Not so ‘Kick-ass’

April 23, 2010
“Kick-Ass” is a film that makes no attempt to hide the fact that, at every turn, it thinks it’s fucking awesome. Whether it’s self-indulgent stunts or conceited allusions comparing itself to cult classics, the movie has a smug arrogance that pervades every frame. This isn’t to say that “Kick-Ass” is not entertaining — it is, »

Sex, lies and melodrama

April 9, 2010
“Chloe” is filled with the overused cinematic rhetoric of adultery and loneliness: the wife remains stoic when her husband doesn’t return home for his surprise birthday party; the husband’s phone reveals vague yet flirty e-mails from female students; when she walks into the room, he minimizes his IM windows. In fact, much of “Chloe” is »

Dakota Fanning – “Runaway” cokehead

March 26, 2010
Watching Dakota Fanning snort coke off a dirty bathroom floor is kind of like seeing a dog in a dinosaur costume or Snooki on the red carpet: it’s adorable, but extraordinarily unconvincing. Dakota’s edgy role as rocker Cherie Currie in “The Runaways” was supposed to be her coming-of-age role — in fact, in the very »

The Winter Olympics 2010: Speed Skating

February 19, 2010
In general, there are two types of sports at the Winter Olympics: those that are really simple and boring but that you pretend are interesting (ski jumping, alpine skiing, luge) and those that are fun to watch but that have impossible-to-understand rules (figure skating, snowboarding, free-style skiing). There is but one sport, for me, that »
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It’s “Valentine’s Day,” have a drink

February 19, 2010
After the box office success of last year’s “He’s Just Not that Into You,” the $63 million opening weekend for “Valentine’s Day” cements a new formula: the Valentine’s weekend celebrity ensemble rom-com. Pack as many celebrities (preferably A-list, but probably B-list) and heartwarming clichés into 90 minutes, and let the happy couples stream into the »

Social Media Sunday: Google Buzz

February 15, 2010
Given that pretty much all Yalies are on Gmail (anecdotally speaking), the big news this week was the introduction of Google Buzz into the Gmail experience. Buzz is Google’s first big social media play — it leverages Gmail’s huge built-in audience, allowing users to share status updates, videos, links and pictures. In many ways, it »

‘Sparks’ will fly in your heart

February 12, 2010
Savannah is the kind of girl who doesn’t swear, doesn’t drink and doesn’t lie. During her spring break, she helps build houses for charity and her dream is to open a summer camp where special needs children can play with horses. Her ideal first date is eating at a local diner (“I don’t want to »

Social Media Sunday: Foursquare

February 7, 2010
Every Sunday, Sam will highlight a new, rising social media application or campaign. As more smartphones become equipped with GPS, geolocating social networks have become all the rage. Whereas early attempts, like Loopt, were based on GPS tracking, the hottest applications now are all based on a “check-in” model. Early adopters are flocking to two »

Do it like the Romans

February 5, 2010
When in Rome, they say, do as the Romans do. Kristen Bell, Josh Duhamel and company take this advice to heart. Their movie might as well be called “When in a Romantic Comedy,” as it couldn’t be more formulaic. Convention #1: The Career Woman. Straight out of the playbook of Sandra Bullock (in “The Proposal”) »

NBC Thursday: Trust the new guys

January 29, 2010
If you’re ever asked what you think of an unfamiliar comedian or TV comedy, there’s a simple answer that will always make you sound smart: “I think the earlier stuff was better.” Cliched or not, the sentiment is true too often and perhaps best exemplified by television’s premiere comedy lineup: NBC Thursday nights. The four »

The ‘Imaginarium’ of Mr. Ledger

January 22, 2010
As images of Princess Diana and James Dean float by, Heath Ledger utters, “Nothing is permanent, not even death.” In the moment, Ledger’s character is embodied (in an alternate reality) by Johnny Depp, but the eerie resonance lingers just the same. In the end, “The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus” is as much a meta film »

Music in the clouds, and straight from your tweets

January 8, 2010
In the past few years, the worlds of music and social networking have become increasingly intertwined. Whether its using the “Facebook” link from the iTunes store, using the popular #nowplaying hashtag on Twitter, or auto-detecting what’s playing on your computer as your IM status, there are an endless number of ways to broadcast your tunes »