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Cinema in the Age of Stupidity

Although cinema holds many useful purposes in modern society, perhaps its most important function is its ability to generate empathy, and ultimately, to foster social change. In the last century, film has played a vital role in shaping important social movements, from In the Heat of the Night to Philadelphia and beyond. Now, film’s utility…

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Note to Hollywood: Johnny Depp is Not a Movie Star

So Mortdecai had a predictably god-awful opening weekend. We could have seen that coming, as the marketing campaign seemed to be predicated entirely on people wanting to see a Johnny Depp movie. Is there any evidence that people do in fact want that? Or to put it another way: In the wake of Johnny Depp’s…

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8 Great Movies You Probably Didn’t See in 2014

At this time of year, the critical community is all about forming a consensus. As critics’ groups and guilds start to give out their awards, the field of essential films for 2014 winnows down to a precious few: This year, it’s looking like Boyhood, Birdman, and Selma will dominate discussion from now until Oscar night…

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Did Johnny Depp Just Rip off Wes Anderson?

Last week, the new trailer for Mortdecai was unveiled, and we got a better look at the lead character played by Johnny Depp. In some ways, he appears to be a typical Depp weirdo: eccentric, charming, a bit annoying, but mostly harmless. More notably, the character feels awfully familiar. Wasn’t it just earlier this year…

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“Fury” and Why Hollywood Loves WWII Movies Again

The success of Fury, the new World War II movie starring Brad Pitt that was #1 at the box office last weekend, could mark the start of a new trend in how Hollywood depicts war. In the years after 9/11, our movies reflected all the complexities of the War on Terror, from its morally ambiguous tactics (Rendition)…