A few weeks ago my sister alerted me to an inadvertently hilarious detergent ad that
ran during Mad Men. It popped up again the other night, and thanks to the narration's awkward grammar it's still danged funny. You'll find the relevant lines in the first comment on this post in case you don't catch them or can't play the video.
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I highly recommend the UK film In the Loop, especially if you enjoy gleefully
cynical inside-politics satire.
Honestly, I'm afraid of how little exaggeration there may be in this fictional tale of
the run-up to a war in the Middle East based on flimsy — if not fabricated — evidence produced by factions in the US and British governments. But it's less an indictment
of hawkish politicians per se or some would-be cinéma à clef about the Bush Administration than it is an all-too-believable comedic gloss on how any perspective can be spun and sold through power, determination, technology, and the right people saying the right kind of thing amidst the 24/7 news machine.
Peter Capaldi is hilariously foul-mouthed in his rapid-fire Scottish brogue as, I think,
an enforcer of sorts from the UK Prime Minister's office trying to rein in a hapless junior minister and coordinate with US Assistant Secretaries of State at odds with one another over the prospect of war. The characters on the British side, especially, seem quite casual in a way that makes their protocol hard to follow, but there's definitely a food chain, as well as disdain on the American side for the UK representatives and jockeying for position within the US contingent as well.
Director Armando Iannucci created the British TV series The Thick of It, from which
In the Loop apparently borrows some characters and even more actors cast in similar but nominally different roles. The only faces most American moviegoers will recognize belong to The Sopranos' James Gandolfini as a gruff yet poignantly human US general and, possibly, Anna Chlumsky, who starred in My Girl almost two decades ago and
here turns in one of the strongest performances in a film whose cast is uniformly excellent.
Featuring dolly shots and dialogue that put The West Wing to shame, capturing the literal and metaphorical crush of the corridors of power, In the Loop is worth your
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I've been a DC Comics reader for about 35 years now. While most kids in my generation dropped the comics habit by their teens, occasionally to rediscover the medium in college as it grew up with them, I went the opposite route, hitching my train to the industry and expanding my exposure to the art form. I had to go cold turkey several years ago, unable to work and in financial crisis, but when I finally, hesitantly put my toe back into the waters the first thing I did was check in on the characters I'd loved most dearly.
DC is different today. And while that's true in the larger sense of these times vs. those times, I mean that DC is actually different today. Paul Levitz is stepping down as President and Publisher of DC Comics after a long tenure in corporate positions, and its parent company has announced the formation of DC Entertainment.
I saw the, um, original repeat of Glee's first episode the other day and wish I'd been able to post a review before the encore encore tonight. Was it music to my ears? Not entirely, but I'm rooting for it.
Glee photos © 2009 and logo TM 20th Century Fox Television.
Uneven but interesting, that pilot is certainly worth sampling before the series
finally continues next Wednesday, Sept. 9th, at 9 p.m. ET. It was previewed last spring — in prime real estate after American Idol — even though the show's actual debut was always scheduled for this fall. Fox must have felt it had an offbeat winner and hoped
to stoke buzz throughout the summer; indeed, reception was generally favorable and songs from the series have been popular downloads on iTunes.
Whether you should check it out depends heavily on your ability to (a) relate to the politics of adolescence, (2) appreciate tautly sung show-tune versions of pop songs from various eras, and (c) accommodate yourself to entertainment presented with and without irony in quick alternation if not simultaneously.