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American Sniper

American Sniper proves the dictum “never count an auteur out” by proving itself as Eastwood’s strongest directorial effort since 2009's underrated Invictus pretty much right…

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The Interview

Opportunities at rich satire flatten out into Hangover dude-dope-doodoo jokes, where the premise is that there’s nothing funnier than watching over-privileged grown men act out…

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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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Happy Independence Day!

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As we celebrate the Declaration of Independence, here's a fun exercise in critical thinking and visual interpretation. This photo of Sarah Palin, taken by Brian Adams for a spread in Runner's World magazine, represents a veritable firecracker-explosion of patriotic and political symbolism. (Likewise the use of familiar props in this photo and this one.) Given Palin's views and background, how would you interpret it?

Click on photo to enlarge.

JULY 4 UPDATE: Since this post went up, Palin announced her resignation as governor of Alaska. Some say she wants to concentrate on running for president in 2012. Others say that a scandal is about to break, something even she cannot ignore or deny, thus raising the question: What sort of scandal could damage Sarah Palin's reputation? My guess: She has a lucrative talk show deal lined up. Her competition isn't Obama and Biden, it's Limbaugh and O'Reilly, Maher and Coulter.

JULY 6 UPDATE: OK, here's an image that baffles me. What do you make of it?

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This is the logo for the Conservatives For Palin web site (or conservatives4palin.com). What does it say to you? What do you think it is meant to convey?

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