Category Archives: Films

The “Truth” About Fact-based Movies

Controversy about the accuracy of the “facts” in a fact-based film is hardly new. Accusations of factual inaccuracy have become a staple of award season campaigning and journalism, part of an annual orgy of “fact-checking,” with charges of falsity leveled … Continue reading

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Private Lives and Public Careers: Some Thoughts on the Allen-Farrow Controversy

All my life, and certainly since seeing Robert Frost recite his poem “Dedication” at John Kennedy’s inauguration over half a century ago, I have thought of Frost as the “canonized…rural sage, beloved by a public raised on poems of his … Continue reading

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Palling Around with Terrorists

In his new film, “The Company You Keep,” director Robert Redford tells a contemporary story about what happened to a small group of Sixties radicals. Identified as former members of the Weathermen, aka the Weather Underground (an actual far-left organization … Continue reading

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Two Movies that Deserved Better than They Got from the Critics

The national critics have been, at best, reluctant to praise “42,” writer-director Brian Helgeland’s biopic about Jackie Robinson, the man who broke the color barrier in major league sports. Richard Roper, Chicago Sun Times: “a competent but mostly unexceptional film.” … Continue reading

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Mother Knows Best: Why “Political Animals” Was Better Reviewed Than “The Newsroom”

In a blog post for Entertainment Weekly, Ken Tucker asks why “Political Animals,” a new mini-series on USA Network starring Sigourney Weaver as Secretary of State, received better reviews from TV critics than did HBO’s new Aaron Sorkin-scripted series “The … Continue reading

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In Memoriam: Andrew Sarris

In “Flick Picks,” its regular feature on film revivals playing at local theaters, The Los Angeles Times this week recommended, in addition to “John Ford’s What Price Glory?,” and “Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park,” what the Times described as “John Landis’ … Continue reading

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On Why You Should Miss HBO’S “VEEP”

“Satire,” George S. Kaufmann wrote, “is what closes on Saturday night,” which is, perhaps, why HBO scheduled its new political comedy, “Veep,” for Sunday nights. But, if HBO was worried about the Kaufmann curse, it needn’t have. “Veep” is not … Continue reading

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What the Academy Awards Tell Us About Presidential Politics

January 24, 2012 should have been a great day for the Obama re-election campaign. The President delivered a shameless but effective State of the Union address that started with the killing of Osama bin Laden and ended with a paean … Continue reading

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“The Tree of Life” is not Best Film of the Year!

The Los Angeles Film Circle has announced its awards for 2011, and the group—thank heavens—got it right by naming “The Descendants” the best film of the year, which it is. Alexander Payne’s film is not a technical wonder, like many … Continue reading

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“Win Win”: Why the Big Fuss over a Little Movie?

When Irvin Kershner passed away last year, the headline over his obituary in The Hollywood Reporter read: “’Empire Strikes Back’ Director Irvin Kershner Dies.”  Before George Lucas chose Kershner to direct the second “Star Wars” film, Kershner was a director … Continue reading

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