SlamDunk! Studios

"creative and analytical writing"


District 9 (film essay)

Posted on June 25, 2012 at 8:40 AM Comments comments (127)

The aliens encountered in District 9 (Blomkamp 2009) are treated with the same level of distain and indifference usually reserved for refugees and ethnic minorities. While the majority of “alien invasion” films depict humanity’s initial contact with extra-terrestrial life, District 9 concerns itself with the aftermath of “first encounter”; the process and struggle of co-existence. The film is set in South Africa and bears significant similarit...

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The Proposition (film essay)

Posted on June 18, 2012 at 9:00 AM Comments comments (0)

The Proposition (Hillcoat 2005) is bleak, brutal depiction of Australia’s colonial history, which challenges the romanticism of the bushranger legend. The film presents ideas of heroism, villainy and innocence with a degree of ambiguity (Stadler 68). This moral vagueness is manifested through the characters of the film.

The protagonists struggle to do right, but are tortured and oppressed by the forces of man and nature; meanwhile, the truly despicable cha...

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The History of Australian Cinema (film essay)

Posted on June 7, 2012 at 9:20 AM Comments comments (2)

The Early Australian Film Industry

Australia was quite prolific during the silent era of movies, along with America and France. It even produced the first full-length feature film, in the form of 1906’s The Story of the Kelly Gang (Tait). During the 1920s, however, there was a critical decline in audience attendance rates. Following World War I, there was simply a lack of interest in Australian stories, which was further aggravated by the banning of bushra...

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Violence in Video Games (soc essay)

Posted on May 20, 2012 at 9:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Moral panic regarding the depiction of violence has dogged video game culture for almost thirty years. Scott’s (1995) study was unable to establish a correlation between playing violent video games, and increased aggressiveness. He found that the participants who were exposed to a number of violent games had their aggressiveness marginally increased, while those who played the moderately violent games actually decreased their aggressiveness. However, given that this study was cond...

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The Hobbit (lit essay)

Posted on April 28, 2012 at 8:55 AM Comments comments (16)

Strength, bravery, boldness, and resilience – these are some of the characteristics that embody the hero of Homeric legend. This classical hero, almost always a man, is as much a symbol of masculinity as he is moral virtue. At first glance, Bilbo Baggins, the protagonist of The Hobbit (Tolkien 1937), could not be further from this portrait of gallantry. He is polite, nervous, and concerned chiefly with personal comfort and social perception. Yet, beneath this timid persona ...

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They're a Weird Mob (film essay)

Posted on April 1, 2012 at 8:45 AM Comments comments (4)

They’re a Weird Mob (Michael Powell 1966) presents a unique portrait of Australian society, through the eyes of an Italian immigrant. It takes place during the period of the White Australia policy, before the nation adopted multiculturalism. Thus, racial, religious, and geographic divisions are still quite pronounced, and a feeling of “us against them” pervades many of the characters. The film depicts Australia as insulated and resistant to the...

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The Tragedy of King Lear (lit essay)

Posted on November 2, 2011 at 4:40 AM Comments comments (126)

King Lear (William Shakespeare 1623) traces a father’s decent into madness, after dividing his kingdom up between two of his three daughters, based on flattery. The King’s foolishness brings about tragic consequences for his family and people. Lear’s own insanity grows in parallel with the chaos and bloodshed that has befallen his realm, and many of the characters begin to ask themselves why the gods torment them so; for their sins of for “sport”. Th...

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Terminator 2 & Beauty and the Beast (film essay)

Posted on October 14, 2011 at 4:15 AM Comments comments (1)

Masculinity is a difficult concept to define, especially with the way traditional gender roles have shifted and transformed through the latter half of the 20th century. Typically, it refers to the possession of male characteristics and qualities, such as physical strength or aggression. It might also be associated with ideas of leadership, virility and assertiveness. Since femininity is sometimes seen as submissive or dependant, masculine modes will often strive to be dominan...

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Thoughts After Ruskin (lit essay)

Posted on September 27, 2011 at 5:05 AM Comments comments (21)

Elma Mitchell’s poem, Thoughts After Ruskin, is a unique portrait of women. It is not about a particular woman, but rather the nature and manner of women within a domestic setting. It depicts domestic life with a gritty, violent urgency that goes against the idealised view of femininity and grace. The poem’s title is addressing John Ruskin, and other male poets, who romanticise the nature of women; and contrasts their flowery language with a harsh reality. This essay ...

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Fight Club (film essay)

Posted on September 2, 2011 at 4:45 AM Comments comments (0)

The term “masochism” refers to the condition of deriving pleasure from pain. A masochist is a person who feels pleasure, especially sexual gratification, from receiving physical or emotional abuse. In the film Fight Club (Fincher 1999), the ability to endure violence or torment is marked as a symbol of masculinity. Indeed, the group’s doctrine seems to revolve around the breaking down of one’s body and mind, so that it may be rebuilt into something stronge...

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Paradise Saved (lit essay)

Posted on August 2, 2011 at 4:55 AM Comments comments (9)

A.D. Hope’s Paradise Saved is a retelling of humanity’s original sin in the Garden of Eden. It describes Adam’s refusal to partake in the fruit of knowledge, thus damning Eve into the wilderness alone, while he remains safe in God’s paradise. However, Adam continues to pine after Eve, and feels empty within God’s grace and devotion, because his love has been denied. This essay will analyse the structure and form of the poem, and how it has ...

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White Noise & Pulp Fiction (film/lit essay)

Posted on June 4, 2011 at 12:40 AM Comments comments (1)

The novel White Noise and the film Pulp Fiction are postmodern texts that utilise a “[montage] of tones, styles, and voices” to examine the “terror and wild humour as the essential tone of contemporary America” (Lentricchia). Both texts employ pastiche and intertextuality to explore the consumerist, media-saturated societies in which they inhabit. They also contrast themes of human violence and amorality with a postmodern self-awareness. In ot...

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Akira (film essay)

Posted on May 26, 2011 at 12:40 AM Comments comments (1)

The Japanese anime film Akira reflects a “love-hate attitude toward monsters” that suggests ambivalence about the future of Japan (Napier). This essay will explore this interpretation of the film, drawing on Japan’s rise as an industrial nation in the aftermath of the Hiroshima-Nagasaki bombings. It will examine Japan’s role as a global superpower, contrasting it with cultural feelings of victimisation, antagonism and fear at the hands of the West. These co...

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Group Polarisation (soc essay)

Posted on May 4, 2011 at 11:50 PM Comments comments (1)

The reasoning and decision-making process of an individual is altered, sometimes dramatically, when played out within the context of a group discussion. Social dynamics, such as firm leadership, minority or dissenting opinion, and the pressures of conformity, all play a role in determining the outcome of people’s choices. “Group polarisation” occurs when a dominant point of view is reinforced through conformity, and opposing views are ignored or suppressed. This ...

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The Killer (film essay)

Posted on April 17, 2011 at 12:40 AM Comments comments (3)

In The Killer, the tendency for violence to coincide with episodes of heightened emotion reflects wider social tensions in Hong Kong between 1984 and 1997. This essay will discuss how the film responds to Hong Kong’s political climate at the time of its release; examining religious themes as well as the depiction of Chinese masculinity and male bonding.

The Killer is a classic tale of loyal...

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Mother Courage and Her Children (lit essay)

Posted on April 10, 2011 at 12:50 AM Comments comments (1)

The early decades of the twentieth century were marked by significant challenges to, and anxiety about, traditional definitions of gender, which were reflected in the literature and art of the time. This essay will discuss the treatment of gender in Mother Courage and Her Children (Brecht 1939). It will focus of the portrayal of femininity in the play; examining character development and attitudes towards gender within the setting of play and when it was composed.

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Modern Times (film essay)

Posted on April 4, 2011 at 12:50 AM Comments comments (0)

Discussion Questions

Almost a decade after the introduction of “talkies”, Modern Times was released as largely a silent film. The only audible dialogue (apart from the singing waiters at the end) comes from machines, like radios and television screens. Why do you think Chaplin chose to keep most of the film silent? And how does it relate to the themes of the film?

This first question focuses on the context of the film. It is...

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Seven Samurai (film essay)

Posted on March 28, 2011 at 12:45 AM Comments comments (0)

This report will outline what is meant by the terms “high culture” and “popular culture”, comparing and contrasting their relevance to Asian cinema. In defining these terms, it will also refer to the film Seven Samurai.

High culture refers to a set of artistic products held in the highest esteem by an elite culture; usually aristocracy or intelligentsia. It is contrasted with popular or low culture, which supposedly appeals to the l...

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The Celebration (film essay)

Posted on October 15, 2010 at 12:30 AM Comments comments (1)

The Celebration is the first entry in the Danish film movement, Dogma 95. Film-makers Lars von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg crafted the Dogme Manifesto (or “Vow of Chastity”) in an effort to “cleanse cinema of an obsessive concern for technique” and “rehabilitate a cinema which foregrounded the story [and] the inner life of its characters” (Hjort). They rejected the “superficiality and ‘trickery’” of mainstream film...

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Hound of the Baskervilles (lit essay)

Posted on October 4, 2010 at 12:50 AM Comments comments (0)

Discussion Questions

How does the author, Arthur Conan Doyle, depict class differences?

This question feeds in directly into Victorian attitudes, both through the minds of the author and his characters. As educated, white males Doyle and Holmes seem to belittle virtually every other human experience. Though they rely on the lower classes for tasks of manual labour, neither mans treats them with very much dignity. This question is design...

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