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Articles in Culture and Criticism

Odds, Ends, Updates
March 8, 2010 – 9:41 AM | 17 Comments
Odds, Ends, Updates

You may have noticed a shift in the categories and tags on the blog; I'm preparing for another redesign. I know it feels like I just ported everything over from the last redesign, but this …

Oscar Pool Postmortem
March 8, 2010 – 2:10 AM | 33 Comments
Oscar Pool Postmortem

I've done worse — but with 50 of the nominees under my belt, I should have done better.
The scorecard is below.
Best Picture: wrong
I really thought they'd try to split the baby between Avatar and The …

Oscars Death Race: Conclusion and Pool Recs
March 7, 2010 – 5:11 PM | 12 Comments
Oscars Death Race: Conclusion and Pool Recs

Well, friends, I gave it my best, but I couldn't manage to watch them all. The final score is Sarah 50, Death Race 8 (86-ish percent) and 20 out of 24 categories completed (83 percent). …

The Last Station
March 7, 2010 – 4:29 PM | 5 Comments

A handful of nice moments — most of them from McAvoy, who isn't nominated — but one review I read called the movie an acting showcase more than a plot, and I'd have to agree. …

El Secreto de Sus Ojos
March 7, 2010 – 3:04 AM | 2 Comments

This is a great movie. Here's how I could tell: the version I saw had, bar none, the worst subtitling I've ever seen, and I have watched a fair amount of bootleg kung-fu in my …

Nine
March 6, 2010 – 9:45 AM | 3 Comments

Everyone looks beautiful, the acting is good (with one semi-exception), and Nine successfully evokes Fellini, but I don't think I see the point of the exercise, here or in the stage original. That the dialogue …

The White Ribbon
March 4, 2010 – 3:41 PM | 5 Comments

This is, I believe, the presumptive favorite for Best Foreign Film, with good reason. I've only seen one of the other nominees, and it's good, but The White Ribbon is in another class entirely; it's …

The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers
March 4, 2010 – 2:31 PM | 4 Comments
<I>The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers</I>

For my tenth birthday, my mother got me a framed copy of the front page of the New York Times from the day I was born. The big headline is about food costs pushing up …

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
March 4, 2010 – 11:38 AM | 22 Comments

I actually enjoyed it, because I expected to hate it, and while it is definitely bad — buys into its own pompous mythos, takes too long to explain a conflict nobody cares about, thinks it's …

Ajami
March 2, 2010 – 8:19 AM | No Comment

The best part of the Oscars Death Race project is the nice surprises: the films I expected to have to endure that gripped me instead.
I faced Ajami as one does a hated vegetable, and got …