Thursday, April 11, 2013

Hyatt House Makes Atlanta Debut -

One of Hyatt Hotels Corporation?s ( H - Snapshot Report ) upscale brands, HYATT house, recently made its debut in Georgia with the opening of a hotel in Atlanta. Christened HYATT house Atlanta/Cobb Galleria ? the new property was developed and unveiled by Noble Investment Group and Interstate Hotels & Resorts.

HYATT house Atlanta/Cobb Galleria is ideally positioned at the juncture of Cobb Galleria?s Interstate-75 and Interstate-285 in Northwest Corridor, Atlanta. The hotel lies in close proximity to One Overton Park Galleria, Life University and Cobb Galleria Centre.

HYATT house Atlanta/Cobb Galleria featuring 149 guestrooms and suites, also has meeting space measuring 2,000 square feet. The resort will offer various other amenities like restaurants, swimming pools, spa and a fitness center.

Atlanta, the capital of Georgia, is home to the world's largest home improvement retailer, The Home Depot, Inc. ( HD - Analyst Report ) . Other big companies like IBM ( IBM - Analyst Report ) and General Electric Company ( GE - Analyst Report ) also have their offices here. Hence, Atlanta is of strategic importance for a hotel company as it is an important destination for business travelers. HYATT house Atlanta/Cobb Galleria, which is easily accessible from various corporate hubs and social centers, will likely create a strong guest base, going ahead.

Introduced in 2012, the company?s HYATT house brand was previously known as Hyatt Summerfield Suites and Hotel Sierra. It comprises small-to-mid sized residential-type contemporary hotels. As of now, nearly 54 unique properties are currently under the HYATT house brand spread throughout 50 locations in the U.S.

HYATT house boasts prestigious hotels such as HYATT house Charlotte Airport, North Carolina, HYATT house Hartford North/Windsor, Connecticut and HYATT house Chicago/Naperville/Warrenville, Ill. As a part of the Hyatt group, these properties get to reap the benefits of its much greater scale in the industry.

Hyatt currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).


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HBT: MLB creates task force to attract black players

Even if we are taking the annual Lapchick study with a grain of salt due to its failure to use common denominators, Major League Baseball takes the underlying issue of the decline of U.S.-born blacks in baseball seriously enough that it?s doing something about it:

Major League Baseball has created a task force to study why the number of African-Americans playing the sport has declined in recent years, The New York Times reported on Tuesday.

The 17-member committee, which will be chaired by Tigers president/GM Dave Dombrowski, will hold its first meeting in Milwaukee on Wednesday. He?ll be joined by several other baseball executives, plus Stanford athletic director Bernard Muir; Frank Marcos, senior director of baseball?s scouting bureau; and former White Sox and Mets manager Jerry Manuel.

I wish baseball hadn?t made a mockery of task forces and studies with that whole Oakland thing, because I would like to think that this would lead to some actual useful and actionable information.?Here?s hoping it does, because it would tickle me pink if baseball could figure out how to get more kids to put down the footballs and basketballs and pick up a bat and a glove.

The answer, at least in part, is probably money and engagement by people and organizations with money. Because we have to face facts that baseball is not a cheap sport to play on the amateur level, what with its single-use fields, travel and equipment requirements. ?I know there are urban initiatives afoot by the league, but in addition to that I?d like to see something less charitable/community-involvement-oriented and something of something that is more ruthlessly talent-development-orients. A system in which teams try to identify and support young baseball talent in the U.S. with an idea toward making them major league ballplayers. The draft disincentivizes this, sadly, but perhaps there?s a workaround or league-wide solution.


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Hooters sued by former waitress in war over wig

Following brain surgery, your main worry should not be whether you?ll get fired at work for refusing to wear a wig that scrapes your scar. But former Hooters waitress Sandra Lupo contends in a lawsuit that?s what happened when she declined to don a wig and her hours were reduced so much, she was forced to quit.

She filed a disability discrimination lawsuit in Missouri against Hooters of St. Peters, LLC and Hooters of America LLC and is seeking $25,000 for mental and emotional distress, plus punitive damages, attorney fees and other relief.

"Hooters of America believes the lawsuit is without foundation, denies the accusations and has filed a motion that the lawsuit be dismissed," the company said in a statement to NBC News. Hooters, in an April 5 response to the court, denies most of her statements and says ?its actions were taken for legitimate, nondiscriminatory business reasons.?

Hooters is a privately held chain of restaurants that bank on attractive waitresses wearing short shorts and cleavage-hugging shirts.

Lupo, who had been working at the Hooters of St. Peters, Mo., since 2005, was in her last six weeks of nursing school and was at her computer in June 2012 when she felt tingling and numbness on her left side. ?I was bleeding out in my brain,? she told

She spent a week in the hospital following her July 2 surgery and was visited by her Hooters manager, according to her suit filed on the Circuit Court of St. Charles County.

The lawsuit claims that her store manager told her ?she could return to work as soon as she was capable, and that, she could wear a ?chemo cap? or any other items of jewelry to distract from her lack of hair and the visibility of her cranial scar.?

Her hair had been cut to ?-inch for the surgery.

On July 16, Lupo?s doctors gave her the all-clear to return to work. Soon after, she met with her manager and the Hooters' regional manager, who said she would be required to wear a wig at work, according to Lupo?s lawsuit.

Hooters? April 5 filing does not address whether any of its employees told Lupo to wear a wig. It says that her manager ?informed her she would need a head covering.?

At the time of the meeting, Lupo protested that she was unable to afford a wig, which can cost from several hundred to several thousands of dollars, according to her claim.

When she did return to work July 21, wigless, she was told a wig was required. She then borrowed a wig but it ?caused extreme stress to her body because of the surgery and the healing wound,? according to the suit.

Hooters then reduced her hours ?to the point that Plaintiff could not earn an income, thereby forcing Plaintiff to quit,? according to the suit. ?It is and has been the routine custom, policy and practice of Defendants to reduce their employees? hours which forces them to voluntarily resign thereby making them ineligible for unemployment compensation.?

The Hooters filing specifically denies that allegation.

After Lupo said she could not wear the wig, Hooters stopped scheduling her for as many hours, she said.

?I actually had to beg for one shift a week,? Lupo said. Pre-surgery, she was working several days a week while finishing nursing school. She had also trained staff and worked promotions for the restaurant, but no alternate duties were offered to her.

?They refused to accommodate it,? she said.

Today she is recovered, graduated and working as a registered nurse.

?Justice,? she said, is the main goal of the lawsuit.


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Peel-and-stick thin film solar cells

Apr. 9, 2013 ? Hanyang University in collaboration with Stanford University has succeeded in fabricating peel-and-stick thin film solar cells (TFSCs). The Si wafer is clean and reusable. Moreover, as the peeled-off TFSCs from the Si wafer are thin, light-weight, and flexible, it can be attached onto any form or shape of surface like a sticker.

Professor Dong Rip Kim of the Department of Mechanical Engineering has succeeded in fabricating peel-and-stick thin film solar cells (TFSCs) with the collaboration of Stanford team led by Professor Xiaolin Zheng. This method makes possible the overcoming of hardships related to working with traditional solar cells, namely the lack of handling, high manufacturing cost, and limited flexibility while maintaining performance.

Kim is currently in charge of the Hanyang University Nanotechnology for Energy Conversion Lab. His research interests are solar cells, energy conversion devices using nanomaterials, flexible electronics, nanoelectronics, and nanosensors. Among Kim's recent publications are "Peel-and-Stick: Fabricating Thin Film Solar Cell on Universal Substrates" in the journal of Scientific Reports, "Shrinking and Growing: Grain Boundary Density Reduction for Efficient Polysilicon Thin-Film Solar Cells" in the journal of Nano Letters, and "Thermal Conductivity in Porous Silicon Nanowire Arrays" in the journal of Nanoscale Research Letters.

Most solar cells are now fabricated on Si wafers or glass substrates. The biggest issue for commercialized solar cells is their high price. In addition, due to their fabrication on the Si wafer, the cells are rigid and heavy while being fragile. While they are recognized as one of the most crucial alternative sources of energy, such limitations have prevented wider application of solar cells.

Fortunately, Kim and his colleagues devised an idea to produce a light-weight flexible solar cell on nonconventional or universal substrates that overcomes the limitations of traditional methods while maintaining performance. By doing so, Kim believed that his new cells could broaden the application spectrum of solar cells.

The success comes from using the same traditional fabrication method while adding a metal layer between the fabricated a-Si:H TFSCs and the underlying Si/SiO2 wafer. After numerous attempts and trials, Kim and his colleagues found a method to reliably peel the fabricated TFSCs from the Si/SO2 wafer by using water penetration between the metal layer and the SiO2 layer on the wafer.

The Si wafer is clean and reusable, which is a big cost-saving factor for solar cells. Moreover, as the peeled-off TFSCs from the Si wafer are thin, light-weight, and flexible, it can be attached onto any form or shape of surface like a sticker. Although others have successfully fabricated TFSCs on flexible substrates to realize the flexible solar cells, many efforts have been driven to modify the existing processes for solar cell fabrication, due to the rubber-like properties of the flexible substrates. Importantly, Kim and his colleagues made the light-weight flexible solar cells without modifying any existing fabrication processes, and their performance was maintained even after the transfer. Kim states that their novel technology is not limited to the solar cells only. Numerous other appliances like flexible displays can adopt his method.

"I will continue to focus on creating highly efficient but low costing energy conversion devices with nanotechnology," Kim said. Moreover, his future research will focus on applying his method in other types of solar cells and in other applications.

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Story Source:

The above story is reprinted from materials provided by Hanyang University, via ResearchSEA. The original article was written by Jisoo Lee.

Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.

Journal References:

  1. Dong Rip Kim, Chi Hwan Lee, Jeffrey M. Weisse, In Sun Cho, Xiaolin Zheng. Shrinking and Growing: Grain Boundary Density Reduction for Efficient Polysilicon Thin-Film Solar Cells. Nano Letters, 2012; 12 (12): 6485 DOI: 10.1021/nl3041492
  2. Chi Hwan Lee, Dong Rip Kim, In Sun Cho, Nemeth William, Qi Wang, Xiaolin Zheng. Peel-and-Stick: Fabricating Thin Film Solar Cell on Universal Substrates. Scientific Reports, 2012; 2 DOI: 10.1038/srep01000
  3. Jeffrey M Weisse, Amy M Marconnet, Dong Kim, Pratap M Rao, Matthew A Panzer, Kenneth E Goodson, Xiaolin Zheng. Thermal conductivity in porous silicon nanowire arrays. Nanoscale Research Letters, 2012; 7 (1): 554 DOI: 10.1186/1556-276X-7-554

Note: If no author is given, the source is cited instead.

Disclaimer: Views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of ScienceDaily or its staff.


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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

'Iron Man 3' Extended Scene To Power Up MTV Movie Awards!

Before watching the full clip during Sunday's show, team up with fans to unlock another exclusive first look.
By Todd Gilchrist

Robert Downey Jr. in "Iron Man 3"
Photo: Marvel/Disney


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Kenya to swear in president, leave West with headache

By Edmund Blair

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenya swears in Uhuru Kenyatta as president on Tuesday after an election that avoided the bloodshed of five years ago, but left Western nations with the challenge of how to deal with a leader indicted by the International Criminal Court.

Western states regard Kenya as crucial to regional stability and have supported the role played by Kenyan and other African troops in efforts to push back al Qaeda-affiliated Islamist militants in neighboring Somalia.

The United States and European powers said they would send ambassadors to attend Kenyatta's inauguration ceremony - a level of representation diplomats said was still in line with their position of having only "essential contacts" with indictees.

It is part of a delicate balancing act that seeks to retain a policy of limiting contacts while avoiding driving east Africa's biggest economy closer towards China and other emerging Asian powers that have been gaining influence on the continent.

"They find themselves in a very difficult position," said Kenya expert Daniel Branch at Britain's Warwick University. "My sense is everyone will find some method of accommodation."

Sitting alongside the Western envoys will be about a dozen African heads of state as well as prime ministers and other top officials. China and India, neither signatories to the statutes that set up the ICC, are sending senior government officials.

But Western ambassadors at the stadium on the outskirts of Nairobi will be saved one awkward moment. A Kenyan government spokesman said the ceremony would not be attended by Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who is charged with genocide in The Hague and now faces an arrest warrant for not cooperating.

Kenyatta and his deputy president, William Ruto, who is also facing charges of crimes against humanity, have both promised to work with the court to clear their names of charges they deny.

Western diplomats have indicated they will take a "pragmatic" line in dealing with Kenyatta's government, but said much would depend on his cooperation with the court.

He is accused of orchestrating tribal blood-letting after the disputed vote five years ago that killed 1,200 people.

A dispute over who won the election this time was played out peacefully in court. The victory by Kenyatta, who is the son of Kenya's founding president, was upheld.


Many Kenyans hope that Kenyatta, a 51-year-old former finance minister, will now deliver a swift improvement in the economy, which has yet to return to the 7 percent growth rate attained before the December 2007 vote.

In an early sign of Western determination to keep a close partnership with Kenya, U.S. Ambassador Robert Godec met Kenyatta last week for the first time since his election and EU ambassadors put in a request for a session with him.

"We will continue to engage with the government of Kenya," said one European diplomat, noting that the ICC charges are against individuals, not the nation.

An EU official said the meeting requested with Kenyatta aimed to "clear the air" over speculation that the West would impose sanctions on Kenya if Kenyatta won. "No one is talking of sanctions," the official told Reuters.

Although some Kenyatta aides talk of a swivel east if the West spurns Kenya, the U.S.-educated Kenyatta may be just as concerned about any deterioration in ties with the EU, a big donor and significant importer of Kenyan produce, and Washington, which provides about $900 million in aid a year.

An Asian diplomat noted that Kenya could not easily switch away from Western markets, even though he said ties with Asian nations were growing.

Warwick University's Branch said Kenyatta was keenly aware of the need to keep steady relations with the West. "Kenya is part of the global economy and markets in the EU are far too important," he said.

A big portion of Kenya's horticultural exports head to Europe and many tourists, another source of hard currency, come from there. Western oil and gas firms are also major players in Kenya's emerging hydrocarbons industry.

(Editing by Mark Heinrich)


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In slap at South, NKorea suspends work at factory

A South Korean military vehicle passes by gates leading to the North Korean city of Kaesong at the customs, immigration and quarantine office near the border village of Panmunjom, which has separated the two Koreas since the Korean War, in Paju, north of Seoul, South Korea, Monday, April 8, 2013. A top South Korean national security official said Sunday that North Korea may be setting the stage for a missile test or another provocative act with its warning that it soon will be unable to guarantee diplomats' safety in Pyongyang. But he added that the North's clearest objective is to extract concessions from Washington and Seoul. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

A South Korean military vehicle passes by gates leading to the North Korean city of Kaesong at the customs, immigration and quarantine office near the border village of Panmunjom, which has separated the two Koreas since the Korean War, in Paju, north of Seoul, South Korea, Monday, April 8, 2013. A top South Korean national security official said Sunday that North Korea may be setting the stage for a missile test or another provocative act with its warning that it soon will be unable to guarantee diplomats' safety in Pyongyang. But he added that the North's clearest objective is to extract concessions from Washington and Seoul. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

A South Korean worker, left, who arrives with electronic products from North Korea's Kaesong is helped by a South Korean woman who greeted him at the customs, immigration and quarantine office near the border village of Panmunjom, that has separated the two Koreas since the Korean War, in Paju, north of Seoul, South Korea, Monday, April 8, 2013. A top South Korean national security official said Sunday that North Korea may be setting the stage for a missile test or another provocative act with its warning that it soon will be unable to guarantee diplomats' safety in Pyongyang. But he added that the North's clearest objective is to extract concessions from Washington and Seoul. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

FILE - In this Sept. 21, 2012 file photo, 2012, two North Korean men working for ShinWon, a South Korean clothing maker, prepare garments for production at a factory in Kaesong, North Korea. North Korea says it will recall 51,000 North Korean workers and suspend operations at a factory complex that is the last major symbol of co-operation with its southern rival. Pyongyang's statement Monday, April 8, 2013, comes amid weeks of war threats and other efforts to punish South Korea and the U.S. for ongoing joint military drills. (AP Photo/Jean H. Lee, File)

A South Korean worker, left, who arrives with electronic products from North Korea's Kaesong, is helped by a South Korean woman who greeted him, after returning from the North at the customs, immigration and quarantine office near the border village of Panmunjom, that has separated the two Koreas since the Korean War, in Paju, north of Seoul, South Korea, Monday, April 8, 2013. A top South Korean national security official said Sunday that North Korea may be setting the stage for a missile test or another provocative act with its warning that it soon will be unable to guarantee diplomats' safety in Pyongyang. But he added that the North's clearest objective is to extract concessions from Washington and Seoul. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

A South Korean soldier salutes a military vehicle as it leads South Korean vehicles from the North Korean city of Kaesong at the customs, immigration and quarantine office near the border village of Panmunjom, which has separated the two Koreas since the Korean War, in Paju, north of Seoul, South Korea, Monday, April 8, 2013. A top South Korean national security official said Sunday that North Korea may be setting the stage for a missile test or another provocative act with its warning that it soon will be unable to guarantee diplomats' safety in Pyongyang. But he added that the North's clearest objective is to extract concessions from Washington and Seoul. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

(AP) ? North Korea said Monday it will suspend operations at a factory complex it has jointly run with South Korea, pulling out more than 53,000 North Korean workers and moving closer to severing its last economic link with its rival as tensions escalate.

The Kaesong industrial complex just north of the Demilitarized Zone is the biggest employer in North Korea's third-largest city. Shutting it down, even temporarily, would show that the destitute country is willing to hurt its own economy to display its anger with South Korea and the United States.

Pyongyang's move follows weeks of threatening rhetoric and provocations aimed at Seoul and its U.S. ally following U.N. sanctions punishing the North for its third nuclear test, on Feb. 12. In recent days there have also been worries in Seoul of an even larger provocation from Pyongyang, including another possible nuclear test or rocket launch.

The point of the threats and possible future provocations, analysts say, isn't a full-scale war, which North Korea would certainly lose. It's seen instead as an effort to force new, Pyongyang-friendly policies in South Korea and Washington and to boost domestic loyalty for Kim Jong Un, the country's young, still relatively untested new leader.

The statement about Kaesong came from Kim Yang Gon, secretary of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea. It did not say what would happen to the 475 South Korean managers still at the Kaesong industrial complex. The statement also did not say whether the North Korean workers would be recalled immediately, and a South Korean manager at Kaesong said he had heard nothing from the North Korean government.

"North Korean workers left work at 6 o'clock today as they usually do. We'll know tomorrow whether they will come to work," said the manager, who declined to be identified because he was not authorized to speak to the media. North Korea had asked South Korean managers to say when they intended to leave by Wednesday; the manager said he did not know whether he and his South Korean colleagues now will be forced to leave.

Kim's statement said North Korea will now consider whether to close the complex permanently. "How the situation will develop in the days ahead will entirely depend on the attitude" of South Korean authorities, it said.

Yoo Ho-yeol, a North Korea expert at Korea University in South Korea, said the North probably will close the park. "North Korea will wait to see what kind of message we will send ... but there is no message that we can send to North Korea," he said.

Yoo said he expects the South Korean managers will be deported, Pyongyang will convert the park for military use, and the fates of the North Korean workers and their families will not be considered. "It's a wrong decision but they won't change it because it's not their top priority," he said.

Another analyst, however, believes North Korea will reopen the complex after South Korea-U.S. drills end in late April. Cheong Seong-chang at the private Sejong Institute in South Korea said the complex depends on raw materials and even electricity from South Korea. He also noted that workers at the complex are paid in U.S. dollars that North Korea would have a hard time replacing because of international sanctions.

Cheong also thinks that although North Korea would put recalled workers on other projects, it would "face a burden that it has to provide the similar quality of livelihood to them. ... There would be voices calling for the normalization of the Kaesong complex."

South Korea's Unification Ministry, which is responsible for relations with the North, issued a statement saying South Korea will act "calmly and firmly" and will make its best efforts to secure the safety of South Koreans at Kaesong.

The Kaesong complex is the last remaining symbol of inter-Korean rapprochement projects from previous eras of cooperation. Other projects such as reunions of families separated by war and tours to a scenic North Korean mountain became stalled amid confrontation between the rival Koreas in recent years.

Last month, North Korea cut the communications with South Korea that had helped regulate border crossings at Kaesong, and last week it barred South Korean workers and cargo from entering North Korea. Operations continued and South Koreans already at Kaesong were allowed to stay, but dwindling personnel and supplies had forced about a dozen of the more than 120 companies operating at Kaesong to close by Sunday.

North Korea also briefly restricted the heavily fortified border crossing at Kaesong in 2009, but manufacturers fear the current closure could last longer.

Kim, the party secretary, visited the complex Monday. He said in remarks carried by the Korean Central News Agency that Kaesong "has been reduced to a theater of confrontation."

South Korea's Unification Ministry estimates 53,000 North Korean workers in Kaesong received $80 million in salary in 2012, an average of $127 a month.

The Unification Ministry says Kaesong accounted for nearly all two-way trade between the Koreas. Cross-border trade, including supplies entering Kaesong and finished products coming out, approached $2 billion annually.

North Korea objects to portrayals in the South of the zone being crucial to the impoverished country's finances. Kim said North Korea "gets few economic benefits from the zone while the south side largely benefits from it." North Korea has also expressed outrage over South Korean discussion of military rescue plans in the event Pyongyang held the managers hostage.

South Korea's finance minister, Hyun Oh-seok, said the government is looking at ways to help Kaesong firms. South Korea offers insurance to the companies in the event of a shutdown or war.

Daemyung Blue Jeans Inc., which does business in Kaesong, is trying to get in touch with its managers in Kaesong and hadn't spoken with them since Monday morning, CEO Choi Dongjin said. "We have seven (South Korean) workers in Kaesong. We don't know what to do about them," he said by phone from Seoul.

North Korea has unnerved the international community by orchestrating an escalating campaign of bombast in recent weeks. It has threatened to fire nuclear missiles at the U.S. and claimed it had scrapped the 1953 armistice that ended fighting in the Korean War.

Last week it told foreign diplomats based in Pyongyang that it will not be able to guarantee their safety as of Wednesday. Embassy workers appeared to be staying put as of Monday.

North Korea has found itself increasingly isolated. China, its most important ally, expressed unusual disappointment when Pyongyang announced last week that it was restarting a plutonium reactor to produce more nuclear-bomb fuel.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, during a visit to Germany, praised the U.S. for postponing a missile test in California that had been set for this week, in the name of lowering tensions. Putin said at a news conference that a conflict on the Korean Peninsula would make the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl "look like a children's story."

The North's threats against the United States are widely dismissed as hyperbole. North Korea is believed to have a few relatively crude nuclear weapons, but analysts say they've seen no evidence it can build a warhead small enough to put on a missile that could hit the U.S. mainland. A direct attack on the U.S. or its allies would result in retaliation that would threaten the existence of the ruling Kim family in Pyongyang, but there are fears the North might launch a smaller-scale attack.

Another possibility is a fourth nuclear test, or a missile test.

The South Korean defense minister said Thursday that North Korea had moved a missile with "considerable range" to its east coast, possibly to conduct a test launch.

Pyongyang's warning to diplomats prompted South Korean President Park Geun-hye's national security director to say Sunday that North Korea may be planning a missile launch or another provocation around Wednesday, according to presidential spokeswoman Kim Haing.

U.S. State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell on Monday said a future nuclear test or missile launch would violate U.N. Security Council resolutions and would lead to further pressure and isolation of North Korea, but declined to comment on intelligence about it.

"We would strongly discourage such a course of action," he told reporters.

The possibility of a fourth North Korean nuclear test has existed for some time. South Korea has long said the North prepared two tunnels for a nuclear test, but used only one Feb. 12.

Unification Minister Ryoo Kihl-jae generated confusion about South Korean intelligence on the issue Monday in a parliamentary session. When a lawmaker asked whether there have been increased personnel and vehicles at the North's nuclear test site, and whether that is an indication of nuclear test preparation, Ryoo said "there is such an indication."

After Ryoo's initial comments, South Korean Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok said no increase in activity has been detected at the site, though he added that North Korea can conduct a nuclear test anytime if decides to do so.

The comments in a parliamentary session were recorded on video, but Ryoo later told lawmakers he couldn't remember making them and didn't mean to say them. He said he was "startled" by reports carrying his earlier comments.


AP Business Writer Youkyung Lee in Seoul and AP researcher Zhao Liang in Beijing contributed to this report.

Associated Press


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Man Throws Meat Cleaver Into Maternity Ward: Kareem Jorif Arrested For Attack In Virginia Hospital Center

  • iAssault

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    Police say they saw Joel Perez hit his brother with a cremation urn in Lorain, Ohio. It knocked out his brother and broke the urn, sending human ashes flying, officials with the Lorain County Sheriff said.

  • Lynn Benson

    Lynn Benson allegedly drove a bulldozer through his place of employment.

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    Lois Goodman, a professional tennis referee, has been accused of murdering her 80-year-old husband with a coffee mug. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

  • Man Robs Ice Cream Shop With Submachine Gun

    A suspect allegedly robbed a Naples, Florida Italian ice shop with a submachine gun on Aug. 23, according to police. He is still on the loose.

  • Sarah Howell

    Sarah Howell, of Killeen, Tex., beat her boyfriend with a stripper pole and poured cooking oil on him.

  • Chris Meusburger

    Chris Meusburger brandished a sword and threatened to "seriously hurt" an elderly woman after she criticized the way he treated a book she had lent him.

  • Mangos Stop Robbery

    Otilia Martins, 80, helped thwart a robbery at her son-in-law's market by chucking mangos at the thieves.

  • Gardener Harry Cook

    Gardener Harry Cook who defiantly stopped a man in a van from stealing his potted plants and flowers. Brave Harry Cook, 67, calmly stood in front of their getaway van before ordering them to "put the blooming things back." Incredibly, the cowardly thieves agreed to replace the plants and unloaded the van before speeding off empty handed. Harry, a retired JCB driver, was in his potting shed in his back garden of his home in Loughborough, Leics, when he caught the raiders red-handed at 4pm on July 8.

  • Jason Dornhoff

    Jason Dornhoff was arrested after <a href="" target="_hplink">he wrote a bomb threat on the back of a job application,</a> police said. Cops searched his truck, but found no explosives.

  • Michael Conley

    Former Elvis impersonator Michael Conley blamed his diabetes for starting a standoff with Florida police, in which he threatened to use a weapon of mass destruction against them. He allegedly held up a vial of what he called Ricin -- a highly potent toxin -- as he barricaded himself in a motel in February, 2012. He was arrested about four hours later. Read more <a href="" target="_hplink">here.</a>

  • Bug Spray Bandit

    Investigators in California are trying to track down a man who robbed a bank armed with pesticide. The suspect appeared to be carrying a black semi-automatic handgun and a plastic container of pesticide when he held up the Pacific Western Bank in Rancho Santa Fe on Nov. 4, 2011. <a href="" target="_hplink">Read more.</a>

  • Konstantine Myakush

    Konstantine Myakush was struck in the neck with an errant arrow in a Moscow park on April 30, 2012. Myakush -- who was out with his two daughters -- miraculously survived the brush with death and is expected to make a full recovery. Doctors said he was fortunate because the arrow didn't strike a major artery.

  • Clara Ann Blocker

    In April 2012, Clara Ann Blocker, of Oklahoma City, was sentenced to life in prison for beating a dwarf to death with a crystal ball. Blocker, 41, was drinking with Erik Scott Saxton on September 16, 2010, when the two got into an argument. Blocker grabbed a nearby crystal ball to bludgeon Saxton in the head before also beating him with a DVD player. Though Blocker initially claimed she never would have hurt the 4-foot 5-inch Saxton, "because he's a little person," she ultimately pleaded guilty to his murder.

  • Dildo

    On April 25, 2012, Lisa Anderson violated the penal law. When police showed up at Anderson's apartment in Watertown, New York, on complaint of an "unwanted person" in the home, Anderson allegedly threw a pink dildo at the face of Officer Jonathan Pitts. The sex toy hit him in the forehead. Anderson was arraigned the same day on a charge of misdemeanor harassment and ultimately released.

  • Deadly Booby Traps

    On April 16, 2012, a U.S. Forest Service Officer came across something that most people only encounter in cartoons: booby traps. The traps were located along a popular hiking trail in South Fork Canyon, Utah. They were elaborate set-ups, including concealed pits of spikes and a tripwire-activated swinging ball of spiked sticks surrounding a 20-pound rock. The officer found the traps before they claimed any victims, but hiker Emily Hammerstad noted that such traps "would kill people, easily." Benjamin Rutkowski, 19, and Kai Christensen, 21, ultimately admitted to setting the traps, and were charged with reckless endangerment. Had anyone been hurt, they would have been charged with felonies.

  • Peter Andrew Levay

    Peter Andrew Levay, 42, is charged with beating his neighbor to death with an electric guitar. On the morning of April 22, police in Austin, Texas were notified shortly after Levay allegedly told his roommate, Lavern Fisher, that he thought he killed the man who lived above them. Officials say they found the man, 64-year-old Maurice Leray Eckert, dead from "blunt trauma to the head." Eckert's wallet and blood-stained clothes were recovered from Levay's closet. Fisher said his roommate's motive was likely related to the victim's conduct not long before the incident took place. The three men had been drinking together, Fisher said, when Eckert "started making sexual advances toward me and [Levay], and they became violent."

  • Spatula

    Investigators believe that Utah woman Angeles Cadillo-Castro used a spatula to murder her five-year-old stepdaughter. The young girl was found beaten to death in July 2010 in Cadillo-Castro's South Salt Lake apartment. As part of a plea deal, the 31-year-old woman pleaded guilty and received a sentence of five years to life sentence in May 2011. <a href="" target="_hplink">flickr: Andrew Mason</a>

  • Medieval-Style Mace

    Roberto Vazquez's weapon of choice wouldn't be that unusual . . . if he were living in the Middle Ages. Police say the 37-year-old New Jersey man attacked Matthew Pinto, an employee of Atlantic City Electric, with a "mace-like weapon" on February 8, 2012. Vazquez had previously had his electricity disconnected after he failed to pay his bills, but he had managed to reconnect his power by cutting a lock and manipulating the meter. Pinto had arrived to disconnect the power once again when Vazquez allegedly beat the employee over the head with a weapon made up of a 16-inch wooden handle and two spiked metal spheres. Pinto was knocked unconscious, and after waking up, bleeding from the head, in Vazquez's home, he drove to a police precinct to get help. Vazquez now faces a range of charges including attempted murder, aggravated assault, tampering with evidence, obstruction of justice and weapons charges.

  • Tom Guzzi

    Tom Guzzi, a legally blind 71-year-old, <a href="" target="_hplink">defended his Pittsburgh home</a> from a pair of alleged armed robbers by using a kitchen pot.

  • Garden Gnome

    Frederick Gilliard, 76, killed his wife with a Easter End head-shaped garden gnome and an 8-inch carving knife.

  • Source:

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    Google Play redesign confirmed in leaked image

    By Mark Lamport-Stokes AUGUSTA, Georgia, April 8 (Reuters) - Steve Stricker could certainly do with a bit of Masters payback after giving his good friend Tiger Woods a valuable putting lesson during last month's WGC-Cadillac Championship in Miami. Helped by Stricker's advice, Woods went on to triumph by two shots over his fellow American at Doral, then won the Arnold Palmer Invitational on his next start to cement his status as a hot favourite for this week's Masters at Augusta National. ...


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    93% The Sapphires

    All Critics (115) | Top Critics (28) | Fresh (107) | Rotten (8)

    The harmonies they strike in this reality-inspired charmer are sweetly sublime.

    You could drive an Abrams tank through the film's plot holes, but you'll likely be too busy enjoying yourself to bother.

    "The Sapphires" feels like a movie you've already seen, but it's nonetheless thoroughly enjoyable, like a pop song that's no less infectious when you know every word.

    "The Sapphires" sparkles with sass and Motown soul.

    Sapphires is hardly a cinematic diamond mine. But this Commitments-style mashup of music and melodrama manages to entertain without demanding too much of its audience.

    Director Wayne Blair -- another veteran of the stage show -- finds his footing during the film's many musical numbers.

    Despite the prosaic plot and reserved approach taken by Blair, Briggs, and Thompson, it's tough to get cynical about such a warmhearted picture that strives to tell so uplifting a story.

    A movie with enough melody and camaraderie to cover up its lack of originality.

    Draining most of the blood, sweat and tears from a true story, this music-minded movie capably covers a song we've heard a hundred times before.

    "Sapphires," which was inspired by a true story, is propelled by a strong sense of music's power to connect people and change lives.

    Fires on all cylinders when it drops all pretense and allows its talented cast to simply belt out a series of pure, unfiltered slices of ear candy.

    A rousing soundtrack helps to compensate for some of the historical embellishments in this Australian crowd-pleaser.

    'Sapphires' got heart and soul

    It might not possess the exuberant innocent fun of 'That Thing You Do!' or the overall brilliance of 'The Commitments' but 'The Sapphires' shines enough in its own right. (Complete Content Details for Parents also available)

    If you love the music of Motown and enjoy a feel good success flick, then "The Sapphires" fits the bill.

    Delirious surprises crowd out the clich?s in this thoroughly disarming movie.

    No quotes approved yet for The Sapphires. Logged in users can submit quotes.


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    Drool-Worthy Male Celebrities: Whose Your Favorite?

    Drool-Worthy Male Celebrities: Whose Your Favorite?

    Hot guys in HollywoodWe’ve compiled a list of the male stars that get us hot and bothered. Our sexy male celebrity list includes the most attractive models, singers, and actors that have captured our attention. See if your fav hottie made the list! We’ve included hot guys of all ages in our list. Let’s face it…George Clooney is ...

    Drool-Worthy Male Celebrities: Whose Your Favorite? Stupid Celebrities Gossip Stupid Celebrities Gossip News


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    Tuesday, April 9, 2013

    For Older Women, Missed Mammograms Tied to Worse Breast ...

    SUNDAY April 7, 2013 -- Older women diagnosed with breast cancer years after their last mammogram, and those who never had a mammogram, have an increased risk of dying from their cancer, a new study suggests.

    Researchers analyzed data from about 8,600 women in the United States who were diagnosed with breast cancer.

    The investigators found that 23 percent of women who had their last mammogram five or more years before being diagnosed with breast cancer had advanced cancer, compared with 20 percent of those who had a mammogram six months to a year before their diagnosis.

    This is a statistically significant difference that could affect large numbers of women, according to the researchers.

    The study also found that a longer interval between a mammogram and breast cancer diagnosis was associated with an increased risk of dying from breast cancer among women aged 75 and older.

    In this age group, those who were diagnosed five or more years after their last mammogram or had never had a mammogram were three times more likely to die from breast cancer than those who had a mammogram six months to a year before their diagnosis.

    These associations were not found in younger women, according to the study scheduled for presentation at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), taking place April 6 to 10 in Washington, D.C.

    "I am not sure why we are seeing these results particularly for older women. Tumors of younger women were more likely to be a little more unfavorable overall," Dr. Michael Simon, leader of the breast multidisciplinary team at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit, said in an AACR news release.

    "It is possible that the differences in the relationship between screening interval and [death] in older versus younger women may be related to the more aggressive nature of the tumors in younger women, which might obliterate the effects of more screening. Other reasons may include differences in cancer treatment, information that was not available for this [group] of women," Simon added.

    The study did not prove a cause-and effect relationship between gaps in mammograms and worse breast cancer results. Because it was presented at a medical meeting, data and conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

    More information

    The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about mammograms.

    Posted: April 2013

    View comments


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    HBT: Braun again sidelined by neck injury

    Here?s a shot of the lineup card for Sunday afternoon?s series finale between the Diamondbacks and Brewers, provided by Brewers senior director of media relations Mike Vassallo:


    You?ll notice that Ryan Braun is absent. He hasn?t appeared in a game in this series because of neck spasms. It?s not a long-term concern, but Braun was struggling to move his head at all on Saturday.

    Braun will give it another shot Monday when the Brewers open a three-game set at Wrigley Field.

    That beautiful penmanship belongs to Brewers bench coach Jerry Narron. He even does Japanese.


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    APNewsBreak: Video shows Miss. police HQ deaths

    This 2008 image provided by the Jackson, Miss. Police shows Detective Eric Smith. Authorities say a murder suspect shot Smith inside the Jackson police headquarters and that both the suspect and detective are dead. A Mississippi murder suspect used a Smith's gun to kill the detective and then himself inside police headquarters on Thursday, April 4, 2013. (AP Photo/Jackson Police)

    This 2008 image provided by the Jackson, Miss. Police shows Detective Eric Smith. Authorities say a murder suspect shot Smith inside the Jackson police headquarters and that both the suspect and detective are dead. A Mississippi murder suspect used a Smith's gun to kill the detective and then himself inside police headquarters on Thursday, April 4, 2013. (AP Photo/Jackson Police)

    This undated photo provided by the Mississippi Department of Public Safety shows Jeremy R. Powell. Authorities have identified Powell, 23, as the suspect who fatally shot Jackson Police Detective Eric Smith before killing himself in an interview room at the Jackson Police headquarters on Thursday, April 5, 2013. (AP Photo/Mississippi Department of Public Safety)

    Law enforcement officers wait at the entrance to the Jackson Police Department Thursday, April, 4, 2013, after police say a murder suspect fatally shot detective Eric Smith inside the headquarters. The suspect is also dead. (AP Photo/The Clarion-Ledger, Greg Jenson)

    Jackson, Miss. Assistant Chief Lee Vance, center left, comforts Chief Rebecca Coleman, center right, Thursday, April, 4, 2013, after detective Eric Smith was shot and killed inside the Jackson Police Department. A suspect was also killed. (AP Photo/The Clarion-Ledger, Greg Jenson)

    In this 2008 image provided by the Jackson, Miss. Police, Detective Eric Smith, center, flanked by Chief Rebecca Coleman, left, and Assistant Chief Lee Vance accepts the Certificate of Commendation on behalf of Detective Amos Clinton in Jackson, Miss. Authorities say a murder suspect shot Smith inside the Jackson police headquarters and that both the suspect and detective are dead. (AP Photo/Jackson Police)

    (AP) ? Authorities have a video from a police interrogation room that shows a murder suspect shooting a detective to death before killing himself with the officer's gun, a person with knowledge of the investigation said Saturday.

    The suspect, Jeremy Powell, was not handcuffed during questioning at the Jackson Police Department on Thursday, the person said on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk about the ongoing investigation.

    Powell overpowered Det. Eric Smith and took his gun, shooting the veteran detective four times before shooting himself in the head inside a third-floor room of the department's headquarters, the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation said. Other officers heard the shots ring out and rushed to the interview room, but both men were dead.

    The AP has asked for the video to be released under open records laws, but authorities have not responded to the request.

    Powell, 23, was being questioned about the stabbing death of a man whose body was found Monday near a Jackson street.

    Ken Winter, executive director of the Mississippi Association of Chiefs of Police, said it's not unusual for a suspect to be unrestrained during questioning.

    "It depends on the demeanor of the individual at the time. I would assume that the detective had no reason to believe this guy was aggressive or he wouldn't have been interviewing him in the first place," said Winter, who spent 36 years in law enforcement as a police chief, a detective and as director of the state crime lab.

    Winter also said it's not uncommon for an officer to be armed during an interrogation.

    "I don't think this detective was doing anything out of the ordinary. Sometimes you can do everything right and it still turn out bad," Winter said.

    Smith, 40, is survived by his wife, Eneke, a sergeant with the Jackson Police Department, and two sons.


    Associated Press writer Jeff Amy contributed to this report.

    Associated Press


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    Margaret Thatcher, RIP (Powerlineblog)

    Share With Friends: Share on FacebookTweet ThisPost to Google-BuzzSend on GmailPost to Linked-InSubscribe to This Feed | Rss To Twitter | Politics - Top Stories Stories, RSS Feeds and Widgets via Feedzilla.


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    Monday, April 8, 2013

    Observations on film art : All play and no work? ROOM 237

    Room 237 (2012).

    DB here:

    Rodney Ascher?s Room 237 gathers the thoughts of five people concerning the deeper, or wider, or just awesomer meanings evoked by Stanley Kubrick?s The Shining. Those thoughts will strike many viewers as fairly far out there. Me, not so much.


    Over the top

    Room 237?adroitly blends several documentary genres. It recalls Cinemania and Ringers in its investigation of fan cultures. But instead of focusing on the personalities and lifestyles of the fans, Ascher concentrates on their readings of the movie. We never see the commentators. In this respect, it evokes the newly emerged genre of video essays as practiced by Kevin B. Lee and Matt Zoller Seitz. Yet it doesn?t offer itself as an earnest contribution to the critical conversation because Ascher freely intercuts stills and shots from other films, often to ironic effect.

    In all, his film has the quizzical, gonzo flavor of an Errol Morris movie, minus the talking heads. But Morris is as interested in people as he is in their ideas. Ascher is interested in the ideas, and the way they swarm over and burrow into a film we thought we knew.

    So he performs the sort of surgery more appropriate to the Zapruder footage. In the boldest test of cinematic Fair Use I?ve ever seen, a great many clips from the Warner Bros. release are run, slowed, halted, backed up, blown up, and overwritten as support for the interviewees? claims. Ascher never tries to counter their arguments; at times he supplements them with extra evidence.

    The results seem, to many, at best far-fetched and at worst (or best, from an entertainment standpoint), wacko. One of Ascher?s interviewees believes that The Shining is a denunciation of the genocidal destruction of Native Americans. Another takes the film as an exploration of the Theseus myth. Another believes that the film makes references to the Holocaust. Another finds a welter of subliminal imagery pointing to ?a dark sexual fantasy.? Another sees the film as Kubrick?s apologia for staging the faked footage of the Apollo 11 moon landing.

    Are these interpretations silly? Having spent forty-some years teaching film in a university, I found much of them pretty familiar. Some of the specifics were startling, but I?ve encountered interpretations in student papers, scholarly journals, and conference panels that had a lot of similarities.

    If you think that this just proves that all film interpretation is ridiculous, you can stop reading now.

    Because most film enthusiasts think that at least some movies need interpreting. We assume that like artists in other media, some writers and directors are using their medium to transmit or suggest meanings. And if a movie doesn?t express its makers? ideas, perhaps it can still bear the traces of ideas out there in the culture. This ?reflectionist? idea, tremendously popular among both journalists and academics, allows us to interpret even escapist fare.

    Our interpretive itch has been around for a long time. Centuries of commentary have accrued around the Bible, the Torah, the Talmud, the Koran, and other texts deemed sacred. Secular texts, from Homeric epics to last month?s bestseller, have been scoured for hidden meanings too. The search hasn?t just been confined to literature, of course. An entire school of art history, called iconology, has devoted itself to deciphering objects, compositions, and other features of paintings. Even musical pieces without verbal texts have been ?read.?

    If at least some movies need interpreting, The Shining would seem to be a prime candidate. The film creates many questions about the reality of what we see and hear, and it seems to point toward regions?larger??than its central tale of terror. The director was one of the most ambitious filmmakers of the twentieth century, a film artist who could use a genre-based project like the famously puzzling 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) to convey ideas about the place of human history in the cosmos. Why couldn?t he do the same thing with a Stephen King horror novel?

    What?s wrong, then, with the five critics? readings? Why do many viewers find them strained and forced, even loopy? One of the many virtues of Room 237 is that it forces us to ask: What do we do when we interpret movies? What makes one film interpretation plausible and another not? Who gets to say? What historical factors lead ordinary viewers to launch this sort of scrutiny?


    All in the family

    We all grant that movies have conventions. In an action picture, the bad guys have extraordinarily bad aim, except when it comes to winging the hero or plugging his best friend. Similarly, film criticism relies on a batch of conventions about what things to look for and how they should be talked about. No quickie film review, for instance, is complete without discussing acting.

    Interpretation, a central activity of film criticism, has its conventions as well, and the Room 237 interviewees make some moves that are common to interpretation in academe and elsewhere. For one thing, they assume that The Shining is more than a standard-issue horror movie. Most cinephile and academic critics would agree that we have to go beyond this movie?s literal level.

    Some of the Room 237ers? conclusions echo critically respectable interpretations already out there. One idea held by other critics is that the film is to some degree a parody or critique of horror conventions. Another is the conviction that the film says something about the repression of the Native American population. The Overlook Hotel is built on tribal burial grounds, a history that hints an earlier, oppressed America returning to avenge a great wrong.

    Other Room 237 interpretations don?t show up in the mainstream critical literature, but they aren?t unknown in wider traditions of interpretation. Take numerology. Some interpreters of Biblical scripture find multiples of seven to be of divine significance, and so does the Holocaust advocate in Ascher?s film. According to him, the novel Lolita, which Kubrick adapted, makes 42 a symbol of fate. In The Shining, it becomes a symbol of ?danger and malevolence and disaster.? Why? Multiply 2 x 3 x7 and you get 42. Danny wears a jersey with the number 42, there are at one point 42 vehicles in the hotel parking lot, and 1942 is the year in which Hitler launched the Final Solution.

    Similarly, anagrams aren?t unknown in some interpretive traditions. Scholars have claimed to find in Shakespeare?s plays encoded references to the real author (Marlowe or Francis Bacon or the Earl of Oxford). Ferdinand de Saussure, one of the founders of modern linguistics, whiled away his later years with detecting anagrams in Latin poetry. Joining up with this method, the interviewee who sees The Shining as an apology for faking the Apollo landing rearranges the letters on the room key to spell out MOON ROOM. And the moon, says the critic, is 237,000 miles from our earth.

    I grant you that such cabalistic maneuvers aren?t common in film criticism. But plenty of others on display in Room 237?use the same reasoning routines that we find in consensus critical writing.

    What do I mean by reasoning routines? When we interpret a movie, we?re making inferences based on discrete cues we detect in the film. What cues we pick out and what inferences we draw vary a lot, but the process of inference making tends to follow certain conventions. ?c

    Consider the claim that Kubrick is warning that we shouldn?t expect a conventional horror film. A more mainstream critic would point to the flamboyant performance of Jack Nicholson, at once grotesque, comic, and ominous. This would seem to be a strong ensemble of cues asking us not to take the film straight, and perhaps implying that it?s a send-up, in a grim register, of its genre. But none of our 237ers mention this cue as a basis for their interpretation.

    Instead, they scan the setting for disparities. The hotel?s architectural features sometimes differ from one shot to another. A chair is present in one reverse shot of Jack, but in the next reverse shot, it?s gone. The hotel geography can?t be plotted consistently. Moreover, one of Wendy?s visions during her desperate flight through the corridors at the climax invokes the clich?s of ordinary shockers: dust, cobwebs, and skeletons?all the paraphernalia that the film has studiously avoided up to this point. These anomalies encourage the interpreter to see the film as parodying typical horror movies. The 237 critics are picking out cues less obvious, they would say, than Nicholson?s over-the-top acting.


    Making meaning, or making up meanings?

    Ascher?s interviewees don?t always go for minute cues. They focus as well on many items that conventionally invite symbolic interpretation. Mirrors signal any sort of reversal, such as Danny?s backward steps through the maze or the film?s symmetrical beginning and ending. Something open?a door, a character?s eyes?suggests knowledge and acceptance; something closed, like elevator doors, suggests repression. If a character enters a space, that space can be taken as a projection of the character?s mental state, as when Danny nears his parents? bedroom and gets into ?his parents? headspace,? as one 237 critic puts it. Another commentator suggests that Jack?s job interview at the beginning of the film might be entirely his hallucination, a question raised by academic critics as well. Such speculations on the border between the subjective and objective are commonplace in discussions of horror, fantasy, and that in-between register known as the fantastic.

    Puns are another time-tested inferential move. You can find a cue in the mise-en-scene and then ?read? it with a verbal analogy. Snow White?s Dopey on Danny?s door suggests that the boy doesn?t yet realize what?s going on; but when the dwarf disappears, Danny is no longer ?dopey?. A crushed Volkswagen stands for Kubrick?s telling King that his artistic ?vehicle? has obliterated the novelist?s original ?vehicle.? Abstract patterns in carpeting become Rorschach tests: Are those shapes mazes? Phalluses? Wombs? NASA launching pads? Mainstream critics might not fasten on these particular cues, but many wouldn?t resist the urge to find puns. After all, even Freud interpreted a dream in which his patient got kissed in a car as exhibiting ?auto-eroticism.?

    The Room 237 critics, following tradition, let the cues and inferences lead them to what I call both referential and implicit meanings. Referential meanings involve concrete people, places, things, or events. Spielberg?s Lincoln refers to a specific historical context and people and events in it. Implicit meaning is more abstract and is something we might expect to be intended by the filmmaker. So, for instance, Lincoln could be interpreted as about the necessary mixture of principle and expediency in politics; to achieve virtuous policies, you may need to cut moral corners.

    The 237er make use of different degrees of referential meaning. The Shining makes clear references to the Native American motif, not only in the hotel?s d?cor but the manager?s line of dialogue indicating that the building rests on burial grounds. That line is a rather explicit cue, and one that many non-237 critics have taken up. In a similar vein are the mythological references; both Juli Kearns in the film and several academic critics have discussed the the maze/ labyrinth imagery as citing the legend of the Minotaur.

    There are more roundabout cues to inferences about the Holocaust. Kubrick might have included a photo of Nazis or Prussian generals in the Overlook?s Gold Room salon, but he didn?t. So the critic defending the Holocaust reading has to look for what we might call ?hidden references??the numerology we?ve already seen, along with the German-made typewriter on Jack?s desk, which is an Adler (?eagle,? symbol of Nazism). There?s also a dissolve that, according to another critic, gives Jack a Hitler mustache.

    The Room 237 critics gesture toward implicit meanings too. The Playgirl magazine that Jack is reading when he waits in the lobby suggests that troubled sexuality is at the center of this maze?a suggestion made more explicit in the fateful Room 237, where a beautiful woman, upon embracing Jack, turns into a haggard zombie. The references to both the North American and German genocides suggest the film induces us to reflect on the cruelty of those events. More broadly, one critic believes that the film has far-reaching thematic import: The Shining is about ?pastness? itself, about coming to terms with history.

    To be convincing, though, an interpretation can?t merely take a one-off cue to make references or evoke themes. What really matters are patterns.


    Patterns of associations

    ? ? ?

    Interpreters typically gather cues into patterns and then use them to bear thematic meanings. One instance of this maneuver comes early on in?Room 237, when Bill Blakemore, proponent of the Native American genocide hypothesis, is attracted to a lone Calumet baking-powder tin, turned toward us on a shelf. Not only does the label show a tribal chief, but the plainness of presentation emphasizes the original meaning of calumet, the tobacco pipe used in Amerindian peace brokering. But that might be a one-off occurrence. Later, however, other Calumet tins are massed on another shelf?but turned from us. It?s not enough that the can has now been repeated. The change, Blakemore proposes, indicates that the original, straight-on image has turned into something hidden and dishonest?the destruction of the tribal population.The spatial opposition frontal/oblique has been made to bear a thematic difference between honesty and betrayal.

    A similar duality, with a punning tint, is raised when Kearns traces how she came up with the Minotaur hypothesis. She points out that a skier poster (to her eyes, resembling a Minotaur?s silhouette) stands opposite a rodeo poster (?Bull-man versus cow-boy?). The poster led her to realize that the Minotaur sits at the center of a cluster of images that recur in the film. He presides over the labyrinth that is the hotel, which, Kearns argues, has an impossible geography, while the intertwined logo of the Gold Room recalls Theseus?s thread. In his alternate identity Asterios, the Minotaur suggests stars, which in turn suggest movie stars (who, we?re told, have stayed at the Overlook). The ski poster reads ?Monarch,? which in a sense the Minotaur is, and we learn that royalty have visited the hotel too.

    Or take the Holocaust reading. Apart from the fateful 42 motif, the Adler typewriter does other work. Its name (?eagle?) evokes the emblem of the Reich, but an eagle is also a prominent American icon. So the critic adds that Kubrick always uses an eagle to symbolize state power. How then to link it to Germany? The typewriter, as a machine, evokes the bureaucratic efficiency of Hitler?s mass deportations and executions. To back this up, the critic recalls Schindler?s List, in which typewriters figure extensively.

    Such expanding clusters are common in interpretive activity because artworks often ask us to tease out associations. Early in The Shining, the Torrance family talks about the Donner party. We?re invited to see the reference as conjuring up slaughter, isolation in a snowbound environment, and the collapse of civilized restraints?just what the film will give us. Critics of all stripes track the dynamic of the artwork by creating associative patterns out of repeated elements. When Wendy and Danny watch the film Summer of ?42 on TV, it?s not the 42 that attracts the distinguished academic critic James Naremore. He links the embedded film about the sexual attraction between an older woman and a younger man to the moment when Danny runs out of the maze and kisses Wendy on the lips. These moments are part of a constellation of images and events marking the film as ?flagrantly Oedipal,? in that it presents with the son?s struggle against the hostile father. Naremore is able to build on this cluster to suggest that the film is unusual in rehearsing different, non-Freudian aspects of the Oedipus myth.

    You might object that, unlike Naremore and other professionals, the critics in Room 237 build up associations from their personal experiences rather than what?s objectively on the screen. Blakemore says that he noticed the Calumet label because he grew up in Chicago near the Calumet River and as a child he gathered Indian pottery. Yet the conventions of mainstream movie reviewing allow critics to look inward too. Jonathan Rosenbaum opens his piece on James Benning?s El Valley Centro:

    About halfway through I found myself, to my surprise, thinking about Joseph Cornell?s boxes, those surrealist constructions teeming with fantasy and magic?dreamlike enclosures that make it seem appropriate that Cornell lived most of his life on a street in Queens called Utopia Parkway.

    The only difference between Rosenbaum?s associational links and Blakemore?s would seem to be the cultural level of the references. Why should the amateur not be allowed to import less arcane personal associations into an interpretation?

    Finally, you might object that the Room 237 critics are too focused on trying to infer Kubrick?s intentions. Kubrick had wanted to make a film on the Holocaust at some point; he read Raul Hilberg?s Destruction of the European Jews and corresponded with the author. Kubrick also read Bruno Bettelheim?s Uses of Enchantment, a Freudian explanation of fairy tales; hence the Hansel and Gretel and Big Bad Wolf references in the film. One Room 237 critic says that Kubrick was bored after making Barry Lyndon and wanted to make a movie that reinvented cinema. Yet, again, journalistic critics commonly make assumptions about what the filmmaker is up to. Even academics, trained to believe in ?the intentional fallacy? and to ?never trust the teller, trust the tale,? can indulge in hypotheses about directorial purpose. In explaining the eccentricities of the lead performance, Naremore notes that in interviews, Nicholson reported that Kubrick told him that ?real? performances aren?t always interesting.


    Tie me up! Tie me down!

    Apollo 11 moon landing, July 1969.

    For mainstream film criticism, however, the patterns and the significance-laden associations they trigger have to be constrained somehow. Not everything is relevant to the implicit meanings of the film. This condition, I think, shows the real gap between the 237ers and the pros. One interviewee?s enthusiasm marks this difference: Kubrick, he says, is ?thinking about the implications of everything that exists.? No mainstream critic would dare make this move.

    What are the constraints on interpretation within the community of publishing critics, either journalistic or academic? Here are some common ones.

    Salience: The patterns and associations are more plausible if they?re readily detectable? if not at first, then on subsequent viewings. The case gets stronger if the motif is reiterated along many channels?image, dialogue, music, sound effects, written language. The Native-American genocide association is moderately salient, present in both items of d?cor and in Ullman?s line about the burial grounds. Accordingly, many viewers have picked up on it. On the other hand, even repeated viewings don?t help us (me, at least) to identify the magazine as?Playgirl.

    Coherence: The patterns and associations are more plausible if they?re related functionally to the narrative?not just to single moments but to its overall development. Most critics writing about The Shining assume that it?s centrally about the disintegration of the family. They have gone on to relate this to the way that the delusions of patriarchy subject women and children to its control. (That common academic trope of ?the crisis of masculinity? hovers nearby.) This thematic thrust can be traced scene by scene, and the motifs of fairy tales, American history, and the Minotaur can blend with specific plot twists and character presentation. Some of the Room 237 critics? readings mesh with the arc of the narrative, but many, such as certain overlays during dissolves, seem unmotivated by narrative factors.

    Congruence with other relevant artworks: The patterns and associations gain plausibility if they can seem congruent with other works by the same artist or in the same genre. For example, the uncertainty about whether Jack is imagining the Gold Room or whether it?s a genuine supernatural entity is characteristic of horror/ fantasy films. Here the 237ers are more in line with their mainstream colleagues. The unresolved ending, leaving us with a puzzle about whether Jack himself is a reincarnation of someone from the past, isn?t out of keeping with the ending of 2001. The room 237 itself, one of Ascher?s critics suggests, is a bit like the old man?s bedroom and the space pod in the earlier film.

    Appeal to authorial intention: The critic?s case gains plausibility if people having significant input into the work claim the patterns and associations were deliberately put there. While rewatching The Shining, Nicole Kidman remarked of Kubrick:

    ?He always said that you had to make sure the audience understood key pieces of information to follow the story, and that to do that you had to repeat it several times, but without being too obvious about it,? Ms. Kidman said. ?Here, in this scene, look at how there is this rack of knives hanging in the background over the boy?s head. It?s very ominous, all of these knives poised over his head. And it?s important because it not only shows that the boy is in danger, but one of those very knives is used later in the story when Wendy takes it to protect herself from her husband.?

    Most mainstream critics would, I think, find that Kidman?s inference rings true. It picks up a fairly salient cue, it invokes a pattern involving the knives, and it squares with the unfolding of the narrative. She reports that Kubrick understood the need for patterns to have salience, and it seems quite likely ?that he was the sort of artist to use pictorial prefigurations like this. Note, though, that this shot exemplifies function-driven dramaturgy?foreshadowing?not thematic interpretation.

    By contrast, consider the Room 237 critic who takes The Shining to be Kubrick?s apology to his wife for staging the fake Apollo 11 moon landing. As Ascher presents the case, it involves a long chain of causation. It starts from the claim that, whether or not NASA actually sent a crew to the moon, the landing that the public saw was staged. The project needed front-screen projection. Kubrick was the master of those special effects. He agreed to help film the fake landing. Later he felt guilt for it. So by making a film about a husband/wife conflict, Kubrick confesses to his mistake. This backstory would gain a lot of plausibility if a NASA staffer or one of Kubrick?s crew came forward to support any part of it, in the way Kidman offers testimony about Kubrick?s working methods. It would be even better if the Apollo tale could be tied to the specifics of the unfolding narrative. And it would be best if the interpretation of this film didn?t depend on a (questionable) interpretation of another film?the Apollo 11 footage.

    The Apollo 11 argument illustrates the risk of appeals to intention: they tend to substitute causal explanations for functional ones. That is, they tend to look for how something got into the film rather than what it?s doing in the film. But that?s a risk that professional critics run as well when they appeal to intention. The problem is just more apparent when the causal story that?s put forward seems tenuous.

    I?ve argued that the cue-inference method and the use of association to create patterns aiming at referential and implicit meanings are involved in all interpretations, staid or unorthodox. But the constraints I?ve just sketched aren?t so fundamental to interpretation as such. They typify the established critical institution, which includes journalism high and low, belles-lettres (e.g., The New York Review of Books), specialized cinephilia (eg., Cinema Scope), and academic writing.

    Not everybody belongs to that institution. There are other arenas of film criticism, and there?s no mandate that discussion in those realms adhere to the constraints urged by professional criticism. Some readers prefer to muse on barely perceptible patterns, incoherence, unlimited association, and relatively unrestrained speculations about Kubrick?s mental processes. Fans like to think and talk about their love, and anything that gives them the occasion is welcome, no matter what any establishment thinks. To a considerable extent, Ascher?s film documents the habits of folk interpretation.


    Some precedents

    But why now? Why do amateur critics today launch these ambitious expeditions? The short answer, as so often, would be: Because they can. As Juli Kearns points out, it thanks to VHS, then DVD, that she was able to scrutinize?The Shining. Home video has allowed us, including all the obsessed among us, to halt and replay a movie ad infinitum?a process that Ascher?s own film freely indulges in. I think, though, that there are other historical factors that impel fans to dig ever deeper into the movies they love.

    Most obviously, there?s the rise of the puzzle film, the movie that litters its landscape with hints of half-buried meanings. The vogue for this began, I suppose, in the late 1990s with films like Memento, Magnolia, and Primer. Even then, though, there were different constructive options. Primer called out for re-watching because much of its plot was obscure on a single pass; you had to examine it closely to figure out its basic architecture. By contrast, Memento?s principle of reverse chronology was evident on first viewing. I suspect that most viewers, like me, studied the film to pick up the finer points of its form and to try to disambiguate the Sammy Jankis plotline. Still different was Magnolia, with a perfectly comprehensible plot that planted a Biblical citation in its mise-en-scene. In this case, the extra stuff suggested a thematic level that might not be apparent otherwise.

    Some critics have objected that the Room 237 critics turn Kubrick?s film into a mere puzzle movie, the implication being that puzzle movies are inferior forms of cinema. Yet I don?t see a good reason to scorn them. Assuming that films often solicit our cognitive capacities, I don?t see why artists shouldn?t ask us to exercise them. Cinema takes many shapes, and one critic?s puzzle (?Rosebud,? ?Keyser S?ze?) is another critic?s mystery. Some artworks throb with passion; some are more intellectual and austere. There is Mahler, and there is Webern.?Even artworks with a lyrical or emotional dimension ask for decipherment and meditation too. Dante explained to his patron Can Grande della Scala that he had laid layers of non-literal meanings into The Divine Comedy. The poem, he explains, is??polysemous.? Its meanings are to be grasped and pondered upon in the manner of Scripture.

    Long before puzzle movies came into fashion, literary modernism had assigned readers this sort of homework. The idea of loading every rift with ore was taken quite seriously by T. S. Eliot, who supplied footnotes to The Waste Land.?Could you really hope to understand it without reading Jesse Weston?s From Ritual to Romance? James Joyce built so many layers into Ulysses that he had to take a critic aside and explain them to him, so the critic could then publish a guidebook to the novel. Finnegans Wake is supersaturated with references, puns, and esoteric meanings. If ever an artwork needed decoding, this is it. One of the earliest scholarly studies is called A Skeleton Key to Finnegans Wake.

    In cinema, Peter Greenaway?s Tulse Luper series seems to be his bid for Joycean stature. More successful has been Godard, who in his mid-1960s films created an aesthetics of dispersal, a display of citational pyrotechnics that reaches its apogee in the Histoires du cin?ma. Surely this suite of films has engaged many critics in a process akin to puzzle-solving. More to our point today, we might see Kubrick?s films, especially 2001, as bringing aspects of high modernism into mainstream cinematic genres. We can hardly be surprised that after courting many interpretations of 2001 (whose very subtitle includes a citation of a classic literary text), this director might be posing us similar tasks in a horror film.

    Something else besides the rise of the puzzle film and high-modernist polysemy is probably responsible for the rise of this sort of fan dissection. Throughout history storytellers have experimented with creating what we might call richly realized worlds. Naturalist literature describes fine details of the writers? society at the time, while Gulliver?s Travels and Looking Backward take us into alternative realms. The rise of fantasy and science-fiction literature has led readers to demand to know the history, lore, and furnishings of the imaginary places they visit. The?Lord of the Rings saga, part of what Tolkien called his legendarium, is the obvious prototype, but the tendency to fill every niche of imaginary worlds is there in the Star Wars and Marvel universes too.

    Once fans have become accustomed to raking every frame for clues about the plumbing system of the Millennium Falcon, they are going to expect an equal density in ambitious works in other genres. But not all films, or even all genres. I suspect that we won?t get the equivalent of Room 237 for My Fair Lady or Dinner at Eight. Combined with the intrinsic fascination of The Shining, Kubrick?s well-publicized concern for detail in the futuristic 2001 and A Clockwork Orange leads us to?expect that a film centered on the enclosed world of the Overlook would yield bounty when scrutinized.

    Finally, I should note that the seeming capriciousness of the Room 237 readers has a counterpart in one strain of academic interpretation. Borrowing from both Surrealism and a post-Structuralist concern for a ?free play of the signifier,? Tom Conley and Robert B. Ray have practiced a criticism that yields results strikingly similar to the work of Ascher?s interviewees. Ray cultivates free association, as when he puns on characters? names, and Conley has been known to find, as one Room 237 critic does, significant images in cloud formations.

    The only major difference is that these academics typically discount an appeal to the filmmakers? intentions: that move would inhibit the critic?s free-ranging imagination. Once in a while, the Room 237 critics follow suit on this front. They withdraw from attempts to anchor their readings in Kubrick?s life, thought, and personality. One who appealed to intentions early in the film has abandoned them by the end, and another frankly admits: ?One can always argue that Kubrick had only some or even none of these [interpretations] in mind, but we all know from postmodern film criticism that author intent is only part of the story of any work of art.?

    One of Ascher?s most engrossing final sequences shows John Fell Ryan?s attempt to run The Shining forward and backward at the same time, superimposing them to create startling new images like the one that surmounts today?s entry. Folding the film over onto itself is in the spirit of Conley and Ray?s work, I think. The gesture hearkens back to that ?irrational enlargement? of films that the Surrealists sought when they dropped in on the middle of one movie, stayed a little while, and then hurried out to slip into another. (They would have loved multiplexes.) Again, the apparently far-fetched meaning-making strategies of our amateur critics turn out to have some kin in the academic establishment and in the history of artistic culture. And Ryan?s chuckle about the cool juxtapositions


    I?ve made Room 237 more solemn than it is. It?s a pleasurable and provocative piece of work. It too would be worth interpreting, but I haven?t tried that here. I?ve used it as a kind of AV demonstration. It handily illustrates how interpreting a movie involves certain informal reasoning routines shared by ?amateur? and ?professional? critics. The differences between the two camps depend largely on what cues the critic fastens on in the film, what associational patterns the critic builds up, and how strongly the critic subscribes to the professional constraints on inferences.

    Whether the cues, the patterns, and the inferences based on them seem plausible depends on what particular critical institutions have deemed worthwhile. Claims that won?t fly in mainstream or specialized cinephile publications can flourish in fandom. The purposes and commitments of these institutions may sometimes overlap, but we shouldn?t expect them to.

    My account of these critics? interpretations is drawn wholly from Ascher?s film. All of the interviewees have published more detailed arguments for their views. Bill Blakemore?s thesis about the film?s portrayal of Amerindian genocide is here. Go here for Juli Kearns? writings on various aspects of Kubrick?s film. Jay Weidner?s thoughts are here. Geoffrey Cocks? thesis is laid out in his book The Wolf at the Door: Stanley Kubrick, History, and the Holocaust (2004). Jay Fell Ryan discusses and updates his observations in this tumblr site. See also Ryan?s reflections after seeing Room 237.

    There seems little doubt that musical texts featuring a verbal text or carrying a program that the composer has sanctioned (like Tyl Eulenspiegel?s Merry Pranks) can be interpreted in the manner of a novel or painting. Even non-programmatic works without texts have been subjected to interpretation. A still controversial example is Ian MacDonald?s 1990 The New Shostakovich, which launches detailed interpretations of hidden meanings in the composer?s work. For critiques, see Richard Taruskin?s articles in Shostakovich in Context, ed. Rosamund Bartlett, and Shostakovich Studies, ed. David Fanning.

    The standard book on secret codes in the Bard is William F. Friedman and Elizabeth S. Friedman, The Shakespearian Ciphers Examined. On Saussure?s search for Latin epigrams, see Jean Starobinski, Words upon Words, trans. Olivia Emmet and ?The Two Saussures,? Semiotexte 1, 2 (Fall 1974).

    James Naremore?s wide-ranging interpretation of The Shining is in On Kubrick. Dennis Bingham provides a detailed history of journalistic and academic interpretations of Kubrick?s film in ?The Displaced Auteur: A Reception History of The Shining,? in Perspectives on Stanley Kubrick, ed. Mario Falsetto, 284-306.

    Shane Carruth explains that the puzzle aspect of Primer involves only making chronological sense of the plot, which avoids redundancy to an unusual degree.

    It?s just that the way the narrative is constructed, I can see how when the story asks you to pull the threads together that?s probably going to happen where threads are pulled together wrong. I definitely didn?t set up this narrative to be open to interpretation. I mean, except for a few things. For the most part, the information is in there to have a very concrete answer as to what is happening in the narrative.

    Some critics have worried that Ascher?s film gives viewers an impoverished view of what film criticism is. See for instance Girish Shambu?s comments here. For my part, I doubt that viewers come away believing that the views of these interviewees are typical of criticism as practiced in the mainstream. Nor do I see why Ascher?s movie needs the bigger dose of Theory that Girish prescribes. For my take on Theory (as opposed to theories and theorizing), see the book I edited with No?l Carroll, Post-Theory:Reconstructing Film Studies.

    There?s another issue. Like Girish, ?Jonathan Rosenbaum reprimands the 237 critics for turning The Shining into a puzzle movie.

    One way of removing the threat and challenge of art is reducing it to a form of problem-solving that believes in single, Eureka-style solutions. If works of art are perceived as safes to be cracked or as locks that open only to skeleton keys, their expressive powers are virtually limited to banal pronouncements of overt or covert meanings.

    I?ve already proposed that a problem-solving approach need not reduce the artwork to a bloodless abstraction. (By the way, I don?t see puzzle-solving and problem-solving as quite the same; I?d say that a puzzle is a particular kind of problem.) But perhaps we should read Jonathan?s first sentence as objecting only to problem-solving approaches that posit ?single, Eureka-style solutions.? That would rescue Eliot and Joyce, perhaps, although realizing that Ulysses is a remapping of The Odyssey is something close to a Big Solution to the book.

    In any case, ?it?s not clear that the 237ers are absolute in their arguments, at least not all the time. The last section of the film chronicles them backing away from their own machinery, confessing that there are dimensions to the film that they haven?t yet grasped, acknowledging that it remains elusive, mysterious, confusing, and, as Dante or a modern theorist might say, polysemous. Moreover, it seems clear that these critics all acknowledge the ?expressive powers? of The Shining. They all testify to having been deeply shaken by it; that?s what fuels their urge to probe it. They just claim, like many critics, that the film?s significance extends beyond the visceral and emotional arousal it creates.

    On richly realized worlds:?J. R. R. Tolkien chose the Latin term?legendarium?to characterize the entire body of his writings set on the fictional planet Arda, (primarily on the continent of Middle-earth) and the universe in which it exists. The legendarium includes works published during his lifetime,?The Hobbit,?The Lord of the Rings, and?The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, as well as posthumous publications edited by his son Christopher,?The Silmarillion, ?The Quest of Erebor,? and?The Children of Hurin. Not strictly speaking part of the legendarium but closely related to it are the numerous drafts published as?Unfinished Tales?and the twelve-volume ?The History of Middle-earth? series, as well as previously unpublished drawings and maps collected by Wayne Hammond and Christina Scull in?J. R. R. Tolkien: Artist & Illustrator?and?The Art of The Hobbit. (Kristin wrote this paragraph, as you can probably tell.)

    For samples of the post-Structuralist interpretative modes I mention, see Robert B. Ray, The Avant-Garde Finds Andy Hardy, and Tom Conley, Film Hieroglyphs.

    In another entry I suggest that interpretation is only one critical activity we might pursue. On contemporary Hollywood cinema?s penchant for puzzle films and richly realized worlds, see my book The Way Hollywood Tells It. In?Making Meaning: Inference and Rhetoric in the Interpretation of Cinema I try to show that?just as we can analyze the conventions of a genre or mode of filmmaking, we can analyze the conventions of film talk. It?s one thing that I think a poetics of cinema brings to the table: an effort to disclose what principles shape a critical argument. As for my own tastes, I value consistency, coherence, constrained ascriptions of intention, and historical plausibility in interpretations. But in my own efforts, I favor analyzing films? functional dynamics over hunting down hidden meanings.

    P.S. 7 April: Thanks to David Kilmer for a corrected quotation!

    The Simpsons: Tree House of Horror V: The Shinning (1994).

    This entry was posted on Sunday | April 7, 2013 at 5:10 pm and is filed under Documentary film, Film comments, Film criticism, Film theory. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.


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