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Philip Martin

Stories by Philip

Critical Mass: Happy 100th, Lady Day

posted: 05/03/2015 2:39 a.m. Discuss

Billie Holiday didn't think much of her voice.

The game being played in Baltimore

posted: 05/03/2015 1:54 a.m. Comments 3

Allergies dragged me into that resigned space where you know the price of every swivel of your head. My throat was raw, my eyes wept, and I was too dull to finish the Wednesday crossword puzzle. So through a vague delirium I watched the Baltimore Orioles play the Chicago White Sox in a nearly empty ballpark through a browser window in the corner of my screen.

Review: Any Day

posted: 05/01/2015 1:52 a.m. Discuss

An earnest, utterly predictable indie that wastes a couple of decent performances in service of a hackneyed and weak script, Any Day is less a bad film than a negligible one.

On Film: Tribeca fest surges with review choices

posted: 05/01/2015 1:52 a.m. Discuss

One of the things I have to remind myself of whenever I'm at a film festival is that I'm there to work.

Music: McMurtry tours with rich characters, gritty tone

posted: 04/28/2015 2:20 a.m. Discuss

Nobody talks to James McMurtry about his live guitar sound.

Critical Mass: The mysterious Mr. Dylan

posted: 04/26/2015 2:35 a.m. Discuss

People like to talk about the new image of America, but to me it's still the old one -- Marlon Brando, James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, it's not computers, cocaine and David Letterman, we gotta get off that -- Hedy Lamarr, Dorothy Dandridge, that's my idea of America ... who's improved on it?

Making movies on a tabletop

posted: 04/26/2015 1:55 a.m. Discuss

NEW YORK--It sounds awful to say it, but after a day of watching movies I would have been happy to skip Foxcatcher and Capote director Bennett Miller's interview of Christopher Nolan at this year's Tribeca Film Festival.

Review: Wild Tales

posted: 04/24/2015 2:17 a.m. Discuss

People are capable of amazing acts of love, generosity and self-sacrifice. They can also be vain, bitter and vengeful creatures who use their terrifying intelligence in precisely calibrated ways. The wonder of Argentinian writer-director Damian Szifron's Wild Tales is that it is somehow able to demonstrate the extremes of human unkindness while never reducing its characters to props.

Review: The Wrecking Crew

posted: 04/24/2015 2:14 a.m. Discuss

Tommy Tedesco was a minor hero of mine; I used to read his "Studio Log" column in Guitar Player magazine religiously. It was a witty and insightful read that demystified the life of a studio musician. In each column, Tedesco would give the details of a particular session date, informing us who the date was for, what gear he'd used, what particular problems he'd encountered, how he'd modified the music, and even how much he'd been paid. He also included a lead sheet from the session, usually decorated with his own hand-scribbled notes.

On Books: Great Gatsby, 'truest lie ever told,' turns 90

posted: 04/19/2015 2:07 a.m. Discuss

"Scott Fitzgerald's new novel, The Great Gatsby, is in form no more than a glorified anecdote, and not too probable at that."

Columnists: The Monkey Dance: why men fight

posted: 04/19/2015 1:49 a.m. Discuss

"If we were truly brave we should not accept a challenge, but we are all cowards."

Review: An Honest Liar

posted: 04/17/2015 1:47 a.m. Discuss

Magic is a science that involves misdirection and misinformation, the subverting of an audience's expectation by sleight of hand or the manipulation of light through reflection and refraction. It is by definition a presentation of illusion as reality, of the impossible as the truth. Because human beings often act irrationally and believe wishfully, any expert practitioner might convince a portion of the population that he owns supernatural or at least extrasensory powers. Because people are gullible and desperate to believe, the potential for abuse of magic is tremendous.

SPIRITS: Here's to the father of mixology

posted: 04/12/2015 2:08 a.m. Discuss

"For a time, the lawyer, the editor, the banker, the chief desperado, the chief gambler and the saloon-keeper occupied the same level in society, and it was the highest. The cheapest and easiest way to become an influential man and be looked up to by the community at large was to stand behind a bar, wear a cluster-diamond pin, and sell whisky. I am not sure but that the saloon-keeper held a shade higher rank than any other member of society. His opinion had weight. It was his privilege to say how the elections should go. No great movement could succeed without the countenance and direction of the saloon-keepers. It was a high favor when the chief saloon-keeper consented to serve in the legislature or the board of aldermen. Youthful ambition hardly aspired so much to the honors of the law, or the army and navy as to the dignity of proprietorship in a saloon. To be a saloon-keeper and kill a man was to be illustrious."

On love and death in Boston

posted: 04/12/2015 1:55 a.m. Discuss

I understand the urge to avenge.

Review: Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter

posted: 04/10/2015 2:12 a.m. Discuss

Reviews like this are always the hardest to write. I love this strange and mysterious movie and I want you to love it too.

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