The French spy picture Farewell is literate, complex and thoughtful. It's based on the true story of the Russian spy Sergei Gregoriev, code name "Farewell," whose activities in the early 1980s laid the groundwork for the disintegration of the Soviet Union. The movie is both a gripping thriller and a witty exploration of the intricacies and implications of living a lie.
Rarely do I see a film when
it first comes out, but I'm very glad I chose to see The Social Network on its box-office-dominating opening weekend. It was
brilliant-a fantastic script by Aaron Sorkin, skillfully directed by David
Fincher. It tells the story of Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) and his
friends and Facebook cofounders, but the film isn't just about Facebook.
(RNS) A new six-part PBS series explores how deeply religion has
influenced and informed American public life, from Catholic
missionaries' first encounter with Native Americans to the political
marriage between the GOP and religious conservatives.
I've never liked show choir, but I love Glee. Not primarily for the singing or dancing, though each is sometimes great. I like the show because it gets a lot right about being a teenager—the weird mix of intense emotion and casual pettiness, the hairpin turns of identity creation in process—without getting bogged down by studious realism.
As part of a tradition noted for its thrift, I can be a little sensitive about the word cheap. One friend swears she remembers her missionary parents receiving some of the proverbial used tea bags, and I too have been known to regift. But while washing out plastic bags or shopping at thrift stores is one thing, believing that weak chamomile water constitutes a gift is another.
Researchers at Yale University School of Public Health have discovered a link between longevity and reading books. People who spend up to 3.5 hours each week engrossed in a book were 17 percent less likely to die in the 12 years following the study, and those who read more than 3.5 hours are 23 percent less likely to die in the same period. The longevity advantage remained even after adjusting the data for education, wealth, cognitive ability, and other variables, although no cause-and-effect relationship was established (Tech Times, August 8).