Redacted

Not rated yet!
Director
Brian De Palma
Runtime
1 h 30 min
Release Date
1 January 2007
Genres
Drama, War
Overview
Redacted is a film written and directed by Brian De Palma that is a fictional drama loosely based on the Mahmudiyah killings in Iraq.
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  • German Authorities Confirm that Frankfurt Shooter Viewed De Palma Clip
    PJ Media According to the German wire service dapd, the German Attorney General’s Office has confirmed that the video clip viewed by the Frankfurt Airport shooter Arid Uka -- and that allegedly provoked him to kill American soldiers -- was indeed the rape scene from Brian De Palma’s fictional anti-Iraq War movie Redacted. Attorney General spokesperson Frank Wallenta confirmed the identity of the clip to the German television news magazine Spiegel TV.Uka viewed the De Palma clip as part of a four-and-a-half minute propaganda video that was posted on a German-language YouTube page under the title “American Soldiers Rape our Sisters! Awake Oh Ummah.” The video was removed from YouTube shortly after the publication of a Pajamas Media report noting its existence and linking it. It can currently be viewed on The Daily Caller here.In addition to the rape scene, the propaganda video contains three other scenes. One shows American soldiers breaking down the door of a family’s home and rushing into the home with guns raised; a second shows American soldiers touching Iraqi girls; and the third shows what appears to be an Arabic-language news report and attempts to revive a severely wounded pregnant woman who has been shot at an American checkpoint. The “reporter” is shown interviewing the woman’s fraught brother as attempts are made to save her life. The “reporter” then announces that the woman has died.All four of the scenes are in fact fictional scenes taken from Brian De Palma’s film Redacted. Two shots of Arabic text, as well as some music and Arabic voice-over, have been added to the De Palma footage. class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/blog/german-authorities-confirm-that-frankfurt-shooter-viewed-de-palma-clip/ previous Page 1 of 2 next   ]]>
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  • Dallas Mavericks' owner financed anti-American film that may have inspired Frankfurt terrorist
    PJ Media The Dallas Mavericks' owner, billionaire Mark Cuban, financed and distributed Redacted, the 2007 Brian De Palma film that depicted US troops raping and killing civilians in Afghanistan.According to John Rosenthal, clips from Redacted have been regularly used in the German media as if it documents actual US war crimes -- when it doesn't. It's fiction. And those clips may have inspire Arif Uka, the Islamic radical who murdered two US airmen in Frankfurt and wounded two others in a jihadist attack last week.Whether Redacted inspired the Frankfurt terrorist or not, there's no doubt that Cuban financed that film, and there's no doubt that it was intended to present a very negative image of American troops.Cuban's infrequently updated blog is here. class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/blog/dallas-mavericks-owner-financed-anti-american-film-that-may-have-inspired-frankfurt-terrorist/ ]]>
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  • A Movie Too Liberal for Liberal Film Critics?
    Lifestyle What if they made a pro-Palestinian movie so biased it alienated audiences AND liberal film critics alike?Miral, out this week on Blu-ray and DVD, attracted dozens of movie patrons earlier this year en route to a $373,420 haul, according to boxofficemojo.com. Even by indie film standards that tally is embarrassing.Audiences had little interest in the story of how a beautiful Palestinian woman (played by Slumdog Millionaire stunner Freida Pinto) learned to stop worrying and love the Intifada. But even movie critics, an almost uniformly liberal clan, decried the film's bias and shoddy storytelling. The movie scored a pathetic 18 percent "fresh" rating at RottenTomatoes.com, one of the Web's biggest review aggregator sites."How can you appeal to both sides when you tell only one side's story?" asks Newark Star-Ledger critic Stephen Witty.Miral does feature some haunting imagery, but it stuffs speeches into the mouths of its characters and can't bother to mention any reason why Israelis would need military force to protect its own citizens.The film industry in recent years has made it a habit of forcing unappealing films down the public's throats. The anti-war screed Lions for Lambs tanked? Brian DePalma's Redacted was seen by less than 10,000 people during its theatrical run? Let's make Fair Game and Green Zone.So maybe we'll see a Miral 2: Bombs Away in 2012. class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/2011/7/15/a-movie-too-liberal-for-liberal-film-critics/ ]]>
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  • DVD: Restrepo
    (”Redacted” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    Klavan On The Culture On  April 20th, 40-year-old photo-journalist Tim Hetherington was killed by shrapnel while covering the war in Libya.   If you want to understand what a loss this is to our increasingly incompetent and dishonest journalistic community, watch the 2010 documentary Restrepo as I did for the first time this past weekend.  Co-Directed by Hetherington and Perfect Storm author Sebastian Junger, Restrepo covers one year with a platoon of US Soldiers in the hyper-violent Korengal Valley, Kunar Province, Afghanistan of 2008.   No matter what you think of the war, no matter what your politics, this is a terrific doc, exactly the sort of coverage our military deserves.  It gives the clearest picture of the men who fight of any film I’ve seen and makes you understand why the words we trot out on Memorial Day --  words like “hero,” “sacrifice,” “courage” and so on -- simply aren’t enough to capture the living reality of what these guys do and who they are.Too many Hollywood filmmakers did the villainous work of making preening, self-aggrandizing anti-war films while our soldiers were at risk and in the field and too many of our mainstream journalists showered those hateful films with praise.  Pictures like In the Valley of Elah, Redacted, Rendition and Lions for Lambs depicted our defenders as rapists, murderers, thugs, bigots or fools – even while those real life defenders were right in the midst of the fight.  It was an unprecedented bad act by our show business and journalistic elite.  It burdened the morale of our troops and supplied propaganda material to our vicious enemies.  The guilt of it is on the heads of each and every one of the filmmakers involved and the journalists who praised them.I wrote several articles of protest at the time, many of them for City Journal.  Restrepo comes closer than any film I’ve seen to accurately depicting the kind of men I met while researching those pieces at Fort Bragg and at FOB Kalagush in Afghanistan’s Nuristan province.   It reignited the anger I felt for the recklessness and vanity of our spoiled, unpatriotic and ignorant creative class.  Good for Hetherington and Junger for showing the simple truth about our military without injecting their political opinions either way.May Hetherington rest in peace.  He lived a life worthwhile. class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/andrewklavan/2011/6/29/dvd-restrepo/ ]]>
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  • The Hurt Locker: A New Kind of Movie About Iraq
    (”Redacted” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    PJ Media Hollywood isn't finished with the Iraq war quite yet.The entertainment industry has spent the last six or so years spinning yarns from the deeply divisive conflict, with most efforts falling into a predictable pattern. The war was a grave mistake (Fahrenheit 9/11). The battle will rage on indefinitely (No End in Sight). Never waste an opportunity like a war to slime the troops (Redacted).Now along comes The Hurt Locker, arguably the first Iraq war film not to wear its Code Pink colors on its sleeve. And wouldn't you know it isn't a colossal bust so far, at least in its very limited initial release.But Hurt, for all its visceral impact, isn't a great war movie as some critics suggest, nor is it as politically neutral as its boosters would have you believe.The movie stars Jeremy Renner (28 Weeks Later) as Staff Sgt. William James, a man without fear when it comes to defusing insurgent traps.The opening sequence, set before James enters the picture, details just how dangerous working in the bomb disposal unit can be. Defusers wear a puffy bomb suit for a modicum of protection -- think one of those silly faux sumo wrestler costumes but made from much sturdier stuff. Ultimately, no suit can save a soldier if a bomb goes off prematurely.James teams up with Sgt. J.T. Sanborn (Anthony Mackie), a by-the-book soldier, and Specialist Owen Eldridge (Brian Geraghty), the kind of grunt who looks like he belongs behind the counter at Walgreens, not behind enemy lines.It's hardly an original lot, and their preferred method for bonding -- aggressive wrestling and boozing -- also falls squarely in the been there, seen that category.James brings a stoic approach to the task at hand, alienating Sanborn with his willingness to risk his life -- even when it's not necessary. Yet James gets rattled when he learns a local boy who sold him some knockoff DVDs only a few days ago may have gone missing. class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/blog/the-hurt-locker-a-new-kind-of-movie-about-iraq/ previous Page 1 of 2 next   ]]>
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  • Film Critics Shut Their Eyes to Terrorism
    (”Redacted” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    PJ Media Hollywood isn't the only community allergic to the notion of showing the horrors of terrorism on screen. Some movie critics don't want to see terrorists in any way, shape, or form there, either.And by terrorists, we mean Islamo-fascists willing to die to take out as many innocents as possible. Not American troops indiscriminately killing civilians like in Brian De Palma's Redacted.The latest proof comes courtesy of Traitor, a new movie starring Don Cheadle as a special operations officer who switches teams from the U.S. to the terrorists. The movie takes pains to portray Muslims in three dimensions, and goes so far as to allow Islamic radicals to explain some of the reasons for their barbarous behavior.It's a kinder, gentler type of terrorism movie, but cinematic beggars can't be choosers.Traitor is far from a blockbuster, either in quality or tickets sold ($7.9 million in its first weekend). Still, it's drawing some tortured reviews from the critical masses.Let's start with the Washington Post's own Philip Kennicott. His Traitor review isn't content to merely slam the movie. He goes one step further, suggesting it shouldn't ever have been made.Terrorism is a dubious subject for entertainment. The excesses of fear it inspires are corrosive to society. The prejudices that underlie those fears are not neutralized by hiring Don Cheadle. The things that are inherently exciting in a film about terrorism -- violence, torture, and the ticking clock that portends doom -- are the very sort of things that short-circuit our ability to think rationally about the threats we face.Yes, he's saying audiences are too dumb to distinguish fiction from reality, and hinting that terrorism should be off limits for filmmakers. The legion of 24 fans won't like that one bit.Entertainment Weekly offered its own disappointing spin in its review, which gave Traitor a "C" rating. Again, the audience is assumed to be slack-jawed yokels ready to take marching orders from Hollywood confection:Many rainbow-colored actors ... contribute their faces in the cause of a paycheck (good for them) and an agitation of racist paranoia (not good for us).But EW isn't finished: "The wait isn't worth it in this fear mongering, opportunistic political/spy thriller." class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/blog/film-critics-shut-their-eyes-to-terrorism/ previous Page 1 of 2 next   ]]>
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  • 9/11
    (”Redacted” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    Klavan On The Culture The good folks at City Journal have reposted a piece I wrote about Hollywood's reaction to 9/11 - When Hollywood Hit Rock Bottom:"When it comes to sheer shamefulness, the conformist “radicals” of Hollywood outdid themselves in the years after the Islamofascist attacks on 9/11. When the United States responded to these atrocities by attempting to destroy the terrorist staging grounds in Afghanistan and establish a beachhead of Middle Eastern democracy in Iraq, Hollywood reacted by churning out propaganda movies that could only demoralize our allies and bolster our low and savage enemies: Syriana, In the Valley of Elah, Rendition, Redacted, Lions for Lambs, Green Zone,Body of Lies, Stop Loss, and on and on. Many of these films portrayed our soldiers and intelligence officers as rapists, murderers, torturers, or noble fools manipulated by conniving Republicans. Not one of them (including the excellent HBO film Taking Chance and the flawed but powerful Hurt Locker, which at least showed our troops in a positive light) depicted the wars themselves as good or noble endeavors. BesidesChance and Locker, these films were bad and they were bombs, showing that ideology, not art or commerce, dictated their content. It was the dark mirror image of Hollywood’s patriotic response to Pearl Harbor in the 1940s, a living diagram of what the Left has wrought in our cultural lives since then."Read the whole thing here. class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/andrewklavan/2012/9/11/911/ ]]>
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  • 'When Hollywood Hit Rock Bottom'
    (”Redacted” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    Ed Driscoll var dataLayer = window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; dataLayer.push({ 'videoName': 'PJTV: September 11th, 2009', 'videoType': 'Original' }); "Post-9/11, the film industry covered itself in shame." -- At his PJM column, Andrew Klavan flashes back to the article he wrote last year for City Journal:Hollywood’s lockstep leftist filmmakers have long busied themselves with a range of shameful enterprises. They have peddled and celebrated a wholly distorted and negative vision of American manners in dishonest films epitomized by American Beauty (1999). They have sold the self-contradicting nonsense of moral relativism in films such as The Reader (2008). They have routinely depicted the U.S. government and U.S. corporations as bad actors in world events, as in The Bourne Ultimatum. And—in what some observers consider a conscious scheme by a likeminded filmland clique—they have maintained a small but steady effort to normalize the sexual abuse of children in films like Little Children, The Woodsman, Towelhead, and more.But when it comes to sheer shamefulness, the conformist “radicals” of Hollywood outdid themselves in the years after the Islamofascist attacks on 9/11. When the United States responded to these atrocities by attempting to destroy the terrorist staging grounds in Afghanistan and establish a beachhead of Middle Eastern democracy in Iraq, Hollywood reacted by churning out propaganda movies that could only demoralize our allies and bolster our low and savage enemies: Syriana, In the Valley of Elah, Rendition, Redacted, Lions for Lambs, Green Zone, Body of Lies, Stop Loss, and on and on. Many of these films portrayed our soldiers and intelligence officers as rapists, murderers, torturers, or noble fools manipulated by conniving Republicans. Not one of them (including the excellent HBO film Taking Chance and the flawed but powerful Hurt Locker, which at least showed our troops in a positive light) depicted the wars themselves as good or noble endeavors. Besides Chance and Locker, these films were bad and they were bombs, showing that ideology, not art or commerce, dictated their content. It was the dark mirror image of Hollywood’s patriotic response to Pearl Harbor in the 1940s, a living diagram of what the Left has wrought in our cultural lives since then.Political correctness has robbed Hollywood of much of its story-telling vocubulary; which is why it seemingly can do little more these days except churn-out comic book, sci-fi, and fantasy movies, which helps to explain this recent headline at Reuters: "Movies suffer worst box-office slump in a decade."Ironically, my wife and I watched more movies in the theater this year than we have in ages -- but with the exception of the latest Batman movie, they were films from previous decades that happened to be playing the revival circuit, such as:North by NorthwestA Clockwork OrangeCabaretA BBC look at the making of The Who's 1974-album Quadrophenia, which debuted on the big screen this summer.The Imax release of Raiders of the Lost ArkMark Steyn once wrote:“Popular culture” is more accurately a “present-tense culture”: You’re celebrating the millennium but you can barely conceive of anything before the mid-1960s. We’re at school longer than any society in human history, entering kindergarten at four or five and leaving college the best part of a quarter-century later—or thirty years later in Germany. Yet in all those decades we exist in the din of the present. A classical education considers society as a kind of iceberg, and teaches you the seven-eighths below the surface. Today, we live on the top eighth bobbing around in the flotsam and jetsam of the here and now. And, without the seven-eighths under the water, what’s left on the surface gets thinner and thinner.Between PC and the related phenomenon of "black armband history," I wonder if Hollywood realizes how much of its past legacy is similarly underwater and no longer accessible? class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/eddriscoll/2012/9/11/when-hollywood-hit-rock-bottom/ ]]>
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  • Radical Celluloid Chic: Easy Riders, Raging Bulls now on the Kindle
    (”Redacted” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    Lifestyle  The death on Monday of Bert Schneider, the man who, along with his business partner Bob Rafelson, brought you both the Monkees and Easy Rider, brings to a close one chapter in the life and death of New Hollywood. As Mark Steyn wrote on Wednesday:Bert Schneider was an obscure figure by the time of his death, but back in "New Hollywood" - that interlude between the end of the studio system and the dawn of the Jaws/Star Wars era - he was briefly a significant figure. He started in TV in the mid-Sixties, helped create "The Monkees" and then took them to the big screen in the feature film Head. That flopped, but the next film he produced, Easy Rider, cost less than 400 grand and within three years had made $60 million. There followed Five Easy Pieces and The Last Picture Show.But, as much as I like the latter, I prefer to remember the late Mr Schneider for his contribution to the gaiety of 1970s Oscar nights. Truly, that was the golden age of Academy Awards ceremonies. On April 8th 1975, Bert Schneider's film Hearts And Minds won the Oscar for Best Documentary. Instead of an acceptance speech, he read out a telegram conveying fraternal greetings to the American people from Dinh Ba Thi of the Vietnamese Provisional Revolutionary Government. Offstage, Bob Hope was mad, and scribbled some lines for his co-host Frank Sinatra. So Frank came out and said that the Academy wished to disassociate itself from the preceding. Then a furious Shirley MacLaine yelled at Frank that she was a member of the Academy and no one had asked her if she wanted to disassociate herself from the Vietnamese Provisional Revolutionary Government. Then John Wayne said aw, the Schneider guy was a pain in the ass.The rise of New Hollywood is a story that’s been told countless times, but one of the very best tellings is Peter Biskind’s Easy Riders, Raging Bulls, originally published in 1998, but finally released in a Kindle version this week -- entirely coincidentally, the day after Bert Schneider died. Biskind managed to interview many of the original players, and wrote a compelling narrative of the collapse of postwar Hollywood and the retirement of the last of the great moguls who built the industry, and the rise of the young turks who would be, for a time, their successors. And then their own usurpation, both through drug and alcohol-induced dissipation, and because Hollywood executives, with a little help from Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, rediscovered how to connect with mass audiences.By the late 1960s, the Hollywood studio system was in ruins. There were multiple reasons -- Michael Medved has blamed the demise of Hollywood's self-enforced production code and its replacement with the G/PG/R/X rating system as alienating a big chunk of traditional moviegoers in the late 1960s. Concurrently, the urban “youth” market of the 1960s felt alienated by an industry still churning out formula clones of the last big film by “Old Hollywood,” The Sound of Music. The failure of so many of those films that came in its wake, including Dr. Doolittle, Hello Dolly, Star and other expensive, out of control musicals and family-oriented movies, nearly drove 20th Century Fox to financial ruin, and ultimately caused the once-mighty MGM to effectively close up shop as a functioning studio. var dataLayer = window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; dataLayer.push({ 'videoName': '', 'videoType': 'Curated' }); During the late 1960s, age had caught up with the industry as well. In an era whose slogan amongst the left was “Don’t trust anyone over 30,” most Hollywood crews were manned by people double that age, who had broken in around the time of World War II or immediately afterwards, and weren’t planning to leave anytime soon. As Steven Spielberg told Biskind:"It was not like the older generation volunteered the baton,” says Spielberg. “The younger generation had to wrest it away from them. There was a great deal of prejudice if you were a kid and ambitious. When I made my first professional TV show, Night Gallery, I had everybody on the set against me. The average age of the crew was sixty years old. When they saw me walk on the stage, looking younger than I really was, like a baby, everybody turned their backs on me, just walked away. I got the sense that I represented this threat to everyone’s job.”Ultimately he was -- including many of the young turks in Biskind's book, ironically enough. But prior to Spielberg's rise as an industry unto himself, as Biskind tells it in Easy Riders, there were two milestones in the birth of New Hollywood in the late 1960s. The first was Bonnie & Clyde, the second was Easy Rider. As leftwing author Rick Perstein told Reason magazine in 2008 while promoting his then-recent book Nixonland:My theory is that Bonnie and Clyde was the most important text of the New Left, much more important than anything written by Paul Goodman or C. Wright Mills or Regis Debray. It made an argument about vitality and virtue vs. staidness and morality that was completely new, that resonated with young people in a way that made no sense to old people. Just the idea that the outlaws were the good guys and the bourgeois householders were the bad guys—you cannot underestimate how strange and fresh that was.But along with Bonnie & Clyde's subversive script (written by Robert Benton and David Newman, who got their start at Esquire magazine, then at the peak of its journalistic style and influence), at least the film had a known-star in Warren Beatty, a ravishing looking Faye Dunaway, whose career was still in its ascendency, and a veteran director in Arthur Penn. class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/2011/12/15/easy-riders-raging-bulls/ previous Page 1 of 3 next   ]]>
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  • Oscar Night Hangover - Is a New 'Casablanca' Possible?
    (”Redacted” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    PJ Media On her radio show a few weeks back, Laura Ingraham asked me some all too familiar questions about my hometown: How come those liberal varmints out in Hollywood can't make a movie favorable to the USA to save their own... or our... lives? Isn't there anyone in Tinseltown able to produce at least one film on our side to counter the pseudo-progressive garbage like Redaction and The Valley of Elah?Laura suggested a remake of Red Dawn.I don't have anything against John Milius' 1984 thriller imagining a Soviet-Cuban invasion of the US (John's a friend of mine), but it didn't have much impact on our culture, I think even the filmmaker would agree. If you're looking to change the terms of the cinematic world and alter the zeitgeist into the bargain, why bother to do it in half-measures? You have to reach higher or, frankly, hardly anyone will notice.What we need above all now, I told Laura in that way you do when you're pompously trying to get the attention of that talk radio audience dozing in the fast lane of the Pasadena Freeway, is a new, contemporary version of Casablanca.What would be better than a remake of what is arguably the greatest, certainly the most romantically patriotic, of all Hollywood sound movies and have it be set today against the background of the War on Terror? It's a tall order, but, hey, fortune favors the daring and it might bring the country together as it hasn't been since ten minutes after 9/11 - even make a few dollars in the process. (Steve Soderbergh's recent The Good German referenced Casablanca, but that was set back in World War II again. What's the point of that?)But is it possible? To begin with, as we all know, the country isn't faintly as together as it was in 1942 when Casablanca was made and nearly everyone was united against the big, bad Nazis. Nowadays, the only people we appear united against are each other. Say "Round up the usual suspects" now and almost everyone will jump into their cars to arrest their ideological adversaries at the local Safeway (or organic health food store, as the case may be).And that's only part of the problem. I'm not even going to touch how you find modern equivalents to Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Claude Rains, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, etc. And where do you start? Where do you place Rick's Café Américain? And who's Rick for that matter? Not easy, is it?Let's try to figure it out by first examining the nub of the original story: Rick Blaine - a cynical American running a café in Casablanca - is walked in on (in "of all the gin joints in the world") by his great lost love Ilsa Lund. Unfortunately, she is with her husband - Victor Lazlo, an heroic leader of the Czech Resistance. They are trying to get the strategically important Victor transit papers to America to continue the good fight against the Krauts - before the resistance leader gets arrested. Rick, who has access to papers, has the dilemma of keeping Ilsa or setting her free with Victor and losing the love of his life. (They had met in Paris when Ilsa thought Victor dead in a concentration camp.) Obviously the fire still burns deeply between them. But ultimately, as we all know, Rick sacrifices his personal life and helps Victor to freedom. Then Rick drops his cynical pose and goes off to join the fight himself - accompanied by a reformed Captain Renault, the formerly pro-Nazi chief of police who has been his nemesis. They have perhaps the most memorable exit line in movie history: "Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."Of course there's a lot more detail, but that's the essence of the conflict that would have to be replicated. The strokes are broad and metaphorical and some of those details don't make sense. But remember, this is a movie, meant to move hearts - and in this case it surely does. (Wikipedia has a more meticulous outline for those who haven't seen the film recently.)What strikes me in all this is that the lynch pin to a new plot is not really Rick or Ilsa, but Victor Lazlo, ironically the one character criticized in the original film for the stiff performance of Paul Henreid. Who is the modern version of the Czech Resistance leader? Who in our times would be so important a couple would be willing to give up their true love to keep him alive and well?Some ideas spring immediately to mind:1. An infiltrator inside Al Qaeda. This is the most obvious, but who would that really be? Most Al Qaeda members are, superficially anyway, murderous thuggish Arab terrorist-types with a distinctly unromantic veneer. Hard to marry or build a romantic plot around even if a double-agent. (How do you deal with how he treats the Ilsa character or women in general?) And, sad to say, despite the fact that Al Qaeda is wildly misogynistic and homophobic, seeks world domination through primitive religious law while under the direction of a Saudi billionaire, many see it, incredibly, as an avatar of Frantz Fanon's Wretched of the Earth - in other words, "genuinely" on the side of the poor. Pathetically stupid, but not good for this film.2. A defecting Iranian general à la Reza Asghari. Now this superficially appeals, but there are complications. Who is Ilsa and where would Asghari have met her? And we would have to deal with all those dissenting opinions about Iran. I think the NIE is a bunch of hooey, but the intelligence agency/State Dept. cartel has succeeded in convincing at least some of the public Iran isn't such an enemy anymore and may not be that serious about obtaining nukes. We'd be swimming up hill, alas. (Remember, this is Casablanca and has to win everybody - or nearly.) Still, it has possibilities.3. Pakistan. This is my choice. Not that the story would be located in that benighted country, but it's scary reality could provide a good background. Unlike Iran, everyone agrees Pakistan has nukes - and almost everyone is terrified they will fall into the wrong hands. On top of that, only a few seem to really know where these nukes are and who has control of them... What if our Victor Lazlo character did? He could be a kind of AQ Khan in reverse - a good guy Pakistani scientist who holds the keys to their nukes and protects civilization by keeping them close and out of the hands of the Islamist madmen. He could be a romantic figure in a way... Oxford educated, a bit stuffy but nice. You could see why Ilsa would marry him, although it wasn't "the real thing," as they say. And you could also see why we would all want to keep him safe from those same Islamofascists who are after him.With me so far? Does it all make sense? Well, not perfectly. But remember, neither did the original film. Nor does Chinatown, when you examine it, not to mention a whole bunch of other movies we call classics.But never mind. Where do we put this Casablanca with its Pakistani scientist version of Victor Lazlo? Certainly not Pakistan itself. Nobody drinks there and what's Casablanca without booze? One idea is to set it in Istanbul, that great and atmospheric crossroads city where East meets West. Rick could run a country bar there, of all things, and maybe he sings country himself a bit, although in his past, which he doesn't want to talk about, he was a Navy Seal or some such. This gives him an opportunity to do his own "As Time Goes By" and to sing to Ilsa when they meet again in the magical light of a Bosphorus sunset. Movies like this have to be as corny as Kansas in August. Otherwise they don't work. It also gives us the chance to replace the iconic "La Marseillaise" from the original movie with something quintessentially American like Merle Haggard's "The Fightin' Side of Me" or even "An Okie from Muskogee." (Just kidding - or am I?)And who is our Ilsa? One possibility is a part British/part Pakistani woman - a beautiful Eurasian standing between two cultures. She and Victor the Scientist could have met at Oxford where she was reading history or literature and he was lecturing in physics. They marry but are often apart because our Ilsa is uncomfortable in Pakistan where she is forced to wear the veil and live the life of a second class female citizen. Later, when she thinks her husband has been murdered by Al Qaeda (or the Taliban, you pick) she could have met our Rick. This could be in Prague with it's great locations along the Charles River... or Venice or Florence... many romantic spots would do to stand in for Paris.Later, when Rick must make his decision to let her go, we know she is especially heroic too, submitting once again to wearing the veil and living the life of an Islamic wife, although she and we know how awful it is, in order to save the world from nuclear catastrophe.Of course, we'll need some villains here - Al Qaeda or Taliban bad guys and their Western allies, ready to bring Victor back to Waziristan and get a hold of those nukes. And we also need an ambiguous man-in-the-middle like Claude Rains/Captain Renault who comes clean in the end. It amuses me that he could be with the U. N. I would love to see one of those guys reform - even if it would never happen in real life.So that's all I have for now. As with any good movie, leave them when they are wanting more. And to tell the truth, I don't have much more - yet - and you are likely to have brighter ideas than mine anyway.But, again sad to say, this is probably an academic exercise. I doubt Hollywood is ready to make a movie like this, even if it would be a hit. They just don't seem to want to cheer for our team, no matter how much the audience wants it.But just in case.... you never know, even if it's a long shot... and especially since the strike is over ... this outline has been...Registered: WGAw.Roger L. Simon is an Academy Award-nominated screenwriter, novelist and blogger, and the CEO of Pajamas Media. class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/blog/oscar-night-hangover-is-a-new-casablanca-possible/ ]]>
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  • In Hollywood, 'Hope and Change' Trumps Critical Thought
    (”Redacted” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    PJ Media America may possess the most powerful military in the world. But the nation's ability to harness its soft power, specifically its entertainment exports, is what may cement how the rest of the world views -- and respects -- us.So argues a new book with a great title: American Idol After Iraq: Competing for Hearts and Minds in the Global Media Age, by film executive Mike Medavoy and foreign affairs correspondent Nathan Gardels. Reality shows and blockbuster movies aren't just puffery, they argue. They are weapons in the war to influence public opinion. And right now, Medavoy and Gardels feels pop culture is firing mostly blanks.It's all fascinating grist for a book, and the authors expand the subject to include a number of crucial sub-topics. But Idol doesn't have the courage to follow through on its main premise. To do so would veer into the kind of discourse you might hear from a "family values" Republican.In essence, if American entertainment cleaned up its act, the world might view us in a more positive light. But the book doesn't argue so much about R-rated content as it does that American films aren't sensitive enough to the rest of the globe.Early on, the book does make some salient points: "Sometimes films and television shows mislead outsiders about American life, for example by the near total absence of religious expression in mainstream entertainment."But Idol goes on to list American weaknesses and missteps with alacrity -- and often accuracy -- but can't do the same for other countries. It's the liberal two-step. We're wrong, wrong, wrong on most counts, but every other country gets a moral pass. We lack insight and experience regarding other countries to our everlasting shame -- but it's never to other countries' shame that they misinterpret the U.S.The authors clearly had "hope and change" on the brain as they huddled together to create Idol. Every few pages, they reference how President Barack Obama will right some of the wrongs committed by President George W. Bush -- asides given no real weight since Obama hasn't done anything yet in his young presidency. Let's wait for him to change the world before writing about it as if it's a fait accompli.The authors then remind us -- as if it were news to celebrate -- that a Hamas spokesman said he preferred Obama as president. class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/blog/new-book-substitutes-hope-and-change-for-critical-thought/ previous Page 1 of 2 next   ]]>
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Kyle Smith 3
National Review



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • Review: "Redacted," "Love in the Time of Cholera"
    Kyle Smith review of “Redacted” 3 stars out of 4 90 minutes. Rated R (extreme graphic violence, rape, profanity) You don’t go to Brian De Palma for fair and balanced. You go to him for Mi chael Caine in a dress with a dagger, Tony Montana aardvarking his way through a Himalaya of blow, Carrie’s hand busting out of the grave. De Palma is extreme, visceral, usually in bad taste but almost always riveting. De Palma’s “Redacted,” a no-budget fake documentary that imagines the circumstances behind a real rape and murder of a civilian girl committed by US troops in Iraq, is a piece of anti-war propaganda whose aims I don’t agree with, but it jolted me nonetheless. There are ways that a fiction film can approach closer to the truth than a real documentary. Documentarians suffer from the anthropologist’s problem – their presence may make the people they observe act differently. De Palma’s big subject is queasy voyeurism, though this time his peepholes are electronic and the fetish is for combat. He cross-cuts among the video diary of a young private, a French documentary about the war, Arab news broadcasts, video blogs and terrorist Webcam postings. As we watch one gruesome moment from the point of view of an unseen jihadist, the ecstatic killer whispers Allah’s name as though drooling over a pin-up girl. We watch in helpless terror as the characters, instead of being built up in arcs to demonstrate one point or another, lose their lives at random. Never one to get bogged down in detail, De Palma can’t decide whether his troops are soldiers or Marines; one says, “Welcome to the goddamn Army,” while another speaks of the Corps. But as the troops clown in their tent, guard a harrowing checkpoint and eventually carry out a terrible crime, De Palma gets much right. There are no recognizable actors, no James Francos or Josh Hartnetts to allow us to snuggle into the comforts of Hollywood, and the chaotic shifts of media simulate what it’s been like to follow this war. Few movies have gotten the clatter of the Web so right. The grunts sound like grunts. Their teasing is brash and witty without sounding like Ivy League screenwriting (“Know what I like about you besides absolutely nothing? Absolutely nothing”). Being a reader, and hence of questionable masculinity, one guy is referred to as ” ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell,’ over there.” Troops naturally imitate the polysyllabic void of official military directives (“This deployment? It’s unspeakably underwhelming”) and use slang like “At ease this s – – t” – milspeak for “shut up.” The troops who carry out the rape start out as mere drunken knuckleheads. When a fellow squad member tries to stop them, the reply is, “Are you not supporting the troops?” Afterward, having killed witnesses to silence them, one of the murderers says innocently, “It must have been one of those Sunni-Shiite things.” Vicious as these killers are, the frustrations that underlie their anger aren’t impossible to understand. De Palma wants the troops out now, but unlike most of the Iraq documentaries and fiction films, his work is passionately antiwar, not anti-this war. Whether it’s Vietnam, the locus of De Palma’s similar 1989 movie “Casualties of War,” or Iraq or the Crimean War, civilians do get caught in the wheels of the war machine. Today, when war tends to equal guerrilla conflict, the impossibility of separating combatants from innocents leads to special agonies. A pregnant woman is tragically killed by troops in “Redacted” because her brother speeds through a checkpoint, ignoring warnings to stop in his rush to get to the hospital. But afterward, even as the guy who “smoked that Hadji” brags that “it was nothin’ – it was like guttin’ catfish,” you sense the mask of bravado. Making a bad decision that results in civilian death doesn’t make you evil – not in war – and it’s not even clear that this was a bad decision. De Palma isn’t trying to insult the troops but illustrating how any war puts men in impossible situations. ——— Kyle Smith review of “Love in the Time of Cholera” 2 stars out of 4 138 minutes. Rated R (nudity, sex, profanity). If you’ve seen “Gone With the Wind,” you’ve seen what “Love in the Time of Cholera” isn’t. Did “Gone With the Wind” have more than three characters who mattered? Did you know the name of the war everyone was fighting? Did the breathtakingly romantic love scene happen before the lovers turned 80? Director Mike Newell (“Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”) turns the 1985 Gabriel Garcia Marquez classic into a telenovela. At the outset we learn that two oldsters finally unite after one of them, Fermina Daza, loses her husband. Or they try to: She slaps him when her old flame tells her he’s been waiting for this moment for “51 years, nine months and four days,” which is also the running time of the film. Flashing back half a century, a lad called Florentino, a telegraph clerk in 19th-century Colombia, spots beauteous Fermina Daza (Italian actress Giovanna Mezzogiorno) and begins writing her love notes the length of “Finnegans Wake.” She swoons at his words – enraging her father (John Leguizamo), who moves her to the country to cool her jets. He steers her toward a dashing doctor (Benjamin Bratt). After a few years, she comes back to the city, her father having declared her mistress of her own fate. Two odd things happen. Though Femina is still played by the same actress, Florentino is now played by a different actor (Javier Bardem) who little resembles the guy who played him as a stripling. Bardem, who is 38 but looks 50, can’t pull off early 20s, and his stone-carved features are made to terrorize the screen (see “No Country for Old Men”), not make love to it. Gael Garcia Bernal would have been the ideal choice. Also, Fermina rejects Florentino for vague reasons. For the next hour, as she marries the Bratt character and Florentino becomes a rich businessman, the framing device used at the outset kills the suspense. We simply wait for Fermina to be widowed and for Florentino to renew his courtship of her. Miscellaneous wars and cholera epidemics and secondary characters come and go without much affecting things. The movie, populated with good actors who aren’t Latino (Liev Schreiber as a Colombian?) and bad actors who are (Leguizamo really ought to be selling shoes by now), doesn’t convince us either that Fermina and Florentino are made for each other or that tragic forces are keeping them apart. She is married, but so what? There is lots of infidelity in the movie. Moreover, though Florentino writes poetry that is either romantic or laughable depending on how closely your sensibility resembles that of a Bard College sophomore, he may not be your idea of a steadfast inamorato: To console himself while waiting for her husband to die, he takes 632 lovers over five decades. There’s consolation, there’s indulgence, and then there’s Wilt Chamberlain. Not that Florentino seems like a lady magnet. For all of his poetry and his eventual wealth, he seems a bit of a damp sponge. He’s the kind of guy you’d dump for a bad boy like the hard case Bardem plays in “No Country for Old Men” – who would have shot Florentino between the eyeballs on grounds of general wimpiness. ——]]>
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  • Am I a Partisan Hack?
    (”Redacted” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    Frequently I hear the charge (lately aired in response to my review of “The Campaign,” about which more below) that I automatically like right-leaning movies and instinctively recoil at left-leaning ones. To quote Sam Alito: Not true. For instance. In 2009 I placed on my Ten Best List the left-wing Iraq War satire “In the Loop,” made by Armando Ianucci, a Brit filmmaker who despises George W. Bush and tears into Tony Blair, from the way-left. I tore into the right-wing “Act of Valor” and was unkind about a Sarah Palin hagiography (though I hasten to add that I like Palin and was saddened to see her essentially furnish a letter of resignation to the American political system, at least as an elected official). I gave a 3-star review to Brian DePalma’s harsh anti-Iraq War drama “Redacted,” though as a veteran myself I am probably more sensitive than the average to suggestions that all of our troops are rapist thugs. (And the movie didn’t actually make that case; it showed a few of the men going bad, but others were trying to stop them, and anyway I don’t see how one can disagree that war can have dehumanizing and alienating effects.) I think DePalma’s career has been an interesting study of the nature of seeing (certainly “Body Double,” “Femme Fatale” and “Snake Eyes” are) and the film has an interesting take on the way images and ideas of war (or other news events) come to us in fragments and through filters. True, I gave a tepid 2.5 star thumbs-up review to the somewhat amateurish “Atlas Shrugged” (as I did to Madonna’s “W.E.”) because in each case I thought the movies at least had a little bit of freaky energy, and my default state of mind at the movies is sludgy boredom. So today I was reading (the unabashedly left-wing) The Onion and, despite being a Mitt Romney supporter, I was laughing at this. Laughing, because it’s a clever observation that leads somewhere and has a degree of truth. Romney Stuck In Endless Loop Of Uncomfortable Chuckling I like Will Ferrell but sometimes he’s funny and sometimes he’s not. (Zach Galifianakis, I am increasingly convinced, has no talent.) “The Campaign” (see my review, which is written from the point of view of a somewhat dim politician) is half-assedly a left-wing film but that doesn’t bother me per se. When we say of comedy, “It’s funny because it’s true” we also mean “If it’s not true, it’s not funny.” There is a lot of inspiration for satirists in politics. So it’s amazing that there’s no truth to “The Campaign.” It doesn’t lead anywhere except to dumb-guy jokes. This guy’s got a fat mustache and talks in a girlish voice. This one’s so moronic he makes a campaign ad out of a sex video. Likewise, the movie’s portrayal of the Koch Brothers (“the Motch Brothers”) betrays no insight into what massive campaign ad spending does or can do (none of the campaign spending unleashed by these two doofuses would sway anyone who votes) nor is it a dead-on depiction of what capitalist libertarians believe or do. ]]>
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    (Review Source)

VJ Morton 1
Right Wing Film Geek



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)
  • Oscar surprises
    (”Redacted” is briefly mentioned in this.)

    Oscar surprises

    The Oscar nominations were announced earlier today. And here’s my quick reactions.

    Kudos:

    ● Three of the 5 Best Picture nominees are among my 10 Best for the year, and 1 of the 2 that aren’t heads my list of runners-up. Four of 11 — NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, ATONEMENT and THERE WILL BE BLOOD, plus JUNO. And of the other 7 favorites of 2007, 3 are foreign films that one cannot expect to be top dogs at the US industry honors (which is what the Oscars are). And while I don’t think the fifth nominated film (MICHAEL CLAYTON) is that good (5 grade), it’s no CRASH and I don’t think it’s considered widely to be a front-runner to win anyway. So I am almost guaranteed to be reasonably happy on Oscar night — the Best Picture winner is near-certain to be a worthy film.

    That. Does. Not. Happen.

    My tastes are not the Academy’s and I don’t discriminate against comic clowning (see the film at #2 this year), small-studio/indy films and foreign films. In fact, this has never happened. I did a quick glance over the Best Picture nominees for the last 20 years earlier today, and found that that never in the entire period where I can say I have followed movies closely had 3 of my Top 10 been nominated for the Best Picture Oscar.¹ In most of those 20 years prior to today, it’s been 0 or 1. Depending on how you slice my lists, the 100 films nominated for Best Picture Oscar, just 22 (or 24 … see footnote) have grabbed one of the 200 available slots on my 10 Best list — an average of barely 1 per year.

    So I congratulate the Academy on my tastes. I hope it’s simply that the best English-language films of the year so clearly declared themselves, that there was no denying them. But undoubtedly part of the reason is that some of the fall prestige or semi-blockbuster films that might have looked like potential Oscar-Baition™, fizzled at the box office and/or generated poor or little critical buzz. After all, it’s not as if the Coen Brothers and PT Anderson have been big AMPAS locks in the past (this is only Wright and Reitman’s second films). I’m thinking most of THE GOLDEN COMPASS and the ELIZABETH sequel, and to a lesser extent SWEENEY TODD and BEOWULF, plus such potential breakout films as BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU’RE DEAD and all the anti-war films, from RENDITION and LIONS FOR LAMBS to REDACTED and GRACE IS GONE.

    ● PERSEPOLIS received ample compensation for its snub in the Foreign-Film race (more on that below) by getting a nomination for Best Animated Film. It’ll lose to RATATOUILLE, of course (not that I’m saying that would be a travesty of judgment). But the nomination at this moment will help PERSEPOLIS, since it was released just a couple of weeks ago in the top few cities and is now spreading around the country. I hope Sony Classics has gold-statue emblazoned posters ready. This is a case of the principal reason the Oscars matter to me … as a way of raising the public profile of small films (even small English-language films) that are good enough and accessible enough to satisfy a broader audience than the one that habitually keeps abreast of such movies. PERSEPOLIS is such a film.

    ● I probably shouldn’t be surprised that Amy Ryan got a deserved Supporting Actress nomination for GONE BABY GONE — she won a bunch of critics awards and was nominated by the Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild. But Ben Affleck’s film, good though it was, flamed out at the box office, and, Ryan aside, was pretty much overlooked by critics and award-givers. But I feared a surprise snub (though playing a trashy tramp always helps an actress).

    ● Though I was obviously disappointed that neither of ATONEMENT’s two leading actors were nominated, I was happy that the actual best performance in the film was — Saoirse Ronan as the pre-teen Briony in the film’s first section, who commits the sin that originates the film’s moral universe, like Adam and Eve in the Garden. She exudes childish willfulness — that toxic mixture of precociousness, thinking she’s an adult while not having the experience of an adult, and preciousness, a spoiled certainty that one is in the right come what may, especially when others have to bear what comes. The person with whom I saw the film the second time could hardly restrain his hatred for Briony throughout the second act, audibly talking to himself — a testament to her creation in the first act.

    Raspberries:

    ● This was known a week ago, but the foreign-films nominations are a scandal, not in terms of what was nominated (of which I cannot speak since I’ve seen none of them, and I certainly hope they’re worthy), but in terms on what was not nominated. Look … I well understand that Mexico’s SILENT LIGHT and Sweden’s YOU THE LIVING were no-hopers with the Academy. Both films are great but so stylistically eccentric that I can’t really be surprised. Just being submitted by their country is all the victory they could expect. But wth happened with several films that looked far more in line with Academy tastes but didn’t even make the “semi-final” cut of nine films from which the five nominees are chosen. This article in the Washington Post by Ann Hornaday centers most of its (justified) outrage on the snubs of France (PERSEPOLIS) and Romania (4 MONTHS, 3 WEEKS, 2 DAYS), to which I would add Germany (THE EDGE OF HEAVEN) and South Korea (SECRET SUNSHINE). All four films, in my opinion, were worthy and the right kind of film to win some props. And these films were completely passed over even for the semi-finals in favor of films about which I’ve heard little critical buzz except from fellow TIFFgoer and Academy member Ken Rudolph. But Ken had the good taste to recognize the awesomeness of the right films (except Andersson) … though he does make the Polish finalist KATYN and Serbian semi-finalist THE TRAP sound appetizing and, to a lesser extent (to me), does the same for the Israeli and Austrian finalists, BEAUFORT and THE COUNTERFEITERS. Still, the bright spot is noted in Hornaday’s article:

    Whatever the reasons, [chairman Mark] Johnson avers, the process is clearly in need of tinkering. He intends to approach the Academy’s Board of Governors, which oversees rule changes, soon after the awards ceremony on Feb. 24. “I think we have to do some kind of radical change and hopefully we can come up with a system that works better,” Johnson said.

    ● I’ve not seen NORBIT, but I still feel confident saying it was one of the worst films of the year. A defensible film doesn’t score 9 percent at Rotten Tomatoes (the same score as LEONARD PART 6 and lower than CATWOMAN). But now … this phrase is accurate: “Academy-Award Nominee NORBIT.” Yes. The makeup people voted for it. I can understand somewhat … the stills make it clear that this was a big makeup job … but does quality of the film have NO role? Shouldn’t technical people take enough pride in their work to hate to see such herculean efforts and creativity wasted on a widely-reviled punchline and all-time turkey? Were there no other films with impressive makeup that did honor to it (there were only three nominees to fill out after all)? What about SWEENEY TODD for eccentric transformations of actors; GRINDHOUSE for the prosthetic gore; I’M NOT THERE or even WALK HARD for all the various “Dylan looks” or “Dewey looks” without (in the former case) simply replicating the actors’ natural looks; HAIRSPRAY if you want to honor fat suits; or ZODIAC or TALK TO ME for people aging over the years? Did Viggo’s tattoos in EASTERN PROMISES count as makeup? Is this worse than “Academy-Award Nominee MANNEQUIN” and (speaking of Eddie Murphy) “Academy-Award Nominee BEVERLY HILLS COP 2” (in the same year and category, no less)?

    ● The snub of Jonny Greenwood for THERE WILL BE BLOOD, which is simply the most memorable and certainly eclectic dramatic score (i.e., no songs, not a musical) that I can recall in the past several years. Academy rules kept him out as ineligible because the score was too unoriginal. (The late timing of the announcement was crap, regardless.) I understand the problem of dramatic scores competing against song scores or the known-reaction quantities of existing music. So there have to be rules about what’s an original score. But surely it’s relevant to the spirit of the law that a large part of the pre-existing score was (1) Greenwood’s own previous work and (2) hadn’t been used in a movie. As one of the commentators at Variety noted: “And by this standard, Santaollalla’s score for Babel was eligible how, exactly?” And, similar to the makeup folly (and the original songs noted there too), technical awards can’t rationally ignore completely the function they play in the movie. After all, they’re not technically honoring music per se (that’s what the Grammys and similar awards are for), but the use of music in motion pictures. Regardless of anything else about the not-written-for-the-film music … only a deaf man could avoid the insight that Anderson and Greenwood’s use of the music is original to the film and not simply borrowed majesty.

    ● I understand that Javier Bardem’s got the “showy” role in the Coens’ NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN. He’s the Supporting Actor front-runner and deserves to be. But can a guy get nominated for … well … a naturalistic performance that actually carries the film from moment to moment as its principal audience identification figure. Being a corrupted innocent playing in waters too rough for him but believing he can get away with his relatively-minor sin and escape judgment with enough guile (i.e., all of us, in some sense). Sorry, Josh Brolin … apparently not.

    ● Why was anybody impressed by the Cuisinart editing of THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM? “Most editing” I could get behind … gawdknows the editor cuts, cuts, cuts away like Sweeney Todd with ADD. ULTIMATUM is a perfect example of a film edited to death. Or as I wrote here, in surprisingly substantial agreement with Atkinson (his political asides aside):

    is some supposed anti-Bush subtext about gov’t surveillance and secret skullduggery supposed to hide the fact that you literally cannot make head nor tail of what is happening. … No coherent space emerges for any of the three main set pieces — Waterloo Station, Tangier foot chase and New York car chase. And so all we see is large metal objects crashing into one another, fists flying somewhere (where was Tony Jaa when you need him), all manipulated by characters that are complete robots despite being made of too-too-solid flesh … this isn’t a movie; this is a big-screen video game, with cutaways to the players “onstage.”

    —————————————
    ¹ For the stat geek, these are the number of Best Picture nominees on my Ten Best list for that year: 2006-0; 2005-0/1; 2004-1; 2003-1; 2002-2*; 2001-1; 2000-1; 1999-0; 1998-2; 1997-0; 1996-2; 1995-2; 1994-1; 1993-1*; 1992-2; 1991-2; 1990-1/2; 1989-2*; 1988-0; 1987-1*.
    The asterisked years are those in which one of my 10 Best also won Best Picture (CHICAGO, SCHINDLER’S LIST, DRIVING MISS DAISY and THE LAST EMPEROR).
    The multiple figures for 1990 and 2005 reflect a film among my Top 10 on Oscar night but not on it now (THE GODFATHER 3 and BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN). In both cases, it was not a demotion of that film, but the promotion of other movies either seen later or growing from repeat viewings and edging it down to #11 or #12 (METROPOLITAN and MAY FOOLS in the first instance, and SARABAND and MILLIONS in the latter).

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    January 22, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized | ,

    3 Comments »

    1. Josh Brolin was insane. INSANE in that film. Insanely good, I mean. I am willing to forget the domestic battery charge with Diane Lane for his role in this film. And speaking as a native Texan, this is high praise indeed. Johnny Depp needs to go far away for a couple of years before I rip his goatee off in hatred.

      Comment by Lindsey | January 23, 2008 | Reply

    2. You’re from the British Isles, and I don’t know any Irishmen… how does one pronounce “Saoirse?”

      Comment by Adam Villani | January 24, 2008 | Reply

    3. Does the quality of a film factor into its Oscar prospects in the technical categories? Of course. But in principle, why should it? The category is not “Best Achievement in Makeup for a Non-Disgraceful Motion Picture”. Similarly, a composer really can’t do much if his kick-ass score winds up melodically supporting a steaming pile.

      Comment by Alex | February 12, 2008 | Reply


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Christian Toto 1
Hollywood In Toto



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • Is ‘Acceptable Loss’ More Cheney Obsessed than ‘Vice?’
    (”Redacted” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    an acceptable loss review curtis sumpter

    Hollywood raged against both President George W. Bush and the Iraq War for years until studios realized no one wanted to see more movies on the subject.

    Think commercial duds

    The post Is ‘Acceptable Loss’ More Cheney Obsessed than ‘Vice?’ appeared first on Hollywood in Toto.

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The Federalist Staff 1
The Federalist



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • What 'American Sniper' Tells You About Its Critics
    (”Redacted” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    I am not at all surprised that Michael Moore and Seth Rogen don’t like American Sniper. For them, the idea of military sacrifice is absurd. We get an idea of how badly they understand the motivation of the modern American fighting man and woman when they can’t tell the difference between someone like me, with 15 years of experience in law enforcement, military intelligence, and counterterrorism, and a Nazi. No. Seriously. American Sniper kind of reminds me of the movie that's showing in the third act of Inglorious Basterds. Seth Rogen (@Sethrogen) January 18, 2015 That movie is “Nation’s Pride,” the faux Nazi propaganda film-within-a-film directed by Eli Roth that plays during the film’s climactic theater scene. Moore, for his part, offered these thoughts: My uncle killed by sniper in WW2. We were taught snipers were cowards. Will shoot u in the back. Snipers aren't heroes. And invaders r worse Michael Moore (@MMFlint) January 18, 2015 He later said, implausibly, he just happened to tweet this while “American Sniper” was pulling in a massive $105 million opening weekend box-office haul and wasn’t talking at all about “American Sniper.” Moore’s experience with martial matters is exactly zero, and his understanding of snipers is based on a tragic anecdote from World War II. Moore never allows for the possibility that Nazi snipers might have been cowards, and that American snipers might be saving lives. Newsflash: Like the Nazis, Al Qaeda Is Bad War movies have changed a lot since the 1940s. War movies in the 1940s didn’t have to explain that the Nazis were bad. We take Nazis as evil for granted now; with 65 years of hindsight there are far more people around now who were never alive for Hitler’s Reich, but all of us understand that Nazis are bad. Film has been, perhaps, the best teacher of this simple truth. Nazis were just Nazis in movies, even when their evil was supernatural or no longer based in reality. Unlike the war films of generations past, ‘American Sniper’ actually has to explain onscreen that al Qaeda insurgents were (and still are) bad. The Left continues to think of the American military and foreign illegal fighters as basically being two sides of the same coin. Worse, they can’t seem to tell the difference between American service members and al Qaeda. Unlike the war films of generations past, “American Sniper” actually has to explain onscreen that al Qaeda insurgents were (and still are) bad. In explaining, and in depicting, Kyle’s firm and unflinching lack of remorse or understanding for the plight of the torturing, ambushing, child-murdering insurgent, we see a fun word on Twitter: Jingoistic. The American Left has never been able to find the line between patriotism and jingoism. They were so proud of the campaign to humiliate and vilify U.S. soldiers and Marines during the late 1960s and early 1970s. They were proud it scared American politicians out of significant military action until the Gulf War. They wanted Iraq and Afghanistan to be just like Vietnam. They are unwilling to consider anything that might portray the American military in a positive light. The Left did their long march through all of America’s beloved institutions, and Hollywood was no exception. Where John Ford and Frank Capra once did propaganda films during World War II, Hollywood today is irredeemably corrupted by a worldview that blames America for all the ills of the world. Certainly, the bulk of War on Terror films to date are a testament to this—see “In the Valley of Ellah,” “Stop Loss,” “Grace Is Gone,” “Lions for Lambs,” “Redacted,” “Fair Game,” “Rendition,” “Home of the Brave,” or “Green Zone.” Or rather, don’t see any of these films. They are by turns terrible, dishonest, and manipulative. They are also uninteresting films that add nothing to anyone’s understanding of the complexities of threats America faces in the world. The few non-insulting films to tackle the subject, such as “The Hurt Locker” and “Zero Dark Thirty,” are ambiguous about America’s mission at best. Note that the latter film was subject to a crusade to snub it at Oscar time simply because it acknowledged the historical fact that enhanced interrogation techniques yielded intelligence that helped us capture Bin Laden. ‘American Sniper’ Is About a Man the Left Cannot Understand Why is this? Because the military is a cartoon to the elite Left. They believe veterans are people who had few options and were forced by circumstance to hide in a uniform. They assume that because we stopped worshiping at the altar of individualism for a while that we have no ability for original thought. Since we gave up complete slavery to whims and fads, we must have no ambition or personality. We are chattel to them, and they feel no loyalty to us since we volunteered. I suspect that critics of ‘American Sniper,’ of Chris Kyle, and of the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, have a much in common with each other, but little in common with most straight white men. They are further separated from us because they don’t know anyone like us, and we don’t know anyone like them. When we interact, we speak past each other because we don’t share a common language or understanding of the world. They believe everything is a construct of our own personal experience, and that ideas like “morality” and “nation” and “loyalty” are just abstract silly vestiges of a bygone era… and all bygone eras are probably racist and misogynist. They’re pretty sure they’ve outsmarted thousands of years of Western thinking. “American Sniper” is about a plain man, raised to be physically and mentally tough. He tested himself with rigorous training, to find the edges of what he could accomplish. He fought and killed. He saw the enemy as evil, and he killed them with little compunction. I’ll warn you now: He’s white… that is, his ancestors came from the northern half of Europe. He’s a man, both in his gender identity and his biology, which are never at odds. He’s heterosexual, as evidenced by his super gender-normative marriage to a woman, and their subsequent children created by what we are led to believe is normal sexual congress. I’m sorry if this is very different from what you see on the Internet, but it’s actually fairly common. I suspect that critics of “American Sniper,” of Chris Kyle, and of the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, have a much in common with each other, but little in common with most straight white men. They don’t believe in anything, so certainly fighting and killing over the idea of a nation, or right and wrong, does not make sense to them. They assume, because they are ignorant, that killing makes a person bad. They cannot imagine the sacrifice in fighting, let alone the sacrifice of taking enemy lives for our country. I suspect they cannot imagine much at all outside of their own needs and desires. When Kyle is depicted shooting a child who has a grenade and is intent on attacking Marines, he kills, but he does not murder. Killing, you see, is not evil, when done in the right time and place for the right reasons. A sloppy translation of the Sixth Commandment is, “Thou shall not kill.” A better translation is, “Thou shall not murder.” The difference should be clear to anyone, but I’ll explain. When Kyle is depicted shooting a child who has a grenade and is intent on attacking Marines, he kills, but he does not murder. When the mother of that child is shown handing that grenade to him, she aims to murder. She is not “defending” her home from an “invader.” She commits an actual war crime, and she pays the price. Here’s the Difference Between a Terrorist and a Freedom Fighter Recently, a friend asked, “What’s the difference between a terrorist and a freedom fighter?” Moore doesn’t know, but I do: Obeying the laws of land warfare. Iraqi insurgents never tried to obey those rules, and al Qaeda has flouted them by design since its inception. Iraqis could have lawfully opposed the occupation of Coalition forces and adhered to the Geneva conventions. They would have been lawfully allowed to do that, but America was never faced with a lawful, conventional enemy in Iraq. We faced a mercenary army of radicals, who deliberately put civilians at risk. They abused protected structures, engaged in perfidy, and tortured and murdered both American prisoners and Iraqi civilians in ways that are only briefly suggested in the film. The truth was much worse. Our men and women have to fight and kill, but all within the confines of elaborate and changing policies. I’m not sure how much the American people understand the complex rules of engagement the military units must follow. Much of the stress of working in a place like Iraq or Afghanistan is that you know where the bad guys are, and you know what they are up to, but until they attack you cannot engage them. “American Sniper” deals with this quickly, very early on, when Kyle’s spotter reminds him, “They’ll fry you if you get it wrong.” Our men and women have to fight and kill, but all within the confines of elaborate and changing policies. What is distressing about all this criticism is that it’s totally devoid of fact or basis in reality. While Kyle didn’t punch Jesse Ventura, he fought with bravery and honor while in Iraq. He saved lives. He protected Americans. The modern American sniper allows infantry to work with better situational awareness. This situational awareness, as well as deploying snipers to counter snipers, saved Iraqi lives, since a recognized counter-sniper technique (from WWII) was to use artillery to destroy the city block where the sniper was hiding. This is something many people forget about WWII: the Allies bombed cities for months before we invaded. We could have done the same in Iraq, but we didn’t, to protect innocent lives. The American Left can’t imagine a person who actually fights to protect other Americans, who actually believes America is the greatest country on Earth, and who does it all with a Bible in his pocket. That’s a farce to them. It’s too far off from the people they have known and deal with every day to be real, so they think it’s propaganda for the Right, for America, for war. I used to think that atheist, communist, America hating, effete liberals were absurd, too far gone from everyone I’d ever met, and spouting opinions you would rarely encounter. But along came Hollywood’s shameless liberals, who suddenly felt the need to rub their unpopular, uneducated politics in their customers’ faces. Americans somehow know, even in the face of nearly everything they’ve ever seen on TV or the movies, that we are right to be proud of our troops. Maybe the American public is war-weary, and many a reasonable and thoughtful citizen has doubts about our military strategy since 9/11. But few Americans are confused about the moral difference between American soldiers and al Qaeda insurgents. The fact that a movie such as “American Sniper,” which is by no means unreflective about the moral complexities of modern warfare, is premised on making this clear distinction might explain why it made $105 million in its first weekend. Americans somehow know, even in the face of nearly everything they’ve ever seen on TV or the movies, that we are right to be proud of our troops. Not just proud because they fight and protect us, but proud because they do an impossibly complex job with skill, determination, and guts. Clint Eastwood aside, I don’t expect Hollywood executives and directors to wake up tomorrow and not be liberals with negative views about America. Thankfully, they are at least greedy, and a film like “American Sniper” that makes that much money on an opening weekend in January can’t be ignored. Maybe next time Hollywood wants to make an Iraq War film, they’ll get the message: Money talks, and Michael Moore walks. ]]>
    ...
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Andrew Klavan 1
PJ Media



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  • Can Conservatives Win Back the Arts?
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    After years of declaiming against the Left’s domination of our culture, I’m startled and delighted to discover that the tide is beginning to turn. My...
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