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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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What You Missed in 2014

Can you handle one more Top 10 list? Instead of a list of my favorite movies of 2014 (which you can find here), these are my favorite articles of the year – written by me. I hope you have enjoyed reading my work this year. Thank you for reading, sharing, and thinking about my writing.…

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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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What You Missed in November ’14

In November, I wrote a bit about Interstellar, weighed in on the Bill Cosby scandal, and made some wild connections between politics and cinema. Here are your links: Essays Is Current Cinema as Good as the Romanticized 1970s Golden Age? (Film School Rejects) District Mined: The Gerrymandering of Contemporary Cinema (Movie Mezzanine) Interstellar: Good Space Film, Bad…

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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…