Category Archives: Movies

The New Servility

It should surely by now be recognized that the 2006 movie The Devil Wears Prada marked a crucial moment in American bourgeois self-critique. The casting of Meryl Streep as a Bad Career Woman, and Anne Hathaway as an ingenue, is not in itself particularly groundbreaking. … Continue reading

Posted in Movies, TV | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Should comedy be a religion?

Let’s try a thought experiment. What if comedy were a religion? Instantly theology would get a lot simpler. No need to defend the lifestyles of ancient desert-dwelling zealots, no need to imagine an afterlife or complicated cycles of rebirth, no … Continue reading

Posted in Movies, TV | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

American Dreams in China: Challenges of the Transnational University

The film American Dreams in China (2013) is a Chinese film about upward mobility that will feel familiar to most Americans. It’s sort of a Horatio Alger story about getting rich, sort of a Great Gatsby tale of disillusionment with … Continue reading

Posted in Movies, Worthwhile Initiatives | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Lukács and the Mockingjay

How important is Katniss Everdeen, really, to the uprising in Panem? Would she count as a “world-historical figure,” according to Georg Lukács? I don’t really know, because I haven’t read the third book in the “Hunger Games” series, Suzanne Collins’s … Continue reading

Posted in Movies | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Coppola’s Girls, Coppola’s America: Guilty/Not Guilty

It’s hard to watch Sofia Coppola’s 2013 The Bling Ring, which came out on DVD about a month ago, without feeling like you’re at the end of a chain (no, I didn’t say human chain) of recycled celebrity worship. The … Continue reading

Posted in Movies | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Inability to resist “Hannah Arendt”

I have a feeling that some of my posts will end on a cynical or critical note, so it is really my duty to say when I just can’t resist a movie. Fortunately, extreme emotions of all kinds are permissible … Continue reading

Posted in Movies | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

How depressing is “Elysium”?

Of course I was going to see Elysium: it’s got Matt Damon in it, and I love science fiction. The movie’s world is divided vividly and cynically into haves and have-nots—the spinning satellite Elysium, a vacuously authoritarian offworld oligarchy, and … Continue reading

Posted in Movies | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment