CRITICS CHAPTER

'Criticism is the only thing that stands between the audience and advertising.' - Pauline Kael


WHO WE ARE


Dr David Archibald, University Of Glasgow
Film International, Financial Times, Cineaste


Steve Ashton,
Filmvision.net


Dan Bessie

Filmmaker and Culture Critic

Prof. Dennis Broe

Jump Cut, NY Newsday, Boston Phoenix

Dianne Brooks

The Film Files, Writemovies.com

Paul Buhle
Brown University

Lisa Collins
Filmmaker

Benjamin Dickenson
Bright Lights Film Journal, UK

David Ehrenstein
Quarterly Review of Film and Video

John Esther
Los Angeles Journal

Miguel Gardel
Proletaria Press

Michael Haas
Culture critic

Laura Hadden
Pacifica Radio

Gerald Horne
University Of Houston

Reynold Humphries
British Film Historian

Sikivu Hutchinson
BlackFemsLens.org, KPFK Radio

Jan Lisa Huttner
TheHotPinkPen.com, Films For Two

Cindy Lucia
Cineaste Magazine

Pat McGilligan
Film Historian

Bill Meyer
People's Weekly World

Prairie Miller
WBAI/Pacifica National Radio Network

Logan Nakyanzi
Go Left TV, Huffington Post

Victor Navasky
The Nation

Gerald Peary
Boston Phoenix

Louis Proyect
Counterpunch, Marxmail.org

Ed Rampell
Los Angeles Journal

Luis Reyes
Film historian

Nancy Keefe Rhodes
NPR Radio WAER-FM,
Syracuse City Eagle

Nancy Schiesari,
BBC, Channel 4,
Univ. of Texas, Austin

Rebecca Schiller
Culture Critic

Michael Slate
Beneath The Surface, KPFK Radio

Christopher Trumbo
RIP, January 8, 2011

Dave Wagner
Mother Jones, Film International

Linda Z
LFC Film Club

Noah Zweig
UC, Santa Barbara
Film and Media Studies

Paul Robeson With Oakland, Ca. Shipyard Workers, 1942

Black August

So in order to best cover all bases, progressive film critics tend to consider three categories of assessment, rather than two: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. The first two are self-explanatory. And the third category is reserved for movies that may have been impressively put together, but there's just something offensively anti-humanistic about them.

Stay tuned......

The Organizer

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Generation Zero Doc Review: Tea Party Cinema A Weak Brew


...Invoking intimidating biblical scriptures that are fused visually with looming tornadoes, rotting fruit, paper money on fire, and a man versus lion beatdown, Generation Zero and its tea Party animals get down to business on fast forward by blaming the current economic crisis retroactively on Lucifer, Woodstock, Dems, post-hippie yuppies lighting up cigars with burning Ben Franklins, Hollywood, Black Panthers, anti-war protesters and disrespectful post-WWII youth. Which might leave the marginalized left in this country scratching their collective heads while caught between pondering these neo-McCarthyite attacks, and shock that they seem to wield such enormous power over the course of history...

Mob Rules: Tea Party's High Noon

By Sikivu Hutchinson

...Reveling in nightly PR infusions from the corporate lapdogs of American journalism, the freshly evangelized macho racist right has ensured that its charge of a socialist government expansion is now viewed as a “reasonable” critique of an overhaul that effectively concedes universal coverage to the insurance industry. Mining a deep strain of patriarchal backlash, the Tea Partiers have taken Christian fundamentalists’ language of “moral” panic and used it as a goad to a white nationalist uprising obsessed with the imagery of enslavement...


CONTINUE TO READ ARTICLE HERE

Sikivu Hutchinson is the editor of Blackfemlens, a journal of progressive commentary and literature, and the author of the forthcoming book Mortal Combat: Black Atheists, Gender Politics and Secular America. She is member of the James Agee Cinema Circle, the Women Film Critics Circle, a commentator on Pacifica's Some Of Us Are Brave on KPFK 90.7FM, and a reporter for the LA Women's Desk of the WBAI Radio Women's Collective in NY.
Listen to blackfemlens commentaries on Fridays, 6:25pm LA Time, at http://kpfk.org.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

***THE ANTI-OSCARS***: THE BEST POLITICAL FILMS 2009



THE TRUMBO: The Award for BEST PROGRESSIVE PICTURES is named after Oscar-winning screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, a member of the Hollywood Ten, who was imprisoned for his beliefs and refusing to inform. Trumbo helped break the Blacklist when he received screen credit for "Spartacus" and "Exodus" in 1960.
AMERICAN VIOLET
AVATAR
CAPITALISM: A LOVE STORY
INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS
THE MESSENGER
UP IN THE AIR

THE GARFIELD: The Award for BEST ACTORS is named after John Garfield, who rose from the proletarian theatre to star in progressive pictures such as "Gentleman's Agreement" and "Force of Evil," only to run afoul of the Hollywood Blacklist.
GEORGE CLOONEY: UP IN THE AIR
BEN FOSTER: THE MESSENGER
WOODY HARRELSON: THE MESSENGER
ALGENIS PEREZ SOTO: SUGAR


KAREN MORLEY AWARD: For BEST ACTRESSES. Named for Karen Morley, who was driven out of Hollywood in the 1930s for her leftist views, but who maintained her militant political activism for the rest of her life, running for Lieutenant Governor on the American Labor Party ticket in 1954. She passed away in 2003, unrepentant to the end, at the age of 93.
NICOLE BEHARIE: AMERICAN VIOLET
MELANIE LAURENT: INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS
SAMANTHA MORTON: THE MESSENGER
RENE ZELLWEGER: MY ONE AND ONLY

THE RENOIR: The Award for BEST ANTI-WAR FILMS is named after the great French filmmaker Jean Renoir, who directed the 1937 anti-militarism masterpiece, "Grand Illusion."
INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS
THE MESSENGER

THE GILLO: The Award for BEST PROGRESSIVE FOREIGN FILMS is named after the Italian director Gillo Pontecorvo, who lensed the 1960s classics "The Battle of Algiers" and "Burn!"
THE BAADER MEINHOF COMPLEX
EVERLASTING MOMENTS
LEMON TREE
SERAPHINE
THE WEDDING SONG

THE DZIGA: The Award for BEST PROGRESSIVE DOCUMENTARIES is named after the Soviet filmmaker Dziga Vertov, who directed 1920s nonfiction films such as the "Kino Pravda" ("Film Truth") series and "The Man With the Movie Camera."
AMERICAN CASINO
CAPITALISM: A LOVE STORY
END OF POVERTY
GOOD HAIR
YOO-HOO MRS. GOLDBERG

LA PASSIONARA AWARD: For the most positive female images in a movie, and in light of the historically demeaning portrayal of women in movies.
AMERICAN VIOLET
AMREEKA
LEMON TREE
SUNSHINE CLEANING

OUR DAILY BREAD AWARD: For the most positive and inspiring working class images in movies this year.
AMREEKA
BIG FAN
EVERLASTING MOMENTS
SUGAR
SUNSHINE CLEANING
UP IN THE AIR

THE ROBESON AWARD: Named after courageous performing legend, Paul Robeson. The award is for the movies that best express the people of color in light of the historically demeaning portrayal in films.
AMERCIAN VIOLET
AMREEKA
AVATAR

THE TOMAS GUTIERREZ ALEA AWARD: Named after the late legendary Cuban filmmaker. For best depicting mass popular uprising or revolutionary transformation in movies.
AVATAR
THE BAADER MENIHOF COMPLEX
EVERLASTING MOMENTS
INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS

THE SERGEI: The Award for Best Progressive LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT is named after the Soviet filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein, who created Russian revolutionary classics such as 1925's "Potemkin" and 1927's "10 Days That Shook the World."
KEN LOACH for class conscious moviemaking and activism
EMMA THOMPSON for movement building against sex trafficking

THE LAWSON: The Award for BEST ANTI-FASCIST FILMS this year, is named after screenwriter John Howard Lawson, one of the Hollywood Ten, who wrote Hollywood's first feature about the Spanish Civil War, 1938's "Blockade," with Henry Fonda, and anti-Nazi movies such as 1943's "Sahara," starring Humphrey Bogart.
INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS
THE WHITE RIBBON

THE MODERN TIMES: The Award for Best Progressive Film SATIRES is named after Charlie Chaplin, who made 1936's "Modern Times" and 1940's "The Great Dictator."
BRUNO
CAPITALISM: A LOVE STORY
DRAG ME TO HELL
THE GOLDEN BOYS
PONTYPOOL
UP IN THE AIR
WHATEVER WORKS

THE ORSON: The Award for BEST OVERLOOKED OR THEATRICALLY UNRELEASED [seen at festivals, or on TV or DVD only] Progressive Films is named after actor/director Orson Welles. After he directed the masterpiece "Citizen Kane" Welles had difficulty getting most of his other movies made.
GREY GARDENS
TATTOED UNDER FIRE

THE PASOLINI: The Award for Best PRO-GAY Films is named after Italian director Pier Paolo Pasolini, who directed 1964's "The Gospel According to St. Matthew" and "The Decameron" and "The Canterbury Tales" in the 1970s.
BRUNO
WHATEVER WORKS

BEST MOVIE LINE:
I Love You Because...'I LOVE THE WAY YOU FIGHT FOR WHAT YOU BELIEVE IN.' - A CHRISTMAS PROPOSAL

COURAGE IN FILM CRITICISM: ROGER FRIEDMAN SUES TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX FOR CRITIC ABUSE.

ELIA KAZAN HALL OF SHAME 2009: Citations for the worst anti-workingclass and right wing movies of the year is named after director Elia Kazan, who was Hollywood’s 'King Rat.' Kazan not only informed on accused radicals to the House Un-American Activities Committee, he took out a New York Times ad justifying his self-serving treachery.

*The Elia Kazan Hall Of Shame represents the 'don't tell me to shut up' sidebar contribution of individual members, and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the entire Circle. Also, members may be objecting to particular characters in a film, and not the entire movie.

THE HURT LOCKER: A kind of 'Dr. Strangelove: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb' - but for real, this thriller is basically about a military explosives expert in Baghdad who gets a huge rush out of his job, and he's not kidding. Which is to say that The Hurt Locker and its war is fun mantra - move over videogames and those second hand vicarious homicidal thrills - is just about as irresponsible as can be. Quick fix US military danger junkies go at it with Iraqis who range mostly from predators to ingrates, and not a single word about how or why we ended up there. The Hurt Locker: War is never having to say you're sorry.

PRECIOUS: Baby Mama Dearest minus the coat hangers and Hollywood mansion, this bad parenting ghetto horror movie boasts exceptional performances, but is social pornography at its worst, festering in racial self-loathing and class contempt, while oblivious to a system that ignores its neediest. And one of a number of subliminal anti-choice movies this year including Disgrace, that promote the incest and gang rape motherhood option versus abortion. The Bad Mommy Oscar goes to Mo'Nique.

PRECIOUS: If this film were a poor 'white trash' family/community, it wouldn't have received the applause that it did. The point is that it promotes prejudice against blacks, fat women, unmarried women, less educated women and a whole lot more. That it is successful screams out for another film from the same neighborhood where the family is kept above the fray of stereotyping, by a strong unmarried mother.

PRECIOUS, DISGRACE, JAZZ IN THE DIAMOND DISTRICT: Anti-Choice moviemaking, with absence of any option of abortion while promoting mandatory motherhood as the result of rape/incest/pedophilia, gang rape and date rape respectively.

ANTICHRIST: The cinematic equivalent of nails down a chalkboard. Pretentious pornography, satanic sex, and Willem Dafoe as an artsy New Age femocidal sexorcist.

DEADGIRL: Again the theme is vile sexual violence to women. In this case, the woman is dead and the men can do what they like with her And they do. This film brings out the worst of male fantasies towards women, and it wasn't a pretty sight.

SPINNING INTO BUTTER: Blaming the Black man for concocting a fantasy known as American racism.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Political Film: The Coca Cola Case

The Coca Cola Case

The Coca Cola Case

The truth that refreshes


By Billy Wharton

“Sailing round the world in a dirty gondola,” Bob Dylan sang in 1971, “Oh, to be back in the land of Coca-Cola!” After forty years of corporate globalization, Dylan would be hard pressed to find a place that isn’t the land of Coca-Cola. Multinationals have torn up the globe converting the repression of workers into cheap labor and free trade agreements into new market opportunities all in the name of ever-increasing profit margins. Left in their wake are legacies of environmental destruction, corrupt governments and employer violence. This process is precisely what a documentary currently making the rounds in campus political circles, by German Gutierrez and Carmen Garcia’s entitled “The Cola-Case,” aims to expose.

CONTINUE TO READ REVIEW HERE

More information about The Coca-Cola Case is HERE....

Political Film: Derivatives Come To The Movies

Ellen Brown is the author of Web of Debt: The Shocking Truth About Our Money System and How We Can Break Free. She can be reached through her website.


Will Hollywood Go the Way of Enron?
Derivatives Come to the Movies

By Ellen Brown

As if attacks from paparazzi and star-crazed fans weren’t enough, Hollywood stars may soon have a literal price put on their heads by investors in the Cantor Exchange, a real-money trading platform where people can bet on the gross profits of upcoming movies. Sales of The Dark Knight skyrocketed after Heath Ledger died unexpectedly, and so did sales after the deaths of Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe. Will greed-driven investors now be laying in wait for the stars of movies they have bet on?

CONTINUE TO READ ARTICLE HERE

The Birth Of The Workers Film Movement

Shirtwaist Factory Workers prepare to strike.

Screening Room: The birth of television news and US documentary in radical underground filmmaking, and the misremembering of history. Filmmaker Tom Hurwitz on the legacy and impact of the Great Depression Workers Film And Photo League, the Red Channels purges, and a people's cinema movement born in vacant lots and union halls.
Also...Transplant take-out medical terrorism and recipients resistance uprising, in Repo Men.
And...Stephen Wolf, reads poetry commemorating the anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, March 25,1911