1. "Visionary Outlaw Mavericks on the Dark Edge; or, Indie Guignol": David Bordwell on the dark side of the "Indie."
["In an article originally called "Sundance Movies Are Bad for You!" but now more tamely titled "The Trouble with Sundance," Richard Corliss complains that indie movies have become so predictable that they form a genre in themselves. They focus on relationships, especially those of a dysfunctional family or a fumbling love affair, and treat their principals with a dutiful mix of pathos and humor. Where, he asks, are the more imaginative narrative and stylistic maneuvers fostered by the Coen brothers, Jarmusch, Tarantino, and the like? That's only half the story. True, indie films are often pallid comedies and melodramas. But just as often, and sometimes at the same time, they're desperately sensationalistic. In these the formal conservativism to which Corliss objects is wedded to hot-button content. We call a bland Indie film quirky, but there are others we call dark. They're Indie Guignol."]
2. "Rocky III": Sheila O'Malley on the still-potent pleasures of Clubber Lang & co.
["Watched it last night. So fun!!! I mean, come ON. Mr. T. With the feather earrings. And the furious eyeballs. And that BODY. Also the apparently bottomless checkbook - because he apparently can fly about the country (and the world) to sit in the stands at Rocky's various fights and glower menacingly. But still: what a great scowl. A great villain. When he yells up at Adrian, "WOMAN! HEY! Woman!"]
3. "Can't We All Not Get Along?": From LA Weekly.
["It dawns on us, as standup queen Sarah Silverman debuts her new "I-play-me" Comedy Central series at this point in her taboo-thrashing career, that, bizarrely, she's no longer the most transgressive, racism-spotlighting, shit-stirring Jewish comedian in the entertainment world. That would be Sacha Baron Cohen, whose performance-art trek through bigoted America—a Sherman's march of real-life comedy destruction—has generated massive box office, op-ed pieces and litigation. Meanwhile, Silverman, a raven-haired beauty who enjoys treating stereotypes and personal sexuality as the joke equivalent of Tinkertoys, has remained mostly an indie comedy phenomenon. And where Silverman's humorous obsession with human genitalia finds its outlet in one-liners, Cohen notoriously shows us in his nude mano-a-mano hotel-room melee from Borat how physically close he's willing to get to that topic."]
4. "Woman fights off mountain lion": Kim Bauer at 60.
["A 65-year-old woman fought off a mountain lion attack in Humboldt County on Wednesday—using a ballpoint pen to stab the animal—and in the process probably saved the life of her 70-year-old husband. Nell Hamm first saw the lion when it had her husband's head in its jaws. The lion pounced on Jim Hamm at the end of a 10-mile hike in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. He was trailing his wife when the big cat attacked, pinning him face down on the trail. Nell Hamm did all the right things. She approached and screamed at the lion. Then she grabbed a branch and began beating it on its back. "It wouldn't let go, no matter how hard I hit it," she said in an interview at Mad River Community Hospital Thursday, where her husband was in intensive care recovering from surgery. Jim Hamm, who was trying to tear at the face of the cat, told his wife to grab a pen from his pocket and stab the cat in the eyes. She did, but the pen broke."]
5. " Overzealous censor edits 'God' out of 'Queen'": Bloody 'ell!
["So much for God and country, at least during some in-flight showings of the Oscar-nominated movie "The Queen." That's because all mentions of God were bleeped out in a version of the film given to some commercial airlines.]
"Links for the Day": Each morning, the House editors post a series of weblinks that we think will spark discussion. Comments encouraged.