Rumpled and worn: The Kids Are All Right

Paul Mazursky’s woolly, tumultuous comedies from the seventies (think Blume in Love and Harry & Tonto) have never been duplicated. The Kids Are All Right comes close. Although the movie shows no real visual flair — HBO could have aired this kind of medium shot pan-and-scan  — I don’t see its warmth and generosity inContinue reading “Rumpled and worn: The Kids Are All Right”

Shabazz Palaces: A new refutation of time and space

I’m not the only one who wondered what happened to Digable Planets. Reachin’ (A New Refutation of Time and Space) and Blowout Comb are still highly regarded, but as the jazz-inflected hip-hop scene out of which they arose ossified into nostalgia – I’m also not the only one whose first hip-hop crush was on TheContinue reading “Shabazz Palaces: A new refutation of time and space”

A boy’s best friend: Mother

A few years ago Korean director Bong Joon-Ho released The Host, about a sea creature who takes out his aggression, as the phrase goes, on a little girl and her family. Mother, his latest, is about the most frightening creature of all: a boy’s mother. When this mother (played by Kim Hye-ja) finds out thatContinue reading “A boy’s best friend: Mother”

The politics of dancing: M.I.A.’s M^Y^

I’m going to act as if The New York Times Magazine story and Ann Powers‘ and Christgau’s reviews didn’t exist. Impossible to review M.I.A.’s MAYA in a vacuum, though. For one, vacuums trap light and emit no sound, and MAYA does no such thing. Her loudest, splashiest album, M.I.A. absents herself from agitprop a whileContinue reading “The politics of dancing: M.I.A.’s M^Y^”

“An empire within a republic”

Writing about Jay Gould and James Fisk’s fixing of the gold market in the late 1860’s — a level of corruption heretofore unknown in the young Republic — Henry Adams wrote: This property was, in effect, like all the great railway corporations, an empire within a republic. Over all this wealth and influence, greater thanContinue reading ““An empire within a republic””