White God 2

The Conundrum of “White God” and Animals in Entertainment

This morning, I appeared on the Webby-nominated “Our Hen House” podcast. The ladies at OHH have the internet’s top animal rights-themed podcast, and they routinely invite me to join them to discuss the use of animals in film. I’ve also appeared on their television show, which you can view here. Today we talked a bit…

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Two New Films Ask an Age-Old Question

In our culture so obsessed with youth, it’s a rare for a film to seriously grapple with the aging process. Sure, there are those condescending old-people-behaving-badly flicks like Last Vegas, Quartet, and, to some degree, the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel franchise, but they rely on tired jokes about artificial hips and pacemakers, and only skim the…

Cinderella

“Cinderella” and the New (Old) Economics

By almost all accounts, Disney’s shiny new adaptation of Cinderella is a successful movie. Director Kenneth Branagh brings a sense of old-world classicism and genuine optimism to a fairy tale genre that has largely skewed towards dark and subversive adaptations in recent years. Financially, those gritty remakes have been a mixed bag: Snow White and…

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What You Missed in January/February ’15

The highlight of my 2015 was giving a speech at the Smithsonian on the Oscars, but I did a little writing, too. In January and February, I reviewed some terrific independent films and shared my thoughts on the real star of Birdman, negative campaigns in Hollywood, the political controversy over American Sniper, and the feminism…

FILE: Neil Patrick Harris To Host 2015 Academy Awards

The Oscars are Terrible, But We Should Still Celebrate Them

The Oscars are dead, right? Criticizing the ceremony has been national sport for years, but the vitriol seemed particularly fierce this time around. It seems that everything that could have gone wrong went wrong. Critics hated the telecast and Neil Patrick Harris’s stale hosting job; pundits railed against the winners who introduced politics into their…