What Liberal Critics of “Beasts of the Southern Wild” Get Wrong

Earlier this week, The New Republic published a scathing and moralistic piece by Thomas Hackett about the Oscar-nominated Beasts of the Southern Wild. While he begrudgingly praises the film’s “excitement for the surprising places artful imagery and editing can take us,” he ends up making the rather inflammatory claim that the film is “patronizing and…

2012: The Movies of the Year

The late Gene Siskel once described the job of being a film critic as “covering the national dream beat.” What he meant is that the movies document our collective unconscious. We may go to the movies to escape, but because the movies trade on our fantasies and not our conscious fears and desires, they often…

U.S. Senator Ashley Judd?

Is actress Ashley Judd running for Senate? Rumors are spreading across the Beltway that she may challenge Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in 2014. When asked about a potential run, Judd had this to say: “I cherish Kentucky, heart and soul, and while I’m very honored by the consideration, we have just finished an election,…

“Skyfall” Pushes Bond to his Limit

Skyfall opens, as do all James Bond films, with an action sequence. Bond chases a villain through a Turkish marketplace, then onto a train, then onto the top of that train, and although the sequence is gripping and masterfully put together, it feels a bit tired. Two films after having our expectations of Bond reshuffled…

“Cloud Atlas” is Why I Go to the Movies

Thirteen years ago, The Matrix was released, and its themes of oppression and revolution connected deeply with critics and audiences alike. The filmmakers – siblings Andy and Lana Wachowski – were similarly oppressed by its success and have spent the last decade failing to live up to it. But now their time has come. In…

“Margaret” Deserves an Audience

“It is the blight man was born for.  It is Margaret that you mourn for.” – from “Margaret, Are You Grieving,” a poem by Gerald Manley Hopkins “Margaret,” the sophomore effort from writer-director Kenneth Lonergan, is a film about New York, a city with 8 million stories. So it is only fitting that “Margaret” arrived…

The Politics of the MTV Movie Awards

Say what you will about MTV, but they have always promoted participatory democracy. In 1992, they launched the “Choose or Lose” campaign, urging their viewers to vote – presumably for the president challenger, Bill Clinton. Clinton courted the youth vote with an appearance on MTV and won.  MTV has continued its campaign, even though they…

6 Movies That Will Impact Obama’s Re-Election

People are naturally more interested in politics during a presidential election year. Frankly, the subject is hard to avoid. Come fall, the evening news will lead with the campaign every night. “Saturday Night Live” will all of a sudden be considered relevant again. Lastly, movie studios will take advantage by releasing movies with political themes…