1. "Foreign Relations": From Reverse Blog, news that is sadly nothing new.
["The brilliant Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi, who was to appear at Queens' Museum of the Moving Image next week to accompany a preview screening of his superlative Offside, an exquisitely pared down study in the art of mixing polemic with crowd-pleaser, has had to cancel his appearance, as the United States government has, naturally, rescinded his travel visa."]
2. "The Luminist": A New York Times profile of artist Jeff Wall, currently the subject of a Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) retrospective.
["On a damp winter morning, 20 weather-beaten men waited at a bleak corner in east Vancouver. You can find scenes like this in most cities: places where laborers gather, hoping that a van will pull up with an employer offering cash in return for a day's work. This scene, however, was riddled with curious anomalies, starting with the middle-aged figure dressed in black who stood behind a tripod-mounted camera and patiently watched the men wait. And what were the men waiting for? Not a job. That they already had, courtesy of the photographer, Jeff Wall, who had hired them at the actual "cash corner" where they normally congregated and then bused them to this spot he preferred a half-hour's drive away. No, they were waiting for Wall to determine that the rain had become too heavy or the light had grown too bright or the prevailing mood had turned too restless for him to obtain the feeling of suspended activity and diffused expectancy that he sought in the picture. He was prepared to come here, day after day, for several weeks. On any given morning, typically after three hours elapsed, he would adjourn until the next day, authorizing the men to receive their paychecks of 82 Canadian dollars and get back into the bus. Until then, all of us—the men, Wall and I—waited for something to happen that lay outside our control."]
3. "Murphy "Storms Out" After Oscar Loss": He's not telling you that he's going.
["Dreamgirls star Eddie Murphy was so devastated after losing the Best Supporting Actor Academy Award to Alan Arkin he stormed out of the ceremony, according to press reports in the US, including Roger Friedman of FoxNews.com."]
4. "14 Ways of Looking at a Film Festival (part one)": N.P. Thompson on the Portland International Film Festival.
["So there you have it: an admixture of dumb gags and emotionally exploitative sentiment, topped by an assortment of typo-ridden, grammatically incorrect subtitles—the state of foreign film in the U.S. today. (And while I'm here, I'll add that all that (and more) applies as aptly to Almodóvar's boring, insipid Volver, a movie so tasteless that only self-deceiving yuppies with good medical coverage could mistake it for anything but trash. The orchestral score by Alberto Iglesias was sumptuous—I'll grant that—especially the passages for harp that Skaila Kanga played to perfection.) But back to PIFF: I had a wonderful time! I guess it was the act of seeing so many movies in swift succession again. In 2006, I attended no major festivals and two minor ones. 2006 was the year I pretty much stayed home from movies period. Whether I semi-liked something (Fast Food Nation and The Painted Veil certainly have their merits) or felt like taking an ax to it (Roger Michell's Venus) there was never quite a compelling reason to take quill to parchment. Of the films I managed to review over the last few weeks (and a bad day at a press screening almost always scores over a good day at work, or at least that's how I feel now) I'm glad I met them, even if I clobbered them."]
5. "Schwarzenegger issuing call for bipartisanship": Soviet method is more economical.
["California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger accused Washington leaders Monday of divisiveness and partisanship, chiding them to learn the lessons of his state and start to cooperate. "Politics is about compromise. It is about give-and-take. Doesn't anyone here in Washington remember that chapter from their civics book?" the Republican governor said in a speech to the National Press Club. "How come Republicans and Democrats out here don't schmooze with each other?" he asked in prepared remarks."]
"Links for the Day": Each morning, the House editors post a series of weblinks that we think will spark discussion. Comments encouraged.