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James Keane, SJ :
7 article(s)

James T. Keane, SJ is a Jesuit scholastic studying creative writing at Columbia University.
November 13th, 2006
Sacha Baron Cohen's hilarious new film cuts uncomfortably close to the bone

As the many diehard fans of British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen had hoped, Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan includes sixty minutes of the most amusing comic stylings to hit the big screen this year. Unfortunately, the movie is a half-hour longer than that delightful hour, and at both its entrance and exit stumbles badly. When departing the theater, many viewers will be asking two questions: the expected “Didn’t you think that was hilariously funny?” and the more troublesome “Didn’t you think that was impossibly offensive?” Alas, Borat is both, with the latter failing to contribute to the former in the ways likely intended…

September 19th, 2006
A review of Dylan's Modern Times

The year 1976 in the United States might as well have been a million years ago to the average BustedHalo reader. The nation celebrated its bicentennial. Gerald Ford lost the presidency to Jimmy Carter. Rocky ruled the big screen, while “Charlie’s Angels” made its debut on television, as did “The Muppet Show.” And with Desire, Bob Dylan had the final number one album of his career.
Until now.
Don’t look back, because Dylan topped the Billboard charts again last week with Modern Times, his 31st studio album. Dylan has garnered almost universal kudos in the music press for his latest work, and even the one bit of controversy—the discovery that he had borrowed liberally…

December 15th, 2005
Disney's Narnia adaptation doesn't disappoint

“It’s not like he’s a tame lion.” It’s a single line, delivered in the final moments of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, long after the climax is complete. Nevertheless, for myself and, I imagine, legions of Narnia enthusiasts like me, its inclusion thrills the soul, sells the film, and puts to rest any nagging concerns that, well, they just wouldn’t get it right. Why? Because C.S. Lewis’ fictional world of Narnia is not just an alternate universe where animals talk, where fauns and dryads and nymphs are real, where children can be heroes and adults are hard to find. It’s much more important than that, and rarely has anyone come away touched by those elements…

May 11th, 2005
Little chance for dialogue with protesters at The Vagina Monologues

Some plays just shouldn’t be performed at a Catholic university. Take, for example, a recent production by Fordham University students that included appearances by demonic forces, implied sexual intercourse between unmarried persons, murderous plots, traffic in slaves, blasphemy, implied homosexual attractions, and worship of pagan deities. How dare the Jesuits who run this university allow such a thing! Think of the poor college students being subjected to this insidious propaganda! Thank God for the protesters who showed up every night to boycott performances in the name of decency!
I jest, of course, and there were, as a matter of fact, no protesters, and the play in question was William Shakespeare’s…

March 27th, 2005
A review of Bob Dylan's autobiography, Chronicles: Volume I

When Greil Marcus reviewed Bob Dylan’s eagerly awaited 1970 album Self-Portrait for Rolling Stone, he began with the infamous line “what is this s—t?” Dylan’s legions of fans, Marcus included, suffered traumatic disillusionment upon listening to the inscrutable collection of covers and poorly-produced musical experiments to be found in Self-Portrait, in large part because all were expecting something more revealing from the “self portrait” of the larger-than-life musician whose impact on popular culture had been—and continues to be—so enormous. While Chronicles, the first in a promised series of autobiographical works by Dylan, offers far more to…

February 9th, 2005
HBO's The Life and Death of Peter Sellers

Inspector Jacques Clouseau. Chance Gardiner. Dr. Strangelove, Lionel Mandrake, and President Merkin Muffley. All these memorable characters and a score more were the cinematic personas of a man who himself suffered from an almost complete lack of coherent identity: Peter Sellers of Pink Panther fame. The Life and Death of Peter Sellers , an HBO Films/BBC Films movie airing this Sunday night on HBO (Dec. 5, 9pm), gives a heart-wrenching and occasionally disturbing window into the life and times of the emotionally wounded, perpetually restless actor behind some of cinema’s most famous characters. With a star-filled cast and quirky, unconventional direction by Stephen Hopkins, the film guides viewers…

January 6th, 2005
HBO's latest comedy phenomenon is vulgar, offensive and hilariously revealing

Yes, it’s crass. It’s crude. And it’s more than a little insensitive. All these charges can and should be leveled against Da Ali G Show , which recently completed its second short season on HBO. Nevertheless, Ali G’s critics miss the most important quality of the show, that Sacha Baron Cohen and his trademark alter egos Ali G (the rapper straight outta Staines), Borat Sagdiyev (Kazakhstan’s top journalist) and Bruno (the cartoonishly gay Austrian fashionista) are practicing a kind of guerilla comedy that does much to reveal and eviscerate some of modern American culture’s most laughable assumptions about itself and others.
The Cambridge-educated Cohen first earned…

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