I was shocked and angered on Sunday evening when, while enjoying the company of old friends and a box of wheat thins, I read the “movie review” offered by Barbra Davis. Opening with a criticism of Tim Peyton’s work, Davis finds Tim’s reviews “distressing”, she goes on to argue that a critical review is “NOT about [Tim’s] and his own personal biases [caps present in original publication]” and that Tim fails to define some of the terms he uses. Further, she writes, “the record is not a soap box, it is a means of communicating news in an upbeat fashion; or it should be.” Let us examine these claims one by one. Continue reading Letter to the Editors
By Barbara B. Davis, History, emerita
I love film, and I also love reading film reviews. It was most distressing to read Tim Peyton’s reviews of Juno and Atonement, two fine films. He seems not to understand that a critical review is NOT about himself and his own personal biases; he never defines some of his terms, either, such as what he means by “popular culture.” The Record is not a soapbox, it is a means of communicating news in an unbiased fashion; or should be.
One fateful day during Summer, 1935. The Tallis residence outside London, a lovely mansion set in a lush garden, with pools, fountains, grottos, all bespeaking the family’s wealth, taste, and social standing (Mr. Tallis is actually a minister in the government although we never meet him). It is a busy day with visiting cousins, a friend of the elder son, Leon, Paul Marshall, who is hugely wealthy and will become even wealthier from the impending war. All these minor characters are important, but the central figures are: Briony (pronounced Briney), a rather precocious thirteen year-old with a literary bend and an over-active imagination who has just finished writing a rather gothic, highly romantic play; her elder sister Cecilia (Keira Knightley, Pride and Prejudice) just graduated from Cambridge and wondering what next; Robbie (James McAvoy, The Last King of Scotland) the son of a servant who is the protégé of Tallis senior, having also just finished his degree from Cambridge and thinking of becoming a doctor. A series of amorous incidents between Cecilia and Robbie culminate in a passionate assignation in the library. The problem is that Briony witnesses them, and, not really understanding love or sexual attraction, is free to distort them accordingly. So when her cousin, Lola, is raped, Briony is sure Robbie is the culprit. Part I ends with Robbie being led away by the police, and Cecilia, dressed in a billowing kelly green satin gown, watches helplessly. Director Joe Wright (Pride and Prejudice) creates a luminosity of this scene that is both breathtaking and unforgettable. Continue reading ATONEMENT: A CRITICAL REVIEW
By Alaa Jahshan
Watching the Super Bowl is a big event flooded by many seemingly non-football related activities, including big budget commercials, movie previews, and half time parties; but before the fun and games, we need step out of this sphere of reality and look at a little history of sports. Since Grecian Olympics, sports have been a male activity and for a long time, females participating in sports have been largely oppressed. In the US in 1972, the Title IX act was passed to allow women to participate in sports at all levels. We can see that for a long time, sports have been engrained as a male limited activity, and as a sign of masculinity.
Among many other sports, football remains a strongly male dominated activity. How does this sport influence masculinity? The Amateur Athletic Foundation of Los Angeles did a study showing that of American boys from ages 8 to 17, 98 % consume sports media. The study also found that “professional sports are virtually dominated by men—from the athletes and coaches to the commentators and reporters—sports media have the potential to transmit powerful ideas about manliness and masculinity.” A lot of these powerful ideas about masculinity are visible through manipulation of the game viewing experience. Replays and commentaries reinforce violence by focusing on plays that are physically intense and players who continue to play with injuries, displaying ideas of what men are supposed to do and be. Continue reading Masculinity And Sports: SUPER SUNDAY
Death at a Funeral
Nobody does stark, painful, and above all, hilarious comedies like the Brits. Death at a Funeral is quite possibly the best example this year of exactly that type of comedy Britain is so adept at producing in spades. Frank Oz takes the formula for a traditional British farce- extreme stuffiness injected with irreverent absurdity- and puts it on acid. Literally.
Frank Oz starts the film off with a case of mistaken identity, a hallmark of British comedy. In this movie, however, the mistaken identity is that of the main character’s father- recently deceased, and incorrectly delivered to the wrong country home. Death at a Funeral continues in much the way one could expect of an ensemble piece concerning the bringing together of a patriarch’s eccentric family. Then the drugs kick in.
Review of Death Proof DVD release
Film geeks, around April this year, will remember the release of Grindhouse- Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodreguez’s B-movie double-feature. For those that don’t, Grindhouse was a sprawling action-packed horror thriller science-fiction epic, comprised of two films: Planet Terror and Death Proof.
Like most people who saw it in theatres, I had visions of a double disc box set, complete with novelty packaging, some fake blood and a mini-machine-gun leg attachment thrown in for a ridiculously jacked price. So I was surprised when I saw that, one, the release date had been shoved back to this Fall, and two, Planet Terror and Death Proof were being released separately. What was wrong with Tarantino and Rodreguiz? Did they break up? Did they not want our money?
Death Proof was released this past weekend, so I had the privilege of checking it out and seeing if it was actually worth the $22.99. For those who missed it in theatres, Death Proof is Tarantino’s story of a washed-up stuntman who stalks two separate groups of twenty-something lovelies. The first he slaughters messily, the second exact bloody revenge on him. A slasher movie embedded in a chick-flick.
So what’s on the DVD? Well, we’ve got 2 discs of “extended and uncut material” for one. Stuntman Mike’s lap dance (The cut “reel” that had entire audiences going “TARANTINOOOO!”) is restored, as are several other less pivotal moments. The lengthy girl-talk scenes, which garnered most of its criticism, are stretched yet longer. The usual DVD extras -interviews and behind the scenes shorts- are all present. Notably absent from both (!)DVD releases are the hilarious faux-commercials that broke up the two films in theatres.
Death Proof on its own definitely lacks the punch of Grindhouse. Fans of Tarantino should definitely pick it up; me, I’m waiting for my mini-machine-gun leg attachment edition.