Media Matters Archive

Hidden Figures

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February 3, 2017 Jerry L. Holsopple

The space race is on. Sputnik has orbited and the Russians are in the lead. Hidden Figures tells this based-on-a-true-story in the predictable ways of a triumphal movie. We meet the three African American heroines stranded next to a broken-down car on their way to work at NASA. The challenge of this day is to actually get there, as the car just won’t start. A police officer shows up, and they use his concern for America in the space contest to get past his initial prejudice. Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe, also in recently reviewed Moonlight) uses a similar tactic earlier […]

Open Season on Awards

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January 27, 2017 Matthew Kauffman Smith

It’s open season. Not duck season, not deer season. It’s awards season, and you don’t even need a permit to collect your bounty. The next month will bring not only the most prestigious film and music award shows but also some lesser-known—but perhaps more interesting—award shows. By the way, my opening you just read was terrible. Dreadful. Hokey. But it could have easily been an introduction at an awards show. The Golden Globes ushered in 2017 awards season two weeks ago, and the next month will bring not only the most prestigious film and music award shows but also some […]

The Crown

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January 20, 2017 Michelle D. Sinclair

To be perfectly honest, The Crown had me at “an inside look at the early reign of Queen Elizabeth II.” I’m such an Anglophile and history buff that this show could have been a shoddily produced back-lot project and I probably would have watched. I’m saying all of this so you’ll take this review with about a heart attack’s worth of sodium. One also has to wonder what the Queen herself thinks about all this. Series creator Peter Morgan told Variety this past July that the royal family has had no involvement in the project. Luckily for me, The Crown is […]

Third Way’s Picks for Top Ten Films of 2016

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January 18, 2017 Thirdway

Third Way’s Picks for Top Ten Films of 2016 The quirky personalities, film viewing habits, and divergent ways of putting these lists together (we don’t tell them how to do it) comes through once again in this round of “Top 10 Movies of 2016” from our of our tremendous Third Way reviewers—in the order they were received. Don’t forget about this handy round up when you add must-see flicks to your lists, however you keep them. Vic’s Top Ten Films of 2016 Counting down a year of mystery and magic from number ten: Moonlight – Barry Jenkins’ beautifully-acted film about […]

La La Land

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January 13, 2017 Vic Thiessen

The big winner at the Golden Globes this week was La La Land. It was written and directed by Damien Chazelle, a young filmmaker whose only previous film was 2014’s Whiplash, which concerned a young drummer sacrificing everything to achieve his dream of greatness. La La Land pursues a similar theme, albeit with greater subtlety and ambiguity. It’s a film that can generate hours of discussion on the meaning of life, which is a wonderful attribute, though whether the answers it provides are always helpful is a matter for debate. The central question in La La Land is whether love […]

Fences

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January 6, 2017 Jerry L. Holsopple

It is Pittsburgh in the 1950s. Troy (Denzel Washington) and his friend Bono empty trash cans into the back of a truck. It is Friday, and Troy wonders aloud why it is only white men who drive the trucks, while the black men are the ones handling the garbage. He raises the issue in hopes of becoming the first black driver. Later that afternoon, Troy and Bono sit at the back of his house talking about life, and we meet Troy’s wife, Rose (Viola Davis). It is clear she loves him, and it seems like they have a good life […]

The Eagle Huntress

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December 29, 2016 Matthew Kauffman Smith

Talented bird whisperers train eagles to help them hunt for food and fur in treacherous, bone-chilling winters. Matthew Kauffman Smith with special guest writer, Ella When I took my daughters to the bank when they were younger, the teller would always offer them a sticker. He or she would offer a Disney princess sticker to my daughters, even though one time I saw Spiderman stickers in another stash that was offered to the boys. Given the option, my girls may have selected the princesses, but there’s a good chance they would have chosen an alternative. Now my girls are old […]

Stranger Things

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December 23, 2016 Michelle D. Sinclair

Twenty minutes into the first episode of Stranger Things, a sense of deja vu, or at the very least, nostalgia will come over people of my generation. No cell phones, primitive computers, and kids riding bicycles like grown-ups use cars? We must be in the realm of the 1980s, or at least the version that used to inhabit the big screen. That impression is intentional, since writer/directors/brothers Matt and Ross Duffer crafted the series as an homage to Spielberg films and other classics in that era of storytelling–particularly E.T. or even The Goonies. Those adventures still took time to explore […]

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

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December 16, 2016 Vic Thiessen

J. K. Rowling returns to the world of Harry Potter with a series of films based not on books she has written but on screenplays she is writing directly for the films. The first in the series is Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and its blockbuster status assures that we will be seeing the rest of the series (five in total) in the years to come. Fantastic Beasts could have been a classic for the ages instead of merely a fun night at the movies. Fantastic Beasts is directed by David Yates (who directed the final four Potter […]

The Edge of Seventeen

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December 9, 2016 Jerry L. Holsopple

While some may dream of going back to high school, The Edge of Seventeen reminds everyone how hard it can be to grow up. Nadine thinks she doesn’t belong, perceives her popular jock brother, Darian, as being favored, and barely survives her mother’s attempts to get back in the dating scene. Nadine wields her wit like a shield to protect herself from a constant sense of loneliness. She picks on her favorite teacher because he doesn’t humor her but rather returns her comments with his own dry wit and concern couched in wise remarks. Her snarky remarks ricochet right back […]