Meryl Streep

COLUMBUS, OHIO--Less than a week before Election Day, the buzz in Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner’s office is about a Halloween mask. On Thursday morning, The Other Paper, a local news and entertainment weekly, had published a cover plastered with a picture of Brunner’s face, complete with dotted lines where readers could cut it out to wear for the holiday.


Death Defying

'This election," said John McCain's campaign manager, Rick Davis, on the second day of the Republican convention, "is not about issues." And he meant it. The convention that Davis helped assemble devoted strikingly little time to policy. Instead, the focus was on McCain's biography. Fred Thompson set the tone early in the convention, using his address to recount McCain's life story, especially his stint as a prisoner of war. In state delegation meetings during the week, the campaign enlisted the candidate's fellow POWs to tell delegates of his experiences in Vietnam.



Wrestling with Angels: Playwright Tony Kushner (Balcony) Al Franken: God Spoke (Balcony) About Tony Kushner as a playwright, debate continues. About Kushner as a human being, the matter is settled. A new documentary, called Wrestling With Angels: Playwright Tony Kushner, presents the Jacob who wrestled with angels in America, now doing most of his wrestling with devils.


High Fashions

The Devil Wears Prada  (20th Century Fox) Heading South  (Shadow) The title fixes the place and the tone: a film that is called The Devil Wears Prada must live in the world of fashion and its diabolics. The specific place is a slick magazine called Runway, and the air around it is filled with the slash of verbal rapiers and stilettos, lunging and parrying. The screenplay by Aline Brosh McKenna, derived from Lauren Weisberger's novel, begins with reminders of a previous picture about a fashion mag, Stanley Donen's Funny Face (1957).


Once upon a time—between September 1913 and February 1936—there was Vanity Fair. A quarter of a century after it folded, Cleveland Amory called it “America’s most memorable magazine,” and only a curmudgeon would quarrel with that accolade. It inspired an unusual fondness in both its contributors and its readers when it was alive, and amazingly its reputation still inspires much the same fondness in those who have never turned its pages. It is understandable that Condé Nast Publications Inc., the firm descended from the original publisher, should have been tempted to revive it.


  Stingo comes back to his newly rented room in the Brooklyn boarding house bearing a carton of Spam packages on his shoulder, looking apprehensively at the ceiling of his room. The sounds of what is presumably a torrid sexual encounter are coming from above. The carton totters on Stingo’s shoulder as he totters into his room. I hoped—in vain. The sounds so unnerve Stingo that he stumbles into cinematic cliche: he spills the packages. I’d hoped he wouldn’t. The chandelier in his ceiling is shaking. Again I hoped—in vain—that the camera wouldn’t go in for a close-up.