Mira Nair’s films evoke the feeling of lush reds and yellows. That is such a prevalent visual theme in the four films I’ve seen by her: Mississippi Masala (1992) Kama Sutra (1997) Monsoon Wedding (2002) Vanity Fair (2004) I saw Vanity Fair last night. It was better than expected, and better than the critics rated it. But then, I LOVED Kama Sutra. Of those I’ve seen, Kama Sutra is my favorite, mostly that’s due to the director’s commentary. On the one hand, Kama Sutra is somewhat inaccessible to American audiences. OTOH, I love this film because I do find it most accessible compared to someRead More →

The women on either side of the imaginary moral divide are both gorgeous and potent, both capable of cruel violence, and both dedicated to their own desires. And both understand themselves as victims of masculine oppression. The stakes of their conflict have to do with a derivative, Joker-style gimmick in the toxic makeup (as the deadmeat doctor who cooks up the cream puts it, “I can’t live with turning people into monsters”). Even the final showdown between Laurel and Catwoman is staged so they throw each other through giant images of beautiful models. Got it: the beauty industry is bad. But if it can help you look like Berry or Stone, or even better, pay you like it pays them, well, its faults might be intermittently overlooked.

– Cynthia Fuchs’ review of Catwoman

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The Quiet American. deserves the high rating from Rotten Tomatoes. The movie was good: it was disturbing, haunting, and difficult to watch. The movie effortlessly metonymizes Vietnam with the woman character, Phuong, who is the object of both Michael Caine’s and Brenden Fraser’s attention. The best review is from Kamera.com in the UK. They like the film because it pushes us away from the tired “Miramax orientalism.” Excellent phrase! Nobody seems to be talking about what it means to turn Vietnam into a mistress or prostitute in that movie. That’s probably due to our “me so horny, me love you long time” consciousness. Given ourRead More →

This week Entertainment Weekly featured Natalie Portman and an article on Star Wars. The picture looks so much like the cover of L. Frank Baum’s Ozma of Oz that I am beginning to wonder if Oz was influential to the production designers.

Interestingly enough, an article in the Chicago Reader points out that “the underwater city of Otoh Gunga could probably be traced back to John R. Neill’s illustrations in one of the Oz books,” so others have noticed this similarity too.

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