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Monday, February 08, 2016, 2:22 a.m.
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Philip Martin

Stories by Philip

Lessons of a Chinese Rolex

posted: 02/07/2016 2:15 a.m. Discuss

Afew years ago our house was burglarized. Among the items taken—one of the few things I cared about—was a Rolex watch of 1960s vintage that had belonged to my father.

Critical Mass: America's big show

posted: 02/07/2016 2:12 a.m. Discuss

"Baseball is what we were, and football is what we have become."

Winter releases gain in quality, ticket sales

posted: 02/05/2016 2:10 a.m. Discuss

This probably isn't the worst time for casual moviegoers. There are plenty of good films left from last year still in theaters, and if you haven't yet caught The Revenant, Room, The Big Short, Youth or Carol, you still have time. And I expect that in the next couple of weeks you'll be able to see Mustang, 45 Years, Son of Saul, Anomalisa, The Lady in the Van and maybe Mojave, which was a movie I liked at last year's Tribeca Film Festival. (Caveat: I am the only one I know who liked Mojave.)

Columnists: PHILIP MARTIN: The future is unwritten

posted: 02/02/2016 3:41 a.m. Discuss

The 2016 presidential campaign starts now.

Spirits: Abstaining, judging is not a package deal

posted: 01/31/2016 2:25 a.m. Discuss

Early this month we ran into a friend at a social occasion. He was uncharacteristically demure, sitting by himself on a sofa, ostentatiously drinking a diet soda. We didn't even have to ask, he volunteered.

Columnists: Notes from a rookie teacher

posted: 01/31/2016 1:57 a.m. Discuss

A friend of mine has started teaching at a local high school.

Review: Quite a kick

posted: 01/29/2016 1:57 a.m. Discuss

I might have had better things to do on a Saturday afternoon than drive 32.5 miles to attend a simulcast "world premiere event" of DreamWorks Animation's Kung Fu Panda 3 at the Cinemark Towne Center in Conway. I'm not sure grown-ups should attend these things unaccompanied by a member of the target demographic, and there were no little kids available for shanghaiing. I was glad when my wife, Karen, agreed to accompany me on the outing, because you don't want to be a grown man showing up alone at one of the matinees. Mothers glare at you like you're Jerry Sandusky at the Chuck E. Cheese.

Columnists: PHILIP MARTIN: The Oscars aren't for us

posted: 01/26/2016 3:19 a.m. Comments 2

"The Oscars aren't designed for us."

ON BOOKS: The ballad of Ed Stilley, guitar maker for the Lord

posted: 01/24/2016 3:20 a.m. Discuss

Pork chop bone whittled for a bridge, tail piece made from a rusty ole hinge. Door springs, saw blades mounted in the middle, Lord loves the sound when them ole parts jiggle, sawed off frets from a braising rod, carved on the top ... true faith true light have faith in God.

Columnists: Ain't that close to love?

posted: 01/24/2016 1:56 a.m. Comments 5

We had a scare.

ON FILM: More film fans list their Best of 2015

posted: 01/22/2016 4 a.m. Discuss

Every year around this time we ask some of our favorite film enthusiasts to tell us what they liked last year. This is the third -- and very probably final -- installment of those Top 10 lists.

Review: Youth

posted: 01/22/2016 1:48 a.m. Discuss

Watching Youth, the latest from Italian auteur Paolo Sorrentino (whose 2013 The Great Beauty won an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film), is more than a little like thumbing through the pages of a high-end lifestyle magazine, perhaps something with Aficionado in its name. It's very pleasant to look at all the pretty pictures and diverting to read the inevitably smug and self-aggrandizing prose aimed a yard or two above the heads of an aspirational audience, but once you put it down and go on with your life you never think of it again.

Review: The Danish Girl

updated: 01/22/2016 1 a.m. Discuss

I don't like it when movie critics play prognosticator -- who or what will win any given award really isn't a critic's business. Academy Awards are given to certain kinds of movies and to actors who play certain kinds of roles under certain kinds of conditions, and while I wouldn't say there's no correlation between quality and accolades, there are a lot of wonderful films that have absolutely no chance of being recognized at the little Chamber of Commerce banquet Hollywood will hold next month.

Review: Room

updated: 01/22/2016 1 a.m. Discuss

Once upon a time, a boy called Jack was born into a circumscribed world, where everything was its own Aristotelian idea. He lived in a kind of cave -- Room -- where outside reality is filtered through a television. His mother -- "Ma," the only woman in the world -- made sure he knew these images were "not real." All that is real was what he could see and touch: Chair, Window, Table, Bed.

Columnists: PHILIP MARTIN: Sean Penn took a shot

posted: 01/21/2016 2:51 a.m. Comments 8

I'd offered myself to experiences beyond my control in numerous countries of war, terror, corruption and disaster. Places where what can go wrong will go wrong, had gone wrong, and yet in the end, had delivered me in one piece with a deepening situational awareness (though not a perfect science) of available cautions within the design in chaos.

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