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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…

The_Rewrite

An Awful “Rewrite” Tries to Kill the Rom-Com

Twenty years ago, Valentine’s Day at the movies would have been very different. A sexually explicit drama about young lovers who engage in BDSM play would have mustered a niche release, probably straight-to-DVD or late night on HBO following an episode of Real Sex. Meanwhile, an innocuous rom-com starring Hugh Grant would have opened on…