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Articles in Culture and Criticism

Harry Potter and the Hyphen-Something Doodad
February 15, 2010 – 4:29 PM | 34 Comments

I can't say I paid rigid attention to it, by which I mean that I left the room without pausing the film to get snacks, borrow thread from Gen, sign for packages, and so on. …

The Cove
February 15, 2010 – 12:59 PM | 15 Comments
<em>The Cove</em>

…Man.The Cove is a gripping documentary, but "hard to watch" doesn't begin.It's hard to watch Ric O'Barry, who worked as the dolphin trainer on Flipper, trying to atone for his part in the culture's continuing …

Julie & Julia
February 14, 2010 – 10:35 PM | 46 Comments

The Julia half of the movie is delightful. Meryl Streep is wonderful, in no small part because Julia Child is written so wonderfully here (and I have fond memories of her from my early childhood).
I …

The Secret of Kells
February 14, 2010 – 2:50 PM | 3 Comments

Whimsical but not twee, grand but not grandiose, The Secret of Kells put me in mind of certain Samurai Jack episodes, specifically the one with the Viking-esque hall-of-warriors sequence.The animation is nothing technologically ground-breaking, but …

Up
February 13, 2010 – 11:38 AM | 64 Comments

The tears started rolling five minutes in. I always cry at Pixar movies — even Cars; shut up — so I don't know why I thought I would escape from Up with a dry face, …

Precious
February 13, 2010 – 7:47 AM | 9 Comments

I don't know what to make of Precious. It shouldn't have worked for me — I expected it not to work for me — and yet, somehow, it did. Despite Precious's situation being so bleak …

The Blind Side and Avatar: Let's Congratulate Ourselves On Re-Colonizing The Other With Weaponized Syrup
February 12, 2010 – 9:20 AM | 59 Comments
<I>The Blind Side</I> and <I>Avatar</I>: Let's Congratulate Ourselves On Re-Colonizing The Other With Weaponized Syrup

Watching The Blind Side and Avatar in a 12-hour period is not recommended, but is nevertheless instructive.
For those of you who avoid my baseball entries, I've written in the past about the reaction to players …

Food Inc.
February 11, 2010 – 10:13 AM | 17 Comments

If you've read Fast Food Nation or The Omnivore's Dilemma, Food Inc. won't cover any new ground for you.It's a well-crafted doc, though, and I filled up with rage all over again at the way …

A Serious Man
February 10, 2010 – 11:27 AM | 8 Comments
<I>A Serious Man</I>

Coen movies live near that line that separates the unlikeable characters who nonetheless hold your attention and the unlikeable characters who are merely unlikeable. There's something to be said for realistic portrayals of selfish, unpleasant …

Burma VJ: Reporting from a Closed Country
February 9, 2010 – 1:02 AM | No Comment

The story Burma VJ tells is fascinating, and shocking and enraging.As a movie, alas, it comes across as muffled, because…well, it's reporting from a closed country.Thanks to a repressive government, the footage is smuggled out …