Dead Man Walking

By Erica Zaragoza Is the moral conscience of a man compromised when he witnesses horrific brutality? Dead Man Walking, directed by Tim Robbins, portrays a profoundly resonant character in Sister Helen Prejean, played by Susan Sarandon, as she establishes a relationship with Michael Poncelet, played by Sean Penn, a man on death row. Prejean was a tangible angel who extended herself to the needs of a man desperate to impress his innocence on the world. However, as the story unfolds, this innocence is a mere fantasy he clings to in the hopes of being vindicated. Poncelet’s objective in contacting Sister Prejean is to have a representative file an appeal for him in order to stay his imminent execution. Prejean’s attempts at final appeals are denied, and thus Poncelet is a “dead man walking.” Poncelet eventually accepts culpability and his responsibility in the deaths of Hope Percy and Walter Delacroix, a


M

By Chloe Sarnoff Fritz Lang’s 1931 film, M, which was written by his wife, Thea von Harbou, is the story of a manhunt to find the criminal responsible for taking the lives of countless innocent children. M was Lang’s first film with sound and is also widely considered his most accomplished production. The film is supposedly based on the lives of notorious serial killers, Kurten, Grossman, Kurten, Denke and Haarman who terrorized Germany over the course of several decades. The police, who search to find their town’s killer, use the detective skills of the day, but also turn to the town’s other criminals for assistance in their quest for the culprit. M asks the audience to question the conventional concepts of who is in charge of ensuring that justice is upheld.  Especially when the good guys may need the bad guys help. M has been a major part of cinematic


The Career of Bob Balaban

By Ben Falk You’ve seen Bob Balaban, most people have. He has one of those faces that makes an impression. You may not know why it’s so familiar or why it’s a pleasant surprise, but you know it. Balaban is everywhere. He portrays the characters that hold films together. Not background players, but those supporting parts that bring audiences into a film. These actors become their characters and transport the audience into a story. They are not stars, as they do not draw attention away from everything else. They are craftsmen, creating characters that serve the story and in turn, become a part of it. This is why you know Bob Balaban but cannot really place him. It’s a compliment. His type of acting marks the difference between a high school production and a run at the Old Vic. In high school it’s, “There’s Johnny playing a pirate;” with Balaban


Indiscretions. Repercussions. Men in Power.

By Erica Zaragoza Representative Anthony D. Weiner, a rising star of the Democratic Party, from New York, announced Thursday he would be resigning in the wake of his lewd photo scandal. The salacious activities that have enveloped men of power, on both sides of the isle, have left party leaders with no choice but to denounce personal behavior that negatively effects the reputation of the offices they hold. The moratorium on detrimental personal activities was meant to weed out the disingenuous and corrupt on Capitol Hill. Being a constituent of Weiner, living only blocks away from his apartment, I had the opportunity to see both sides of the controversy surrounding the Congressman. Many members of my community were outraged that House Dem. leasers Nancy Pelosi and Debbie Wasserman Schultz made public statements urging Weiner to step down immediately. Many of his constituents believe Weiner has precipitated a series of positive


Oliver Stone’s Tumultuous Relationship with Wall Street

By Erica Zaragoza Oliver Stone’s hauntingly accurate portrayal of the financial woes that epitomized corporate America in the 1980s in Wall Street was modernized for it’s sequel Wall Street 2, debuting in 2010. Wall Street. Stone’s experience on the subject stems from his adaptation of current events and public perception. Greed and power, the ideals that were idolized and glorified in the 1980s facilitated the impediments on Wall Street that founded the market crash and allowed runaway spending possible. Stone’s Wall Street captured the populist view of the financial sector. Critically acclaimed for its depiction of Wall Street, Olive Stone does not exactly shy away from emoting his true feelings about the handlings of the market. At a meeting with Andrew Ross Sorkin, New York Times columnist and writer, Sorkin noted Mr. Stone saying “the mother of all evil” referring to an exiting Sanford Weill, former Chairman of Citigroup. There


Fritz Lang

By Chloe Sarnoff Fritz Lang was born in Vienna, Austria in 1890.  As a young man, he trained as a painter and even studied painting in Paris during the years he spent traveling Europe, Asia and North Africa.  At the age of 25, Lang returned home to Vienna and enlisted in the army.  However, soon after joining the war effort, he was badly injured.  During his recovery, he began to toy around with the idea of writing scripts for films. When his injuries proved too severe to continue fighting, Lang experimented with acting at a local theater in Vienna.  He was then offered a position at a production company in Berlin.  Not long after arriving in Germany, Lang married a writer and actress named Thea von Harbou. Together, the pair wrote and directed some of Lang’s most famous films: Dr. Mabuse: The Gambler, Siegfried, Metropolis and M. M depicted the


The Case of the Loopy Lawyers — Frat-party antics and self-doubt are the stuff of today's legal dramas; where's Atticus Finch?

Forum Director, Thane Rosenbaum wrote an article for The Wall Street Journal on TNT’s new show Franklin & Bash. In “Franklin & Bash,” which premiered this month on TNT, two debauched playboys join a tony law firm and introduce their new colleagues to the joys of hot tubs and karaoke. “Harry’s Law,” which just finished its first season on NBC, features a zany, pistol-packing Kathy Bates, who starts her own criminal defense law firm. In “Suits,” which debuts next week on USA, a guy without a college or law degree successfully masquerades as an attorney. To read more, click here.


"Daniel": A Reminder

By Ben Falk “Daniel“ is Sidney Lumet’s 1983 film about a couple who are, we are led to believe, unjustly accused, tried, sentenced, and executed for passing state secrets to the Soviet Union. Based on E.L. Doctorow’s novel, “The Book of Daniel”, it is essentially the story of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, the real life couple who, according to many, were unjustly accused, tried, sentenced, and executed for passing state secrets to the Soviet Union. Now, I don’t know much about the Rosenberg Trial and I have no opinion on their guilt or innocence, except to say that whatever did happen – their arrest, trial, appeals, and execution – could have been done better. Lumet and Doctorow seem to agree. Neither Lumet nor Doctorow (who wrote the novel and screenplay), definitively answer whether Paul and Rochelle Isaacson, their stand-ins for Julius and Ethel, are guilty of spying for the Soviets


Michael and Robert Meeropol

By Chloe Sarnoff Michael and Robert Meeropol are the sons of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg.  The Rosenberg’s were members of the Communist party, who were arrested and executed for conspiracy to commit espionage during the Red Scare of the 1950’s.  In 1957, the young boys were legally adopted by Abel Meeropol, a writer, and his wife Anne, and assumed their adopted parents’ last name.  Michael attended Swarthmore College and also received graduate degrees from Cambridge University in England, and the University of Wisconsin; Robert attended the University of Michigan as an undergraduate and graduate student and received a law degree from the Western New England College School of Law. As a young man, Robert became an active member of the anti-war movement, as well as a college anthropology professor, and in 1980, he became the managing editor of The Socialist Review. Michael began his career as an economist and wrote


Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

By Erica Zaragoza Affluence is the malignant disease that quietly metastasizes into an overwhelming desire to need, want, got to have more. Money, power, and greed are all simple enough concepts that most people are able to control, maintain, and incorporate into their daily lives. However, when money, power, and greed envelop the soul of the man, chaos is bound to ensue. The opening scene of Oliver Stone’s Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps gives us a glimpse into the world of Gordon Gekko, played by Michael Douglas, whose life was turned upside down when he was incarcerated. Exposed is the world he left, the technological advancements he missed, but also, all the things that haven’t changed, including most particularly his estrangement from his only daughter. Leaving jail, Gekko witnesses a father being welcomed home by his small children, which quickly foreshadows the turbulent family life that will unfold throughout the