Cinematic Soulmates: Spirited Away, Pan’s Labyrinth and Coraline

Stories that follow the traditional “hero’s journey” template are often geared toward adolescent boys, and feature easily identifiable male characters in the lead role.  Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and countless other properties can be placed into this rather broad category, and they all tend to reinforce the notion of the young male protagonist as champion or […]

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Cinematic Soulmates: Into the Wild and Grizzly Man

From the earliest days of cinema, filmmakers have long been fascinated by the often contentious relationship that exists between Mankind and nature.  Indeed, one simply has to look at director Robert J. Flaherty’s Nanook of the North (1922) for an early example of this, as it perfectly illustrates the give and take relationship we share with the natural world.  Since […]

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Cinematic Soulmates: Death Race 2000 and The Running Man

Good satire is often timeless, even when the package it comes wrapped in is horribly dated and square according to current standards.  Such is the case with this month’s double feature.  Both Death Race 2000 (1975) and The Running Man (1987) contain social commentary that is eerily relevant to the events of today, despite several aesthetic trappings that root them […]

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Ms. Silver Screen: Jane Russell Tribute

On February 28, 2011 the world lost an iconic beauty. Jane Russell was the original bombshell. She was voluptuous, witty, and sharp as a tack. The woman didn’t take guff from anyone. Her on-screen presence raised some eyebrows – and pulses – in her bosom-bearing roles. Her first feature film, The Outlaw, had Hollywood censors sweating. They delayed the release […]

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Ms. Silver Screen: Explosive Summer Blockbusters

Now that summer is officially here and heating things up – albeit sporadically (crazy Chicago weather) – the cinema is heating up as well. We should all celebrate the fact that we made it through movie theater death – January through April at the theaters – with a look back at the hottest summer blockbusters of all time. Let’s start things […]

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