Steven Spielberg's Lincoln didn't sit quite right with Connecticut Congressman Joe Courtney, namely the part of the film that depicts two of his predecessors from Connecticut voting against the constitutional amendment to end slavery. Courtney left the theater, checked the facts and discovered that the movie was in fact wrong: All four Connecticut representatives at the time voted for the amendment. Courtney tells Audie Cornish that he is now asking Spielberg to correct the error before the film goes to DVD.
There's a sequence early in the laughable drama The Playroom that epitomizes everything wrong with it: With her parents out of the house, 16-year-old Maggie Cantwell (Olivia Harris), the eldest of four latchkey kids, sneaks into the garage with her boyfriend on a determined quest to lose her virginity. While the two fumble around clumsily on the floor, Maggie's youngest brother, Sam (Ian Veteto), sits outside the garage door, trying to sew a merit badge onto his shirt but struggling to thread the needle.
Originally published on Thu February 7, 2013 6:14 pm
In the opening sequence of The Sorcerer and the White Snake, two monks step through a giant gate and find themselves in a new world — one made entirely of computer-generated images. Only Fahai (Jet Li) and his disciple Neng Ren (Zhang Wen) are human.
"Don't believe everything you see," the older man warns.
The new road-trip comedy Identity Thief — about a guy who confronts a woman who's wrecking his credit rating — is such a catalog of missed opportunities, it probably makes sense just to list them.
The setup: Sandy Patterson, who works in a Denver financial firm (and is not supposed to be mentally challenged), blithely hands over his Social Security number to a stranger on the phone who says his accounts have been compromised, at which point his accounts get compromised. No tricks, no subterfuge, no laughs — he's just stupid.
It took years for our fictions to consider the Holocaust narrative. And for an even longer time, a stunned silence hovered over the fate of "Hitler's children" — ordinary Germans during and after World War II. That embargo, too, is lifting, with a significant trickle of novels, movies and television dramas that imagine what it felt like to be the inheritors of the worst that humans can do to other humans.
Originally published on Thu February 7, 2013 3:40 pm
There's no separating Charlie Sheen from Charles Swan, the titular representation of the male id at its most self-obsessed in Roman Coppola's uneven A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III. But for better and decidedly worse, that's the point.
It's the drug's fault, man. That's the defense offered by the perpetrator brought to trial in Side Effects, a stylish, vaguely Hitchcockian dud. But what excuse does this fatally silly movie have?
The film, reportedly the final big-screen effort for prolific director Steven Soderbergh, begins in a New York apartment where something bad has happened. Blood on the floor, smeared and tracked by footprints, suggests murder, suicide or extreme clumsiness.
Originally published on Thu February 7, 2013 3:44 pm
The Gallup Organization, one of the polling industry's oldest brand names, is calling in an outsider to do a comprehensive review after its 2012 election polls consistently favored Republican candidate Mitt Romney.
University of Michigan professor Michael Traugott, a past president of the American Association for Public Opinion Research, has been working with Gallup since December to test several of its methods. Among them: how many interviews are conducted by cellphones; how it measures likely voters and early voters; and how it assesses the impact of get-out-the-vote efforts.
Originally published on Thu February 7, 2013 5:12 pm
Immigrants from Asia and Latin America are more conservative than their U.S.-born children, according to a study released Thursday by the Pew Research Center.
And while most immigrants from Asia and Latin America identify with the Democratic Party, the report found that Hispanic members of the second generation — those born in the United States with at least one parent born outside of the country — were even more likely to identify as Democrats than their parents.
Movies are big business in China, and 2012 was another record year: Theaters raked in about $2.7 billion, pushing China past Japan to become the world's second-largest market.
Those blistering sales were expected; China's ultimate box-office champ, however, was not.
Hollywood blockbusters usually do well in China. And last year, competition was stiff, including a new installment of Tom Cruise's Mission: Impossible franchise, as well as Skyfall, the latest James Bond flick.
Thursday marks the beginning of New York Fashion Week, where big-name designers like Michael Kors, Anna Sui and Vera Wang will debut their Fall 2013 collections. It's part of an industry that generates billions of dollars of revenue for New York City, employing hundreds of thousands of workers. But the real business of fashion happens several blocks south of the glamorous Lincoln Center runways,in New York's Garment District.
Originally published on Thu February 7, 2013 8:15 pm
Rowan Atkinson, the British comedian who's probably best known to Americans as Mr. Bean, is in the record books for something that's not all that funny.
According to reports from The Scotsman and other news outlets in the U.K., Atkinson's insurers paid 910,000 British pounds (about $1.4 million) to repair the McLaren F1 supercar that he wrecked in 2011. That's a U.K. record, newspapers say.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. This afternoon, the Senate Intelligence Committee takes up the nomination of John Brennan to be the next director of the CIA, a hearing that will feature a festival of euphemisms. One man's targeted killing is another man's assassination.
The faces of American Kim Lee and her Chinese husband, Li Yang, both in their 40s, once graced the covers of books that sold in the millions. He was China's most famous English teacher, the "Crazy English" guru of China, who pioneered his own style of English teaching: pedagogy through shouted language, yelling to halls of thousands of students.
His methods were given official recognition after he was employed by the Beijing Olympic Organizing Committee to teach Olympic volunteers.
Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 1:33 pm
The Philadelphia Museum of Art recently commissioned Jason Moran to write music in conjunction with its exhibition of quilts made by a remarkable group of African-American women in a small rural community on a bend in the Alabama River.
What is endless? The Universe (theoretically). Summer. Swimming pools. Shrimp. These are all well and good, but what of riffs? Is there is a band for which the riff cannot be confined to a single hook? A band for which three-minute songs are an insult to said riff? A band with riffs so repetitively, knuckle-draggingly dumb that it has to be some kind of genius? Yes, that band is Endless Boogie.
When San Francisco's Animal Care & Control put out the word last month that it needed more newspapers to line the cages for dogs that have to take care of business, the city's library system stepped up to help.
The new FX show The Americans follows the Jennings family — a typical American family in Ronald Reagan's America, who happen to be Soviet spies. With Elizabeth (Keri Russell) and Phillip Jennings (Matthew Rhys) at the center of the show, viewers will find themselves rooting for the couple that's secretly working for the KGB and against anyone who might blow their cover.
Washington Post TV critic Hank Stuever notes that this is just the latest in a slew of TV shows that focus on deeply flawed leads.
Originally published on Thu February 7, 2013 8:16 pm
Less than a year after orchestrating a bounty program in Saint Louis, Gregg Williams will be back in the NFL next season. The Tennessee Titans have hired the former Saints defensive coordinator as a senior assistant coach.
Originally published on Thu February 7, 2013 8:16 pm
Germany was the world's most future-oriented country in 2012, followed by Switzerland and Japan, according to the "Future Orientation Index." Researchers found that in Germany and 10 nations last year, more people used Google to search for "2013" than for "2011."
The 11 countries represent a gain over 2011, when only seven countries had as many searches for the upcoming year as for the prior one.