Roundup: Pop Culture & the Arts ...
Movies, Documentaries and Museum Exhibits
This page features links to reviews of movies, documentaries and exhibits with a historical theme. Listings are in reverse chronological order. Descriptions are taken directly from the linked publication. If you have articles you think should be listed on the Pop Culture page, please send them to the editor email@example.com.
SOURCE: Reuters (7-9-07)
Solidarnosc would later effectively bring down the Communist government in Poland. This film, directed by Germany's Volker Schloendorff, explains the politics clearly, but still leaves room for the personal dimensions of Anna/Agnieszka's struggle.
"Strike" is an extremely well-made piece that should draw politically minded viewers -- providing that marketing plays down the dreary dockside setting in favor of the characters' against-all-odds heroism. Schloendorff's name may pique the curiosity of cineastes here, as he was a prime mover of German New Cinema.
The story covers events in the Gdansk shipyard from 1970 through 1980. Agnieszka (in a...
SOURCE: NYT (7-10-07)
For most audiences today, Sylvia Regan’s melodrama about an immigrant family on the Lower East Side seems more like an overwrought soap opera, a sturdy, antique history lesson that will appeal mostly to those inclined to regularly visit New York’s Tenement Museum.
Played with spunk by Susan Greenhill, who may be a bit young for the part, Mrs. Felderman is the den mother to a full house that includes a boarder (Steve Sterner) desperate for her hand in marriage, and four children, including Hymie (Michael Tommer), who is...
SOURCE: WaPo (7-10-07)
Consider: Midway through the film "Talk to Me," which opens Friday and stars Don Cheadle as the legendary Washington disc jockey Ralph Waldo "Petey" Greene, a remarkable scene transpires in which, in the aftermath of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination, Greene tries to calm a city in flames. As the sequence plays, and the fires climb higher on 14th and U, it becomes almost a movie-within-a-movie, evoking the meaning of King's life and death in just a scant few moments.
The scene (which admittedly takes some liberties with chronology) also reminds viewers that, while familiar images of King are commonplace in 1960s montage sequences, Hollywood has yet to make the definitive King biopic. Indeed, of all the social, cultural and political touchstones of the baby boom generation -- World War II, the Kennedy assassinations, the Vietnam War,...
SOURCE: Fox News (7-9-07)
The Key West City Commission exempted the home from a city law prohibiting more than four domestic animals per household. About 50 cats live there.
The house has been locked in a dispute with the USDA, which claims the museum is an "exhibitor" of cats and needs a special license, a clwriteaim the home disputes.
SOURCE: NYT (7-8-07)
"My wife and I just stared at each other in disbelief,” Mr. Young said, recalling that first listening session. “We were just amazed that that kind of language — what you think of as very naughty late-20th-century schoolyard talk — would exist in the 1800s.” Mr. Young realized that he had stumbled on one of the earliest examples of audio indecency: a 19th-century record worthy...
SOURCE: NYT (7-6-07)
SOURCE: Time Magazine (7-5-07)
epics to come, not just in the way it depicted a dystopic future, but also the
way it dealt with mad scientists and of course, their creations.
Depicting a world in which the bourgeoisie and the proletariat are literally
divided by the Earth's surface ˜ the elitists living above ground and the
workers living in the dark, dank caverns beneath the surface ˜ Maria is a robot
used by those in power to pry their way into the workers' world. A silver
machine created in a secret lab, Maria takes on the face and characteristics of
the female leader of that underground world, the one who the workers trust and
rally around. By controlling the robot, the surface-dwellers manage to control
the underground populace, turning Maria's words of uprising into words of
reassurance: Get back to work, and be happy.
One of the very first big-screen...
SOURCE: Chicago Tribune (7-5-07)
But ascertaining the legitimacy of a historic object isn't as easy as it might seem.
Was a stovepipe hat that has been at the museum for more than 80 years really worn by Abe Lincoln? Is a wooden gun the one gangster John Dillinger used to break out of jail? Could a very old piece of snakeskin, long kept in museum storage, possibly be a remnant of the serpent that tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden?
Visitors have the chance to judge those artifacts and others for themselves in "Is It Real?," a temporary exhibit that shows how curators work. The exhibit opened June 30 and runs through Jan. 6.
"Part of the fun of the exhibit is to show people how the work of authentication is done," curator Peter Alter said. "We're inviting visitors to think like curators,...
SOURCE: Vanity Fair (8-1-07)
When The Simpsons had premiered on Fox, in 1989, prime-time...
Trying to foster nationalistic pride in China’s heritage among Hong Kong residents, the Chinese government has sent 32 artworks here for an exhibition to mark the 10th anniversary of Britain’s return of Hong Kong to China on July 1, 1997. Among them is Zhang Zeduan’s “Along the River During the Qingming Festival,” a scroll painted in the early 12th century.
“Qingming Festival” is famous partly for its involvement over centuries in palace intrigues, theft and wars, and partly for its detailed, geometrically accurate images of bridges, wine shops, sedan chairs and boats beautifully juxtaposed with flowing lines for the depiction of mountains and other natural scenery. It is routinely covered in courses on Chinese history, art and culture, across China and in the West.
SOURCE: Nation (7-16-07)
But the play, the talented Peter Morgan's dramatization of Frost's wildly popular series of televised interviews, in 1977, with the former President, profoundly misleads as it entertains. Langella's Nixon is not the Richard Nixon of history, and the ending significantly alters what actually happened. It doesn't always matter when entertainment collides with history--but in this case it does.
The way these extraordinary interviews came about is accurately set forth: Frost, faced with a career on the skids, has the wit and the nerve to persuade Nixon, through Hollywood superagent Irving "Swifty" Lazar...
Forget the Ash Can School. Behold the Can-Can School.
Ms. Ritter, 54, is featured in what is billed as the first Showgirl Art Competition Exhibition, which opened Friday at the Nevada State Historical Society here.
The small exhibition, which includes a rare turkey ruff boa, bejeweled G-strings and other showgirl artifacts, along with about 20 paintings, is part of a fledgling preservation movement by former showgirls eager to claim and interpret their own history. Dozens of dancers gathered for the opening, aware that the legacy of the lavish and long-gone production shows like the Lido de Paris at the recently imploded Stardust Hotel...
SOURCE: Reuters (7-3-07)
The 90-minute movie, co-directed by Oscar-winner Bill Guttentag and producer Dan Sturman, will open in mainland China in general release on July 7, to coincide with the 70th anniversary of Japan's full-scale invasion of China.
It is one of a raft of films about the Nanjing Massacre, commonly known as "the Rape of Nanking", planned for release this year in the lead-up to the 70th anniversary of the fall of China's war-time capital to invading Japanese troops on December 13, 1937.
Produced by AOL vice-chairman, Ted Leonsis, who said he was inspired to make the film after reading Iris Chang's book "Rape of Nanking", it focuses on an unlikely collaboration of U.S. missionaries and German Nazi...
SOURCE: Guardian (7-2-07)
The twice-weekly format, a regular technique for US networks, is presumably a response to a demographic now used to bingeing on an entire DVD box set in a weekend, or hoovering all 12 episodes off their Sky+ at the end of a run. Making viewers wait a week might risk losing ratings. Viewing figures for Rome's second episode were already an improvement on its first, so they must be doing something right.
SOURCE: The Age (7-3-07)
The National Trust has classified the Coburg and Dromana drive-ins, and is considering classifying the third, Dandenong's Lunar Drive-In. However, classification offers the drive-ins no legal protection.
Drive-in theatres were almost wiped out in the 1980s by the video recorder and spiralling property prices.
But Melbourne's three remaining drive-ins have boomed in recent years — especially in summer. They also come to life during school holidays, as Coburg's did last night, despite the cold.
National Trust chief Martin Purslow said it was a first for his organisation to classify a drive-in. "But heritage is not just about grand 19th-century houses. It's also about protecting popular cultural phenomenons," he said.
SOURCE: NYT (7-1-07)
From Rolling Stone to VH1 to an exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the summer of Summer of Love nostalgia is again upon us, complete with the obligatory images of dancing flower children.
By comparison, hardly anyone seems sentimental for the summer of 1997. Tastemakers recall the album “OK Computer” by Radiohead, and head-spinning techno singles by the Prodigy and the Chemical Brothers. But for most people, it was the summer that established the Spice Girls and boy bands, which only the most hard-core Justin Timberlake fan would recall fondly.
Yet the time has come for a look back at those disreputable months of a decade ago, and not simply because some of its biggest hits have held up better than expected. For...
SOURCE: NYT op ed (7-1-07)
Whatever his criteria for excellence, Mr. Small, whose title was secretary, hightailed it out of the Smithsonian this spring after being faulted for squandering its money on personal expenses and for moonlighting on corporate boards. On June 19 the Smithsonian Board of Regents (seconded two days later by a scathing report from an independent panel) rebuked itself for having given Mr. Small and his deputy the green light every step of the way.
Few people familiar with the Smithsonian in Washington and its various underperforming, weirdly performing and, in some cases, barely existent art and culture museums were much surprised by any of this. The...