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If Alice F. Lee didn’t happen to be Nelle Harper Lee’s sister, lawyer, and roommate, the AP might not have run an obituary on the occasion of her death on Monday at the age of 103. But one of the most remarkable things about Alice is that the AP's piece hardly mentioned Harper Lee. Alice retired from the law firm she had inherited from her father, A.C. Lee (the model for To Kill a Mockingbird’s Atticus Finch), at the age of 100, which made her Alabama’s oldest working attorney at the time. She was such an important part of the Southern Methodist Church (where she quietly led its move away from institutional racism) that there’s an award named for her. She was a community pioneer, a generous advocate of equality and justice, and a guardian of collective memory.She was also the protector — and, more important, »
- Boris Kachka
The episode description for Monday (November 17) night's "Sleepy Hollow" episode, titled "Mama," teases that Jenny and Abbie will "come face-to-face with their past" and mentions a series of mysterious deaths and "an especially surprising spirit." No mention is made of resolution to last week's cliffhanger involving Bearded Man Walking Away From Bar. That, unfortunately, is the life of an extra. You dedicate minutes -- whole minutes! -- to crafting an interior life for a character who may not even have a name in the official record, you work to hone that personal narrative so that it has a beginning, a middle and an end, you improvise and refine your performance, but then you watch the finished product and your entire arc has been reduced to nearly nothing, the faintest whisper of a story. In fact, if you end up being able to spot the back of your head, the outer »
- Daniel Fienberg
By Anjelica Oswald
Originally planned to screen as a 30-minute preview at AFI Fest, Ava DuVernay’s Selma, centered on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights marches from Selma to Montgomery, premiered in its entirety and stirred up more Oscar buzz ahead of its Christmas Day release.
The Hollywood Reporter’s Stephen Farber says the film is “intelligently written, vividly shot, tightly edited and sharply acted,” and that it “represents a rare example of craftsmanship working to produce a deeply moving piece of history.” Meanwhile, Paul Webb’s screenplay and David Oyelowo’s portrayal of Dr. King have been praised. The Wrap’s James Rocchi says, “Oyelowo’s performance would be impressive enough if it merely recreated the icon we now revere as perfectly as he does through a variety of methods… But Oyelowo, and Webb’s screenplay, also give us a rich, rewarding portrait of King as a man, »
- Anjelica Oswald
Like his first two narrative features, “Capote” and “Moneyball,” Bennett Miller’s “Foxcatcher” is based on real events, but that doesn’t mean everything you see onscreen happened in that particular order, or even happened at all. “It’s a representation,” says the 47-year-old filmmaker, heading off at the pass the kind of intricate media scrutiny that can attend fact-based films, especially during Oscar season. As he speaks, his soft voice (which Miller claims he is congenitally unable to raise) barely rises above the din emanating from the kitchen of Emilio’s Ballato, the charmingly untrendy Soho Italian joint Miller has chosen for our interview.
“These are actors wearing costumes, captured through lenses that have been chosen and placed in environments that have been created and lit,” he continues. “You’re not actually living the event. There are decisions made in every molecule of what you’re experiencing. I think »
- Scott Foundas
Interstellar is big. It's ambitious and it's personal. Director and co-writer Christopher Nolan (Inception, The Dark Knight) has taken a film centered on a world-saving space expedition to another galaxy, and turned it into a story of humanity and a father's love for his children (though, mostly just his daughter). Thinking back on all that happened in the span of the film's exhaustive 169-minute running time many highs come to mind -- epic highs as the universe bends, giant waves fill the screen and frozen clouds contribute to an icy, alien landscape. But for as epic as these highs may feel, the film doesn't necessarily offer the same returns once the final scene fades to black. The survival of the human race is at stake in Interstellar and I can't say I ever really felt that as much as I was marveling at moments in the narrative that seemed to »
- Brad Brevet
If Thursday’s episode of Parenthood was the first time you’d ever seen the NBC drama — well, as a side note, what have you been doing all this time? — your opinion of Amber Holt would likely be that she’s one of the most mature members of a family that’s single-handedly keeping Kleenex in business.
But for those of us who’ve been watching since the beginning — hell, even if you only tuned in last season and saw Amber foolishly rush into an engagement — you were likely blown away by the leaps and bounds by which she has grown in recent months. »
Chicago – Some say, to use a Fox News term, that America is “post-racial.” The election of Barack Obama is supposed to have ended the debate on race, and any marginalization because of race. Of course, that is not possible in society and culture, and it’s articulated in writer/director Justin Simien’s new film, “Dear White People.”
The film is set at a fictional elite college, where the African-American population is small and highly educated. The stereotypes still dog them, especially from the clueless – and also supposedly well-educated – white students on campus. With a talented cast, the breakdown of how farcical “post-racial” is becomes apparent within the film, and Justin Simien creates a statement of principle that echoes beyond the production.
Photo credit: Lionsgate
HollywoodChicago.com met with writer/director Simien during the Chicago International Film Festival earlier this month, »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Adam Fendelman)
30. No Country for Old Men (2007)
Scene: Coin Flip
There was a brief period of time from 2006-2009 when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences made some more daring, but wholly deserved choices for Best Picture. It began in 2006, when Martin Scorsese finally won for The Departed which, while not his best and not nearly as dark as, say, Taxi Driver or Raging Bull, still leaned that direction. Three years later, they handed the Oscar to The Hurt Locker over the blockbuster Avatar, rewarding quality over audience love. But in between the two it was given to No Country for Old Men, an incredibly dark neo-Western based on the Cormac McCarthy novel of the same name. It’s still one of the Coen Brothers’ best films, an incredible cat-and-mouse journey through West Texas in the 1980′s. The film stars Josh Brolin, Tommy Lee Jones, »
- Joshua Gaul
The Judge did not come close to winning its opening weekend. Nor did the critics swoon over the pairing of Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Duvall, playing a hot-shot, big-city attorney and his ornery father, a prominent small-town judge accused of murder. But even if the script is Grisham-light and the prodigal-son bit overly familiar, there's at least one reason to keep it on your must-see list: Duvall. "Now it's about time to recognize Robert Duvall as one of the most resourceful, most technically proficient, most remarkable actors in America today," wrote the New York Times. "When I say 'one of… »
- Jeff Labrecque
Sunday night's The Good Wife tackled religion with a lineup of guest stars that would put even The Love Boat to shame. Let's take a look: John Boy Walton (real name: Richard Thomas - forgot that for a second) plays Ed Pratt, a client of Alicia, Cary, and Dean's who created this super-strong, genetically modified seed. He is suing another farmer for patent infringement, which basically amounted to stealing the seeds and planting them. A religious man, Pratt gets fed up with the courtroom proceedings and asks the fellow litigant to resolve their differences in binding Christian arbitration, headed by »
- Henry Goldblatt, @henrygoldblatt
Sunday night's The Good Wife tackled religion with a line-up of guest stars that would even put The Love Boat to shame. Let's take a look: John Boy Walton (real name: Richard Thomas - forgot that for a second) played Ed Pratt, a client of Alicia, Cary, and Dean's who created this super-strong, genetically-modified seed. He was suing another farmer for patent infringement, which basically amounted to stealing the seeds and planting them. A religious man, Pratt gets fed up with the courtroom proceedings and asks the fellow litigant to resolve their differences in binding Christian arbitration, headed by ... Robert Sean Leonard »
- Henry Goldblatt, @henrygoldblatt
“Are you there, God? It’s me, Alicia.”
Ok, nobody said that on this week’s installment of The Good Wife. But maybe, just maybe, a higher power whispered in the ear of our atheist protagonist Alicia Florrick and convinced her to rethink her stance against declaring her candidacy for State’s Attorney against that rat bastard fink James Castro. Then again, maybe it was just a combination of Good Angel (Gloria Steinem) and Bad Angel (Eli Gold) reminding Saint Alicia that it is, in fact, a woman’s prerogative to change her mind.
Whatever the case, Alicia’s last-act »
Watchmen #1-12 (Sept 1986- Oct 1987)
Written by Alan Moore
Art by Dave Gibbons
Colored by John Higgins
Edited by Len Wein & Barbara Kesel
There isn’t a media outlet, comic book site, book review page or esteemed magazine that has not delved into the world of the Watchmen and highlighted its brilliance, its depth and its profound impact not just on the comic book medium but the written word itself. So what should make this column any different when examining this seminal piece of art? Will I be able to cull some new insight from the pages that so many have pored over, looking for symbolism and significance? More than likely not, but that’s not my job here. My job is to recommend a particular story in the comic book world that I »
- Jessie Robertson
One key advantage of running a film company together is that it’s possible to be two places at once. That came in handy on a recent night at the Toronto International Film Festival when Michael Barker and Tom Bernard, the co-presidents of Sony Pictures Classics, canvassed the town. They both attended screenings of “Leviathan,” the Russian film they picked up at Cannes, and “Infinitely Polar Bear,” starring Mark Ruffalo. Then Barker stopped at an event for Martin Scorsese, while Bernard attended back-to-back dinners. They reunited later that evening to haggle over an acquisition deal for the buzzy Julianne Moore drama “Still Alice.”
It’s no wonder that after working in tandem for three decades, Barker and Bernard have perfected a way to navigate an industry that demands constant nurturing of relationships, a keen eye for talent and movies, and the financial discipline to survive the volatility of a business »
- Ramin Setoodeh
Over the weekend, film critic A. O. Scott wrote a long essay in The New York Times Magazine that irked me, and I wanted to use my column to unpack some of my feelings about it. If you have opinions about the state of modern pop culture, you might want to join me.
(I’m now going to paraphrase and reduce his arguments to the bones. By all means, read the entire piece for more nuance.)
Scott seems to think that the modern American adult, by his and her refusal to grow up, has had a deleterious effect on the popular arts. He specifically mentions “bromance” movies, like those produced by Judd Apatow, superhero movies, and adults who read young adult (Ya) books like the Harry Potter series and The Hunger Games. In his opinion, the success of these genres means that we, as grown-ups, are rejecting our responsibilities.
- Martha Thomases
The book is always better. You have heard it before. You may have even said it. To be fair, we have had far too many reasons. The book-to-movie transitions, with a few notable exceptions like To Kill a Mockingbird or The Shawshank Redemption, have, for years, fallen short of readers and their great expectations. We have all walked out of the theater shaking our heads about things left out, storylines altered, and the “how could they do thats” that ruined every bit of...
Read Comments »
Assigned high school reading definitely involved some snoozy titles - we're looking at you, Beowulf - but some of the books we discovered during class became favorites we've reread again and again. There were the go-to, coming-of-age crowd-pleasers like Catcher in the Rye, the poignant novels like To Kill a Mockingbird, and the classics we couldn't put down like Lord of the Flies and The Great Gatsby. Highlighting well-known titles plus a handful that may surprise you, our editors have shared which high school books they loved most. To get in the back-to-school spirit, take a look and add a few titles to your list of must reads! »
I didn't even realize there was a problem. And, believe me, I understand that as problems go, this is not a life-threatening one or a world-altering one… but it's something that finally caught my attention as I realized how we were starting to instill some bad habits in the boys. Rather, they were starting to pick up some bad habits, and I was allowing them to take root. And based on the last column I published in this series, it's definitely something I've encouraged. I love that my kids have a fairly broad palette in terms of what they will or won't watch with me. One of my proudest moments as a film nerd dad was when Toshi had a friend over and I heard him trying to convince his buddy to watch a Charlie Chaplin film. Black and white has never been a problem for them. Abbot and Costello, »
- Drew McWeeny
Throughout the summer, an admin on the r/movies subreddit has been leading Reddit users in a poll of the best movies from every year for the last 100 years called 100 Years of Yearly Cinema. The poll concluded three days ago, and the list of every movie from 1914 to 2013 has been published today.
Users were asked to nominate films from a given year and up-vote their favorite nominees. The full list includes the outright winner along with the first two runners-up from each year. The list is mostly a predictable assortment of IMDb favorites and certified classics, but a few surprise gems have also risen to the top of the crust, including the early experimental documentary Man With a Movie Camera in 1929, Abel Gance’s J’Accuse! in 1919, the Fred Astaire film Top Hat over Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps in 1935, and Stanley Kubrick’s The Killing over John Ford’s »
- Brian Welk
If you regularly watch TCM, you already know that Bill Hader is a total cinephile, and he wants to share his love for movies with the world, particularly the younger set. That's why he's been host of Essentials, Jr. on Turner Classic Movies for the past few years, introducing relatively kid-friendly classics like To Kill a Mockingbird, the original Godzilla, Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton shorts, and Shane, which he programmed this past weekend. Not enough? Well, aside from putting movie lovers in stitches with his classic-film-star impressions -- including those of Vincent Price, John Barrymore, James Mason, Peter O'Toole and many more seen during his run on Saturday Night Live (he's even mimicked fellow TCM host Ben Mankiewicz) -- he now has a whopping...
- Christopher Campbell
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