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ReelPolitik

Co-opting Occupy Wall Street: "The Dark Knight Rises" vs the 99%

  • By Anthony Kaufman
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  • December 20, 2011 11:04 AM
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  • 6 Comments
No disrespect to Christopher Nolan, who I'm sure has his anti-capitalist political leanings in the right place, as revealed in the new trailer for "The Dark Knight Rises," which has bloggers all over the web salivating about the film's ominous call for class warfare: “You think this can last?" says the would-be Catwoman. "There’s a storm coming, Mr. Wayne.... when it hits, you’re all going to wonder how you could live so large and leave so little for the rest of us.” But this is Hollywood, my friends, and at its best, the film will communicate a conflicted message; at its worst, it will make us all forget what OWS is really about.

The Top 11 Political Movies of 2011

  • By Anthony Kaufman
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  • December 15, 2011 2:09 PM
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  • 0 Comments

When Movie Outlets Become TV Networks, Indie Filmmakers Lose Out

  • By Anthony Kaufman
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  • December 14, 2011 12:25 PM
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  • 1 Comment
In September, I wrote an article for Indiewire about how Netflix was shutting out smaller independent films from its service, abandoning its indie roots in order to become an even bigger media player. "Is Netflix cutting off its long tail," I also asked on this blog. I consider the story one of my most important reported pieces this year, and its 37 comments suggest it touched a nerve. Since that time, Netflix has only gone further astray, with a further push into original programming arguably at the expense of the wide variety of indie films that one drove a large part of its business. And the company isn't alone.

Michael Moore: "How Capitalism is Killing the Movies"

  • By Anthony Kaufman
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  • December 14, 2011 9:47 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Last night, Michael Moore went on a Twitter spree, disparaging mainstream exhibitors for ruining the moviegoing experience with poor quality projection. "Has anyone else but me noticed that movies projected in theaters these days appear darker on the screen than usual?" he asked, posing a series of rhetorical questions and taunts to his nearly 1 million followers. "Have all these digital projectors wrecked the movie-going experience? Are they using the cheaper lamps to save $$?"

We've Got Virgins! History, Propaganda and "The Flowers of War"

  • By Anthony Kaufman
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  • December 13, 2011 9:19 AM
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  • 17 Comments
It was at the moment when the maurading Japanese soldiers broke into a cathedral, tried to rape a bunch of innocent Chinese schoolgirls, and a lone Chinese rifleman across the way managed to get off a few shots directly through the church's stained-glass windows, and into the neck of the Japanese attackers, that it became clear to me that director Zhang Yimou’s new epic about the 1937 Nanking massacre "The Flowers of War" is, well, frankly, propagandistic and, yes, anti-Japanese.

Rightwing Attacks "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" as Anti-Western, Too Complex?

  • By Anthony Kaufman
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  • December 12, 2011 12:35 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Conservative critics and pundits are taking aim at Tomas Alfredson's brilliant new adaptation of John Le Carre's "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," calling the film anti-western and criticizing its moral equivalence and suggesting the very thing that makes its worldview engaging and real -- its complexity -- is somehow incorrect.

Can Todd Solondz Survive? "Dark Horse" Still Dark Horse with Distribs

  • By Anthony Kaufman
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  • December 12, 2011 9:58 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Todd Solondz's "Happiness" and "Life During Wartime" are among my favorite American independent films. While Solondz was a household name in the indie movement in the mid-'90s with "Welcome to the Dollhouse" and the searing social satire "Happiness," his popularity has faded. But I can't think of a director who so brilliantly uncovers social discomfort, and who so effectively combines humor, cruelty and sadness. In a recently published interview in the Financial Times, of all places, Solondz faced up to his unsteady standing in the industry.

Is "The Artist" Yet Another Political Allegory for Our Dire Economic Times?

  • By Anthony Kaufman
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  • December 9, 2011 6:29 PM
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  • 3 Comments
In the year that "income inequality" became a household name, is the much beloved new French film (which I find utterly mediocre) "The Artist" just one more movie about our global economic troubles? I'm not sure I entirely buy the argument, but New Yorker critic Richard Brody puts forward an interesting proposition: "The Artist," he writes, "is a movie of the moment because it’s about unemployment, specifically, about an employee who loses his job due to a technological change for which he’s unequipped."

Backed by Ken Loach and Oliver Stone, New Doc Ties Iraq War Protests to Arab Spring & Occupy Wall Street

  • By Anthony Kaufman
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  • December 9, 2011 12:24 PM
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  • 0 Comments
In 2011, protest was certainly in the air, whether in the revolutionary demonstrations that shook the Arab world or the OWS movements that brought to light the injustices of global capitalism. What was the seed that brough forth such activist fervor? A new documentary, called "We Are Many," first reported about on Salon, aims to chronicle the rise of a world protest movement that began on Feb 15, 2003, with its day of coordinated protests in opposition to the then-imminent Iraq War.

UPDATED: Is San Francisco's Castro Theatre Finished as a Movie Venue? Not So Fast?

  • By Anthony Kaufman
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  • December 9, 2011 9:42 AM
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  • 4 Comments
Earlier this week, it was reported the famous Castro Theatre, long a cinematic home for the queer community, art-house gems and one of San Francisco's classic movie palaces (built in 1922), was finished as a movie theatre, according to the blog, the Petrelis Files. Many staffers were fired, it was suggested, and next year, it would no longer regularly book films. But according to a new report at BayCitizen.org, the Castro isn't fading to black. Or is it?

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