Film & TV

Enough Already: The Rise of Lackluster Sequels

Sam Chapin

This past summer, there were seven film sequels or reboots, including Cars II, Transformers III, Spy Kids IV, Final Destination V, and Harry Potter VIII. This year there will be a total of 27 (according to Box Office Mojo), the largest number for any year in cinematic history. Where have all the new ideas gone? 

What Is Ailing Hispanic-American Cinema?

Kurt Thurber

Where is the Latin-American Tyler Perry? In his career, Perry has earned more than $500 million with his movies alone. This does not include the earnings from stage productions and his television show. Madea, Perry’s alter ego, has made bank by bringing African-American “urban” theater to the silver screen. According to the 2010 United States Census, 12.6% or 38.7  million of the total U.S. population is African-American, and 16 percent or 50.5 million are of Hispanic or Latino descent.

Louie, Breaking Bad, and the Rise of Quality Television

Andrew Cothren

It’s no secret that the summer television season isn’t exactly high quality. It’s typically a time for major networks to dump shows that were, for one reason or another, deemed  sub par for a  slot in their regular season lineup or to air reality shows and competitions that cost very little to produce-- which is why you end up with shows like Combat Hospital, an import from Canada, showing up on ABC’s primetime schedule, or competition shows like So You Think You Can Dance? airing multiple times in a given week.

        

The Epic Journey Away From the Super Woman

Kurt Thurber

O, gods of the box-office, why have you forsaken the female superhero lead? Superman, Batman, the Incredible Hulk and now Spiderman have been imagined and re-imagined.  This summer, second-tier comic book characters, Captain America, Thor and the Green Lantern, got their own movie with male leads. Yet, Wonder Woman and Batgirl are at home drinking tea with cotton balls between their toes watching Nights in Rodanthe for the 12th time.

Top 10 Films Every Highbrow Should Own

Forrest Hartman

Just before this year’s Independence Day weekend, I appeared on a morning radio show in Reno, N.V., and the hosts asked me to name my favorite July 4 movie. Without hesitation, I came back with the 1942 James Cagney film “Yankee Doodle Dandy.” Considering the hosts’ befuddled responses, I might as well have suggested a Leni Riefenstahl propaganda piece. Not only were they unfamiliar with the film, I had apparently strayed too far from the blockbuster titles I was expected to produce. 

 

Miranda July: Reality Dreamed and Dreaming Realized

Karen Pyudik

Ado Kyrou said that French filmmaker Georges Melies achieved in his films “the perfect mixture of reality dreamed and dreams made real.”  Much of the Melies spirit lives in the art of Miranda July. Some critics regard this soft-spoken, mild-mannered, yet casually guarded thirty-something as one of America’s finest contemporary artists. Though consensus of her place in cinema remains in dispute, only a handful of artists can boast that their work warrants a major debate about what constitutes filmmaking.

 

Is '30 Rock' Losing Steam?

Vivian Gomez

Since it premiered, 30 Rock has garnered praise from both critics and fans alike as one of the smartest and funniest shows on television today. It was difficult for people not to fall in love with endearingly nerdy workaholic Liz Lemon (Tina Fey), producer and head writer of TGS with Tracy Jordon, who has to deal with her hard-boiled, no-nonsense boss, Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin), the show’s stars, Jenna Maroney (Jane Krakowski) and Tracy Jordan (Tracy Morgan), and her writers.

 

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