Jeff Reger

Miyazaki and the animated bowl of delights


The magic of Hayao Miyazaki is impossible to describe in a straightforward plot summary. I can only write “magic” or “bowl of delights” so many times, and it won’t really give you a feel of what a delight Ponyo truly is. I could say “surprisingly delightful,” but if you are familiar with Miyazaki’s work, you’ll…

Poetic diplomacy


Are you an ambassador for a small nation? If so, you’re probably the only person in D.C. who knows about the Small Nations Poetry Readings, now in its fifth year at the National Geographic headquarters. This year’s reading is sure to be controversial for its environmental theme because, after all, the smallest nations make the…

Working for Change: Qatar’s Silent Labor Crisis

Working for Change: Qatar’s Silent Labor Crisis


Ramesh Sithamparapillai just wants to go home. The 23-year-old Sri Lankan has worked as a cleaner in Qatar since he was 18. He lives in a narrow room filled with a dozen cheap bunk beds and no mattresses. Fifteen other people share the room; three sleep on the floor. Thousands of rooms like this one…

Just forget it, Sarah Marshall. Superbad was funnier.


Producer Judd Apatow has created a perverse (yet strangely endearing) Holy Trinity of contemporary comedy in the last few years: The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, and Superbad. And this machine just keeps spitting out more, with Drillbit Taylor and Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story as the most recent (and worst performing) of the bunch. His latest film, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, has its charms, and certainly tries to engage in an honest examination of relationships, like the best of Apatow’s films. But unlike, say, Knocked Up, the laughs feel cheap, and so does its exploitation of the audience’s emotions.

Take Me Home


“I remember people would say … ‘What if you never do that again, what if the songs aren’t hits?’ I don’t have time to think like that. So I never had a plan B. And I still don’t.”

Post-punk isolation, insight


Post-punk outfit Joy Division has risen to near-legendary status in the twenty-seven years since lead singer Ian Curtis committed suicide. It’s easy to view the band’s work through Curtis’ death, which often overshadows the music. Although it’s less a movie about Joy Division than a documentary of Ian Curtis’ short life, Control refuses to indulge in melodrama, forcing viewers to confront the abject tragedy of his suicide.

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