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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



'Truth' Movie Review: Flawless Cate Blanchett in Compelling But Less-Than-Objective Drama

'Truth' movie: Cate Blanchett as Mary Mapes. 'Truth' movie: Gripping and well-acted drama can't hide '60 Minutes' producer Mary Mapes' role in the 'devolution of TV journalism' The devolution of TV journalism into partisan point-scoring and sophistic bloviating was in full stride by the time 60 Minutes ran its 2004 story claiming that then-President George W. Bush avoided serving in Vietnam by finagling a cush gig in the Texas Air National Guard in 1968. The segment's discrediting merely provided increased momentum, even though its primary assertion that Bush never fulfilled his military service contract has yet to be wholly debunked. The story (and the careers of its authors) crumbled when the conservative blogosphere was able to cast considerable doubt on […]


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'Truth' Movie Review: Flawless Cate Blanchett in Compelling But Less-Than-Objective Drama



Patricia Neal Movies: 'The Day the Earth Stood Still,' 'A Face in the Crowd' More Pertinent Than Ever

Patricia Neal ca. 1950. Patricia Neal movies: 'The Day the Earth Stood Still,' 'A Face in the Crowd' Back in 1949, few would have predicted that Gary Cooper's leading lady in King Vidor's The Fountainhead would go on to win a Best Actress Academy Award 15 years later. Patricia Neal was one of those performers – e.g., Jean Arthur, Anne Bancroft – whose film career didn't start out all that well, but who, by way of Broadway, managed to both revive and magnify their Hollywood stardom. As part of its “Summer Under the Stars” series, Turner Classic Movies is dedicating Sunday, Aug. 16, '15, to Patricia Neal. This evening, TCM is showing three of her best-known films, in addition to […]


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Patricia Neal Movies: 'The Day the Earth Stood Still,' 'A Face in the Crowd' More Pertinent Than Ever



Hiroshima Bombing Anniversary: Six Must-See Movies Dealing with the A-Bomb Horror

'The Beginning or the End' 1947 with Robert Walker and Tom Drake. Hiroshima bombing 70th anniversary: Six movies dealing with the A-bomb terror Seventy years ago, on Aug. 6, 1945, the U.S. dropped the first atomic bomb over the city of Hiroshima. Ultimately, anywhere between 70,000 and 140,000 people died – in addition to dogs, cats, horses, chickens, and most other living beings in that part of the world. Three days later, America dropped a second atomic bomb, this time over Nagasaki. Human deaths in this other city totaled anywhere between 40,000-80,000. For obvious reasons, the evisceration of Hiroshima and Nagasaki has been a quasi-taboo in American films. After all, in the last 75 years Hollywood's World War II movies, […]


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Hiroshima Bombing Anniversary: Six Must-See Movies Dealing with the A-Bomb Horror



'The Contender' Movie: Joan Allen Outstanding in Controversial Political Drama

'The Contender' movie hero: Joan Allen as the virtuous Sen. Laine Hanson. 'The Contender' movie: Exceptional Joan Allen in intriguing but ultimately wimpy political drama “Principles only mean anything when we stick by them when they're inconvenient,” says Senator Laine Hanson, played by Joan Allen in Rod Lurie's The Contender. Senator Hanson should know. In Lurie's political drama, the poor Democratic senator is grilled by a Republican inquisitor with a bad hairdo (Gary Oldman) who wants to prevent at all costs her being confirmed as the next Vice President of the United States. Even if that means destroying Hanson's political career by making public the senator's alleged participation in an orgy during her college days.* Now, why such hatred? Well, […]


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'The Contender' Movie: Joan Allen Outstanding in Controversial Political Drama





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'Tokyo Sonata' Kiyoshi Kurosawa
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'127 Hours' Movie Review: James Franco in Harrowing Real Life Story
D.W. Griffith 'The Birth of a Nation' Director: Q&A with Author Anthony Slide
INNOCENCE OF MUSLIMS Producing Company: Media for Christ
UN FLIC: Alain Delon in Jean-Pierre Melville 'Late Noir Classic'
'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' Review: Green Goblin Wasted in 'Mediocre' Sequel
Jesus Christ-George W. Bush Connection?, IFC Films Acquires 'Turtles Can Fly'
'Ant-Man' Movie Review: Marvel 'Just Okay' Entry
'Die Nibelungen' Movies': Powerful Women in Masterful, 'Otherworldly' Germanic Tragedy