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'Man Down': War injuries go beyond the battlefield

/ Feb 22, 2017

'Man Down': War injuries go beyond the battlefield

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‘Man Down” is an indictment of war, and its message is one that focuses on its terrible lingering consequences — specifically, veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). With many ending up homeless, suffering mental difficulties or becoming suicidal, PTSD is a real issue. ...

'La La Land': Sometimes we need a trip to la-la land

/ Feb 22, 2017

'La La Land': Sometimes we need a trip to la-la land

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La-la land: the mental state of someone who is not aware of what is really happening, and a nickname for the American entertainment industry centered on Los Angeles. These two meanings bleed into each other in director Damien Chazelle’s multi-Oscar-nominated musical, “La La Land,” ...

'Close Knit': The pride that breaks the prejudice

/ Feb 22, 2017

'Close Knit': The pride that breaks the prejudice

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Japan would seem to be a paradise for LGBT people. Transgender “talents” have been appearing regularly on Japanese TV for decades and LGBT folks can walk the streets here with little fear. But dig below Japan’s surface tolerance for sexual minorities, as Naoko Ogigami ...

'Cell': Sometimes it's better to just hang up

/ Feb 15, 2017

'Cell': Sometimes it's better to just hang up

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After seeing “Cell” I wanted to call my grandmother who, with the emergence of the world’s first iPhone in June of 2007, predicted the end of civilization as we know it. Five months later she passed away, and some of my cousins whispered that ...

'Weiner': America's walking, talking punch line

/ Feb 15, 2017

'Weiner': America's walking, talking punch line

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If you feel like your cinematic diet has been a bit lacking in schadenfreude lately, then look no further than “Weiner,” an astounding internet-age documentary of hubris and disgrace, where no stupid behavior, once recorded, ever disappears. Who, you may ask, is Weiner? Well, ...

'Survival Family': Soft-pedaling through dystopia

/ Feb 8, 2017

'Survival Family': Soft-pedaling through dystopia

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To Hollywood, “dystopian future” usually means invading aliens, exotic technology and gigantic explosions. Shinobu Yaguchi’s “Survival Family” posits an alternative, more mundane cause of civilizational collapse: Japan’s electric grid suddenly freezes up, like a laptop that’s been doused with hot coffee. Televisions go blank, ...