“Creed” is the New American Hero

You’d be forgiven if, when you heard they were rebooting the “Rocky” franchise, you groaned and rolled your eyes. I certainly did. At this point, it’s easy to be cynical about the Hollywood sequel-making machine, but when done right, a film franchise can still provide unique pleasures. “Creed” follows the lead of James Bond and…

What You Missed in the Summer of ’15

Dear Readers, Remember me? No worries if you don’t. It has been a slow summer of criticism for me, and for a variety of reasons. First and foremost is that, as I get older, I have less and less patience for the slew of commercial crapola that Hollywood spews out during the warmer months, and so I’ve…

Note to “Trainwreck” Critics: All Hollywood Movies are Conservative

By all the usual metrics, Trainwreck has been a smash with critics (85% on Rotten Tomatoes), so why does everyone seem so disappointed? Numerous articles have sounded notes of disillusionment at the way the film turns Amy Schumer, the politically progressive, button-pushing television star, into something a little more conservative. “Are there any modern comedies…

Confession: I Didn’t Care for “Inside Out”

Inside Out is probably the most clever film yet to come out of Pixar Animation, but in no way is that the same as being its best. The film has been universally praised by critics for its creative ingenuity, and rightly so. Its story is groundbreakingly original: Riley, an eleven-year old girl having trouble adjusting after…

Kristen Wiig: Sexual Warrior

I always bristle when I hear anyone refer to an actor as “brave.” Yes, there are professional risks when Jake Gyllenhall plays a gay cowboy in Brokeback Mountain or former model Charlize Theron goes ugly for Monster. But in the end, these are major movie stars who, whether or not their film succeeds, still live…

Death in the Age of “Ultron” and “Adaline”

Pop culture, according to its very definition, reflects mainstream values. For a piece of art to be “popular,” or to place popularity as its stated goal, it must resonate with a mainstream audience. It must not challenge us in any structural or significant way, only reinforce the status quo and make sure its viewers feel…

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…