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Reviews

Richard Ford's 'Canada' Is His Most Impermanent Work Yet

Richard Ford writes the way Robert Altman directs: meandering, wavering, opaque and loose but not unfocused or ADHD-hyper, long sentences like long takes zooming in and pulling back and fluttering like passing daydreams.

Books

David Shields' 'How Literature Saved My Life' Substitutes Flaccidity for Fervor

How Literature Saved My Life is a writer lying himself out on an operating table, using art—movies, music, literature—as a scalpel, and somehow managing to spill very little blood.

Books

'Conversations with Greil Marcus' Are Not Conversations About Greil Marcus

This is Greil Marcus: he views the end of the ’60s and the start of the ’70s through the changing aesthetics of the Rolling Stones, and offers his most tender response when asked about, in this case, Elvis. But when asked about himself, he just shuts down.

SAVE / IGNORE: Labels

University Press of Mississippi

Books

'Reel Terror' Is Quite the Hatchet Job

I picked up this book with tears of joy streaming down my face, thanking the cosmos that someone finally wrote an exhaustive book for horror fans. But my tears of joy turned to tears of anguish, my fists clenched strands of hair wrenched from my head.

Music

Caution: Now Entering a Headphone Zone - The Year in Atmospheric Music

However you define atmospheric music, the albums on this list make a powerfully impressionistic impression. Just don’t expect to find warmth or love in them.

SAVE / IGNORE: Labels

Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux

Film

'Beyond the Black Rainbow' May Drive You Insane

Everything gleams, everything reflects in Panos Cosmatos's Beyond the Black Rainbow. If Hal prevailed at the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey, he may have created a world much like this.

Film

The Critic As Artful Gadfly: Pauline Kael

At her best, Pauline Kael was everything a film critic should be: passionate, knowledgable, in love with the movies and writing about them, willing to defend her reviews, and vicious. She was also everything movie goers despise in a critic: well-educated, argumentative, stubborn, and vicious.

Film

The Tragedy of the Family Game in 'The Road to Perdition'

Sam Mendes’ virtuoso control behind the camera mesmerizes and hypnotizes, his depiction of Depression-era America a stasis of tragedy, each death inevitable but slow to ferment.

Books

Michael Chabon Grows Up with 'Telegraph Avenue'

Michael Chabon writes with empathy, with earnest reflection and self-consciousness, pervaded by sepia-daubed nostalgia.

Music

Casper for Cure Fans: ERAAS' Ghost Music

ERAAS doesn’t so much sound like the score to a film never made, but rather it evokes the sense of a long-lost film, a celluloid soul trying to renter the world and regain relevancy -- the ghost of a film about ghosts.

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