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Friday, February 24 2006

Breaking the Social Order: Brokeback Mountain and the Re-Imagined Western

More than a simple gay cowboy movie, Brokeback Mountain challenges the Western's basic codes and shows the misery of conservative notions of duty.

Friday, February 10 2006

Kids’ DVDS: February 2006

This month's outstanding DVD release for children of all ages is Avatar: The Last Airbender - Book 1: Water, Volume 1.

Monday, February 6 2006

The Other Brother: Chris Penn (1965-2006)

During the 1990s, Penn chose vivid characters on both sides of the law, guys named Pulasky, Manetti, Turk, Duke, and Bubba.

It’s Casual: Chris Penn (1965-2006)

Sure, Michael Madsen's dancing torture scene and Tim Roth's pool of blood are cool, but for me, Nice Guy Eddie brings everything together.

Friday, January 20 2006

The Woman Who Died 100 Deaths: Shelley Winters (1920-2006)

Though she met any number of violent ends on screen, it is comforting to know that Shelley Winters died of natural causes at her home in Beverly Hills.

Friday, January 13 2006

Kids’ DVDS: January 2006

Dark, complex, and intelligent, Gargoyles is an animated series from the mid-'90s that's become something of a cult favorite, and deservedly so.

Thursday, January 12 2006

More War Stories: Best of 2005

It's not like violence is a new theme in movies. And yet, even acknowledging that cinema was conceived as a venue for the display of violence -- comic, dramatic, horrific, pornographic -- 2005's permutations provide notably acute commentary on the world beyond movies.

Why 2K?

The most important music video of 2005 is Green Day's 'Wake Me Up When September Ends.' It offers a nuanced look at how the ongoing war and the past four years of U.S. politics have eroded the faith of many Americans in the values, spirit, and future direction of a country that calls itself 'the land of the free and the home of the brave.'

Wednesday, January 11 2006

A Lot of Damn Emoting: Best TV Performers of 2005

Space won't allow me to mention every worthy performance I saw this year. So I'm going to start throwing out names, confident that I will forget several people I meant to mention.

Power (Dis)Chords: The Year in Rock Documentaries

All of the best rock docs I saw on DVD in 2005 illustrate how fame fucks things up.

Tuesday, January 10 2006

Spelling Doom: Movies in 2005

It wasn't a great movie year, though not for lack of trying. Looking over the year's releases, you see many with a great performance, a smart script, interesting themes, or that old and potentially damaging chestnut, good intentions. But why weren't more of them great?.

Making the Crapfest Enjoyable: Best Performances 2005

Can good performance save a bad film? It depends on the film's degree of awfulness, but certainly, strong acting helps. It's one of the reasons I own a little movie called Serial Killing 101 (2004).

Monday, January 9 2006

The Year in Fear: Best Movies 2005

Many films in 2005 dealt explicitly with the effects of fear, reflecting a world where outrage and terror have stewed into perpetual anxiety. This year, comedy and horror movies were in meager supply, and dread seeped into every other type of film, from indie drama to summer blockbuster.

DAuTeurs: The Year in Homemade Movies (on DVD)

Francis Ford Coppola got it half right. A decade or so ago, he opined that the film industry would soon be overrun by teenagers with portable cameras. These indie moviemakers, rebelling against the studio system, would use their backyards as back lots to make their own 'outsider' entertainment.

Thursday, January 5 2006

The 20 Best Films of 2005

What is love? How does one become a superhero? Is violence something inherent inside you?

The 20 Best TV Shows of 2005

Overall, not a bad year for an entertainment entity long written off as a cultural wasteland. There's some definitive new growth among the arid averageness.

The 20 Best DVDs of 2005

The main reason why digital won the format wars was the ongoing desire to accept film as an art, not a commodity, and in return making discs that preserve and enhance the medium.

Thursday, December 22 2005

Getting Something Out

Claude Chabrol is not only one of the most prolific of the New Wave filmmakers (over 50 films in nearly 50 years), but also committed to genre-based narrative.

Thursday, December 15 2005

A Nigger Un-Reconstructed: The Legacy of Richard Pryor

With each epithet and curse, Pryor shed light on the humanity of those folks who live a reality defined by the dirty, nasty business of race, gender, and poverty in the United States.

Thursday, December 1 2005

Kids’ DVDS: December 2005

It's getting noticeably colder now we're in December, and if you listen carefully, you can already hear Santa Claus checking his list. For the second time.

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