Media Matters Archive

Matthew Kauffman Smith’s First Annual National Mid-Year Music Award Day

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July 18, 2014 Third Way

Anyone or anything can achieve some level of fame these days just by pronouncing something as important. This past week, ESPNheld the ESPYAwards, which are suddenly important because ESPNtold us it was (and aired the ceremonies, of course). And did you know that last week you missed Don’t Step on a Bee Day and Cow Appreciation Day (conveniently promoted by chicken sandwich chain Chick-fil-A)? Today, July 18, is National Caviar Day. The glass-is-half-empty guy inside of me says these are shameless, bogus events. The glass-is-half-full guy inside of me says we don’t celebrate enough so we might as well make […]

Locke

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July 10, 2014 Third Way

here), I want to draw your attention to a gem you probably missed at the cinema this spring. Locke, a British indie film written and directed by Steven Knight, and starring Tom Hardy, will be released on DVDin August and I encourage you to check it out (though not at the end of a long day).

Jersey Boys

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July 4, 2014 Third Way

Clint Eastwood’s adaptation of the Broadway musical Jersey Boys into a movie broadens the story of the four friends from New Jersey who became the Four Seasons and rose to stardom in the early 1960s. While it includes many of their popular hits, it delves into their background and shows the conflicts that developed as their popularity grew.They go on the road, and after a while the troubles grow. Frankie’s marriage suffers from his being gone. Tommy gambles away all their earnings and lands them in a half-million dollars of debt.

World Cup Soccer

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June 27, 2014 Third Way

The United States Men’s National Team has punched their ticket to the elimination round in the 2014 World Cup, and Americans are—gasp—actually paying attention. As of this article, Nielsen ratings for Thursday’s 0-1 loss to Germany were not available, but Sunday’s draw with Portugal averaged 18.22 million viewers, the most viewed (non-NFL, non-college football) program in ESPN’s history.“Why now? Why do Americans suddenly care about their ‘futbol’ team?”

Chef

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June 20, 2014 Third Way

As the director of Iron Man, Iron Man 2, and Cowboys and Aliens, Jon Favreau knows all about summer blockbusters. He also knows about being a critical darling and then finding mainstream success (see Iron Man),and losing some of his critical backing (see Iron Man 2 and Cowboys and Aliens). All of this is to say that Favreau is the perfect person to bring us Chef, a cinematic equivalent of the slow-food movement in a summer full of cinematic fast food franchises.It is a summer film in the respect that it takes place when school is out of session and […]

X-Men: Days of Future Past

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June 13, 2014 Third Way

In general, there is no film genre today that is more likely to assure box office success (usually blockbuster status) than superhero films. I believe there are many reasons why today’s filmgoers enjoy escaping into a world where evil villains (often super-villains) are defeated by superheroes (however flawed) who do not need to do things “by the book” (i.e., wait on the slow-moving wheels of a bureaucratic and sometimes corrupt justice system). This is not the place to review those reasons.Imagine my surprise, then, when I watch a popular superhero film that seems to challenge the myth of redemptive violence […]

Belle

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June 6, 2014 Third Way

Amid the superhero movies and raunchy comedies, the Cineplex occasionally sneaks in a quiet, “inspired by a true story” film. Such is Belle, which is based on the story of Dido Elizabeth Belle (Gugu Mabatha-Raw), the illegitimate mixed-race daughter of a Royal Navy admiral.Belle deals with the racism that existed then, and we view it with a self-righteous disdain for their backward ways. But it doesn’t confront us with our own racist structures today.

The Immigrant

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May 30, 2014 Third Way

Director John Gray channels Russian novelist Dostoevsky’s ghost in his film The Immigrant. While the plot is relatively simple, the film is a portrayal of spiritual and psychological struggle.The story plays with clichés, like that of the innocent prostitute, but Cotillard’s performance and the screenplay mostly avoid this, so that the characters feel real.

Bears

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May 23, 2014 Third Way

My bother and I once asked my dad if we could watch a show on TV, and when we named the show, Dad thought it seemed like a reasonable request. I was probably six and my brother 10, and we couldn’t believe our luck, we could finally switch the channel from PBS. We retreated excitedly to the basement, turned on our 13-inch black-and-white TV and watched in awe as a green giant (or so we had heard he was green) busted up walls and wreaked havoc.Narration can certainly enhance a documentary, but Disney insists on obvious jokes and gags that […]

The Railway Man

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May 16, 2014 Third Way

Many of us take forgiveness for granted, accepting and offering it without much thought. But what if we faced a truly horrifying wound? Could we then forgive?The film ends up confronting our own lust for vengeance as we identify with this character.