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Reel Change in The Atlantic

I’m back in The Atlantic today with a new piece about Derek Cianfrance’s The Place Beyond the Pines and the pitfalls of autobiographical filmmaking. Here is an excerpt: Cianfrance, in being so upfront about his personal connection to the material, has found an effective way to address the issues of working-class America. By making abundantly…

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Why I’m Worried About “Anchorman 2”

I don’t want to be a bummer, but I’m getting worried about Anchorman: The Legend Continues. Don’t misunderstand me: no matter what happens between now and December, I’m still going to go see it. I would probably plunk down $11.50 to watch Ron Burgundy mow his lawn for ninety minutes (somebody get to work on…

AJudd

Why Ashley Judd Shouldn’t Run

So she will? Or won’t she? Last week, I outlined why an Ashley Judd for Senate campaign makes sense. In summary, she has great name recognition; her celebrity assigns her the aura of leadership; it is a great time for female candidates seeking higher office; and her friends in Hollywood will help her raise a…

Spring Breakers

“Spring Breakers” Fails to Seal the Deal

Spring break. Spring break. Spring break. The words form a siren song in Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers, a recurring dream that lures American boys and girls to their demise. When four young American teenagers rob a restaurant so that they can afford a trip to Florida, we know that nothing good will come of their…

Stoker

The Subversive Sexual Politics of “Stoker”

Critics seem to be of mostly one mind about Stoker, the English-language debut of famed Korean director Chan-Wook Park. They praise the technical prowess of Park – after all, he’s the kind of revered foreign director that cinephiles are not permitted to dislike – but have little positive to say about the story or its…

Iron Man

The Real War Movies of the 21st Century

Yesterday, on the 10th anniversary of the Iraq War, Daniel D’Addario at Salon noted that movies about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have not exactly broken the box office. Comparing it to previous eras of bloodshed, he wrote that “after the Vietnam War, movies like Apocalypse Now and The Deer Hunter drew audiences and…

Ashley Judd Mitch McConnell

Why Ashley Judd Should Run

Will she or won’t she? That’s the question on the minds of politicos in Kentucky and all across the nation. Will Ashley Judd challenge Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for reelection in 2014? So far, the scales have tipped both ways. Earlier this year, it seemed a certainty that Judd would run. Rumors were floated,…