October 30, 2013 |
The critical praise for "12 Years a Slave" has hit with all the fervor of a revival preacher, the film's significance so heavily underscored as to be almost intimidating. Now, I'm not suggesting this horrific piece of our history isn't challenging material, but director Steve McQueen and screenwriter John Ridley use the full measure of filmmaking's potential to gripping effect. The actors, fearless and fierce, do exceptional work to convert the abstract idea of slavery into concrete shape and form.
October 24, 2013 |
The moral of "Blue Is the Warmest Color" is simple: Sex without love is nothing; life without love is even less. French filmmaker Abdellatif Kechiche's story of sexual awakening and real love stretches over 10 years. Loosely based on Julie Maroh's superbly illustrated graphic novel and adapted for the screen by Kechiche and Ghalya Lacroix, it traces the life cycle of a relationship beginning to end. The telling is beautiful and explicit. The truth of its emotionally raw, romantic drama is eternal and universal.
October 18, 2013 |
Calming would-be suicide bombers, negotiating a hostage crisis, throwing herself into a sniper's cross hairs, sniffing out CIA coverups and finding out her most trusted employee is a brainwashed killer beholden to her ruthless father: Just another day on the job for Olivia Pope. It's a testament to the complete insanity of “Scandal” that “Mrs. Smith Goes to Washington” -- in which a mild-mannered Midwestern mom wanders into her representative's office on Capital Hill wearing an explosive vest at the exact same moment an intruder barges into the White House -- is probably the most restrained episode we've seen so far in Season 3. Now, don't get me wrong, this was still a fun-filled hour of television.
October 16, 2013 |
There are dozens of reasons why the NFL deserves to go away, to be banished from our sight forever. There are at least two reasons why that won't happen. Tradition and Peyton Manning. The Oct. 8 PBS show "A League of Denial" was a journalistic masterpiece. If you haven't seen it, find it. It is everywhere on the Internet. It should be. Database: Injury claims by professional football players It was two hours that can be oversimplified in one sentence: For years, the NFL knew its players were suffering head injuries that would bring serious long-term damage, yet it denied that, stonewalled the players seeking help and spent millions to muddy the truth.
October 4, 2013 |
Kevin Drum lists them as succinctly as one could hope. The key point to remember is No. 1, as I pointed out here : Whatever happens, the ridiculous and economically devastating sequester survives. Reach me at @hiltzikm on Twitter , Facebook , Google+ or by email . MORE FROM MICHAEL HILTZIK A way to make Wall Street pay its fair share How obscene is the CEO/worker pay gap? Why public employees should have the right to strike
October 1, 2013 |
Singing advice, Hollywood gossip, fashion tips: You'd go to Cher for many things, but detailed driving directions might not be one of them. Yet on a recent evening in the back seat of a limousine traveling down Sunset Boulevard, that's precisely what she was providing to a chauffeur uncertain of how to get to Soho House in West Hollywood. A taping on the Eastside for next year's Academy Awards had gone long, and the singer was running late in rush-hour traffic for a party celebrating her new album.
October 1, 2013 |
Among the many delusions guiding the Republican campaign against the Affordable Care Act, surely the most consistent is the idea that the public detests the law and is clamoring for repeal. Here's the truth: The American public loves Obamacare, with as many as 88% in favor, according to one survey. How can that be, when polls regularly show a plurality of respondents with an "unfavorable" view of Obamacare? (In a September Kaiser Family Foundation tracking poll , the difference was 43% unfavorable to 39% favorable.)
September 29, 2013 |
In what may be the first recorded (and distinctly over-tweeted) perfect finale in television history, AMC's "Breaking Bad" came to a close Sunday night. Not only did Vince Gilligan's five-season, hyper-violent prose poem to midlife male frustration tie up virtually every loose end in sight, it contained the Holy Grail of all storytelling: an Actual Moment of Truth. And not just this particular story's truth, but one that extended to the beloved and bloated genre Gilligan both elevated and mocked.
September 27, 2013 |
Who would have thought one of the most amusing and oddly insightful romantic comedies would be built around the power and the potent pull of porn? Playing it straight out of New Jersey, that sweet-faced Joseph Gordon-Levitt, the hopeless romantic of "(500) Days of Summer," has pulled off the subversive, seductive fun of "Don Jon" in fine fashion - complete with guinea tee - starring in, writing and directing his first feature film. "The Don," or "Don Jon," is one Jon Martello Jr., a proudly single guy of Italian heritage whose ability to one-night-stand the most attractive female in the bar on any given night has made him a living legend.
September 26, 2013 |
Alison Saar's work makes a tremendous visceral impression on contact. Its own physical potency, the concise urgency of its forms, acts on the body. Though it needs no verbal scaffolding for support or rationale, titles often help actualize its metaphorical potential. Consider one small, tabletop sculpture in Saar's engrossing show at L.A. Louver. The standing female figure is 14 inches tall, cast in bronze and loosely covered by a square of sheer white silk, like a handkerchief to be lifted for the big reveal.