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Friday, February 27, 2015, 7:14 a.m.
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Philip Martin

Stories by Philip

On Film: Sniper hit home with bigger audience than winner Birdman

posted: 02/27/2015 1:53 a.m. Discuss

People get weird over movies.

Review: Mr. Turner

updated: 02/27/2015 1:48 a.m. Discuss

Mike Leigh's Mr. Turner explores the last quarter-century of a superficially ordinary genius.

Critical Mass: Oscars more about glitzy show itself than films

posted: 02/22/2015 2:16 a.m. Discuss

Tonight people in Hollywood will give each other trophies and make speeches expressing their gratitude to the many people who helped them achieve whatever the statuette they hold in their hands symbolizes. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' annual awards presentation is one of the few communal experiences left to us, one of the rituals of obligation that knits this large and diverse nation together. Like the Super Bowl, it is a secular rite that's less important for the winners and losers it identifies than for the fact of its existence.

An open letter to the legislature

posted: 02/22/2015 1:51 a.m. Comments 29

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen of the Arkansas Legislature, You’re only going to be around, at best, for another 60 or 70 years.

On Film: Oscar predictions for 2014 films

posted: 02/20/2015 1:53 a.m. Discuss

The 87th annual Academy Awards will be broadcast Sunday night. As is our custom, we've assembled some highly invested industry observers and award mavens to help you -- yes, you, dear reader -- win your Oscar night party pool. (After several years of sitting these contests out, I'm returning to the contest, if only to provide comic relief.)

On Books: Mystery is part of novel's charm

posted: 02/15/2015 2:21 a.m. Discuss

It is the nature of a mind to wander and to sometimes be lost. We watch a movie like Still Alice or Away From Her, and we think about how sad it must be to be disconnected from our memories. As much as life coaches urge us to occupy the moment, most of us find the prospect of having only the present in which to live terrifying.

Columnists: The Lincolns we need, the Lincolns we deserve

posted: 02/15/2015 1:53 a.m. Discuss

"How can any one who abhors the oppression of Negroes be in favor of degrading classes of white people? Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring 'all men are created equal.' We now practically read it 'all men are created equal, except.' When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read 'all men are created equal, except Negroes and foreigners and Catholics.' When it comes to this, I shall prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty--to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure and without the base alloy of hypocrisy."

Alice through a glass, darkly

posted: 02/13/2015 1:50 a.m. Discuss

There are countless ways to approach any work of art. Our response to any given movie depends in part on how we prepare ourselves for it. Going into Still Alice, I knew certain things about it.

Review: Old Fashioned

posted: 02/13/2015 1:46 a.m. Discuss

Old Fashioned is a faith-based movie that apparently means to position itself as a corrective to the bacchanal raging two doors down in the cineplex. It means to be the anti-Fifty Shades of Grey and, if Fifty Shades of Grey turns out to be a miracle of nuanced and thoughtful cinema, it will have achieved its goal.

Spirits: Pound some Bud: Do 'real' men drink craft?

posted: 02/08/2015 2:49 a.m. Discuss

Maybe the biggest surprise of last Sunday's Super Bowl was a Budweiser ad.

Review: Dardenne brothers’ latest a study of desperation, human dignity

posted: 02/06/2015 1:54 a.m. Discuss

Would you sell out a co-worker for a 1,000-euro ($1,200) bonus? What if you really needed the money? What if the co-worker had just taken a leave of absence during which the company operated just fine without her? What if you understood that management wanted to lay off someone anyway, and that if this woman's job was saved, then yours might very well be lost?

On Film: White elephant art about termite art

posted: 02/06/2015 1:52 a.m. Discuss

According to the people who set the odds, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's Birdman has emerged as one of the favorites for the Best Picture Oscar. By now you probably know it stars former Batman Michael Keaton as Riggan Thomson, an aging actor who once played a popular superhero -- the title character -- in a series of successful Hollywood movies. Now, 20 or more years removed from his greatest popular success, Riggan is trying to reinvigorate his flagging spirit, recover his credibility and perhaps even become relevant in a digitally blinkered world by staging his own adaptation of the Raymond Carver short story "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love" on Broadway.

On Books: Political is personal in Carey's Amnesia

posted: 02/01/2015 2:04 a.m. Discuss

It used to be we were insulated from our enemies by oceans and walls, by physical obstacles that, if they didn't effectively impede the invaders' progress, at least served to warn us of their coming. Later we would learn that the real enemy is within, embedded in our society and perhaps even within our genes and hearts. Part of the modern condition is to know there's nowhere to run to, baby, nowhere to hide.

DeflateGate is just what the NFL needs

posted: 02/01/2015 1:57 a.m. Comment 1

Can we admit to being delighted with DeflateGate? (It's a boring appellation but the leading alternative--"Ballghazi"--is tasteless.) It seems the most playful kind of scandal, an almost yippie-esque response to the regulated blandness of the National Football League.

Music review: 2 minds 1 as duo hit high notes on LR stage

posted: 01/31/2015 2:29 a.m. Discuss

At its best, jazz eludes capture and mechanical reproduction. It is a moment, a collaboration between players and listeners, irreducible to digital bytes or grooves cut in wax. At its best it is a communion of minds, a kind of telepathy between simpatico beings. With the best jazz, you always have to be there.


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