April 18, 2014 |
Humans are hard-wired to seek symmetry, and nowhere is that more obvious than on TV. From the days of "The Honeymooners" onward, most everything there boils down to pairs. In recent years these have come in three basic varieties: romance, bromance and BFFs. Two people forced to work/live/parent together battle their way through their differences until they become best buddies. A man and a woman bicker and bait each other until they fall in love. Friendships of youth are tested by the twists of time and maturity but invariably prove unbreakable.
April 4, 2014 |
Meyer Lansky is one of the gravitational centers of Zachary Lazar's new novel, "I Pity the Poor Immigrant" (Little, Brown and Company: 256 pp., $25). Not so much the dapper, "Boardwalk Empire"-era gangster as Lansky in 1972 in Israel, seeking to retire there under the country's Law of Return. It's hardly the most celebrated era in Lansky's life, but Lazar was going for something other than the obvious. "The initial idea of this book was to put Meyer Lansky in the same room as King David from the Bible," Lazar said via Skype from his home office in New Orleans.
April 3, 2014 |
When amateur filmmaker Tom Berninger's rock-star brother Matt, frontman for Brooklyn quintet the National, invited him to be a roadie on his band's biggest tour, Tom had never even been on a tour bus. His lack of experience did not serve him well during his initiation into the business, but a funny thing happened on the way to the concert hall: Tom turned defeat into a documentary that's insightful, sweet and often hilarious. In "Mistaken for Strangers," a fresh revamp of the music-doc template, the National's angsty songs are mere backdrop to a story whose true subjects are sibling love and rivalry and the thorny matter of creative success - here explored through the tension between achievement and striving, or, as one observer puts it, alpha male versus underdog.
March 29, 2014 |
Pastors and students in Mississippi are putting pressure on Nissan to remain neutral as the United Automobile Workers try to organize a 5,600-worker plant near Jackson. They're planning marches and protest events with the slogan “Workers' Rights are Civil Rights.” Many say the campaign for better working conditions at the Nissan plant, described in a story in the Los Angeles Times , is a new kind of civil rights struggle. Unions are increasingly turning to outside community groups to help organize workers, labor experts say, especially after the UAW lost a recent key vote at a Volkswagen plant in Tennessee.
March 21, 2014 |
Ivan Lendl has helped Andy Murray reach incredible heights the last two years, as the British tennis star transformed from a four-time Grand Slam runner-up into a two-time major champ and Olympic gold medalist. Now the coach and player are parting ways, with the two announcing their decision with a mutual statement Wednesday on Murray's blog. “I'm eternally grateful to Ivan for all his hard work over the past two years, the most successful of my career so far,” wrote Murray, who returned from back surgery before losing in the quarterfinals at the Australian Open and in the fourth round at Indian Wells this season.
March 20, 2014 |
The steadily affecting relationship drama "Stay" is a great example of how a film can rise above its terrible dialogue. So many phrases out of characters' mouths are as overused and flavorless as a thrice-steeped tea bag, and yet a sturdy narrative structure, increasing thematic complexity and finely detailed performances from Aidan Quinn and Taylor Schilling make writer-director Wiebke von Carolsfeld's sophomore effort an agreeably pensive experience....