June 2010 Archives

‘Treme’ S1 starts slowly, has some tedious characters, and is too proudly authentic, but Simon’s team remains expert at resonant microcosms.

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‘Adoration’ is a dispiriting Egoyan misfire, a too-blunt but intriguingly indirect meditation on terrorism that then excavates dull motives.

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Follow the Character

woodrell.jpgOne thing you might notice picking up Daniel Woodrell’s novel Winter’s Bone is how thin it is — less than 200 pages.

And when you start reading, you might be struck that it’s been carved incredibly lean. While relatively plainspoken, the sentences are dense, with a mix of dialect from the Ozarks and artfully turned idioms that feel instantly right. One has to sip Woodrell’s language.

“I do like to make it apparent to the reader that you need to probably read everything,” Woodrell said in a phone interview in April. “‘I won’t put in any flab, but you have to read what’s here’ is kind of my deal with the reader. ... Pay attention to the sentences.”

Aside from canonizing its subject -- especially in the excruciating bookends -- ‘Charlie Wilson’s War’ is crackling, sharp, and outraged fun

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‘Justified’ S1: Sly performances, character ambiguity, sharply natural dialogue, and propulsive violence elevate this backwoods pulp fiction

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‘The Messenger’ is unerring on its own dramatic terms but misses an opportunity by offering character over punishing war-death notifications

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Rigid Expectations

against-me.jpgAgainst Me! has been selling out for the better part of a decade, so complaints about the polish of the band’s forthcoming record are already tired to songwriter/vocalist/guitarist Tom Gabel.

Because Gabel is a punk icon and an anarchist, it was little surprise that there were negative reactions when the band jumped to a major label. But as it prepares to release White Crosses next week, Gabel talked about the challenge of being an ever-changing person in a world of rigid expectations.