So I recently watched the movie Unstoppable, where Denzel Washington has to stop an out-of-control train. It’s a very good movie, but I was distracted by all of these quick little zooms. Not dramatic zooms into Denzel’s face as he says “Unstoppable? I don’t think so!” [Not actual movie quote] but constant quick little zooms in and out, as if the cameraman didn’t quite have the shot he wanted.
It happened so often, and for no conceivable artistic reason, that I thought maybe my TV was trying to auto-correct the aspect ratio or something. I kept messing with the settings, and, nope, constant tiny zooms. Weird.
After that I watched Jeff, Who Lives At Home. Same frickin’ thing! Constant distracting mini-zooms. A charming little movie, but watching it reminded me of the annoyance level of a VHS tape where you could never quite get the tracking perfect. Clearly, I was going to have to figure out a way to fix this, or get a new TV.
Then I read reviews of both movies…which criticize the filmmakers for the constant mini-zooms. Roger Ebert’s review of Jeff, Who Lives at Home says:
“One stylistic note: In nearly every scene, the Duplass brothers use quick little zooms in and out….They’re good directors. They’ll outgrow this.”