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Penguins of Madagascar

The pacing is so zany, the jokes are so rapid-fire and the sight gags are so inspired that it’s impossible not to get caught up…

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Horrible Bosses 2

The law of diminishing returns, which has afflicted so many comedy sequels over the years, strikes again in “Horrible Bosses 2,” further proving that just…

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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

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#26 September 1, 2010

From the Grand Poobah: Here in Michigan Oink's ice cream parlor exerts a magnetic pull on helpless citizens for miles around. I can no longer sample their countless flavors, but not log ago I took Kim Severson there. She is a New York Times writer doing a piece on The Pot. Oink's is run by my friend Roger Vink, who says, "May the Oink be with you."

(click photos to enlarge)

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A parable about film criticism andintelligence analysis from AMC's Rubicon

So far (four episodes in) I am enjoying AMC's Sunday night "Mad Men" companion, "Rubicon," the "seductive conspiracy thriller," as the ads say. What I like most about it is its "Twin Peaks"-like snail's pace (a two-chord repetition in the score echoes Angelo Badalamenti's) when it comes to unraveling the central mystery, which has something to do with crossword puzzles and four-leaf clovers and suicide and murder/accidents and sets of characters who haven't even met each other yet. I'm in no hurry. The worst parts of any mystery come when they start explaining things.

But this speech, in which a CIA intelligence analyst analyst tries to explain to officials at a National Security Council meeting something about the reliability of subjectivity, taste and evidence, struck me as an interesting parable for the practice, and uses, of criticism. Check it out and see what you think...

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