brad pitt

Tarantino Delivers a Genius – and Peculiar – Masterpiece in ‘Once Upon a Time…’

Christopher Karr

The ending notwithstanding, there are times when the movie soars: The opening sequence that accompanies the credits is a breathtaking collage that plunges you completely into the headspace and milieu a different totally time. Brad Pitt gives the coolest performance of his career, and I mean “coolest” in the purest possible sense: cooler than Brando at his coolest, cooler than Steve McQueen (who appears as a character in the film long enough to give a monologue before disappearing completely). Pitt’s rapport with his dog is one of the more touching elements. 

‘The Judge,’ ‘Fury’ Arrive on Home Video

Forrest Hartman

Robert Duvall has again entered the Oscars race thanks to his portrayal of a grumpy-but-fair-minded legal professional in “The Judge.” The movie features Robert Downey Jr. as Hank Palmer, a flashy, big-city defense attorney who returns to his tiny, Indiana hometown for his mother’s funeral. Director David Dobkin wastes no time establishing that Hank and his father, Joseph (Duvall), have unresolved problems. The latter is a no-nonsense judge known for dispensing firm rulings.

Manufacturing Identity: The Art Behind the Cult of Celebrity

Benjamin Wright

With the revolution in new technologies that was part of the larger revolution in industry more than just strong character and virtue was needed to be famous. In the age of television commercials, public relations and televised debates (as the Kennedy-Nixon debate amply demonstrated) it is questionable whether a man like George Washington could be elected president if he were to run for office today, when image has in so many ways supplanted substance. 

Hollywood Finally Catches Up With History

Salamishah Tillet

Steve McQueen's masterful 12 Years a Slave has already changed history in two major ways: It is the first Hollywood-backed movie on slavery directed by a black filmmaker, and based on Solomon Northup's 1853 oral account, it is the first film ever based on an actual slave narrative. While the former results from the dearth of black directors who are able to get historical dramas funded and distributed by major studios, the latter reveals a more troubling truth. 

‘The Bling Ring,’ ‘World War Z’ Arrive on DVD, Blu-ray

Forrest Hartman

Writer-director Sophia Coppola’s “The Bling Ring” is a fascinating exposé of American celebrity and consumer culture. The film is based on Nancy Jo Sales’ terrific Vanity Fair article, “The Suspect Wore Louboutins,” and it focuses on the real-life story of several teens and young adults who robbed celebrity homes in exclusive Los Angeles neighborhoods. In the film, the youth use the Internet to determine when Hollywood stars are away from home and plunder their places at will. 

‘Lincoln,’ ‘Killing Them Softly’ Arrive on DVD, Blu-ray

Forrest Hartman

Day-Lewis won his third best actor Oscar for his portrayal of Lincoln, and he is deserving of the award. Despite his English roots, the actor disappears so thoroughly into the role that it’s hard to imagine anyone else – American or British – playing it. As depicted by Day-Lewis, Lincoln is a charismatic man who is quick with a story and a smile, but he’s also a fearless champion of his beliefs.    

The Darkest Knight: James Holmes and the Choice of Destruction Over Ethos

Russell Morse

Movies reflect, predict and process the violence and ethos of a generation. And in the case of the recent shooting in the movie theater in Colorado, The Dark Knight Rises became the setting for a real-life tragedy. It's worth considering that if the shooter had actually seen the film, things might have turned out differently. Maybe.

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