Hugh Grant

This piece originally appeared on newstatesman.com. 

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The presidential campaigns spent a solid 24 hours indulging in speculation over the statement allegedly made by a Romney advisor to the British newspaper Daily Telegraph. (For those who missed it: “We are part of an Anglo-Saxon heritage, and he feels that the special relationship is special. The White House didn’t fully appreciate the shared history we have.”) Was this some sort of insidious race baiting? Was the advisor misquoted? Or is this an instance of the nefarious British press fabricating a source out of thin air?

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Jews usually go out to the movies on Christmas ... and then they go out to eat "Chinese." I've spent it writing. Below is my harvest. I wish you all good cheer. Here are the motifs of my writing day. Alas, none of them cheery. 1. THE REAL GRIM REAPER: HOLY DAY VICTIMS IN IRAQ AND PAKISTAN 2. COLD COMMON SENSE ABOUT IRAN FROM, MIRABILI DICTU, "THE NEW YORK TIMES" 3. A WISE EUROPEAN FOREIGN MINISTER: "WE SHOULD SHUT UP ABOUT THE MIDDLE EAST" 4. A SOBER "TIMES" PIECE ON ISRAELI MILITARY DOCTRINE 5.

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There were two high points in the career of Tony Blair.

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Quietly, almost politely, English film-makers have in recent years been developing a sub-genre in social heterodoxy. These films do not break convention, they ignore it completely. Two instances: Stephen Poliakoff's Close My Eyes, about a man who accepts his wife's affair with her brother; Anthony Harvey's Richard's Things, about a widow who discovers that her lately deceased husband had a mistress, seeks the mistress out in curiosity, and eventually has an affair with her.

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Crap, Actually

Anyone seeking evidence of the death of romantic comedy will find it in abundance in Love Actually, which arrives in video stores this week. Written and directed by Richard Curtis (best known for penning Bridget Jones's Diary, Notting Hill, and Four Weddings and a Funeral), Love Actually announces its ambitions early: Too bold to offer us a thin, unconvincing romance, it instead offers us half a dozen.

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