Have you ever read the Agoraphobic Reviewer and thought ‘Gee, I wish my film criticism was as astute and well-informed as those guys”? Fear not, little buddy. Simply master the following critical vocabulary and you too can talk about films you haven’t seen with confidence and authority:
Rickets Shot: Sometimes cameramen use a special lens with all of the Vitamin D drained out of it. When pointed at the legs of any biped (e.g. Tim Allen), it creates the illusion of bowing in the leg region, as if the biped in question (e.g. John Lithgow) had rickets. The Rickets shot was used to very suggestive effect in The King’s Speech.
Half-Roll: This basically involves the cameraman rotating the camera 180 degrees so that everything turns upside down, and then turning it back again. It allows the viewer to see the world from the perspective of a beginner gymnast who has not yet mastered the forward roll (cf. Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi, in which Gandhi attempts unsuccessfully to forward roll away from his colonial oppressors)
Hem-Haw Effect: Sometimes screenwriters and actors like to create the illusion that their films actually reflect real life, and aren’t just puffed-up lies shat out of their frivolous brains. This is an easy fix. Actors simply say ‘err’ or ‘ummm’ in between words, and the audience is lulled into forgetting that they are watching a film, believing instead that reality itself unfoldeth before their eyes.
Milkshake Theory: This school of thought gained popularity in the 1970s. Its most vocal proponent, Dargle R. Footbook, contended that films are just like milkshakes, insofar as they consist of a lot of different ingredients (e.g. lighting, costume, script) that are ‘all shook up’ by the film-making process and consumed by people. Also (he added), films come in a lot of different flavours, such as horror, action, holocaust drama and so on, just like milkshakes, which also come in a lot of different flavours, such as strawberry, banana, chocolate, vanilla, mint choc chip and raspberry. Milkshake Theory was the dominant paradigm in film studies until the early 1990s, when it was replaced by Tapeworm Theory.