Dirty Wars, As Cool As I Am, Mad Men: Season Six 


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Mad Men: Season Six (NR)


Whatever one's opinion of AMC's decision to split the final, seventh season into two parts, one thing is clear: Nothing will ever be the same after the sixth. As a soap, Mad Men has seen wackier and dealt with heavier. But as a character study and metaphor for not just its generation but all generations ever, Mad Men has never been more astute than following Don Draper's journey from self-mythologizing cad to self-realized dad. The final shot of this package, set to the backdrop of Joni Mitchell's bittersweet "Both Sides, Now," explained the often-trippy sixth season as Don's attempt to find a soft place to land rather than fulfill his seeming opening-credits destiny. Here, he lays bare his unhappy upbringing for his daughter, who also bears scars from the early damage done to her father. Like the season itself, it's not so much an excuse as an explanation, and it shouldn't be missed. — Justin Strout

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Dirty Wars (NR)

Sundance Selects

The War on Terror documentary Dirty Wars has really awoken something angry inside me, something that hasn't happened since Werner Herzog's In the Abyss made me question everything I thought about capital punishment. Journalist Jeremy Scahill, who exposed the murderous nature of black ops mercenaries Blackwater, goes for broke with this anti-war exposé on the rise of the Joint Special Operations Command, a secret fighting force that technically doesn't exist, but is responsible for the murder of untold Iraqi civilians. To see the broken hearts and tears of innocent men, women and children, brutally slaughtered at the hands of our own people, it's hard not to walk away thinking that not only are America's ideals maybe not what they're all cracked up to be, but that maybe it's time to think twice before blindly slapping that "Support the troops" sticker on your SUV. — Louis Fowler

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As Cool as I Am (R)

IFC Films

The whiny teen-angst melodrama As Cool as I Am is as bad as a movie gets, featuring some of the most loathsome characters to appear in a coming-of-age drama since The Devil's Rejects. Budding teen Lucy is the product of a teen pregnancy and is well on her way to following in the family footsteps. While she's out gallivanting, her truly terrible parents are having their own dalliances: Mother Claire Danes is banging everyone at her telemarketing job, while her dullard logger father, James Marsden, is in many ways too immature to deal with having a family. Add to this numerous cameos from grotesque celebrity chef Mario Batali, and you have a movie that just dares you not to kick the television in. Every person is just unwatchable, gross and overacted, yet desperately wants us to feel sorry for them and see their side of this. Screw that. You've got better things to do. — Louis Fowler


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