Contrarian to the Stars: I Defend the “Star Trek” Episodes You Hate

I have finally finished my epic rewatch of "Star Trek: The Original Series." (Previous posts here, here.) The final stretch was defined by my discovery that lots of supposedly terrible episodes are either genuinely good, or better than I'd remembered.There is one exception. That exception is, of course, Spock's Brain.Let's do this thing. Bread and Circuses, infamous for supposedly pushing Christianity with Uhura's final line, "Not the sun in the sky, Mr. Spock--the Son of God!", is … [Read more...]

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“‘Hamilton’ and the Romance of Government”: My take

for AmCon: I’ve finally heard “Hamilton,” the Broadway hip-hop musical about the first Secretary of the U.S. Treasury, and I can say: It’s a brilliant, empathetic example of a genre I don’t believe in. more … [Read more...]

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Five Links from a Criminal Justice System: Modern Dance, The Rise and Fall of Restorative Justice in a NY Town, And the Top Stories of 2016

I'm super breaking my supposed rule that I won't link to the Marshall Project here because you should be following them on Twitter. You should be following them on Twitter! And you can donate to their work here. Anyway, check out their "Next Year in Criminal Justice":The challenge at the end of any year on any beat is to make sense of the great majority of stories that fall somewhere in the middle. What’s going to “trend” in 2016 in criminal justice, and what’s not, and how can anyone possibl … [Read more...]

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“The Far-Out Sci-Fi Costume Parties of the Bauhaus School in the 1920s”: Ring in the New Year Right

with some retro-futurism: As we get ready to tell yet another year to kiss our collective asses on its way out the door, that also means it’s almost time for that annual liver-killing bacchanal known as New Year’s Eve. But no matter what you have planned this year, I’m fairly certain that your party will not even come close to the costume parties thrown by students and teachers of Germany’s Bauhaus school back in the 1920s. more; via WKO … [Read more...]

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“The Sinner Teodora” Takes Viewers Inside a Romanian Women’s Monastery

Last night I watched "Pacatoasa Teodora" (The Sinner Teodora), an elliptical documentary by director Anca Hirte. It follows a young woman named Teodora as she prepares to make her final vows (? this was not a documentary big on explaining situations or helping the viewer) at a women's monastery.This is a haiku-like, compressed film, with lots of overlapping conversations about nothing in particular and lots of very tight close-ups on Teodora's lips or eyes. It's a sidelong glance at monastic … [Read more...]

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“Jingle All the Way to Hell”: I revirew “Krampus”

for AmCon: With 2007’s “Trick ‘r Treat,” horror fans hailed director Michael Dougherty for reviving both the horror anthology and the Halloween flick. Now he hopes to do the same for Christmas horror with “Krampus.” I liked but didn’t love “Trick ‘r Treat” and I wish I didn’t have to say the same thing about this new movie, since its ideas are fresh–but the execution, so to speak, leaves a few things to be desired. more (and see my Christmas-horror list here) … [Read more...]

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Beyond “Die Hard”: Some Christmas Flicks for the Cold and Creepy Child Within

A few years back I started noticing how many bleak, cheerless, or just unexpected films are set during tinsel season. That penitential stretch from just-before-Thanksgiving to just-after-New-Year's can be really hard for people. Meta-emotions are at an all-time high (It's the most! wonderful!! time of the year!) and you're intensely reminded of all your financial and familial stresses. A couple of the daytime workers at the pregnancy center agreed with me that we've been getting an unusual … [Read more...]

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