Most Unexpected, Shocking death scenes compilation

Here’s a video compilation I did for of the most unexpected death scenes in cinema. There’s obviously a few missing – I was on a time limit so I tried to include the best ones. I wished to include one from Bonnie & Clyde for example – technically it does not fit since it was based on a true story, so we know the fate of the main characters, but cinematic presentation of it would definitely fit the video. Alas.

Enjoy, comment, whatever.

First episode of The Collective is here

In trying to expand here with Ash Thorp, we have collaborated on creating a podcast which will bring professionals working within the creative industry. Whether it be filmmakers, designers, composers, editors, DP’s – we’ll try to get them all in. There will be some interesting people within the industry who will be our guests in the future. If you’re interested in that sort of thing, have a listen below and check out the Facebook and Twitter links to get updates on who’s coming or just what exactly is happening at all.


How John Schwartzman & Michael Bay met + update


Thought I’d share something slightly off-topic – and that’s how cinematographer John Schwartzman and director Michael Bay started out making films early in their career. As you’ll hear John call it himself, this is a reader’s digest version of it. I thought it was interesting, sort of shows how something that begins early on in a filmmaker’s life may develop into a full blown professional relationship later in life no different than Scorsese-Pesci-DeNiro collaborations or Spielberg and Hanks, or Nolan and Pfister.

How John Schwartzman and Michael Bay started out

P.S. I haven’t been cranking out much commentary material, but I can assure you it’s temporary. Also I have recorded the first ever episode of The Collective Podcast with the Über designer Ash Thorp with a self-taught filmmaker Anthony Scott Burns – which you will soon get to hear. You can see Anthony’s most recent work below.

Introducing: Movements

This is the first of a long series of vids, concentrated on camera movements. Study the movements, the first video does not have any subtitles – on purpose. Watch the movements and get the feel for why they’re used.


Movements 001 is a selection of all the movements executed by one of the greatest — and largely to the general audience, unknown — Soviet cinematographer of all time. He’s responsible for shooting films of Kalatozov; The Cranes are FlyingSoy CubaLetter Never Sent, etc.

MOVEMENTS 001: Sergei Urusevsky – The Forty First (1956)


A Passage from Film Technique



The Americans were the first to discover in the film-play the presence of peculiar possibilities of its own. It was perceived that the film can not only make a simple record of the events passing before the lens, but that it is in a position to reproduce them upon the screen by special methods, proper only to itself.
Let us take as example a demonstration that files by upon the street. Let us picture to ourselves an observer of that demonstration.

In order to receive a clear and definite impression of the demonstration, the observer must perform certain actions. First he must climb upon the roof of a house, to get a view from above of the procession as a whole and measure its dimensions; next he must come down and look out through the first-floor window at the inscriptions on the banners carried by the demonstrators; finally, he must mingle with the crowd, to gain an idea of the outward appearance of the participants. Three times the observer has altered his viewpoint, gazing now from nearer, now from farther away, with the purpose of acquiring as complete and exhaustive as possible a picture of the phenomenon under review.

The Americans were the first to seek to replace an active observer of this kind by means of the camera. They showed in their work that it was not only possible to record the scene shot, but that by manoeuvring with the camera itself — in such a way that its position in relation to the object shot varied several times — it was made possible to reproduce the same scene in far clearer and more expressive form than with the lens playing the part of a theatre spectator sitting fast in his stall. The camera, until now a motionless spectator, at last received, as it were, a charge of life. It acquired the faculty of movement on its own, and transformed itself from a spectator to an active observer. Henceforward the camera, controlled by the director, could not merely enable the spectator to see the object shot, but could induce him to apprehend it.

It was at this moment that the concepts close-up, mid-shot, and long-shot first appeared in cinematography, concepts that later played an enormous part in the creative craft of editing, the basis of the work of film direction. That was the time when the film was rightly named “a substitute for the stage.”

New YouTube channel created

A new year, and a new channel. Click HERE and subscribe to the new channel – this will be the new place where I’m going to upload the new commentaries to. My OLD channel is one strike shy from getting deactivated, not to mention I have a 15 minute upload limit – so follow it here, and I’m going to upload a test video, which I hope gets likes and views – because in youtube will then allow me to upload PAST the 15 minute limit – so that I don’t have to spend so much time editing a commentary around that limit. All of this largely depends on subscriptions and views.

If you are subscribed to the old channel, re-subscribe to the new one.

2012 in review

Check out the report WordPress compiled for this blog — this blog has been alive for a month. I would like to thank the Cinephile Archive who has selflessly and actively been exposing this place to people, as well as any of the readers who follow the commentaries and articles by sharing this blog with others. I’m not making any money with it, and the idea is always to learn and master the cinematic language. If others find all this helpful, that’s even better – it means I’m doing something right. Happy New Year all, and 2013 is just the beginning. There is so much more to come, you have no idea. I am going ultra hard and borderline obsessive, if not obsessive about devouring every bit of commentaries and filmmaking advice from established directors that I can find. I will share all this with you in the hopes you also learn from it. Let’s master this bitch.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 4,000 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 7 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

In the bag!


Save your money and forget film school. Go buy Bad Day at Black Rock and listen to John Sturges’ commentary and you’ll learn more about filmmaking than 4 years of going to school. – Paul Thomas Anderson

Watch this space… the compilation process will commence in a little while. I am just as excited to listen to it as everyone else who have heard about it through that PTA quote. This is an exclusive, it’s never been released on any DVDs of the film, it stayed on the Criterion LD for ages – until it was ripped a while ago. So the only way anyone could ever hear this is if they had a laserdisc player. Well, not anymore.

Filmmaker’s Eye & some thoughts on learning material

And finally, the last (but not least) of the textbooks I’m sharing that are very eye-opening concerning the visual language of cinema.


I read this book earlier this year, and I keep coming back to it, analyzing, studying, over and over again so I can understand how every shot works on an instinctual level. What I’ve truly grasped, is that – at least from personal experience – I only grasp something to the core if I, hear it, read it, or see it, over and over again. I believe that what makes one successful in mastering anything is not only practicing – but it’s the act of repetition. Repetition in itself is practice. When I was compiling together the McTiernan commentary, I kept hearing what he was talking about over and over again. After having finished it, I kept coming back to the finished screen-specific version and watching and listening to it on a regular basis, so that the concepts and ideas are well planted in my psyche. I have made amazing progress in that regard. Some people just have a knack for catching on to things quick, they’re naturals, but not me. So what works for me is the constant repetition, re-reading, re-watching of material, and to grasp something such as the cinematic language – I think it’s actually imperative one re-reads, and re-watches, and analyzes things until they grasp the concept.

Here are some images of the structure of the book, to give you an idea of how things are broken down and analyzed.



Reverse Engineering the Cinematic language

smgI wanted to announce my plans for a series of editorials that I am dead set on putting together throughout my quest for truly grasping the language of cinema. It will essentially begin with analysis of every single shot in the entire cinematographical language; everything from an extreme close up to an extreme long shot.

Now you may ask, why do this if you can simply read the books on cinematography – well… because it will involve using shots from a plethora of various films; from avant garde, arthouse to a Hollywood blockbuster and analyzing them, trying to find the context, the link, using text from various books on cinematography to confirm the findings, etc. I’ll also try to cross-reference films, and images from those films that may have the same scenes or sequences but are utilized in different genres and see if there’s a reason for using a particular shot that goes beyond just the simple, standard rules. It’s quite ambitious, but I intend to take this on simply for myself – and because I also want to share what I’m learning with others, I believe it will benefit everyone here. I assume that readers of this blog are cinephiles and students of films, but I bet anyone who’s an established filmmaker with years of experience will find it interesting.