Movies

Dangerous Delusions Unravel in ‘The Last Elvis’

Angelo Franco

In his directorial debut, Armando Bo (who co-wrote the script with Nicolás Giacobone) uses the seemingly oversaturated Buenos Aires celebrity-impersonators scene to explore the depths of character of one man, Carlos “Elvis” Gutierrez, who is struggling to match his fantasies with the hard realities he faces.   As far as he is concerned, Carlos is the King, not only on stage among impersonators but in his mind as well.

‘Inside Llewyn Davis’: The Coen Brothers’ New Film Strikes a Chord

Benjamin Wright

Llewyn Davis is the Coen Brothers’ 16th full-length film, and their first in three years, since 2010’s True Grit – the latter a work that earned a whopping 10 Academy Award nominations, including one for Best Picture, but won none.  Though they directed two segments and contributed as writers to other projects in between, Joel and Ethan Coen’s body of work as directors started with 1984’s Blood Simple and has included 14 other works between that and Llewyn Davis, among them such works as: Raising Arizona, Barton Fink, Fargo, The Big Lebowski, Burn After Reading, No Country for Old Men and A Serious Man. 

Spike Jonze’s ‘Her’: Love in a Future Age

Melinda Parks

In an age where cell phones are our constant companions, where an operating system can respond to voice-activated prompts and mobile Internet access provides us with instant information at any given moment, our relationships with technology and with each other are rapidly evolving. Writer-director Spike Jonze’s latest film, “Her,” an original and surprisingly emotional story about a lonely writer who develops feelings for his cell phone operating system, serves as a commentary on our society’s increasing reliance on technology.

‘The End of Time’: The Cosmos of Peter Mettler

Sandra Bertrand

Watching a Peter Mettler film is no ordinary experience.  You may as well be strapping yourself in place for a ride to through the Milky Way, plunging into the core of a live volcano or simply winessing the inexorable march of an ant colony with their grasshopper prey. The End of Time, the latest in a trilogy by this Canadian filmmaker, is part of a mid-career retrospective, presented by the Film Society of Lincoln Center.  The trilogy began with Picture of Light (1996), followed by Gambling, Gods & LSD (2002).  

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.  

The Good, Bad, and Ugly Marketing of ‘The Lone Ranger’

Aura Bogado

“The Lone Ranger” debuted in theaters in time for the July 4 holiday, and while Johnny Depp’s decision to play Tonto—a fictional Native sidekick to the white cowboy—has drawn attention and criticism, the film’s release means that all things Native are unusually relevant—and marketable. And that can be a good, bad, and very ugly thing, all at once. Tonto action figures are already being sold as “Native American warrior spirit” caricatures. The Lego Corporation is pushing its “Comanche Camp” toys. And Subway is hawking plastic soft drink containers with Tonto snapshots.

Anamorphic Illusion and the Magic of Current Events

Maggie Hennefeld

Revealing secret symbols or transforming a flat plane into a 3-dimensional world, anamorphosis activates a sudden shift or rupture in its impression on the spectator. Whereas perspective seeks to systematize an image of the known world for the benefit of the human eye, anamorphosis “leads the eye slowly through incomprehension and then offers a resolution.”

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