Culinary rats and unstoppable super-spies

When it comes to scouring the film blog community, I’ve barely dipped my toe in the water. I don’t seek out too many film blogs, mostly because my intellectual and creative curiosity regarding movies and TV is often appeased by the lively and interesting discussions on Home Theater Forum, one of my favorite websites. I have an RSS feed set up for Jim Emerson’s Scanners, and while he often posts interesting bits about movies and such (I find his Opening Shots project particularly fascinating), he has a fairly far-left bias which I think sometimes clouds his judgment about a lot of things. But lately I’ve found a blog that’s informative, well-written and politically neutral, at least as far as I am aware.

David Bordwell is a professor of Film Studies at UW-Madison, so he knows his stuff about movies. But he doesn’t turn up his nose at so-called populist fare just because it’s ostensibly aimed at the masses. He’s like Roger Ebert in that way, and I of course like that attitude. David’s written two very interesting posts about two of the best movies I’ve seen this summer, Ratatouille and The Bourne Ultimatum. Sometimes I have great difficulty articulating to others my ideas about why some films are wonderful and others are not, but David (and his assistant Kristin Thompson) really get to the heart of the matter.

On Ratatouille: Rat rapture

On The Bourne Ultimatum (and the Bourne series as a whole):
[insert your favorite Bourne pun here] (spoilers!)

In the Bourne post Bordwell specifically discusses director Paul Greengrass’ unique shooting style (or "Queasy-cam" as others have called it), which emphasizes a constantly moving camera and rapid shots. For me, I’ve finally accepted Greengrass’ style as a given for whatever movie he’s directing, though sometimes the technique gets in the way of telling the story. I nearly lost my lunch watching The Bourne Supremacy (granted, I was forced to sit on the front row of the theater due to a later-than-expected arrival at the multiplex and people saving seats for others), but the film has worked better for me on my smaller screen at home. I found the roving camera in Ultimatum less nauseating, but it was still a minor distraction – hence the 9/10 rating. It appears that other people have BIG problems with it, though, so Bordwell digs deeper into the technique, which he calls "intensified continuity," and does well at balancing an objective film-school approach with his immediate personal revulsion to it. Kudos to him.

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