Tag: Roger Ebert

February 7, 2017 /

Since the 1960s are ostensibly remembered as a nonstop parade of drug-fueled, artistic counterculture, it is easy to forget the mainstream world it set out to counter. As Hollywood and the American film industry retreated into a nostalgic coma devoid of social introspection or cultural nuance, the Academy settled into a facile routine of rewarding obvious entertainments. Massive roadshow releases emerged as easy favorites, with four mega-musicals (the most in one decade) taking home the grand prize. This move towards detached fantasy would ultimately mark the ‘60s as one of the most backwards-looking decade in Oscar history, giving seven top prizes to movies that dwell on times gone by despite that the social landscape was becoming an increasingly significant player in daily life with its visible strides towards equality. 

November 13, 2016 / / Main Slate Archive

When the twentieth anniversary of director Baz Luhrmann’s audacious Shakespeare adaptation Romeo + Juliet recently arrived, people took notice. Articles popped up in publications large and small, and fans reminisced and celebrated on social media. Like Scream and Trainspotting – two other youth-oriented films from 1996 – Romeo + Juliet, which relocates the classic play’s action to a surreal, contemporary urban landscape while retaining an abridged version of the Bard’s original text, is iconic and epochal. There are images from it that are not only instantly recognizable for swaths of filmgoers, but also powerfully evocative of an era. So why, on this auspicious anniversary, am I feeling a bit defensive regarding the film?

January 25, 2010 / / Main Slate Archive

Arizona Dream – 1993 – dir. Emir Kusturica

“But what’s the point of breathing if somebody already tells you the difference between an apple and a bicycle? If I bite a bicycle and ride an apple, then I’ll know the difference.” That’s one of the first of many philosophical musings from Axel Blackmar, the searching twenty-something protagonist of Emir Kusturica’s willfully strange 1993 film Arizona Dream. It’s a statement that prepares the audience for all that comes next. That is, at least well as the audience can be prepared for all that comes next.