“Truth” and other lies

Featured image The film Truth premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 12. Starring Robert Redford as Dan Rather and Cate Blanchett as Mary Mapes, the film retells the Rathergate scandal based on Mary Mapes’s memoir Truth and Duty. I must be one of the few people in the United States actually to have read the book. Mapes is the hero of her memoir and the hero of the film. »

When Wyler came back

Featured image This past Tuesday evening Turner Classic Movies put the World War II work of William Wyler in its September Spotlight. Wyler is one of the directors starring in Mark Harris’s Five Came Back on the great Hollywood directors who contributed their services to the war effort. Harris’s book is a deeply researched work of popular narrative history. If there is a bloody crossroads at which art and politics meet, Harris »

Five Came Back to TCM

Featured image Five of America’s most prominent Hollywood directors volunteered to put their art to use producing documentary, training, and propaganda films in the Army and Navy during World War II. Feeling certain that war was coming to the United States, and wanting to do something about it, John Ford went first, joining the Navy in September 1941. After Pearl Harbor, Ford was followed by Frank Capra, John Huston, William Wyler, and »

Some call it “Truth” (2)

Featured image The film Truth premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival this last night. Based on Mary Mapes’s memoir Truth and Duty, the film retells the Rathergate scandal from the perspective of Rather and Mapes. Rather and Mapes were perpetrators of a fraudulent story, but I take it that the film portrays them as heroes and victims. It is, after all, based on Mapes’s ludicrous book and it stars Robert Robert »

Some call it “Truth”

Featured image The movie Truth premieres tonight at the Toronto Film Festival. The BBC includes it on its list of ones to watch. Based on former CBS producer Mary Mapes’s memoir Truth and Duty, the film retells the Rathergate story from the perspective of Rather and Mapes. It stars Robert Redford as Rather and Cate Blanchett as Mapes. Luck might be a better name for the movie; some people have all of »

What If Dogs and Cats DID Co-Exist?

Featured image What would happen if all the leading superheroes and supervillains were combined into one movie scene? You’d get this brilliant nine-minute mashup. It really is worth nine minutes of your time to take in this inspired piece of film editing: »

CRB: The politics of Star Trek

Featured image We are winding down our preview of the new (Summer) issue of the Claremont Review of Books. Subscribe here for the heavily subsidized price of $19.95 and get online access thrown in for free. Tomorrow we will conclude the preview with a book review bonus taking up the new book by my friend Michael Paulsen. Today it is time for something completely different. I have led a sheltered life. I »

You Can Live Like Michael Moore!—For $5.2 Million

Featured image Michael Moore’s humble lakeside house in the shores of Central Lake, Michigan, is for sale. Even the Hollywood industry tabloid Variety is properly snarky about the abode of this tribune of the oppressed working class: The estate, which the Detroit News once described as “two large houses joined at the hip, bordered by a third house,” includes an 11,058-square-foot main residence — a rustic-luxe, modern-minded play on a lodge-like log »

Free the Bacon!

Featured image I’ve always had a soft spot for Kevin Bacon. Because bacon. For starters. Also because he was great in what I think was his first serious film role in Barry Levinson’s classic Diner. And also because of the famous Animal House “remain calm, all is well!” scene that serves as a recurrent meme for our equivalent of the Obama administration’s frequent Baghdad Bob moments. But here he argues the case »

Testamentary incapacity

Featured image Vera Brittain was the English writer whose memoir Testament of Youth (the first of three such memoirs by her) became an immediate best-seller upon its publication in Great Britain in 1933. Brittain wrote of her experience working as a nurse tending to the wounded in World War I and the tragic deaths of of her brother as well as her fiancee and friends in the conflict. The book has remained »

The Dems’ Missing Linc

Featured image Lincoln Chafee—who I liked to call the “Missing Linc” during his brief tenure as a U.S. Senator—has made moving to the metric system a key plank of his presidential campaign. What—is he trying to allow Jon Stewart’s writers to get the day off? Trying to make Bernie Sanders look sensible by comparison? But the Missing Linc has missed his real opening if he really wants to get the approval of »

Chris Pratt’s Pre-Emptive Apology

Featured image I haven’t really followed the acting career of Chris Pratt very closely, though I did enjoy him as the lead in the surprisingly effective Guardians of the Galaxy last year. He’s in the upcoming Jurassic World, and he’s posted on Facebook a “pre-emptive” apology that suggests he might be a Common Sense Fellow Traveler. This is a work of considerable literary skill: I want to make a heartfelt apology for »

The Binks Awakens!

Featured image Are any of you other geeks out there looking forward to the new Star Wars films as much as I am?  I regard it as a good sign that J.J. Abrams took on the franchise, despite having gotten hopelessly lost with Lost. His reboot of Star Trek turned out rather well I thought (please spare me any more Jean Luc Piccard and his UN General Assembly sensibilities).  Besides, George Lucas »

How Long Can Noah Tread Water?

Featured image The Daily Show has announced little known South African comic Trevor Noah as Jon Stewart’s replacement, and going with an unknown talent is an understandable move for such an iconic show. (Some initial media reports predictably referred to this South African as “African-American” because they’re afraid to say “black,” because PC.) But speaking of PC and compromised comics, the furor that has erupted over some of Noah’s old un-PC tweets »

Missing Paddy Chayefsky

Featured image We already noted yesterday the tendentiousness of the “gender pay gap” theme that made an appearance at the Academy Awards Sunday night—an entertainment moment that seems to be reverberating like like Cady Stanton at Seneca Falls or something.  (In his typically provocative way, Glenn Reynolds suggests Republicans pass a bill mandating equal salaries for men and women lead actors of equivalent billing in all Hollywood productions, and watch hilarity ensue. »

Introducing the Mnemosyne index

Featured image I have for the longest time employed two simple criteria to screen out movies for viewing. First, I want to know whether a film is aimed at an intelligent adult audience. I can’t believe how many films are aimed at teenage boys and teenage girls. Second, I want to know if the resolution of a film’s plot employs some gratuitous attack on the United States or a politically correct variant »

Thinkin’ about “Lincoln” again

Featured image We’ll be celebrating the anniversary of Lincoln’s birth tomorrow in the usual way, but I wanted to warm up with this look back at the 2012 film Lincoln. Until reading David Brooks’s obtuse column about the film, I was unsure that I knew enough to comment intelligently about it. Brooks persuaded me that I know at least as much as he does, however, and accordingly prompted me to offer the »