Faith through Fate in Ben-Hur (1959)

Ranked #100 on AFI’s Top Movie list, Ben-Hur’s lasting legacy is certainly the fabled chariot race. It’s bizarre seeing imagery that has become so entrenched in film language in its original form, but 60 years later it still holds up. Ben-Hur is also in the long tradition of swords-and-sandals, a genre of fiction that has … Continue reading Faith through Fate in Ben-Hur (1959)

Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942) and the Complexities of Patriotism

It’s hard to judge Yankee Doodle Dandy by today’s standards, and thus has to be considered within the context of 1942. It dallies in two genres that are very rare 76 years later: the musical and the propaganda film. In the case of the former, the music is restricted to the stage within the film. This adds … Continue reading Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942) and the Complexities of Patriotism

Blade Runner (1982)

Smartphones dominate our lives, billionaires launch cars into space and social media can make and break careers. And as 2001: A Space Odyssey celebrates its 50th anniversary, people can't help but contemplate the future of artificial intelligence. When IBM’s Watson, for instance, dominated on Jeopardy in 2011, philosopher John Searle argued that the supercomputer doesn’t actually … Continue reading Blade Runner (1982)

Do the Right Thing (1989)

The United States is a country that is reluctant to confront its past. Slavery is, of course, the albatross hung around this nation’s neck, and racism is the legacy of that albatross. Hollywood hasn’t always been the best about racism, often times oversimplifying it or robbing the minority of agency in favor of using them … Continue reading Do the Right Thing (1989)