Meryl Streep and Hollywood’s Hypocrisy Problem

In 2003 Hollywood stood up—literally—to cheer Roman Polanski after he won the Best Director Oscar for The Pianist. That’s despite the fact that Polanski admitted to drugging and raping a thirteen-year-old girl in Jack Nicholson’s Jacuzzi in the late 1970s. Among the superstars offering a standing ovation to the man who fled the country rather … Continued


‘Suffragette’: A Lesson in Contemporary Smugness

At this time of year, nearly every week brings to the cinemas an Oscar hopeful that intends to use history to teach us a lesson about ourselves. Unfortunately, most of these movies fall into the same trap: They aren’t very curious about history. They are more like acts of self-congratulation. The new film Suffragette, starring … Continued

Entertainment, Movies

‘The Giver’: An Allegory of Obama’s America

Incredibly, the most persuasive campaign commercial Republicans have this fall is a full-length Hollywood movie. The Giver, a film adaptation of Lois Lowry’s 1993 dystopian children’s novel, plays as a devastating critique of the Obama Era. IMDb describes this as a sci-fi movie, but it’s rather eerily real and immediate. As the credits rolled, I … Continued

Culture, Entertainment, Movies

“Manhattan”: Remembering a Near-Great, Near-Conservative Film

The recent death of the great cinematographer Gordon Willis has given me yet another reason to revisit Manhattan, one of the most gorgeous, challenging, and infuriating films of the last fifty years. Manhattan, written and directed by Woody Allen, is an almost-brilliant, almost-conservative film. Manhattan was famously shot in glorious black and white by Gordon Willis, … Continued

Entertainment, Movies

Today’s Pop Culture Scene

by Emily Esfahani Smith 1. 2011’s biggest losers by Newsweek‘s Tunku Varadarajan The list features: Royal Loser of the Year: Kate Middleton, for allowing her sister’s backside to upstage her wedding. You can’t say backside anymore without Kim Kardashian coming to mind. Her derriere has assumed a life of its own in the media, with blogs, … Continued