Film & TV

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. 

Video Verdict: "The Help," "The Debt" Arrive on DVD

Forrest Hartman

Kathryn Stockett’s novel “The Help” has spent more than 100 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, and the movie adaptation is easily one of the best films of 2011. Set in Jackson, Mississippi, in the 1960s, the picture focuses on Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan (Emma Stone), a progressive white journalist disgusted with the way black maids are being treated.

Video Verdict (Week of November 28)

Forrest Hartman

If Jesse Eisenberg has an acting superpower, it’s his ability to deliver pitch-perfect representations of the Generation Y everyman. His unassuming charm goes a long way in “30 Minutes or Less,” an entertaining comedy that is completely reliant on his ability to make the audience care.

Video Verdict (Week of November 21)

Forrest Hartman

Writer-director-producer J.J. Abrams had a hit with his 2009 reboot of the “Star Trek” franchise, and his latest project has elements of science-fiction as well. In “Super 8,” Abrams tells the story of six youths who find themselves in a spectacular and frightening adventure when a train derails near their small Ohio town.

Lost in Liberal Hollywood: So Which Films Do Conservatives Prefer?

Kurt Thurber

To conservatives, the makers of movies are purveyors of socialism, the disintegration of “traditional values” and the nuclear family. As far back as the McCarthy Hearings in the 1950s, when Republican Senators tried to ferret out communist Hollywood screenwriters, friction has existed between the entertainment industry and conservative entities in the United States. 


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