Arts & Life

Movie Reviews
5:02 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

A Tournament Of Terror, But It's All About ... Empowerment?

In Raze, stunt performer and actress Zoe Bell plays Sabrina, a woman kidnapped and forced to fight for her life in an underground tournament.
IFC

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 2:36 pm

Raze may be a term most often associated with buildings, but in Josh C. Waller's debut feature, it's something done to bodies and minds. The film takes the power dynamics and the gladiatorial spectacle of the Hunger Games — the powerful forcing the unsuspecting to fight to the death, mostly for the sick entertainment of the rich — and crosses it with the lurid exploitation of '60s women-in-prison cinema, only without the sex.

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Movie Reviews
5:02 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

In A Past-Plagued Laos, A Youth Chases A Future

Kia (Loungnam Kaosainam) and Ahlo (Sitthiphon Disamoe) bond when they encounter each other in a Laotian refugee village in The Rocket.
Tom Greenwood Kino Lorber

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 6:02 pm

To help his struggling family and escape his own status as an outcast, a plucky young boy enters a competition. Yes, The Rocket is a sports movie, with an outcome that's easily foreseen. The cultural specifics of this Laos-set tale, however, are far less predictable.

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Movie Reviews
5:02 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

A Nation And Its Youth, Struggling To Be 'In Bloom'

In the chaos of post-independence Georgia, 14-year-old Natia (Mariam Bokeria) receives a present from her romantic interest — a gun — in In Bloom.
Big World Pictures

The title of In Bloom refers both to the movie's 14-year-old protagonists, Eka and Natia, and to the burgeoning Georgian nation where the film, set a year after that country's independence, is set. The double meaning becomes clear early on. What takes longer to recognize is the title's bitter irony.

The film takes place in 1992, by which point the newly sovereign Georgia had already started descending into what would become years of civil war, particularly in Abhkazia and South Ossetia, two territories with Russian-backed independence movements of their own.

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Movie Reviews
5:02 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Mommy Issues Writ Large For A Troubled Teen

Kaya Scodelario plays a melodramatic teenager obsessed with her mother's death in The Truth About Emanuel, the second film from director Francesca Gregorini.
Tribeca Film

What's a domestic melodrama without a mom to kill off, to sicken, to render monstrous or otherwise AWOL?

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The Two-Way
4:38 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Writer And Activist Amiri Baraka Dies At Age 79

Poet and activist Amiri Baraka, seen here during the 1972 Black Political Convention in Gary, Ind., has died at age 79.
Julian C. Wilson AP

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 7:26 pm

Amiri Baraka, the writer who was born LeRoi Jones, has died at age 79. Baraka's career spanned art and activism: He was an influential poet and an award-winning playwright who didn't shy away from social criticism and politics.

"Baraka had long struggled with diabetes, but it was not immediately clear what the cause of death was," reports the New Jersey Star-Ledger. The author and activist was a native of Newark.

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The Record
3:43 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

An Under-The-Radar Albums Preview For 2014

Trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire, whose album, the imagined savior is far easier to paint, will be released on March 11.
Emra Islek Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 9:40 am

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Book Reviews
3:02 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

'Stringer': Finding Your Feet In The Chaos Of Congo

Image from cover of Stringer

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 12:19 pm

In journalism, a stringer is a freelance reporter or photographer who gets paid on the basis of each story or picture sold. So, much of the time there's no regular salary, no living allowance, and often, no travel subsidy. It's a tough way to make a living; especially since the competition in a major market like New York or London is prohibitively fierce. The trick for a young journalist is to find a location rich in material but light on the competitive side; the more poverty-stricken, dirty, corrupt and dangerous, the better.

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Monkey See
11:44 am
Thu January 9, 2014

'Parks And Recreation': Good For Nerds, Good For America

Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope and Adam Scott as Ben Wyatt on NBC's deeply pro-nerd Parks And Recreation.
Colleen Hayes NBC

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 2:56 pm

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Ask Me Another
10:49 am
Thu January 9, 2014

Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me What To Do

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 4:28 pm

Unfortunately, you won't be able to duet with Carl Kasell in this game. But we encourage you to sing along and identify songs with the word "don't" in the title, as performed by house musician Jonathan Coulton. For starters, we're pretty sure that Andrew Lloyd Webber song is not called "Don't Drink That Blue Margarita."

Ask Me Another
10:49 am
Thu January 9, 2014

Random Questions With: Jonathan Adler

Jonathan Adler in New York City.
Joshua McHugh

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 4:28 pm

Designer Jonathan Adler's colorful, eye-popping pillows, rugs and vases adorn the interiors of many discerning homeowners, but his dream of creating a home furnishings empire was nearly deferred. Early in his career, discouragement from his pottery teacher at the Rhode Island School of Design and several unfulfilling jobs at talent agencies in New York City left Adler at his wit's end. But these events only fueled his fire to live out the pottery dream. Adler taught night classes at a pottery studio called Mud, Sweat & Tears (potter puns!) and eventually opened his own studio.

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