Movie Review – 12 Angry Men

12 Angry Men (1957)
Written by Reginald Rose
Directed by Sidney Lumet

What is justice? Any direct education I was ever given in America never taught me the answer. That was found in observation, reading, and listening. American institutions spend much time telling people what to believe justice is. They do it through copaganda like Law & Order, CSI, and the other generic procedurals that get vomited up on television every year. My perennial punching bag Aaron Sorkin spent a lot of time musing over law & justice in his work too. But what we see on the screen in this regard rarely reflects what is happening in real-time all around us. And, as much as I love 12 Angry Men as a piece of art, it doesn’t show us anything close to the truth about how the justice system operates in America. What it does instead is to provide an impressionistic breakdown of the ideologies that keep America from being a place where freedom actually exists.

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Movie Review – A Streetcar Named Desire

A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
Written by Tennessee Williams, Elia Kazan, and Oscar Saul
Directed by Elia Kazan

Things are terrible in the States and getting worse. Every day there’s another story about someone making an honest mistake and getting shot, typically being killed. People are like snarling dogs, mistrustful of others, and ready to snap at anyone who gets too close. I would argue things have always been pretty bad, and it’s just that more people are awake & aware of the situation now. Despite the American media’s vociferous attempts to lay on the myths & the fairy tales, American society has often been cruel in a downward direction. Tennessee Williams captured this mundane inhumanity in his incredible stage play, adapted here by himself & others. It’s the story of people caught up in pain and unable to connect with each other meaningfully.

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Movie Review – The Little Foxes

The Little Foxes (1941)
Written by Lillian Hellman
Directed by William Wyler

The art of performance was born from the theater. People got up in front of a crowd and acted out stories. There were no screens. It was often by the light of a fire. Or, in more developed regions, an amphitheater. When the film first became a popular trend among “the kids,” there were many adaptions of stageplays. They weren’t shot with much emphasis on style as the aesthetics of the film medium were being figured out at the time. However, after several decades movies became their own way of telling stories, with the elements of cinematography and editing helping to shape things. 

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