movies

The next great boxing movie?

Featured image Boxing has been a staple of Hollywood since before I was born. And why not? The drama of boxing matches and the back story of the game are tailored made for the big screen. The most famous boxing movie is “Rocky” (1976), the first in that long series. The most critically acclaimed is “Raging Bull” (1980), Jake LaMotta’s story as told by Martin Scorsese and starring Robert De Niro. The »

Chappaquiddick movie heads towards production

Featured image Last December, John wrote about the plan to make a movie about the Chappaquiddick scandal. It was at Chappaquiddick where Ted Kennedy, who was drunk, drove a young campaign worker off a bridge to her death, failed to take reasonable steps that might have saved her, and tried to cover up his culpability. The notion of Hollywood going through with such a project struck me as implausible. It’s easy enough »

Michael Cimino dead at age 77

Featured image Michael Cimino, director of the acclaimed “The Deer Hunter” (1978) and the panned and financially ruinous “Heaven’s Gate” (1980), died today at age 77. I consider the former film slightly overrated (except for the pre-Vietnam part) and the latter underrated. But in both cases, I left the theater with the strong feeling that I had seen something, a sense I rarely got the time and get even less now. “The »

Weiner!

Featured image Last night my wife and I, along with two of our adult daughters, saw the documentary Weiner. The film was shot during Anthony Weiner’s campaign in the Democratic primary for mayor of New York. It offers an extraordinary look at a candidate and a campaign in the midst of an implosion. The documentary opens with a clip of Weiner giving a speech in the House. It is a reminder of »

Confirmation Bias, Part Two

Featured image In a post called “Confirmation Bias,” I discussed “Confirmation,” an HBO film about the 1991 hearings on Clarence Thomas’ nomination to the Supreme Court, and Anita Hill’s sexual harassment allegations against him. When I wrote the post two months ago, Senators John Danforth and Alan Simpson, two moderate Republicans who supported the Thomas nomination, had complained about the script they saw. Simpson called it a “seriously distorted” version of the »

“Confirmation” bias

Featured image We have observed before that the American left never gives up. That’s admirable when it comes to matters of principle and policy. Here, conservatives also fight hard, though they probably could take a page or two from the left’s playbook. But when it comes to he-said-she-said type factual disputes about personalities or events — was Alger Hiss a Russian agent; did Clarence Thomas harass Anita Hill; did Dan Rather and »

Damn, it feels good to be a Clinton

Featured image Ted Cruz’s campaign has produced this ad called “Damn, it feels good to be Clinton.” The ad is based on a famous scene from the movie “Office Space.” It combines the scene with lyrics based on the song “Damn, it feels good to be a gangsta.” I was unfamiliar with both the movie and the song. Even so, I found the ad hilarious. Tevi Troy has written that Republican candidates »

I’m Not an African, I Just Play One In the Movies

Featured image The controversy over race and the Oscars has made its way to Berlin, where a film festival is in progress. It happens that the festival judges are all white, so one of the judges, Meryl Streep, fielded some questions about diversity. Streep, who heads a festival film panel for the first time, had been asked by an Egyptian reporter whether she understood films from the Arab world and North Africa. »

Pop culture and the GOP field

Featured image Tevi Troy has two excellent posts about the Republican presidential field’s pop culture interests. This one focuses on music. It finds that Donald Trump has “broken the GOP’s music curse.” This one focuses on pop culture in general. It finds that Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio have displayed a “facility to invoke images and references that go beyond politics.” Unlike Barack Obama, Cruz eschews upper-middle-brow references (e.g. to shows like »

Art for politics’ sake at the Washington Post

Featured image If you think (as I do) that the Washington Post’s news section too often manifests liberal bias, you should probably steer clear of the arts, entertainment, and letters portions of the paper. The news section’s high profile produces limits as to how far reporters typically go to express such bias. Those who write in non-news sections are less constrained. That’s why I refer to these pages as the Washington Post’s »

Hail, the Coen brothers!

Featured image The Coen brothers, Joel and Ethan, have written and directed some of the best films of the past 31 years (“Miller’s Crossing” is probably my favorite). They have also written and directed several (such as “No Country for Old Men”) that I didn’t like at all. Their latest film is “Hail, Caesar!” Apparently, it’s an affectionate send up of the “Golden Age of Hollywood” that resolves around the kidnapping of »

Audiences Rejecting 13 Hours? Not Exactly [with comment by Paul]

Featured image Paul and Scott have both seen the movie 13 Hours and wrote about it here and here. Scott noted that at the theater he attended, the large room was reserved for Carol. 13 Hours got the smaller venue and was sparsely attended. Scott linked to a Hill story headlined “Benghazi film flops at the box office.” This was a pretty common theme on the left; to cite just one instance, »

British star pushes back against Oscar racism charge [Updated]

Featured image I’ve been a fan of Charlotte Rampling ever since I saw “Georgie Girl” nearly 50 years ago. So I was delighted to see that she is criticizing claims that this year’s Oscar nominations are unfair to African-Americans. Rampling, who was nominated for best actress for her performance in “45 Years,” says the charge is unfair to the white actors nominated. Indeed, the charge is “racist to whites,” in her opinion. »

Ettore Scola, RIP

Featured image Ettore Scola, the brilliant Italian film director, has died. He was 84. Scola is probably best known for “A Special Day” starring Marcelo Mastroianni and Sophia Loren. Mastroianni plays a gay man about to be deported by Mussolini’s government. Loren is the repressed wife of a Mussolini supporter. The movie is about their brief, random encounter. My favorite Scola film, though, is “We All Loved Each Other So Much.” This »