Originally published on Thu April 18, 2013 4:54 pm
If it seems perplexing why an idea that has broad support nationally could fail to pass the U.S. Senate, here's an important reminder: The Senate is not a democratic institution.
It never has been, and it was never designed to be. Rather, it was structured to give small or sparsely populated states the ability to stop the majority's will. And on Wednesday, that's how it worked out, as the Senate failed to reach a 60-vote threshold to support new background checks on gun purchases.
Artist Jackie Sumell set out to build a dream home for bank robber Herman Wallace, whose additional conviction for killing a prison guard is the subject of a long-running dispute.
Credit First Run Features
A 3-D rendering of Wallace's dream house; Sumell's juxtaposition of the house and Wallace's 6-by-8 prison cell is a statement on the severity of solitary confinement in Louisiana's notorious state penitentiary.
The off-screen protagonist of Herman's House, Herman Wallace, already has a dwelling for his body: a 6-foot-by-8-foot cell at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, aka Angola. But the documentary's on-screen protagonist, Jackie Sumell, wants him also to have a place for his soul: a dream house for a man who desperately needs dreams.
The enigmatic Julia (Olga Kurylenko) surfaces from the mysterious past of Victoria's husband, Jack (Tom Cruise), a repairman tending drones on a largely abandoned Earth.
Credit Universal Pictures
The sterile, futuristic gloss of the post-apocalyptic living spaces in <em>Oblivion</em> are a perfect setting for Andrea Riseborough's icy Victoria — whose humanity, showing occasionally through the odd crack in her reserve, informs some of the film's strongest moments.
The score for Oblivion was composed by M83, a superb French electronic outfit that derives its name from one of the spectral pinwheels known as spiral galaxies. I point this out because it's the best element of the movie — a cascade of dreamy synthesizers that registers as appropriately futuristic (at least the future as suggested by '80s pop) while allowing an undercurrent of romantic yearning.
The best documentaries about filmmaking are the ones that show it at its worst.
Movie sets are fundamentally boring places, where there's mostly a lot of waiting around going on. But when disaster strikes with millions of dollars on the line, the tension and drama are suddenly amped up to levels that often equal those in the movie being filmed.
Derek (Alexander Skarsgard) and wife Cindy (Paula Patton) are sandbagged by online identity thieves who steal their credit information — even as they're still grappling with the death of their young son.
Credit LD Entertainment
In a loosely connected storyline, the relationship between an investigative journalist (Andrea Riseborough) and a young digital sex worker (Max Thieriot) grows increasingly complicated as the twisted plot of <em>Disconnect</em> unwinds.
The title of Disconnect may be read as describing any of several things: the gulf between online and real-world interactions; the chasm that opens between human beings when spoken communication fails; our default emotional position in the face of unthinkable tragedy.
Attempting to address all three interpretations within the confines of a single movie may be courting failure, but writer Andrew Stern and director Henry-Alex Rubin go one better, adding an unnecessary cybercrime angle that muffles the screenplay's more subtle psychological insights.
Neil Heslin, father of 6-year-old Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victim Jesse Lewis, holds a picture of the two of them as he testifies during a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee in February.
Credit Alex Wong / Getty Images
Family members of those killed in the Newtown, Conn., school shooting stand together as President Obama speaks at the White House on Wednesday, after gun control measures were defeated in the Senate. In the foreground are Mark and Jackie Barden with their children Natalie and James, who lost Daniel. Behind them are Nicole Hockley, mother of Dylan, and Jeremy Richman, father of Avielle.
Credit Carolyn Kaster / AP
Mike Cragin and his bulldog, Truman, stopped by the Dunkin' Donuts in Newtown, Conn., on Thursday. After the elementary school shooting in December, Cragin came to the same place and put up a sign inviting people to hug his dog.
Originally published on Thu April 18, 2013 4:47 pm
Following the Senate's rejection Wednesday of a range of gun control measures, including universal background checks, many in Newtown, Conn., are reacting with surprise and disappointment. The town is still stricken with grief from the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December that took the lives of 20 students and six adults.
On Thursday morning, Mike Cragin stopped by the Dunkin' Donuts in Newtown with his bulldog, Truman.
Originally published on Fri April 19, 2013 3:42 pm
The advent of bebop added a fresh sound to American music. It also added new voices to some metropolitan radio stations: the late-night jazz DJs who specialized in presenting this new music to their fellow hipster nightflies.
To recognize the work of the groundbreaking DJs who lent them critical exposure, jazz musicians of the period would occasionally write songs in their honor. Here are five of those songs.
Bonnie Bishop makes her first appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live at the Culture Center Theater in Charleston, W.Va. Nashville-based by way of Texas and Mississippi, Bishop has made a name for herself with her songs and powerful live performances. In 2002, she toured Texas' vast roots-music circuit, and has since released four albums in a span of six years. Her work earned her a nomination for "Vocal Performance of the Year" at the Lone Star Music Awards.