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Article Archive for June 2010

Catching Up With 2010: When in Rome

June 30, 2010 – 4:54 pm |

Romantic locations are a perfect fit for romances of any sub-genre, so why bother going all the way to Rome just to set up a plot point and then hightail it back to New York where – by sheer mindblowing coincidence – every guy who magically falls in love with our protagonist just so happens to live? If When in Rome actually covered the time our heroine spends in Rome it would be about 12 minutes long. And if you analyze the title further – it’s short for “When in Rome, do as the Romans do” – then it makes even less sense.

Video Game Review: Transformers: War for Cybertron

June 29, 2010 – 9:50 pm | 6 Comments
Video Game Review: <em>Transformers: War for Cybertron</em>

All is not well on Cybertron, home of the Transformers. A Civil War has been raging for years between the evil Decepticons and the pure-of-heart Autobots, and at the start of the game the tables have turned against our heroes as Megatron harnesses the awe-inspiring power of Dark Energon, whatever that is, to power his soldiers and conquer the planet.

Book Review: Winston’s War: Churchill, 1940-1945 by Max Hastings

June 29, 2010 – 2:22 pm | One Comment
Book Review: <em>Winston’s War: Churchill, 1940-1945</em> by Max Hastings

The next two years of the war for Churchill were a harrowing march through what his wife, Clementine called the “valley of humiliation.” Defeats in Greece, in the Battle of Crete and in North Africa in 1941 were followed by the Japanese capture of Singapore in February 1942. That same month, the daring “Channel Dash” by German warships under siege in Cherbourg to their home naval bases stung British pride to its core. Great Britain, the nation of Marlborough, Churchill’s warrior ancestor, and Lord Nelson was losing the war on land and sea.

Paul Emmanuel: Transitions: Identity Construction in South Africa

June 29, 2010 – 12:46 pm |
<em>Paul Emmanuel: Transitions</em>: Identity Construction in South Africa

As Emmanuel watched black and white soldiers go through the same seminal moment of transition, he discovered that the process now represented community building, national pride, and the overcoming of past evils rather than prejudice, violence and control.

Art Review: Late Renoir at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

June 28, 2010 – 9:53 pm | 3 Comments
Art Review: <em>Late Renoir</em> at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

In the case of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, some were even put up for sale. In 1989, after Renoir’s Reclining Nude (1902) was sold by MOMA, the museum’s chief curator, Kirk Varnedoe, made a comment revealing the extent to which Renoir’s reputation had fallen. ”There are many people who would like the painting very much,” Varnedoe said of Renoir’s Reclining Nude, “but it simply didn’t belong to the story of modern art that we are telling.”

The Weekly Listicle: Hilarity FAIL.

June 24, 2010 – 5:38 pm |

Rock, Spade, James, Schneider, and Sandler: A veritable explosion of funny. Or not?
For every Superbad, Juno, and The Hangover, there are fifty comedies that boast former “SNL” cast members, well-known talent, and sometimes even …

Art Review: Dr. Lakra at the ICA, Boston

June 24, 2010 – 10:12 am |
Art Review: <em>Dr. Lakra</em> at the ICA, Boston

A quartet of anatomical drawings from Munich, printed perhaps a hundred years ago, are especially lovely. Lakra has “tattooed” the forearms and torsos with pale blue marks; he has also transformed a man into a saint, blending science and religion, art and iconography, showing that decoration can sanctify or vandalize.

Heat Wave: Movies that make us feel

June 23, 2010 – 5:43 pm | 3 Comments

Dreamy, steamy summertime: Kirsten Dunst in The Virgin Suicides.
I’ve no idea how the rest of the country is faring, but in the southeast and Midwest, it’s as if the pits of hell have opened …

Art Review: A Visual Alphabet: Herbert Bayer’s Anthology Paintings at the Denver Art Museum

June 23, 2010 – 9:48 am |
Art Review: <em>A Visual Alphabet: Herbert Bayer’s Anthology Paintings</em> at the Denver Art Museum

Student and then teacher at the legendary Bauhaus school, Bayer exercised his talents in fields as diverse as typography, architecture, and sculpture. He designed covers for Harper’s Bazaar, and applied his graphic talents to toothpaste and nose drops, moving easily from the cultural hothouse of Weimar Germany to the postwar corporate America of Don Draper.

The Great Music Videos #3: “Blue Song” by Mint Royale (dir. Edgar Wright)

June 22, 2010 – 12:24 am | 2 Comments

Fielding doesn’t have a watch… “Not that I read too good,” his defense… and asks for the exact amount of time he’ll be expected to wait for the heist to be completed. After some debate, the thieves settle on two minutes and fifty four seconds. Fielding selects a track of that exact length – “Blue Song” by Mint Royale – and the suspense begins.

Movie Review: Toy Story 3

June 19, 2010 – 11:21 am |
Movie Review: <em>Toy Story 3</em>

The toys have to employ numerous Rube Goldberg-style methods of escape—one imagines that board meetings with the production crew were comprised of people wondering aloud, “Now, if you were eight inches tall, how would you make it through two locked doors and over an eight-foot wall?” (Who wouldn’t kill for one of those jobs?)

Movie Review: Jonah Hex

June 19, 2010 – 10:49 am |
Movie Review: <em>Jonah Hex</em>

Any audience member unlucky enough to find themselves in a theater showing Jonah Hex will soon feel the same way. For the sake of the filmmakers’ careers, the audience’s sanity, and the character of Jonah Hex himself (who deserves better than this), let’s all just close our eyes and pretend none of this ever happened. Agreed? Agreed.

Book Review: The Passage by Justin Cronin

June 17, 2010 – 2:23 pm | 4 Comments
Book Review: <em>The Passage</em> by Justin Cronin

Justin Cronin has written an epic here. Like Stephen King’s The Stand and Robert McCammon’s Swan Song, this book is a character-driven apocalyptic road trip of a novel that takes us on a journey both physical and metaphysical. His writing transcends genre in every way, including a haunting description of death by nuclear fire.

The Weekly Listicle: Ten Sequels We Actually WANT To See!

June 17, 2010 – 2:44 am | One Comment

Any sequel that gets us thinking about our lives, loves and futures is already a good idea, and that got us thinking here at the California Literary Review. We see so many unwanted, half-conceived sequels in the movie industry, but are there any sequels we actually want to see, yet somehow haven’t been made? Prepare yourself for this edition of The Weekly Listicle, in which Julia Rhodes and I (William Bibbiani) think would be a good idea, and not just a quick cash-in (I’m looking at you, Paranormal Activity 2).

Book Review: Myths from Mesopotamia by Stephanie Dalley

June 16, 2010 – 10:08 am | One Comment
Book Review: <em>Myths from Mesopotamia</em> by Stephanie Dalley

I asked them why they, unannounced, wished to meet with the director and they told me that they had just discovered Noah’s ark in Turkey. As I had met a few others along the way conning people with this ark stuff I asked to see the proof. He immediately pulled out a black and white photo showing what looked like a rock cliff and asked, ‘What do you see?’ I looked at it closely and replied, ‘All I can see is that someone took a ballpoint pen and drew a photo of a ship on the rock face’. They replied, in that charming Tennessee accent, ‘Well, it’s a bit hard to see so we’all took a ball point pen and highlighted it for ‘y’all.’

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