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Movies dazzle us, entertain us, educate us, and delight us. But what sets apart a great movie from an average one? What are filmmakers doing that makes us connect so deeply with moving images on a screen? These sites can help you understand it better.
You could take a college course in understanding cinema, with all the technicalities of the medium. But appreciating filmmaking should be entertaining too, instead of an academic endeavor.
These guides aren’t to find the perfect movie to watch. Instead, they’re about taking films you have already seen and finding out why you loved them so much. It’s critical appreciation at its best.
Michael Tucker has a different take on how to appreciate films. He reckons that the film’s screenplay hides the secret sauce that makes some scenes stand out in our memory forever.
Take, for example, the edge-of-the-seat scene at the beginning of Inglourious Basterds. By analyzing how director Quentin Tarantino wrote the scene, with its many notes for the actors, you can see why it creates suspense. Tucker also dives into academic books for references on how directors play on audience emotions. It’s this attention to detail, and expert citations, that sets his videos apart from other experts on the internet.
Much like his videos, the Lessons From The Screenplay site shows behind-the-scenes working of how he makes videos. This is going to the top of the list of essential YouTube channels for film fans.
Brian Eggert seems to only do two things in the day: watch films, and write about films. Deep Focus Review is primarily a film review website, but the depth of the reviews is what matters here.
Of course, Eggert has plenty to say about every major new movie. But the sub-section titled “The Definitives” is what you need to check out. Here, Eggert talks in painstaking detail about some of the most influential cinema in history, from actual classics to cult classics.
This could easily be a “must-watch films that you haven’t seen” list. In fact, if you want to understand cinema, it’d be a good idea to pick a film noted on Eggert’s list, watch it, and then read his write-up on it. Better than any boring college course, right?
There are some things you’ve often seen in films, but never given much thought to. Some are smart, like the use of aspect ratios, while some are silly, like having a character on screen talk to the viewer directly. Now You See It analyzes and explains the significance of it all.
The above video on the use of aspect ratios in films is an excellent example of the details that you’ll notice through this channel. Narrated with a good sense of humor and deep insight, the channel aptly describes itself as a “college film analysis course without the lecture halls, essay assignments, and crippling debt”.
Now You See It is only two years old, with 40 videos so far, but each one of them is an absolute delight. Whether covering famous improvisations in film or the use of jump scares in horror movies, it’s effortlessly fascinating.
One of the most famous YouTube channels for movie lovers, Every Frame a Painting (EFAP) hasn’t been updated for a year now. But the archives are a must-watch for everyone.
Tony Zhou, the creator and narrator, takes apart popular scenes and styles to explain why you like something. For example, if you are a fan of Edgar Wright’s films, he shows why his visual comedy is top-notch. Or in his last video, he explains how background scores and soundtracks affect you subliminally.
Zhou made 28 videos, each about 10 minutes in length. It’s the perfect YouTube channel to binge-watch.
5. The Canon
The Canon has a fresh new take on film critiques. The podcast stars a debate between its host, Amy Nicholson, against another film critic in every episode. The topic? Whether the movie of the week is worthy of being one of the greatest of all time.
In the episode, Nicholson and her opponent chooses opposing sides to analyze the film in detail. Some episodes have a discussion of major plot points, others focus on direction, and so on. But in the end, you get an overall analysis with a lot of insight into things you never considered.
It’s best to have watched the movies beforehand because the podcast has plenty of spoilers. You’ll get the latest 15 episodes for free, but the older episodes need a Stitcher Premium subscription.
What Makes a Great Film?
Everyone has their own opinion on what goes into making a great film. DSLR Guide made a short video to illustrate the seven essential elements that compose a fantastic movie.
What’s the most important aspect of a great film for you? Story, script, characters, acting, timing, sound, or visuals?
Image Credit: Lukas Gojda via Shutterstock