Call for Feature Essays About Any Aspect of Popular Culture, Present or Past

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Friday, Apr 4, 2014
Even with all its XXX gimmickry, Nymph()maniac remains grounded in character. From someone like Lars von Trier, we'd expect nothing less... and we get a lot more.

When last we left Lars von Trier’s epic exploration of one woman’s unwieldy sexuality and all the perverted permutations of same, our heroine Joe (as an adult, Charlotte Gainsbourg, as a youth, Stacy Martin) had just lost all sensation in her vagina. As she recounts her underage exploits and various home wrecking scenarios, including the sudden loss of sensation while living with the longtime object of her desires, Jerome (Shia LaBeouf), our attentive listener, a bookworm named Seligman (Stellan Skarsgard), links her lust-life to various works of literature and cultural/personal milestones. Before going forward, dealing with her life as an adult, the duo discuss religion, especially the differences between Eastern Orthodoxy and Western Catholicism. For Seligman, it’s a question of Christ’s suffering vs. Christ’s mercy. For Joe, it’s just another nonsensical analogy to her continuing condemnation of self.


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Thursday, Apr 3, 2014
When you think animation, do you automatically think Disney, Pixar, Anime, Miyazaki, Studio Ghilbi and/or stop motion. Here are ten terrific examples that will broaden your perspective.

Perhaps a better title here would be The Best Non-Disney, Non -Pixar, Non-Anime, Non-Miyazaki, Non-Studio Ghilbi, Non-Stop Motion Animated Films of All Time. Yes, believe it or not, there are other offerings out there in the history of the artform other than the pen and ink (now mostly CG) spectacle of the House of Mouse, its computer supported partner, the fascinating finesse of the Japanese, and the entire Nightmare Before the Fantastic Mr. Fox frame-by-frame conceit. We would never know it, however. The merchandising machine built by Uncle Walt and his workers more or less covers the globe with its glad tidings, and the other studios in the system—Fox, Dreamworks, Paramount, etc.—can’t help but play Ice Age/Madagascar/How I Shreked Your Dragon catch-up. That just leaves the outsiders, the foreign entries and the independent wannabes who desperately hope your don’t mind a lack of Mickey, Minnie, Buzz, Woody, my neighbor Totorro or Porco Rosso in your latest trip to the cineplex.


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Wednesday, Apr 2, 2014
No matter what the box office receipts say, The Raid 2 is of greater value (and has a higher body count) than Sabotage.

Don’t worry, there are still a couple more months for the summer blockbuster films to rule the box offices, (or maybe just a week or two when Captain America will rise to the top). But this past weekend saw the release of two action films, the gun-wielding monster Sabotage featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger and the wily Indonesian martial arts film, The Raid 2. Fans of action films should skip over Sabotage, save their friends from seeing it, and instead all head to see The Raid 2 several times.


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Tuesday, Apr 1, 2014
This is a genuine delight, a smart film without so much of the CG filler these movies can often contain.

In the Avengers’ movie rankings, Iron Man is numero uno. He’s the head honcho, the big box office draw, and the one character Marvel is most concerned about when moving on within their ever-expanding cinematic universe. Thanks to Robert Downey Jr. and his pratfalling playboy performance, this is one superhero who will be sorely missed should his time with the comic book clan come to an end. Next up is Thor, though Norse Gods know why. He’s hunky and cute and all, but is he really the second best option among the mighty protectors of the galaxy? Third place it tricky, however. On the one hand, Hulk has really never gotten a good shot at solo success. Both Ang Lee and Louis Leterrier’s take on the character lacked something when delivering the necessary action spectacle, but within Joss Whedon’s billion dollar baby, the character was golden.


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Monday, Mar 31, 2014
Can showing short and experimental films in real movie theaters be a sign of disrespect?

Bear with me, this will take some explaining…


I work for the motion picture, broadcast and recorded sound division of the Library of Congress. Inside our facility, located in Culpeper, Virginia, there is a specially-built, well-appointed, and beautiful theater that seats just over 200.  Every Thursday, Friday and Saturday, we show, for free, “vintage” films pulled straight from our vaults. Last month alone we showed A Hard Day’s Night, Moonstruck, “and Harold and Maude.


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