Archetypes: Film: Review: ‘Hail, Caesar!’ (2016)

Hollywood in the 1950s was a mosaic of studios, each with its own stable of stars that churned out movies with machine-like efficiency. Written and directed by Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, Hail, Caesar!, an exuberant satire of that cinematic era, has installed an unlikely human hub at the center of it all. Eddie Mannix […]

Archetypes: Film: Review: ‘Macbeth’ (2015)

Towards the end of the official Shakespearian “Macbeth,” the titular character delivers a grim assessment of “dusty death”: the candle of vitality burns but briefly, and life “struts and frets his hour upon the stage.” Director Justin Kurzel, whose Macbeth is based on the Bard’s, takes the metaphor of the stage and runs with it, […]

Archetypes: Film: Review: ‘The Stanford Prison Experiment’ (2015)

Where’s that “safe word” when you need it? Male Stanford students, who participated in a daring piece of psychological research in 1971, thought the “contracts” they had with that academic institution guaranteed them a way out at any time. But as The Stanford Prison Experiment, a film based on those events, demonstrates, the study took […]

Archetypes: Film: Review: ‘Amy’ (2015)

Extraordinary English vocal talent Amy Winehouse broke hearts when she died at 27 in 2011 from alcohol poisoning. Asif Kapadia’s documentary, Amy, only heightens our sadness as we relive it. As Amy demonstrates, Winehouse didn’t so much die as orchestrate her own disappearance, a phenomenon associated with archetypal Neptune, whose bailiwick also includes drugs, addiction, […]

Archetypes: Film: Review: ‘Ted 2’ (2015)

The non-human partner in cinematic interspecies-like procreation has typically been extra-terrestrial. It’s time to add plush toys to the mix, specifically, Ted, the teddy-bear BFF of man-child John Barrett. Co-written and directed by Seth MacFarlane, Ted 2 continues the saga of John, who was gifted with Ted in the mid-’80s. Ted, of course, turned into […]

Archetypes: Film: Review: ‘Spy’ (2015)

As masters of disguise, spies are the ultimate impostors, a premise which Spy, a female-driven comedy, brilliantly turns into a feminist tract. Written and directed by Paul Feig, the movie is a sophisticated, barely concealed take on impostor syndrome, a psychological phenomenon that’s been kicking around for nearly four decades. Impostor syndrome typically affects successful […]

Archetypes: Film: Review: ‘Love & Mercy’ (2015)

For some artists, inspiration comes in disparate pieces that get magically assembled into a riveting whole. Brian Wilson, the musical genius behind The Beach Boys, welcomed and embraced those random, other-realm visitations. It was the broken pieces of his life he couldn’t glue back together. Directed by Bill Pohlad, the biopic Love & Mercy jumps back […]

Archetypes: Television: ‘Aquarius’ Gets Its Neptune On

It’s a cosmic no-no to mount a television program set during the Summer of Love, in 1967, without a generous dose of atmosphere. In the case of the new drama, “Aquarius,” that backdrop is courtesy of generational Neptune in Libra. The combo’s vibe – Neptunian idealization of Libra’s ruler Venus – is iconic and expansive: […]

Archetypes: Television: Review: ‘Mad Men’ Series Finale (2015): Priest, Penance, Confessor, Confessee

The core of “Mad Men” has always been religious: Advertising man Don Draper’s (Jon Hamm) original sin, akin to Adam and Eve’s act of disobedience, involved his stealing the identity of another man. Neptunian themes of deceit and fuzzy identity merged with other ways to “Neptune out” – through drugs, alcohol, sex, as well as […]

Archetypes: Television: ‘Mad Men’: Don Draper, Addictions and the Priest

The addiction-centric archetypes associated with “Mad Men”’s Don Draper (Jon Hamm) have been consistent over the series’ seven-season run. In the pilot, viewers learned that Don drank, smoked and was unfaithful. Over several dozen episodes, they realized those habits – booze, cigarettes and sex – were embedded in the man’s sinews. And that these activities […]