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Entries in politics (331)

Sunday
Apr282019

Review: "Little Woods"

by Tony Ruggio

Little Woods, North Dakota: not far from our border to the north, and a poster child for the death of the American Dream. Tessa Thompson is Ollie, a woman hardened by a life selling oxy and a an allergy to hope. Her adopted mother has passed and she and her younger sister Debbie (Lily James) are left to pick up the pieces, namely a pittance of a house and what’s left of Ollie’s former life. She’s nearing the end of her probation and you know what that means. Life’s about to throw her a curveball, sending her back to the wheelin’ and dealin’ trenches, where seedy characters and searing guilt are part of the job. Debbie needs help and Ollie’s good at doing, so she’s back at it to pay the mortgage and get her sister the medical care she needs. It’s all very predictable, but it hardly matters...

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Friday
Apr192019

1972: The founding fathers musical "1776"

We're looking back at the 1972 film year before the Smackdown.


by Anna

Peter H Hunt's 1776, based on the stage musical of the same name, chronicles the many woes that went into the Declaration of Independence’s creation. At the forefront of its writing are the “obnoxious and disliked” John Adams (William Daniels), the dry-witted Benjamin Franklin (Howard Da Silva), and the homesick Thomas Jefferson (Ken Howard). Amid the clash of words and egos of the other delegates of Congress, will they succeed?

Recruiting many of the names involved with the original Broadway production (Producer Jack L. Warner’s attempt to atone for casting Audrey Hepburn over Julie Andrews for My Fair Lady), 1776 had the misfortune of being released the same year as another period piece musical. 

Would 1776 have won more acclaim had it been released a different year?

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Friday
Apr122019

Stage Door: Hillary and Clinton 

We're seeing a lot of theater in the run up to the Tonys. Here's new contributor J.B.

For the last twenty years or so, and probably longer, well-crafted stories about women in politics told on stage or screen have frequently been described with words like “timely” or “vital.”  These stories, in many cases, are ones we haven’t heard before, and to the extent we as a society want our art to imitate life (and indeed, vice versa), they are, now more than ever, ones we need to hear.

It is for this reason that Hillary and Clinton, a well-crafted story about the quintessential woman in American politics now playing at the John Golden Theater in New York, feels like such an anomaly. The play, written by Lucas Hnath and directed by Joe Mantello (his SEVENTH production on Broadway in just the last three years), takes place in a hotel room during the thick of the 2008 New Hampshire Democratic Primary and offers an imagined glimpse into what exactly the titular characters (played by Tony-winners Laurie Metcalf and John Lithgow, respectively) may have been thinking, feeling, and communicating to each other at that precise place and time in history...

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Tuesday
Apr022019

The Hugo Award Nominees 2019. Plus 75th anniversary Retro Prizes

With the weather warming up are you looking for spring & summer reads? For those of you who enjoy sci-fi / fantasy novels, you can always get recommendations each year from the Hugo Awards... though we wish these recommendations each year leaned a little more fantasy (the balance is definitely pro sci-fi with a few fantasy sprinklings). The nominations were determined by 1800 valid nomination ballots from members of the World Science Fiction Convention (WorldCon). If you'd like to be a nominator for 2020, you could join WorldCon this year.

Since this is a film site we'll start with their "dramatic presentation" prizes. 

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form


  • Annihilation, directed and written for the screen by Alex Garland, based on the novel by Jeff VanderMeer (Paramount Pictures / Skydance)
  • Avengers: Infinity War, screenplay by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo (Marvel Studios)
  • Black Panther, written by Ryan Coogler and Joe Robert Cole, directed by Ryan Coogler (Marvel Studios)
  • A Quiet Place, screenplay by Scott Beck, John Krasinski and Bryan Woods, directed by John Krasinski (Platinum Dunes / Sunday Night)
  • Sorry to Bother You, written and directed by Boots Riley (Annapurna Pictures)
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, screenplay by Phil Lord and Rodney Rothman, directed by Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey and Rodney Rothman (Sony) 

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form

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Friday
Mar222019

Review: Hotel Mumbai

by Jason Adams

What scares us -- the communal us -- shifts through time. The 70s gave us Vietnam allegories like The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, while in the 80s Slasher Movies were all the rage as divorce numbers went up and women asserted their rights. Then there was so-called Torture Porn, which was all the rage while Bush & Cheney were throwing their waterboarding parties. So what now? It's hard not to see Grief as the theme of our current moment -- the great horror films of our age, films like The Babadook and Hereditary, are profound ruminations on a world that's already slipped through our fingers -- a madness so close its breath is hot on your throat, and a knowledge that its our own failures, our own shortcomings, that brought this all down upon us.

Hotel Mumbai is technically not a horror movie (look to Jordan Peele's Us, which Chris just reviewed, for this weekend's official entry in that genre) but it sure operates like one...

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Saturday
Mar162019

SLO Film Fest: Wolves, Sharks, and that "Delicate Balance" 

Nathaniel R reporting from the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival

After a delightful trip back to 1969 iconography and disturbing peek back at 1933 fascism, the San Luis Obispo's 25th festival threw us directly into the immediate now with three engaging documentaries exploring very real, very urgent problems with our ecosystems, relationships with animal life, and the dehumanizing dangers of globalism and late stage capitalism. That may sound depressing, and it was to an extent, but all three films were suffused with enough passion and optimism to make their bitter pills easier to swallow.

The shortest and "lightest" of these with Collin Monda's hour-long documentary The Trouble With Wolves, which is locked but not quite finished (needing funds to complete its rights clearances and such). It's a surprisingly nuanced look at the success and aftershocks of a 1995 federal program to reintroduce gray wolves to the US via Yellowstone National Park.

Click to read more ...