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  • The Interview and Pony Rides: Readers Respond

    Failing The Interview Readers got worked up over Amy Nicholson's stories ("Why Is Kim Jong-un So Afraid of Seth Rogen?" and "Pulling The Interview Is the End of Free Speech in Hollywood"), especially after theater chains AMC, Regal, Cinemark, Carmike and Cineplex refused to show The Interview, prompting Sony to withdraw its...
  • Ava DuVernay's Urgent Selma Speaks to the Now

    Describing Ava DuVernay's quietly remarkable Selma to a friend, I caught myself referring to the civil rights era as a historical event, a thing of the past, and then backtracked. The killing of Michael Brown, Eric Garner and Tamir Rice at the hands of police officers — not to mention...
  • Into the Woods Sometimes Soars — but Also Dithers

    Before worrying ourselves over its qualities as an adaptation, or its findings as an experiment in just how much tumpety-tump parump-pa-bump the human mind can endure, let's take a moment to marvel that Rob Marshall's Into the Woods even exists — as a PG-rated film from Disney, no less! No...
  • Unbroken Is More About Punishment Than Heroism 3

    There's something curiously airless about director Angelina Jolie's Unbroken, the story of real-life Olympian and World War II POW Louis Zamperini. Early on, Louis (Jack O'Connell) and his fellow American soldiers are zipping through the golden skies, dogfighting with Japanese planes, and although the B-24's doors are open and the...
  • American Sniper: Rah-Rah War-on-Terror Fantasy 24

    In Clint Eastwood's American Sniper, Navy SEAL Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper) — an astoundingly talented marksman credited with more than 160 confirmed kills in Iraq — runs into a fellow veteran at a mechanic's shop between deployments. The soldier shows Kyle an artificial leg and thanks him for saving his...
  • Gay Mariachis and "20 Best Pop Songs": Readers Respond

    Outing the Gay Mariachis The prevailing reaction to Abel Salas' online piece, "L.A.'s Only All-Gay Mariachi Band," a profile of Mariachi Arcoiris de Los Angeles, was summed up by reader Rigo Martinez Jr., who asked: "So what! Do they sound good?" But a larger debate unfolded amidst the massive reader...
  • Ten Highly Anticipated Films to Look for in 2015

    Jauja Revered Argentine filmmaker Lisandro Alonso returns after 2008's exquisite Liverpool with Jauja, his most astonishing film yet. While no less oblique than its predecessors, Jauja finds Alonso working for the first time with an international star, Viggo Mortensen, an intriguing wrinkle in Alonso's minimalist approach. Mortensen plays a Danish...
  • Spall Unearths the Man Beneath Gruff Mr. Turner

    If you've ever loved a terrible person, Mike Leigh's quietly sensational Mr. Turner — a biopic, of sorts, covering the last 25 years of the life of the great 19th-century British painter J.M.W. Turner — is the movie for you. In his seascapes and landscapes, Turner found the perfect visual...

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