Monday, June 28, 2010


Cyrus, a new comedy starring Jonah Hill, John C. Reilly and Marisa Tomei, is shot in documentary style: the camera swims around, seemingly catching things on the fly, sometimes suddenly zooming in and getting stuff out of focus.

Even though there's apparently some improvisational work being done in the film, this is still annoying. It's not a documentary. The directors Jay and Mark Duplass set up each shot, and the actors knew where to stand. This whole faux doc look--where the camera imitates bad-looking shot from films that couldn't do any better--has got to go. I don't care if this is mumblecore, it's just annoying.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry but its the new normal. The traditional style seems stagy and artificial to the younger generation with their freaky reality shows. Yelling at these to kids to get off your lawn probably won't help.

5:30 AM, June 28, 2010  
Anonymous Todd said...

LAGuy is right.

Anonymous, above, is wrong.

"Artificial" is defined as "humanly contrived, often on a natural model". This is, in fact, the very basis of the "shaky cam", originally introduced to mimic the human eye which, since untethered to a tripod, was (incorrectly) thought to be in constant motion.

But the human eye/brain in combination naturally provides its own tripod effect, seeking to stabilize images, not jerk them about.

However, there's an even better word than "artificial" to describe this style of filmmaking:


Is this really the defense the younger generation wishes to invoke?

Now get off my lawn.

4:03 PM, June 28, 2010  
Blogger LAGuy said...

Hey, even before the 80s MTV generation you had the 60 Monkees generation that thought it would hip things up by introducing quick editing. Some of this worked, some fell by the wayside. A bunch of shots to make something exciting (and there's unquestionably more shots today per movie than there used to be) sometimes works, just as often doesn't. A technique means nothing, and a technique that's designed to mock documentaries looks more artificial than anything.

4:23 PM, June 29, 2010  

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