The “Gatsby” We Deserve

Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby is a profound disappointment, but I guess we already knew that. Critics and audiences were lining up to criticize his adaptation of the classic American novel before it even opened. While any adaptation of a much-loved book is bound to suffer a few slings and arrows of public opinion, the…

“At Any Price” Lobbies on the Farm Bill

At Any Price is a startling accomplishment: a deeply populist film about an issue affecting rural America and featuring a genuine movie star. Dennis Quaid may not be Hollywood’s hot young thing anymore, but he has improved with age, and he gives the performance of a lifetime as Henry Whipple, a fourth-generation Iowa corn farmer…

The Trailer for “The Butler” is Out, and it Looks Kinda Lame

The trailer for The Butler is out. Having criticized the casting on several occasions already, I thought I should weigh in. First, watch the trailer:   So this is one of those “Magical Negro” stories, huh? For the uninitiated, the Magical Negro is a stock black American character in film who exists only to help out…

Counterprogramming Your Summer of 2013

Studio execs call it “counterprogramming.” Summer blockbusters typically dominate ticket sales on the weekend they are released, so when a highly-anticipated movie is being released, other big movies stay out of their way and find their own weekend to dominate. Instead, you’ll often find a smaller movie with a niche demographic opening against the biggest…

The Most Conservative “Iron Man” Yet

Before we embark upon the unvarnished hero-worship of Man of Steel, let us take a long, perhaps last look at Tony Stark, the apotheosis of an era of superheroes who are defined as much by their faults as their virtues. Like all superheroes, Stark represents the best of humanity – courage, cunning, and physical fortitude…

The Overlooked Work of Robert Downey, Jr.

Iron Man 3, which will be released in theaters this Friday, is already projected to break $1 billion in worldwide grosses. Consider it another victory lap for Robert Downey, Jr. The actor, who has become the face of the Marvel franchise, has now reached such heights of superstardom that it’s hard to believe that Jon…