October 3, 2011 |
In the late 1960s, the civil rights movement had entered a new phase. It was the era of black power — and universities were actively courting African Americans and other minorities to enroll. It was in this charged atmosphere that the "L.A. Rebellion" was born at UCLA. African American students enrolled at the School of Theater, Film and Television and, over the next 20 years, created a new culture of black films that was far removed from the Hollywood blaxploitation urban crime thrillers of the time, which included such box-office hits as "Coffy" and "Superfly.
December 26, 2001 |
The warm December sunshine that fell on Beverly Hills flowed through the windows of the Four Seasons Hotel and landed on E. Annie Proulx. The author shaded her eyes. Almost everything about the place, the weather, the enormous fresh flowers, the uniformed doormen, the minions from Miramax were all about as far away as one could get from the bleak Newfoundland coastline, the wild storms and twisted psyches that defined her Pulitzer-Prize-winning 1993 novel, "The Shipping News."
December 31, 2011 |
Thomas Horn, 14, was standing in the middle of a cocktail party populated with adults when director Brett Ratner walked over to the teenager to offer him a congratulatory pat on the shoulder. Days before the late December release of "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close" - in which Horn stars as Oskar Schell, a boy struggling to come to grips with the loss of his father, played by Tom Hanks, in the Sept. 11 attacks - he and other cast members were being feted in the lobby of a building that houses the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Film Archive.
October 1, 2010 |
First came the bestselling book, then the sequel, and now comes "Freakonomics" the movie, a kind of victory lap that both celebrates that success and demonstrates why the work of economist Steven D. Levitt and journalist Stephen J. Dubner has become an international phenomenon. With the original book selling more than 4 million copies and getting translated into 35 languages, not to mention spending two-plus years on the New York Times bestseller list, Dubner and Levitt's penchant for looking at economic data in adventurous ways and coming up with counterintuitive results has clearly touched a cultural nerve.
February 12, 2013
Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln" has been acclaimed not just by critics but by historians as well for its acute and realistic portrayal of the 16th president as he maneuvered to pass the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery in the United States. But the filmmakers got at least one detail wrong: They depicted two Connecticut delegates to the House of Representatives voting against the amendment when, in fact, all four of Connecticut's House members voted for it in 1865. Now, one of the state's current representatives, Joe Courtney, a Democrat, has written to Spielberg asking if the movie could be corrected before it's released on DVD. In a statement, screenwriter Tony Kushner admitted that he deliberately strayed from fact when he put "nay" votes in the mouths of the two Connecticut congressmen - but only to emphasize the dramatic closeness of the vote.
May 14, 2011 |
Monte Hellman, the most idiosyncratic of the talented filmmakers mentored by producer Roger Corman in the '60s and '70s, is drawing raves for his latest film, "Road to Nowhere," an intense, romantic movie-within-a movie. Hellman and his longtime colleague, writer and Variety executive editor Steven Gaydos, have taken classic noir elements -- a stunning, seductive young beauty (Shannyn Sossamon), her rich and powerful middle-aged lover (Cliff De Young), a missing fortune and a suicide -- and blurred the line between fiction and reality.
June 22, 2012 |
It could be argued that the most pivotal chapter ofJean-Luc Godard's shape-shifting career - as well as one of the most neglected - is the period of video-based experimentation of the mid-'70s. Emerging from a militant post-'68 phase, during which he formed the Dziga Vertov Group, in an effort to "make films politically," Godard developed a complex method of merging and pulling apart images, sounds and text - a dense, sometimes dazzling analytic approach that defines a significant portion of his work to this day. New to DVD from Olive Films, "Ici et Ailleurs" (1976)
January 23, 2011 |
If filmmaker Gregg Araki once described his 1997 movie "Nowhere" as "'Beverly Hills, 90210' on acid," then it might be best to think of the writer-director's newest feature, "Kaboom," as something like "Gossip Girl" gone gonzo. The story of an 18-year-old pansexual film student named Smith (Thomas Dekker), the film boasts all of the hallmarks of Araki's work: Attractive young people work through issues of sexual identity (in part by having a lot of sex in various gender permutations)
October 4, 2012 |
"Detropia" comes at you with the economically ravaged Motor City of Detroit clinging to its perch like a canary in a coal mine, gasping for breath. The new documentary from acclaimed filmmakers Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady examines the detritus of a major American city that has been imploding for years. It is a striking and moving study of "what was" versus "what it has become" as the filmmakers try to get at the whys. That the title suggests something other than utopia is made clear from the first frame.
May 26, 2012 |
WASHINGTON - Some Republican lawmakers were outraged when federal records released last week showed that the White House, CIA and Defense Department granted high-level access last year to a pair of acclaimed filmmakers researching an action thriller about the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. The documents tell "a damning story of extremely close, unprecedented, and potentially dangerous collaboration" between the filmmakers and the Obama administration, fumed New York Rep. Peter T. King, GOP chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.