Why Chechnya Loves Steven Seagal

From The Atlantic, this is one of the weirdest stories I’ve heard in a while. Actor/karate expert Steven Seagal recently led a Congressional Delegation to Chechnya that included U.S. Reps Michele Bachmann, Steve King, and Steve Cohen. This is certainly an odd group – Bachmann and King are right-wing wacko birds, while Cohen is a stalwart liberal from an African-American community…

Casting Call: Mitt Romney

It was announced earlier this week that HBO has already optioned the forthcoming book Double Down, by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, for a made-for-TV movie. Double Down is the sequel to the duo’s 2009 book, Game Change, which, of course, HBO previously optioned into an award-winning film starring Julianne Moore as Sarah Palin. Game…

A Director Confronts Her Past in “Stories We Tell”

Sarah Polley is one of the industry’s most exciting young directors, although I can’t blame you for not knowing her. Throughout her career,  she has followed her own path and consistently avoided the trappings of Hollywood. After starring in such mainstream hits as Go and Dawn of the Dead, she moved behind the camera at…

George W. Bush Might Approve of “Star Trek Into Darkness”

I was back in The Atlantic yesterday with a thinkpiece on the politics of Star Trek Into Darkness. Here’s an excerpt: “Kirk’s bravado stands out because we were supposed to have left this type of leadership behind. President Bush traded on the cowboy archetype in the days after 9/11—promising to capture Bin Laden “dead or…

Debating Women in Film

Earlier this week, Jason Bailey of Flavorwire published a piece documenting the drop in speaking roles for women in successful Hollywood movies. He makes an important point: despite the attention paid to movies like Bridesmaids and The Hunger Games, the percentage of female speaking roles in the top 100 grossing movies of 2012 is a…

Gun Control According to 007

Here is an interesting twist in the complex relationship between government, gun violence, and Hollywood. There is a new approach to gun control – and it is inspired by the movies. All sensible people , even 90 percent of Americans, agree that individuals who suffer from mental illness should not be allowed to buy guns.…

The Return of the Right-Wing Action Hero?

Earlier this week, Fox announced that 24 will return next summer with a 12 episode run entitled 24: Live Another Day. Little is known about the show’s return, except that Kiefer Sutherland will be back, of course, as Jack Bauer. The storyline is still under wraps. But the timing of this announcement is interesting, as…