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ReelPolitik

All Tomorrow's Parties: "The Great Gatsby" Meet "Spring Breakers"

  • By Anthony Kaufman
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  • May 12, 2013 9:11 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Within the span of a couple months, audiences and media have witnessed the debauched excess of the American Dream gone sour, of attractive young men and women imbibing themselves to delirium, violence and self-destruction. If there ever were a comment on the failed hopes and ideals of our current generation, "Spring Breakers" and "The Great Gatsby" – those strange fraternal twins of apocalyptic party cinema -- would not be it.

Why You Shouldn't Be Surprised by the Muddled Politics of "World War Z"

  • By Anthony Kaufman
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  • March 30, 2013 2:40 PM
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  • 4 Comments
Some folks around the web are shocked and astonished -- astonished! -- that word comes from Brad Pitt that the political subtext of "World War Z," the actor's upcoming apocalyptic epic, has been neutered. In an interview from Entertainment Weekly that has been oft-quoted, Pitt says, "I was really interested in a more political film, using the zombie trope as a kind of Trojan horse for asking, 'What would happen to sociopolitical lines if there was a pandemic like this?... But it was just too much. We got bogged down in it.... It gutted the fun of what these films are meant to be." But come on, folks, aside from the occasional "V for Vendetta," when has Hollywood ever provided penetrating social critique?

Iran Attacks "Hollywoodism"; Why They're Right, and Wrong

  • By Anthony Kaufman
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  • February 6, 2013 10:59 AM
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  • 4 Comments
In the midst of Iran's prestigious 31st Fajr International Film Festival, which recently awarded its top prize to Iranian filmmaker Behnam Behzadi's family drama “The Rule of Accident,” an unfortunate parallel event is being conducted called "Hollywoodism and Cinema," which, by all accounts, is conservative Islamic propaganda aimed at demonizing Jews, Hollywood and Jewish Hollywood. The conference is making news on a number of fronts: the Western Media loves to highlight stories that show off Iran's more wacky ideologues; and there are also unsubstantiated reports that Malcolm Shabazz, Malcolm X's grandson, was arrested by the FBI on his way to Tehran to attend the conference. (Can some crime reporter please follow up on this?)

The Politics of "The Avengers"; Or, Can Clean Energy and Old-Fashioned Jingoism Mix?

  • By Anthony Kaufman
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  • May 7, 2012 10:10 AM
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  • 2 Comments
I couldn't help myself. Not because I'm a fan of comic books, blockbusters or Josh Whedon, but because I'm always curious about a cultural phenonemon, and often feel the need to interrogate what is at play in our most popular movies, and especially since this may be the most popular one of all time. "The Avengers" embodies what I've always felt about Hollywood juggernauts: they're a hodgepodge of political views and ideological undercurrents, colliding with each other to create a mainstream entertainment that, if you look close enough, manages to uphold old-fashioned reactionary American values. Here, it's such myths as militaristic might, individual sacrifice and the renegade American hero--allthough, it also seems to throw a bone to contemporary liberal views on energy policy at the same time.

Chastity and Motherhood: How Conservative is "Twilight: Breaking Dawn"?

  • By Anthony Kaufman
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  • November 21, 2011 10:11 AM
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  • 2 Comments
Is there any better example of the need for Planned Parenthood than "Twilight: Breaking Dawn"? That's a joke, of course. For those looking for examples of the conservative and reactionary nature of Hollywood, there's no stronger proof than Stephanie Meyer's no-sex-before-marriage "Twilight" franchise.

Are Big Marketing Pushes A Good Model for Arthouse film?

  • By Anthony Kaufman
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  • November 14, 2011 2:00 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Are aggressive film distributors like Relativity, FilmDistrict, Fox Searchlight and others doing a disservice to independent films, making them seem bigger than they are in promotional materials, or are they indie filmmakers' most valuable supporters, helping small films compete in an increasingly competitive marketplace?

Clint Eastwood and The Politics of “J. Edgar”

  • By Anthony Kaufman
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  • November 7, 2011 11:50 AM
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  • 4 Comments
The big news over the weekend in awards circles was the unveiling of Clint Eastwood’s latest Academy contender “J. Edgar.” Unlike many of my peers, I greet the arrival of a new Eastwood pic like the latest Tea Party rally—an event with a lot of emotion and conservative politics, but not a lot of substance. Eastwood’s films are certainly better than Paul Haggis’s—who, of course, wrote Eastwood’s “Million Dollar Baby”—but they share the same penchant for melodrama, broad strokes and a political shorthand and reactionary quality that seems to think itself moral and upstanding by having token Others and spouting lessons, usually involving the comeuppance of angry white people, who turn out to be not that bad, after all.

Are A-List Stars Saving—Or Waylaying—Indie Film?

  • By Anthony Kaufman
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  • November 4, 2011 1:20 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Will "Tower Heist" Help Topple Capitalism? Or Is it Too Dumb?

  • By anthony
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  • November 2, 2011 5:20 AM
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  • 0 Comments
In the last few weeks, the media has made mountains out of the economically topical movies to hit movie theaters, from "Margin Call" (obviously set during Wall Street's collapse) to "In Time" (Andrew Niccol's more sci-fi vision of haves and have-nots, battling it out for more time to survive). With their critical examinations of the corruption of wealth and power, some are arguing that there's never been a more socialist agenda at work in the movies.

Buenos Aires Film Industry Delivers Fuck You to Hollywood

  • By Anthony Kaufman
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  • September 2, 2011 4:47 AM
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  • 6 Comments

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