It's All Politics
4:12 pm
Thu November 1, 2012

A Campaign Map, Morphed By Money

Adam Cole NPR

Originally published on Wed December 19, 2012 3:36 pm

Campaign reporters spend a lot of time pointing at color-coded electoral maps like the one below, showing which states voted for Republican John McCain (in red) and Democrat Barack Obama (in blue) in 2008.

But these maps lie — visually speaking.

Red appears to be the clear winner, dominating a vast swath from the South to the Rockies. It's all geographically accurate, but electorally skewed. For example, Montana (three electoral votes) dwarfs Massachusetts (which had 12 electoral votes in 2008).

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Movie Reviews
4:07 pm
Thu November 1, 2012

In 'The Bay,' A Plunge Into Suspense For Levinson

The dog days of summer turn deadly in The Bay.
Roadside Attractions

Originally published on Thu November 1, 2012 7:02 pm

For most of us, the enjoyment of horror movies depends on the sheer unlikeliness of their storylines. Knowing that the average swamp does not contain a slimy monster or that a nest of cannibals would have a hard time surviving in a depopulated desert — at some point, even mutants have to make a Wal-Mart run — is the cocoa that helps us sleep. And that's the challenge for The Bay: This astonishingly effective environmental nightmare is based on reasoning that, if you've been following the science, seems all too possible.

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Movie Reviews
4:03 pm
Thu November 1, 2012

'Ralph': An 8-Bit Hero With Plenty Of Heart

Wreck-It Ralph (John C. Reilly) grows tired of being overshadowed by Fix-It Felix Jr., the "good guy" star of their game, and sets off on a quest to prove he's got what it takes to be a hero.
Walt Disney Pictures

Originally published on Fri November 2, 2012 11:15 pm

After a very long engagement that began with the original Toy Story, Disney finally made an honest woman out of Pixar in 2006, when it paid the requisite billions to move the computer animation giant into the Magic Kingdom. But Disney's spirited 2010 hit Tangled made it abundantly clear that Pixar had a say in the creative marriage: The story of Rapunzel may be standard Disney princess fare, but the whip-crack pacing and fractured-fairy tale wit felt unmistakably Pixar. From now on, it would seem, Mickey Mouse and Luxo Jr.

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Movie Reviews
4:03 pm
Thu November 1, 2012

Battered But Not Broken, Vets Seek 'High Ground'

Spc. Steve Baskis goes on patrol in Iraq.
Steve Baskis

Mountain climbing asks a lot of its devotees. One should ideally be in top physical condition, with all senses at peak performance, and possessed of a quality that, if it's not best described as fearlessness, is at least a willingness to ignore the natural instinct not to dangle precariously above a drop of several thousand feet.

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Movie Reviews
4:03 pm
Thu November 1, 2012

A Life And A Plane, In Free Fall From 20,000 Feet

Airline pilot Whip Whitaker (Denzel Washington) is hailed as a hero after averting disaster when his plane malfunctions — but as Flight goes on, it turns out he's anything but a shining example.
Robert Zuckerman Paramount Pictures

Originally published on Thu November 1, 2012 6:21 pm

For Whip Whitaker, the commercial airline pilot played by Denzel Washington in Flight, daily life is about achieving a practiced but tenuous equilibrium between the professional he's required to be and the wreck he really is. As the opening scene reveals, it involves keeping his poisons in harmony: Peeling himself off a hotel bed after a wild night, Whip guzzles the stale swill from a quarter-full beer bottle, does a couple of lines of cocaine as a pick-me-up and strides confidently out the door in his uniform. This is the morning routine.

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Movie Reviews
4:03 pm
Thu November 1, 2012

Eyeliner, Lipstick And Finding Your 'Place'

Aging musician Cheyenne (Sean Penn) and his wife, Jane (Frances McDormand), live a relatively normal life out of the spotlight.
The Weinstein Co.

Originally published on Thu November 1, 2012 6:46 pm

A near-agoraphobic musician is an odd protagonist for a road movie, but then "odd" is the operative term for This Must Be the Place, Italian director Paolo Sorrentino's first English-language film. This mashup of genres and themes doesn't entirely succeed, but it is warm, funny and ably crafted.

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Movie Reviews
4:03 pm
Thu November 1, 2012

Amid Discord, A 'Quartet' Strives For Harmony

Members of a famous string quartet (Mark Ivanir, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Christopher Walken and Catherine Keener) fight to stay together despite internal conflict.
RKO Pictures

Originally published on Fri November 2, 2012 11:56 am

It's rare these days to see an old-fashioned, elegant chamber-piece movie about life and art — let alone one with Christopher Walken as, of all things, a steadying influence.

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The Two-Way
3:55 pm
Thu November 1, 2012

China Offers Proposal For Ceasefire In Syria

Originally published on Thu November 1, 2012 7:37 pm

China, which along with Russia has repeatedly rejected international intervention in the civil war in Syria, issued a cease-fire proposal on Thursday.

The proposal, reports The New York Times, calls for a "phased-in truce" and the "establishment of a transitional authority," but does stop short of calling for the ouster of President Bashar Assad.

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The Record
3:53 pm
Thu November 1, 2012

Go See The Old Guys

Originally published on Mon November 5, 2012 6:22 am

Neil Young made me write this. Before last Thursday, when ol' Shakey and his golden garage band Crazy Horse stomped through my local amphitheater, the last thing I'd thought I'd be excited about was a bunch of guys hovering around 70, playing loud rock and roll into the night.

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It's All Politics
3:42 pm
Thu November 1, 2012

Superstorm Sandy May Have Blown In Fresh Breeze Of Bipartisanship

President Obama is greeted by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie upon arriving in Atlantic City, N.J., on Wednesday to visit areas hardest hit by Superstorm Sandy.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 1, 2012 6:02 pm

Amid the devastation caused by Sandy, there are signs the superstorm might have blown a fresh breeze into the nation's politics. Suddenly, everyone's talking about something that seemed impossible just days before — bipartisanship.

Nothing sums that attitude up better than the actions of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Republican Christie, who has worked closely with GOP hopeful Mitt Romney's campaign and has consistently proved one of President Obama's harshest critics, put that aside in the aftermath of Sandy.

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