No original content today, I've got too much on my plate. Instead I'll just point you to my Star-Ledger appreciation of the late Dennis Weaver, and some miscellaneous movie, TV and pop culture stuff I've recently enjoyed reading.
Time magazine's James Poniewozik explains why American Idol is better than the Olympics. Meanwhile, over at The Advocate, the inimitable Dave White kicks off his regular Idol column by reviewing all the contestants individually, which for some strange reason reminds of a moment from The Larry Sanders Show where Scott Thompson's assistant Brian ranted about the jobs celebrity bosses made him do, the worst of which was digging through Great Dane poop looking for a ring.
Check out a couple of tight, opposed reviews of the Paul Walker action picture Running Scared. Cynthia Fuchs at PopMatters concedes it's flashy and trashy, but admires its slick confidence. "It gives good surface," she writes. But those same qualities irritate the hell out of Slant Magazine's Nick Schager: "Hyperactively chopping up mundane scenes with paroxysmal edits (three cuts alone are needed for the sight of a cop's badge), jarring film stocks, and CG-amped zooms and pans, the director concocts a visual vocabulary with such attention-deficit disorder that every action, line, and second in the film conveys a sense of in-your-face stylistic aggression."
Also at PopMatters, Ryan Moore offers an observant review of D.C. Universe: The Stories of Alan Moore. "While a few stories are little more than filler—Moore had to pay his bills—almost all of them are notable for two things," Day writes. "First is a seemingly automatic grasp of what makes characters tick; whether it's Superman, Batman, the Joker or Green Arrow, Moore acts writes like he's been studying them for years, assembling the best attributes from the writers of decades past…Moore's second calling card is his use of new, unique, and occasionally bizarre ideas. In a medium where the only limitation is the imagination of the writer and artist, too many have relied on the standards and conventions laid down by those who came before. Moore breaks through many of the imagination barriers with numerous new takes on old concepts, exploring new ideas and corners of the DC universe."
Making like the plainspoken film history teacher most of us weren't lucky enough to have, Girish Shambu offers a thumbnail analysis of how formal choices in The Battle of Algiers reveal the director's political sympathies. Cinemarati's "This Week in Trailers" reviews the trailer for War, a microbudget visionary indie I can't wait to see. At LA Weekly, TV critic Robert Abele writes about Meet The Press as rhetorical theater.
And finally, one to keep away from the kids: a New York Times piece suggesting that TV watching has no effect on test scores.
Matt Zoller Seitz is the founder of The House Next Door.