Movies

A Day in the Life of a Film Critic

Tara Taghizadeh

There have been other changes as well, and I ultimately see most as neutral. It’s easy to say, “Films used to be better,” or, “They don’t make ’em like Gone With the Wind anymore.” But it’s important to remember that we tend to view film history with rose-colored glasses. We remember the gems and forget all the trash. Today, we have more content than ever before and — accordingly — more garbage. But we also see a number of really fantastic movies released every year. 

Buyers Jockey for Indie Films at Sundance

Piya Sinha-Roy and Lisa Richwine

Evolving movie-watching habits have brought new buyers in recent years, with Netflix and Amazon.com Inc leading the march of digital outlets to Sundance. The streaming services had started to outbid Weinstein Co for standout films. Filmmakers prospered as Amazon paid $12 million for “The Big Sick” and Netflix paid $12.5 million for “Mudbound” in 2017. This year, it was unclear whether those outlets will replace Weinstein as the pacesetters.

'The Greatest Showman' and the Problem of ‘Exploitainment’

Adam Gravano

The Greatest Showman takes the second perspective. These aren't just “freaks.” Yes, the draw is their perceived defects and differences, but what would they be without them? Why shouldn't they take pride in these and showcase them to the world? Is this even right? Is it being done in such a way as to appeal to the coarse and base in us? The question should remain unanswered, as there's plenty of exploitative media to go around for the able-bodied and sound of mind as well: every cable news confrontation, the entire reality television niche, and the revelations of #MeToo lay bare an industry to which Barnum would hardly be a stranger — perhaps even unreconstructed. 

A Look Back at Walter Mitty

Adam Gravano

While Thurber is generally considered a humorist, he has a bountiful capacity to write fiction of a darker mien. Stories like “The Lady on 142” and “The Catbird Seat” prove there's an edge to Thurber's mind. Walter Mitty is easily described as a henpecked husband who drifts into reveries to escape his wife. At first, it's easy to mistake the daydreams for flashbacks, but, on closer examination, they fall apart. 

The Disappointment of Harper Lee’s ‘Go Set a Watchman’

Melinda Parks

The reception of this controversial second book, Go Set a Watchman, released in July of 2015, has met with equally mixed reviews. However varied their opinions of the story, critics seem to agree on one aspect of the work: one can’t read Watchman without comparing it to, or at least mentioning, To Kill a Mockingbird. For one, Mockingbird so strongly impacted society at the time of its release, winning Lee a Pulitzer Prize and the movie adaptation of her novel three Oscars, and it has remained a staple of high school curricula and American culture ever since.

The Role of Feminism in Action Movies

Megan Walsh

It is unequivocally a good thing that feminism is at the forefront of the public mind, and that media is being held accountable for failing female narratives. There has been a definite clamor for more female-led projects, particularly in regard to popular mainstream films, most especially action movies, considering they are currently dominating the market. With such a suffusion of films dealing in similar subject matters, it's hard not to notice that they've been telling the same stories for years, and those stories all revolve around white men.

Sex, Death and Artificial Intelligence Clash in ‘Ex Machina’

Lee Polevoi

In Ex Machina, a new film by Alex Garland, a 26-year-old programming whizkid named Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson) wins a company lottery. The prize? Spend a week at the remote and sleekly futuristic home of the company’s billionaire founder Nathan (Oscar Isaac), and conduct a test to determine if Nathan’s latest invention actually possesses the long-sought-after holy grail of science – artificial intelligence (AI). 

‘The Imitation Game,’ ‘Wild’ Arrive on Home Video

Forrest Hartman

“The Imitation Game” won only a single Academy Award (best adapted screenplay for Graham Moore) in February, but the movie’s nomination tally is a better representation of its quality. The tightly paced suspense film, which depicts key moments in the life of British computer pioneer Alan Turing, received eight nominations, including nods for best picture, best director, best actor and best supporting actress. 

‘Whiplash,’ ‘Big Hero 6’ Arrive on Home Video

Forrest Hartman

In “Whiplash,” J.K. Simmons plays Terrence Fletcher, a college music professor so brutal and intense that he is literally capable of making students ill. It’s a role Simmons inhabits completely, and it has, quite correctly, become one of the most celebrated performances of the movie awards season. Fletcher is, in the simplest sense, a monster. But he is also capable of inspiring his students to greatness.

‘The Judge,’ ‘Fury’ Arrive on Home Video

Forrest Hartman

Robert Duvall has again entered the Oscars race thanks to his portrayal of a grumpy-but-fair-minded legal professional in “The Judge.” The movie features Robert Downey Jr. as Hank Palmer, a flashy, big-city defense attorney who returns to his tiny, Indiana hometown for his mother’s funeral. Director David Dobkin wastes no time establishing that Hank and his father, Joseph (Duvall), have unresolved problems. The latter is a no-nonsense judge known for dispensing firm rulings.

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