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Political Films: Articles


'Barry' Obama & Me: Finding Common Ground with the Future U.S. President

Barry Obama (Devon Terrell) reads Ralph Ellison's 1952 sociopolitical novel 'Invisible Man' – not to be confused with H.G. Wells' 1897 sci-fi novel 'The Invisible Man.' 'Barry' & me: Finding common ground between this reviewer and U.S. President Barack Obama While thinking about Barry, Vikram Gandhi's 1981-set film about a young Barack Obama as he arrived in New York City to attend Columbia University, I found myself thinking about me in 1981, as I arrived in New York City to attend Columbia University. To be frank, I've been thinking about President Obama in juxtaposition to myself for years, ever since his keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. Like many Black folks that evening, I looked up the tall, […]


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'Barry' Obama & Me: Finding Common Ground with the Future U.S. President



'The Aviator' Movie Review: Miscast Leonardo DiCaprio & Cate Blanchett in Heavy-Handed Biopic

'The Aviator' movie with Leonardo DiCaprio as bizarre billionaire Howard Hughes: Bloated biopic. 'The Aviator' movie review: What's not good for the Spruce Goose… Imagine Citizen Kane directed by the Steven Spielberg of The Color Purple, Schindler's List, Amistad, and Saving Private Ryan. The final result would look something like a Barry Levinson film – for instance, the superficial and phony Bugsy. Or, an even more appropriate example, the superficial, phony, and bloated The Aviator. Except, of course, that Levinson is not the man responsible for the 2004 mega-production starring Leonardo DiCaprio as the eccentric, billionaire ladies' man Howard Hughes. Strangely enough, that man is Martin Scorsese, the director of hard-hitting films such as Taxi Driver, Goodfellas, and Gangs of […]


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'The Aviator' Movie Review: Miscast Leonardo DiCaprio & Cate Blanchett in Heavy-Handed Biopic



Norma Shearer: 'Queen of MGM' & 'Liberated Woman'

Norma Shearer movies: Hollywood's early 'liberated woman' and 'Queen of MGM' remembered. Norma Shearer movies: Early 'liberated woman' & Best Actress Academy Award winner was the 'Queen of MGM' For decades a largely forgotten name, in the 1930s Norma Shearer was known as the Queen of MGM. The fact that this good-looking, talented, and ambitious actress – one of the biggest stars in Hollywood history – was the wife of the studio's second-in-command, Irving G. Thalberg, surely was no handicap. Paradoxically, Shearer's personal association with Thalberg, so helpful in her heyday, has possibly hindered her legacy as a performer. For some, Shearer – along with fellow Old Hollywood actresses Merle Oberon (associated with British-based film mogul Alexander Korda), Marion Davies […]


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Norma Shearer: 'Queen of MGM' & 'Liberated Woman'



'Trumbo' Movie Review: Bryan Cranston & Helen Mirren Excellent in Hollywood Blacklist Drama

'Trumbo' movie review: Bryan Cranston and Helen Mirren superb as left-wing screenwriter Dalton Trumbo and right-wing gossip columnist Hedda Hopper. 'Trumbo' movie review: Highly entertaining 'history lesson' toplining an outstanding Bryan Cranston Full disclosure: on the wall in my study hangs a poster – the iconic photograph of blacklisted Hollywood screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, with black-horned rim glasses, handlebar mustache, a smoke dangling from the end of a dramatic cigarette holder. He's sitting – stark naked – in a tub surrounded by his particular writing apparatus. He's looking directly into the camera of the photographer, his daughter Mitzi. Dalton Trumbo's son, Christopher Trumbo, gave me the poster after my interview with him for the release of Peter Askin's 2007 documentary also […]


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'Trumbo' Movie Review: Bryan Cranston & Helen Mirren Excellent in Hollywood Blacklist Drama





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