1. "Leni Riefenstahl: Pretty as a Swastika." From L.A. Weekly, John Patterson on "Steven Bach's majestic new biography of the morally besmirched filmmaker known to 1930s anti-fascist wags as 'Hitler's Honey.' "
"One wonders what might have been her destiny had Riefenstahl simply upped sticks and immigrated to Hollywood wholesale, along with the rest of the German UFA diaspora, in, say, the late '20s, long before she ever met Adolf Hitler. Certainly, she would have found a large German-exile community to nourish her, and a studio system hungry for German talent. And, possessed as she was of sharp elbows, a functionally sociopathic determination to rise, a bottomless appetite for attention, and the bulldozing drive of a Joan Crawford, who knows how she might have rewritten the history of women directors in Hollywood?"
2. "Senate: Home in 1 Year: Defying veto threat, Senate adds timeline to war spending bill."By Aamer Madhani of The Chicago Tribune.
"The Senate on Thursday approved a war funding measure calling for U.S. troops to withdraw from Iraq next year, and Democratic leaders warned President Bush that he risks 'undermining' the troops on the battlefield if he vetoes the bill, as he has promised. With the vote, both houses of Congress are on record supporting a timetable for a U.S. troop pullout from Iraq...Included in the bill is a requirement that withdrawal from Iraq begin within 120 days, as well as a non-binding goal of bringing home nearly all U.S. troops by March 31, 2008."
3. "New video shows British detainee 'confession.'" From CNN.com.
"Iranian Arabic language network Al Alam on Friday aired a new video showing one of 15 British detainees apologizing to Iranians for 'entering your waters without permission.' A few hours later, Iran released a letter said to be written by another British sailor, Faye Turney, stating she had been 'sacrificed' to the policies of the British and U.S. governments. The British government responded to the video by criticizing the treatment of the sailors and marines, with Prime Minister Tony Blair saying Iran faced 'increasing isolation' for refusing to release the service personnel. "
4. "Shifty Wedding Crashers: Secrets from the Past." Manohla Dargis on Suzanne Bier's new drama.
"Directed by Susanne Bier, whose previous features include Open Hearts and Brothers, After the Wedding is a modern creation with a classic theme involving haves and have-nots, bloodlines and family ties. The whiff of the modern comes from the harmonious synchronization of the kinetic camerawork with the abrupt editing patterns, which will be familiar to anyone who has ever watched a Dogme film. Ms. Bier doesn't adhere to all of Dogme's tenets—found in its so-called vow of chastity—which exclude, among other things, any music or props not originating at the filmmaking site. Instead she opts for a style that might be called Dogme-lite, which mimics the movement's visual tropes but eschews its ethos and formal rigor to create what is, at core, canned realism."
5. "Real Kwik-E Marts? Woo-hoo!" Jeffrey Kelly of the Richmond Times-Dispatch on 7-Eleven's plan to refurbish some of their convenience stores in a manner Apu would deem pleasing.
"It appears as though the world's largest convenience store will get Simpsonized, though 7-Eleven Inc. said the deal isn't done yet. But at a company event yesterday in Richmond, officials showcased their planned promotional ef- forts with major upcoming films, including The Simpsons Movie. If all goes as planned, the convenience store chain plans to refit 11 stores across the U.S. to resemble the front of the Kwik-E-Mart, the convenience store that Homer and other characters frequent in the classic cartoon TV series."
"Links for the Day": Each morning, the House editors post a series of weblinks that we think will spark discussion. Comments encouraged.