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by Christel Loar

8 Dec 2009

This international Emmy winning show simultaneously manages to be a credible period cop show, a futuristic (yet ironically retro) science-fiction thriller, and something of a current social commentary (with a critical eye cast on the recent past). With these box sets, American audiences finally get to own the award-winning, original UK series upon which the ABC remake was based. It’s about time! For those who may not yet have seen either and are forced to choose, see this one, set in Manchester, 1973. While I personally enjoyed the Jason O’Mara/Harvey Keitel US remake quite a lot, the original is simply so much better on nearly every level: the retro situation our detective finds himself in provides a new ‘fix’ for the cop-show-mystery inclined; police methods and technology we take for granted no longer apply; and our world as fans, like Sam Tyler’s, is turned upside down; things are simultaneously familiar yet strange. A show of this caliber doesn’t necessarily need any DVD bonus features, but we get great ones here, anyway. In series 1 there are audio commentaries with the cast and crew for each of the episodes—often something of a rarity on series sets—and, naturally they are quite entertaining and informative; series 2 provides a documentary about the show, a featurette about the intriguing storyline’s conclusion, and behind the scenes footage. Life on Mars: Series 1 and 2 is a keeper, and although the UK series is over, the nature of the story will age well for years to come—in a way, it already has.

by Bill Gibron

8 Dec 2009

With Billy Bob Thornton’s keen eye and Daniel Lanois’ laconic musical score, Sling Blade provides a level of dread and anticipatory suspense into what is already a classic character study. Indeed, this is one of the few multi-genre successes, working well within the categories of drama, comedy, thriller, and mystery. It’s an ensemble where one man is clearly the main focus, a tour de force where everyone gets to share in the critical praise. Thornton would go on to a rollercoaster career in Hollywood, courting success and scandal as only the truly gifted and incorrigible can. No one can take away what he did with Sling Blade. In fact, he can make a million Armageddons and a bunch of Bad News Bears and still not tarnish this terrific film. Whether or not it takes mental deficiencies too far, one thing’s for certain—Thornton triumphs in an arena where few of his colleagues have excelled. Sling Blade is the exception that defies the rule.

by Katharine Wray

8 Dec 2009

The city dweller’s Christmas just got a lot cooler (or cozier) with this DVD. The classic Johnny Cash takes the kitsch out of “Joy to the World” and other traditional Christmas Carols. The bonus is the Yule Log video. While listening to Cash sing about wise men and mangers, sleigh bells and snowfall, you can almost feel the warmth of the video-provided fire in a fire place—call it ‘hearth’ with heart. Get this for yourself, for your own Christmas. It’s more cozy than a Nativity scene.

by Allison Taich

8 Dec 2009

by Rob Horning

8 Dec 2009

Image via BoingBoing

Image via BoingBoing

A study by MIT professor Renee Richardson Gosline (via BoingBoing and others) shows that people who buy “fake” handbags—those branded without authorization—sometimes go on to later buy “authentic” ones.

Gosline interviewed hundreds of consumers who knowingly bought fake luxury apparel, many at “purse parties” where such goods are sold. Gosline found that within two years, 46 percent of these buyers subsequently purchased the authentic version of the same product — even though other people could not necessarily tell the difference. Such behavior is another twist on Veblen’s thesis: For some status-seeking people, at least, the social power of luxury goods means that consumption must not just be conspicuous, but real.

That seems somewhat incredible (Felix Salmon calls it “astonishing”), but it fits well with NYT Magazine Consumed columnist Rob Walker’s contention that we are own primary audience for our consumption displays. We can’t fool ourselves with a fake.

//Mixed media
//Blogs

The Specter of Multiplayer Hangs Over 'Door Kickers'

// Moving Pixels

"Door Kickers is not a multiplayer game, but for a while there, I couldn’t tell the difference.

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