Hate is on trial

Reading Ian Cohen’s oral history of the recording of Interpol’s Turn on the Bright Lights and the rise of the early 2000’s New York City scene was like stepping out of an plane and breathing the air of a foreign country. Cohen writes terrific travel journalism — he evokes the restlessness of Brooklyn parvenus waitingContinue reading “Hate is on trial”

Nobody is watching: Day Night Day Night

I missed Day Night Day Night in 2007, so after watching The Loneliest Planet a few days ago I gave it a shot. Using a a handheld camera, writer-director Julia Loktev forces the audience to ask why a foursome of thirtysomethings want to set a bomb off in Times Square and why the unidentified youngContinue reading “Nobody is watching: Day Night Day Night”

More grand bargains and fiscal cliffs

I suppose this is encouraging: Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), who has almost become the liaison to the left for cuts to federal health care programs in the grand bargain, gave a speech today at the Center for American Progress that included a couple important points: • Durbin sequenced the provisions of the deal, saying thatContinue reading “More grand bargains and fiscal cliffs”

Three is the loneliest number: The Loneliest Planet

Alex and Nica have an enviable relationship: they’re engaged, and Hani Furstenberg looks like a young Jessica Chastain and Alex is played by Gael Garcia Bernal. In The Loneliest Planet they backpack through the former Soviet republic of Georgia, pausing for skewered chicken, some dancing, and to pick up a guide (Bidzina Gujabidze). Although theContinue reading “Three is the loneliest number: The Loneliest Planet”

“An exercise in which actors can blow off steam”

The Democrats were supposed to lose the Senate and David Denby is always wrong, so imagine my shock when I read his dismissal of Silver Linings Playbook (locked behind The New Yorker‘s formidable paywall) and thought it a pithier reaction than mine, particularly in his judgment of how Bradley Cooper’s character and performance are compromisedContinue reading ““An exercise in which actors can blow off steam””

It’s not your fault…it’s not your fault: Silver Linings Playbook

From the title to Bradley Cooper ordering raisin bran in a diner, Silver Linings Playbook is as inexplicable as a credit default swap. Although it’s based on a novel, what writer-director David O. Russell puts on screen comes from any number of Robin Williams pictures in which free spirits need someone to love. Sprung fromContinue reading “It’s not your fault…it’s not your fault: Silver Linings Playbook”

Singles 11/23

As we approach the time of year when retrospection involves considered study of grades and waist lines, how fitting that this week’s best track looks backwards but doesn’t lose its footing. Tensnake ft. Syron – Mainline (7) Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros – That’s What’s Up (6) Foals – Inhaler (6) Corb Lund –Continue reading “Singles 11/23”

Who do they think they are?

Robert Christgau’s rediscovery of Saint Etienne was one of the year’s best surprises, thanks to the smashing Words and Music by Saint Etienne, one of the year’s best. A search for trinkets as gorgeous as “Heart Failed (In the Back of a Taxi),” “Who Do You Think You Are,” and even the comparatively gaudy PaulContinue reading “Who do they think they are?”

It’s November 2012

Barring sudden inclusions, this looks my top twenty. Miguel – Kaleidoscope Dream Jessie Ware – Devotion Dwight Yoakam – 3 Pears Killer Mike – R.A.P. Music Jens Lekman – I Know What Love Isn’t Kellie Pickler – 100 Proof Fiona Apple – The Idler Wheel Angel Haze – Reservation Rick Ross – Rich Forever SaintContinue reading “It’s November 2012”

How much will you get for your soul?

Ed Kilgore on the fissures in the so-called Obama Coalition. I hadn’t thought about how the depth of minority support for the president will buoy him for years and hence make it worse for a progressive candidate in 2016: At a minimum, if Obama accepts as part of some “grand bargain” on fiscal issues actualContinue reading “How much will you get for your soul?”