Magazine May 2, 2011, Issue

Shadow Fights

An Army of Phantoms: American Movies and the Making of the Cold War, by J. Hoberman (New Press, 432 pp., $29.95)

No temptation seems more irresistible to film critics than the pithy summation of a decade in movies. Ask a critic about a cinematic year and you’ll get a top-ten list. Ask about a decade, though, and you’ll likely get a broad political correlation: can-do Depression cinema, alienated Nixon cinema, or flashy Reagan cinema (Democratic presidents do not earn negative correlations). Critics will make these zeitgeist assertions given the barest excuse, asserting that the political spirit of an age has, through intention and circumstance, ineffaceably insinuated itself into its movies.

In recent years, as this tendency has become increasingly ridiculous — a

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The market functions well enough to bring Walmart to its senses. Alas, for Big Government, there are no such corrective mechanisms.

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