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Wonder

You’ll shed a tear or two—especially if you’re a parent—and they’ll be totally earned.

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Mudbound

The film invites us to observe its characters, to hear their inner voices, to see what they see and to challenge our own preconceived notions…

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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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1."Ann Blyth gets a TCM salute for her birthday" The actress is probably best remembered for her turn as the self-involved Veda in "Mildred Pierce." For her 85th birthday, she was honored by Turner Classic Movies. Susan King of the Los Angeles Times has a wonderful piece on Blyth and the TCM tribute."Blyth's performance is an astonishing mixture of ferocity and venom that belies the fact she was only 16 when she made the Michael Curtiz-directed thriller."2."Gen X gets really old: How do slackers have a midlife crisis?" At salon.com, Sara Scribner muses on how Generation X is handling aging. We'll give you a hint: They're doing it differently than their parents."While the past midlife crisis model focused on breaking down confining bonds, chipping away at that adult façade to return to the fountain of youth, Xers are still in full construction mode. 'I've made a list – it's the 'do-better' list,' Leslie Mann's character tells her husband in Judd Apatow’s flawed but occasionally insightful 'This Is 40.'"3."12 Words that Survived by Getting Fossilized in Idioms" At mentalfloss.com, Arika Okrent looks at words you only ever use in an idiom. Where would 'to' be without 'fro'? But where is 'fro' anyway?"The 'fro' in 'to and fro' is a fossilized remnant of a Northern English or Scottish way of pronouncing 'from.' It was also part of other expressions that didn't stick around, like 'fro and till,' 'to do fro' (to remove), and 'of or fro' (for or against)."4."Ladies, Comics Aren't for You"At i09, Mydearpeabody isn't just discussing some diffuse misogyny in the world of comics. Inspired by a piece in the New Republic on Mark Millar and a panel discussion featuring Todd MacFarlane and Gerry Conway, she is walking us through their offensive assumptions about women and comics."It's a circular argument to say that you're not going to create interesting female characters, and then whine that you don't do it because no one is interested in them. If you haven't been creating many of them, and the ones you have been creating are flat, or women in refrigerators, or narrative devices to further male characters' plotlines, then no, I imagine most people don't find them that interesting."5."Forget Kickstarter: How Obama's New Law Could Change Hollywood Crowd-funding" The Hollywood Reporter's Paul Bond looks at how a government initiative intended to allow start-ups raise money with fewer restrictions may change moviemaking."Here's how it works: Now, startups are required to pitch investment

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On what comprises a sci-fi game changer; UK wages in significant decline; National Geographic Channel veers into sensational fare; how Westerns are changing in the 21st century; Duncan Jones' wife battles cancer.

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A list of the movies that mogul Harvey Weinstein has brutally edited, over their directors' objections; interview with Syd Mead, who helped design "Alien," "Blade Runner," "TRON" and other classic SF films;

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Woody Allen speaks; confessions of a white Southern Christian racist; YouTube cofounders launch new video service; Pixar discovers animal rights; David Gordon Green a go-go; druglord Rafael Caro Quntero released from prison; trailer for Spike Jonze's new movie.

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The debate on norms of behavior in movie theaters (to shush or not to shush) rages on, Christy Lemire muses on Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer's critic-conspiracy theory, Letterboxd and The Dissolve announce a partnership, a record store owner tells all, and what makes Walter White of "Breaking Bad" special.

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An Orson Welles film thought to be lost forever is discovered, Karen Black's husband writes movingly about her battle with cancer, a pink planet rocks scientists' theories of planet formation, our very own Ignatiy Vishnevetsky has been keeping busy reviewing for other sites (we're cool with that) and Mark Millar is becoming themost powerful person in comic books.

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Comcast's plans to fight piracy may change how we watch what we download, new Doctor Who's post-punk music past is revealed, Hollywood looks to turn more movies into Broadway shows, Donna Bowman muses on how to watch "Breaking Bad" and iTunes makes some old Johnny Carson excerpts available.

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Seven women writers talk about their problems with "male feminism"; Wikipedia blocks U.S. senate for "vandalism" of Edward Snowden's page; Millikin professor killed family 46 years ago, and now we're finding out; what it's like to have your movie taken away from you by Harvey Weinstein; David Edelstein on 'The Spectacular Now'; Matt Damon on the state of modern Hollywood; David Lynch on "Twin Peaks"

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Shooting the final dance contest in "Saturday Night Fever"; John Boorman's unmade "Lord of the Rings"; Wikipedia founder brands the U.K.'s new anti-online-porn plan 'ridiculous'; how the American suburbs became a hotbed of increasing poverty; Red Sox owner buys Boston Globe; photo of the NSA's massive data-harvesting facility in Utah; Chris Doyle talkes about the art of the cinematographer.

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"Edward Snowden and the Politics of Privacy." By Adam Liepzig, for Cultural Weekly. The author decries the National Security Agency's "data dragnet" and argues that "right to personal secrecy—you can also call it privacy—is fundamental to our ability to innovate.""Many Americans seem complacent about the NSA's over-reach. They say: 'So what? The NSA has been gathering all of our data for the past decade, and nothing bad has happened.' This argument relies on the conviction that our government is benevolent and will always be that way. I'm not prepared to make that assumption. In America's living memory, we have the blacklists of the 1950s. In the 1960s and 1970s, the FBI's COINTELPRO program launched operations against so-called "radicals" and falsified evidence against them. At times, this evidence wasn't designed to bring a criminal conviction. It was designed simply to be made public, to smear the reputation of the target.""What is Decadism? An explanation and a Top 10 List." At Press Play, Lucy Ives writes about "an American invention"..."a dependence on the decade—as a time-keeping unit and also as a way of thinking about changing cultural mores and aesthetics." Then she lists ten films that practice their own version of Decadism."Decadism is now not merely a sign of nostalgia for the decade in question. It's a sign of nostalgia for decade-based fashion and thinking in general, for a system for organizing tastes based on the notion of the decade. In this sense, though the word 'decade' (from the Greek for 'ten') is etymologically unrelated to the term 'decadence' (associated with 'decay'), decadism is rapidly replacing decadence as a kind of gently reactionary aesthetic and experiential mode. We live in a time of archive fever, of historical tourism (from Wikipedia to Drunk History Month), of 'favoriting' and all the other preferential tools the Internet holds. Decadism allows us a return to a less particulate, niche, complex, and incessantly updated way of establishing taste. Decadism is a respite—not just from the present but from the future.""A Redesign of the Subway Map, by One of Its Designers." James Barron of The New York Times talks to John Tauranac, one of the designers of the current subway map, first released in 1979, about how it could be improved. Fascinating stuff if you've ever visited New York. Unfortunately the graphic accompanying this story is a bit too small to really see details, but hopefully by the time you read this the paper will have made a larger graphic available."Mr. Tauranac said he was still trying to redress 'problems' that are now 40 years old, dating to the official map that preceded the 1979 map. That earlier map, the one that many found to be aesthetically pleasing, was somewhat lacking in precision. 'There was no attempt to show geographic perspective on that map," Mr. Tauranac said. "Broadway at 50th Street was shown west of Eighth Avenue.…Bowling Green was north of Rector Street," he added. "If you get out of the subway thinking Bowling Green is north of Rector Street, how are you going to find Rector Street?""Some newly surfaced films confirm late documentarian Les Blank as a restless, one-of-a-kind talent." Over at The Dissolve, Sam Adams looks at some lesser-known later works by the man who so memorably chronicled Werner Herzog shooting "Fitzcarraldo" in the documentary "Burden of Dreams." What Adams discovers is a filmmaker of eccentric charms who was fascinated with people's odd obsessions, whether that was Herzog making a film about dragging a ship over a mountain, or people who love garlic."In Les Blank’s movies, everyone is a philosopher, and everyone’s an expert, at least on the subject of themselves. He loved the mass jubilation of public celebration and the rich, earthy tones of 16mm stock. And to judge by the way the image recurs in several of his films, he especially loved to zoom in close on a hot, bubbling skillet, so close that it seems as if his camera might get deep-fried along with the chicken.""Red Skull is Red, Smurfette is Blue." Over at Slate.com, the amazing team of Natalie Matthews-Ramo, Brahna Siegelberg, Jeremy Singer-Vine, Isabel Slepoy, and Forrest Wickman has put together an entire color wheel using animated characters for the colors of the rainbow. We want to party with these people."We at Slateare lovers of all colors of cartoon peoples, from the yellow figures of The Simpsons to the frequently blue and green heroes of the Marvel Comics Universe, and so we wanted to champion the full diversity of the animated world. In the interactive graphic below you'll find the complete rainbow of cartoon characters, from Pink Panthers to Grape Apes to red, well, whatever Zoidberg is. You'll notice a few fleshy humanoids, too."Image of the Day"A Handy Guide to How to Create a Hipster Logo" Anthea Quay provides some droll, dead-on advice about logos at Designtaxi.com.

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