Sunday, January 28, 2007

top ten movies of 2006

I've been meaning to put this up for a week, but writing deadlines and real-life obligations got in the way. But here they are ... links lead to my original reviews for each film.

1. The House of Sand
2. The Death of Mr. Lazarescu
3. United 93
4. The Departed
5. The Child/L'Enfant
6. The Queen
7. Borat
8. The Puffy Chair
9. Children of Men
10. Letters From Iwo Jima

Thursday, January 25, 2007

jennifer garner has a not-so-good cry

Catch and Release is writer-director Susannah Grant's ambitious attempt at melding the tear-jerker and the romantic comedy. But Alias star Jennifer Garner is miscast. Then again, the film has bigger problems than that.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

the hitcher

Is The Hitcher as bad as you imagine? Honestly, it may be worse.

Friday, January 19, 2007

iraq and darfur: two tales of suffering

What's the difference between Iraq and Darfur? Nothing, says writer David Bosco, and that's the problem:
It's natural that Americans would yearn for a simpler and clearer conflict than Iraq to showcase their humanitarian impulses. But our concern for Darfur must not become a moral salve that allows us to abandon Iraq to its spasm of violence. There may be no blameless factions in Iraq, but there are thousands of ordinary victims. Unless it is clear that we are doing no good, we owe them more.

Friday, January 12, 2007

don't just laugh -- do something

Great piece from Courtney E. Martin in the Baltimore Sun who suggests that, while shows like The Daily Show are a great outlet for our collective disgust at the state of the world (and the Bush administration), we should be doing more than just laughing:

I'm not advocating boycotting sweet Jon [Stewart] or leaving The Onion to rot. I am reminding us all, especially the young and appropriately outraged, not to let our laughter soothe our social conscience. We should be so uncomfortable with the state of things that we can't idly sit by, giggling at our daily dose of fake news and then falling asleep.

In this side-splittingly hypocritical country, you are entitled to the pursuit of happiness - so go ahead, laugh. But please, refrain from laughing until "it don't hurt no more." It should hurt. It should hurt so badly that you have to get up from the couch and do something about it.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

justin timberlake

It's not an unhealthy obsession -- I just respect the dude. OK?

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

the new music poll on the block

Idolator's new Jackin' Pop Critics Poll means to dethrone the Village Voice's annual Pazz & Jop music poll as the authoritative best-of list for popular (and semi-popular) music. But for me, the real story is the excellent essay Jackin' overseer Michaelangelo Matos contributes as part of the poll. Its exhaustive sweep of the year's musical trends and its sharp analysis of the poll's results emulate the enthusiasm of deposed Pazz & Jop maestro Robert Christgau's yearly tome. But at the same time, Matos doesn't try to mimic the Dean's denser-than-dense writing style. Matos proves himself to be a writer with his own voice, and he shines here.

children of men and letters from iwo jima

Over at The Simon, I review several of the Oscar-hopeful films of the season. Other than Children of Men and Letters From Iwo Jima, though, it's pretty rough sledding out there.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Robert Wilson Speaks

The theater director, known for Einstein on the Beach and The Black Rider, stars in a new documentary about his life: Absolute Wilson. I spoke with him for LA Weekly.