What is a trope? A trope is a device, motif, recurring theme, or even a cliche used in storytelling. It can be a character type, a specific line or style of dialogue, a plot device, even a type of location or set.
A trope itself is neither good nor bad. In fact, used appropriately it can be an effective tool. In storytelling, whether in literature or film or other media, a lot of information needs to be communicated to the audience without bogging down the pace with lots of backstory or exposition. A trope can be a kind of shorthand that the creator and audience have agreed on and recognize so the audience knows what to expect and can concentrate on more important parts of the plot. Read more
Welcome to a new series of posts, Beat Sheets. A beat sheet is a story structure tool used by many screenwriters, listing out certain events or moments called beats that usually occur in every story. These beats drive the plot. The particular beat sheet we’ll be using here was developed by Blake Snyder in his screenwriting book, Save The Cat. It is very popular among writers in Hollywood today.
In this series, I’ll follow the plot of different movies and list each point where I think an important beat occurs. Snyder’s theory is that every great or even good movie, every story has all of these beats in some form. For the first few posts I’ll list Snyder’s explanation of each beat. Tell me if you think I’m right. Or if you think a certain beat doesn’t exist in the movie at all.
For this first one, let’s take a look at Hot Fuzz, the second collaboration by Simon Pegg/Nick Frost/Edgar Wright following Shaun of the Dead. Like Shaun of the Dead, it’s a funny, sharp story. The writing and editing are tight, tight, tight. No line or prop is thrown away from Aaron A. Aaronson to “Swan!”. Almost everything comes back into the plot. So let’s dive in. Obviously SPOILERS FOLLOW. Read more
Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis playing the same character at different ages? Yes, please! Throw in some Emily Blunt and time travel and I am there.
Gordon-Levitt plays a hitman who kills targets sent back from the future. But one day the target sent back is…him. Oops. Check it out.
Looks a litte intense for me but there are enough people I like to get me there. Director Rian Johnson wrote the script. He also directed two other movies that I haven’t seen but have always wanted to; Brick (a film noir set in high school and also starring Gordon-Levitt) and The Brothers Bloom (quirky caper with another amazing cast). Time for a viewing party.
Have you read the books? I haven’t but I’m surrounded by friends who have. The ads for this movie were exciting and powerful. I was really looking forward to it. Here’s what I thought:
In a dystopian future, North America is divided into 12 districts oppressed by The Capital and forced to offer up two teenagers each year for a televised fight to the death.
What I Liked:
Quite a bit. It’s obvious the source material is rich. This is a great and disturbing look at oppression, fear, and entertainment. The cast is solid, especially Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss. Girl can kick ass! Read more
I’ve been watching the buzz around the interwebs about this Tim Burton directed movie but, having never watched the 70s show on which it’s based, I have to say I really didn’t care. But now that the first trailer is out, I’m intrigued. I like Tim Burton but he doesn’t always knock it out of the park. But he has stacked the deck as far as cast is concerned and I love the quirky, self-aware tone. This could be a couple of hours of fun.
Adaptations of this nearly 100-yr-old novel have been attempted over the years but none by a studio with the heavy lifting capabilities of Disney. The original novel, written by Tarzan author Edgar Rice Burroughs, is generally considered sci-fi but defies categorization and has influenced storytellers through the century from H.P. Lovecraft to Ray Bradbury to George Lucas and James Cameron.
Shortly after the US Civil War, John Carter has run afoul of both the Calvary and the Apaches but in the ensuing chaos, he suddenly finds himself in a strange land, discovers he is unbelievably fast and strong, and is soon surronded by green, 4-armed creatures. Yep, he’s on Mars. Read more