Hollywood

Wherefore Art Thou, Golden Age of Hollywood?

John McGovern

 The Graduate established that the old generation of Hollywood been had usurped by a new generation, Apocalypse Now served as a harsh reminder that the freedoms and economic prosperity of the ‘60s had started to fade away. Soon, Reagan would dismiss public pessimism brought about by the war in Vietnam as the “Vietnam Syndrome.” Coppola’s film was one of the last great reminders (in mainstream movies) that all good things must come to an end. During the past three-plus decades since the release of the latter film, U.S. cinema has not seen such a prolific time period, as the existence of original directors post-1980 has been more of an exception than a rule. 

Subversive Subservience: Exploring the History of Black Servitude in Hollywood

Sophia Dorval

It would appear that as usual, what's old is new again.   Yet even by modern Hollywood standards, the mere act of humanizing Black domestic characters who were denied lines and had long stood silently in the shadows of white stars in countless iconic films including Father of The Bride, is revolutionary.   While they may appear to simply be masculine and feminine versions of each other:  Both focus on changing attitudes regarding race in American society, and both focus on generational and cultural divides between parents and their offspring.   

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. 

Fernando Trueba's New Film Searches for the Artistic Ideal

William Eley

"So, the best we can do is to remain in a small corner eating some potatoes… while there is some left," thus states the artist in Fernando Trueba's latest feature The Artist and the Model.  This aforementioned declaration, or, perhaps, exhalation, summarizes well the central thesis of this mesmeric, black and white masterpiece:  war is an interruption, an impediment in the way of beauty and its purveyors.  

Women’s Films and Social Change

Maggie Hennefeld

The New York Times reported some “happy news” in January 2013: “9 percent of the top 250 movies at the domestic box office last year were made by female directors. That’s substantially higher than the 2011 figure of 5 percent.” While the increase in women directors has fostered the visibility of gender politics, the relationship between films made by women and films about the complexities of being a woman remains mystifying. 

Go East, Young Man: Welcome to the Age of Appropriation

Andrew Lam

“Elysium” is the latest in a series of American productions that show how the Information Age has become the Age of Appropriation, one in which ideas and stories exist side by side for the borrowing, the taking, and ultimately, the mixing. What it also shows is that after almost a century of imitating the West, the tables are indeed turning and Hollywood is increasingly looking east. 

Roland Emmerich's Obsession With Destruction Films

Courtney Coleman

His early light science-fiction films garnered him much attention in Hollywood, but nothing compared to the 1996 blockbuster "Independence Day" (which also put Will Smith on the map as a blockbuster film star). Two years later, his film "Godzilla" topped the groundbreaking visual effects of "Independence Day", further proving the quality of his films. "The Patriot" (2000), a great historical piece set in the time of the American Revolution, traded widespread terror from aliens and monsters for widespread blood and gore. 

‘The Great Gatsby’ and the Loss of Hope and Innocence of an Era

John McGovern

A film robs you of imagining the world of a novel as you want to, while a novel cannot as accurately capture the televisual world we now live in. Part of Gatsby’s appeal is its depiction of a time when the American dream was a promising ideal, when the U.S. was not, as Horace from Sam Lipsyte’s The Ask (2010) puts it, a “fat, demented pimp.” The Great Gatsby was written when the U.S. was on the upswing, and now that the nation is in decline, it makes sense that there will be nostalgia for the ‘good-old days’. 

How Brooklyn Evolved into a Burgeoning Film Scene

Beth Kaiserman

In Brooklyn, there is a large support system for independent film. Marco Ursino started the Brooklyn Film Festival (BFF) 16 years ago, and has owned and operated indieScreen in Williamsburg with his wife, Susan Mackell, since 2009. He remembers the first BFF’s slogan: ‘An Invitation to Cross the Bridge.’ “Now it’s the most normal thing,” he said. “Williamsburg has been the flag of progress. All that is alternative comes from here.”

‘The Impossible, ‘Gangster Squad’ Arrive on DVD, Blu-ray

Forrest Hartman

During movie awards season, “The Impossible” received most of its accolades thanks to the remarkable lead performance of actress Naomi Watts. As good as she is, focusing on such a singular component of the film is unfair because it is great in so many respects.  The feature, directed by Juan Antonio Bayona, was inspired by the real-life survival story of a family caught in the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. 

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