Every Frame a Painting (YouTube Channel) Review

I know the danger recommending a YouTube channel. It can create an instant time-suck for your reader. It’s one of those “I’m sorry/you’re welcome” situations. But I can recommend Every Frame a Painting with no reservations. This channel’s host is a film editor and, as you might expect, the videos are beautifully edited. Film criticism on YouTube is a growing genre and I would recommend all of the following:  Movies with Mikey, Nerd Writer, The Dissolve (once upon a time), and Belated Media. Even Tested on Occasion has some excellent commentary.

The Every Frame a Painting channel looks so much better than any other channel on YouTube, even among the premium channels, because it exclusively uses images from the movies it comments on. And it does what all writers/storytellers are taught to do: show rather than tell.

A commentary distinguishes Jackie Chan from other action stars by demonstrating something that, as a kung fu fan, I’ve always enjoyed but never understood.  If you skip ahead to minute — you can see how holding a shot for a long time creates a great showcase for an athlete who’s a real fighter.  The length of the shot allows you to see the danger and the drama of the action being performed. In contrast, frantically cut action sequences that cover over the actions of less talented actors rob the story of its tension.

The famous quote about music criticism is,  “Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.” By the same token, words can’t always capture the heart of a movie.  But movie criticism on YouTube gets around translation problems because YouTube is an audiovisual medium itself. I have never seen movie reviews done more elegantly than in the Every Frame a Painting videos.

The David Fincher video provides another example of this. I knew I liked these movies, but I couldn’t get to the heart of what Fincher added to them. The storyteller in me would always say, “Well, that guy knows how to pick good scripts and he leaves the good parts in them.” But, of course, there’s a lot more to it than that. Tony shows what that is by using Fincher’s own work and often lets Fincher explain in his own words.

He explains the craft behind what used to seem to be magic, and by doing so, makes the magic that much more engaging.


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