challenge or invert conventional wisdom on central aspects of the Hollywood aesthetic: on the roles of style and ideology , respectively. Pull Up to the Bumper Berliner lays out five functions of style (“the distinctive and patterned use of the
films complicate formal patterning and thwart audience expectations. They do so by combining classical narrative, stylistic, ideological, and genre properties with some fairly bold (by Hollywood standards) deviations from normative practices
David Bordwell (2002) has described contemporary mainstream cinema as a cinema of intensified continuity. When we combine Bordwell's analysis with that of recent cognitive work on attention, especially with work on edit blindness, we discover some intriguing results. For example, the increased rate of cutting in contemporary cinema serves to keep our attention continually aroused, but, at the same time, that which arouses our attention—the increased number of cuts—becomes decreasingly visible. That is, the greater the number of cuts made in the services of continuity editing, the less we are able to spot them. If, while watching contemporary mainstream cinema, the attention of viewers is aroused but viewers are decreasingly capable of spotting the reasons why this is so (i.e., the cuts themselves), then does this also serve to make contemporary mainstream cinema “post-ideological,” because it concerns itself only with “intensified” experiences? Or, as this article argues, does the sheer speed of contemporary mainstream cinema renew the need for the ideological critique of films?
—are valuable cultural artifacts for extracting and deconstructing the dominant ideologies that characterize our society ( Hughey 2014: 15–16 ). As the history of Hollywood films, box office records, Academy Award nominations, and critics’ reviews imply, films
page and the playfully impermanent (one might say impertinent) electronic text that is always (re)making itself anew” (166) is an instance of what he terms “medial ideology,” namely a reductive way of looking at electronic textuality. Among the
A Reply to Critics
to Part 3 on style and Part 4 on ideology in Hollywood cinema. I am going to ignore all of the lovely things he, and the other respondents, had to say about my book and focus on the more provocative negative criticisms. Smith correctly separates my
There is no question that violent entertainments shape popular attitudes toward violence. But do they really make the culture as a whole more violent? Can they work to make it less violent? This article considers shortcomings of conventional scholarly approaches to these questions. It outlines an alternative “ecological“ approach and tests it by examining two movies that treat violence in strikingly different fashions: The Dark Knight (2008) and Saving Private Ryan (1998). It tests empirically whether and how Saving Private Ryan actually changes college students' attitudes toward violence, and summarizes the best current psychological models of the causal connection between violent thoughts and violent behavior. The article concludes that while violent movies do indeed prompt violent ideas and impulses, these are not necessarily antisocial and can, in fact, be prosocial. The critical factor is not what they show or how they show it; it is how they are used.
following a narrative, style, ideology, or genre (Berliner's four main categories of aesthetic analysis)? 2. What needs to be considered when taking account of the expert historical spectator to which Berliner often refers? For instance, he discusses
, Rise of an Empire (Noam Murro, 2014). Director Zack Snyder's wife and production partner, Deborah Snyder, described 300 as a “ballet of death” ( Daly 2007 ). Perhaps it is this, in conjunction with the film's implicit fascist ideology, that caused
Much commentary on Indian cinema unreflectively equates film with fantasy. Writing in this vein may depict audiences as emotionally and cognitively undeveloped, while it represents those critics and viewers who prefer realism as sophisticated, rational, and mature. Those scholars of Indian cinema who examine fantasy and realism in depth, however, often draw different conclusions about both cinema and its consumers. Some note the close relationship between fantasy and reality, and thereby represent audiences as more savvy than do those who superficially link film with fantasy. Others analyze the privileging of cinematic realism as an element of socio-political ideology, or examine viewers' own application of realist criteria to films, thus further complicating the image of Indian cinema consumers as irrational and infantile. In continuing to pose these concepts as a dichotomy, however, cinema scholars reproduce some of the assumptions that underlie the standard usage in film criticism.