Film & TV

It Takes a Village (to Make a Hollywood Hit)

Kat Kambes

Often the glitz and glamour of Hollywood supersedes the real “work” of the movie, and certainly the awards season does nothing to bring recognition to the many people who contribute to the success of a movie.  Many of the fields that are recognized: technological, sound design, set design, etc., are done so in hotel luncheons and dinners far away from the camera, or by taking out a page-sized ad of congratulations in Variety.  In this respect, Hollywood itself contributes to the limited vision that people outside of Los Angeles have of the industry. 

‘Delicacy’, the Foenkinos’ Debut Feature Film, Is Largely Forgettable Despite Its Occasional Charms

Elizabeth Pyjov

“Delicacy” is the first feature film of brothers Stéphane and David Foenkinos.  The film seems to have been made by rather inexperienced directors.  It flows from sentimentality to light comedy to tragedy in a way that is neither credible nor smooth. Its humor and gushiness would have been more appropriate for separate episodes of a longer soap opera than for a single film. 

“Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close,” “A Dangerous Method” Arrive on DVD, Blu-ray

Forrest Hartman

More than a decade has passed since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks shook the foundations of America, and in that time a number of feature films have examined their overwhelming impact. For the most part, these movies have received tepid welcomes at the box office.  In keeping with that trend, “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” had a quiet theatrical run. Still, it gained notice with two Oscar nominations: one for best picture and one for supporting actor Max von Sydow.

‘Game of Thrones’ is an Ideal Marriage Between Literature and the Small Screen

Rimpa Khangura

What has now become a popular HBO television show named after the first book, Game of Thrones, started out as a fantastical book series written by George R.R. Martin. Upon the first book’s release in 1996, fantasy enthusiasts everywhere flocked to the bookshelves.  Then came the anxious wait between each release that kept fans waiting with anticipation, with the fifth book released this past winter.  


“Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” Arrive on DVD, Blu-ray

Forrest Hartman

Despite its general excellence, director David Fincher’s film adaptation of “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” was a box office disappointment when it hit theaters in December. The poor audience response may have been due to stiff competition from “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol” and “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.” Another possibility is that the target audience couldn’t work up much enthusiasm after the 2009 Swedish version did such a fine job capturing the spirit of Stieg Larsson’s novel. Or it may have been that holiday audiences just weren’t in the mood for a picture that spends much of its time meditating on brutal rapes and murders. Whatever the reasons, too few people have seen this movie.

“The Descendants,” “My Week With Marilyn,” "Melancholia" Arrive on DVD, Blu-ray

Forrest Hartman

“The Descendants” was a major player at the 2012 Oscars, as it was nominated in five categories, and won the award for best adapted screenplay. Co-written and directed by Alexander Payne (“Sideways,” “About Schmidt”), “The Descendants” is a profound and moving portrait of a family in crisis.

When the Laughter Stopped: Remembering Television’s Halcyon Days

Mark Bizzell

Reality television shows such as SurvivorDancing with the Stars, and American Idol have been on top of the Nielsen TV ratings for more than a decade, a place where situation comedies used to sit.  While some comedy staples of the past few years, notably Modern Family and The Big Bang Theory, have stellar ratings and critical acclaim, they are not as groundbreaking as the comedies of the past.  Early 1970s sitcoms, like the highly rated All in the Family and Maude, dealt with social issues that networks now won’t touch in today’s hyper-partisan environment. 

“Immortals,” “Game of Thrones” Arrive on DVD, Blu-ray

Forrest Hartman

With “The Cell” and “The Fall,” Indian director Tarsem Singh made it clear that he values style above all, so it should come as no surprise that his take on Greek mythology -- "Immortals" -- is big, bold and visually impressive. Sadly, it is also dull.

Costumes, Crackpots and the Occult: The Best British TV Imports

Nancy D. Lackey Shaffer

It will be interesting to see what media analysts years from now make of television in the 2010s. The small screen has been so dominated by lush period pieces (The Tudors, The Borgias, Mad Men), procedurals driven by brilliant social misfits (House, Dexter, Bones), and supernatural dramas (The Vampire Diaries, The Walking Dead, True Blood), one wonders at the odd mix of nostalgia, monster mania and obsession with mad genius that lurks in Americans’ collective unconscious. For British programmers, these are very familiar waters, and US viewers are finding some UK offerings to be just their cup of tea.

Oscar-winning “Hugo," “Johnny English Reborn” Arrive on DVD, Blu-ray

Forrest Hartman

Director Martin Scorsese’s first stab at a family film couldn’t have gone better. “Hugo,” based on the 2007 picture book “The Invention of Hugo Cabret,” is a beautifully rendered work that’s appropriate for children, yet possesses more emotional and thematic depth than the majority of films for adults. In other words, “Hugo” may be marketed as a family drama, but it shouldn’t be pigeonholed.


Subscribe to RSS - Film & TV