1. "The #54 War Movie of the Last 50 Years." A Memo from the Department of Heresy: Steven Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan is maudlin, simplistic, illogical and derivative; it's also a tacit justification of U.S. war crimes. By Sean Gilman of The End of Cinema.
["I'd always remembered that it was [Jeremy] Davies' [character] at the end of the film who shoots the POW, committing the film's major war crime. Watching it again, I was surprised at how often these murders occur. In fact, the film can easily be interpreted as a coming-of age story in which we learn how necessary it is to execute POWs because they shot at us first. After the Omaha Beach sequence, the Americans shoot defenseless Germans in a trench and murder surrendering Germans with their hands raised in the air. The emotional power (and graphic bloodinesss) of the preceding beach landing is apparently supposed to justify the murdering of these POWs, just as the death of the medic is later supposed to justify the murder of the German that Burns causes so much trouble over. These crimes reach their culmination when Davies, after cowering throughout the final stages of the final battle, assassinates the German soldier he let kill Crazy Eddie, as that soldier's telling his compatriots what a coward Davies is. Davies, of course, had been the one stridently protesting Burns's attempts to murder the other POW. Thus the audience member, after being shown their own cowardice, is asserted to be a murderer as well. It's one of the most insulting things I've ever seen on film, and I can't believe how many people are willing to let Spielberg get away with it."]
["CANNES—Lucia Puenzo's 'XXY' will take home the grand prize for the Festival de Cannes' Critics Week sidebar, organizers announced Friday night. The Argentine-Spanish-French co-production, which explores the psychological challenges of an adolescent hermaphrodite, was voted upon by journalists and film critics after each screening. First-time helmer Puenzo will receive €5,000 ($6,726) and an invite to the Moulin d'Ande to hone her writing and directing skills."]
["Academic theologians with a taste for obdurate Brechtian aesthetics, say hello to your new favorite film! Civilians, even those versed in Oliveira at his most extreme, may find their patience pushed to the limit. Thick with mirrors and breaches of the fourth wall, Magic Mirror is avidly aware of being watched, even as it rejects every avenue of accessibility. "]
4. ""Cannes: We Own The Night." Premiere's Glenn Kenny on the new feature by James Gray, director of Little Odessa and The Yards. The trailer is here.
["To call this film a noble failure is only to apt, since its nobility actually contributes to its failure."]
["TOKYO, Japan (AP)—In the race for ever-thinner displays for TVs, cell phones and other gadgets, Sony may have developed one to beat them all—a razor-thin display that bends like paper while showing full-color video."]
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_____________________________________________________ "Links for the Day": Each morning, the House editors post a series of weblinks that we think will spark discussion. Comments encouraged.