Behind the blinders
by Rebecca Bowe
Finding the 10 most underreported stories of the last year
Aaron-Carl, in memoriam by Walter Wasacz
'He brought authentic humanity to a scene often overwhelmed, to its detriment, by cold-hearted technology'
Bad (ass) attitude by Kent Alexander
So let’s get this party started!
Poletown saints by Detroitblogger John
A beautiful 125-year-old church lives on despite faith-testing circumstances
Wall posts by Travis R. Wright
MONA curator collects more than 600 Facebook faces of those traditionally unseen
What can Brown do for you? by Jonathan Cunningham
A former Detroiter drops a stunner of a debut
Spun by Metro Times music staff ( Spun )
Sufjan Stevens, Download of the Week, Fright from the Bins, Schoolyard Verse and more
Food Stuff by Metro Times food staff (Food Stuff)
A craft brew dinner, veggie dinners, an ice bar and more
Pot, pols and polls by Larry Gabriel (Higher Ground)
State AG race an important one for medical marijuana
TV rise and fall by Jim McFarlin (Idiot Boxing)
Keri Russell gets to laugh all day, David Cross kills, and adieu Tony Curtis, 'Lone Star'
Letters to the Editor by Metro Times readers (Letters to the Editor)
Our readers sound off, and MT reaps awards
Metro Retro by Metro Times staff (Metro Retro)
Looking back on 30 years of MT coverage
Motor City Five by Metro Times music staff (Motor City Five)
The five worst gigs ever of the Two Man Gentleman Band
Majority rules by News Hits staff (News Hits)
Makeup of state supremes could strengthen views on environmental laws
Night and Day by Megan O'Neil (Night and Day)
Shaming our state by Jack Lessenberry (Politics and Prejudices)
Instead of making hard decisions, our pols just kick it down the road
Getting cuckold feet by Dan Savage (Savage Love)
Jealous lovers, screaming partners and a noble online project
Thickening agents by Metro Times food staff (Short Order)
A short guide to stews, chowders, gumbos, chilis and more
Hatchet II Reviewed by Corey Hall (Movie)
The “plot” picks up right where the 2006 original left off, with Marybeth (Danielle Harris) as the lone survivor of a massacred boatload of bayou tourists, who ran afoul of a hulking, deformed madman named Victor Crowley. Our intrepid gal barely manages to escape dismemberment, hightailing it back to New Orleans, where, despite her abundant cuts, bruises and dead friends, everyone insists that Crowley is but a folk tale, told to scare the gullible. Apparently the legend is working, because no one wants to venture back into the swap, which is killing the tour boat business of huckster preacher “Revrend Zombie” (Candyman’s Tony Todd). Ever the entrepreneur, Zombie offers up a cash bounty for anyone brave enough to form a posse and go monster-hunting, though his hidden agenda is to bring along Marybeth and her uncle, who was one of the kids who set fire to Victor’s farm in the first pla… awww, who cares?
Jack Goes Boating Reviewed by Corey Hall (Movie)
This overly talky, claustrophobically indulgent display of actor’s workshop masturbation is made watchable because most actors here are incredibly easy to watch. The plot is indie-drama boilerplate; a sad, cut-off fortysomething loser learns to appreciate the world again through the love of an equally quirky woman. Hoffman plays the title schmuck, a painfully shy New York limo driver with a bulky body but a kind soul, who feels trapped inside his own head. He’s so bottled-up and closed-off that his only hint of a personality — silly, half-hearted dreads and a passion for reggae — comes off as a jarring gimmick. Jack has one true friend, his fellow driver Clyde (John Ortiz), who coddles the big oaf, with the help of his patient wife Lucy (Daphne Rubin Vega). In an effort to jump-start his stalled life, Lucy arranges a date between Jack and her timid co-worker Connie, played by Hollywood’s idea of a frump, Amy Ryan. These two bruised souls find a sort of comfort in each other, and Jack begins a regimen of swimming lessons and cooking classes, well in advance of their big Central Park Lagoon boat ride and picnic date. While the two oddball introverts are inching toward each other, the established couple is falling apart, which all culminates in a disastrous dinner party meltdown.
Let Me In Reviewed by Jeff Meyers (Movie)
Set in suburban New Mexico in the early 1980s, we meet the fragile and sullen-eyed Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee), a 12-year-old loner who’s bullied at school and whose newly single mom is a religious nut. One cold, snowy night in the courtyard outside his apartment he meets Abby (Kick-Ass’ Chloe Grace Moretz), a barefooted neighbor who smells funny, sometimes looks more like a boy than a girl, and seems strangely immune to the cold. Tentatively, the two connect and slowly become friends. But Abby is a vampire, tended to by a possessive middle-aged man (Richard Jenkins) who murders local residents to provide her with blood. Unfortunately, his attacks have grown sloppier and sloppier, gaining the attention of a local police officer (Elias Koteas).
Never Let Me Go Reviewed by Corey Hall (Movie)
Adapted from Kazuo Ishiguro’s respected 2005 novel, the film follows the melancholy lives of some children raised outside the view of polite society, carefully tended by the state, and prepared from birth for a singularly unpleasant destiny. What they don’t know, and we don’t find out until the end of the first act (spoiler alert!), is that these beautiful, healthy youths are in fact clones, created to serve as organ donors when they reach early adulthood. Never Let Me Go is a powerful piece, with intense performances and subtle, sophisticated direction, which is sadly all in service of an utterly unconvincing premise. Like most good science fiction, it works best as a metaphor, though one that requires extraordinary acts of forgiveness to accept as credible.
Ghettophysics: Will the Real Pimps and Hoes Please Stand Up? Reviewed by Corey Hall (Movie)
From the makers of the profoundly strange metaphysical polemic What the Bleep Do We Know? comes this pseudo-doc, perhaps more focused and thematically clear than its rambling predecessor, but equally bizarre. Where else in the history of cinema will you see Adolf Hitler’s fiery, hate-fueled invective translated into rap lyric hood-speak, and the infamous Nazi sieg heil salute depicted as an exaggerated bitch slap? Nowhere, because, quite frankly, the above sequence is patently ridiculous and borderline insane — yet, here it is, presented with helpfully cheerful cartoon inserts, as if the most obvious interpretation of the Third Reich is that Hitler was a pimp and the Jews, and the German people who blindly followed him into Armageddon, well, they were hoes. Offensive? Yes. Effective? Maybe. … This is the essential thesis of E. Raymond Brown, that all human power dynamics, from street-level crime to multinational diplomacy can be boiled down into the zingy metaphor of a street hustle, as seen in ’70’s exploitation classics such as The Mack and Superfly. Those with the power are pimps, who extract loyalty and obedience from the downtrodden, not just with raw force, but with trickery and coercion. Now, if only Dick Cheney had a penchant for fur coats and gold canes.
Behind the Burly Q Reviewed by Corey Hall (Movie)
Burlesque is about the tease, but this fast-moving yet bittersweet documentary about the golden age of peek-a-boo gets right down to the business of uncovering the trade’s dirty secrets. The quaintly bawdy art form, which thrived from the 1920s to the mid-’60s, was a traveling hybrid entertainment revue, which one talking head calls vaudeville “with bare bosoms and chorus girls.”
The Social Network Reviewed by Jeff Meyers (Movie)
Based on questionable accounts in Ben Mezrich’s The Accidental Billionaires, and told mostly in flashback, breathlessly sprints from one exhilarating exchange to another as we witness the freshly dumped Zuckerberg get drunk, disparage his ex in an online journal, then create a website that compares the relative attractiveness of female Harvard students. The stunt crashes the school’s servers and gains him the attention of WASP twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss (gamely played by Armie Hammer), who want him to create a MySpace site for Harvard elites but aren’t willing to let him into their exclusive social club. This becomes the seed idea for Facebook, a project Zuckerberg pursues with fanatical zeal, recruiting his best friend Eduardo Saverin (soon-to-be Spider-Man Andrew Garfield) as a financial wellspring and partner. From there The Social Network heads into Citizen Kane territory, with ex-girlfriend Albright standing in for Rosebud, and Napster inventor Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake) becoming the ruthless devil whispering in Zuckerberg’s ear. Cross-cutting between past events and present lawsuits, the film chronicles Facebook’s meteoric rise, its creator’s betrayal of his friends, and the relentless ambition that made Zuckerberg the youngest billionaire in history.
Amani's Reviewed by Jane Slaughter (Restaurant)
Amani’s is a halal neighborhood place, across from Dearborn City Hall, that serves all the tried-and-true dishes of Lebanese cuisine that Westerners tend to order — hummous, kebabs, tawook, shawarma — plus some that deserve to be more widely known. A party of four seeking meat would do well to order the Jumbo Platter, advertised for three. The servings of hummus, fattoush and baba ghanoush are large, and the charcoal-grilled skewers of kebab (beef), tawook (chicken) and kafta (ground beef pressed into shape with onions, tomato and parsley) are cooked with onions, peppers and carrots. The chicken in particular is a fine product of the griller’s art, with a bit of mint flavor. The platter also includes a mound of yellow rice (from yellow pepper) and, my favorite, a heap of lamb shawarma. The snow-white garlic sauce is creamy, just sharp enough. Breakfast is the time to try some traditional Lebanese dishes: foul (favas cooked with chickpeas, garlic, lemon and olive oil); eggs with makanek or sojouk; labneh, a thick yogurt, with olives; fateh. They’re served till 2 p.m. but can be available later if supplies last.