The Scary, Silly Hypocrisy of “White House Down”

If future historians are ever looking for evidence of the political schizophrenia and tribalism that engulfed American in the post-9/11 era, they could do much worse than White House Down, a film that presents itself as an argument for peace and reason but is built on a foundation of cartoonish, consequence-free movie violence and a…

Obama Asks Celebrities to Help with ACA Rollout

I’ve already covered in detail the close relationship President Obama has fostered with folks in  Hollywood. The entertainment industry has always skewed liberal, but in this funny political era when nearly every industry has turned against national Democrats, the support provided by folks like George Clooney and Jeffrey Katzenberg was vital to Obama’s re-election. But…

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…

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…

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…

“No” Votes for Substance Over Style

The release of No, which was nominated for an Oscar this year for Best Foreign Film, in early March positions it to be a sleeper hit in our winter of cinematic discontent. It’s been a bad year at the movies so far, as nearly every film released has been either a critical or commercial failure.…