- January may be the month for sucky new releases but not for reviews of sucky new releases—as Manohla Dargis proves here while batting about “Country Strong” as easily as a cat bats about a mouse.
- Our friend Nathaniel Rogers over at the film experience blogspot finally gets his own place. Here. Check him out. He's always worth a visit.
- Hey, Seattleites! The new “At the Movies” will premiere this month in 48 of the 50 major markets ... but not Seattle. Moira Macdonald's got the scoop, along with an e-mail address to voice your displeasure.
- The National Society of Film Critics, my favorite film society, released their winners for 2010 last Saturday night. Basically: “The Social Network,” David Fincher, Aaron Sorkin and Jesse Eisenberg. For foreign language film, they went with “Carlos” over “Un Prophete,” which is my best movie of the year. Makes me chomp at the bit that much more for “Carlos.”
- More of this, please: pushback against everyone who thinks the U.S. Constitution is an absolute in a changing world.
- USA Today takes down Sarah Palin's reality show.
- You may have heard: A version of “Huckleberry Finn” is being published in which the word “Nigger” is expurgated. Michiko Kakutani, under the best headline I've read on the controversy (“Light Out, Huck, They Still Want to Sivilize You”), is on the case. Here's the money graf for me:
Authors’ original texts should be sacrosanct intellectual property, whether a book is a classic or not. Tampering with a writer’s words underscores both editors’ extraordinary hubris and a cavalier attitude embraced by more and more people in this day of mash-ups, sampling and digital books — the attitude that all texts are fungible, that readers are entitled to alter as they please, that the very idea of authorship is old-fashioned.
- Roger Ebert gets in on the controversy, too. He tweets about it (“I'd rather be called a Nigger than a Slave”), is criticized for that tweet (since he's not likely to be called either), offers a mea culpa (unlike so many in similar situations), and his reward is a catty, misleading headline on Huffington Post designed to get you to click and click and click some more. His money graf, in a post about the whole, idiotic controversy, hits HuffPo where they live and advertise:
Of course Twitter doesn't black out words. That graphic was provided by HuffPost, to avoid offending its millions of readers who have never seen the word Nigger in print. If you look carefully, you'll see that Huff's web wizards made the block just a teeny tiny bit transparent, so you can see the word dimly peeking through. This reminds me of the wet T-shirts worn by the troubled starlets that HuffPost features with such unflagging dedication. I applaud their daring in not blacking out “****.”
- R.I.P. Richard Winters, the commanding officer of Easy Company during the last year of World War II, and a genuine American hero, who was played so well by Damian Lewis in HBO's “Band of Brothers.” If you haven't seen that epic mini-series yet, please do.
- R.I.P. Peter Yates. So many of the headlines preface his name with “'Bullitt'-director”; but to my mind he's the director of one of the most underrated American movies ever made. Ciao.