“Beasts” Sheds Light on Poverty in America

Ending poverty used to be a mainstream element of our national political discourse. The War on Poverty was the central tenet of LBJ’s Great Society. Bobby Kennedy, when running for president, spoke often of the impoverished, as did Bill Clinton, who was able to use his humble upbringing to great political advantage. Of course, more…

Ripe for a Remake: “Brewster’s Millions”

If you have never seen 1985’s “Brewster’s Millions,” I wouldn’t recommend you jump to put it at the top of your Netflix queue. It’s not a great movie. It’s not even one of the better comedies of the 1980s, and it certainly does not constitute the best that Richard Pryor and John Candy had to…

“The Newsroom” – Episode 3: “The 112th Congress”

On any television series, there are going to be good episodes and bad episodes – except for “Arrested Development.” They were all good. Still, it is generally unwise to get too worked up about any single episode, good or bad, as an indication of what’s to come. Having said that, tonight’s episode of “The Newsroom”…

“Savages” is Good Fun, But Nothing More

“Savages,” the new candy-coated thriller from once-important director Oliver Stone, comes along at a propitious time. The film is about a bloody feud between a Mexican drug cartel and domestic marijuana growers, but the subject lurking throughout is the War on Drugs, which has been in the news quite a bit lately. First there was…

“Safety Not Guaranteed” is Safer than it Appears

There is a certain type of romantic comedy about a character who is trying to live in two worlds at once. Usually, this plot involves a deception of some kind. You know the kind of movie I’m talking about. The lead character is trying to achieve some arbitrary goal, and they pretend to be someone…

“The Newsroom” – Episode 2: “News Night 2.0”

Second episodes are tough. Often, there are as many new viewers of a show watching the second episode as there are with the first, so you basically have to re-introduce all of the characters and restate its themes. As one of the few defenders of last week’s pilot episode of “The Newsroom,” I was tempted…