1. "2006: Year in Film": Slant Magazine's Ed Gonzalez and Nick Schager on their favorite movies of the year.
["Iraq ruled not only the news but movie screens as well in 2006, as George W. Bush's war was analyzed and attacked from myriad angles by documentarians intent on delivering "embedded" on-the-ground reports free from Rummy spin. The War Tapes, Iraq in Fragments, and The Ground Truth (among others) provided bracingly immediate perspectives that blew away the sterility of cable news coverage, their raw, blistering tactics getting intimately inside the complex conflict. Interiority was also the hallmark of two of the year's preeminent fictional efforts, as Michel Gondry's dream-drenched The Science of Sleep and David Lynch's magnum opus Inland Empire both burrowed so deeply into their characters' fractured psyches that they became fanciful, terrifying, hallucinatory portraits of the mind's tangled subconscious. Gondry and Lynch's playful and/or rigorous experimentalism weren't isolated examples, with Michael Mann (Miami Vice), Sofia Coppola (Marie Antoinette), and Darren Aronofsky (The Fountain) similarly revisiting favorite thematic fixations while pushing the boundaries of their particular aesthetic methods to new, idiosyncratic heights."]
2. "2006: Year in Music": Also from Slant—Sal Cinquemani and Jonathan Keefe pick their favorite albums of the year.
["Call it a year without an angle, and blame Aaron Sorkin's use of "cold open" in one of the last episodes of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip that anyone watched for a reminder that it's better to open any kind of show with a statement that articulates a clear point of view and sets the tone for what's to follow. But what "tone" did the music of 2006 set? The commercialization of independent music such that "indie" joined the laundry list of niche genres to enjoy fleeting popularity (ska, swing, Latin, bluegrass, nü-metal, and emo have all come and gone), the number of both indie and mainstream artists who tackled forms of country music to prove their authenticity, the shocking sudden dearth of commercial hip-hop and R&B worth a damn, the growth industries that both MySpace and Youtube represent as marketing tools, the Internet's ongoing impact on the way people listen to and buy music making it a stronger year for singles than for albums; these were all important stories in 2006, but no one story dominated the year or fully accounts for the utter lack of critical consensus."]
3. "The Final Victim of the Blacklist: John Howard Lawson, Dean of the Hollywood Ten": Larry Ceplair's book review for Cineaste.
["For those readers new to the subject of the Hollywood blacklist, the name of John Howard Lawson may not spark any interest. But from the nineteen-twenties through the nineteen–forties he cast a longer shadow on Broadway and in Hollywood than many now-better-remembered playwrights and screenwriters. Lawson was one of the founders of the left-wing theater movement (he co-founded New Playwrights and wrote eight plays for it and other left-wing theater groups), a highly successful screen writer (with twenty-one credits before he was blacklisted, including Blockade, Sahara, and Action in the North Atlantic), an intellectual and theorist (who wrote several books on play writing, script writing, and film), and, until he went to prison, in 1950, the dominant (indeed, many of his comrades thought, the domineering and overbearing) figure in the Hollywood branches of the Communist Party. He was also the most thoroughly blacklisted person in the industry. (He received only one credit after 1947, and that one posthumously, for Cry, the Beloved Country.)"]
4. "Passengers fly into a panic over stowaway mice": I have had it with these motherfu... oh to hell with it...
["The screams were louder than the roar of the engines when more than 100 passengers on board a Saudi plane fought off an invasion by 80 stowaways: mice. Al-Hayat newspaper reported on Friday that the mice escaped from the bag of a traveler on the internal Saudi Arabian Airlines flight and started falling on the heads and scurrying between the feet of panic-stricken passengers. "An hour after it took off from Riyadh, the aircraft was at an altitude of 28,000 feet when passengers were surprised by the mice..." the paper quoted Omar al-Jarrah, an airline official as saying."]
5. "'American Pie' actress turns herself in at court": How else do you lie down with dogs, indeed...
["Actress Natasha Lyonne, a star of "American Pie" who was accused of threatening to sexually molest a dog, turned herself in at a New York court Friday. A bench warrant was issued for her arrest in January after Lyonne, who has also appeared in "Blade," and "Scary Movie 2," missed four court hearings. The 27-year-old faced a number of charges including criminal mischief, harassment and trespassing after accusations she threatened to sexually molest her former neighbor's dog and ripped a mirror off the wall during a 2004 argument."]
"Links for the Day": Each morning, the House editors post a series of weblinks that we think will spark discussion. Comments encouraged.