Disney just put out this big expensive "spiritual prequel" (who came up with that line?) to the Wizard of Oz. That 1939 Judy Garland vehicle was one of the most groundbreaking, bizarre films of any era, pushing ideas about what could be done with movies to the very edge and also nearly killing two cast members along the way. Campy as it may be, and dated, still: it was released in 1939? Two years previous, people were still commuting from Germany to South America… by way of zeppelin. (I mean, in 1939, Gandhi was still trying to get Hitler to chill out.) So: this movie is pretty amazing for something [...]
Do we still deserve to call ourselves a society?
If you're going to make a great restaurant completely unavailable to eat at ever again, this is how you do it: with Times restaurant critic Sam Sifton blowing off the roof. Goodbye, Roberta's! Now begins the 5 p.m. dinner line-up and the 10:45 a.m. brunch line. You're worth it though! You deserve it!
As you may know, Ed Koch, New York's straightest living ex-mayor, has an email list and he regularly reviews movies. "You may enjoy the movie, but I was disappointed. It intended to unite the ballet with a Freudian or Havelock Ellis spin that would satisfy the audiences’ expectation of great art and its carnal desires. Neither worked, at least not for me…. I hope I will not be thought of as a coarse Philistine for not praising this film. I confess that I am not a devotee of the ballet; indeed, I have attended only a few performances. I once appeared on stage reading the narration of 'Peter and [...]
What do young women really talk about when they talk about The Twilight Saga: Eclipse? We asked experts Mary HK Choi and Natasha Vargas-Cooper to fill us in. Warning: contains spoilers, multiple pop culture references and graphic sexual language! Their analysis may also cause sudden-onset epilepsy in people under 18 or over 33.
Natasha Vargas-Cooper: What are your loins telling you about Twilight Part 3. Sparklequest?
Mary HK Choi: WELLZ. I LOVED it!
Natasha: It was exactly what I desired.
Mary: Plus? The dialogue was better this time.
Mary: Last time, I had to re-up my understandingness and suspension of disbelief every 6 seconds [...]
I'm of the school that believes that early movie reviews should be spoiler-free and not reveal anything about the plot. So feel free to read this and not be concerned that you're going to find out anything more about the story other than the fact that there's a cast of characters and it's a continuation of the first movie.
The recent trend with comic book movie series is to always be bigger than the movie that came before it. A lot of times this has to do with the fact that technology gets better each year, and as a result the imaginations of the movie creators are freed to execute [...]
The New Domino's Pizza Recipe: An Extended Taste Test Review From Both Coasts (And an Appreciation of Domino's Exquisite Online User Experience)
Mary HK Choi: Really quick background question: were you prompted to eat Domino's because of their new ad campaign? David Cho: Oh for sure, I'd been watching those commercials for the last couple of weeks. Mary: Me too. David: They make a really compelling argument! Mary: Agreed. There's something about contrition that makes me want to throw money at it. Mary: Was the line "When they said our sauce tasted like ketchup it broke my heart" what got you? Mary: Because it definitely did me. David: Not to mention the guarantee. David: What percentage of people ever actually follow through with something like that, to go to the trouble of [...]
"The opera is a score in search of a story. Dantine has gone from narrator to bit player; the tension between him and Disney, Old World and New, has vanished without being replaced by another drama. The book’s most striking set pieces — Disney’s dialogue with an animatronic Abraham Lincoln; the unexpected arrival of a frightening girl in an owl mask — retain their mysterious power onstage but don’t connect to their surroundings."
Viewed through the unripe eyes of Calhoun’s 13-year-olds, the collapse of the Twin Towers might have been a natural disaster. Captions tell us that the “The loss was sudden and great”; “Smoke and dust were everywhere”; and “The streets were empty.” For all the project’s pretense to chronicle, nothing indicates why. “People donated blood.” So? Blood drives are commonplace. “The people were afraid.” But of what? Yes, “people still miss the Twin Towers.” But why are they gone? Did they just fall down of their own accord? Might their destruction have had something to do with the lethal ideology of Islamist jihadists? Or with Islam’s theological imperative toward [...]
"The innovation of Lady Gaga in the desultory days of 2007 was the difference between becoming a youth icon at 16, as Britney and her ilk did, and becoming one at 22, after a diploma from Sacred Heart and a few solid semesters at New York University—and so, presumably, with enough Freud, Marx and Gawker to understand her identity as a commodity, and what that really meant…. 'The Fame' was unmitigated fun, a likeable young trader making a killing for her personal account with crafty biography arbitrage—who knew there were inefficient markets willing to pay so much for 'shut my playboy mouth' and 'I wanna take a ride on [...]
Introduction Palin comes out firing with the controversial claims. For instance: Calvin Coolidge is “one of our most overlooked presidents.” Doesn't Glenn Beck hold a patent on making it seem like the people who held power right before the Great Depression were American heroes? Sarah also makes reference to “my beautiful grandbaby.”
The introduction ends with this rather disturbing mission statement: “This is my America, from my heart, and by my heart. I give it now to my children and grandchildren, and to yours, so they will always know what it was like in America when people were free.” (Just for starters, this presumes that there will still [...]
After we watched Toy Story 3, my wife and I ate dinner at the Cheesecake Factory. Why did we do this? Well, Wisconsin Avenue, near Mazza Gallerie in Chevy Chase, has some pretty slim pickings, restaurant-wise. Also, we did it because the Cheesecake Factory is fucking delicious. I got some kind of fried-chicken pasta in cream sauce, no lie. Just for the hell of it they laid two wide slices of prosciutto atop the whole shebang. None of it was exactly right; the pasta was a little mushy, the chicken was a little greasy, the prosciutto was sub-Boar's Head quality. But all together, drenched in butter and cheese, it was [...]
Booked Up: 'Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: a Road Trip with David Foster Wallace,' by David Lipsky
In 1996, Rolling Stone sent David Lipsky to accompany David Foster Wallace on the last leg of the book tour for Infinite Jest. The piece never came out. Instead, many years later, David Lipsky wrote a book about those five days. During the time they spent together, Lipsky couldn't have known that Wallace was largely concealing a heart-attack-serious history of depression, drug abuse, hospitalization and ECT; they couldn't discuss Wallace's real involvement with 12-step programs (see Tradition, Eleventh) or the medication he was taking the whole time they were together; couldn't address the real fragility of his recovery. Wallace took his own life twelve years after the [...]
It's easy to know that a band is good, and harder to know what they'll mean for people. In 2006, I knew, as did a bunch of Columbia students and some folks on the Internet, that Vampire Weekend was good. I knew this only because I happened, at the time, to be dating a friend of two of the band's members. In this capacity I would go to their shows, one of those relationship tasks that would have been pretty annoying if the band didn't put on really good shows.
Dwight Garner's case for critical criticism came out just in time, looks like! "What we need more of, now that newspaper book sections are shrinking and vanishing like glaciers, are excellent and authoritative and punishing critics—perceptive enough to single out the voices that matter for legitimate praise, abusive enough to remind us that not everyone gets, or deserves, a gold star." Well he's in luck… on part of that?
Five days previous came this NYTBR piece on the latest by Dale Peck, by Ron Powers, who you likely don't know, but was the first TV critic to win a Pulitzer. In 1973. Lesse: "self-absorbed overreaching, a compost [...]
Whatever the crimes committed by Wallis Simpson – marrying a king, sparking a constitutional crisis, fraternising with Nazis – it's doubtful that she deserves the treatment meted out to her in W.E., Madonna's jaw-dropping take on "the 20th-century's greatest royal love story." The woman is defiled, humiliated, made to look like a joke. The fact that W.E. comes couched in the guise of a fawning, servile snow-job only makes the punishment feel all the more cruel.
Or could it be that Madonna is in deadly earnest here? If so, her film is more risible than we had any right to expect.
Seth Colter Walls: both within and without the state of being connected / the Internet makes me feel online
Mary: Of course this is where you begin. I'd have started with the Saint Joseph Domaine Laurent Betton with the peppery finish that we murdered last night at Bar Boulud.
Seth: Oh sorry, HK, my mind is still a touch scrambled from the last of the three short "operas" we saw last night. As you know, the libretto for the last one was written by Samuel Beckett. The rhythms are still a bit in my head. But let's start at [...]
Natasha Vargas-Cooper: I ain't going to lie to you. I went in wanting to hate. I was queasy thinking about what Fincher/Sorkin had to say about the Digital Generation and I was resistant to suffering through Jesse's flat-affect-acting.
Sasha Frere-Jones: I enjoyed the narrative locomotive, but the movie might as well have been about a struggle over the Enzongium contract in Quadrant K9. I would have liked that more, actually. This is first and foremost a movie about Sorkinese, a language that finds a comfy home in litigation. "The West Wing" was Walking and Talkingâ„¢-The Social Network is Sitting and Talking and Occasionally Dartingâ„¢.
David Cho: Hi Neel. Hmm. There's something different about you. Have you been featured on the hit MTV show The City recently? Neel Shah: Hilarious. Let's talk about this MOVIE.
The Breville Die-Cast 2-Slice Smart Toaster™ is a profoundly heavy toaster. It never skids when one is retrieving a piece of toast or inserting a piece of bread that is to become toast. And the toast! What it does to white bread, when the "toastiness" slider is set to somewhere between 3 and 4 on its 5-point infinite scale, is create a toast product that should be painted in oils to be rendered for posterity. The bread; it glows, the vertical striping is subtle but gives one that cozy, toasty feeling. What it does to Pepperidge Farm's "Jewish RYE Bread Seeded" (as it is called on the package) is exquisite; [...]