Spring 2017

The World Below

The Lost City of Z, James Gray’s latest writing-directing effort, adapted from David Gann’s 2009 award-winning nonfiction work of the same name, tells the story of an Edwardian-era British military officer, Percy Fawcett, sent on a map-making expedition to the jungles of Brazil. There, he becomes obsessed with finding proof of a “lost” civilization whose existence would challenge all Euro-centric models of history. Lost City has many rich elements woven together: It’s a traditional heroic adventure where men affirm their solidarity against the arbitrary violence of nature at its most unpredictable and murderous. It’s a meticulous allegory of British imperialism […]



It’s Time for More Native Americans in Hollywood

“I’m just not going to be the Indian they want me to be.” — Sherman Alexie Native American culture is part of our everyday lives, from the Iroquois confederacy modeled in the U.S. Constitution to half of the U.S. states named in a Native language. It’s in our streets and cities, our sports teams, even the food we eat. Yet, Native people are rarely represented in the stories we see onscreen. Why is that? Well, there are several reasons. One is that America maintains a profound mythology about herself. You could say that she has her own “creation story,” starring the classic […]

  • Cosmic Mash-Up: James Gunn Talks Making Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 With Bobcat Goldthwait

    Sheer, unbridled glee — it’s not an emotion one would associate with today’s increasingly portentous blockbusters, their apocalyptic grimness ineffectively untempered by their series of rote one-liners. Indeed, while there is certainly a place for the adult-themed superhero movies following in the wake of Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins, and a certain fascination to the interlocking narratives of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, too often in superhero movies one hopes for more of the out-there, the bizarre and, even, the childlike. All those qualities were what fueled the unexpected success of Marvel’s 2014 picture Guardians of the Galaxy, in which a misfit […]

  • Surveying Inner Landscapes

    In the current climate of conglomerate studio entertainment, the Holy Grail is no longer the summer tentpole or the once fabled franchise. It is now the “shared universe,” a property capable of infinite expansion across an ever-enlarging landscape of consumption platforms. No outfit has embraced this new paradigm more than Marvel, whose television and film empire spans multiple networks and studios. As a product of FX and Marvel Television, Legion belongs to that universe, yet the new series from Fargo creator Noah Hawley feels like its own creature — not an offshoot or a spinoff or a cog in a […]

  • The Trump Effect

    When Moonlight won the Academy Award for Best Picture, writer-director Barry Jenkins and his team weren’t the only ones celebrating. For many filmmakers, the Moonlight triumph was both a victory for indies but also a rebuke against the racism, sexism and prejudice of Trump’s America. It was, perhaps, the entertainment industry’s biggest embrace of “the Resistance” yet. But the Trump regime isn’t just affecting awards shows and celebrity Twitter accounts. Financiers and producers speak about an uncertain marketplace, fueled by the wild vacillations of the Trump presidency, which has the ability to both hinder and bolster independent films. Yellow Bear […]


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