Lenny Kravitz

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: THE LYING GAME (THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE)

 

By Brian Lafferty

November 22, 2013 (San Diego) – A few months ago I watched for the first time the infamous episode of the 1950s quiz show Twenty-One in which contestant Charles Van Doren “defeated” Herb Stempel.  A few years later it was revealed that many of the prime time network quiz shows were rigged at the behest of the sponsors.  What millions of viewers thought was actual suspenseful game playing was really a series of scripted performances for the sake of “good television” and high ratings.  (If you watch that episode of Twenty-One, it’s so obvious Van Doren is acting, and doing a bad job of it.)

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: SERVE AND REFLECT (LEE DANIELS' THE BUTLER)

 

By Brian Lafferty

August 15, 2013 (San Diego) – Like Forrest Gump, Cecil Gaines (Forest Whitaker) views American history from a distance, a bystander swept up in a relentless flurry of major historical events that came to dominate and define the latter 20th century.  Like Forrest Gump, Danny Strong's screenplay - based on the Washington Post article by Wil Haywood - mystifies the civil rights movement, the Kennedy assassination, and the Vietnam War.  As major political figures appear, and landmark events transpire or are referenced, the joy of discovery and realization kicks in at full stop.  And like Forrest Gump, it's full of "easter eggs" masterfully hidden that become uncovered with repeat viewings. 

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST

By Brian Lafferty

March 23, 2012 (San Diego) – The Hunger Games is gripping, emotional, and gritty. It’s Hollywood’s second great survival film after Joe Carnahan’s The Grey. On top of that, it’s an indictment on the social disparities between the elite and lower class, and on American society’s obsession with reality television.

 

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: "PRECIOUS" AGGRESSIVELY BLEAK BUT VERY REWARDING

 



By Brian Lafferty

December 5, 2009 (San Diego's East County) -- Precious (Gabourey Sidibe) is one of the most strong-willed characters I have seen in a long time. She’s pregnant, at sixteen, with her second child by her father. Her mother (Mo'Nique) is both physically and psychologically abusive, calling her mean names and always bringing her down. She’s illiterate. She’s harassed at school and on the street. She enrolls in an alternative school and the other students are initially mean-spirited. In her mind, the world is unfair and cruel, with very few people on her side.