Hollywood

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. 

An Interview with Pasha Roberts, Director of ‘Silver Circle’

Snapper S. Ploen

Imagine a future where the dollar has lost its value. A future where the government has taken over housing and Americans riot in the streets over exorbitant gas prices. Considering the events of the past five years, this isn’t such a hard thing to conjure in the mind. Highbrow Magazine recently had the opportunity to review the new animated thriller, Silver Circle, by director Pasha Roberts. It’s a project that explores these economic pitfalls and how those of a certain controversial mindset might seek a resolution for those issues. 

‘Silver Circle’ Fails to Present a Compelling Storyline or Captivating Animation

Snapper S. Ploen

Although this synopsis sounds interesting and relevant to our country’s current socio-political discourse, this film is neither of those things. Director Pasha Roberts brings a potentially compelling Libertarian vision of rebellion to the screen but chooses to do so through an animation style that is too stunted for genuine emotional impact. In speaking with the director, he admits the budget was limited, but even South Park’s creators were able to deliver social commentary that was enlightening and entertaining with limited financial resources. In addition, the animation isn’t the only thing holding the film back. 

Filmmaker David Seth Cohen Pays Tribute to His Cinematic Idol, Adam Sandler

Alysia Stern

Growing up I used to watch Sandler as Opera Man on Saturday Night Live. I was really taken back by the Hanukkah song. Growing up as a Jewish child there weren’t really any Hanukah songs. So now Adam Sandler comes up with a song that is not only hilarious but it is brilliant. I respect him and admire him. My dream was always to have a production company and work with friends on my films, and that is what Adam does.

Hollywood Cinematographer Barry Markowitz Discusses Capturing the Soul of the South on Film

Charlene Oldham

It’s a lesson Markowitz now knows well after years of working with directors including Thornton, Robert Duvall and Nicholas Cage on Southern films such as Sling Blade, The Apostle and Sonny. He also served as director of photography for Thornton’s latest, Jayne Mansfield’s Car. So how did this New Yorker who earned a degree in Jewish history from Israel’s Hebrew University become the go-to cinematographer for Southern films for these Oscar-winning directors and actors? Markowitz is a self-professed stranger in a strange land populated – at least in films – by pickup trucks, hunting dogs and humidity levels higher than hell's. 

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