| Aug 3, 2016

Where's the money?

Hillary Clinton’s long march to the U.S. presidency continues unabated, and many voters are so scared of the idea of President Donald Trump, they’d vote for Clinton even if she sprouted fangs and hissed like a cobra. But anyone who’s all comfy with the ...

'Dope': It's hard to kick the stereotyping habit

Jul 27, 2016

'Dope': It's hard to kick the stereotyping habit

Growing up black in America inevitably means dealing with the stereotypes that the majority (white) culture places on you, and more than a few films have explored those tensions. With “Dope,” Nigerian-American writer-director Rick Famuyiwa takes it a step further and asks: What does ...

There's a starman, waiting on the screen . . .

Jul 20, 2016

There's a starman, waiting on the screen . . .

In 1975, just as David Bowie had achieved breakthrough success, he was simultaneously teetering on the verge of a nervous breakdown. A re-issued single of “Space Oddity” was No. 1 in the U.K., and he scored his first No. 1 single in the States ...

'Trumbo': Shining over Hollywood's blacklist

Jul 20, 2016

'Trumbo': Shining over Hollywood's blacklist

American conservatives are forever whinging about “liberal Hollywood,” but really they have only themselves to blame. When they were in the cultural ascendancy back in the 1940s-50s, they used their power — through groups such as the MPA (Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation ...

'Amy': Remembering the star the right way

Jul 13, 2016

'Amy': Remembering the star the right way

Back in 1969, John Lennon — then on his media-hounded honeymoon with Yoko Ono — penned “The Ballad of John and Yoko,” with the chorus, “The way things are going, they’re gonna crucify me.” It seems a bit over-the-top, until you recall how his ...

'Brooklyn': Romance is not dead, it's just dull

Jul 6, 2016

'Brooklyn': Romance is not dead, it's just dull

Given its title, you’d be forgiven for thinking that “Brooklyn” was a movie about lumbersexual hipsters, all named Zach, opening a single-origin, gluten-free artisanal mac-and-cheese shop in Fort Point, and the zany complications that arise when they realize two bathrooms are inadequate to serve ...

| Jun 22, 2016

'Nina' is still worth watching

The “politically correct”(PC) left is often no better than the Christian right when it comes to looking for ways to be offended by movies. The latest victim of PC backlash is “Nina,” the film based on legendary jazz and blues singer and civil-rights icon ...

'Citizenfour': Big Brother has always been with us

Jun 15, 2016

'Citizenfour': Big Brother has always been with us

The tele-screen received and transmitted simultaneously. … There was of course no way of knowing when you were being watched. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual was guesswork. At any rate they could plug in to ...

The topic of AI always raises HAL and more

Jun 8, 2016

The topic of AI always raises HAL and more

An astronaut in deep space finishes up some repairs to the parabolic antenna on his spacecraft’s exterior. Through his helmet’s microphone, he commands the ship’s controlling supercomputer, HAL 9000, “Open the pod bay doors, HAL.” A second later he gets a calm, cold response ...

'Ex Machina': When the machine has its own ghost

Jun 8, 2016

'Ex Machina': When the machine has its own ghost

When the histories are written years from now, our era will be defined by information technology in much the same way that the 1960s were defined by rock ‘n’ roll and social protest, or in the U.S., the ’20s by Prohibition. People will look ...