The “gay cowboy movie” has compelled such unanimity of opinion--glowing kudos for its acting performances, its visual sensibility, its sensitivity--that the uniformity of questions about its identity is scarcely surprising. Brokeback Mountain is a clear work in many ways--it sketches out elegant conflicts and storylines with a skill that is as poetic as it is precise, and repeating images, so often abused as emotional shortcuts in films, gain symbolic heft here. So not surprisingly, the discourse around the film seems to be running in similarly neat channels, including the question: Is Brokeback Mountain a gay film?
Lumpy and bearish, his clean lines hidden under a jowly beard and 40 pounds of thick middle he put on for the role, George Clooney is an apt visual symbol for his latest film, Syriana, which is a compelling drama partially obscured by excess.
Written and directed by Stephen Gaghan, who also penned the script for Steven Soderbergh's drug-trade drama Traffic, Syriana draws on the multiple storylines and jittery camera style of the previous film, but focuses on a new addiction, the ravenous global market for oil.
The corner in an empty room, the eerie space behind a computer monitor or TV -- these are birthplaces of the weird, the terrifying, and the inexplicable. Over the past few years, Japanese horror films like Ringu, Ju-On, and Kairo have made much of these odd spaces, frightening hyperventilating masses in Japan and making Hollywood execs themselves hyperventilate over the thought of creating remakes here.
Nothing is sacred for comedian Sarah Silverman, especially not herself. In her performances, her persona is a big, dirty joke, defilement made manifest -- she's a squeaky-clean girl who says the vilest things. Her first feature, Jesus Is Magic, pads out footage of her one-woman concert with skits of the most sordid imaginings: Sarah as Jewish porn-starlet (“Fuck my tuchus!”), Sarah as rock-star bully at a nursing home (“You're gonna die soon!”). But none of these characters compare to her concert “self,” a nice, Jewish girl who tries to conceal her racist narcissism with PC platitudes … but terrible thoughts keep tumbling out.
Master of the cocked eyebrow and the irony-spiked pen, Jane Austen doesn't seem the sort to have suffered fools silently. What would she think, then, of the creators of Bridget Jones, Bride and Prejudice, and now the most recent Pride and Prejudice? How would she react upon seeing her keen takes on class and gender treated as feel-good feminist frosting on the inevitable wedding cake? Trenchant of tongue, patron saint of spinster snark -- what would Jane do?