Archive for the Movies category

April 11th, 2009

Local Color

Posted in Movies, New York City by ed

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Dem wuz da daze …

February 28th, 2009

Alex Jones Documentary:
The Obama Deception

I don’t agree with some detail here but it’s certainly worth chewing on, particularly as we watch Obama sleepwalk (?) into the Pakghanistan quagmire.
The DVD can be ordered from Alex Jones’s web site: http://infowars-shop.stores.yahoo.net/obdedvd.html

All of the Youtube segments are gathered on one page here: http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=josh99smith&view=videos.

But this may be a handier way to access them:

Part 1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23h4IlRQGZ8&feature=channel_page

Part 2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RHiENcsO10Q&feature=channel_page

Part 3. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AjLUkAuT2AA&feature=channel_page

Part 4 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mY-8snkdpyE&feature=channel_page

Part 5 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BqHi4kmnO2Y&feature=channel_page

Part 6 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWZvBMkZkM4&feature=channel_page

Part 7 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mnkbPsfTLyw&feature=channel_page

Part 8 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKqd4UAG8kQ&feature=channel_page

Part 9 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJMB3gxk4jg&feature=channel_page

Part 10 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GAmQnUQFG4o&feature=channel_page

Part 11 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pf1fD7D0xcc&feature=channel_page

Part 12 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iAJAb52PVUw&feature=channel_page

Part 13 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9Ija31HdUs&feature=channel_page

Part 14 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_6sYwMQLLU&feature=channel_page

February 17th, 2009

Dept of Army Suicide
and Immigration:
General Freakley
finds himself unmanned

Ed Note: See comments below to follow the horrible story of escalating veteran suicides into 2011.

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From the Times:

The American Army finds itself in a lot of different countries where cultural awareness is critical,” said Lt. Gen. Benjamin C. Freakley, the top recruitment officer for the Army.

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END QUOTE

General Freakley went on to unveil a new citizenship program that fast-tracks foreigners who speak particular languages. Green Card to Passport in six months.

Seem to recall some Caeser doing something like this.

Guess they must be running out of peeps — oh. Oh my.

Still, a bit odd. Army Recruitment handing out passports. Thought the State Department did that. And Immigration the whole naturalization thing …

And I seem to recall Secretary of State Clinton making a particular point, during her first address from Foggy Bottom, of reclaiming turf and powers lost across recent years to the Pentag–

Hey! You can’t –!  Where are my Switzers?! Stop that! General Freakley, who’s in charge here?! You can’t fight in here, this is the War Room!!!

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Dr Strangelove, I presume? 

Who’s the gadfly?

Further developments.

Who’s who …

October 28th, 2008

JFK: Dallas Deputy Sheriff
Roger Craig speaks

Posted in Death, JFK, Movies by ed

I didn’t know this doc from 1976 was on the web. 

It features a lengthy interview with hero Roger Craig, a Deputy Sheriff in Dallas who, among other things:

– was on the trail of a Grassy Knoll assassin within moments of the murder, and

– was present when the rifle of the Book Depository was discovered and found to be a sharpshooter’s Mauser (not the old Italian soldier’s rifle that the Warren Commission reported and attributed to Lee Oswald).

Pressing these differences across the years seems to have cost Mr Craig his life. From the excellent Spartacus vault run by John Simkin in England:

In 1973 a car forced Craig’s car off a mountain road. He was badly injured but he survived the accident.
In 1974 he surviving another shooting in Waxahachie, Texas.
The following year he was seriously wounded when his car engine exploded. Craig told friends that the Mafia had decided to kill him.
Roger Craig was found dead on 15th May, 1975. It was later decided he had died as a result of self-inflicted gunshot wounds.

Craig’s suiciding prompted another hero, the attorney Mark Lane, author of two of the most important books on the subject, to put together this documentary, based on a filmed interview conducted with Craig in 1974.

Very much worth watching. Five parts, all there on YouTube.

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It’s hard to always look away

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October 4th, 2008

Paul Newman

Posted in Death, Movies, These United States by ed

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Thoughts looking back . . .

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September 24th, 2008

Michael Moore film — SLACKER UPRISING — Free Stream

Posted in 2008 Elections, Movies by ed

Far as I can tell this was just released yesterday.

A record of his 2004 campaign to depose Bush-Cheney.  Nothing earthshaking but perhaps worth recalling.

Free streaming online at SlackerUprising.Com.

September 20th, 2008

Zeitgeist – The Movie

Has everyone already seen this?

At attempt to deconstruct powers at war with humanity.

Seems the work of Libertarians (just a guess), with whom I  never quite agree.

Nevertheless worth chewing on.

Smaller bits of the whole are available on YouTube.

March 25th, 2008

PBS Frontline doc: Bush’s War

Anyone who has followed the Iraq war in the press, on the web and in the film documentaries already out there, will find little new to chew on in Frontline’s new Bush’s War.

Most troubling: The show opens with 9/11 — and never looks back. Thus presents the war entirely as a reaction to the attacks. Not a word of events and trends prior thereto.

Yet war with Iraq (as Colin Powell and Paul O’Neill have each told us) was on the agenda at Bush-Cheney’s first NSC meeting in January 2001.

The account of the war’s origins, then, is grossly false by omission.

The one bit of news (to my ears) re origins came in a clip of Richard Armitage, who says that Ahmed Chelabi (the Likud lobby’s disinformative nominee to run Iraq post Mission Accomplished) had explicitly promised his Beltway sponsors that his new Baghdad would recognize Israel.

Yet of the PNAC gang only Wolfowitz seems to bear some responsibility in the film — while Perle and baby Kristol, rather scandalously, are present as commentators, rather than examined as agents of the war.

Thus the prime motive of many of the two dozen Beltway activists who made the war happen — “to secure the realm” of Israel, as Perle & co. put it in the first Clean Break memo — escapes Frontline unnoticed.

Instead: hours of detail, often focused on personality, re disputes among the administration’s celebrities. As if the war were the crapulous fallout of a power-elite swing party gone wrong. Smartest Guys in the Room …

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… go in with eyes wide shut…?

(?!!?)

It seems a quarter of the air time in Part One (covering the lead-up) is devoted to Secretary of State Powell’s humiliations in battle with the Dark Side, the latter which gets represented chiefly by Rumsfeld and Cheney.

As a result of this eccentric montage, an innocent viewer might come away thinking that the war had no cause beyond Rummy’s hubris and Cheney’s colitis, and was Powell’s fault — that it sprung from Grand Old animus for Saddam acted out as a terrible comedy of errors, rather than from a strategy first publicized in 1992 and a plan first devised in 1996 by American lobbyists working at a Jerusalem think tank.

In short: This wooly 4.5 hour mammoth delivers almost nothing new, and seems in important part a whitewash.

(The distracting concentration on Powell may have followed simply from the fact that his people — Undersecretary Armitage and Chief of Staff Larry Wilkerson — were among the few players willing to talk to the camera — a classic pitfall for film documentary. Wolfowitz was smart enough to refuse to participate.)

Credits indicate that the film’s ideas were entirely the work of two men, Michael Kirk and Jim Gilmore, who between them fill the roles of reporter, writer, producer and director. Perhaps more people should have been involved.

Frontline made its name in the 80s as the tube’s best vehicle of investigative journalism. Funny thing is that to sketch the origins of the war today, little investigation would be needed, the outline of things having long been public, if absent from television.

It seems more and more, then, that PBS, like NPR, somewhere along the line fell asleep, and fell victim to the pod people at the Manufacturers of Consent Associa-

images-copy.jpeg -tion. (Thinking here, too, of Jim Lehrer’s manly neutering of the old MacNeil-Lehrer Report, which on occasion in the 70s and 80s had some bite.)

One supposes money had something to do with it.

My own Little Jimmy Grimaldi thoughts about why the war happened are encapsulated here.

A big question that still puzzles: How and why did Dubya hire the PNAC gang — long-standing enemies of his father beneath the GOP big top — to advise his 2000 campaign, and then to run his foreign policy? The story on its surface seems slick with bathos and Shakespearean blood … Cheney seems to have been the go-between …

But we have no word on this from Kirk and Gilmore, who never draw near the question.

Maybe Mel Brooks is the man to show in moving images the sickening story of how this war was made and sold.

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“This is it! This play won’t last a day!”

Springtime for Saddam …

Was it really Bush’s war?

December 18th, 2007

Go see: I’m Not There

Posted in Movies, Music by ed

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The Dylan film is beginning to show across country.

Should/must be seen in a theater — the music and images flow and surround.

Tell me what you think. (My thoughts linked above)

November 22nd, 2007

The Dylan Film: I’m Not There

Posted in Movies, Music, These United States by ed

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The Dylan film is spectacular. The most exciting american film in years.

Something to see and be thinking about for years.

Must be seen in a theater — the flow of music and people is joyous.

More balanced — as it looks, in its oblique way, into Dylan’s broken relationships with early fans and his first wife — than I’d expected from one or two reviews.

Indeed, one or two reviews had saddled me with worries, going in.

All worries dashed. The energy and courage laid down to make the film have paid off in spades.

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Directed by Todd Haynes. Written by same and Oren Moverman. Shot by Edward Lachman. Edited by Jay Rabinowitz.

Interesting reviews online: J Hoberman at the Village Voice. John Anderson at Newsday. By Pete Travers in Rolling Stone. At Not Coming to a Theater Near You. Film Comment. And by writer Robert Sullivan in the NY Times. AO Scott is also in the Times, and applauds, but the Sullivan piece is much richer; he spent six months on it, visiting sets, the editing room, etc.

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The reviewers who frowned are in a distinct minority, but include Anthony Lane in The New Yorker — who offers two basic complaints: the film is disjointed and at times confusing, and is insufficiently about the man in his world, and thus allows the “elusive Dylan, once again, to slip away.”

Although I seem to share many of Mr Lane’s thoughts about Dylan, his displeasure with the film seems a bit wooden-headed. To begin, I was never importantly confused. Jonathan Demme (I think it was) seemed right to observe that 30 seconds of confusion in a film are fine but five seconds of boredom intolerable.

What does seem true — to give Lane his due — is that the film is tightly focused on a familiar leitmotif — Dylan’s inability to live in the skin his fame wrapped about him — and thus does not fully treat much else that Dylan fans may be desperately seeking to explore and perhaps grasp.

Beneath this seeking sentiment lies, I suspect, long and commonly held disappointments in the way Dylan piloted himself through stretches of his career. Those of us who suffer with these petty resentments yearn, always, for a triumphant Apologia — a conclusive public Defense — that somehow removes from the hero’s shoe the doo and spent bubblegum he stepped in along the way.

The same desire takes shape with every reading of Hamlet. Yet the promising, brilliant prince’s trajectory always falls and fails to find redemption, or even satisfactory explanation.

Nevertheless, for good reasons, he remains one’s hero.

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Mr Haynes clearly set out NOT to make a grand Apology, but rather to present the appearances at play. And this seems the essence of Mr Lane’s complaint — that the filmmaker’s vision fell short for failing to grapple with the heart of the matter.

Two reactions to this complaint:

(i) It’s a question if the grand Apology can, in any form, be mustered. We had a good shot at it a few years ago in No Direction Home, Martin Scorcese’s great documentary. Dylan spoke there at length — interesting, and moving, but confusing as ever — and around the same time had published a collection of scattered remembrances entitled Chronicles. Both doc and book, while gratefully received here, were shot through with contradiction on the familiar ticklish points re desire (to be a poet and a pop star) and responsibility (to other people).

One doubts, then, that Dylan himself has a coherent grasp of the elusive heart of the matter — which leaves Mr Haynes seeming wise, seeming to have taken the best available road, by sticking with the appearances and giving them room to exuberantly play. What Mr Lane desires (on behalf of many, no doubt) may be impossible, in any form, and almost certainly, if embraced as motive of a feature film, would lead to a treacly false artifact. Whereas I’m Not There bleeds truth, such as we have it about Bob, from every frame.

(ii) My sense, reading Mr Lane’s complaint that the history in the film is “paper thin”, is that — in his pique at finding Hamlet again tumbling toward the swordplay — he failed to notice that I’m Not There does indeed deliver the music and its world in their rich mindblowingness, even as the director/writer pursues his relatively narrow interests, and even as he allows his Dylanesque voices free range in declaring they were never a “folksinger” and that “politics” do not exist. The film brings the early music in its time to life, reigniting one’s imagination re same, and this is perhaps its prime raison d’etre, and the reason it will rocket about the world, as Pulp Fiction did a few years back, but with incomparably more staying power. It will stay as long as the Scorcese and Pennebaker documentaries do, and for much the same reasons. As long as people remain curious about Dylan and the interesting times he shared and shaped.

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November 19th, 2007

David Lynch in Berlin

Posted in Movies by ed

From Der Spiegel, David Lynch at large:

QUOTE

DIRECTOR BUYS BERLIN MOUNTAIN

David Gets Lynched over ‘Invincible Germany’ Meditation Center Plan

David Lynch has purchased a large property on Berlin’s Teufelberg mountain where he hopes to build a university devoted to Transcendental Meditation. But he is in hot water after his guru chanted “invincible Germany” at a lecture about the project….

END QUOTE

October 27th, 2007

9/11 Syndrome films:
Land of Plenty
Fay Grim
Sorry, Haters

These rather unknown but fine films are all about people on the rack of life post 9/11, sliding down into their seats as they enter the Terrordrome.

The first two, however, are gentle things that work toward healing.

The last — like most mental illnesses you’ll find in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manualruns a chronic course.

1. Land of Plenty — by Wim Wenders — is a low-key gem about a young woman (Michelle Williams — wonderful) returning from Israel to find her last known relative: a Vietnam-vet uncle on a self-appointed mission to secure Los Angeles County from terror.

Note: It was shot with a Panasonic DVX-100, an inexpensive digital video camera that I used in a filmmaking course this summer. Looks great; end of debate.

Wim has made two of my favorite films, Wings of Desire and Until the End of the World.

Bonus: His recent Don’t Come Knocking got creamed by critics — but having just seen it I don’t see why. Sam Shepard as an aging Western star who flees the set to find what’s missing. Tim Roth as the completion-bond bounty hunter sent to track him down. They wind up in Butte, Montana, where Jessica Lange and others are waiting.

2. Fay Grim is a superior sequel — by Hal Hartley — to his odd success Henry Fool. The story takes a turn into the 21st century when it turns out Henry was not a mad drunk after all, but a CIA fool once tight with the charismatic leader of the mujahadin in Afghanistan during the 80s, and now on the run from his employers, in the person of Jeff Goldblum.

Parker Posey plays Henry’s honeypie wife, Fay. Sweetly stimulating.

And James Urbaniak is great as a garbageman turned poet and winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature who defines a cool New Jersey state of mind.

3. Sorry, Haters stars Robin Wright Penn as a NYker who works for a reality TV show — Sorry, Haters! — that showcases the lives of the rich and famous of Hip Hop and what not. No wonder she’s going mad, and daydreams while jamming forks into her palms about fixing 9/11. She seems to have a plan — but needs a nice Arab cab driver to carry it out.

August 24th, 2007

Film: Land of the Blind

Posted in Movies by ed

landofblind.jpg Bloody good.

Sustained literary satire of baby George Bush and his world.

In essence a farce. Yet it often feels as somber and dangerous as Michael Radford’s 1984 with John Hurt, which had not a moment of comic relief.

Much like Brazil, come to think of it.

It may be too literary, too angry and too historically well informed for today’s Young American intellectuals, who seem to believe they’ve seen it all having been raised on television.

Stuffed with references to classic dystopias and movies (the latter voiced by the President, who spends most of his time making B-films). But the mockery lets the gas out before things get uncomfy. On the whole: a light, intelligent touch.

To plot along lines of Revolution Eats its Young is to trade in cliche. But there’s a good reason cliches become what they are.

A great debut by New Yorker Robert Edwards.

The lovely Pan’s Labyrinth, also out late last year, covers some of the same ground — but as a fairytale gone wrong. And couches talk of fascism in its faded historical context: peasants struggling for rights with their fading feudal gentry. Each aspect of the approach was immediately engaging, but in the end, limiting: a No Trespassing sign forbidding the discusison to go where it otherwise would and should.

Whereas Land of the Blind is here and now for grown-ups.

Now for trivia:

Who said: “In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.”

FIRST ONE TO COMMENT with correct answer gets a full copy of the “Bush Wins!” New York Post (a Murdoch tabloid here in Fun City) — the first early edition on the streets about 5 am the morning after the attempted November 2000 election.