i’m really looking forward to Tim Burton’s upcoming “Alice in Wonderland” more than ever after seeing this picture of Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter.
And just consider this: Alan Rickman as the Caterpillar. Brilliant!
Twenty years ago, Spike Lee made a tough, smart, and very provocative film that included an electrifying moment when the character played by Lee himself held up a trash can and aimed it at the glass window of a pizzeria owned by an Italian named Sal (Danny Aiello). People are still arguing about what happened next. The Root has a superb collection of resources and reflections on the film’s 20th anniversary, including thoughts on Lee’s sometimes-troubling portrayal of women by the always-insightful Teresa Wiltz, an update on the Bed-Stuy community’s current challenges, and a consideration of one couple who memorably saw the film on their first movie date and are now living in the White House.
It takes place on the hottest day of the year in in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, where there is an uneasy alliance between the old-time residents like Sal and the more recent but majority residents who are African-American. In general, they get along because they need each other but there is a lot of frustration on all sides. Tempers get hot as the weather gets hotter.
Watch for Samuel L. Jackson, John Turturro, Rosie Perez, and Martin Lawrence very early in their careers and legends Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee giving, as always, performances of endless subtlety and grace. And watch to see what has and has not changed since the movie was released two decades ago.
Those who are interested in the Iranian election and protests should see this superb Iranian film that is one of the finest explorations of freedom, elections, democracy, and the rule of law I have ever watched on screen.
It begins with a surreal image as a solitary soldier patrolling an Iranian island coast sees a box dropped by parachute from a plane. Soon after, a boat arrives and a woman disembarks. She informs the soldier that she is there to collect as many votes as possible before 5 pm and he is to accompany her. They travel the island debating the legitimacy of the voting process and the ability of the law to ensure fair treatment. The woman is a stickler for the letter of the law, even when the result is difficult to justify. That is, until they get stopped by a broken red light and she must decide whether to stop at the deserted intersection, missing her boat and invalidating the votes she has collected, or break the law by running the light. The film, made by Canadian-Iranian Babak Payami works brilliantly as allegory and as quasi-documentary. We never learn the names of the characters; they are just “the soldier” and “the girl.” But they and their predicament are immediately involving and distinctive. Highly recommended for high school and college civics classes and for anyone who appreciates superb film-making.
The latest in Disney’s popular karaoke series is Disney Channel, Vol. 1, with sixteen tracks, half with vocals and half without, so you can provide your own singing. Selections include songs from “High School Musicals” 1, 2, and 3, “Hannah Montana,” “The Cheetah Girls,” and “Camp Rock.” The CD works on karaoke machines and on regular CD players, so you can sing along at home, in the car, or with friends.
The first person to send me an email at email@example.com with “karaoke” in the subject line will win this CD. Tell me what songs you like to sing. Good luck!