Honky Reduction

Honky Reduction

1

Dec

2016

Barring a miracle, it is now a mere 30 days before overconfidence trickster/foundation abuser Donald Trump will assume the presidency of the United States.  The most important battle to be fought once that happens is building political organizations powerful enough to combat the damage he will be able to inflict with the c ...
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Content Farm

Content Farm

29

Nov

2016

The problem with writing a sequel to a legendary literary property is that it's almost impossible to do it right, and if you beat the odds and manage it, you won't get any of the credit.  For the original creator, the situation is already bad enough:  if your work is a success, fans will clamor for more of the same and cu ...
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Older, Wiser, Stronger

Older, Wiser, Stronger

28

Nov

2016

It wasn't until the Siskel Center announced a new restoration of Daughters of the Dust that I'd even heard of Julie Dash's stunning 1991 film, and that's to my great regret and embarrassment.  Released by the New York Film Forum in a beautiful new print to commemorate its 25th anniversary -- though, as we'll discuss, not ...
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Peaks and Valleys

Peaks and Valleys

27

Nov

2016

Earlier this year, in a burst of post-holiday optimism, I signed up for one of those 'reading challenges' on GoodReads and set myself the goal of reading 25 books this year.  There was a time when this would have been simplicity itself; I used to read at least 50 books on the regular, more if I was out of a job (which happ ...
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Last Man Standing

Last Man Standing

26

Nov

2016

Fidel Castro is dead.The last man standing in the Cold War, who survived the attempts of nearly a dozen American presidents to dislodge him from power, who elements of America's foreign policy apparatus attempted to murder an uncountable number of times, has finally succumbed to age and decay, leaving behind a completely tr ...
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Go West

Go West

23

Nov

2016

From the very first episode of HBO's newest -- and most talked-about -- prestige series, Westworld, I was convinced of two things.  The first thing that went through my head as the closing credits rolled on Ramin Djawadi's haunting theme music was "I really, really like this show."  The second thing was "I bet a lot of ...
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Anno Terribilis

Anno Terribilis

21

Nov

2016

2016, the little year that absolutely could not, is almost over, and with the exception of people for whom it was a raging success -- morticians and neo-Nazis, in the main -- most of us are eager to see the end of it.  Starting out, as all years do, with the unlimited promise of the new and the possibility of growth, trans ...
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To Caress the Hand That Strikes You

To Caress the Hand That Strikes You

16

Nov

2016

I've been thinking a lot about political violence.The election of Donald Trump has brought with it a significant escalation of the rhetoric that he is a dangerous fascist, and that things are about to get serious for Muslims, women, and LGBTQ people, to name a few.  And, indeed, this is a critical time for the Trump admini ...
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Entrefilets

Entrefilets

14

Nov

2016

As a reminder to my readers, during the 1980s, I penned a column for the New York Times entitled "Life's Little Construction Worker", in which I passed on to impressionable subscribers wisdom gathered from my father and his drinking buddies.  The column lasted for just over three years, at which point I was unjustly fired ...
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Noirvember: Never Take Candy from a Stranger

Noirvember:  <i>Never Take Candy from a Stranger</i>

12

Nov

2016

As mentioned a few days back, before America was plunged into the depths of fascism and we cared about frivolous thinks like moving pictures, we recently took in a double feature at the Siskel Center of movies billed as "UK noir".  This isn't entirely deceptive; the excellent Odd Man Out was on the program as well.  Bu ...
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Rules for Ridicule

Rules for Ridicule

9

Nov

2016

Well, good job of it, America.  You threw a fit and at the end of it elected a man who's been a national punchline for four decades.  Conservatives so completely swallowed their own venom that they ended up stuck with a nightmare from the id.  Liberals fielded a candidate so disliked that she lost the most winnable ele ...
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Noirvember: These Are the Damned

Noirvember:  <i>These Are the Damned</i>

8

Nov

2016

This past weekend, we headed over to the Siskel Center for a double feature of what they were advertising as a program of British noir.  Although both movies had their merits, calling them noir was more than a stretch; that was particularly true in the case of the first, 1963's These Are the Damned.  (It was released in ...
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A Still Small Vote

A Still Small Vote

7

Nov

2016

This is the last post that I'll make before America elects a new leader.  It's been a punishing election cycle, even by the degraded standards of our latter republic; the prospect of it being over is a little like finally getting out of prison, but knowing that the warden is going to be in charge of the whole government af ...
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Game Recognize Game

Game Recognize Game

4

Nov

2016

In this spot, which all three of you have been breathlessly refreshing all throughout the election cycle, I've spent a lot of time talking about the sportification of politics -- the way that people, especially ones with the least to lose from the actual policies being enacted by winning parties, tend to treat politics with ...
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The Most Beautiful Fraud: The Handmaiden

The Most Beautiful Fraud:  <i>The Handmaiden</i>

1

Nov

2016

You always want to end a film festival with a bang, and Chan-Wook Park's new epic, The Handmaiden, allowed me to do that at the Chicago International Film Festival both literally and figuratively.  Park is a household name amongst American film buffs, almost single-handedly vaulting South Korea to the upper echelon of mov ...
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