Paul Thomas Anderson is a “Master” of History

Joaquin Phoenix

“The Master” opens on a shot of the marbled blue-white wake of a battleship, and director Paul Thomas Anderson returns to that image several times throughout the film. Soon, it becomes clear why; the image embodies the film’s subject, the … Continue reading

Did “Parks and Recreation” Peak in Season Two?

Leslie Knope city council

One of my favorite movies about American democracy in action is “Election,” Alexander Payne’s 1999 dark comedy on the making of a high school president. Tom Perrotta, the author of the novel on which the movie is based, has cited … Continue reading

Fall Political Movie Preview, Part Two: Democrat

Daniel Day-Lewis in "Lincoln"

Instead of a traditional fall movie preview, I have identified four movies that will appeal to Republicans and five that will appeal to Democrats. Here are those five movies: Branded (September 7) With echoes of “The Matrix,” “Branded” paints a … Continue reading

Fall Political Movie Preview, Part One: Republican

WBD-120 - Viola Davis, left, and Maggie Gyllenhaal star in WON’T BACK DOWN.

Every fall, major studios and independent films alike trot out their prestige pictures. Even though the Academy Awards have undergone a series of rules changes to be more friendly towards blockbusters, the fall season is still traditionally reserved for serious … Continue reading