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Books

'American Dirt' Now That the Dust Has Settled

Though the bluster has asserted the opposite, Jeanine Cummins' prose in American Dirt washes away the gore and grime to show the human faces that make up the migrant crisis of the Western Hemisphere.

Recent
Film

In 'Sicario', the War Is Next Door

The collapsing world order is chillingly illuminated in Denis Villeneuve’s stark cartel thriller.

Music

GusGus: Mexico

Mexico wants to show us how GusGus has changed and matured while still clinging to things that seem distant and remote.

Film

'Purgatorio' Is Specific and Sublime

The sheer number of impressions in Purgatorio may seem daunting, but they come together as poetic meditation, forming their own order, not a chronology but a movement in and out of time.

Reviews

The Meek Will Not Inherit the Earth in Barbara Kingsolver's 'Flight Behavior'

Barbara Kingsolver trained as a biologist, and like Margaret Atwood, is a passionate advocate of ecological sustainability, using her writing to entertain while educating, thus sugarcoating an otherwise bitter pill.

Music

Los Cenzontles: Regeneration

Outgoing and as earnest as a Disney sidekick.

Reviews

Daniel Sada's 'Almost Never' Is Wittily Crass

Almost Never is a book about horniness, the pubescent desire to have an urge satisfied immediately and being stifled at every step.

Music

Radio Jarocho: Café Café

They're good, but they don't have the effortless control over the music that would let them kick it around and coax it into a human/instrument partnership.

Film

International Beats: The Desire for the Foreign in Kerouac's 'On the Road'

With the film adaptation of On the Road just a month away, it's important to once again define what characterized the Beat movement: an infatuation with the foreign.

Music

Lila Downs: Pecados Y Milagros

A stunning mix of original and traditional Mexican songs in one woman's paean to her home country.

Reviews

'Miss Bala' Explores the Mexican Drug War by Focusing on the Victims

Based loosely on a real event, Gerardo Naranjo’s latest leaves the drugs, guns, and money at the periphery in telling the story of an aspiring beauty queen kidnapped by a northern Mexican gang.

Music

Rodrigo Y gabriela and C.U.B.A: Area 52

The preeminent Mexican guitar duo rattles Havana with a Cuban orchestra.

Film

The Celestial Railroad: Shifting Debates on the Immigrant Experience in 'Sin Nombre'

Illegal immigration is a hotly contested topic in American society and politics. Sin Nombre opens up important questions about migration that documentaries often ignore: there is no such monolithic category as "the immigrant", and migration is not solely an economic decision.

Politics

Next Stop: Marijuanaland

Inside the making of Jonah Raskin’s journey through California’s Emerald Triangle -- one of the main fronts of the global drug war. Raskin not only describes himself as a chronicler of marijuana, but also a smoker who has a medical marijuana card.

Books

'El Sicario' Neither Repulses nor Surprises

For good reason, there's a $250,000 bounty on the head of the eponymous sicario, who believes he has been chosen by God to educate others about the lengths to which the Juárez and Sinaloa cartels will go to gain control of the plaza.

Reviews

'Monsters': Like an 'African Queen'-Inspired Romance

If the Italian neo-realists had made sci fi, it would have looked a lot like Monsters.

Reviews

'Monsters': Agents of Political Expediency

Two Americans attempt to get back to the US, making the trek through the dangerous 'infected' zone an obvious political allegory.

Travel

Across the Yucatán with a Ragtag Carny Crew

A Mexican dispatch, by the sea and on the road with students, musicians, actors, wild children, and juggling LSD dealers. On the backpacker trail from Cancún to Mérida, we discovered we were not the only ones on a global prowl.

Film

Mean Streets: Take a Closer Look at Alejandro González Iñárritu's 'Biutiful'

Alejandro González Iñárritu makes up for the lack of challenging cinematic adventures by looking at the microcosm of Barcelona's “dark side” through a magnifying glass in his latest film Biutiful. What he finds might shock you. PopMatters gets some insight into one of the year's most underrated films from director Iñárritu and star Javier Bardem.

Politics

The Name of This Land is Hell: Mexico in Literature

When the author of a sitcom-styled novel about Mexican heritage cannot resist mentioning the modern-day carnage, then it's fair to assume that the murders have become a significant part of the national identity.

Music

Mariachi Real De San Diego: Mariachi Classics

Traditional mariachi being upheld with absolute fidelity.

Music

Los Cenzontles with David Hidalgo: Songs of Wood & Steel

This album is a worthy experiment that needs more work.

Reviews
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