NO SURFERS: “Tuff Turf” (1985 at Its 1985iest)

So they told me that James Spader and Robert Downey, Jr., in their misspent youth, once played semipunk delinquent BFFs. They did not have to tell me more.Tuff Turf (dir. Fritz Kiersch, and now I want to know why I don't know this name already) is sort of John Hughes high-school class-war romance (only not annoying like John Hughes movies always eventually are), in the Reseda version of the school from Class of '84. Gangs prowl and switchblades bristle, but instead of CO84's howling anger … [Read more...]

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A Long Summer: Movie notes

In the order I saw them. Saving the best for last.Hush: Home-invasion horror centering on a deaf woman. This is very suspenseful--really effective--and I loved that three of the four characters were noticeably, extremely quick-witted and resourceful. Absolutely worth watching if this is the sort of thing you like. Quite bloody. The ending has some degree of ambiguity; I'm choosing the grimmer interpretation because I think the movie has already given you plenty of reasons to consider even … [Read more...]

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“Ecstatic Dance”: I review “The Fits,” A Stunning Film

review at First Things: Anna Rose Holmer's extraordinary new film The Fits begins with a young girl whose body obeys her will implicitly. “One,” eleven-year-old Toni (Royal Hightower) counts, as she pulls herself into a sit-up in the very center of the frame. “Two.”She works her body, grunting and gasping and twisting just a little with the effort, all the way past twenty. Then it's time to box. She spars with her older brother (Da'Sean Minor): She is a child, a disciple. She helps him clean … [Read more...]

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Antisocial Housing: I review “High-Rise”

at AmCon: The xkcd cartoon “Logic Boat” shows the familiar problem of the man who has to carry a wolf, a goat, and a cabbage across a river. The problem: “The boat only holds two, and you can’t leave the goat with the cabbage or the wolf with the goat.”There’s a logic-puzzle solution here. There’s also the xkcd solution: “Leave the wolf. Why do you have a wolf?”High-Rise is a dystopian science-fiction flick about an experimental skyscraper in an alternate-history ’70s Britain. Eccentric … [Read more...]

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“A 2016 Foreign Policy Report Card”: From The American Conservative

B is for Bernie: Presidents have more latitude in foreign affairs than in domestic policy, and the trend over the past two administrations has been for presidents to be more hawkish than their campaign pledges led voters to expect. George W. Bush promised a “humble foreign policy.” Instead, he gave us the Iraq War. Barack Obama was elected in part to end Bush’s wars. But he too pursued regime change, with Pyrrhic success in Libya and abortively in Syria.These examples are alarming prece … [Read more...]

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Christie in Greeneland: From “Funerals Are Fatal”

"Because there's the most wonderful chance of a play. Michael's got an option on it. It's a most wonderful part for him and even a small part for me, too. It's about one of these young criminals, you know, that are really saints--it's absolutely full of the latest modern ideas.""So it would seem," said Mr Entwhistle stiffly."He robs, you know, and he kills, and he's hounded by the police and by society--and then in the end, he does a miracle."Mr Entwhistle sat in outraged silence. … [Read more...]

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In the Year of the Dragon: Ross Douthat Writes About Guns

so I don't have to. He makes his point in his characteristically careful, suggestive style, so I will add value by being incautious and blunt: Crime hysteria leads to expansions of state surveillance and punishment that target poor and minority communities. Gun control isn't different just because you personally are a progressive. Progressives are advocating for tools that others will wield. That is still true--in some ways more true, because the fear runs deeper--when the crime is real and … [Read more...]

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