Hollywood’s craven surrender to the Chinese Communist government

Who’s in charge in Hollywood? Surely studio bosses, well-compensated executives, A-list actors, and celebrated writers and directors set the agenda in the American entertainment industry, don’t they? Not so fast, says Wall Street Jour­­nal reporter Erich Schwartzel in a rigorously researched, admirably hard-hitting new book that looks at the pernicious influence of China on Hollywood. Continue Reading...

Waiting for a miracle in the noir classic Laura

I will close this series on film noir with Laura, because it’s altogether more beautiful and it has something of a happy ending. In being the most beautiful noir, it also involves the most sophisticated reflection on beauty in its relation to American society and to tragedy. Continue Reading...

Film noir and the movie-made American male

Recently I spoke at Hillsdale College on film noir as part of a program that introduced audiences to four of the most impressive movies in the genre that defined the tough detective in America and the less popular type of doomed romantic. Continue Reading...

Alejandro Chafuen on Real Nazis in Argentina

Acton’s Alejandro Chafuen weighed-in at Forbes on the new Hollywood movie about the arrest and eventual trial of Nazi Adolph Eichman, Operation Finale. The movie is more than a historical reenactment for Chafuen, who recounts in his essay that a notorious Nazi once inhabited the Argentine neighborhood where Chafuen lived for 30 years. Continue Reading...

Incredibles 2: Making superheroes great again

I saw Incredibles 2 over the Father’s Day weekend, and just like its predecessor, there’s a lot to ponder beneath the surface of this animated film. In the real world we’ve had to wait 14 years, but the sequel picks up basically where the original left off. Continue Reading...

The economics and morality of infinity

In this week’s Acton Commentary I take on Thanos’ zero-sum economic worldview as manifest in Avengers: Infinity War. In the classic debate over positivity and normativity in economics, Thanos is definitely not a value-free figure. Continue Reading...

Isolationism and internationalism in Black Panther

I finally got around to seeing Black Panther last night, and my early reaction echoes so much of the overwhelmingly positive response to the film. As so many superhero tales do, Black Panther weaves together complex ideas within the often deceptively fantastical trappings of science fiction and fantasy. Continue Reading...