Second City’s Harold Ramis Film School Opens This Fall
The Second City is expanding with the launch of a comedy-focused film school. According to The Chicago Tribune, Second City Chicago is set to open “the world’s first film school dedicated to comedy,” which it’s named after one of its most famous filmmaker alums: The Harold Ra... [Read More]
Using Shock and Violence for Comedy's Sake in 'Wild Tales'
by Brad Becker-Parton Oscar Best Foreign Language film nominee Wild Tales, directed by Argentine filmmaker Damián Szifron, is an anthology of six short films tackling the topic of revenge. The shorts, beginning with a short pre-credit sequence that sets the tone of sadistic retribution that c... [Read More]
How 'Parks and Rec' Transcended its Mockumentary Roots
by Brad Becker-Parton NBC’s Parks and Recreation ended its seven-season run Tuesday night and will go down as undoubtedly my favorite sitcom of its era. Created as a spinoff of The Office by writers Greg Daniels and Michael Schur, the first season mostly mimicked that mockumentary style and ev... [Read More]
Looking at the Comedy-ish Movies That Premiered at Sundance This Year
by Brad Becker-Parton Sundance 2015, the unofficial film industry new year marker, has come and gone, leaving in its wake as usual a pile of must-see titles, underappreciated gems, and new talent. The quintessential “modern Sundance film” is a quirky indie comedy compiled from equal part... [Read More]
The Best Comedy Directors of 2014
by Brad Becker-Parton As this column wraps up its first full year, I present the 1st Annual 2014 Comedy Film School Awards. These awards are determined by a voting body of one and hold all the prestige and none of the starpower of the Hollywood Film Awards. The idea is not to rank or give out superl... [Read More]
'High Maintenance' and the Art of the Audience Surrogate
by Brad Becker-Parton With the release of three new episodes last week, High Maintenance went from the one web series you need to be watching to the one web series you still need to be watching. Long-trumpeted by critics of both traditional and new media as the pinnacle of what creators are accompli... [Read More]
How Adam McKay Directs at the Top of His Intelligence
by Brad Becker-Parton Adam McKay’s path to becoming a director began as a notoriously mischievous improvisor under the tutelage of guru Del Close in Chicago, then joining SNL as a writer, eventually ascending to head writer in the mid-nineties. It was there he began his collaboration with Will... [Read More]
The Subtle Brilliance of Jill Soloway's 'Transparent'
by Brad Becker-Parton Transparent, Amazon’s foray into the Netflix-infested waters of quality internet binge watching, is deservedly the most critically-lauded show of this Fall television season (and was just renewed for a second season). Created by writer/director Jill Soloway (writer/p... [Read More]
Is 'Modern Family' Really the Best-Directed Comedy on TV?
by Brad Becker-Parton On Monday night, Gail Mancuso took home the Emmy for “Outstanding Direction for a Comedy Series” for her work the Modern Family season five episode “Las Vegas.” This was Mancuso’s second win in a row and the show’s fourth win in a row in this... [Read More]
How Richard Linklater Uses Naturalism to Find Comedy
by Brad Becker-Parton Richard Linklater is having what can probably be considered the most visible period of his career with the release of his highly anticipated and equally regarded Boyhood. This marks the first time that the box office success and critical success of one of his projects coalesced... [Read More]