Originally published on Thu February 7, 2013 5:40 pm
By Joel Arnold
Credit A24 Films
There's no separating Charlie Sheen from Charles Swan, the titular representation of the male id at its most self-obsessed in Roman Coppola's uneven A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III. But for better and decidedly worse, that's the point.
It's the drug's fault, man. That's the defense offered by the perpetrator brought to trial in Side Effects, a stylish, vaguely Hitchcockian dud. But what excuse does this fatally silly movie have?
The film, reportedly the final big-screen effort for prolific director Steven Soderbergh, begins in a New York apartment where something bad has happened. Blood on the floor, smeared and tracked by footprints, suggests murder, suicide or extreme clumsiness.
The new road-trip comedy Identity Thief — about a guy who confronts a woman who's wrecking his credit rating — is such a catalog of missed opportunities, it probably makes sense just to list them.
The setup: Sandy Patterson, who works in a Denver financial firm (and is not supposed to be mentally challenged), blithely hands over his Social Security number to a stranger on the phone who says his accounts have been compromised, at which point his accounts get compromised. No tricks, no subterfuge, no laughs — he's just stupid.
The new FX show The Americans follows the Jennings family — a typical American family in Ronald Reagan's America, who happen to be Soviet spies. With Elizabeth (Keri Russell) and Phillip Jennings (Matthew Rhys) at the center of the show, viewers will find themselves rooting for the couple that's secretly working for the KGB and against anyone who might blow their cover.
Washington Post TV critic Hank Stuever notes that this is just the latest in a slew of TV shows that focus on deeply flawed leads.
Now, we want to turn to the challenge of bringing diversity to the newsroom. You've probably noticed that all kinds of issues and stories relating to sexual orientation have been in the news recently - from same-sex marriage to the Pentagon's plan to offer benefits to same-sex partners to the debate over what role gays can play in the Boy Scouts.
Bradley Cooper, who is nominated for an Academy Award for his performance as the bipolar Pat Solitano in Silver Linings Playbook, tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that he and director David O. Russell approached the role with the idea that Cooper would "play as real and authentic as [h]e could."
The role is informed by Russell's son, who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Says Cooper: "I definitely felt that anchor for [Russell]."
The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.
Anne of Green Gables, who is described in Lucy Maud Montgomery's best-selling books as red-headed, freckled and — at least when the Anne series begins — prepubescent, gets a horribly wrong makeover on the cover of this three-book set published in November.