Film & TV

The Original ‘Roots’ Was Superb – Why Is There a Remake?

Martin Johnson

To tell this story was revolutionary in 1977. It presented African Americans through African-American eyes in a dramatic and historically significant context. At that time, black people on television were typically seen in the context of white society or setting up gag lines like Jimmy Walker’s “Dyn-o-mite” exclamations. The presentations of  slavery’s inhumane brutality flew in the face of my high school teachers in Dallas, who contended that slavery helped blacks and that more whites than Africans died during the slave trade. 

Lewis Carroll's Fantasy World Returns in New ‘Alice’ Film

Marie-Louise Gumuchian

Lewis Carroll's much-loved heroine Alice returns to the big screen for more fantasy adventures in "Alice Through the Looking Glass," going through a mirror and then traveling back in time to help her friend, the flamboyant Mad Hatter. The colorful movie with plenty of special effects follows the 2010 box-office hit "Alice in Wonderland," with Johnny Depp, Mia Wasikowska and Helena Bonham Carter returning as the Mad Hatter, Alice and the Red Queen, respectively.

Exploring Cambodia’s Trauma of Silence

Andrew Lam

For "Daze of Justice," his first film, Siv says he was drawn to the idea that people of his mother’s generation, who had long kept silent, were now seeking justice. What they find, and what the audience discovers over the course of the film, is that for victims of war, justice is often illusive, like an exotic animal one hears of but rarely sees. In another scene from the film, Siv’s group of survivors sit under a veranda alongside Pheng and a crowd of others - presumably victims or their descendants - as they watch a screen depicting the court proceedings happening just inside. 

Director Ken Loach Offers Another Pessimistic View of England in New Film

Julient Pretot

Fifty years after TV play "Cathy Come Home" shocked viewers with its grim depiction of the slide into homelessness, director Ken Loach is still angry about the precarious reality of life on the breadline in Britain, and tries not to be too pessimistic. In his latest film "I, Daniel Blake", at the Cannes Film Festival, Loach, 79, shows how Britain's social security system conspires to drive a downtrodden carpenter and a single mother of two into poverty in the northeastern city of Newcastle.

Lost and Found: The Life of Artist Edith Lake Wilkinson

Sandra Bertrand

Anderson and Tess busy themselves with painting the walls green at the Larkin Gallery for Edith’s first show in over 90 years and the reception is obviously a successful one.   Along with the exhibit preparations, Anderson finds out through a letter that one of the town’s history buffs shares, that before Edith’s incarceration, she was planning a trip to Paris. She had big plans for her future. Another rather humorous event is a visit Anderson pays to a local psychic who supposedly “channels” Edith, relating how the woman “loved to party and made a lethal rum punch.”

‘Miles Ahead’ Features Jazz Legend Miles Davis’ Mute Years

Lisa Baertlein

Miles Davis, one of America's most iconic and prolific musicians, went musically mute for several years in the 1970s, and actor Don Cheadle plumbed that silence in his visually jazzy directorial film debut "Miles Ahead." "We wanted to find a way to tell the story that would give us the latitude and the license to show a creative person trying to figure out how to be creative again," said Cheadle, who also stars in and co-wrote the independent film.

A Darker, More Fierce Wonder Woman Emerges in 'Batman v Superman'

Piya Sinha-Roy

The film, which opens around the world this week, introduces Israeli actress Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman and sees Holly Hunter as a senator determined to hold Superman accountable for the destruction caused by his actions. Diane Lane plays Superman's mother, Martha Kent. Wonder Woman, also known as Diana Prince, is an elusive force in "Batman v Superman," immaculately dressed, coyly intelligent and drawing the attention of Ben Affleck's Bruce Wayne -- the playboy billionaire alter-ego of Batman.

The Makings of a TV Show: How ‘Server Life’ Happened

Christopher Karr

Our endless conversations about these characters led us to creating a gallery around Christmas of 2013. We drew stick figures on pages from a sketch pad, wrote basic descriptors, and posted them on the wall above our TV. For months our living room looked like an eight-year-old was trying to solve a crime scene. We’d look at the stick figures and consider how they might interact with each other. We would come home from work every night, regroup, and share stories from the insane shifts we managed to make it through. 

Move Over, Oscar: Diversity Takes Center Stage at the Spirit Awards

Piya Sinha-Roy

The Netflix film "Beasts of No Nation," about child soldiers in West Africa and starring a cast of black actors, took two awards, with teen newcomer Abraham Attah winning best actor and Britain's Idris Elba winning best supporting actor. Attah, who beat out contenders including Jason Segel and Ben Mendelsohn, thanked everyone involved in the production of the film, from Elba and director Cary Fukunaga to the costume designers.

Chris Rock and the Balancing Act of Humor and Diversity at the Oscars

Jill Serjeant

Rock, a stand-up comedian and former "Saturday Night Live" cast member, was chosen to host Sunday's Academy Awards for a second time last October -- long before the #OscarsSoWhite furor that has overshadowed the biggest annual celebration of the movie industry. He first hosted the awards in 2005. Most award watchers agree he's turned out to be the perfect choice.

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