Film & TV

‘Battle of the Sexes’ -- Then and Now

Lynn Sherr

That scene, in Battle of the Sexes, the smartly engaging and depressingly relevant new movie about the match starring Emma Stone and Steve Carell, is a blast from the past loaded with lessons for the future, an eerie reminder that today’s rebloom of sexism is a scary echo of decades — actually, centuries — of innate and cultural misogyny. And it’s a handy playbook to get through our current crisis. Crises.

How ‘SNL’ Became a Major Contender at the Emmy Awards

Jill Serjeant

“Saturday Night Live” found laughter and lampoonery in America’s fraught political and social scene, and on Sunday the satirical sketch show looks set to reap the benefits at the Emmy awards, the highest honors in television. Led by Alec Baldwin’s withering impersonations of U.S. President Donald Trump and Melissa McCarthy’s winning turn as former White House spokesman Sean Spicer, the show earned 22 Emmy nominations after its most-watched season in 23 years.

From ‘The Wire ‘to ‘The Deuce’: Discussing HBO's Newest Series

Stephen A. Crockett and Yesha Callahan

The Deuce is an eight-episode look at the sex industry and the corruption of the NYPD, before it became a billion-dollar business, and much like The Wire before it, all of the players involved from Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter and his bushy mutton chops side burns, to Maggie Gyllenhaal’s gentle touch as prostitute Eileen “Candy” Merrell are genuinely taking us into the once real and now imagined gritty piss-stench of New York Time’s Square.

‘The Vietnam War’: An Interview With Filmmakers Ken Burns and Lynn Novick

Andrew Lam

It’s about a White House in disarray, obsessed with leaks. About a president who accuses the media of lying, of making up stories… and accusations of a presidential campaign reaching out during the time of a national election to a foreign power to help them affect that election by intervention.’ And you'd say, ‘My goodness, that’s what’s going right now!’ And I'd say, ‘Nope, these are only a handful of things, out of perhaps dozens of things during the Vietnam period, that resonate today.’ 

The NYC Independent Film Festival 2017: A Sea of Surprises

Sandra Bertrand

Sampling an independent film festival is a little like putting a toe in murky waters.  Every genre is here, from animation, documentary, narrative, experimental, virtual reality, short to super short—there’s nothing to do but dive in. As the flyer promises, it’s “never boring.” Dennis Cieri, the NYC Independent Film Festival executive director and founder says, “it’s the indie filmmakers who change the nature of cinematography, as an industry and an art.”  For this eighth year, Cierti’s crew assembled 85 judges to rate 1,278 films.  

Dear Oscars: Don’t Do to ‘Moonlight’ What You Did to These Black Films

Lawrence Ware

This is a historic year, but I’ve learned to temper my enthusiasm about black folks winning Academy Awards. While winning the coveted Oscar is often considered the high mark of one’s career, there are many examples of when the academy failed to recognize the best film made in a given year or even the best actor or actress nominated. I will never forgive the academy for failing to nominate Do the Right Thing for best picture. That year the Oscar went to Driving Miss Daisy.

Oscar-Nominated Doc Brings Back James Baldwin’s Voice for New Generation

Damaso Reyes

If you think the height of documentary filmmaking comes from the brain of Ken Burns, Peck’s taut exploration of the life of one of America’s literary geniuses will come as a welcome revelation. Yes, there is archival footage mixed in with contemporary imagery, but there are no talking heads. There are no historians or professors emeritus explaining what we have or are about to see on-screen. For the most part, we simply have Baldwin himself, alternating mostly between frustration and indignation and occasionally bemusement.

‘Fences’ Debuts on the Big Screen to Rave Reviews

Nsenga K. Burton

August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play ‘Fences’ has finally made it to the big screen, directed by Academy Award-winning actor Denzel Washington. Wilson’s masterful storytelling about a working-class family living in a historic Pittsburgh neighborhood and fighting for survival, personally and professionally, jumps off the screen under Washington’s brilliant direction. 

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. 

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. 

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