By GAETANA CALDWELL-SMITH “Detropia,” a documentary film, written and directed by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady. “Detropia,” created by noted documentarians (“Jesus Camp”) Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady, is a powerful film about the demise of Detroit, one of America’s largest cities, home of Motown and General Motors, whose economy had been based on the … Continue reading Films: Abandoned Detroit / Chasing Ice
By MICHAEL SCHREIBER “Jean Paul Marat: Tribune of the French Revolution,” by Clifford D. Conner. Pluto Press, London 2012. Historians have not been kind to Jean Paul Marat. Published scholars of the French Revolution, at least in the English language, almost invariably disparage Marat and his work, portraying him as a wild man, a demagogue, … Continue reading Jean Paul Marat — presente!
As I write, in late May 2012, a playhouse here in Philadelphia is advertising its production of “Robin Hood” as an action play “aimed at kids five years and up.” At the same time, in Chicago, anti-NATO demonstrators are calling for a “Robin Hood tax” on financial transactions, as part of their demand to “tax the rich.”
By GAETANA CALDWELL-SMITH“Beasts of the Southern Wilds,” directed by Benh Zeitland, written by Lucy Alibar from her play, “Juicy and Delicious.”“Beasts of the Southern Wilds” is one of the most unusual and original films I’ve seen in a long time. It is haunting, magical, and raw. The movie was adapted from a play by Lucy Alibar … Continue reading Life in the Bathtub
Rare video footage of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera visiting with Leon Trotsky in Mexico in 1938.
PINK RIBBONs, INC., directed by Léa Pool, written by Patricia Kearns and Léa Pool; based on the book by Samantha King. Statistics show that every 23 seconds a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer, and one dies every 69 seconds from the disease. The eye-opening Canadian documentary, “Pink Ribbons, Inc.,” is aptly subtitled “Capitalizing on … Continue reading Review of “Pink Ribbons, Inc.”
“The Hunger Games”, directed by Gary Ross; written by Ross, Susan Collins and Billy Ray, from the novel by Susan Collins, starring Jennifer Lawrence, Donald Sutherland, Stanley Tucci, and Elizabeth Banks. Director Gary Ross’s film adaptation of “The Hunger Games,” from Susan Collins’ eponymous novel, has a lot going for it. For one thing, it … Continue reading Review of “The Hunger Games”
by Joe Auciello / April 2005 issue of Socialist Action Journalist Hunter S. Thompson, author of “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” and “Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail,” committed suicide on Feb. 20 at his home in Aspen, Colorado. Whether intended or not, Thompson chose a fate similar to a writer … Continue reading A Few Words of Appreciation for Hunter S Thompson
The appearance of “The Trouble With Billionaires” could not have been more timely. Published in Canada by Penguin Books (Toronto, soft cover edition in 2011, 272 pages), the book is to be released in the USA under the title “Billionaires’ Ball: Gluttony and Hubris in an Age of Epic Inequality” on March 27 by Beacon … Continue reading Books: How the 1% screw the rest of us
For Black History Month, or at any time, here is a book worth reading. “The Book of Negroes,” a novel by Lawrence Hill (published by Harper Collins, 2007, Toronto, 680 pages), won the 2008 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and was CBC Radio’s “Canada Reads” 2009 top choice. Hill’s protagonist is a holocaust survivor. Aminata Diallo, an … Continue reading A tale of courage and determination set during the Black holocaust
“Red Tails,” directed by Anthony Hemingway. Adapted from the book by John B. Holway. Unfortunately for the film-going public, most critics gave “Red Tails” short shrift, but I thought it deserved better. “Red Tails” is to be looked at as neither a war film nor an antiwar film, but as a film about racial prejudice … Continue reading Review of “Red Tails”
by Gaetana Caldwell-Smith/ March 2005 issue of Socialist Action Arthur Miller died Feb. 11. He is known as a playwright and novelist, the husband of screen idol Marilyn Monroe—and for standing up to HUAC in the 1950s. Miller had been a member of the Communist Party in the 1930s and ‘40s. When called … Continue reading In Memory of Arthur Miller
A coalition of social justice activists in the San Francisco Bay Area has organized a Feb. 5-12 book tour for J. Patrick O’Connor, the author of “Scapegoat: The Chino Hills Murders and the framing of Kevin Cooper.” O’Connor’s new book provides a detailed analysis of Cooper’s case and exposes the broken criminal “justice” system in … Continue reading Bay Area forums to hear author of book on Kevin Cooper
“Le Havre,” written and directed by Aki Kaurasmaki, in French with English subtitles. An older man, Marcel, with the telling last name of Marx (Andre Wilms), shines shoes outside the bus terminal in the port town of Le Havre. He gets few takers and goes home to his dog, Laika, and much younger, but plain, … Continue reading Review of “Le Havre”
“In the Land of Blood and Honey,” written and directed by Angelina Jolie.I liked this intense film about the war in Bosnia. But I wasn’t sure if Angelina Jolie intended her directorial debut film to be a story about love and betrayal or a depiction of the horrors wreaked against one’s own people. In this … Continue reading Review of “In the Land of Blood and Honey”
What strikes us first is Michael Perry’s baby face: big brown eyes and an Alfalfa (from “Our Gang”) haircut. He has a disarming smile that reveals big teeth that the rest of him hadn’t yet grown into. On death row for eight years, he was 28 at the time the film was made. He neither … Continue reading Film Review of “Into the Abyss”
“Black Power Mix Tape 1967-1975,” a documentary in English and Swedish with English subtitles, directed by Göran Olsson and co-produced by Danny Glover. “Black Power Mix Tape 1967-1975” is a powerful documentary film, an unprecedented account of a significant era in the U.S. covering assassinations, riots, and the rise of the Black Power movement against the … Continue reading ‘Black Power Mix Tape 1967-1975’
“A Better Life,” starring Demián Bichir and José Julián, directed by Chris Weitz. Los Angeles director Chris Weitz‘s “A Better Life” is a deceptively simple story of a single parent raising his son. The film lets us spend time with Carlos and Luís in and around their East LA home, and is as much Carlos’ as … Continue reading Review of “A Better Life”
“The Last Mountain,” a documentary film directed by Bill Haney, featuring Robert Kennedy, Jr.As I walked into the theater to see “The Last Mountain,” the ticket taker said, “Enjoy the movie!” then added, “Oh, well, I guess that’s not the right thing to say about this film.” You don’t go to a movie about the possible … Continue reading Mass(ey) Destruction
“Everything Must Go,” starring Will Farrell, Rebecca Hall, and Christopher Gordon Wallace; directed by Dan Rush; adapted by Dan Rush from, “Why Don’t You Dance,” a short story by Raymond Carver. In director Dan Rush’s “Everything Must Go,” an engaging film depicting one man’s quiet desperation, Nick Halsey (Will Ferrell) has a high-paying position at … Continue reading Nowhere to go but up
by Gaetana Caldwell-Smith“Phil Ochs: There, But for Fortune,” a documentary film written and directed by Kenneth Bowser.Director Kenneth Bowser’s stirring documentary, “Phil Ochs: There, But for Fortune,” couldn’t have come at a better time. The film leaves you both inspired and depressed.While watching the film, I couldn’t help but feel that we need a protest singer … Continue reading Where’s Phil Ochs when we need him?
by Gaetana Caldwell-SmithThe Company Men, written and directed by John Wells, starring Ben Affleck and Tommy Lee Jones.Emmy-winning TV series director John Wells (“ER”, “The West Wing”) brings us a slickly produced film about high-paid “white-collar” workers in “The Company Men,” featuring Ben Affleck, Tommy Lee Jones, and Chris Cooper. The film illustrates what happens … Continue reading Films: The Company Men