Film & TV

‘Hamilton’ World Domination Continues With Disney Plus Movie

Forrest Hartman

Hamilton uses what some might call colorblind casting, but it goes beyond colorblind. The show is intentionally diverse, meaning white historical figures are often portrayed by minority actors as a point of course. This is particularly poignant in the wake of the George Floyd protests. One might be able to overlook the fact that a Black man is playing Thomas Jefferson, were it not for that fact that Jefferson ran a plantation and owned slaves. That juxtaposition is jolting.

‘7500’ Is a Suspenseful, Must-Watch Thriller

Forrest Hartman

Vollrath makes the most of the confined setting -- something that could hurt a weaker filmmaker. In some respects, 7500 must have been easy to produce. A single location, small cast, and minimal set dressing all speed the shooting process, but these things come with restraints. When all the action is set in an airplane cockpit, there are no astonishing backdrops or special effects to use as a crutch. The weight of the storytelling is relegated to the script and its handful of actors.

‘Artemis Fowl’ Is a Streaming Mess

Forrest Hartman

Viewers are legitimately transported to a land where fairies and goblins are real, and it’s all very dazzling and Harry Potter-like. Artemis Fowl would seem, then, to be a perfect film for fans of that series. Alas, the Harry Potter features are painstakingly mapped out so viewers understand the rules of the magical world they enter. This is not the case with Artemis Fowl, which teases viewers without elaborating and leads to a long string of questions that are never adequately answered.

Exploring the Symbolism of Hats in the Cinematic Masterpiece, ‘Bicycle Thieves’

Eva Berezovsky

Italian director Vittorio De Sica’s Bicycle Thieves follows Antonio Ricci’s quest for his stolen bicycle, his portal to employment, and consequent riches. Through documenting Antonio’s progress in hunting down the guilty Alfredo Catelli, De Sica also traces the evolution of Antonio’s hats. De Sica implants three different styles––worn by Antonio as well as other characters––that work together to manifest a hierarchy where each style symbolizes a different level of authority.

Arde Madrid! (Burn Madrid Burn!) -- With Help From Ava Gardner

Sandra Bertrand

There are enough allusions to the star’s life in this tale for a younger audience to be intrigued.  References to her great affection for “Papa” Hemingway are well founded.  Ava made three films based on his stories: The Killers with Burt Lancaster, The Snows of Kilmanjairo with Gregory Peck, and The Sun Also Rises with Humphrey Bogart, forming a fast friendship with the author.  Mazar’s free-wheeling character defends her “Papa’s” philosophy that “it’s the castration of desire that is indecent.”

From Patty Hearst to Pakistani Marriages: Highlights of the Female Eye Film Festival

Sandra Bertrand

This YouTube original documentary is a harrowing look at the exploitation of young women who are forcibly pushed into marriage by their families, many as young as 13.  Out of indifference or ignorance or economic necessity, their elders sell or surrender their female offspring to the demands of the greater society.  Rukhshanda Naz has spent her life working on behalf of women and the prevailing view in society that women’s place is “in the home or the grave.” 

Mourning the Loss of an Icon: The Disappearing Comic Book Store

Christopher Karr

“My hope is that the documentary inspires its viewers to reflect on the places and rituals (comic shops and otherwise) that have given them a sense of belonging, as my comic shop did for me,” Desiato said in a statement. And to the extent that the movie prompted me to reflect on my own experiences at a comic shop, it’s successful. The problem is that reflection isn’t necessarily the most engaging response to elicit from a viewer.

Philanthropy and Generosity: The Legacy of C.J. Walker

Tyrone McKinely Freeman

Her philanthropic legacy didn’t make the cut – aside from a few visual footnotes just before final credits roll. Those footnotes touch on her charitable giving to black colleges, social services and activism with the NAACP. While viewers will enjoy the series, I want them to learn that Walker didn’t just live a life of hard-won opulence. She exemplified black women’s generosity. Walker distinguished herself on a philanthropic landscape dominated by white people.

Hollywood Suffers the Sting of Coronavirus as Cinemas Shutter Nationwide

TRT Editors

U.S. movie theaters have closed nationwide as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, turning dark nearly all of the country's 40,000-plus screens in an unprecedented shutdown. With most of Hollywood's March and April releases already postponed, the Walt Disney Co. on Tuesday also cleared out its May releases as well, including Marvel's Black Widow. The largest chains had tried to remain open even as Hollywood postponed its upcoming release plans and guidelines for social distancing steadily diminished the recommended size of crowds.

Why Are Children’s TV Shows So Strange?

Linda Geddes

A 2D cutout of a lamb spins down onto a plain green screen while the narrator says: “It’s a lamb.” The same thing happens twice more. Then the whole sequence repeats again, only this time, the narrator says “One, two, three,” as each lamb lands. It’s boring. It’s repetitive. But when the same babies who watched Baby Einstein were shown this, their eyes tracked the arrival of each lamb, suggesting that they were engaged and following it.

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