regarded as an unsatisfying failure to conclude Sam Raimi’s trilogy about the titular wall-crawler. Coming off the heels of Spider-Man 2, easily the greatest superhero movie of all time…Read On

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A Quiet Place: The Most Republican Film Hollywood Has Made In Years

“You can’t say anything anymore without someone jumping down your throat,” so claim both social conservatives tired of political correctness and everyone in A Quiet Place, John Krasinski’s new sci-fi horror film. And what happens if you do try to say something anymore? So far as conservatives are concerned, a social media mob comes to harang…Read On

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Samurai Jack and Nostalgia’s Double-Edged Sword

After twelve years off the air, Samurai Jack returned earlier this year to finally conclude its long-unresolved storyline. Airing in 2017, a year dominated by reboots and revivals of favorite properties – Twin Peaks: The Return, Blade Runner 2049, Alien: Covenant, and Logan, just to name a few – Tartakovsky’s show, like its hero, was entering a…Read On

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In Appreciation Of: Samurai Jack

Earlier this year, Genndy Tartakovsky’s Cartoon Network animated series Samurai Jack concluded with a fifth and final season after a twelve-year hiatus. I never saw the series during its original run, although I was dimly aware of it by reputation, and experienced flickers of vague recognition whenever I saw the titular samurai or his demonic…Read On

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Alien: A Conversation

Since the release of Ridley Scott's Alien: Covenant at the beginning of this summer, FilmFisher editor Joshua Gibbs and contributing writer Timothy Lawrence have been trading thoughts on the science fiction horror franchise. What follows is their conversation…Read On

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On Film Snobs: Aren’t Some Movies Just Plain Fun?

As an amateur film critic, I have panned many blockbusters and watched rote responses roll in which offer no greater defense of the panned film than, “This film was just plain fun. Why don’t you snobby film critics get it?” Self-defense is usually ugly, even when it is necessary, though I often want to swing…Read On

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Star Wars: An Explication – Part 6

In these essays, and even in other writings on the franchise, I have often made special note of Star Wars’ backward-looking quality. These are films that push the medium forward into an exciting new future with groundbreaking special effects, and yet both textually and meta-textually, they are always concerned with the past. With Episode I, over two months ago, we started at the beginning and looked ahead to the story’s ending. Episode VI – as the third film released, as the sixth film in the saga, and as the final installment in this series of essays – is profoundly concerned with looking backwards. Its title is apt; Return of the Jedi is, in so many ways, about the action of returning…Read On

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Star Wars: An Explication – Part 5

It has become conventionally accepted wisdom that The Empire Strikes Back is the greatest blockbuster sequel of all time, and one of the best cinematic sequels generally speaking; the only competition that springs to mind is Coppola’s The Godfather: Part II. It should come as little surprise that I’m not inclined to disagree with this assessment. The original Star Wars is one of the greatest American films of all time and a milestone in blockbuster history, but I’ve long maintained that The Empire Strikes Back is even better, and without it, I suspect the saga’s cultural impact would not have been quite so profoundly enduring. The stakes are higher and the world is expanded, but this sequel does not simply go “bigger,” trying to top its predecessor in terms of spectacle. The key to its success is that it also goes deeper, doubling down on characters and relationships that continue to grow and develop…Read On

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Star Wars: An Explication – Part 4

On May 25, 1977, those words marked the American public’s first entrance into George Lucas’ galaxy far, far away. Much ink has been spilled trying to account for the film’s success – its innocence was a welcome alternative to the predominantly cynical cinema that surrounded it, American audiences were particularly hungry for escapism – but no single explanation can quite justify Star Wars’ staying power, or how exponentially Lucas’ saga has grown since that first film…Read On

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Star Wars: An Explication – Part 3

Revenge of the Sith opens with one of the longest, most elaborate and ambitious shots George Lucas has ever attempted. The camera pans down from the opening crawl, past a blinding sun, to reveal a Star Destroyer flying over Coruscant, one last twist on the iconic opening image of the original 1977 film. There we saw an evil Star Destroyer from behind; here we see a good one from above. The scene is almost comforting in its familiarity and stillness, though the warlike drums of Williams’ score hint at a building energy…Read On