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Tag: Review


LG

The Best Phone Money Can Buy—For Now

The iPhone, by all accounts, will rule the fall. But the summer belongs to LG.

Posted on Aug 6, 2014 READ MORE



Sony Pictures Classics

Can’t Knock Woody Allen’s Hustle

The prolific director’s latest isn’t his greatest, but it’s good enough.

Posted on Jul 29, 2014 READ MORE



Courtesy of Music Box Films

This Unexpected Movie Just Won’t Leave Me Alone

“Ida” is a strangely haunting movie—for a failure. For all its faults, it’s taken up something like permanent residence in my brain.

Posted on May 7, 2014 READ MORE



CherryX per Wikimedia Commons [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Inside the Nazis’ Model Concentration Camp

Theresienstadt was a most peculiar institution. It was created by the Nazis as a “model” camp—“Hitler’s gift to the Jews,” as the saying went—designed to placate the Red Cross and other international inspectors when they came calling.

Posted on Feb 11, 2014 READ MORE



Sony

You Probably Won’t Buy Sony’s Amazing Waterproof Phone

For whatever reason, phone shoppers have met genuine innovation with disinterest.

Posted on Feb 5, 2014 READ MORE



livandingmar.com

The One Movie From 2013 You Have to See

In short, the movie year ends, as they almost always do, in disappointment that verges on dismay. But there is hope.

Posted on Jan 6, 2014 READ MORE



Don’t Believe Everything You Read About the Nexus 5

The Nexus 5 is Google’s new flagship phone. Despite being superior in some ways to the iPhone, and costing only half the price, the Nexus has taken a bit of a beating in reviews.

Posted on Nov 15, 2013 READ MORE



Facebook.com/TheArmstrongLie

Much Ado About Lance’s Lie

Alex Gibney’s excellent documentary probes the moral outrage over cheating in a minor sport.

Posted on Nov 12, 2013 READ MORE



Lionsgate

The Performance of Robert Redford’s Career

The 77-year-old actor is at his smart, ironic best in “All Is Lost.”

Posted on Oct 22, 2013 READ MORE



Fox Searchlight Pictures

Gandolfini, Louis-Dreyfus Charm in ‘Enough Said’

The early reviews prepared me to be charmed by “Enough Said,” which naturally made me uncomfortable.

Posted on Sep 23, 2013 READ MORE



Photo and Poster Courtesy of the Weinstein Company

Don’t Make a Phony Out of J.D. Salinger

A new documentary wants to find some hidden wound that “explains” the novelist’s reclusivity, but I don’t think there is one.

Posted on Sep 9, 2013 READ MORE



John McStravick (CC-BY)

Is College Worth It?

These four books are written in the shadow of the suspicion that the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves—concerning hard work, opportunity, meritocracy, achievement and social mobility—somehow no longer pertain.

Posted on Sep 2, 2013 READ MORE



AP/Mustafa Quraishi

Pink Sari Revolution

This is the story of India’s Pink Gang, a grass-roots movement that confronts Indian officialdom over the rights of the poor and the marginalized, especially women.

Posted on Aug 16, 2013 READ MORE



Blackfishmovie.com

‘Blackfish’: What the Hell Is Sea World Thinking?

By what measure of magical thinking does the occasional death or ripped-off limb seem a sensible price to pay for the queasy entertainment offered at water shows?

Posted on Jul 23, 2013 READ MORE



Paramount

‘World War Z’: Still Fun at Twice the Price

I read in the press that this movie can never, ever recoup its cost, but it does have its charms.

Posted on Jun 25, 2013 READ MORE



Radius TWC

The Joy of Singing Out of the Spotlight

“20 Feet From Stardom” is a joyous documentary about the lives and careers of backup singers. It has been a long time since I’ve had so much fun at a movie.

Posted on Jun 17, 2013 READ MORE



Warner Bros.

Will There Ever Be a Great ‘Gatsby’?

It’s understandable that the book has been a constant temptation to moviemakers. It’s also understandable that it has never been turned into a fully successful film.

Posted on Jun 11, 2013 READ MORE



Illustration based on images from T-Mobile and Apple.

Review of the iPhone on T-Mobile: No Bullshit

Not so long ago, T-Mobile was suicidal. Now it wants to be the first pro-consumer cellular network.

Posted on Apr 22, 2013 READ MORE



facebook.com/LesMisMovie

‘Miserables’? More Like ‘Les Middling’

There are times when a cast of dozens, working intensely, is actually superior to a cast of hundreds working routinely.

Posted on Dec 26, 2012 READ MORE



A still from 'Amour'

A Simple, Excellent and Surprising Film

I think the message of “Amour,” if it may be said to have one, is that love is sometimes—probably rarely—eternal.

Posted on Dec 20, 2012 READ MORE



Image from "Economix: How and Why Our Economy Works (and Doesn't Work), in Words and Pictures"

Understanding Economics in Plain English

Fedspeak, vague and convoluted answers to economic questions, was popularized by Alan Greenspan, chairman of the Federal Reserve from 1987 to 2006. It allowed him to essentially say “no comment” without admitting that he was avoiding questions.

Posted on Dec 14, 2012 READ MORE



Still from Paramount Pictures

Interminable ‘Flight’ Is Good, but Save Your Miles

“Flight” is a mildly unsatisfying film, chiefly, I think, because we’ve been here before.

Posted on Nov 5, 2012 READ MORE



Warner Bros./Publicity Still

Let ‘Argo’ Take You Hostage

I don’t know how much of the picture—beyond its basic premise—is “true.” And, frankly, I don’t give a damn.

Posted on Oct 15, 2012 READ MORE



Still from "The House I Live In" courtesy Derek Hallquist

Prison and Poverty for All: The Future We Live In

A new documentary about prison and the drug war makes the science fiction dystopias of “Looper” and “Dredd 3D” feel disturbingly plausible.

Posted on Oct 1, 2012 READ MORE



Detail from "The Master" poster via IMDb

Paul Thomas Anderson’s Cult of Personality

The critics simply have too much invested in the still young director to acknowledge that “The Master” has to rank somewhere between a disappointment and a disaster.

Posted on Sep 17, 2012 READ MORE



Warner Bros.

The ‘Dark Knight’: 3 Hours of Apathy

We want it to be good. We certainly don’t want it to be the occasion for tragedy. What we are forced to settle for, though, is aimlessness.

Posted on Jul 23, 2012 READ MORE



Warner Bros.

Magic Mike: Keep Your Pants Off

“Magic Mike” is an entertaining movie that unfortunately lacks the courage of its own predilections.

Posted on Jul 2, 2012 READ MORE



Paramount

The Good-Natured Dictator

No movie dedicated to Kim Jong Il can be all bad. On the other hand, “The Dictator,” the product of Sacha Baron Cohen, cannot be all good either.

Posted on May 20, 2012 READ MORE



Shining India

The raw pathos of the characters in “Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity” is of the kind usually found in great fiction, except in Katherine Boo’s book, they’re real people.

Posted on Feb 24, 2012 READ MORE



This Gay Man Represented the President

James C. Hormel’s transformation from a confused and closeted gay kid to the nation’s first openly gay ambassador is chronicled in his memoir “Fit to Serve.”

Posted on Feb 17, 2012 READ MORE



Political Divide

Are voters as polarized as their elected officials? The question, which has serious implications in an election year, has put political scientists at loggerheads in several new and recent books.

Posted on Feb 10, 2012 READ MORE



Kim Jong Un, This One’s for You

“The Orphan Master’s Son” by Adam Johnson is a rich, careening, dystopian tale that gives us a visceral hit of life inside North Korea.

Posted on Feb 3, 2012 READ MORE



A Unique Face of Evil

“Himmler was the complete opposite of a faceless functionary,” Peter Longerich writes in “Heinrich Himmler.” “The position he built up over the years can instead be described as an extreme example of the almost total personalization of political power.”

Posted on Jan 27, 2012 READ MORE



No Mickey in This ‘Maus’

Art Spiegelman’s “MetaMaus” is a 300-page user’s guide to his own Pulitzer Prize-winning “Maus” (you know, Holocaust-graphic-novel-Jews-as-mice-Nazis-as-cats).

Posted on Jan 20, 2012 READ MORE    



Europe in Free Fall

In “After the Fall: The End of the European Dream and the Decline of a Continent,” Walter Laqueur explains how Europe’s success in constructing a harmonious community of states actually masked serious social, economic and political vulnerabilities that proved too fragile to bear the world’s most severe financial crisis since the Great Depression.

Posted on Jan 13, 2012 READ MORE



Sin and Sustenance

Lauren B. Davis’ thrilling, polyphonic new novel, “Our Daily Bread,” takes us into a backwoods clan rife with child abuse and incest, and asks the question: “When does another person’s suffering become my responsibility?”

Posted on Jan 6, 2012 READ MORE



Doubts About Eloquence

“The desire to be inspired,” William F. Gavin writes in “Speechwright,” “to be uplifted, to be made to feel deeply, to be swept away, and thrilled is the mark of jaded citizens who have forgotten that the major goal of political rhetoric should be to make good arguments, clearly and honestly.”

Posted on Dec 30, 2011 READ MORE



Jesus Was Lynched

According to James H. Cone’s “The Cross and the Lynching Tree,” Jesus was crucified by the same principalities and powers that lynched almost 5,000 black people in this country. The lynching tree is the cross in America.

Posted on Dec 23, 2011 READ MORE



So, About That Severed Ear …

A marvelous new biography of Vincent Van Gogh asks what if it was untreatable epilepsy that drove him mad, he didn’t cut off his lobe for a woman and he was killed by delinquents rather than committing suicide?

Posted on Dec 16, 2011 READ MORE



The Evolution of Feminism

Jennifer Baumgardner’s new book of essays and interviews, “F ’em! Goo Goo, Gaga, and Some Thoughts on Balls,” connects generations of women thinking about women, from the suffragettes to women’s libbers, from riot grrrls to Lady Bloggers.

Posted on Dec 9, 2011 READ MORE



Corporate Wolf Eats Grandmother Alive

Ellen E. Schultz’s “Retirement Heist: How Companies Plunder and Profit From the Nest Eggs of American Workers” reveals how fleecing the elderly is just business as usual for corporations. If the retirement industry isn’t reined in, she concludes, we’ll be right back where we were in the 1930s.

Posted on Dec 2, 2011 READ MORE



Ha Ha, Another Midlife Crisis

Howard Jacobson’s novel “No More Mr. Nice Guy” travels well-worn territory: the male midlife crisis in search of laughs.

Posted on Nov 17, 2011 READ MORE



The Myth of the ’60s

Edward P. Morgan, in this excerpt from “What Really Happened to the 1960s: How Mass Media Culture Failed American Democracy,” maintains that “the mass media’s ‘’60s’ discourse is chiefly one of ghosts, accusations, and smoke and mirrors that has long played on audience emotions and diverted public attention to what is essentially a symbolic form of spectator politics.”

Posted on Nov 16, 2011 READ MORE



Mea Culpa, That’s My Gun

In “The Shadow World,” Andrew Feinstein gives us perhaps the most comprehensive account of the global arms trade ever written, an industry in which the supreme ideology is greed.

Posted on Nov 11, 2011 READ MORE



Sincerely, Sam Beckett

“I keep an eye on the love life of the Colorado beetle and work against it,” Samuel Beckett writes in this second volume of his collected letters. “… That is to say by throwing the parents into my neighbor’s garden and burning the eggs. If only someone had done that for me!”

Posted on Oct 28, 2011 READ MORE



Incarceration—It’s Catching

Is the massive surge of imprisonment a contagious disease? Does the answer lie in the structure of our democracy? Two new books suggest so.

Posted on Oct 21, 2011 READ MORE



The Internet and Human Sexuality

The Internet, for the authors of “A Billion Wicked Thoughts: What the World’s Largest Experiment Reveals About Human Desire,” is a boggling treasure trove of research on human sexual behavior.

Posted on Oct 14, 2011 READ MORE



Facebook/IdesOfMarchMovie

Missing From ‘March’

George Clooney is the nominal star (and director) of “The Ides of March,” a not particularly thrilling, but sort of agreeable, political thriller, in which he is largely AWOL.

Posted on Oct 10, 2011 READ MORE



What Does It Mean to Be Black?

Two new books take radically different approaches to questions of race introspection—one academic, the other anecdotal.

Posted on Oct 7, 2011 READ MORE



A Writer for All Time

Two new volumes—a biography and an anthology—shine light on G.K. Chesterton, an inhabitant of the twilight realm of the praised but unread.

Posted on Sep 30, 2011 READ MORE


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