An impeccably crafted documentary that brings history to life


In decades past, political pundits referred to the final few weeks leading to the presidential election as the “silly season” of politics. Nowadays, the silly season is more or less the three years leading up to the election, and if you haven’t noticed it, the three-ring circus that is the Donald Trump-led Republican nomination contest […]

Kapadia skillfully documents this heartbreaking journey


There were so many terrible things about Amy Winehouse’s death in 2011 at the age of 27. She was arguably the greatest singer of her generation, having produced two instantly classic albums, the jazz album Frank (2003) and the throwback soul album Back to Black (2006). Winehouse’s death was an artistic tragedy for popular music […]

Exploring the phenomenon of the ‘gay voice’


When I figured out that other people were figuring out I was gay, or maybe gay, or maybe just weird, say around the age of 14, I became hyper-vigilant about how I might be perceived by, well, everyone who was close enough to perceive me. Most of it was in my clothes (carefully disheveled instead […]

Another landmark film about transgender characters


Tangerine In my last column, I wrote about the new ways transgender characters are being depicted on television series, and how complex and positive portrayals of Sofia on Orange is the New Black, Maura on Transparent and Nomi on Sense8 signify a sea change in transgender representation. Independent film, however, has long been on the […]

Reaching the transgender tipping point


This time it’s different. Since Christine Jorgensen became an international celebrity in 1952 as the supposed, but not actual, first recipient of a sex change operation, the media has been fascinated, titillated and afraid of transgender people, and the images the media produced expressed these emotions. The broadcast news and film have long dominated the […]

A story of adolescence and coming of age


This year’s Sundance breakout Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is the latest in the curious string of films based on dark young adult novels: The Fault in Our Stars, If I Stay, The Spectacular Now, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and, going back a bit, The Lovely Bones. As Gayle Forman, the […]

Movie review: ‘Spy’


Spy is the first Melissa McCarthy movie since Bridesmaids that is actually good. Bridesmaids made her a superstar and got her an Oscar nomination, but her subsequent movies, while profitable, have not deserved her talent. From Identity Thief to Tammy, the films have allowed McCarthy plenty of space to be funny, but they have been […]

Movie review: ‘San Andreas’


That San Andreas, a disaster film starring Dwayne Johnson, is bad should not surprise anyone. It is about what happens when a series of massive earthquakes caused by the great fault San Andreas – topping at 9.6 on the Richter scale – destroy California and how professional rescuer Ray (Johnson) saves his family in Los […]

This dream team disappoints with ‘Tomorrowland’


I think I am supposed to be perturbed that Tomorrowland only exists because Disney realized that the theme park attraction of the same name had even greater profit potential as a feature film. But bashing Disney for synergistic money mongering is lazy, mostly because that’s what Disney has always done. Most of the time, they […]

Movie review: ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’


Before I went to see Mad Max: Fury Road, I spent a weekend watching George Miller’s three previous films about Max Rockatansky, all of which were filmed more than thirty years ago and starred Mel Gibson in the role that made him a superstar. I’d never seen them, and it hadn’t occurred to me to […]

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