NEW FOR TUESDAY APR 28: SCOOB!, GUNS AKIMBO, SONIC THE HEDGEHOG, AND FILM SCHOOL MOVIES

NEW TO PRE-ORDER

Scoob!

Small dog and kid smiling at each other on bed

The infamous mystery solving gang is back in Scoob! In this animated adventure, Scooby-Doo, Shaggy, Fred, Velma and Daphne are out to solve yet another spooky mystery: a plot to unleash a ghost dog on the world! But will they solve the case before it’s too late? Pre-order now and watch with the whole family on May 15th.

NEW TO RENT

Guns Akimbo

man holding two guns

Prepare to see Daniel Radcliffe like never before. In Guns Akimbo, Radcliffe’s shy guy character gets in a crazy situation where he has to fight an underground gang to save his girlfriend – with two guns nailed to his hands. This action-packed ride is just as bizarre as you’d think, and it’s here to take gamer culture to a whole new level.

Sonic the Hedgehog

blue hedgehog in grass

The wait is over. Sonic the Hedgehog is coming to your televisions, signature-red shoes and all. This little guy is bringing video game nostalgia, laughs, and some surprising lessons too. Make your next Family Movie Night electric with Sonic today.

Do-It-Yourself Film School at Home

Arrival

Arrival movie poster

Arrival follows the story of a linguist named Louise, played by Amy Adams, who is hired to do the job of a lifetime – figure out how to communicate with aliens who’ve come to Earth. This Oscar-winning movie makes some interesting use of symbolism and light to portray its overarching themes in some really powerful ways.

Egg shape in big field with fog

When we see the alien spaceship for the first time, its massive size on the empty landscape is jarring and peaks our curiosity about what’s inside. But what’s notable is that we’re first introduced to the element of fog. The fog adds to the mystery as the camera comes closer to reveal the whole scene. Fog has been used as a symbol to portray the unknown in art and films for decades, with movies like The Fog making it the source of the supernatural, and Silent Hill using it to create a sense of doom.

woman standing in fog with strange shapes

Arrival takes fog in a different direction from the horror genre. When we meet the aliens, they too are enveloped in fog so we can’t clearly see them. And later we discover that their language also has an inky, foggy quality to it too. This ties back to the overarching themes of the movie that take a look at the way humanity wants a clear-cut and solidified rigid answer for why the aliens have come to Earth. And why they take the wrong approach to try to understand these beings in the first place. This continues through the use of light and darkness in the movie as well.

Before Louise first encounters the aliens, she spends a lot of time in dimly lit places like her bedroom and the classroom where she teaches. But once she makes it up the spaceship, the lighting from their environment is strikingly bright. It’s worth noting that the lighting in the military barracks below is also much dimmer. Lighting has been used as the symbol for enlightenment for decades, reminding us that the aliens have come down to Earth to show humans a better way to exist. But before that can happen, the determined humans in the barracks below have to be willing to step out of the dark and open up their eyes to see.

humans standing in front of foggy light in tunnel

Arrival is a thought-provoking sci-fi story with a rare humanistic touch for the genre, and that truly comes through in its use of symbolism and cinematography.

The Godfather

The Godfather movie poster

The Godfather is one of the greatest movies of all time, and with good reason. This epic film tells the story of the head of the Corleone mafia family and the challenges his son faces in earning his bloody legacy.

man sitting with man in dark office

Like in other noteworthy films, the use of light in the Godfather is powerful and especially effective in the opening scene of the film. When we are first introduced to Don Corleone, his office is almost pitch black, everyone in the room is dimly lit. Don Corleone is in the center of the room with a light shining down upon him. The use of light here clearly portrays him as the all-powerful, all-knowing man, and we immediately understand exactly how important he is to the story. But we also get a sinister vibe about it as his eyes are in the shadows too, keeping a distance between us and his untouchable intensity, and hinting that dark times are coming ahead.

happy people standing in sunlight
The lighting keeps evolving throughout the movie. When Don Corleone comes home from the hospital, the lighting in the following scenes as his big family greets him are all significantly brighter and warmer toned than before. This makes us get a sense of hope that maybe things will turn out okay, though we later come to find out that’s far from the case.

The use of music and sound also add to the dramatic effect. During one of the film’s most iconic scenes, the head of a studio wakes up to find the severed head of his prized horse at the foot of his bed. While it takes him a little time to understand what’s happened, the music is softer, and the closer he gets to the horror, the louder the music gets as he screams bloody murder. This amplifies our own discomfort as we realize what has happened and how frightening the Corleone family actually is. During many dramatic scenes following, the background music gets louder and louder to amplify the tension and make us wonder what will happen next.

man in silk pajamas screaming

Sound and lighting are some of the key elements to portray the true power of The Godfather, and they really help take us inside the story.

Rosemary’s Baby

Rosemary's baby movie poster

Rosemary’s Baby is a Roman Polanski classic very much worth re-visiting today, following the story of a woman who gets pregnant under very strange circumstances that deal with the occult.

The use of color is key in symbolizing the sinister in the film. Up until Rosemary gets pregnant, she mostly wears pastels and we don’t see any striking color on screen. Once we witness her strange dream-like state in the pivotal scene, she’s wearing uncharacteristic bright red. There is also a red hell-like fire in the room, and as her husband gets close, he transforms into a demonic creature with red eyes. Before this scene it hasn’t been clear what’s been going on with Rosemary’s strange neighbors and visions, and whether Rosemary is imagining that something is really wrong or not. But this is where we’re practically hit over the head with it and can no longer escape or deny it.

woman in red laying on bed in sea

The use of the music is also key in raising the tension in the movie, and it changes the closer Rosemary gets to the truth of what’s happening to her. At the beginning of the movie when Rosemary is full of hope and dreams of her new life, the music is much more pleasant and soft. But as she realizes what’s happening to her through the movie, the music gets louder and warped. By the time Rosemary is getting dragged back to her home after failing to escape the Satanic cult, the loud background music almost has a fun-house mirror quality that drives us to the brink of insanity, taking us right along the terrifying experience with Rosemary.

woman on phone in phone booth

Rosemary’s Baby is nothing short of bizarre, walking a line between the ridiculous and horror, and the classic use of symbolism and music really amplify it to take us along for the ride.

Learn about more classic film making techniques and styles in our Do-It-Yourself Film School.