Digital Polyphony

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4 (More) Internet Series on Film

Posted on June 27, 2012 at 2:45 PM

4 (More) Internet Series on Film You Should See

A month or so back, I listed four internet series that are film related that I enjoy watching/reading when I'm online. As a film fan, you're always looking for others out there that have different views and perspectives, insight into elements and things that you only have a passing knowledge of or are just simply entertaining and celebratory of great cinema. It was only four series I enjoy, but far from all of them. So why not four more?

I also did the post because I had nothing else to write about. Well, guess what? I have nothing else to write about this week and this little puppy has been sitting in wait for such a week. If you have a blog, it's always good to have a contigency plan. So let's get to four more, shall we. Oh, and If you missed part one, you can read it here.

Critics Picks

About the only "professional" web series I watch, but also the only one I really know of. Every few weeks or so NY Times Film Critic AO Scott sits down and does a video-blog covering a great film.  However, it's not just a film review. We already know these are great films. It's more a look into what makes it great in less than 5 minutes. These videos are very, very "tight" in their execution. The words spoken are with focus and purpose, nothing is wasted, and the scenes we drop in on are all relevant to what he's discussing.

It's hard to choose just five here. There's a ton of these short videos going back a few years and all are wonderful films that give you just enough of a taste to wet your appetite and garner your interest, from Tarkovsky's Solaris to Otomo's Akira, or Schlesinger's Billy Liar to Lynch's Blue Velvet. There's even some surprise entries, such as Clint Eastwood's A Perfect World (an underrated film in my book) and Robert Duvall's The Apostle. You can spend a day or two watching all these and really not get bored at all. Nonetheless, here's five I've enjoyed (just know I haven't watched all these videos from AO Scott.

-5 Recommended Videos-

The Big Lebowski

The Public Enemy

The Wild Bunch

In a Lonely Place

Back to the Future


The Film Renegado


I could absolutely not care less about someone doing a video commentary or "review" on yet another Hollywood studio picture that is bad. It's beating a dead horse and when there is something universally considered bad the internet becomes a feeding frenzy as more jump on the bandwagon. What I do like is when a reviewer or entertainer has a niche. In the last blog on some of my favorite movie video series, I mentioned Brows Held High, an art-house/indie focused series, and Deja View, a focus on foreign remakes of movies. Now we're talking Mexican (or at least Spanish Language in some cases) with The Film Renegado, ("Renegado" being Spanish for...."Renegado) a series hosted by Jerry Nava.

What really grabs me on what makes a "great" video series about film is focus - otherwise being an expert on a certain genre and, well, simply knowing what you're talking about. Anyone can review the big blockbusters and do a video about it, but those are often overkilled after the billionth time and usually broad-sweeping generalization and far from utilizing a critical eye in the matter. Someone like Jerry Nava (or the entry to follow at the bottom) with more of a niche approach is what I'm looking for, and they also putting it into a grander perspective - not necessarily throwing out something just to overly praise or overly beat down. 

I know and love film, but like any movie-fan the first thing you should admit is that you don't know everything. Thankfully, there are guys like Jerry to give us insight into not only his specific subject matter, Mexican cinema, but also in how it relates to a culture that I'm simply not a part of because I'm a gringo and, more specifically, how non-Mexicans view Mexicans. Case in point, this very brief video about the Captain Mexico skit from Jimmy Kimmel. Film is more than something just put on celluloid or in a memory bank to just be exported to dumb gringos like myself. In many places, it's a reflection of the culture. So who better to bring in that cultural perspective than someone who is actually a part of it?


-Five Recommend Videos-


Hellboy (actually his most recent, really loved it)

Ricky Martin and Movies (It's like a lost history we never knew)

Y Tu Mama Tambien (a movie I really enjoyed, cuz of all the sex)

Nacho Libre


Criterion (Three Reasons/Essays/Top Ten Lists)

The Three Reasons series is a very short minute and a half video for various Criterion films. I'm kind of just throwing this in because it's more of a glimpse at what a movie has to offer to see if it piques your interest more than anything. I like how it chooses scenes, uses music and has transitions to carry out the tone of the film through simple editing. Plus, it's a quick way to find out of that obscure foreign film is up your alley or not.

But, for something with a little more meat, Criterion also has an ongoing film essay series that's really hard to deny. Various contributors dissect great films in written form (some do have video but aren't video reviews). I feel these two series compliment each other nicely. Watch the various Essays they offer up for all us film nerds to enjoy


Top Ten Lists is also a great series where various people, from the famous to the infamous, are asked what their favorite ten Criterion films are.

I would post five recommended videos, but this is one that's pretty easy to just jump into. If you like film, you'll probably seek out some of your favorites right away.



The Cinema Snob


One of the longest-running shows on the internet, The Cinema Snob series is a unique piece of "lets make fun of something" but a bit more focused with the film fan in mind. By its name,  you might think it would be something similar to Brows Held High, mentioned last time. But that's where the joke lies. Brad Jones's character, "the snob," is an elitist film connoisseur who seems relegated to watching bad exploitation movies. It's a great clash of style meeting subject matter.


What's great, though, is that jokes and puns are really written for film fans. References and lines seemed ripped right out of Joel-era Mystery Science Theater 3000 (which Brad is a fan of) and some might even go over your head, probably because it's something film-nerdingly obscure or a callback to previous jokes in past videos. At the same time, the films he takes a look at are broadly mocked (usually) and appeal to a wider audience who simply just like the riffing or taking a look at a part of cinema that isn't looked at very often. It's a great blend of being snarky, being constructive and being affectionate towards it all.


Brad Jones knows his exploitation films and bad b-grade shlock. With a fun character and a great and infinite subject matter, from Nazis and Nuns to Roger Corman and Pierre Kirby, in a way Jones is the internet spirit of why Mystery Science Theater 3000 was so popular to begin with and, looking at what's on the internet now, why it was arguably ahead of its time (for over a decade). He's consistent and always entertaining, so choosing five is tough, but here's five that aren't named Caligula that I would recommend.

-5 Recommended Videos-


Hitler: Dead or Alive

Troll 3 Part 1 and 2

Bruno Mattei's Terminator 2 (Jones also has an entire series about Mattei)

Cannibal Holocaust (Jones does a great change-up on his style to accommodate this controversial film)


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