Film Theory and Contemporary Hollywood Movies: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Film Theory and Contemporary Hollywood Movies

1st Edition

Edited by Warren Buckland


358 pages

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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

Table of Contents

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


About the Editor

Warren Buckland is Senior Lecturer in Film Studies at Oxford Brookes University. His authored and edited books include Puzzle Films, Directed by Steven Spielberg, Studying Contemporary American Film (with Thomas Elsaesser), and The Cognitive Semiotics of Film. He also edits the New Review of Film and Television Studies.

About the Series

AFI Film Readers

AFI Film Readers, published in cooperation with the American Film Institute, focus on important issues and themes in film and media scholarship.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PERFORMING ARTS / Film & Video / History & Criticism
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Media Studies