Film & TV

Angelina Jolie’s Directorial Debut Highlights the Troubled History of Former Yugoslavia

Trevor Laurence Jockims

In The Land of Blood and Honey, written and directed by Angelina Jolie, focuses on the relationship between Danijel (Goran Kostić), a Bosnian-Serb soldier, and Ajla (Zana Marjanović), a Bosnian Muslim. Aside from a handful of largely forgettable films (Welcome to Sarajevo, Behind Enemy Lines, and Savior come to mind), the wars of 1992-1995 in the former Yugoslavia have received limited attention from Hollywood. 

Video Verdict: “Moneyball,” “Boardwalk Empire” Arrive on DVD, Blu-ray

Forrest Hartman

 “Moneyball,” director Bennett Miller’s fascinating biopic about Oakland Athletics manager Billy Beane was a critical hit in theaters. Now, it seems primed for an Oscar run. The movie is up for multiple honors at both the Golden Globes and Critics’ Choice Movie Awards, and these ceremonies have a good track record of predicting Oscar nominees.

 

Why “The Artist” Will Sweep the Golden Globes and Oscars

Elizabeth Pyjov

Michel Hazanavicius wrote and directed “The Artist.” He had been planning to make this film for more than 10 years, and producers refused to work with him because  Hazanavicius had his heart set on filming a silent, black-and-white movie. The idea sounded anachronistic and bizarre. Finally, Thomas Langmann took a risk and agreed to invest in the film, becoming its producer. To the fortune of audiences worldwide, “The Artist” was finally  released in late 2011. It is a project Hazanavicius loved and stayed devoted to for more than a decade, and in the end he created a work of exceptional beauty.

Video Verdict: “Contagion,” “The Guard” Arrive on DVD, Blu-ray

Forrest Hartman

Steven Soderbergh has a catalogue of great movies, including “Traffic” (2000), “Erin Brockovich” (2000), “Ocean’s 11” (2001) and “The Informant!” (2009). Now, he can add “Contagion” to that list.  The film takes a multi-pronged look at the spread of a virus that kills within days and leaves international healthcare professionals baffled. 

Director Steve McQueen Presents a Controversial Anti-hero in “Shame”

Elizabeth Pyjov

Some of the best movies have no villain  or hero. Director Steve McQueen’s main character Brandon, played by Michael Fassbender in what ought to be an Oscar-winning performance in “Shame,” is neither. McQueen’s new film is executed to a startling perfection. It reveals deeper truths about self-control and a lack thereof, and how self-control on the surface could be used to conceal a certain chaos and desperation within. 

Video Verdict: “Final Destination 5,” “The Borgias” Arrive on DVD, Blu-ray

Forrest Hartman

The “Final Destination” films have been around since 2000, and there is no foreseeable end to the franchise, despite 2009’s entry being heralded as the last. How do filmmakers continue a trip that was supposedly over? They make a prequel, of course.

 

Video Verdict: “Midnight in Paris,” “Warrior” Arrive on DVD, Blu-ray

Forrest Hartman

“Midnight in Paris” scored multiple nominations for the Golden Globes and Critics’ Choice Movie Awards, and the accolades are well-deserved. Written and directed by Woody Allen, the film is a slice of nostalgia that’s both a love letter to Paris and a reminder that there’s no time like the present.  

Golden Globes 2012: Eight Actors Who Should Have Been Nominated

Loren DiBlasi

The nominations for the 2012 Golden Globe awards, airing this January, have been announced. On the film front, there are some familiar names (Meryl Streep, Glenn Close, George Clooney) but also a few unexpected nominations (Rooney Mara, Kristen Wiig, Joseph Gordon-Levitt.) In television, many popular shows that we’ve seen nominated before (“Glee,” “Breaking Bad,” “Rescue Me”) were, for the most part, ignored. Instead, some surprises made the cut (“American Horror Story,” “Boss,” “Necessary Roughness”).

Video Verdict: "Fright Night," "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" Arrive on DVD, Blu-ray

Forrest Hartman

With “Fright Night,” director Craig Gillespie (“Lars and the Real Girl,” “Mr. Woodcock”) has delivered a satisfying vampire drama that should please fans of the 1985 original while welcoming viewers who don’t realize they’re watching a remake.

Politically Correct: How Hollywood Leverages Public Consciousness and Creates Taboo

Laura O’Brian

The same essential arguments made against smoking in movies can be made against almost any kind of activity that can be depicted in a film. Alcohol is highly addictive, poses public health risks, and intrigues teenagers. Are all activities capable of causing harm therefore unsuitable subject matter for movies? Of course not, because if this were policy, no one would watch movies, which is the last thing the MPAA wants. 

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