I’ve taken my fair share of film classes throughout my life, both at a collegiate analytical level and the Quentin Tarantino teach-yourself-by-watching-anything-and-everything-under-the-sun level. For some, knowing too much about the magic of movies can ruin the experience. Honestly, my first few movies after a few classes left me a constantly analyzing mess. I almost couldn’t appreciate movies on a base level of enjoyment because I was so concerned with the structures holding them up.
That didn’t last long. If anything, the momentary period of over absorption in a film’s minutia taught me to balance out the pure entertainment value of a film and its technical marvels.
Someone who seems to have found that balance and a way to share it with people is Tony Zhou. He produces videos where he eloquently runs through some of the most interesting and succinct observations on film making. He has this rare understanding of film. Not just the tricks and inner workings of creation, but a more overtly sincere appreciating of art of film.
Zhou seems to approach his style of analyzing from an extremely appreciative value. Rather than exclusively focusing on either importance, entertainment, or even craft, Zhou places worth on all three nearly equally. This allows him to present what I find to be some of the most unpretentious explanations on why film is art and why it should be exalted. Sure he lambasts the work Michael Bay like everyone else, but finds the underlying necessity of its existence (essentially, do it, but don’t over do it).
Below are three of my favorite videos he has created, plus a little line or two as to why i think they’re so great. I could write something about everything he has posted, but these three stand out to my tastes and feverish desire to learn about film. You should check them out on youtube or vimeo, then head to his blog and support this incredibly talented guy. Plus you’ll learn a thing or two and be entertained at the same time what more could you ask for.
My love for Jackie Chan knows no bounds. No matter how goofy and ludicrous his films are, there is something graceful in his shots and stunts that supersedes everyone else. Zhou explains it with utter ease here.
Visual comedy is a lost art and Edgar Wright is one of the few who still gets it. It helps that he’s a student of all film genres and takes cues from the greats, including Jackie Chan. You can see endless similarities in Wright and Chan’s work.
David Fincher finds the darkest places in the human condition and films them with an even dark palette. This look at what Fincher doesn’t do with his scenes shows how great of a director he is.
Innovation is hard to come by nowadays. Zhou hits the nail on the head with this piece about the virtual world in film and praises Sherlock, something I’m more than ok with.