Chaplin

Gandhi Movie

Yesterday, Scott Beggs discussed how the subject of war permeated throughout Richard Attenborough’s career both in front of and behind the camera, noting how anti-war themes ran through the former Royal Air Force flier’s directing debut in Oh! What a Lovely War to his Best Director win for Gandhi and beyond. But there’s another important aspect of Attenborough’s unique career that informed this consistent theme of pacifism: the actor/director often gravitated toward stories of activists determined to change the world and its asymmetrical relations of power. Attenborough rarely put himself in the position of liberator, but recognized and used his position of Western privilege to render the speech of others heard. Attenborough was a genteel Englishman who seemed positively aristocratic in his presentation and demeanor – his appearance made him look the part of someone who might have been quite comfortable in the role of colonizer a century ago – but he used this assumed authority as a platform for making the voices of the wronged and exploited accessible to the ears of the powerful. His career and biography make him seem in many ways a walking contradiction: Attenborough held several honorary titles of the British Empire, from Commander of the Order of the British Empire to Knight Bachelor, yet his career behind the camera is best known for chronicling the just dissolution of that empire and depicting the tragic folly of imperialism.

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IntroAwardShows

It’s silly to think that the outcome of Sunday’s Academy Awards is going to somehow change anything about the films nominated, just like it is silly to get any kinds of worked up about it unless you yourself happen to be up for an award. Really, the fun of the Oscars is watching all those unquenchable egos sitting under one roof, patting each other on the back in the form of golden naked men. So in the honor of emotional extremity, let us look back on the greater award show moments in films – some of which portraying the very ceremony they hope to be a part of.

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This Week in Blu-ray

Consider this: in a week where the best options include a BBC Christmas special and the story of a runaway train that ain’t never comin’ back, I’ve chosen to spotlight as my pick of the week a Blu-ray release that I haven’t even held in my own hands yet. It’s a rather sad week, indeed. So sad that I felt the need to delay my column by two days with the hope that a copy of Network would magically arrive at my doorstep. It didn’t, but I’m still making the recommendation. Why? Because I’m mad as hell and it’s time to review this week’s selection of Blu-ray releases! That’s why. Network We have ourselves a first — a blind pick for the best release of the week. I did not receive a copy of Network to review, but you can be damned certain that I will be picking one up at some point this week. Especially after reading the review from High Def Digest, who praised the transfer and the supplements. I’m mad as hell that I don’t already have this in my collection, and I’m refusing to take it any longer. Please join me in getting up out of your chairs… oh, you get the idea. With a quality transfer, this one is a sure winner.

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