commentary & opinion

Keith Strudler: Life’s Great Awards

Jul 22, 2015

Not all sports awards are created the same. For example, if you win, say, the most improved on your high school JV tennis team, that’s fine. But if you win the Super Bowl MVP award, that’s better. With the ubiquity of awards and requisite ceremonies, most people are rightfully judicious on which commendations to cherish, and which to simply accept. In other words, some go on your wall, while others straight to the basement, if the trash.

Audrey Kupferberg: 5 Flights Up

Jul 17, 2015

In the last year or two, love among the senior population has been more than evident in little and big-screen entertainments. 

Rob Edelman: Jackie Robinson, 1947 & 2015

Jul 6, 2015

Given the recent, sad, disturbing events in Baltimore, Ferguson, Staten Island, and elsewhere across the country, the impact of Jackie Robinson becoming the first black man to play major league baseball in the 20th-century is well-worth recalling-- and discussing. This is a milestone that transcends sports. It is one of the bellwether occurrences of what at mid-century was the soon-to-burgeon civil rights movement. Cinematically-speaking, the travails of Jackie Robinson have been detailed in two films. One of them, titled 42, came to theaters in 2013. The other, titled THE JACKIE ROBINSON STORY, was released way back in 1950.

Rob Edelman: Motherhood

Jun 29, 2015

Sometimes, a dramatically flawed film still may offer a certain insight into a very real issue. Such is the case with THE 11TH HOUR, newly-released theatrically, whose original title is I AM HERE.

Rob Edelman: Summer Movies And More

Jun 22, 2015

The summer movie season has arrived in force. JURASSIC WORLD, a movie which is the definition of cotton candy hot weather escapism, earned a whopping $200-million in U.S. theaters during its opening weekend. Add to this the $300-million the film earned overseas, and JURASSIC WORLD took in over a half-billion dollars during its first days in release. And if you bought a ticket, you certainly got what you paid for: special effects, special effects, and more special effects, all of which are calculated to thrill the masses.

New restorations of two classic films are being released this month.  Both are works of masters from cinema’s past.  The first is LIMELIGHT, a mature, philosophical drama written and directed by and starring Charles Chaplin.  The second is Dziga Vertov’s THE MAN WITH THE MOVIE CAMERA, which is one of the outstanding documentary films of all time.

Rob Edelman: Two For The Price Of One

Jun 15, 2015

 

LOVE & MERCY is based on the life of Brian Wilson, the composer-performer-musical genius who back in the early 1960s was instrumental in making the Beach Boys one of America’s most successful musical groups. However, LOVE & MERCY is a bit different from other biopics in that two actors play the central character. Paul Dano is cast as Wilson as a younger adult, while John Cusack plays him as an older adult.

In the early decades of the last century, Ivan Mosjoukine was a top star first of the Russian cinema and then of the French cinema. He was a fine actor who exuded a special charisma, and Flicker Alley has recently released to DVD a ten-episode six-plus-hour-long Mosjoukine serial, the English title of which is THE HOUSE OF MYSTERY, that was produced in France between 1921 and 1923.

Keith Strudler: The Not So Beautiful Game

May 27, 2015

We’ve heard for a long time that soccer is finally getting big in the US. If nothing else, it seems the United States Department of Justice got the message. They’re into soccer all right, so much that the Feds this morning indicted nine international soccer officials and five American business executives on 47 counts of wire fraud, racketeering, and money laundering, amongst other things. The indictments, announced in a Brooklyn federal court, largely involved officials working for CONCAF, the international governing body for the game in North American and the Caribbean region. CONCAF is of course part of the larger FIFA organization, the entity that oversees the world’s largest and most pervasive sport, and also a group that seen as only slightly less corrupt than the Russian mob. And that may be unfair to the Russian mob.

Rob Edelman: Hot Docs

May 18, 2015

These days, I scan the titles and subjects of newly-released films and either shrug my shoulders out of disinterest or shake my head in frustration. Too many of the films I’ve been seeing are, well, disappointing-- and these are the better ones. Way too often, they are mind-numbingly awful. In some cases, they are intellectually vapid. More often than not, however, they simply are not at all entertaining.

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