Month: December 2011

What do we do when we reach the end of things? What does cinema look like, and how do we respond when we know the end is here? If you look at my list of favorite films of 2011, you’ll get some ideas. Split between films by Europeans like Lars Von Trier, Béla Tarr and Pedro Almódovar and American filmmakers such as Jeff Nichols and Spencer Susser, my favorite films share an apocalyptic vision of the world (More…)

A year can be an eternity. Especially if you measure time by the speed of news publishing. Old enough to have written for print periodicals, but young enough to have begun my journalistic career online, I remain astonished by the amount of media that can be produced in a week, let alone a month, or a year. (More…)

Last week, Thomas Friedman wrote a column criticizing Republican presidential candidates for pandering to Israel and ignoring what was in the best interests of both Israel and the United States. He also spared more than a few words to express his concern over the fact that more and more US Jews are drifting away from Israel. (More…)

Lublin isn’t the sort of place that frequents as a setting for Hollywood films. The introduction to Joel and Ethan Coen’s A Serious Man breaks with convention. Once home to a large Jewish community, the impoverished Polish city serves as a backdrop for the appearance of a gothic dybbuk, foreshadowing the Nazi genocide, that would empty the town of its Jews. (More…)

In their guises as 2manydjs and Soulwax, Belgian brothers and prolific audio/visual bricoleurs David and Stephen Dewaele set the standard for this century’s digital cut-up pop media scene. Nowhere is this more evident than in Hardcore or Die, their impressive visual take on that most unruly of 20th-century analog pop genres, ’80s American and European hardcore punk. (More…)

“Epic Salutations,” the seductive opening track on Murs’ new album Love and Rockets, Vol. 1: The Transformation ends with what sounds like a mission statement: “Hard core rap about nothing at all.” But the reality of this fine hip-hop record is far more complex. (More…)

In Monty Python and the Holy Grail, a woman is accused of being a witch. When the knight presiding over the proceedings asks how the people know she is a witch, a man in the crowd responds “She turned me into a newt.” When the knight seems unconvinced, the man says, sheepishly, “I got better.” Here in Washington, DC, our Newt just keeps getting worse. (More…)

It’s a matter of trust. So went the logic of Monday’s announcement by Canada’s immigration minister, that the government would ban the wearing of niqab, or burqas, when veil-wearing Muslim women take Canadian citizenship. Judges have to be certain they know who they’re dealing with when awarding such privileges,  Minister Jason Kenney informed The Guardian. (More…)

Toronto has a dilemma: It can afford new, high tech trains for municipal transport. However, it cannot develop other services to meet the city’s needs. What does this disjuncture mean? (More…)

If the mission of ’77 punk was the resuscitation of rock & roll’s antisocial roots, postpunk amounted to an unfettered exploration of the musical and cultural spaces that punk had made possible. In England’s Dreaming, Jon Savage noted that as early as 1978, punk had fractured into two camps: The social realists on one side (The Clash, Stiff Little Fingers) whose fans would become the street punk, Oi!, and hardcore movements. (More…)

When word began to circulate that Fox Business Network host Eric Bolling had criticized The Muppets for promoting anti-capitalist values, many people were incredulous. Social media sites were soon awash with the type of satire popularized by The Daily Show. But this dismissive response obscured the fact that he was being mocked for doing what many progressives have advocated for decades: taking popular culture seriously. (More…)

Despite his comparative anonymity, it may actually turn out to be James Alex, the blogger/artist who kicked off the recent pepper-spray cop meme, who becomes the more important model for the future of Occupy Wall Street than Kalle Lasn, the now-famous head of Adbusters. Let me explain why, through my own encounter with each of them. (More…)