Asawin Suebsaeng

Asawin Suebsaeng

Reporter

Asawin Suebsaeng is a reporter at the Washington, DC, bureau of Mother Jones. He has also written for The American Prospect, the Bangkok Post, and Shoecomics.com.

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A graduate of Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Penn., Asawin came back to DC with hopes of putting his flimsy Creative Writing major, student newspaper tenure, and interest in human rights and political chicanery to some use. He started cutting his teeth at F&M's student-run weekly, The College Reporter, serving as editor in chief. He has interned at The American Prospect, been a reporter for the Bangkok Post, and scribbled for ShoeComics.com. His favorite movie is either Apocalypse Now or Pirahna 3D, depending on the day or mood.

21 Adjectives (and 4 Adverbs) to Describe Aaron Sorkin's "The Newsroom"

| Sat Jun. 23, 2012 3:25 PM PDT

Whiny, sententious, stale, tedious, rambling, unamusing, flat, ho-hum, childish, embarrassing, jejune, twitchy-eyed, daffy, obvious, frustrating, self-congratulatory, left-leaning, emotionally manipulative, alarmingly candy-ass, maddeningly idealistic, and arduously quirky.

The Newsroom (premiering Sunday, June 24 at 10 p.m. EST on HBO) is a regrettable homecoming to television for writer Aaron Sorkin, the noted wit-and-quotable-monologue maestro behind Sports Night, The West Wing, Charlie Wilson's War, A Few Good Men, and a whole bunch of other plays and movies. After tanking so severely with NBC's one-season Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, you'd think that taking five years off from TV—and winning an Oscar in that interim—would have heralded a rebirth of Sorkin's small-screen touch; the kind of flair and insight that gave us the triumphant second and third seasons of the Bartlet administration.

Verdict: It is now clearer than ever that Aaron Sorkin should stick to churning out scripts for profitable and critically hailed Oscar bait, and stop trying to revisit the brief era when he was considered by many to be the best thing to happen to television since RCA color.

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Steve Carell: Serial Young Lady Sexer?

| Fri Jun. 22, 2012 4:00 AM PDT
Ahh, yeeeeeaaahh.

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
Focus Features
101 minutes

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is a lovely little film—one that's painfully funny, and drenched in rich metaphor. The premise is admirably gimmicky: With an Armageddon-size asteroid barrelling towards earth, human civilization is coming to an end in a few weeks. As expected, people the world over start panicking like wild animals. They loot, riot, and of course surrender themselves to nihilistic hedonism (feeding martinis to their toddler kids, injecting heroin at will, drunken orgies daily—basically, partying like they all just got back to Berlin after the Great War).

Dodge (played by Steve Carell), on the other hand, gets sedated and very, very mopey. So does Penny (Keira Knightley), Dodge's neighbor. In the midst of all the oh-shit-the-world's-coming-to-an-end commotion, the two strangers forge an unlikely bond, flee the city in Penny's Prius, and go on an adventure looking for Dodge's old flame. Thus kicks off their surprising road trip, set against the darkly humorous backdrop of imminent apocalypse.

"To Rome With Love": Assembly-Line Woody Allen

| Fri Jun. 22, 2012 3:31 AM PDT

To Rome With Love
Sony Pictures Classics
112 minutes

Woody Allen's new movie, quite frankly, sucks. As is true with too much of Allen's 21st century output, it trudges along as a mash-up of the director's less inspired flights of fancy. If you cobbled together various pieces of used scratch paper from the floor of Woody Allen's office, taped the scraps together with little-to-zero discipline, and tacked on an extra dose of tired surrealism, you'd get something along the lines of To Rome With Love—a sorry little movie that is at its very best playfully self-indulgent, and at its worst hellishly self-indulgent.

I could recap the synopsis for you now, but I'm instead outsourcing most of that work to this guy at LA Weekly. Suffice it to say that the movie takes place in (you guessed it) Rome. Through a ragbag of strained vignettes, the film weaves together disparate tales of infidelity, opera, fame, infidelity, love, more infidelity, disillusionment, and infidelity. The ensemble cast is top-notch, with a disarming blend of sex, smarts, and suave befitting a movie of far greater worth. But because of the overflow of competing plotlines, none of the star players (particularly Ellen Page as a seductive pseduo-intellectual who specializes in the "perversion of the dialectic") get the screen time they're due.

"Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter": Precursor to "Jimmy Carter: Space-Troll Grundle-Puncher"?

| Fri Jun. 22, 2012 3:00 AM PDT
Yes.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
20th Century Fox
105 minutes

If you don't appreciate Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter then you don't appreciate what makes America great.

It's exuberant and obscenely fun, plugging away at one big, fat, giddy premise. The vamp-loaded 3D action sequences (orchestrated with a honed shamelessness by director Timur Bekmambetov) are sublime, mainly due to the fact that you get to see the Great Emancipator balletically wreck legions of blood-suckers through the art of ax-twirling and kung fu. The movie also has the greatest stampede scene since Simba got his life ruined in The Gorge; one that involves the vampire who murdered Lincoln's mom throwing full-grown horses at a young and vengeful Abe.

But aside from being a wild kick of escapist, blood-mottled fun (tepid critical reception be damned), the film opens up a world of possibilities: A movie franchise in which Hollywood would honor every single American president with a gore-soaked retelling:

1. George Washington: Acid-Pterosaur Poacher. He resigns his commission in 1783...while fighting off flying reptiles that spew acid at the behest of a bitter British elite. 

2. John Adams: Mummy Shanker. Launches an undeclared naval war against the French Republic. Unbeknowst to his cabinet, Adams stabs mummified demons in his spare hours.

3. Thomas Jefferson: Big-Pimpin' Zombie Drop-Kicker. Completely dominates Islamist bandits centuries before it was cool. (Spoiler: The bandits all turn out to be zombies.)

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