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In Defence of Patricia Arquette

In Defence of Patricia Arquette

When she won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Boyhood, Patricia Arquette delighted many with her call for wage equality in her acceptance speech. It was a timely call, for its political appeal and because it likely struck a nerve for many in Dolby Theatre, seeing as the Sony hack had revealed that actresses, even top box office earners, receive less than actors. More»

Fifty Shades of Blue

Fifty Shades of Blue

When I take my dad to watch the Metropolitan Opera broadcasts on Saturday mornings at the movie theater near my house, I know what to expect: slow-moving senior citizens who force the staff to bend over backwards satisfying their demands before the performance starts. That’s what made this past weekend so surprising. The same people were there, but many of them were going to see Fifty Shades of Grey instead. More»

None Too Pure

None Too Pure

The history of leftist politics is a history of bad habits. Whenever a goal is within reach, they return to wreak havoc: a fondness for drink, a fondness for drugs or a fondness for disputing precisely those questions that aren’t immediately pertinent. But of all the habits that have undermined the Left, the most pernicious may be the conviction that a devotion to purity is the solution. More»

State Versus Civilian

State Versus Civilian

More and more, the dozen years between the collapse of the Eastern Bloc and September 11th, 2001 seem like a mirage. Although horrific conflicts took place then — in the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda and elsewhere — they appeared to be exceptions to an increasingly inevitable New World Order, in which peace-time problems would dominate the headlines. Military budgets were slashed throughout the developed world, especially the United States and Russia. More»

Underwater Protest

Underwater Protest

Demonstration photography is boring. At least if you go by the photos in most newspapers. Aside from being relevant, to, say, an article about a protest march, more often than not, the images are interchangeable. Earnest people holding up signs. Long lines of young people, following one another in pursuit of some noble cause. More»

Blaming British Muslims

Blaming British Muslims

Within days of the French terrorist attacks, BBC One’s Panorama aired a documentary appropriately titled After Paris: The Battle for British Islam. Thirty seconds in, the fear mongering starts, featuring a video of the Charlie Hebdo shootings, set to a tense Hollywood-style soundtrack.  More»

Peering Through the Smog

Peering Through the Smog

In some circles, Inherent Vice was the most eagerly anticipated film of last year. Its director, Paul Thomas Anderson, has long been a favorite of cinephiles, both for the excellent performances he gets from actors and his delightfully retrograde insistence on shooting to film. But tackling the work of the legendary writer Thomas Pynchon added greatly to the hype. More»

Masculinity in Crisis

Masculinity in Crisis

It’s ironic that the films receiving the most critical praise and attention right now are about, in varying degrees, the crisis of masculinity and the difficulties of being an (important) man. This isn’t to say these films are not good. More»

The PEGIDA Problem

The PEGIDA Problem

The Nazis are back. So one would be inclined to believe, over the last few weeks, as Islamophobic demonstrations mushroomed across Germany. First catching the international media’s attention with a riot in Cologne, followed by a series of Monday night demonstrations in Dresden, Germany has been forced to acknowledge the growth of widespread sentiment against minorities, specifically Muslims. More»

Abandoning Earth

Abandoning Earth

Science fiction has become obsessed with the idea of humanity abandoning Earth. It is not just movies like Interstellar, which was a smash hit this year. Audiences identify with the theme of resignation in the genre. More»

My Year in Film

My Year in Film

It’s increasingly difficult to write year-end surveys. They seem to come earlier and earlier each year, and are hardly special in a landscape of reportage made almost entirely of lists. A top ten of lists would almost be worth it, if not for the risk that such navel gazing would precipitate Internet implosion (or self-loathing). Moreover, there was a lot of cinema in 2014 that merits note. More»

Earthquake Weather

Earthquake Weather

When it comes to earthquakes, America takes the cake. At least as far as news coverage is concerned. Having weathered two of the most devastating quakes to strike a first world country – the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, which ravaged the San Francisco Bay Area, followed by the 1994 Northridge earthquake, which severely impacted Los Angeles –  you can understand why. More»