Craig, Daniel Craig: How James Bond Was Reinvented

Ben Friedman

Director Sam Mendes’ Skyfall and Spectre capture the maturation of Daniel Craig into that of Ian Fleming’s classic character. While Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace showcase a more brutal and relentless Bond, Mendes’s direction depicts a more physically restrained Bond. The action sequences are breezier. As Craig ages, so does Bond, and thus there is a reliance on more guns, gadgets, and intelligence behind his fighting style.

Murder Comes to the Holler in Chris Offutt’s ‘Killing Hills’

Lee Polevoi

Mick Hardin, a military homicide investigator on leave from government service, has come home to try and salvage a failing marriage. He agrees to take part in the murder investigation led by his sister Linda, recently promoted to sheriff of Rocksalt. From there, the body count quickly escalates. Is the killer Curtis Tanner, arrested by an FBI agent on a tip called in by a local politician?

China’s Economy Teeters While Xi Tightens His Grip

Antonio Graceffo

Over the past decades, the Chinese economy has been growing, at breakneck speed, largely fueled by tremendous export volumes, massive debt, and over-reliance on the real-estate sector. Now, manufacturing is suffering under ongoing coronavirus lockdowns, energy shortages, and supply-chain disruptions. The debt bubble seems about to burst, and the real-estate industry will be the first casualty, with ripples eventually being felt throughout China and the rest of the world.

Betty Crocker: Why Generations of American Women Identified With a Fictional Character

Elizabeth A. Blake

Published this year, for her 100th anniversary, the Betty Crocker Best 100 reprints all of Betty’s portraits and tells the story of her invention. Rather than using the logo that appears on contemporary products, the front cover returns to the quirkier script of the early Betty, and the “personal” note at the opening of the book reminds readers that “it’s always been about recognizing that the kitchen is at the heart of the home.”

Jasper Johns at The Whitney: The Magician at Play

Sandra Bertrand

Death as a theme has a place in the artist’s obsessions. Later paintings depict skeletons as part of the imagery with a lightheartedness that makes one think the artist at 91 has come to terms with the issue of mortality. One work places the skeleton over an original silhouette of the artist from his own shadow. Another earlier and more somber image is based on a 1965 war photograph by Larry Burrows with Marine corporal James Farley crumpled in grief over the death of a comrade. 

The Satirical Story of MoviePass, as Told by Comedians

Ben Friedman

Gelfand and Roth-Rose have a natural on-air chemistry. Their jokes are quick-witted and the story is well-written. They do a great job of basing the podcast in reality for the first few episodes, allowing audiences an understanding of the history of MoviePass and its founders. In doing so, it allows the ridiculous nature of the story unfolding to feel grounded and based in reality.

Jennifer Lopez and Spanish Linguistics in the Age of Black Lives Matter

Angelo Franco

To what extent, then, can she claim the language and specially to use it within the deep cultural context in which the word negrita lives? I don’t know that there’s a specific barometer here or even if there should be one. Likewise, Christina Aguilera has not actively distanced herself from her Latine roots, but that didn’t stop the criticism when she released a best-selling Spanish album even though she infamously doesn’t speak the language.

‘Spirit Quest’ Attempts to Combine Stoner Comedy and Strong Characters, and Ends Up With Neither

Ulises Duenas

The basic premise of the movie is that two friends are on a trip to the desert where they decide to eat a bunch of mushrooms that will hopefully take them on a spirit journey. Tip is there to get over a recent breakup, and his friend Brent is his self-appointed spiritual guide. While their friendship and interactions are the core of the film, they don’t have great chemistry together for comedy.

How the Restaurant Industry Has Changed Forever – And for the Better

BPT

The guests are back: 77 percent of U.S. consumers in Lightspeed’s poll are dining out at least once a month or more, with 40 percent dining out more than two to four times a week, and 30 percent saying they are dining out more than they were before COVID, taking advantage of what they’ve missed. QR codes, once seen as outdated tech, were one of the big winners of distanced dining.

Why the Taiwan Question Matters

Antonio Graceffo

Taiwanese President Tsai Ying-Wen, a popular, pro-independence leader who has been elected to her second term, has thanked the U.S. and other Western countries for their support. She gave a speech on National Day, saying, “We will not bow to China.” Taiwan is firmly committed to remaining independent, but is careful not to declare independence.

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