Movie musical Grease turns 40 this summer

Forty years after its release, the movie poses a conundrum for those disposed to view everything through an ideologically-tinted lens

Movie musical Grease turns 40 this summerBelieve it or not, the movie musical Grease turns 40 this summer. It’s no exaggeration to say that it took the 1978 box office by storm. Indeed, the radio-ubiquitous title song caught the mood of the moment perfectly: Grease is the word. Alas, the simple joys can never stay simple. In the fraught temper of…

The complexity, nuance and truth at the heart of residential schools

It’s instructive that no credible alternative to the residential schools has ever been put forward

The complexity, nuance and truth at the heart of residential schoolsWith a few idle hours, I sat down to watch director James Mangold’s 2007 film, 3:10 to Yuma, starring Russell Crowe and Christian Bale. I’d popped the DVD into the player because a good action film that pitted the good guys against villains with six shooters seemed like an entertaining way to divert my mind…

A gentle giant of a man, a larger-than-life icon

A new documentary about pro wrestler André the Giant paints an engrossing portrait

A gentle giant of a man, a larger-than-life iconOver the years, I’ve been fortunate to meet or come across impressive figures from the world of politics, business, journalism, media, sport and entertainment. There’s virtually no photographic evidence of these meetings. It’s never been important to me to prove I was somewhere, met someone, or said something witty and/or relevant. The only camera I…

The crisis of diversity in the super hero realm

Look! Up in the sky. It's a bird, it's a plane … it's Daycare Dynamo of the Social Justice Warriors

The crisis of diversity in the super hero realmConsumers of popular culture, aware of the recent box-office success of the movies Black Panther and Wonder Woman, may have been puzzled by recent claims that the world of fantasy entertainment – comics, films, books – was deemed to be suffering a crisis in diversity. The days are long past when non-white male comic book…

Did Chappaquiddick kill Kennedy’s White House ambitions?

Mary Jo Kopechne’s death was sensational, but justice was never truly done and far too many questions remain unanswered

Did Chappaquiddick kill Kennedy’s White House ambitions?The new movie Chappaquiddick reminds us of an uncomfortable fact: There was a time when powerful politicians could get away with serious stuff. Or at least they could if their name was Kennedy and the stuff happened in Massachusetts. The basic outline is clear. On the evening of Friday, July 18, 1969, there was a…

Heroes and villains: how history picks the winners

The Second World War movie Darkest Hour raises questions about perspective and reality

Heroes and villains: how history picks the winnersGary Oldman’s riveting portrayal of Winston Churchill leaves no doubt as to who is the hero of the new film Darkest Hour. But apart from the off-screen Adolf Hitler, does the movie really have a villain? Thanks to the way the narrative unfolds and the carefully-chosen camera shots, casual viewers might be tempted to ascribe…

Hollywood icons and the Second World War

Some Hollywood legends actually participated in the reality of war, rather than merely on celluloid

Hollywood icons and the Second World WarIf you’re like me, the most vivid combat images you have of the Second World War come from Hollywood movies. Whether it was John Wayne on Iwo Jima or Errol Flynn in Burma, heroism was very much the order of the day. And Americans were invariably at the centre of the action. Naturally, the historical…
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