What You Missed in March/April ’15

March and April are not the most exciting months for movie-going, with a slew of eccentric indies not strong enough for awards season and the season of summer blockbusters is only just getting started. In the last couple months, I did a little introspection on the subject of racial movies, looked back (and forward) at one of the most remade movies of all-time, and decided to trash the ethics of one of the most popular movie franchises of the century. Oh, and I wrote about doggies.

Essays

Why Brewster’s Millions is the Most Remade Movie of All Time (Talking Points Memo)

“The film is essentially showing us an economic system (albeit in a very small microcosm) in which it is impossible to go broke, even if you’re trying to. It is easy to see why the film would have been a hit in 1945, when the post-war boom was just beginning. The situation in that version of Brewster’s Millions, in which wealth was abundant and seemingly everlasting, may have been an exaggeration, but it was generally reflective of the national economic mood.”

No Animals Were Harmed: The Unique Perspective of White God (RogerEbert.com)

“Any discussion about the use of animals in film is unique to each individual’s values. How important is film to us? Do we value a film as an artistic entity over the welfare of its participants? If not, how do we proceed with the information we are given about what transpired on set? These questions come up from time to time with human actors. Watching “Blue is the Warmest Color,” for example, became a challenging moral experience following the claim by actors Lea Seydoux and Adele Exarchopoulos that they felt manipulated by director Abdellatif Kechiche while shooting the film’s explicit sex scenes. The complicated gender and power structures of that situation deserved serious scrutiny, but at least the actors were humans with free will. Because animals used in films have no choice in the matter and they cannot tell us when they are suffering, their welfare should be diligently guarded.”

Furious 7 Glorifies the Very Thing That Killed Paul Walker (Film School Rejects)

“What’s concerning is that the death of the franchise’s star caused no introspection on the part of the studio or the actors who claim to have loved him like family. They will go right on promoting the film and celebrating the mindless, ride-or-die values that got their friend – sorry, “family” member – killed.”

Mea Culpa: Why I Avoided the Films of Tyler Perry for So Long (Movie Mezzanine)

“If we don’t include black cinema in the public discourse, we are essentially trying to solve a problem—the underrepresentation of the black experience in film—with the same system that created it: a cinema made for mainstream, white audiences. Yes, I want more movies like 12 Years a Slave and Fruitvale Station (both of which were made by black filmmakers, but seem designed to speak to everyone) that document the systemic racism eating away at our society. But I also want to know the experience of black America in ways that are independent of whiteness.”

Reviews

Age of Adaline (The Rye Record)

Dior and I (Washington City Paper)

Tribeca’s political documentaries have more than a hint of Michael Moore (The Guardian)

Clouds of Sils Maria (Washington City Paper)

While We’re Young (Washington City Paper)

Cinderella (The Rye Record)

Focus (The Rye Record)

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