Film theory no longer gets top billing or plays a starring role in film studies today, as critics proclaim that theory is dead and we are living in a post-theory moment. While theory may be out of the limelight, it remains an essential key to understanding the full complexity of cinema, one that should not be so easily discounted or discarded.
In this volume, contributors explore recent popular movies through the lens of film theory, beginning with industrial-economic analysis before moving into a predominately aesthetic and interpretive framework. The Hollywood films discussed cover a wide range from 300 to Fifty First Dates, from Brokeback Mountain to Lord of the Rings, from Spider-Man 3 to Fahrenheit 9/11, from Saw to Raiders of the Lost Ark, and much more. Individual essays consider such topics as the rules that govern new blockbuster franchises, the ‘posthumanist realism’ of digital cinema, video game adaptations, increasingly restricted stylistic norms, the spatial stories of social networks like YouTube, the mainstreaming of queer culture, and the cognitive paradox behind enjoyable viewing of traumatic events onscreen.
With its cast of international film scholars, Film Theory and Contemporary Hollywood Movies demonstrates the remarkable contributions theory can offer to film studies and moviegoers alike.
"this is an audacious, thoughtful volume that demands close attention…Highly recommended." -CHOICE
Introduction, Warren Buckland
Part One: New Practices, New Aesthetics
1. New Hollywood, New Millennium, Thomas Schatz
2. The Supernatural in Neo-Baroque Hollywood, Sean Cubitt
3. Man without a Movie Camera—Movies without Men: Towards a Posthumanist Cinema? William Brown
4. Movie-games and Game-movies: Towards an Aesthetic of Transmediality, Douglas Brown and Tanya Krzywinska
5. Saw Heard: Musical Sound Design in Contemporary Cinema, K.J. Donnelly
6. The Shape of 1999: The Stylistics of American Movies at the End of the Century, Barry Salt
7. Tales of Epiphany and Entropy: Paranarrative Worlds on YouTube, Thomas Elsaesser
Part Two: Feminism, Philosophy, and Queer Theory
8. Reformulating the Symbolic Universe: Kill Bill and Tarantino’s Transcultural Imaginary, Saša Vojkovic´
9. (Broke)back to the Mainstream: Queer Theory and Queer Cinemas Today, Harry M. Benshoff
10. Demystifying Deleuze: French Philosophy Meets Contemporary US Cinema, David Martin-Jones
Part Three: Rethinking Affects, Narration, Fantasy, and Realism
11. Trauma, Pleasure, and Emotion in the Viewing of Titanic: A Cognitive Approach, Carl Plantinga
12. Mementos of Contemporary American Cinema: Identifying and Responding to the Unreliable Narrator in the Movie Theater, Volker Ferenz
13. Fantasy Audiences versus Fantasy Audiences, Martin Barker
14. "What is There Really in the World?" Forms of Theory, Evidence and Truth in Fahrenheit 9/11: A Philosophical and Intuitionist Realist Approach, Ian Aitken
Notes on Contributors
AFI Film Readers, published in cooperation with the American Film Institute, focus on important issues and themes in film and media scholarship.