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Friday, December 26 2014

Anti-Thesis: A Night Showcasing Anti- Records’ Diversity, Daniel Lanois Style

The mainstream appeal of Daniel Lanois' Anti-Thesis show may not have been huge, but the creativity level of the performances ranks among the highest of all shows in 2014.


Wednesday, December 24 2014

D’Angelo and the Vanguard: Black Messiah

The urgent Black Messiah proves that sometimes, life won’t let a cultural statement that’s chomping at the bit wait for a proper marketing campaign;


Clint Eastwood’s Legacy of Hunters: ‘American Sniper’

In American Sniper, military sharpshooter Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper) comes to see that delineations among wolves, dogs, and sheep are rarely obvious.


Tuesday, December 23 2014

Martin Luther King Jr the Tactician: ‘Selma’

The Martin Luther King Jr. in Ava DuVernay’s film is a preacher of vision, but he’s also a tactician willing to let blood be shed in order to advance the cause.


In ‘Unbroken’, Angelina Jolie Stages a War Movie, Not a War of the Real World

The story of the Olympian athlete Louis Zamperini story is ideal for the epic scale of Angelina Jolie's film, yet it's also too complicated to be reduced to such notorious generic confines.


‘World Film Locations: Athens’ Is Equal Parts Film Scholarship and Travel Guide

These essays provide readers with a comprehensive understanding of Athens, its relationship with the cinema, and how that relationship has evolved.


Monday, December 22 2014

‘Big Eyes’ Celebrates the Right to Self-Expression

Tim Burton’s sweet little film about art and identity doesn’t demand enjoyment of Margaret Keane's big-eyed waifs, but instead an appreciation of her sincerity and expression.


The Woods Are Crawling With Metaphors in Sondheim’s ‘Into the Woods’

Disney’s film of Stephen Sondheim’s ironic fairy tale musical keeps the master’s gorgeous melodies, knowing lyrics, and finger wagging intact.


One of Ireland’s Greatest Living Writers Hits Another Home Run With ‘Nora Webster’

Colm Toibin's latest literary outing is like a complex Persian rug: the reader must work to notice and appreciate the patterns.


A (Somewhat) Class-Conscious ‘Annie’

This is a new Annie, decidedly anti-nostalgic and only clumsily cynical, but at the same time it tries too hard to both be and not be the previous Annie.


Sunday, December 21 2014

‘Green: The History of a Color’ Is a Monochrome of Multiplicities

Green: A History is a broad-spanning visualization of this multifaceted color, one that reveals the value of seeing different shades of meaning in the color of historical artworks.


Saturday, December 20 2014

Edward St. Aubyn’s ‘On the Edge’ Brings Some Humor to Life’s Fathomless Oddness

Here's another reasonably entertaining novel of ideas from this internationally-celebrated satirist.


Friday, December 19 2014

‘Mr. Turner’ Is Mike Leigh’s Portrait of an Artist

This film makes J.M.W. Turner's story fascinating, his personal failings and artistic innovations seemingly inevitable, throbbing, propulsive and painful.


‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’ Is a Solid, not Sublime, Send-off

If all you care about is action, of witnessing outstanding special F/X and genre fantasy fashioned by a true master of such material, then this will satisfy your needs to no end.


Kate Miller-Heidke: O Vertigo!

The real attraction to a Miller-Heidke release lies in the pleasure given by her voice. She may sing about love and life and engage in some interesting wordplay, but her distinctive vocals and range merit the bulk of attention.


Kim Hiorthøy: Dogs

Scandinavian renaissance man's first album in seven years is glorious piano purity over sample-free glitch.


Diana Reyes: Mis Mejores Duranguenses

Heartbreaking melodies belted over Hi-NRG beats of endless momentum -- only the beats are polkas.


Look at the Women: “Bitch Planet #1”

Bitch Planet gives us naked bodies and bloody violence. (Naked bodies and bloody violence in space, no less!) It's called Bitch Planet for God's sake. And it gives us something more.


‘London: A Literary Anthology’ Captures the City’s Candelit Circles and Foggy Shadows

This wide-spanning anthology is a mélange of London experiences, encapsulating rich and poor, native and immigrant.


The Bright Knight Rises: ‘Batman: The Complete Television Series’

The 1966 live-action series still mesmerizes today as a deft Pop Art confectionary satire on '50s squares that wanted its viewers to have their cake and eat it too.


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