Movies

Has there ever been a more commonly visited scene in cinema than that of a funeral? The standing-over-the-casket, femme-fatale-in-a-black-netted-veil, umbrellas-shielding-the-protagonist-from-convenient-rain, religious-figure-droning-on-in-a-somber-tone image is overdone, to say the least, but writer-director Emma Seligman completely inverts this quotidien display in favor of a helter-skelter shiva in her debut film, Shiva Baby. In fact, almost this entire movie takes place at the shiva reception, inside a cramped home filled to the brim with rambunctious guests. At only 25 years old, Seligman makes a cinematic splash with Shiva Baby, a...
As the documentary Hysterical begins, neon signs flash over photos of comedians when they were young girls. The signs read: "BE PRETTY. BE SOFT-SPOKEN. DON’T BE BOSSY. BE NICE. DON’T BE MESSY. SMILE." While these expectations tend to be ingrained in the brains of girls and women from birth to death, some of them are counterintuitive to a life in comedy. How can a comedian make people laugh without a bit of bite and a bit of mess?  Hysterical, which premieres on FX on April 2, considers...
The 93rd Annual Academy Award nominations have shattered (or, at least, chipped away at) the glass ceiling (or, at least, the high ceiling of Los Angeles’ Dolby Theatre). The 2021 Oscars ceremony will be unusual in that it will be broadcast from multiple locations, and will honor movies that most people watched via streaming services due to pandemic restrictions. But one of the most historic aspects of this year’s awards show is the inclusion of two women in its Best Director category. The category has long...
In 1957, J.D. Salinger wrote a letter to a movie producer explaining why he had not released the rights to a film adaptation of The Catcher in the Rye. “There are readymade ‘scenes’—only a fool would deny that—but, for me, the weight of the book is in the narrator’s voice… his asides about gasoline rainbows in street puddles, his philosophy or way of looking at cowhide suitcases and empty toothpaste cartons—in a word, his thoughts,” Salinger wrote. “He can’t legitimately be separated from his own...
What is the Hyde Amendment and why is it such an obstruction to reproductive justice?  Hyde impacts nearly 29 million people of reproductive age by preventing government funds from being used to cover abortions. This staggering number includes individuals on Medicaid, in the military, in the Peace Corps, enrolled in Indian Health Services, and in federal prisons, among others. Illinois congressman Henry Hyde passed the amendment in 1976, shortly after the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling, and very explicitly attached its restrictions to Medicaid because he...
Creating a good biopic can be a hit or miss. Regardless of the identity of the historical figure or entertainer, capturing the complexities of a person’s entire existence can be quite a daunting task — and with The United States vs. Billie Holiday, Lee Daniels both fails and succeeds at capturing her legacy. The film is both visually stunning and masterfully cast. Lead actress Andra Day’s uncanny embodiment of Holiday and chilling vocal performance have rightfully earned her a Golden Globe award this past week, making her...
The dream of the ’90s is alive in Moxie. The new film, coming to Netflix March 3, follows a contemporary teen named Vivian as she leads a feminist revolt at her high school inspired by her mom’s old riot grrrl ’zines and music. Based on a YA novel by Jennifer Mathieu and directed by Amy Poehler (who also served as a producer and plays Vivian’s mom), the movie is a heartfelt exploration of growing up and learning how to fight for yourself, with the added...
A powerful R&B singer and songwriter, Andra Day was challenged like never before when she was cast to play the lead in The United States vs. Billie Holiday, a role which won her a Golden Globe award for best performance by an actress in a motion picture. Here, she opens up about her new career path, her new album, and why she actually named herself after Lady Day For Andra Day, portraying her idol, Billie Holiday, came with many challenges, chief among them finding the legendary jazz singer’s...
“In the 1960s, and until very recently, you could not be beautiful and clever at the same time,” Marianne Faithfull said in a 2020 Vogue interview. “If you were pretty, you were obviously just a bimbo. A dolly bird. A sex object. Blah blah blah. And that was obviously why Mick [Jagger] liked me, at least that’s what they thought. But it wasn’t.” Faithfull’s excellent 1994 autobiography, Faithfull, told her side of the story and, after years in development, her story is coming to the silver...
Spare and lonesome, Nomadland follows Fern (Frances McDormand) while she navigates her new life after the loss of her husband and her community. Based on the Jessica Bruder book Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century, the film offers a documentary-esque peek into life on the road, deftly handled by director Chloé Zhao. After the twin tragedies of her husband’s death and the erasure of her town, Fern dedicates herself to staying untethered. She packs up her rickety van with a handful of valuables — the plates...
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