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  • In 'Blackhat,' Thor trades Mjölnir for continental philosophy in Michael Mann's latest

    In 'Blackhat,' Thor trades Mjölnir for continental philosophy in Michael Mann's latest
    We first encounter Nick Hathaway (Chris Hemsworth) in a maximum-security prison cell, where the erstwhile MIT student and anarchic brogrammer makes the most of his time, as he later explains, by exercising his body (push-ups) and his mind (his bookshelf is a virtual roll call of postwar French philosophy, name-checking Baudrillard, Foucault, Lyotard, etc.). The pointed mise-en-scène here functions almost like an overture, articulating the themes that will be developed through the film: the ways in which technology disrupts the dynamics of power, affording institutions terrifyingly effective tools of social control, while also facilitating novel means of mischief-making for relatively loveable rogues like Hathaway, as well as decidedly more malicious sorts.
  • 'Mr. Turner,' Mike Leigh's unsentimental, phlegmy J.M.W. Turner biopic

    'Mr. Turner,' Mike Leigh's unsentimental, phlegmy J.M.W. Turner biopic
    Joseph Mallord William Turner didn’t so much speak as cough up phlegmatic sounds. At least, such is the early 19th-century English artist’s go-to response as realized by Timothy Spall’s lived-in performance in director Mike Leigh’s...

    A revival of 'Annie' at the Hippodrome revives the musical's mildly revolutionary roots

    A revival of 'Annie' at the Hippodrome revives the musical's mildly revolutionary roots
    People get really attached to musicals. There’s something about show tunes—maybe it’s their connections to childhood theater experiences, their perceived wholesomeness, their often heart-on-sleeve,  even corny lyrics, but that music,...

    Clicking and Streaming: 'Memphis' and 'LFO: The Movie,' two oblique music movies

    Clicking and Streaming: 'Memphis' and 'LFO: The Movie,' two oblique music movies
    "Memphis" Directed by Tim Sutton Currently streaming on Netflix Blinked-and-you-missed-him 2012 indie rock savior Willis Earl Beal (an outsider musician in part discovered when Found magazine published one of his fliers looking for a girlfriend in...

    Wandering Eye: A glimpse at new Gov. Larry Hogan, Clint Eastwood's antiwar politics, and more

    Wandering Eye: A glimpse at new Gov. Larry Hogan, Clint Eastwood's antiwar politics, and more
    Back in 2011, Angello Osborne was arrested and jailed in Harford County for more than eight months on charges that he raped and sodomized his 5-year-old daughter in his Edgewood apartment, until prosecutors, despite having told the media that the daughter...