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The Most Underrated Films of 2016 - Carter Boehm

The Most Underrated Films of 2016

There were a lot of great films in 2016, as well as some duds. It’s hard to know how well a movie will do until it hits theaters. But among the films that break the box office and the films that are given negative reviews all around, there are a handful of films that go overlooked. Some films are incredibly well-made but don’t receive the popularity and praise that they deserve. Here are a few incredible films from 2016 that you probably didn’t see:

Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Taika Waititi is hardly a little-known director. After all, Marvel tapped him to direct Thor:  Ragnarok. However, his film Hunt for the Wilderpeople went surprisingly unnoticed. This film is an adaptation to Wild Pork and Watercess by Barry Crump, a legend in Waititi’s home of New Zealand. The end product is a charming film that is both a tribute to New Zealand’s rugged outdoors and a family-type story about a miserable teenager. The dry sense of humor in this film makes it stands out, and it’s confusing that it didn’t do better at the box office.

Kubo and the Two Strings
From an aesthetic perspective, Kubo and the Two Strings is truly incredible, a stop-motion animated yarn about a one-eyed boy named Kubo. In the movie, Kubo must find his father’s armor with the assistance of a silent knight made of origami paper, a monkey and a samurai-beetle with amnesia. With some of the most inventive set pieces in contemporary filmmaking and well-known cast members such as Charlize Theron and Matthew McConaughey, it’s surprising this film didn’t do better. The film is packed with action and humor, but the adrenaline of its visuals is made even more memorable by the deep sadness that it evokes. The film has many unpredictable twists and turns, and no one could have predicted how much it would be overlooked after its release.

How to Be Single
While most romantic comedies fit a particular mold, How to Be Single is refreshingly different. Ever since Sex and the City, we have seen a number of films and TV shows focusing on the dating habits of single people. Many are still based around the idea that a woman’s main goal is to get married. While Sex and the City began to change this, How to Be single points out that even this format involved women talking primarily about men. This revolutionary film emphasized the importance of being alone without falling into a pattern of co-dependency. Ultimately, the film demonstrates that it is okay to be single, and sometimes it is even preferable. With a comedic performance by Rebel Wilson and a nuanced performance by Dakota Johnson, it is surprising that this film didn’t achieve more success than it did.
Not all good works of art go noticed. Given the high number of films that came out in 2016, it makes sense that a few went ignored. It’s just a shame that these revolutionary works of film had to be among the movies that didn’t do well.

Four Women Who Shouldn’t Be Overlooked At The 2017 Oscars - Carter Boehm

Four Women Who Shouldn’t Be Overlooked At The 2017 Oscars

We have a few months to go before next year’s Academy Awards, and it’s clear that there is a lot of competition. There are a number of talented women who are strong contenders for Academy Awards. Two stand-out performances were those of Natalie Portman in Jackie and Emma Stone in La La Land, but there were a number of other women who made a huge impact on the silver screen this year. Here are a few actresses who deserve some serious recognition for their roles:

  1. Sally Hawkins in Maudie

In this biopic of Canadian folk artist Maudie Dowley Lewis, Sally Hawkins delivers a stellar performance. This performance may even top her Golden-Globe winning role in Mike Leigh’s film Happy-Go-Lucky. Aisling Walsh’s Maudie premiered at the Telluride film festival and immediately caused quite a buzz. While the film didn’t generate much more buzz in Toronto, Sally Hawkins’ performance is undeniably excellent. She conveys the effects of Maudie Dowley Lewis’ juvenile rheumatoid arthritis with extreme accuracy but doesn’t led the affliction overpower the role.

2) Sônia Braga in Aquarius

A Brazilian actress has not been nominated for a best actress Oscar since Fernanda Montenegro was nominated for her role in the 1998 film Central Station. Many are hoping that Sônia Braga is the next Brazilian actress to be nominated. In Kleber Mendonça Filho’s film Aquarius, Braga plays a widowed and retired music critic named Clara who is being driven out of her home. English-speaking audiences best know Sônia Braga for her Golden-Globe nominated role in Kiss of the Spider Woman. She has worked steadily since that role but has truly outdone herself in Aquarius.

3) Rebecca Hall in Christine

Rebecca Hall has had a steady acting career for 20 years, wowing audiences with her roles in The Prestige, The Town and Vicky Cristina Barcelona. While all of these roles were excellent, Hall’s role in Christine is the most complex and demanding role she’s ever had to take on. Antonia Campos’ dark character study focuses on Christine Chubbuck, a news anchor who committed suicide on live TV in the 70s. Hall takes on the role in full force, boldly digging into Chubbuck’s insecurities and portraying an empathetic portrait of her

4) Allison Janney in Tallulah

Allison Janney excels at pretty much everything she does, but surprisingly, most of her roles have been on the small screen. In fact, she has now received four Emmys for the West Wing. Bit she hasn’t been largely recognized in a film until now. Tallulah is an indie film that was largely overlooked, but one standout role was that of Janney. She plays an academic mother who is forced to befriend a stranger who claims to be the pregnant girlfriend of her estranged son. Even if the movie didn’t receive much praise, Allison Janney deserves quite a bit of it.

As numerous women are getting demanding roles and playing them to a tee, we hope to see these four women and many more receive nominations in 2017.

How to make a film on a budget -carter boehm

How To Make A Film On A Budget

In today’s day and age, films can be shot and edited for small budgets with the help of digital technology. Filmmakers have also made low budget movies into masterpieces through viral marketing techniques on the internet. Orin Pelli’s Paranormal Activity, for example, used a viral campaign financed by Paramount to become a success. Here are a few tips for making a film on a low budget:

Focus on the story.
No one will care about the budget of the film if the story is compelling. There are a few main elements to a story or screenplay. The story needs to have characters, and those characters need to have a specific goal. The goal should be something that can be measured so that there is a point in time at which the audience can see whether or not the characters have achieved the goal. You also need a setting, which can either be typical or unusual. Equally as crucial are the actions of the characters and the dialogue.

Be frugal about props and wardrobe.
If you head to a thrift store for props, set decorations and wardrobe, you’ll be able to save a lot of money. You can also shop on Ebay or at discount stores to save a pretty penny. Look over our script and see if you can revise it to limit wardrobe changes. Rent props and borrow items whenever possible. Trade and barter with other people in the film industry for necessary gear.

Limit the number of location changes.
The two most expensive parts of a film shoot are the camera and the location. Regardless of your budget, moving your cast and crew from one location to another is bound to cost you a good deal of money and time. Try to reduce the number of times you’ll have to change locations. This will lower your budget tremendously. Take your actors to a limited location and chop them up. Make it similar to filming a stage play, but in a more dynamic and cinematic way.

Feed people well.
In addition to location changes, another thing that’s bound to cost you a lot of money is the food. You need to give your cast and crew healthy meals that provide them with energy throughout the day. Make sure you get a coffee machine and cases of bottled water. Your film team should be able to recognize that you care. Have vegan and vegetarian options as well as food that accommodates people’s allergies. Make it one person’s sole responsibility to feed people on a regular basis.

With the incredible technology that exists today, creating a film on a budget is possible. It may be challenging at time, but it will be a beneficial creative experience. And if your movie does well, you’ll be able to generate a profit off of something that didn’t cost you a bundle of money to make.

5 Film Directing Tips for Beginners - Carter Boehm

5 Film Directing Tips For Beginners

Directing a film can be an extremely rewarding creative experience. The finished product is truly incredible to watch because you know it is the fruit of your labor. But the process leading up to this wonderful moment can be long and stressful. When you’re directing a film, especially if it’s your first, it can be difficult to know where to start. Here are a few tips to make the filmmaking process easier:

Plan as much as possible.
Before you start directing, it’s a good idea to create a scene-by-scene plan for the whole film. You should make a shot list of every scene throughout the entire firm. It may be tedious but it is extremely helpful to the rest of the filmmaking experience. This way, you become familiar with every detail within the script, even details that an experienced director might overlook. After you make your shot list, you can storyboard every single scene. It’s okay if you’re not the best illustrator. The point is that the process allows you to think through your story. You can then send your storyboards to an illustrator to make them look must more high-quality.

Really feel the performance.
A director’s job is to be the barometer for the emotional truth of the scene. When the camera starts rolling, immerse yourself fully into the performance and try to feel it. It may help to stand close to the lens. You should continue to be emotionally invested throughout the editing process, the music selection process and more. Feel the movie the way you want the audience to experience it.

Make sure you work with the right people.
The people you collaborate with for a movie have to be people whom you can spend a lot of time with. You need to surround yourself with like-minded, selfless people whom you trust. The way to create a successful film is to have a cohesive and hard-working group of people behind it.

Find someone who can wear many hats.
You need at least one person on set who can do nearly anything they put their mind to. You may call this person on set to be a production designer and find that they can also be an assistant director. This person should be not only skilled, but also fearless enough to step up to the plate and take on a role that they haven’t done before. Make sure when you find this person, you continue to empower them and constantly have them on set to help with whatever is necessary.

Be open to new ideas, but don’t stray from your vision.
When you’re the director, you have a very particular image of what you want your finished product to look like. While it’s important that you still to this, it’s a good idea to get feedback so that your production is the best it can possibly be. Be open to other ideas but make sure you aren’t damaging your initial inspiration. Only make suggested changes if they don’t completely alter your vision.

Being a new filmmaker can be overwhelming, but with these tips, the process of directing your film should go much more smoothly. After the process is over, you can look back on the experience fondly, and with greater insight for your next film.

Upcoming Film To Watch- Jackie starring Natalie Portman

Upcoming Film To Watch: Jackie starring Natalie Portman

One of the most talked about upcoming films of the year, Jackie is a stunning yet haunting biopic of Jackie Onassis directed by Chilean director Pablo Larraín. The former First Lady is played by Natalie Portman, who is able to embody the effect that Ms. Onassis had on those around her. For those familiar with Larraín’s work, it may seem surprising that he has taken on such a project. He is, after all, one of the most daring filmmakers of his generation, known for his inventive and unusual storytelling style. One thinks of his metafictional approach in his last film Neruda, a portrait of celebrated poet and politician Pablo Neruda. Jackie, however, is not your average biopic. Once the movie begins with a few eerie notes of a unique score by young British experimental musician Mica Levi, it will be clear that Larraín has left his mark on the film.

Jackie exudes a shockingly raw quality rarely found in the biopic genre. The film is based around Theodore H. White’s Life magazine interviews of Jackie merely a week after the assassination of her husband John F Kennedy. The viewer is taken for quite an unusual journey through the tragic day in Dallas, Jackie’s alone time in the White House, the arranging of Kennedy’s funeral, and Jackie’s time going to Arlington cemetery alongside her husband’s coffin. These scenes are not told in order, but rather edited by Sebastián Sepúlveda into non-sequential slices of memory. The film is outside of the box in almost every respect, including cinematographer Stéphane Fontaine’s close-ups that seem a bit too far into the personal space of the subject.

Onassis is certainly portrayed as a woman going through grief, but the film is not conventionally sympathetic. She is shown as a woman who is able to shift her identity depending on whether she is in public, in the press, or with associates. In the interview as Pablo Larraín portrays it, Onassis is portrayed as both guarded, making biting remarks to the reporter, and vulnerable, speaking somberly about her husband’s murder. The film also shows Jackie take off all of these metaphorical masks in the intimate scenes when she is alone in the White House. 

The film will not be released in the U.S. until December 2, 2016, but there is already a lot of buzz among film critics about Portman’s likelihood of winning an Oscar. The film world-premiered at Venice and is currently screening in Toronto. Larraín’s film may be up for an Oscar, but Nigel M Smith of The Guardian has stated that is it “not Oscar bait” but rather “great cinema.” Larraín did not play into the typical Oscar-winning narrative, but with reviews like these, it wouldn’t be too surprising if it does win the coveted award. When it comes to the award for best actress, Natalie Portman is likely to be up against Emma Stone, whose role in the musical comedy La La Land has garnered praise from critics.


Top Film Schools in the U.S.

If you’re looking to enter the exciting and rewarding world of film, there are many ways to do so. One of the most popular ways is attending a film school. Keep in mind, not all film schools are created equal. An “okay” film school will teach you what’s necessary to pass your courses. A top tier film school will allow all of it’s students to gain an in depth understanding of what they need to do creatively and successfully. The curriculum provided to students will not only foster a thorough knowledge of what it takes to create an amazing film, it will also cultivate each individual student’s natural potential to help them develop as film makers.

Here are some of the top films schools in the U.S.

Vanderbilt University

Nashville, TN

Established in 1873, Vanderbilt University began as a modest private school closely connect to the church. During the next century, Vanderbilt expanded rapidly.

The film studies degree program offers students a

The interdisciplinary film studies degree programs provides an all-embracing education in the cinema arts. Students have the opportunity to learn about the aesthetic, cultural, theoretical, and historical expressions of the film.

Required courses include:

  • Film studies
  • Film theory
  • Communication
  • Culture and consciousness
  • Cultural rhetoric of film
  • Culture and society
  • History of art
  • America on Film

Major specific courses include:

  • Communications studies
  • Philosophy Psychology
  • Asian studies
  • Art
  • European studies

During their time at Vanderbilt, students are also granted opportunities to showcase their work and compete in various film festivals.

University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA

Most commonly referred to as USC, the University of Southern California is well-known as one of the top ranked film schools because of it’s paramount location, reputation as one of the top ranked film programs due to its high caliber degree program, central location, voluminous resources and adept instructors.

The School of Cinematic Arts is comprised of six divisions, including two research units. Undergraduate, Graduate, and Doctorate degrees are offered to students.

The size of the campus provides students with a variety of courses to choose from. These courses include:

  • Scriptwriting and storytelling
  • Editing
  • Sound Design
  • Producing and directing
  • Animation and digital arts
  • Interactive media
  • Producing program
  • Media arts and practice

University of California

Los Angeles, California

The University of California, also known as UCLA, has an outstanding reputation for The School of Theater, Film and Television. Students enrolled in a program within this school have access to one of the world’s largest television and film archives.

The University of California at Los Angeles offers prospective students both undergraduate and graduate degree programs in film and television. The first two years of bachelor degree program requires students to complete general studies.

General studies coursework includes:

  • Foundational arts and humanities
  • Society and culture
  • Scientific inquiry
  • Writing
  • Foreign language
  • Literature
  • American history and institutions

During their last two years of study, students will be able to begin film and television related courses.

University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, CA

Berkeley degree programs focus on historical and theoretical inquiry of films. Not only are prospective students offered the opportunity to pursue both undergraduate and graduate degrees, the school also offers students the opportunity to pursue a double major.

Coursework includes:

  • History of silent and sound film
  • Documentary and the avant-garde film
  • Film theory
  • Film genres
  • Introductory film and video production
  • Screenwriting

University of Pennsylvania

The University of Pennsylvania, one the top ranked Universities in the nation, has been a leader in cinematic studies since the late 1800’s.

Alumni from this university include, DreamWorks CEO, former presidents of CBS and Warner Home Video, current president of Columbia Pictures, and directors from the Sundance Film Festival.

Students at the University of Pennsylvania are provided with the option to pursue a cinema degree as a either a major, a minor, or a certificate program in graduate studies.

Overall coursework includes:

  • Film theory
  • History and aesthetics
  • Women studies
  • Languages and literature
  • Romance languages
  • Fine arts
  • Communications
  • Anthropology
  • English
  • Soviet montage theory
  • French auteur theory

Columbia University

New York, NY

Also known as one of the top ranked national universities in the country, Columbia University offers adept faculty and a rigorous curriculum to students.

Coursework includes:

  • Theory of film
  • Auteur studies
  • Genre studies
  • National cinemas
  • Film theory
  • Lab in fiction filmmaking
  • Script analysis
  • Narrative strategies in screenwriting and non fiction filmmaking
  • Seminars in screenwriting and filmmaking

Yale University

Yale University has continuously earned a worldwide recognition for the remarkable nature of its academic programs.

Required coursework includes:

  • Close Analysis of Film
  • Film Theory and Aesthetics
  • History of art
  • Issues in Contemporary Film Theory
  • Literature
  • Philosophy
  • Social sciences
  • Film theory
  • Productions
  • Race and gender
  • Photography

Cornell University

Cornell University is highly regarded as an institution with an extensive history of quality education and research.

In the school of Theatre, Film, and Dance, students have the opportunity to participate in film courses without needing to commit to a major until Sophomore year when a major can be declared. In their Junior year, students can study abroad in Paris at the Center for Film and Critical Studies.

New York University

New York, NY

NYU’s department of Cinema Studies was one of the first departments within a school dedicated to film.

Coursework concentration at NYU includes:

  • History
  • Theory and film aesthetics
  • Writing requirement
  • Foreign Language
  • Literature
  • Dramatic literature
  • Theater history
  • World through art
  • World cultures
  • Journalism
  • Linguistics

Located in New York City, along with a prime location, NYU offers a vast number of degrees options, over 300 instructors, and weekly film screenings.

Degree options at NYU include a Bachelor of Arts with a concentration in cinema studies (with the option of a double major option with the second major in social sciences, arts, or humanities), a Master of Arts in cinema studies or in moving image archiving and preservation, and a PhD in cinema studies.

NYU also offers a study abroad component available in London, Prague, Shanghai, and Dublin.

University of Chicago

Chicago, IL

The University of Chicago is comprised over over 80 Nobel Prize winners amid its students as and a Pulitzer Prize winning student.

The university’s connection to film dates back to the 1800’s when the institution presented one of the very first public motion picture viewings attributing to the university having the oldest and most prominent student film society in the nation.

The Department of Cinema and Media Studies offers degree in both Undergraduate and Graduate studies. Students are required to complete coursework in general studies and cinema while gaining extensive knowledge in American films and exploration of European, Russian and East Asian films.

There is a high level of competition within the film industry. Newly graduated individuals entering this film will more likely than not have to use the reputation of their institution to gain an advantage.

Movies that Should Never Be Remade

These days it seems like every movie coming out, especially in the summer, is either a sequel or a reboot of some kind. The Marvel movies have dominated for nearly a decade. We will get a new Star Wars movie every Christmas from now on. And franchises are constantly being ‘reboot’, whether fans are asking for it or not. This summer, we are seeing more reboots, remakes, and sequels of older movies than ever before. Here are just a few; Ghostbusters, The Legend of Tarzan, Independence Day, Ben-Hur. Now we know the world was clamoring for a new Ice Age movie, but studios are searching further and further back into their catalogs looking for the next reboot project. However, there are some sacred cows that must never be done.

Let’s take a look at a few films so wonderful that a reboot or remake of any kind would be sacrilege!

To Kill a Mockingbird

There may be no more perfect film than Robert Mulligan’s 1962 adaptation of Harper Lee’s novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. Harper, who won the Pulitzer Prize for her first and only novel (we aren’t going to count Go Set a Watchman), shied from fame and withdrew into reclusiveness, but the film was a massive success. It served as the platform for the best performance Gregory Peck every delivered. His Atticus Finch, named by AFI as the greatest movie hero of the century, earned him an Academy Award. Aside from Peck, the performances of the child actors, especially Mary Badham as Scout, are relatable and moving. Scout’s struggle to understand the horrors racism demand each of us reflect on our own assumptions. It is truly important filmmaking.

Essentially, To Kill a Mockingbird is maybe the only time when a film adaptation is better than the book. So that’s why it cannot be remade. Tom Hanks couldn’t be Atticus and Adam Driver couldn’t be Boo Radley. Don’t even try.

It’s a Wonderful Life

Attaboy Clarence! In 1946, Frank Capra crafted a differently perfect film, with another landmark performance from one of the American masters. It’s a Wonderful Life, starring James Stewart and Donna Reed, was initially received mildly, but has gone to be regarded as Capra and Stewart’s best work. If you’ve been alive during the Christmas seasons during last few decades, you assuredly have seen at least pieces of this beautiful film. George Bailey is a suicidal, and his prayers bring him an angel — or an angel in training, rather. Together they visit a world in which George Bailey was never born and see the tremendous impact this man has had on his community. In the end, Bailey discovers that his life is worth living and is embraced by the community he has given so much to. It’s a Wonderful Life captures the small town essence that many people can relate with. Bedford Falls is a real Anytown, USA.

Stewart’s performance is gripping and vivid. No one could match it, let alone top it. In 2013 a group of producers began pitching a sequel that would focus on George’s less likeable grandson. Fans were up in arms. The instant response online was cacophonous and unanimous. Luckily, Paramount Pictures, which owns the rights, publicly stated that no project involving the film would or could proceed without their word and that they weren’t cooperating with the producers of proposed sequel. The film’s legacy appears to be safe for now.


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