Film

Cognitive Daily

Category archives for Film

Does watching TV really kill you?

Today I had to put off my normal morning run in order to make time to be interviewed on a radio show at 7:30 a.m. As I waited on hold for the interview to start, I could hear the hosts joking back-and-forth about what the “latest TV controversy” is. “Is it the Jay Leno /…

Product placements in movies and TV shows are becoming so commonplace that my kids now cynically take note of them whenever they appear. It wasn’t always that way. In 1982 when I first saw E.T. I had no idea that Elliott’s use of Reeses’ Pieces to lure E.T. into his home was part of a…

[Originally posted in January 2008] When we watch a movie, we’re usually not conscious of the cuts made by the editor. The camera angle may change dozens of times during a scene, and we follow along as if the flashing from one viewpoint to another wasn’t at all unusual. You might think this is just…

When Jim and Nora were toddlers, they were huge fans of everything Disney. Here they’re wearing their Disney pajamas as they play next to their Seven Dwarves figurines, underneath their TV, which was frequently used to watch Disney videos. We even took them to Disney World, where they had an absolute blast, but turned out…

When Jim was 12 or 13, he seemed to want to watch almost every R-rated movie that came out. PG-13 movies were okay, and PG and G-rated movies were beneath his dignity. Was he simply interested in these movies because they were forbidden (as we contended), or was he somehow more drawn to the content…

It’s now taken as a given that the musical score of a movie can have huge influence on our perception of the movie. From the pulsating terror achieved in films like Psycho and Jaws, to the triumphant victories in Star Wars and Pirates of the Caribbean, it’s hard to think about a great film without…

If you’re like me, when you read a book, you form a picture of what’s happening in your mind. I try to imagine not only what the characters look like, but also their surroundings. Eventually, I’ve created a picture of an entire world in my head. Then, when the book gets made into a film,…

When a neutral face isn’t neutral

The Kuleshov Effect, discovered nearly a century ago by Soviet filmmaker Lev Kuleshov, posits that the context in which we see an image of an actor’s face will determine the emotion the face portrays. For example, take a look at this short little clip I made (QuickTime required). First you’ll see a gray screen, then…

On the opening episode of the Colbert Report, faux conservative Stephen Colbert expressed his preference for “guts” over facts: That’s where truth comes from — the gut. Facts come from the brain — and some people think that makes facts better. But did you know you have more nerve endings in your stomach than in…

I’m currently reading Hugo M√ľnsterberg’s fascinating 1916 book, The Photoplay (I’m reading a paper copy, but the link takes you to the complete online text). It’s one of the earliest serious works on film, which was unfortunately not well received at the time it was published due to the start of World War I and…