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Articles in Culture and Criticism

The Lovely Bones
February 18, 2010 – 8:13 AM | 20 Comments

Although the novel also drowned in a vat of syrup, Sebold got by for nearly 100 pages on the unsentimental clarity of her style and sustained verisimilitude of the narrator's adolescent voice. Jackson demonstrates no …

Bright Star
February 17, 2010 – 9:04 AM | 22 Comments
<em>Bright Star</em>

Bright Star is a strange little movie, and typical Campion — it's ravishing to look at, you can nearly smell the things in every shot (bread, rained-on linen), and apparent anachronisms don't distract the viewer, …

Invictus
February 17, 2010 – 8:09 AM | 22 Comments
<I>Invictus</I>

And thus endeth the Racism Is Bad, Mmmkay Oscar trifecta.
…I shouldn't be flip. It's an important story. Alas, it's filmed as just that, An Important Story, and the weight of that responsibility presses all the …

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 …