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video essay

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    VIDEO ESSAY: MAGIC AND LIGHT: THE FILMS OF STEVEN SPIELBERG - Chapter 6: Indiana Jones and the Story of Life

    What does it mean to be a father? What does it mean to come of age without a father? These questions have been at the center of many Steven Spielberg films. Both light entertainments and dark historical dramas have considered them. The director’s evolving views on fathers and fatherhood are on surpr...

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    TRAILER: Terrence Malick's TREE OF LULZ (Hey, it could have happened. . .)

    Annals of film history are filled with masterpieces that never were. Cineastes spend many a sleepless night thinking of Stanley Kubrick’s unproduced epic on Napoleon’s life. Film historians still search every nook and cranny to possibly locate Orson Welles’ first cut of The Magnificent Ambersons....

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    VIDEO ESSAY: MAGIC AND LIGHT: THE FILMS OF STEVEN SPIELBERG, Chapter 4: Evil and Authority

    The antagonist, in Steven Spielberg’s films, has many faces. It can be government scientists involved in seemingly shady plots. It can be unstoppable behemoths such as the shark in Jaws or the tanker truck in Duel. Warped ideologies, as in Schindler’s List. Or the tangled and self-defeating all...

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    VIDEO ESSAY: MAGIC AND LIGHT: THE FILMS OF STEVEN SPIELBERG: Chapter 1: Introduction

    Steven Spielberg is one of the most popular storytellers of all time. Based solely on box-office receipts, that’s an inarguable fact. It's been true since 1975, when the box office take of his breakthrough Jaws redefined the the word "blockbuster." Look at the top grossing movies of all time, ...

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    VIDEO ESSAY: Moment of wonder: THE SPIELBERG FACE

    If there is one recurring image that defines the cinema of Steven Spielberg, it is The Spielberg Face. Eyes open, staring in wordless wonder in a moment where time stands still. But above all, a child-like surrender in the act of watching, both theirs and ours. It’s as if their total submission to ...

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    VIDEO ESSAY: Chaos Cinema, Part 3, Matthias Stork responds

    Editor’s Note: Press Play is proud to debut part three in Matthias Stork’s Chaos Cinema, the latest installment in an ongoing consideration of a phenomenon that Stork defined in two video essays that ran on this site in August, 2011. His first two chapters touched off a firestorm of debate that’s st...

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    Press Play video series MAGIC AND LIGHT: THE FILMS OF STEVEN SPIELBERG to debut Dec. 15, 2010

    Press Play is proud to announce our first video essay series in direct partnership with IndieWire: "Magic and Light: The Films of Steven Spielberg." Set to premiere Dec. 15, 2011 on this blog, this series will examine facets of Spielberg's movie career, including his stylistic evolution as a direct...

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    VIDEO ESSAY: Never Before, Never Again: Henson and Oz; A Muppet conversation

    EDITOR'S NOTE: To mark the opening of Jim Henson's Fantastic in July 2011, Matt Zoller Seitz and Ken Cancelosi created Never Before, Never Again: Henson and Oz, a video essay which describes the nature of that long and fruitful collaboration between Jim Henson and Frank Oz. Press Play is re-posting...

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    VIDEO ESSAY: Searching for the Muppets

    When Jim Henson died in 1990, at the age of 53, there was reason to fear that the Muppets wouldn’t live on without him. They did. Since Henson’s death, Muppets have appeared in three major movies, a short-lived TV series, a few TV specials and several direct-to-YouTube videos. They’ve inspired to...

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    The Chicago Way: Crime Story back on DVD for its 25th Anniversary

    On September 18, 1986, director Michael Mann (Heat) made good on his promising career in TV and film with the debut of his new period cops-and-robbers saga, Crime Story. Not only did Crime Story’s feature-quality production design live up to that of its TV antecedent, Mann’s stylish Miami Vice; Crim...

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