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2013: The 5 Most Progressive Movies of the Year

Parsing out the politics of a Hollywood film can be tricky. What makes for a conservative film? Or a progressive one? Unless the film is about a politician or political issue, you have to analyze the values embedded in its themes, plot, and characters, and the conclusions are always debatable. It has gotten easier, however,…

Jack Bauer

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…

Iron-Man-4

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…

Robert Downey Jr young

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…

Superman

Why “Man of Steel” Might Save Us All

I have now watched the trailer for Man of Steel, the Zack Snyder-directed Superman movie premiering June 14, twice and had two very different reactions. Watching it at home on my laptop, it looked like a solid, modern take on the world’s most famous superhero. But this trailer was not meant to be watched on…

Iron Man

The Real War Movies of the 21st Century

Yesterday, on the 10th anniversary of the Iraq War, Daniel D’Addario at Salon noted that movies about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have not exactly broken the box office. Comparing it to previous eras of bloodshed, he wrote that “after the Vietnam War, movies like Apocalypse Now and The Deer Hunter drew audiences and…