Like Ficarra and Requa’s 2011 comedy Crazy Stupid Love, Focus begins promisingly and bops along enjoyably for a while, only to run out of steam…
"The collapse of movie audiences, which far pre-dates Jaws and summer blockbusters, requires studios to heavily market their films since Americans' default position on movies these days is not to see them. Studios have cannily created a summer of tent-pole features to focus audience attention on a handful of months when we're taught to expect to go to the movies. 'Iron Man III' would probably make a billion dollars if it were released on a Tuesday morning in March. But lesser films might benefit from debuting in a season when audiences are predisposed to going to the movies. Making films...is a risky business. It's hard to know what 100 million people want to see each July. The sequel/adaptation strategy assumes that people want to see stories they already are familiar with. The fact that this strategy isn't risk-free (see: 'The Hangover Part III') doesn't change the fact that it's been hugely risk-mitigating."
"This is the beginning of the end of a curious legal battle whose latest round started in the spring. In May, the 87-year old Lee filed a complaint in NY federal court, alleging that in 2002 Pinkus used the declining health of his father-in-law and Lee’s longtime agent Eugene Winick to take control of the affairs of McIntosh & Otis agency clients like the Mockingbird author. Lee also claimed that Pinkus then took advantage of a stroke she suffered back in 2007 and the fact that she was already partially deaf to trick her into signing over the copyright to her 1960 modern classic for nothing. He then supposedly slipped the work through various companies so it would be hard for Lee to legally find and to collect royalties. That didn’t work out because Lee did get the copyright back in 2012 and then obviously went after Pinkus, his Veritas Media Inc. agency and other companies, and the other defendants earlier this year for, among other things, not paying a hefty judgment ordered in arbitration on the previous case. The McIntosh & Otis agency sued Pinkus in state court a few weeks later. In a motion to dismiss the McIntosh case, Pinkus claimed that he never did anything to deprive Lee of her royalties or other funds."
"Two-fifths of California residents die in hospitals, and a tragic one-fifth in intensive care, where deaths are often harrowing. This is an amazing disconnect in a society that prides itself on freedom of choice. This disconnect has ruinous economic costs. About a quarter of Medicare's $550 billion annual budget pays for medical treatment in the last year of life. Almost a third of Medicare patients have surgery in their last year of life, and nearly one in five in their last month of life. In their last year of life, one-third to one-half of Medicare patients spend time in an intensive care unit, where 10 days of futile flailing can cost as much as $323,000. Medical overtreatment costs the U.S. health care system an estimated $158 billion to $226 billion a year. Why don't we die the way we say we want to die? In part because we say we want good deaths but act as if we won't die at all. "
"Naturalist Thoreau believed the wilderness could never recover in New England. 'Thank God they cannot cut down the clouds!' he declared of his hyper-industrious mid-19th century neighbors. But after the Civil War, farms were abandoned by the thousands as food production moved to the richer, flatter lands across the Appalachians. New England’s population contracted into villages and cities. More recently, industry clustered along rivers — textile mills, machine tool factories — suffered economic collapse. 'The trees have marched back to their old ground,' David Foster, director of the Harvard Forest, said. 'History has given our region an extraordinary second chance to get it right.' The change occurred over generations and so is difficult to perceive. 'But drive along the back roads or even Route 2 and you can’t miss how much of Massachusetts has reverted to woods and wetlands,’ Foster said."
Lookee here: a whole Tumblr mocking Germany's Christian Democrats party and their "You're in Good Hands" logo.
From the "Future With Love," a low-budget sci-fi pic set in a future in which people have to pay for police protection.
This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...
On how Clint Eastwood's "American Sniper" examines evil.
As we mourn Abrams’ macho Star Trek obliteration, it’s a good time to revisit that most Star Trek-ian of accomplishme...
Glenn Kenny comments on awards season, Sean Penn, Neil Patrick Harris, and the actual Oscars.