Culture Warrior

Twelve years ago, the western and the musical, two genres that were incredibly successful during Hollywood’s heyday, had been considered long dead with no hopes of a revival on the horizon. After all, why would either of these genres make a comeback? The western is a remnant of a sense of American cultural imperialism and pre-Howard Zinn history-writing long past, and the film musical requires such an astounding degree of suspension of disbelief that audiences who seek special effects that blur distinctions between the fabricated and the real simply aren’t willing to engage it. But lo and behold, on December 25th, 2012 (always a day for big movies), a western (Django Unchained) and a musical (Les Miserables) will be launched into wide release on the heels of outstanding buzz (sure, Tarantino’s film is a revisionist western, but since revisionist westerns have been around for nearly fifty years, let’s just refer to them as the current standard western, shall we?). It’s difficult to say how this particular revival of these Hollywood genres has taken place. Of course, the unexpected success of previous films of these genres that took a risk with audiences (3:10 to Yuma and True Grit, Moulin Rouge and Chicago) certainly helps create the terrain for more such films, but this doesn’t necessarily explain why updated versions of classical Hollywood genres come back into style. Arguably, there are a multitude of genres we could use today, but unfortunately have no contemporary examples of. For instance, the ’30s and ’40s-style […]


Mystery Cannes 2012

Opening this year’s Un Certain Regard programme, Mystery returns festival veteran Lou Ye to Cannes for the fourth time, having screened Purple Butterfly, Summer Palace and Spring Fever in the main competition in past years, and after being banned from filmmaking for five years by the Chinese government. Though he is on less provocative form here than previously, he does still sneak in a criticism of the Chinese justice system and the somewhat distasteful practice of private settlements overriding criminal prosecution. His story here focuses on Lu Jie (Hao Lei), a happy housewife whose life is shattered when she discovers that her husband (Hao Qin) is having an affair. The story isn’t quite that conventional however, as it is framed by an explosive event – the death of her husband’s mistress under the wheels of a young rich playboy’s car – and when murder is suggested, the film quickly sets about solving the mystery of her death, despite the almost nullifying influence of the police force, at the same time further unraveling Lu Jie’s own story and the complex deceits of her husband.



We hate being manipulated and manipulation is all ‘The Time Traveler’s Wife’ has to offer.

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published: 01.26.2015
B-, C-
published: 01.26.2015
published: 01.26.2015

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