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Film

Meryl Streep, Sex Goddess

Meryl Streep is portraying a string of desirous mammas, these days. In Mamma Mia, It's Complicated and Hope Springs, each of the leading ladies are mothers with grown children and a sexual appetite. A healthy one.

Reviews

A Brilliant Bomb: 'Smash: Season One'

Camp audiences have long recognized the pleasures of "bad", of the delectably ridiculous. We delight in their extravagant nonsense. We get disappointed if they fall into realism or normalcy. We like it bad. In fact, amp it up, will you?

Film

Movie Time Travel and the New Nostalgia

The new nostalgia signals the ultimate rejection of millennial anxiety, postmodernism, irony and the future. It longs for a post-industrial, green world. Of course, that suggests a vague and painful longing for something that never was.

Books

'Memoir of the Sunday Brunch': Food, Family, Faith

Julia Pandl's memoir elaborates on memories of growing up amidst the sensibilities of her parents: her father’s frugality and work ethic and her mother’s passivity and Catholicism.

Film

Color Television: What Diversity Looks Like in America Today

The buzz word from the 2012 presidential election is "diversity". It's a good story. The look of the Obama crowd had both the structure and randomness of a Jackson Pollock painting. It was the ol' melting pot writ large.

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The Impeccably Cute Delightfulness of Stuff: 'Moonrise Kingdom'

I propose a souvenir shoppe, also called "Moonrise Kingdom", a kind of "pottery barn" filled with purchasable goods reproduced from the movie's sets, props and costumes.

Film

How to Be a Film Snob: On 'High' (as in Getting) Culture

I was expecting Frederick Wiseman's cinema verite masterpiece for this column. Imagine my surprise when I was served up John Stalberg Jr.'s sophomoric High School, instead.

Books

Bright and Tidy Messes* on Katie Roiphe's 'In Praise of Messy Lives'

Katie Roiphe's life is messy with an asterisk. It's as messy as one can get while they remodel their new house in the midst of divorce. As messy as one can get while staying up late, dating and not being crushed, but instead, ignited by the end of marriage.

Reviews

The Allure of the Tales of the Working Poor: 'Downton Abbey: Seasons One & Two'

No wonder the recession made popular a show about life in a mansion. The series allows audiences to fantasize about near-miraculous displays of wealth alongside the dreary life of those who sleep in tiny, dreary bedrooms in the massive place that is Downton Abbey.

Film

Ethnographies of the Hipster: Miranda July's 'The Future' and 'It Chooses You'

It Chooses You provides a sketch of the deluxe hipster, one who hardly knows what to make of the poor, the underprivileged, the recently incarcerated, and others who are just plain weird, as opposed to quirky.

Reviews

'The Lucky One' Gives Us a Recuperative History of the Iraq War

Taylor Schilling (as Beth, one of the many titular "lucky ones") may prance about in short shorts, but she competes with the sultry dangle of the weeping willows and the spectacular flirtation of the real estate and the roses.

Film

Movie Toilets: Women and the Politics of Defilement

The toilet, and its spirit ally, potty humor, has come to be associated with a kind of strength—both at the box office and in terms of a cultural defiance.

Film

Spoiler Alert! The End of Film Endings

The ambiguous ending in a movie doesn’t feel like 'art'. It feels like a copy. And it resembles the tendency of the franchise ending, with intent to leave it open for a sequel.


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