1. "When Nostalgia Works": Estevez vs. Altman via Rosenbaum
["After seeing this movie's premiere at the Venice film festival I defended its guts and intelligence to a French critic who described it as "sub-Altman." I see it as "sur-Altman," especially if compared to Nashville, another film with 20-odd characters that concludes with a cataclysmic and seemingly unmotivated assassination. Despite its reputation as an exuberant classic, Nashville knows zip and cares even less about country music or the city of Nashville (where it was shot)—which doesn't prevent it from heaping scorn on both. It even ridicules a dowager who tearfully reminisces about John and Bobby Kennedy, and it shamelessly encourages viewers to share its contempt for the rubes. The relentless cynicism that Nashville brandishes as proof of its hipness ultimately gives way to glib, high-flown rhetoric in the climactic repeated shots of an American flag filling the screen while a nihilistic pseudocountry anthem, "It Don't Worry Me," builds to a crescendo, asserting the concert audience's unembarrassed cluelessness."]
2. "Rock Concert To Honor Princess Diana": Helen Mirren and Justin Timberlake will duet on SexyBack.
["British Princes William and Harry are planning a charity rock concert next year to honor the memory of their late mother, Princess Diana. The concert, to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Diana's death, is being planned for the new Wembley Stadium, and could feature appearances by Madonna, Beyonce Knowles and Kylie Minogue, the Mail on Sunday reported. A tentative date of July 1 has been set. That's when construction of the nearly $1.5 billion London stadium is expected to be completed."]
3. "'Nativity Story' is First Feature Film to Premiere at Vatican": I hear the after-party was killer.
[""The Nativity Story" is the first feature film to premiere at the Vatican with some 7,000 people to screen it. The movie describes Virgin Mary's pregnancy and the trip she and Joseph undertake to Bethlehem, the town of Jesus Christ's birth. Current Pope Benedict XVI did not attend, but a number of cardinals did, along with local dignitaries."]
4. "South Korea to kill cats and dogs over bird flu fears": *sniff* ;-(
["South Korea plans to kill cats and dogs to try to prevent the spread of bird flu after an outbreak of the deadly H5N1 virus at a chicken farm last week, officials said today. Animal health experts, however, suggested it was "a bit of an extreme measure" when there was no definitive scientific evidence to suggest that cats or dogs could pass the virus to humans. Quarantine officials have already killed 125,000 chickens within a 1,650-foot radius of the outbreak site in Iksan, about 155 miles south of Seoul, the Agriculture Ministry said. Officials began slaughtering poultry yesterday, a day after they confirmed that the outbreak was caused by the H5N1 strain."]
5. "Spike Lee Boosts Sports Journalism With New School": From today's IMDB news wrap-up.
["Moviemaker Spike Lee has launched a new initiative at his former college in a bid to flood journalism with African-American sports writers. The sports fan is a member of the board of trustees Morehouse College in Georgia - a private, historically black liberal arts school - and used his weight to prompt a new journalism school and curriculum. Lee insists newspapers need more black sports writers to match the growing number of African-Americans playing professional sport."]
"Links for the Day": Each morning, the House editors post a series of weblinks that we think will spark discussion. Comments encouraged.