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Monday, Sep 23, 2013
First Cousin Once Removed suggests contexts, slips in stories, and frames performances -- by Edwin and those who remember him -- and so, beautifully complicates and extends its project.

“I know there’s a past and I know that I lived in it and that I gave it up, to live only in the present.” As American poet and scholar Edwin Honig describes his loss of memory, his slipping into the state called Alzheimer’s disease, you watch a bridge collapsing into water. The footage is archival and black and white, a memory of another time, abstracted into a context for which it could never have been intended. The image of the bridge collapsing, in slow motion, reverberates, a brief indication of what it might feel like to break off from the past. Just so, the process of memory loss becomes incredibly, poignantly visible repeatedly in Alan Berliner’s documentary, First Cousin Once Removed, premieres on HBO 23 September. It’s as profound and personal a film as you might imagine. That it achieves such effects even as it is, at the same time, a movie that invites you to come “inside someplace where the unspeakable, the unseeable, the unsayable can be seen,” as one interviewee puts it.  “And there’s a sense in which people both want to see it and don’t want to see it.”


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Friday, Sep 20, 2013
PopMatters offers an exclusive look at an interview with film scorer Christopher Lennertz, the composer behind Stuart Blumberg’s dramedy Thanks for Sharing.

The topic of sexual addiction may tantalize in its raciness—some New Yorkers caught an eventful eyeful when Steve McQueen was shooting a hotel sex scene for his film Shame—but for whatever reason, it’s a topic that has proved too much to handle for most audiences. Shame, despite its award season buzz, never became a big audience movie, and HBO’s drama series Tell Me You Love Me, which was not about sexual addiction but was as explicit in its discussion and depiction of sexuality as Shame or any other like work of cinema, never made it past its first season. With Stuart Blumberg’s new dramedy Thanks for Sharing, headed up in the acting department by Mark Ruffalo, Gwenyth Paltrow, Josh Gad, and Tim Robbins, sexual addiction is getting a less visceral handling—but one no less serious or important.


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Monday, Sep 9, 2013
As the Obama Administration and its allies contemplate entering into another world policing situation, everyone might do well to consider multiple consequences.

As the Obama Administration and its allies contemplate entering into another world policing situation, everyone might do well to consider multiple consequences. While the advocates of missile strikes insist that the US will not enter into war or “boots on the ground.” One looming example of good intentions going wrong is the Iraq War, a lingering US misadventure. “There is the impression in the United States that Iraq had some problems in 2005 and 2006, but then we sent more troops, we sent Petraeus, and we won the war and we solved all of the problems. And so now there’s no more violence and the Iraqis who worked for us are in peace and they can just go home.”


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Friday, Aug 30, 2013
The newly released last of the Nixon audiotapes don't quite show more elusive aspects of this complicated president, and for that you might turn to the excellent documentary Our Nixon.

Last week, the last of the Nixon white House tapes were made available online. These remind us of a few things concerning the president, including his paranoia, his vulnerability, and his conscious efforts to cover up the Watergate scandal. They don’t quite show other, more elusive aspects of this complicated figure, however, and for that you might turn to the excellent documentary Our Nixon, opening in select theaters on 30 August.


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Thursday, Aug 8, 2013
Here are your pop culture options for end-of-summer fun.

The last full month of summer is a mixed bag of entertainment options, with two big movies geared toward the under-20 crowd, highly-anticipated albums, major video game releases, plenty of sports coverage, and TV’s wackiest awards show. Whatever you do, try to do it outdoors before sweater season creeps in.


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