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About Me

Kyle Smith (Twitter: @rkylesmith) is critic-at-large for National Review, theater critic for The New Criterion and the author of the novels Love Monkey and A Christmas Caroline. Type a title in the box above to locate a review.

Buy Love Monkey for $4! "Hilarious"--Maslin, NY Times. "Exceedingly readable and wickedly funny romantic comedy"--S.F. Chronicle. "Loud and brash, a helluva lot of fun"--Entertainment Weekly. "Engaging romp, laugh-out-loud funny"-CNN. "Shrewd, self-deprecating, oh-so-witty. Smith's ruthless humor knows no bounds"--NPR

Buy A Christmas Caroline for $10! "for those who prefer their sentimentality seasoned with a dash of cynical wit. A quick, enjoyable read...straight out of Devil Wears Prada"--The Wall Street Journal

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  • Is “Watchmen”‘s Ozymandias Obama?

    By Kyle | March 11, 2009

    Is “Watchmen” conservative? Not really. Author Alan Moore is an anarchist who frequently excoriates conservatives in interviews. And the movie doesn’t stake out a clearly defined political position. But if the news media were as harsh on both sides of the political aisle as “Watchmen” is, Republicans would never lose an election. More in my Sunday column.

    And thanks to libertarian anarcho-capitalist comic book maven Todd Seavey for his input. He thinks the soothing, alternative fuel-promoting, action-figure hawking Ozymandias (who, obviously, was dreamed up long before Obama came on the political scene) has a touch of our new president about him.

    Topics: Barack Obama, Comic Books, Movies, New York City, Philosophy, Politics | 2 Comments »

    Sunday Column Preview

    By Kyle | March 6, 2009

    In my Sunday column I’ll have more to say about the politics of “Watchmen” and why conservatives can find much to delight us there (despite author Alan Moore’s anarchism. He has in public disdained both sides but especially the right; I think “Watchmen,” unlike “V for Vendetta,” is harsher on the left). In the meantime, kindly check out my Jedi master Todd Seavey’s interesting review on reason.com. Todd thinks the movie is a perfect adaptation of the comic book, of which he is an extravagant admirer, and writes his review in Dr. Manhattan tones. Another conservative, my erstwhile editor at Culture11.com, Peter Suderman, has a different point of view, arguing that what works on Moore’s pages doesn’t translate to the screen. He calls the movie too literal, “stilted and lifeless.”

    Topics: Comic Books, Movies, New York City, Philosophy, Politics | 12 Comments »

    “Watchmen” Sending Depravity Your Way

    By Kyle | March 5, 2009

    So says conservative blogger Debbie Schlussel, who calls the “Watchmen” film depraved garbage, “three hours of poison” that makes the latest “Friday the 13th” look like “Cinderella” and compares “Watchmen” fans to members of the Jim Jones church. I beg to differ (see below) but Debbie certainly has a strong point of view. I’m interested to see how people’s politics line up against this film, which has something to offend everyone on all sides but reserves its harshest attacks for liberals, I think. Over at Reason.com, my anarcho-capitalist/libertarian friend Todd Seavey says the “Watchmen” villain has a slight Obama quality to him.

    Topics: Comic Books, Movies, New York City, Philosophy, Politics | 2 Comments »

    Review: “Watchmen”

    By Kyle | March 4, 2009

    Kyle Smith review of “Watchmen” . . .
    In today’s Post I give “Watchmen” a four-star review — the first one I’ve published in the Post in about 15 months, I think. Superhero movies generally bore me but this one was dazzling. If history is any guide, readers will be as enraged by a positive review as they were by the negative ones I’ve written (on, for instance, “Cloverfield”).

    Topics: Comic Books, Movies, New York City, Philosophy, Politics, Religion | 5 Comments »

    Mark Steyn Verdict Today!

    By Kyle | October 10, 2008

    So promises the great one, who as you know has been thrown under the mighty bus of justice for writing some caustic commentary about our friends of the Muslim faith. Canada, that supposedly super-advanced land of happy semi-socialists and their doughnuts and Molson, is, like most countries, unencumbered by anything like the First Amendment. So at 3 pm the conservative wit will be denounced by all appropriate authorities, told never to express non-nice opinions again and possibly placed in the stocks in the public square. He’ll be covering the actions of Canada’s nutty courts over on his site. UPDATE: Steyn is off the hook! The charges are dismissed. Canada comes to its senses. Looks like he’s the first ever to be charged under that statute to not be found guilty.

    Topics: News, Newspapers, Philosophy, Politics | 1 Comment »

    “Waiting for Godot” Goes Hip-Hop: “For Flow”

    By Kyle | October 10, 2008

    Vladmir and Estragon are in the ‘hood for a retooled “Waiting for Godot.” Because Samuel Beckett wuz all about da bling, bra. What’s next–“Rap’s Last Tape”?

    Press release after the jump. Methinks anyone who has ever written anything for anyone could get a press pass to see it free. And by “bedoga,” I think the publicist means “bodega.” Word.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Topics: Books, New York City, Philosophy, Theater | No Comments »

    Review: “Religulous”

    By Kyle | September 30, 2008

    Hell’s Angel

    Kyle Smith review of Religulous
    3 stars out of 4
    101 minutes/Rated R

    We know there is no God because Bill Maher is not immediately struck dead when, in his atheist documentary “Religulous,” he opines that he’d no sooner swear on the King James Bible than the Rick James Bible. A just God would never let such a tragic joke stand.

    Talking to such lotus eaters as North Carolina truckers, an Orthodox Jew demonstrating all the gadgets built to get around Sabbath restrictions, an actor playing Jesus in a theme park and Muslims in Amsterdam and Jerusalem, Maher finds them all pretty much the same: They are disciples of “nonsense and fantasy,” a point underlined by “Borat” director Larry Charles as he gleefully breaks up the interviews with pop songs, funny stock footage, Biblical cartoons and a shot of Mormonism’s magical underwear.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Topics: John McCain, Movies, Philosophy, Politics, Religion | 48 Comments »

    Media Bias Would Be OK–If We Had Media Transparency

    By Kyle | September 28, 2008

    A modest proposal in my Sunday column: Why don’t all of TV’s political commentators simply declare their political leanings with a symbol? That way we’d know where everyone stood. Why is transparency desirable for everyone but reporters?

    Topics: News, Newspapers, Philosophy, Politics | 25 Comments »

    Just Wondering

    By Kyle | September 2, 2008

    Incidentally, after eight years of abuse from every conceivable corner of the political universe, President Bush’s approval rating is around 28 percent. Barack Obama, after getting the most adoring media reception conceivable for nearly two years, is at 38 percent. McCain is at 34 percent. Is “saddled with historically low approval rating” really just a way of saying, “has misfortune of being president in era of 24/7 media attacks”?

    Why does everyone keep referring to Sarah Palin as the mayor of Wasilla? Is it now your second-to-last job that counts? That means Obama is “State Senator Obama.”

    Why does everyone keep saying John McCain has no executive experience? He was a captain in the Navy. He was in charge of all aspects of the lives of thousands of sailors under his command. He was the decision maker. There are other kinds of executive experience other than the political variety.

    Topics: Barack Obama, John McCain, Philosophy, Sarah Palin | 10 Comments »

    Whatever Happened to Jesus?

    By Kyle | August 28, 2008

    Four years ago, the Dems convinced themselves that they lost because of “values,” i.e. insufficient love of Jesus Christ, despite Barack Obama’s 2004 keynote mention of worshipping an awesome God (even) in the blue states. Several books and commentators said the Democrats should talk up their Christianity. And why not? It doesn’t cost anything. It doesn’t mean anything. It may annoy the far left, but they’ll understand it’s just posturing. And it can make a difference with churchy types. But: where is the God talk at this convention? Similarly, where is the vehement support for the troops and the ringing vow to destroy terrorists wherever they may lurk? All of these were talking points at the Boston convention in 2004. Now they seem to be forgotten. What do the Democrats talk about in virtually every speech? Global warming. That is playing to the base. I don’t think the average American fears global warming as much as he fears terrorism.

    Topics: Barack Obama, Philosophy, Politics, Religion, TV | 4 Comments »

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