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Philip Seymour Hoffman and the mortal coil

By Danielle Berrin

February 18, 2014 | 1:09 pm

Philip Seymour Hoffman. Photo by Max Rossi/Reuters

With its gleaming jewels, movie star smiles and fluttering fabrics, the Academy Awards is no place for real sorrow or despair. The Oscars exist as a fantastic otherworld, an ethereal... read on

  • Philip Roth — still (a)roused

    By Danielle Berrin

    March 28, 2013 | 8:49 am

    The camera opens on a frazzled Philip Roth.

    He is futzing with the horseshoe of hair he has left, rubbing his face and furrowing his unruly brow as a look of supreme unease settles over his face. For a man who recently announced his retirement, he seems a bit stressed. And for a... read on

  • Academy’s doc night focuses on Israeli-Palestinian conflict

    By Danielle Berrin

    February 23, 2013 | 10:28 am

    When did Michael Moore anoint himself the broker of Middle East peace?

    I wondered this as I sat in the audience during the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ “Oscar Celebrates Docs” night on Feb. 20, as an evening that began with laudatory reverence for “nonfiction... read on

  • Hollywood’s history lesson: What counts when truth gets in the way

    By Danielle Berrin

    February 19, 2013 | 7:04 am

    The year is 2063. In a Los Angeles classroom, a group of history students awaits the day’s lesson on the Civil War period. The teacher announces that instead of reading from a textbook, the class will watch the movie “Lincoln,” by Steven Spielberg and Tony Kushner. The lights dim,... read on

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  • Aaron Swartz: martyr or mascot?

    By Danielle Berrin

    January 30, 2013 | 4:23 pm

    Anyone just tuning in to the sensation created by Aaron Swartz’s death might easily think he’s the Internet’s Joan of Arc.

    Last month, the 26-year-old prodigy programmer, activist and blogger hanged himself in his Brooklyn apartment. He was a “wizardly” figure, according to The... read on

  • Spielberg’s year? ‘Lincoln’ nabs 12 Oscar nominations

    By Danielle Berrin

    January 10, 2013 | 8:33 am

    Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln," a film about the passage of the 13th amendment abolishing slavery, garnered the most Academy Award nominations of any film this year, including Best Picture as well as nods in three major acting categories, achievement in directing for Spielberg and... read on

  • The Torah of Les Misérables

    By Danielle Berrin

    January 9, 2013 | 1:16 pm

    So what if the Les Mis cast of characers are thoroughly Christian and utterly French -- there's still Torah to be found in Victor Hugo's epic tale of redemption, writes Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky, a liberal-minded Orthodox rabbi in West Los Angeles. "[A]lthough Jean Valjean’s fall and... read on

  • Even in Hollywood, Noah’s Ark survives a flood

    By Danielle Berrin

    January 3, 2013 | 1:34 pm

    In retrospect it was a gross misnomer and an audacious assumption to call the Titanic “unsinkable.” But in theory, the notion that such a designation should apply to a water vessel is rather basic and logical, and can probably trace its origins to the biblical story of Noah.

    When... read on

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