The Ides of March

(R) ★★★☆☆

In this political suspense film, Ryan Gosling is a spokesman for a Democratic governor (George Clooney, who also directs) seeking the nomination for president. Philip Seymour Hoffman plays the campaign’s manager; Paul Giamatti plays his counterpart. Both covet the support of a sphinx-like senator played masterfully by Jeffrey Wright. Political skulduggery unfolds. The invented plot twists tax the abilities of Gosling, but the rest of the cast and the atmosphere dazzle.

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On a suburban street in south Las Vegas, behind a closed garage door, Bernie Hamburger is sawing maple wood. There’s sawdust all over the floor, and the subtle smell of glue, or perhaps it’s paint. Hamburger, 59, is hand-making his 229th guitar—and the process is meticulous. “I never mess up,” says Hamburger, who wears stylish glasses and skinny jeans with Vans and a Beatles T-shirt. “The wood is too expensive to mess up. I’m very anal about it.”