Revisiting movie “classics” that aren’t 1

Film
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It’s almost a dare. A film festival, in this case TCM Classic Film Festival 2014, which virtually took over Hollywood Boulevard for five days this past May, declares, in its title, its focus on movie “classics.” Nothing but “classics.” Really? Consider that perhaps a few of those “classics” are overrated. Then consider that some are ...

Strange body art of “12 Years a Slave” 2

Film
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Unlike his socially and racially acute art, Steve McQueen’s movies bring out something strange in him. His first film, “Hunger,” carried an overwhelming emotional wallop in its graphic depiction of imprisoned IRA fighter Bobby Sands’ 1982 hunger strike. It went too far, but in good ways—the ways strong art always goes too far. His next, ...

Django’s jangling cinematic reflections

Film
We massively enjoyed Quentin Tarantino’s frontal attack on a hateful chapter of American history, “Django Unchained,” an ambitious and hilarious cinematic tour de force. The strength of the film is its use of the director’s best gift — his deep knowledge of his own metier — in a conversation not just with history, but with ...