Article Archive for August 2012
Written and directed by Craig Zobel, the tremendous psychological drama Compliance is based on a series of true crimes in which a man pretending to be a police officer “prank”-called fast-food restaurants. Over the phone, often over the course of hours, the caller used a mix of manipulation, coercion, flattery, and sometimes bullying to convince [...]
Before the advent of modern times, every visitor to Venice approached the city slowly, from the water – and according to a visually-stunning new book, Venetians very much wanted it that way.
Interview: For a Good Time Call… Star Ari Graynor, Co-star and Co-writer Lauren Miller, Co-writer Katie Anne Naylon, and Director Jamie Travis
When Katie Anne Naylon and Lauren Miller first met at college a decade ago, they couldn’t have known the basics of their experience (their completely different personalities and styles, Katie’s past work as a phone-sex operator) would inspire their co-authored For a Good Time Call… screenplay. The R-rated but charming raunch-com For a Good Time [...]
The ancient Roman architect Vitruvius influenced the Renaissance architect Alberti, who in turn influenced the architect Palladio and the humanist Barbaro – a strong new book traces the genealogy.
In 2008, author Matt Bondurant published his second novel, The Wettest County in the World, a fictionalized historical account of his own grandfather and grand uncles’ real-life experiences as rural-Virginia moonshiners in the early 1930s. Bondurant based the novel on family stories and historical records from Franklin County, Virginia, about his grandfather Jack Bondurant and [...]
Glenn Gould would have turned 80 next month; his legacy is celebrated with a diverse and sometimes instrumentally daring homage
A new social history of Venice takes readers well beyond the myth and delves into the lives of the people – princes, merchants, women, immigrants – who brought the city to life
The Twilight film series will finally be coming to a close this fall, and with it the free rides of many of the young actors and actresses who made names for themselves in their roles …
Elizabeth I’s radical decision to remain unmarried gave hope to every aspiring suitor in the Western world – a new reprint marches us quickly through the usual suspects.
Lorenzo Valla, whose exposure of the “Donation of Constantine” was the opening salvo of modern humanism, spent years writing one long argument with Aristotle, now fully translated for the first time.
In one of Marvel Comics’ grandest recent story-arcs, the Avengers square off against the Norse god of fear and his mind-controlled hammer-wielding henchmen
DC Comics Classics Library
The Legion of Super-Heroes: The Life and Death of Ferro Lad
Jim Shooter (script)
Curt Swan (art)
Superman: Kryptonite Nevermore
Denny O’Neil (script)
Curt Swan (art)
DC Comics, 2009
The most common misconception about comic books is that they’re …
An emotionally stunning memoir about Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary, where animals once fated for the slaughterhouse are given normal, happy lives
A Buffalo in the House, The Extraordinary story of Charlie and His Family
R. D. Rosen
Random House, 2007
Now out in paperback is R.D. Rosen’s entertaining and enormously moving A Buffalo in the House, the story of …
Wunderkind violinist Nicola Benedetti delivers her best album to date with this thoughtful selection of concertos and film themes
A creepy, touching stop-motion masterpiece from the creators of “Coraline”
Best-selling author Philippa Gregory’s new novel tells the story of Anne and Isabel Neville, the Wars of the Roses … and a certain misunderstood bad boy.
An engaging – perhaps a touch too engaging – new biography of fourth four-star general in U.S. history: Phil Sheridan
It seems the world of animated features for children is forever growing more crowded, more competitive, louder, and more about marketing and studio brands than genuinely imaginative and entertaining works. But every year (a couple times, if we’re lucky) an animated film comes along that doesn’t pander to kids and fast-food toys and leaves grown up [...]
The passionate, complicated Bronte family is the subject of Juliet Barker’s massive, definitive biography, now given a sumptuous new edition
An accessible, well-researched new biography takes a largely approving look at America’s fourth president, James Madison.
Dr Seuss’ beloved children’s classic about environmentalism gets a less-than-lovable Hollywood remake
Jeremy Renner steps into Matt Damon’s action-shoes in the latest instalment of the “Bourne” series!
A magnificent multi-voiced celebration of the weird and wild career of that Jacobean jack-of-all-trades, Thomas Middleton
A lively new account of the bloodbath of Towton, one of the key battles of the Wars of the Roses
These days, for the sake of promotion, it doesn’t hurt for a smaller indie film to have a “meet cute” story behind it. In the case of the alt-minded romantic comedy Celeste and Jesse Forever, the hook is that co-writers Rashida Jones (Parks and Recreation, Our Idiot Brother) and Will McCormack dated briefly but intensely [...]
In the latest spin-off novel from the hit “Spartacus” TV series, a spectre of death is haunting our gladiators even when they’re not at work!
The daughter of Queen Elizabeth I’s chief of espionage has a mind of her own, and in addition to being a dutiful wife to Sir Philip Sidney, she has the makings of an intrepid intelligencer.
All the time-jaunts of the legendary U.S.S. Enterprise, contained – and explained – in one novel? Inconceivable!
The improbable star of Francine Mathews’ new WWII-era spy thriller: a thin, frail, relatively obscure ambassador’s son from Brookline, Massachusetts named Jack Kennedy.
A teeming new multi-volume box-set from Decca showcases the magisterial piano performances of Clifford Curzon
Now in paperback: Juliet Eilperin’s gripping and personality-filled study of sharks and the people who study them
Critics tend to scoff at remakes. To many, these copies represent the worst that Hollywood has to offer, blatantly repeating stories that were successful in the past, rather than risk trying anything new. As movie …
Legion of Super-Heroes: Hostile World
Paul Levitz (script)
Francis Portela (art)
DC Comics, 2012
The company-wide “New 52″ reboot that DC Comics has used to re-envision (and, they hope, revitalize) their comic book line is nearly a year old. …
Who knew that the avant-garde Austrian composer Arnold Schoenberg wrote so many songs? They’re brought together in a revealing new four-disc collection.
This summer’s London Olympics take us back to 1981′s Chariots of Fire, the 1924 Olympics, and the poetry of William Blake. The connection? All remind us of the fragility of glory and our endless wish to make the past present.
Lyndon Johnson rained destruction on Vietnam and championed civil rights, amassed a secret fortune and fought for the needy. His paradoxical life continues in the fourth volume of Robert Caro’s epic biography.
“I was seething with unchanneled anger, frustration, and a maddening inability to express myself. In other words, I was perfect for hardcore.” Steve Danziger on a misspent youth at CBGB.
Expensive new Batman movies have become a Hollywood ritual, but the character has been thrilling readers – and reflecting a constantly-shifting culture – for seventy years
Matvei Yankelevich’s poetry may seem direct and plainspoken, but as a new collection shows, his verse reveals a long battle with the uncertainty of language.
History’s most famous divorce shook the world and changed history, but it took much more than a king snapping his fingers to make it happen – obscure men on fast horses risked their livelihoods and their lives to line up the paperwork.
The great Antonio Machado loved his native Spain and was disgusted by its descent into fascism; that fusion of enchantment and grief vivifies his unforgettable poetry.
A contentious Supreme Court in the headlines is hardly a new thing – nor is the Court being used for partisan politics and the brinksmanship of history, as Noah Feldman’s Scorpions makes clear
“A few years ago I started sleepwalking, and (while inconvenient) this is kind of exciting to me, because it’s pretty much exactly the mood I’m going for in anything I create.” — a chat with cover artist Adrianne Mathiowetz
HH Richardson waxing, Louis Sullivan watching: America’s first school of architecture at MIT. To science and technology add art and religion, and immigrants sculpting the sister of the Statue of Liberty.
Two scalpel-sharp political thrillers that mark the welcome return of the thoroughly winning, charismatic protagonists: Charlie Muffin and Joe DeMarco.
You think you know Ivanhoe: it’s the original swash-buckling adventure story, full of fights, escapes, ambushes, and then, of course, a happy ending. But what you see if you look more closely may make you think twice about its chivalric ideals.
In Soviet Russia, Joseph Brodsky was persecuted by the authorities, but memorized by ordinary people. In the capitalist West, he was feted by the authorities, but ignored by ordinary people. Perhaps it’s just as well he thought reality “nonsense or a nuisance.”
Bostonians take pride in the fact that Edgar Allen Poe was born in their city, but there’s a good deal more to the story of that birth than literary tourists ever learn – indeed, there may be more to it than anybody’s ever known.
“He calls you a swine,” Walter Lippmann once wrote of H.L. Mencken, “and he increases your will to live.” A reissue of Mencken’s 1926 rabble-rouser Notes on Democracy shows the journalist at his insulting, rejuvenating best.
Open Letters mourns the loss of Gore Vidal, sine qua non, ne plus ultra
from Useful Fictions by Adrianne Mathiowetz