Dec 13, 2011

vol 128 No. 25

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A special Christmas review of noteworthy books, video and music. Categories include theology and spirituality, creative nonfiction, fiction, history and current events, children's literature, TV on DVD, choral Christmas music and popular music.
December 1, 2011


Craig Brewer, the extraordinary young director of Hustle & Flow and Black Snake Moan, brings his sharp ear for southern culture's tone and rhythms to this remake of a 1998 pop musical (itself a remake of a 1984 film) set in a small Georgia town. The problem is that the material is still Footloose.
December 4, 2011


50/50 is a balancing act: a comedy-drama about a man who learns he has a tumor and a 50 percent chance of surviving. Writer Will Reiser and director Jonathan Levine pull off twin feats: they sustain a tone midway between ironic and poignant, and they touch the audience without pushing pathos at us.
November 29, 2011

CC recommends: Popular music

The Harrow and the Harvest pushes Gillian Welch's winning formula further. On Mockingbird Time, the Jayhawks' sweet harmonies and gritty edges are finally back. There's a hefty dose of early Paul Simon on Fleet Foxes' Helplessness Blues. "Soul" is as good a word as any for Liz Janes's groovy little record Say Goodbye. Tom Waits's Bad As Me is accessible enough to convert some skeptics. And The Head and the Heart's self-titled debut is the feel-good record of the year.
November 30, 2011