Tag: film

People Change: Gary Ross’s Pleasantville, a film fiction on history and nostalgia, creativity, independence, sexuality, and television

In Gary Ross’s beautiful, funny, imaginative and intelligent film Pleasantville, a shy bookish brother who loves old television programs, especially the one set in the mythical town of Pleasantville, and his more indulgently sensual, pretty, popular sister—she chews gum, smokes cigarettes, and makes out with boys—argue over the television remote control on the weekend their divorced mother has taken a trip to be with her young boyfriend.

An Early Modern Masterpiece: Chaplin’s great black-and-white film Modern Times, on friendship and survival, factory life, labor strife, unemployment, and war

In Modern Times, Charlie Chaplin, a master of gesture, merriment, and pathos, a brilliant performer who became a storyteller, is the little fellow; and the little fellow’s work in a factory is attendant to automation, and he tightens screws on items on a moving assembly line, the repetition of the work rattling his nerves.

The Idealization of the Primitive: Beasts of the Southern Wild

The community is both admirable and frightening. Does the observer accept their standards, or impose one’s own standards, on what he (or she) sees? The film Beasts of the Southern Wild may be the most persuasive portrait of sublime horror: a film that can inspire admiration for exile, loss, and madness is dangerous.

Once in a Lifetime (Twice?): Diana Ross Live in Central Park

Both nights of Diana Ross’s Central Park performances were impressive, but in different ways: the first night was triumphant from the beginning, a confirmation of a singular woman’s great success; and as the storm approached and spread, her response—calm, informative, soothing, sensuous, dancing—was a demonstration of her assurance and strength as a woman and performer.

Mistakes Made While Owning the World: J. C. Chandor’s film Margin Call about the American financial crisis, starring Zachary Quinto, Kevin Spacey, Paul Bettany, Simon Baker, Demi Moore, and Jeremy Irons

What can the company do to save itself? Does it sell its toxic assets to others? Will it ever be trusted again? Who will take the blame for the losing strategy that led to this moment? Who should have anticipated this? What will be the effect on other companies, and on the larger society? How will the lives of those in this particular office be changed? The film is a compelling and a surprising pleasure.

Ignorance is the Enemy: Night Catches Us, Tanya Hamilton’s film of politics and memory, starring Anthony Mackie and Kerry Washington

Sometimes we want instant change, and are willing to settle for its appearance rather than work for a new authority, a new purpose, and a new structure that would make it real. There has been a betrayal of legacy in African-American culture and politics that is rarely discussed, but aspects of it can be seen in writer and director Tanya Hamilton’s film Night Catches Us, starring Anthony Mackie and Kerry Washington.

A review of Le Sacre du printemps by Pina Bausch

This last dance is, as well as being thrilling and climactic and incredibly moving, simply an incredible performance. For how do you attain in dance an absolute abandonment (one culminating in the loss of life itself) while retaining always at least a crumb of control? Death may no longer be a taboo; but dying is.