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Tuesday, December 16 2014

‘National Gallery’: Frederick Wiseman Looks at How We Look at Art

Within three minutes, the film connects stories across time as told by painters and observers and those who work in London's National Gallery.


Grading on a Curve: “Spider-Man and the X-men #1”

Spider-Man's first teaching experience with mutants has some new twists, but misses out on important lessons.


Buddhism Wins and Crack Loses in ‘Herbie Hancock: Possibilities’

Herbie Hancock's memoir shows us how possibilities in and of themselves can be fleeting, but their ripple effects can go on nearly forever.


‘I Am Santa Claus’ Shows That Santa’s Life Isn’t All Candy Canes and Cheery Smiles

After watching I Am Santa Claus, you'll never think of Santa the same way, whether you like it or not.


Joni Mitchell: Love Has Many Faces: A Quartet, a Ballet, Waiting to Be Danced

Love Has Many Faces is a great box set, but make no mistake: while it does tell Joni Mitchell's story, it may not be the exact one you've been wanting to hear.


Rancid: Honor Is All We Know

...Honor is All We Know is a solid but ultimately inessential addition to the Rancid catalogue that finds Rancid back where they belong, crafting straightforward punk anthems without pretense.


Nerina Pallot: Small Things / Spirit Walks

EPs nine and 10 in Pallot’s 2014 song-writing project are polar opposites of each other; from the cheery to despondent.


Various Artists: The Rough Guide to African Blues

Yes, there's already been one Rough Guide to African Blues. But don't go thinking this is more of the same.


Monday, December 15 2014

‘Approaching the Elephant’ Lets the Students Speak for Themselves

Amanda Wilder's remarkable "free school" documentary shows all sorts of pleasures and tensions among the kids and adults as they figure out how to manage such an experiment.


A Calm Surface, an Inner Rawness: ‘World Film Locations: Florence’

Like the other entires in the World Film Locations series, this Florence installment acts as a great starting point for serious scholars of film.


‘The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher’ Is White-Hot Storytelling by a Mind Possessed

These stories are as delightful and fizzy as Hilary Mantel's many awe-inspiring historical novels.


Potently Poetic Adaptation: “ODC-Y #1”

Fraction’s writing, which dips in and out of epic verse with a casual mastery, demands a close attention to rhythm and meter, but retains his unique voice.


Free Speech Came of Age in ‘The Great Dissent’

Thomas Healy offers up a masterful psychological portrait of one of America’s great thinkers, one whose legal opinion would eventually shape free speech in America.


‘The Marvelous Miss Take,’ a Red Headed Robin Hood

Very simply put, Miss Take is an exceptionally executed game, advancing a kind of minimalist, arcade-style form of stealth that never wears out its welcome.


‘Union Station’ Reminds Us of a Pre-Automobile America

Rudolf Maté's Union Station tells a noir story from a time when passenger rail travel was central to American life.


Old 97s: Hitchhike to Rhome

Twenty years on, the Old 97’s see their indie debut re-released in deluxe packaging by Omnivore. It’s worth the plunge.


The Story of Glyn Johns’ Life in ‘Sound Man’ Is Refreshingly Unpretentious

Sound Man gives you a look through 50 years behind the studio glass with the premier engineer/producer of the classic rock era, without any obsession over fame or status.


Cretin: Stranger

If you're looking for a pretty sick and twisted metal record, here you go.


Easy Star All-Stars: Dub Side of the Moon

Space-rock and dub reggae sound great together, man. Who knew?? 10th Anniversary reissue for the Pink Floyd reinterpretation.


Annette Peacock: I Belong to a World That’s Destroying Itself

Legendary music artist Annette Peacock fuses blues, rock, jazz and poetry on her once rare 1969 debut, finally reissued by Ironic Records.


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