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12 Strong

“Understated” isn’t a word you’d ordinarily use to describe a Jerry Bruckheimer production, but that’s surprisingly what 12 Strong ends up being.

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The Final Year

A documentary about the final year of foreign policy during the Obama administration, and incidentally about the grim surprises that life sometimes has in store…

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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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Bowie & Marianne Faithfull: "I've Got You Babe"

I don't know how I missed mentioning David Bowie's 60th birthday in January, but I did. On a plane to LA recently I experienced my best-ever experience listening to "Hunky Dory" (1971). You know how that happens sometimes: You reconnect with something you haven't listened to in a while (no matter how familiar you are with it) and you rediscover it as if you were really hearing it for the first time? ("Changes" spoke directly to me like nothing else on the radio when it came out, and I was a confused pubescent 13.) Anyway, that's what a good close listen (iPod, passive noise-cancelling earphones, eyes closed, window seat on a plane) can do for you.

And, when I got home, I found this on YouTube, from a 1973 "Midnight Special." A belated happy 60th to The Artist Formerly Known as Ziggy -- and an early 61st birthday greeting to Lucy Jordan!

 

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