Singles reviews 3/29

El-P – The Full Retard (7) Wiley – Evolve or Be Extinct (7) Miranda Lambert ft. Pistol Annies – Run Daddy Run (6) Simian Mobile Disco – Seraphim (6) Kyary Pamyu Pamyu – Candy Candy (5) Alphabeat – Vacation (5) Cloud Nothings – No Future/No Past (4) Swedish House Mafia – Greyhound (4) Marian andContinue reading “Singles reviews 3/29”

Repression chic: The Deep Blue Sea

It could be a Carol Burnett skit. Dark, alert Hester (Rachel Weisz), accepting that the lover (Tom Hiddleston) for whom she left her stout whitebearded dull husband (Simon Russell Beale) is too shallow to return her ardor, attempts to gas herself. In deft flashback and the present the affair unfurls. Writer-director Terence Davies tarts upContinue reading “Repression chic: The Deep Blue Sea”

Adrienne Rich – RIP

Eighty-two. She published a lot of drivel in her last twenty years. If you’d accused her of using poetry as a platform on which to educate the general public about patriarchal heterosexist injustice, she would have happily agreed. I have no idea how she responded to Harold Bloom’s dismissal of her guest editing of TheContinue reading “Adrienne Rich – RIP”

Why the SCOTUS hearings have worked

For my part the hearings have been edifying. Apart from appreciating the thoughtfulness with which Sonia Sotomayor framed questions, wearying of Stephen Breyer’s singsong college professor intonations, and noting again John Roberts’ courtesy, I finally understand that health insurance and care are two different things. In this economy, you get healthcare through health insurance. That’sContinue reading “Why the SCOTUS hearings have worked”

Sex you up: Jean Vigo

Appreciating Criterion’s release last year of L’Atalante, among other goodies, I felt surprising undertones rumbling beneath the 1934 film’s talkiest, longest sequence: a conversation between boat captain Pere Jules (Michel Simon) and Juliette (Dita Parlo). This scene, just under ten minutes, unfolds, if you’re feeling pedantic, so that director Jean Vigo can eliminate several pagesContinue reading “Sex you up: Jean Vigo”

Stuff and nonsense: The Shins’ Port of Morrow

Artists resort to tape sounds, filters, and feedback when they’ve replaced everyone in the band or it’s time to release the third album. Here’s a point in The Shins’ favor: since Port of Morrow is their/his fourth album you can scratch the last argument. Writing songs in which he/they tries and fails to fit hisContinue reading “Stuff and nonsense: The Shins’ Port of Morrow”

Tellin’ stories: Patriotic Gore

Slate’s highly variable arts coverage gets a lift from David Blight’s excellent reevaluation of Edmund Wilson’s magisterial Patriotic Gore, his 1962 study of Civil War literature and personages. Besides an incisive chapter on Lincoln’s prose style which proved educational for me a decade ago, Wilson includes a meditation on the forgotten figure of Alexander Stephens,Continue reading “Tellin’ stories: Patriotic Gore”

A little bromance: 21 Jump Street

I laughed a few times through the amiable 21 Jump Street. As Jenko, the ostensible jock cop, that huge, awkward palooka “Channing Tatum” (it can’t be his name), who moves like he can’t believe God gave him this body, proves himself master of fifty ways to act dumb while playing smart (life is a longContinue reading “A little bromance: 21 Jump Street”