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Look out ‘Below’: World War II submarine action meets ghost story in fun but flawed genre mashup

December 6, 2013

By Matthew E. Milliken Dec. 6, 2013 I have a love-hate relationship with horror films. From a very young age, I’ve always found scary movies to be absolutely terrifying. Once, as a child, my family went to visit my Aunt Gussie and Uncle Paul’s apartment in Queens, and some kind of monster movie was playing […]

‘Mr. President, tear down this law’: Considering conservatives’ hostility toward Obamacare

August 22, 2013

By Matthew E. Milliken Aug. 22, 2013 With key deadlines for implementing President Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act approaching — except for when the president himself puts them off, that is — a subgenre of conservative punditry has arisen. The theme that unites this new category of opinionating is that its authors […]

The Bush administration followed a trail of wishful thinking into Iraq

July 2, 2013

By Matthew E. Milliken July 2, 2013 Last year, journalist Kurt Eichenwald released a detailed history of the roughly 18-month period between the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks and the start of the Iraq war. Among other things, Eichenwald’s book, 500 Days: Secrets and Lies in the Terror Wars, reinforces just how shockingly quickly American […]

In ‘500 Days,’ Kurt Eichenwald outlines critical decisions and events that followed 9/11

June 25, 2013

By Matthew E. Milliken June 24, 2013 In 500 Days: Secrets and Lies in the Terror Wars, veteran journalist Kurt Eichenwald sets out a history of the turmoil triggered by al Qaeda’s Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. This impressive 2012 book is focused on how the administration of President George W. […]

BR25C: Return of the Fighting 69th

June 3, 2013

By Matthew E. Milliken June 3, 2013 Buck Rogers in the 25th Century “Return of the Fighting 69th” — Season 1, Episode 8 Originally aired ——————————— Synopsis Our story begins with four starfighters pursuing a stolen freighter. Buck Rogers, Col. Wilma Deering and two trainees are in the hunt, but when enemy fighters engage, […]

Super-detective Jack Reacher stars in Lee Child’s taut ‘Tripwire’

May 21, 2013

By Matthew E. Milliken May 21, 2013 Jack Reacher, the über-capable fictional former Army detective, made his feature film debut in the 2012 movie that bears his name. But the ex-MP who could has been around since 1997, when England-born Lee Child released Killing Floor, the first of what is now a 16-book series. Some […]

‘The Beginner’s Goodbye’ serves as a field guide to one couple’s starter marriage in Anne Tyler’s most recent outing

April 30, 2013

The Beginner’s Goodbye, the 2012 novel by accomplished writer Anne Tyler, begins with something of a feint. “The strangest thing about my wife’s return from the dead was how other people reacted,” writes the author of The Accidental Tourist, Breathing Lessons and Saint Maybe. But Dr. Dorothy Rosales, the late wife of narrator Aaron Woolcott, hasn’t exactly returned from the […]

CIA officials walk viewers through the methodical, sometimes misguided ‘Manhunt’ that led to Osama bin Laden

April 7, 2013

By Matthew E. Milliken April 7, 2013 When commercial jet planes struck the World Trade Center and Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, most Americans had not heard of al Qaeda or the rich Saudi Arabian who headed it. That was not the case for the men and women of the Central Intelligence Agency unit […]

Navel-gazing: Ten years ago, on the eve of war

March 19, 2013

By Matthew E. Milliken March 19, 2013 There have been plenty of navel-gazing columns by the pundit class lately. And with good reason: Ten years ago today, the United States was on the eve of launching a “war of choice” against Iraq and its ambitious, brutal dictator, Saddam Hussein. I consider the war and […]

Means vs. ends: Account of bin Laden’s assassination raises uncomfortable questions

November 14, 2012

Author’s note: I have written two posts inspired by Mark Bowden’s nonfiction book The Finish. Tuesday’s post reviewed the book. Today’s post considers some of the philosophical and moral issues raised by the book. ~~~ As Mark Bowden makes clear in The Finish, his new book on the killing of al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden, several different tales have […]

Captivating ‘Atonement’ turns on a tragic mistake

October 4, 2012

About half of the film Atonement is set on a posh English country estate during a scorching 1930s day. The estate, which belongs to the Tallis family, is being visited by the Quincey children, a teenaged girl and her two younger brothers, who are cousins of the Tallises, and by two young men. One of those […]