John Krasinski

Surprise! Cameron Crowe’s ‘Aloha’ Isn’t a Catastrophe

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Public service announcement: Cameron Crowe’s new film Aloha features a party scene where Emma Stone and Bill Murray dance to Hall & Oates’ “I Can’t Go For That,” and if you (like me) are the kind of person who finds the promise of such a scene utterly delightful, let me assure you that it lives up to that promise. It’s a scene of sheer movie-star pleasure that pretty much stops the film for about three minutes; it doesn’t really move the plot (or even, in retrospect, make much narrative sense), but it feels like something Crowe had to put in, for the simple reason that he couldn’t not put it in. Maybe a more disciplined filmmaker would’ve resisted that temptation, but if we’ve learned anything about Cameron Crowe, it’s that he’s not terribly disciplined, which can be both a blessing and a curse. It seems your correspondent likes Aloha more than much of the critical community (to say nothing of the studio releasing it), but your enjoyment will hinge greatly on your level of tolerance for Mr. Crowe’s indulgences.
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‘The Office’ Comes to a Poignant, Lovable Conclusion

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Last night on NBC, with the appropriate pomp and fanfare, The Office did what it should have done at the close of season seven: it came to an end. The American version of the British classic had an appropriate cause for conclusion when star Steve Carrel made his exit, but the Peacock wasn’t ready to let one of its few successes go quite that easily. So things got bumpy in Scranton, during an eighth year filled with miscalculations and peculiarities. But when original showrunner Greg Daniels was brought back in to steer the show snugly into port during its last season, a funny thing happened: The Office started to work again. And last night’s series finale was a fine, poignant wrap-up of an erratic but lovable show.
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10 Celebrities’ Favorite Children’s Books

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If you’re a fan of children’s books (or ever were), today is the day to brush them off and take a new look. That’s right, International Children’s Book Day, which falls every year on Hans Christian Andersen’s birthday. To celebrate the day, we recommend curling up with a good picture book. If you need any suggestions, check out the favorite kids’ books of ten famous readers after the jump. What’s your favorite children’s book? Let us know in the comments.
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‘Promised Land’ and the Pitfalls of Political Cinema

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Fracking is bad. This is not a unanimously held view; like so much of environmental policy in this country, the greasy sway of dirty money has turned what should be a health issue into a political one, and as a result, the issue of hydraulic fracturing has become one of predominately liberal interest, taken up by progressive organizations and left-leaning docs like GasLand. And now it is the subject of Promised Land, a message movie from director Gus Van Sant and writer/actors Matt Damon and John Krasinski that plays less like drama and more like a 106-minute forgone conclusion — and as a warning of the potential pitfalls of narrative political cinema.
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