With the presidential election now a week and a half away it seems like the whole country has gone into over drive. Don’t let the political fervor deter you from catching up on all the top-notch arts and entertainment stories featured on PolicyMic. Check out the best Culture stories and reviews from the past week.
Top Feature Stories in Culture:
With Arab Bad Guys “Homeland” Perpetuates the Myth of an Outdated America (Morgan Davies) – "Homeland is explicitly political in a way that 24 never was in that it attempts to engage with American foreign policy as it exists in the real world. Nobody would argue that the plot of the show is a paragon of realism, but it is not a fantasy: where 24 typically invented terrorist sects and countries to avoid angering specific parties, Homeland has set scenes and episodes in Afghanistan and Lebanon, and though its chief villain is obviously a fictional character, his terror cell bears a lot more resemblance to the real thing than any of 24’s equivalents."
“Pride and Prejudice” is Not Just for Girls (James Ramsay) – "Pride and Prejudice is valuable because it’s a book for reading people read people. As is still the case today, this is particularly difficult for men, whose narratives are culturally dominant enough that we don’t feel the need to decipher anything —we just expect that our perceptions match reality. And this is why boys ought to read Jane Austen."
The Religious Beginnings of Mumford & Sons (Guy Johnston) – "And, like with Sigh No More, I also realize that as I sing along to Mumford’s lyrics, I will be singing abridged verses from the Bible and other words with a clearly spiritual message. I find these religious undertones surprising as Mumford is a young band whose members are perceived as cool role models – thanks to their style and celebrity associations; Marcus Mumford recently married actress Carey Mulligan. I expected their lyrics to be more linked to this trendy media perspective rather than to the Bible."
If Lance Armstrong Didn’t Win Those 7 Tours de France, Who Did? (Lenny DeFranco) – "In the latest example of an athletic association addressing a rules violation by pretending that the perpetrator didn’t exist, the International Cycling Union acted on overwhelming evidence of steroids use and stripped Lance Armstrong of all seven of his Tour de France titles. Just like Reggie Bush never played at USC and Joe Paterno never coached after 1998, there (now) were no Tour winners between 2000 and 2006."
Reviews of the Week:
“Cloud Atlas” is the Must is the Must-See Movie of the Decade … But Not in IMAX (Jasper Zweibel) – "Films of the grand hotel genre may follow a similar number of plot lines, but I've never seen one where each story could truly have been its own movie. The Wachowskis weave these stand-alone sagas into one elegant tapestry, reinforcing the film's primary philosophical message about the importance of breaking boundaries ... Though each piece could have been expanded into its own feature, the whole is much greater than the sum of the parts."
“Happy Endings” Premiere: Funny, But Not TV Magic (Annie Ferrer) – "But playing with words, as its improv-heavy cast tends to do, can air on the side of egotistical. At times, it's more obvious the characters find themselves funnier than the audience does. For instance, as Alex and Dave engage in tongue-in-cheek, flirtatious banter, referring to each other as "bro," then "Bro v. Wade" and eventually, "brovine growth hormone," we envision a writers' room replete with smarts and wit trying too earnestly to please themselves."
Taylor Swift “Red”: Country Music’s Princess Gets a Lot More Pop (Megan Daily) – "Swift's Nashville sessions with longtime producer Nathan Chapman resulted in songs that are not as flashy and employ acoustic instruments, but have more lyrical depth. Breathy ballad All Too Well, written with Liz Rose, bitterly describes a guy who was "casually cruel in the name of being honest,'' while the sprightly and sweetly silly Stay Stay Stay pokes fun at her own brattish behavior."
People Around the Web are Talking About:
Halloweeeeeeeen: According to the calendar Halloween is on Wednesday, but from the looks of things, the world is celebrating this Saturday night. Pundits this week chimed in with presidential costume ideas, 13 weird facts, and advice on how to celebrate without being an absolute tool.
Lena Dunham's Obama Ad: The Girls writer, director, and star released a very controversial ad equating her first time voting, to losing her viriginity. It's a love it or hate it kind of thing:
21-Year-Old Female Rapper Angel Haze: She's only 21 but the up-and-coming rap artist turned a lot of heads with the mix tape she released this week. Her track "Cleanin' Out My Closet," over Eminimen's beat, deals with childhood abuse head on. Listen here:
The Scream at MOMA: Edvard Munch's painting is one of the most famous works of art in the world and it's on view at New York's Museum of Modern Art through April 29. Don't miss it!
Bond, James Bond: Even though we in the USA have to wait until November, Skyfall opened abroad this past week. Pundit Daniel Tanure weighed in with his international review of the flick.