January 20, 2013 |
China's more assertive foreign policy over the last two years has played a key role in getting two arch-conservatives - Japan's Shinzo Abe and South Korea's Park Geun-hye - elected to lead their respective countries. Some Chinese observers believe that Abe and Park will be forced by China's inexorable rise to come to terms with their giant neighbor. Don't count on it. To much of its region, China's behavior as it is coming of age as a modern superpower is eerily reminiscent of its past policy as a regional hegemon.
December 17, 2012 |
- I am upset with Kobe Bryant , and when am I not? I've been interviewing the guy for maybe 15 or 20 minutes after an easy win over the Philadelphia 76ers when a reporter walks up and starts talking to Kobe in Italian. Right away, Kobe starts jabbering back in Italian, and so I explode. "Why is it you are giving this guy all the good quotes?" And my good buddy starts laughing, and he's been doing that a lot lately, and this is not the Kobe I've known in recent years.
October 18, 2012 |
Heavier and more brooding than typical magical girl stories in Japanese fantasy, the anime "Puella Magi Madoka Magica," a multiple-feature repackaging of the 2011 television series, gives voice to the notion that superpowers aren't always a gift. Creator Gen Urobuchi's concept begins with cheery schoolgirl Madoka offered the chance to spice up her humdrum life with otherworldly powers, as bestowed by an odd catlike creature. Less enamored with her own transformative status is the mysterious Homura, who knows about the real responsibilities in store for Madoka if she changes who she is. Studded with colorfully trippy sequences that dramatize the battles between magical girls and doom-spreading villains known as "witches," "Puella Magi Madoka Magica" is episodic, strange, at times numbingly repetitive and, when least expected, thematically intriguing about the rules behind this all-girl parallel world of freedom and risk.
August 1, 2012 |
NEW DELHI - On one level, the power outage that stalled trains, snarled traffic and left hospitals scrambling across much of India was an example of business as usual - except, of course, that this time it covered an area including nearly 10% of the world's population. But taken another way, Tuesday's massive blackout, the second in two days, underscored the yawning gap between India's superpower dreams and a sweltering, gritty reality. Problems with an aging electrical grid, pricing system and inefficient mining practices combined to darken a stretch of northern and eastern India that is home to 600 million people, in the process illustrating the nation's deep structural problems.
February 3, 2012 |
Was it Superman's, Spider-Man's or Socrates' uncle who said, "With great power comes great responsibility?" Regardless, it would have proved sound advice for the suddenly telekinetic teens at the center of the raw, electrical charge of "Chronicle. " Thankfully, it's wisdom the filmmakers took to heart. This mind-and-fork-bending sci-fi saga comes from the freaky imaginations of director Josh Trank and screenwriter Max Landis, who've packed their feature debut with smartness. Don't let its DIY sensibility fool you: "Chronicle" is ultimately telling a meta-story, built around the age-old conundrum - if you had superpowers that would let you do just about anything, would you do good or evil?
December 29, 2011 |
When Vice President Joe Biden slipped into Baghdad this month to commemorate the end of eight bloody years of war in Iraq, there was one face conspicuously absent from the host of solemn ceremonies and farewell meetings he attended: that of Ahmad Chalabi. The Iraqi politician, who lived in exile before Saddam Hussein's ouster, is shunned by Washington these days. But there has never been a foreigner more crucially involved in a decision by the United States to go to war than Ahmad Chalabi.