The Da Vinci Code

Not rated yet!
Director
Ron Howard
Runtime
2 h 29 min
Release Date
17 May 2006
Genres
Thriller, Mystery
Overview
When the curator of the Louvre is found murdered in the famed museum's hallowed halls, Harvard professor, Robert Langdon and cryptographer, Sophie Neve must untangle a deadly web of deceit involving the works of Leonardo da Vinci.
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PJ Media Staff2
PJ Media



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • This Just In: Fictitious Movies Still Fiction
    Ed Driscoll The collective Catholic response to the book and film probably were best summed up by a Jesuit theologian who responded to an earnest radio interviewer's long and suggestive question this way: "I don't mean to sound obtuse, but are you asking me whether a novel is true?"-- Tim Rutten of the L.A. Times on The Da Vinci Code, May 20, 2006.But after initially touting “Apollo 18” as one of its upcoming fiction film collaborations, NASA — which, for the record, says the last manned mission to the moon was Apollo 17 in 1972 — has begun to back away from the movie.“Apollo 18 is not a documentary,” said Bert Ulrich, NASA’s liaison for multimedia, film and television collaborations. “The film is a work of fiction, and we always knew that. We were minimally involved with this picture. We never even saw a rough cut. The idea of portraying the Apollo 18 mission as authentic is simply a marketing ploy. Perhaps a bit of a ‘Blair Witch Project’ strategy to generate hype.”-- "Did 'Apollo 18' happen? NASA backs away from found-footage space film," Green Bay Press Gazette, yesterday.And no doubt, lots of people think Oliver Stone's JFK is a documentary.But hey, as one wag in the Washington Post claimed last year, defending Sean Penn's Plame-out, Fair Game, "In Washington, watching fact-based political movies has become a sport all its own, with viewers hyper-alert to mistakes, composite characters or real stories hijacked by political agendas. But what audiences often fail to take into account is that a too-literal allegiance to the facts can sometimes obscure a larger truth:"Thus, the movies about Washington that get the right stuff right — or get some stuff wrong but in the right way — become their own form of consensus history. “Follow the money,” then, assumes its own totemic truth. Ratified through repeated viewings in theaters, on Netflix and beyond, these films become a mutual exercise in creating a usable past. We watch them to be entertained, surely, and maybe educated. But we keep watching them in order to remember. Fake but accurate? A few years ago, Dennis Prager wrote, “As a famous Soviet dissident joke put it: ‘In the Soviet Union, the future is known; it’s the past which is always changing.’” And if Hollywood speeds the process along, no big deal, right?And yes, the Washington Post has their own issues in this department.(Incidentally, when it comes to the real NASA, they've got such important things to do these days, they can't be bothered with the lowly task of flying men into space.) class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/eddriscoll/2011/9/3/this-just-in-fictitious-movies-still-fiction/ ]]>
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    (Review Source)
  • Is Ron Howard Afraid of Offending Muslims?
    PJ Media Ron Howard has managed to perfectly illustrate where Hollywood divides popcorn entertainment from the intolerable and the inflammatory. He has shrugged off the risk of insulting a billion Catholics. When it comes to Muslims, though, he has a very different policy: hands off.Howard's choices on how to adapt Dan Brown's novel Angels & Demons speaks more loudly than anything in the film itself. (Incidentally, Angels & Demons takes place before and was written before Brown's first blockbuster The Da Vinci Code, although in the movies the order of the two stories is reversed.)Brown's novel, clumsily written as it is ("So we meet yet again" is a typical line of dialogue), gives characters deep backgrounds and ample motivations. The girl in the book, for instance, is a scientist who is out to find who killed her colleague and father. In the movie, the murder victim is simply her lab partner. Simplifying the book and eliminating characters is necessary, but there is no reason for Howard to de-Islamify the book’s central killer.In Brown's pages we learn that the anti-Catholic group the Illuminati inspired a cult of crazed killers with a fanatical hatred for the church known -- after their fondness for hashish -- as Hassassins. (Strike the H and the word is still in use.)Their modern agent is a man Brown clearly designates as an Arab and a Muslim. A witness to one of his crimes says he's an Arab. He speaks Arabic. It is his precision-timed killing spree of four high-ranking cardinals (each of whom is to be dispatched at a designated spot among symbolic Illuminati sites in Rome) that Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) is trying to foil. In the midst of his rampage, which he expects to end with the destruction of the entire Vatican, he pauses to raise his eyes to the dome of St. Peter's. Writes Brown, "'Your final hour,' he said aloud, picturing the thousands of Muslims slaughtered during the Crusades. 'At midnight you will meet your God.'" class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/blog/is-ron-howard-scared-of-offending-muslims/ previous Page 1 of 2 next   ]]>
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The Unz Review Staff2
Unz Review



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • "The Gospel of Jesus's Hot Wife"
    Harvard feminist professor Karen L. King made big news by announcing in Rome in 2012 the existence of what she called The Gospel of Jesus’s Wife, which proved that Jesus had been married, perhaps to Mary Magdalene. Now, Ariel Sabar has a great article in The Atlantic tracking down the real story behind The Gospel of Jesus’s Wife, which has all sorts of iSteveish themes. A common theme around here is that the conventional wisdom ideologies, such as feminism, routinely conjure into existence hoaxes because of the lack of sufficient real evidence for their worldviews, which are popular for emotional rather than scientific reasons. The Great White Albino Defendant Sabar has discovered that Professor King’s revelation is related to the best-selling feminist New Age thriller by Dan Brown, The Da Vinci Code. Here’s my review of Ron Howard’s movie version. (By the way, Sabar doesn’t mention that the theory of that novel was based on the Priory of Sion hoax by Pierre Plantard. It’s turtles all the way down.) New Ageism and feminism have long gone together, because they are both anti-empirical. Personally, I felt the same way about “The Da Vinci Code” as the main character in Sabar’s article apparently did. My reaction was: “I could do better myself. If this Dan Brown guy got rich off his stupid book, I ought to be able to make millions.” So I started making up a conspiracy thriller about the real reason the U.S. had invaded Iraq. As I recall, the actual purpose of the Iraq War had to do with the United State government needing to find the body of Alexander the Great, which had been preserved in a vat of honey in Babylon, near modern Baghdad. I don’t remember why Bush and Cheney wanted to find the tomb of Alexander, but, trust me, they did. But then I read Umberto Eco’s “Foucault’s Pendulum,” which likely served as an inspiration to Brown. My reaction to Eco’s book was, “Uh-oh, I probably couldn’t do better than this.” So I got discouraged and bored and thus you’ll never get to see the scene in the movie version in which Karl Rove (Wayne Knight) briefs Donald Rumsfeld (Robert Redford) on why we are really invading Iraq. Maybe it had to do with harvesting Alexander’s DNA to genetically engineer American soldiers able to counter the threat posed by the People’s Liberation Army next generation of soldiers cloned from the DNA in the newly discovered tomb of Genghis Khan? ]]>
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    (Review Source)
  • Mel Gibson's "Hacksaw Ridge"
    (”The Da Vinci Code” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    From my Taki’s Magazine movie review of the new WWII / horror movie directed by Mel Gibson, “Hacksaw Ridge:” Rather like Donald Trump’s campaign for president in 2016, Mel Gibson’s 2004 movie The Passion of the Christ was not popular in Beverly Hills. I overheard the following conversation in a Rodeo Drive screening room while Gibson’s Aramaic-language movie was doing historic business in Chicano neighborhoods: Man: The Passion really doesn’t work as a movie. I mean, if you don’t know who the characters are, you can’t figure out what’s going on. And why is he washing people’s feet? Woman: It’s like Gibson expects you to know the story already. Man: And it’s so historically inaccurate. The men didn’t have long hair back then. Woman: Now, what I really like is The Da Vinci Code . Read the whole thing there. ]]>
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    (Review Source)

Counter Currents Staff2
Counter Currents Publishing



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

⚠️ EDGY 🔥 CONTENT 🔥 WARNING 🔥 (NSFW?) ⚠️

🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻


  • Black House Rocked
    (”The Da Vinci Code” is briefly mentioned in this.)

    [1]2,028 words

    Paul Bingham and Emril Krestle
    Black House Rocked [2]
    Hopeless Books, Uninc., 2015

    “I’ve often wondered what happens to people when they get out of prison. People like you, I mean. Can they get jobs, do old friends rally around them? What if they never had any friends?” – Dial ‘M’ for Murder

    No sooner had I hit “send” on my review of Only Lovers Left Alive,[1] than a new release from Ann Sterzinger’s estimable Hopeless Books appeared in my inbox. What seemed coincident was that in the former I briefly reminisced about the old days of EPs, one of those cheap, small time formats where serendipity often meets economy, such as the swapped cassettes of the noise and metal undergrounds.

    And here, I was faced with something calling itself a “split single,” like a 45 shared by two different bands, comprising a short story by Emril Krestle and a novella by Paul Bingham.[2] There were also instructions, as if it had arrived from the Impossible Mission Force or perhaps Cigarette Smoking Man, suggesting, with an air of extreme prejudice, that I forgo the prompting of nature and “read the novella first.”

    How perverse! How à rebours! And yet, how appropriate, for a devotee of my fellow Detroiter, and sometime Doppelgänger, Thomas Ligotti,[3] and one of the leading voices of the anti-natalist movement.[4] I hear, and obey!

    And so, first, the largest part of this “split kindle single,” a new story from Paul Bingham, whose collection Down Where the Devil Don’t Go was reviewed here last year [3]. In that review I stated my opinion that

    The longer stories being the more successful, one wishes Bingham would . . . devote himself more to the pleasures of what Henry James called “the dear, the blessed nouvelle” [and thereby] giving the author more time to get us into and interested in these dark worlds and their less welcome inhabitants.

    Someone, surely not God, was listening, and so we now have Bingham’s novella, Save the Last Bullet for Me, which does indeed take the time to really get us into those dark worlds and less welcome inhabitants.

    Hence, my quote from Dial ‘M’ for Murder. I have, indeed, wondered what happens to people when they get out of prison; people like that. Bingham asks a slightly different question, which I think is almost entirely new, at least to me: what happens to people before they get into prison? I mean, in that curious period between conviction and actual slamming of the door.[5]

    So we are introduced to one Jackson, a hereditary loser even among the white trash class.

    He was the product of two characters out of a drinking song, and life, growing up, had been about keeping breath inside him, while they were haunting bars across the county line or sweeping out jail cells.

    “Remember, you’re never gonna amount to anything, anyhow – so don’t be blamin’ the bottle on that and thinkin’ Alcoholics Anonymous is gonna improve you. You just kill yourself with the bottle like a real man. The scared fellows are the ones who die of breathing.”

    We meet him just after his conviction for child molestation, which of course he had nothing to do with; he says.[6] Does Jackson have friends? Do they rally around? Well, he has friends like these:

    “You think I fucked those boys in the ass, don’t you?”

    “No. See, I was there in the courtroom. Jason said you fucked him in the ass and blew his brother. That’s fucked, and I know you ain’t that fucked.”

    With such an outstanding reputation, it’s no surprise that the pre-prison Jackson begins to get . . . offers, shall we say, of various little jobs he could help take care of, from the FBI itself[7]on down, since he has nothing better to do or hope for.

    They all came around eventually. Friendly, insinuating, speaking in hushed reverent voices of the future souls they wanted elsewhere.

    Even Jackson is a bit taken aback:

    “You want me to do what? Why would you offer me that? Why would I do that? The authorities are gonna wanna know why, right?”

    In fact, though, he’s all up for it; well, as Burroughs would say, “Wouldn’t you?”

    “I’m gonna kill you so I can go to the pen knowin’ I was guilty of something.”[8]

    “Tomorrow you’ll be burnin’ in hell and I’ll be in that fucking jail cell, without air conditioning, again. Lotta shit to look forward to. I’ll know why they wanna kill me now, or fell okay with it at least.”

    In Dial ‘M’, Wendice (Ray Milland) is going to blackmail Swan (Anthony Dawson) into murdering Mrs. Wendice (Grace Kelly). Here, the blackmail has already been applied, by the State. As I’ve characterized the theme common to both Lovecraft and Evola, the worst has already happened, and there’s nothing you can do about it. [9]

    Jackson finally gets an offer he can’t refuse: an old benefactor wants him to kill a fellow dirtbag, female class– the mentally deficient Leeann — so as to bring her to justice after evading jail for killing his son, Bailey: [10]

    “Justice, I figure, is somethin’ you gotta take. It ain’t bein’ handed out on silver plates, no more. Never was probly.”[11]

    But while dealing with what Tarrantino would call The Leeann Situation, circumstances – which I’ll let the reader discover for himself, but suffice to say the community seems overstocked with inter-related child molesters, even for Redneckville[12] – lead Jackson to decide there’s more justice needing to be meted out, and he heads back to town.

    Or does he?

    Nobody seemed to notice a guy with two rifles, limping down the highway. Jackson began to wonder if he was really there.

    At this point, it seems like Bingham has been reading Andy Nowicki, or else Hopeless Books now has a house style. Up pops The Watcher, another wraith-like character à la the lucidly dreaming loser of Nowicki’s Beauty and the Least.[13]

    The Watcher may, in fact, be William Burroughs:

    “Who are you, man?”

    “Man, yeah. An errant junkie, just passing through.[14] You may have heard of me. I majored in symbolism at Harvard.[15] Then I got a grant and popularized burning down libraries across the country as art for the safe of art, until they caught on.”

    Jackson’s ensuing adventures are a kind of blood-drenched Magic Theater, a tour of the Western Lands under the guidance of el hombre invisible himself. I must confess, I rather missed our grittier, down-home visit with Jackson and his fellow small town glue huffers, but Bingham’s way with language keeps you going on.

    Some lines are worthy of Chandler himself:

    “He likes to live in a nutshell. All complete, but can’t hit back, when the world starts cracking.”

    A politician, mouthing lines fed to him from an earpiece, praises mass immigration:

    “That’s the future. It’s promising, hopeful, and black.”

    The “new model A3 anchorette” delivers the TV news:

    This one had [eyes] of a purposeful reptile – a serpent with foregone conclusions.

    Read after Bingham, Kestle’s “short story” — I’ll explain the scare quotes in a moment — “Twilights” does have a curious effect. As the plural might indicate, it’s less a short story than a series of prose poems. I think some bad guys are wandering in some kind of posthumous vampiric fate, what with all the bats and blood and such, but I may be wrong. If read beforehand, I’m not sure what one would make of it. If read after, it seems to indeed function, retrospectively, as a kind of impressionistic overture to the novella.[16] If that seems too vertiginous, then consider it as a kind of dessert, or a palate-cleansing slice of ginger after the nihilistic meat of Bingham’s novella.

    This “split single” is recommended for anyone who wants to see if the abyss really will stare back.

    Notes 

    [1] “Wild in the Streets of Sleepy London Town,” here [4].

    [2] When Burroughs’ Junky was first published (as Junkie) by Ace Books, the publisher hedged its bets, financially and legally, by publishing it back-to-front (“69’d, so to speak” recalled Ginsberg) with the memoirs of a drug agent. Burroughs was “appalled,” but years later admitted that the latter book was actually pretty interesting. See Junky: 50th Anniversary Definitive Edition (New York: Penguin, 2003), pp. xxviii, 157.

    [3] See “A final attempt to get my braincrush on Ligotti out of my system,” here [5].

    [4] See “Anti-Life Fiction: Ann Sterzinger’s NVSQVAM (nowhere) by Andy Nowicki, here [6].

    [5] In Junky, one of Burroughs pals gets busted and asks him for bail money; Burroughs gives him cigarettes to use in prison: “If a man’s going to do time, he might as well started toing it.”

    [6] “Suddenly, we’re dropped into a cringe-comedy story about getting arrested for dropping a deuce on the unsuspecting heads of Cub Scouts through the open roof of their father’s fancy car. ‘That’s where it all went off the rails,’ McGill hollers, ‘and I’ve been paying for it ever since!’” Recap of the season finale of Better Call Saul, Rolling Stone, here [7].

    [7] “All the way to the F….B…..IIIIII” – Dr. Hannibal Lecter, Silence of the Lambs. One also recalls the government spook in Andy Nowicki’s Under The Nihil, reviewed here [8] and in The Eldritch Evola … & Others (San Francisco: Counter-currents, 2014).

    [8] I am reminded of the half-assed plan concocted by criminal “mastermind” Mr. Tucker (Ed Platt) in equally half-assed B picture The Rebel Set (1959). As he explains to his stooge, Sidney (Ned Glass), by employing down and out losers (“you’re not beat, your beaten!”) he “excites [their] sleeping ambition,” making them more loyal and dedicated than hired hands. Needless to say, things fail spectacularly. Platt and Glass would reappear (though not in the same scene) that same year in the big budget Technicolor of North by Northwest, directed by Dial ‘M’ ’s Hitchcock. Grant’s performance in North is arguably the model for the film Bond; Anthony Dawson, Dial ‘M’ ’s Swan, will reappear as the assassin that Bond shoots in the back in Dr. No, establishing his “ruthlessness,” and also will be the hands and voice of the unseen Blofeld in the series, until the producers decided on the iconic Dr. Evil look. As for Platt, he’s more familiar for another role: the Chief on Get Smart.

    [9] See the title essay collected in The Eldritch Evola.

    [10] One can’t help but think of Bailey Chastain (or “Corporal Justine” to the MST3k boys), left for dead at the Bay of Pigs, whose uranium mine is final, doomed goal of the three murderous hoboes in Red Zone Cuba (Coleman Francis, 1964); I guess I don’t hang out with many white trash types. The FBI stakeout reminds the MST3k boys of Max and Hymie from Get Smart.

    [11] “That’s what the niggers don’t realize. If I got one thing against the black chappies, it’s this – no one gives it to you. You have to take it.” – Frank Costello (Jack [Nichol]son), The Departed, here [9]; a movie I found to be a useful key to Nowicki’s Nihil, loc. cit.

    [12] The SPLC lawyer says it’s “Utterly weird shit . . . But you know, it’s pretty much business as usual for white trash.”

    [13] Hopeless Books, 2014; see my review here [10].

    [14] “Why are we here? We are here to go.” – Brion Gysin

    [15] Though the protagonist of The Da Vinci Code purports to be a “Professor of Symbology” at Harvard, there is of course no such thing. Burroughs, describing his stay at Harvard in the Prologue to Junky, says he met “some rich homosexuals, of the international queer set who cruise around the world, bumping into each other in queer joints from New York to Cairo. I saw a way of life, a vocabulary, references, a whole symbol system, as the sociologists say.”

    [16] This Joycean strategy seems increasingly common in alt-Right literature; in my review of Rachel Haywire’s The New Reaction that in the first chapter “terse becomes deliberately poetic and allusive, a sort of overture in the spirit of the Blazes Boylan section of Ulysses, and it will make more (any) sense after the more prosaic parts.” See “It’s Trad, Dad!” here [11].

     

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    (Review Source)
  • Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret: Anatomy of a Pop Culture Phenomenon
    (”The Da Vinci Code” is briefly mentioned in this.)

    [1]1,989 words

    Rhonda Byrne
    The Secret [2]
    New York: Atria Books/Hillsboro, Oregon: Beyond Words Publishing, 2006

    DVD:
    The Secret (Extended Edition) [3]
    TS Productions, 2006

    Many whites embrace New Age beliefs; sometimes the beliefs have venerable roots.

    Several years ago a bestselling self-improvement book and video in this vein—both entitled The Secret [4]—by Australian TV producer (Sensing Murder, World’s Greatest Commercials, Marry Me) Rhonda Byrne (née Izon) caused an international sensation. Both were phenomenal successes, and sold millions of copies. Although the book has been translated into 42 languages [5] and the DVD into 31 [6], it is certain that whites constitute the vast majority of Byrne’s audience.

    In 2010 Byrne published a follow-up book, The Power [7].

    What is The Secret?

    We are told: “The Secret is the Law of Attraction.”

    The essence of the “Law of Attraction,” not a new concept, is that ideas powerfully shape, indeed determine, inner and outer reality. We possess the power to direct and control our ideas and emotions, thereby attracting to ourselves wealth, health, love, or anything else we desire, transforming our lives and the world in the process. We also cause bad things to happen when our thoughts and emotions are misdirected. Although the exact mechanisms by which the process operates are not understood, it works, and therefore can be beneficially employed, much as we flip a light switch to turn on a light or turn a key in the ignition to start a car without understanding how electricity works.

    Byrne writes, “The Secret reveals how you can change every aspect of your life. You can turn any weakness or suffering into strength, power, unlimited abundance, health and joy. Everything is possible, nothing is impossible. There are no limits. Whatever you can dream of can be yours, when you use The Secret.”

    Byrne’s Awakening

    Byrne’s New Age epiphany was triggered by a series of personal and financial disasters beginning with the death of her father in 2004. At her lowest ebb, Byrne’s 24-year-old daughter Hayley handed her a photocopy of a 1910 book by New Thought [8] pioneer Wallace Wattles (The Science of Getting Rich [9]), saying, “Read this. Everything will be OK.”

    The book transformed Byrne’s life. (She states that she was “asleep” before her discovery of The Secret. “It lit a fire in me. It was exactly the opposite of the way I thought life worked.”) In two and a half weeks (she says) she read “hundreds” of books tracing “the secret” back to 3000 B.C. She also resolved to make a film revealing her discovery to the world.

    Although Byrne envisaged a worldwide release for her film, broadcasters were unwilling to touch it. After it became an international sensation it was shown on Australian television network Channel Nine, which partially financed it.

    Instead, The Secret quickly went viral via paid Internet streaming and DVD sales through a website [4] established by Byrne, where it is still available [10] today.

    What really catapulted The Secret to the top of the lists, however, was its promotion on two episodes of Oprah.

    The Secret book and movie (which closely track one another) cobble together brief snatches of inspirational statements by twenty-four little-known (outside of their field) motivational speakers and writers—white, Negro, and Jewish—whom Byrne calls “teachers [11].”

    The film’s fast-paced, Da Vinci Code/National Treasure-style opening sequences melodramatically insinuate the existence of an explicit, discrete, millenniums-old “Secret” with secret society (specifically, Rosicrucian) traditions surrounding it. (Which is hokum.)

    For example, “The Secret was Buried” shows the text of the Emerald Tablet, a mainstay of medieval and Renaissance alchemy purportedly written by a mythical Greco-Egyptian deity named Hermes Trismegistus, being copied onto a scroll and buried near the Pyramids of Giza.

    “The Secret was Coveted” shows a Knight Templar handing the scroll to a sinister-looking Catholic priest.

    In “The Secret was Suppressed” a cabal of evil white businessmen conceals “the secret” from the masses in order to enrich themselves at humanity’s expense. (This familiar trope, not the “Learned Elders of Zion,” is, together with ubiquitous “racists” and “Nazis” under every bed, contemporary society’s most cherished conspiracy theory.) Even Newsweek felt compelled to ask: “Is it really true that a cabal of elites has conspired to keep the rabble from getting their hands on Chicken Soup for the Soul?”)

    Readers wishing to sample the movie can watch the first 20 minutes of it here [12] (8.3 million hits so far).

    The Teachers

    [13]

    Rhonda Byrne

    One of The Secret‘s “teachers,” “Dr.” Denis Waitley, propagates the conspiracy theory in the movie. (It does not feature as prominently in the book.) A year after The Secret appeared, it was discovered [14] that Waitley did not possess his claimed Master’s degree from the Naval Postgraduate School; his supposed Ph.D. from the unaccredited La Jolla University cannot be verified either.

    Two prominently featured Negro teachers are Lisa Nichols and dreadlocked, charismatic Michael Bernard Beckwith, a minister at Culver City, California’s Agape International Spiritual Center [15]. This (non-Christian) church, which Byrne, who now lives in Los Angeles, attends weekly, reportedly has 7,000 members, 1,500 of whom might show up on any given Sunday. Celebrity Negro congregants include LeVar Burton, Vanessa Williams, Stevie Wonder, and Vondie Curtis-Hall; white celebrants include Christina Applegate and Hilary Swank. Forty percent of Agape’s members are said to be Jewish—many still active in synagogues.

    Jewish teachers featured in The Secret are Marie Diamond, Hale Dwoskin, Morris Goodman, David Schirmer, Marci Shimoff, and loopy physicist Fred Alan Wolf.

    Bill Harris is an ambiguous character who may or may not be Jewish. He tells a long, tedious story about an alleged persecuted homosexual that screams “tall tale” as loudly as anything ever related by a Jew with a number furtively tattooed onto his arm after the war.

    The remaining teachers are mostly white. With physicist John Hagelin, the director of the Transcendental Meditation movement in the US and former associate of the late Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (the Beatles’ Hindu guru), the most notable are John Canfield, creator of the popular Chicken Soup for the Soul books, and John Gray, author of the bestselling Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus (1992).

    Gray, like Hagelin, was long associated with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and Transcendental Meditation. A few years ago he signed a 9/11 truth petition calling for “immediate inquiry into evidence that suggests high-level government officials may have deliberately allowed the September 11th attacks to occur.”

    Gurus David Schirmer and James Arthur Ray are currently experiencing difficulties. Ray is facing criminal charges and civil lawsuits stemming from the 2009 accidental deaths of participants in his sweat lodge ceremony modeled on Amerindian practices, and Schirmer has been exposed on Australian television as a con man. In 2010 the Australia Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) banned Schirmer [16] from providing financial services for life.

    Pantheistic Underpinnings

    [17]

    William Pierce

    Two physicists often skewered as proponents of “quantum mysticism,” Fred Alan Wolf and John Hagelin, assay a scientific explanation of The Secret.

    “The Universe,” Hagelin says, “essentially emerges from thought and all of this matter around us is just precipitated thought. Ultimately we are the source of the Universe. So we are the creators not only of our own destiny, but ultimately we are the creators of Universal destiny. We are the creators of the Universe.” (160)

    “All that exists,” in Byrne’s words, “is the One Universal Mind, and there is nowhere that the One Mind is not. It exists in everything. The One Mind is all intelligence, all wisdom, and all perfection, and it is everything and everywhere at the same time. If everything is the One Universal Mind, and the whole of it exists everywhere, then it is all in You!” (160-61)

    Black preacher Michael Bernard Beckwith states: “We could say that we are another way that the Universe is becoming conscious of itself. We could say that we are the infinite field of unfolding possibility.” (164)

    All of this parallels aspects of the pantheistic Cosmotheism ( 1 [18]2 [19]3 [20] ) of white nationalist and physicist William Pierce, who said:

    No man, no race, not even this planet, exists as an end in itself. The only thing which exists as an end in its self is the whole. The whole of which the things I just named are parts. The universe is the physical manifestation of the whole. The whole is continually changing and always will be. It is evolving. That is, it is moving toward ever more complex, ever higher, states of existence. . . . an evolution not only in the sense of yielding more and more highly developed physical forms, but also an evolution in consciousness. It is an evolution in the self-consciousness of the whole. From the beginning, the whole, the creator, the self-created, has followed, has in fact embodied, an upward urge — an urge toward higher and higher degrees of self-consciousness, toward ever more nearly perfect states of self-realization. . . . Today’s threshold is a threshold in self-consciousness. We stand now on the verge of a full understanding of the fact that we are a manifestation of the creator, that we are the means and the substance by which the creator, by which the whole of which we are a part, can continue its self-evolution. . . . We are not the playthings of God but are ourselves a manifestation of God and can become, must become, now a conscious manifestation. (William Pierce, “Our Cause” [1976]. Text [21] | Audio [22])

    Criticism

    Byrne says she read “hundreds” of books in two and a half weeks after her epiphany, and the movie was produced within about a year. The resulting superficiality in form and substance shows in both versions of The Secret.

    The movie looks low-budget, although it actually cost $3 million to produce and had a large cast and crew [23].

    The film is hokey and New Agey. The statements of its motivational gurus are interspersed with smarmy, gooey footage of Third Worlders (thankfully, Auschwitz and Adolf Hitler were omitted) and quotes from plastic saints such as Einstein, Martin Luther King Jr., and Mother Theresa (along with less tiresome individuals)—which possess a powerful appeal for Oprah Winfrey’s white fans and Rhonda Byrne, but is off-putting to me. The dramatic sequences are unimpressive, including shots of Aladdin and the genie in which Aladdin is jarringly portrayed by an Oriental with a Mestizo surname.

    If I’d seen the DVD before the book, I would not have finished it and not checked out the book, either. The latter, though better than the movie, leaves a lot to be desired.

    Conclusion

    It is surprising that this particular presentation of positive thinking/New Thought ideas reached a larger audience than previous works, with the possible exception of teachers like Napoleon Hill [24], Dale Carnegie [25], and Norman Vincent Peale [26]. Several older books listed by Byrne on her website [27] present essentially the same philosophical-religious viewpoint more soberly and persuasively, in my view.

    One of the useful Special Features of the DVD is an hour-and-a-half dialogue in the form of an audio (no video) interview of Rhonda Byrne (who rarely appears in public, though she is seen in the film) by her producer, Paul Harrington. Harrington does not share Byrne’s philosophy—at least not in its extreme form—although Byrne seems unaware of this.

    At bottom, The Secret conveys a positive, empowering message that Byrne, unfortunately, pushes to an extreme.

    “Imperfect thoughts are the cause of all humanity’s ills, including disease, poverty, and unhappiness.” (130)

    “Beliefs about aging are all in our minds. Aging is limited thinking. You can think your way to the perfect state of health, the perfect body, the perfect weight, and eternal youth.” (131)

    “Just the simple process of letting go of negative thoughts will allow your natural state of health to emerge within you. And your body will heal itself.” (134)

    “I’ve seen kidneys regenerated. I’ve seen cancer dissolved. I’ve seen eyesight improve and come back.” (Beckwith quote, 134)

    In particular, Byrne’s position is that right thinking alone is enough. You can simply wish things into being without action or effort.

    Yet, curiously, at least from Byrne’s perspective, The Secret‘s monumental success serves as a ringing affirmation of her belief.

    ...
    (Review Source)

VJ Morton5
Right Wing Film Geek



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)
  • Brideshead Revisited Revisited
    (”The Da Vinci Code” is briefly mentioned in this.)

    Brideshead Revisited Revisited

    BRIDESHEAD REVISITED (Julian Jarrold, Britain, 2008) — 6

    After fearlessly predicting, I now must sheepishly retract: The new BRIDESHEAD REVISITED doesn’t suck pretty hard (thanks, Peter and Jeffrey both, for quoting that precise line). In fact, it doesn’t suck it all, though you do have to go in with low expectations and/or some boundaries set very firmly in your mind.

    I went to see it Friday night with a couple of friends from Church. All three of us had low expectations (I would probably not have seen the film if I hadn’t been asked); and all three of us had more or less the same reaction — good or very good until it cops out in the coda; profiting from those low expectations; and not a complete travesty of the novel’s themes and Catholicism.

    I wish I could have seen this movie innocent of the trailer and of the statements by the filmmakers, as noted in my previous post, of which I actually don’t take anything back. My expectations, though not borne out, WERE reasonable. The stridency of the score on the trailer, the emphasis given Emma Thompson as Lady Marchmain (both the weight within the trailer, and the choice of what she says and does), and the plain words of the film-makers are what they were.

    It’s as if the trailer-maker was given the specific task of finding everything a Catholic fan of the novel might object to, and putting that in, to tart up the film to look like an Edwardian version of THE DA VINCI CODE

    Necessarily, a novel’s details and threads and subplots and minor characterizations — to which one can do justice in a not-so-hypothetical 13-part, 11-hour miniseries — have to be condensed or cut out entirely in a 135-minute movie (though I must admit this one does speeds by). The Oxford friend Anthony Blanche; the other two Flyte children; Rex Mottram and his dinner with Charles; Nanny Hawkins — all this is given the lick-and-a-promise treatment or passed over entirely. That much and the accompanying loss of richness, fabric and detail simply has to be accepted, or you have no business in the theater. And the recrafting and anti-religionizing of Hooper at the end (anti-Catholicism can simply be assumed of many Britons) is as awful as promised.

    But within those limitations, the new BRIDESHEAD REVISITED isn’t bad at all — preserving Waugh’s basic plot architecture and structure. It doesn’t cop out with the death of Lord Marchmain, and though its effects on Charles are cut out, Julia’s face shows real relief. Lady Marchmain, thanks be to The Great Emma Thompson, is never caricatured and is portrayed more as overprotective than the evil tyrant of the trail and is frankly often right (Sebastian “gets drunk to escape his conscience” and she disowns Charles, not as arbitrarily as the trailer leads you to believe, but for sound reason — enabling an alcoholic). She is often spoken badly of, but that’s in the book too. And Aloysius the Teddy Bear makes several appearances.

    Regardless of how Whishaw played Sebastian, there is very little gay passion in the film (I’d say none). The notorious “kiss on the mouth” is low-key friendly and half-drunk impulsive rather than passionate or sexual; and nothing comes of it, in either direction (sex or “panic”). And surely, if we’re gonna say Sebastian is “gay” in our sense, what does it mean that Sebastian is an effeminate, arrested-development, mother-dominated alcoholic who dies of a wasting disease and says the word “Mother” like Norman Bates in PSYCHO? This conception of Sebastian is rather limited — the novel’s Sebastian is charismatic and well-loved; this film turns him into a Wildean/Des Esseintes outsider (we even get a taunt about “sodomites” in the film’s first minutes). But it isn’t pushed too hard or into obviously anachronistic territories of gay consciousness.

    Several things are given light, halfway, or a treatment I am wont to call “kinda take with one hand only to kinda give back with the other.”

    • We see Sebastian at the monks’ sanitorium, apparently getting serious care, but little is made of this in terms of a (broadly-construed) vocation.
    • The ending … well, it neither gives you Waugh’s ending nor completely undercuts it. Instead of Charles praying at the chapel, with ancient words newly learned, we see him enter the chapel, dip his fingers in holy water, walk up to a candle and contemplate crushing out the wick with his fingers, before walking away and leaving the candle lit. So Charles’s trajectory is from atheist (“strictly, C of E” got a big laugh from the three of us) to a kind of non-PZ-Myers tolerance, rather than Waugh’s trajectory — agnostic to Catholic.
    • Two characters do say words to the effect of “the good thing about Catholicism is that you can do what you want, go to Confession, no problem.” This is obviously … not good … but what Catholic is not familiar with that attitude or hasn’t acted that way himself? And neither of the characters who say this is especially admirable and one is downright crass.

    So if you walk in to the movie thinking the Church is an evil, phobic, patriarchal oppressor, this BRIDESHEAD REVISITED doesn’t disabuse you. But if you come in not thinking that, it doesn’t push that on you. And so, given how good it looks (the Venice scenes particularly), how well-played much of it is, and how so much of Waugh’s story does remain … I’d guardedly recommend it.

    In short, this BRIDESHEAD is basically a Catholic movie made by post-Christians trying their durndest not to be post-Christians.

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    July 28, 2008 - Posted by | Homosexuality, Julian Jarrold, Presentism, Religion in movies

    5 Comments »

    1. First Deal Hudson, and now you. I see that I may have been hasty in my original opinion. With tempered expectations, it appears that this might be worth watching. How would you say it compares to the mini-series, other than the obvious “length” issue?

      And I love your last line. I shall keep it in mind once Netflix brings the film my way…

      Comment by Joseph Susanka | July 29, 2008 | Reply

    2. Interesting. Very interesting.

      As it so happens, the original BBC miniseries is next in line on my Netflix. Perhaps I will now have to see the cinema version and compare.

      Comment by crankycon | July 30, 2008 | Reply

    3. […] Victor Morton says the new cinematic release of Brideshead Revisted is not nearly as mind-numbingly awful as the trailers suggested it would. But within those limitations, the new BRIDESHEAD REVISITED isn’t bad at all — preserving Waugh’s basic plot architecture and structure. It doesn’t cop out with the death of Lord Marchmain, and though its effects on Charles are cut out, Julia’s face shows real relief. Lady Marchmain, thanks be to The Great Emma Thompson, is never caricatured and is portrayed more as overprotective than the evil tyrant of the trail and is frankly often right (Sebastian “gets drunk to escape his conscience” and she disowns Charles, not as arbitrarily as the trailer leads you to believe, but for sound reason — enabling an alcoholic). She is often spoken badly of, but that’s in the book too. And Aloysius the Teddy Bear makes several appearances. […]

      Pingback by Bideshead Revisted Reconsidered | The Cranky Conservative | August 1, 2008 | Reply

    4. Wow.

      Because a movie has pretty pictures and isn’t as anti-Catholic as you thought it would be it makes it good? What about the lack of an intelligible arc for the main character? What about any kind of suspense or goal for the characters? What about good dialogue and scenes that have a beginning, middle and end?

      As a screenwriter, of course, I have to disagree that the film is not full of anti-Christian jibes. It is. In every moment in which the notion of organized religion is tackled, it is played as a negative. The sense of vague connection with God is played as fine — but that is the same old, same old way of attacking the Church that we have seen countless times in the last forty years. The movie is “spiritual” but definitely “anti-Churchy” in Hollywood parlance.

      But the biggest issue is that the movie is NOT about what the basic theme of the book is about. The movie ultimately is about how religious faith destroys a family. And the screenwriter has said that in a few places.

      You’ve really lost me on this one.

      Comment by Barb N | August 6, 2008 | Reply

    5. […] Victor Morton, Barbara Nicolosi despised the latest version of Brideshead Revisited.  Read her review, compare […]

      Pingback by On the other hand . . . | The Cranky Conservative | August 8, 2008 | Reply


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  • The Other-cott Movie
    (”The Da Vinci Code” is briefly mentioned in this.)

    The Other-cott Movie

    OVER THE HEDGE (Tim Johnson & Karey Kirkpatrick, USA, 9)

    I’ve been annoyed by previous Dreamworks’ animated films (like A SHARK’S TALE here; I make reference to SHREK) — with their “decadent po-mo flaunting of in-jokes only adults will get” and “seem[ing] to be more interested in replicating the consumer culture and its pop-culture baubles … with [creatures that] get personified, homogenized and flattened into the same pop-culture stereotypes as everything else.” But with OVER THE HEDGE, Dreamworks produces its best animated movie precisely by making these tendencies the subject matter of the film.

    HEDGE stars animals who, during the course of the film, are threatened by human development and their own love for it. They wake up from hibernation to find their forest mostly turned into a uniformly faceless subdivision (named Camelot, amusingly). But then a shyster raccoon with his own agenda (voiced by Bruce Willis) and tells them “why don’t you get food food from the humans?” and sells suburbia to the animals in an incredible montage sequence that both follows and parodies those “buy your dream” PowerPoint presentations, culminating in the unveiling of nature’s most-perfect food — the nacho-cheese chip. And his description to the other animals of the SUV is priceless and perfectly delivered up to the brilliant punchline (“one”). But here’s the deal — rather than being threatened, the animals take to it like a fish to water, especially the kids. They fill their food stock in a couple of days, leaving them nothing to do for the remaining 270 before their next hibernation. Abundance enervates. We get into quarrels over Monopoly tokens, comparison of life to video games (“this is just like Auto Homicide 3”) and John Tesh DVDs. In other words, this is basically the ultimate Crunchy Con movie (Rod; if you’re reading this, see OVER THE HEDGE. And take Matthew and Lucas.) The animals become more “humanized” and acclimated to human ways, degrading them, taking them away from (their) nature, alienating them into forgetfulness of Being (“dat ist called Seinsvergessenheit” … “shut up, Heidegger”).

    Part of the charm and the reason for the film’s success is the voice casting — which isn’t show-offy or has celebrities obviously “playing themselves.” It’s like Tim Allen and Tom Hanks in the TOY STORY movies — who never echo Home Improvement or Forrest Gump (or Ellen DeGeneres in FINDING NEMO). Wanda Sykes was the only voice in OVER THE HEDGE I instantly “spotted,” but she has a really distinctive voice (and she, thus appropriately, also has The Character Role). But Garry Shandling as a nervous-but-sensible turtle — that’s just perfect, without being eccentric. As is Steve Carell as a hyperactive squirrel. Willis basically plays his “Moonlighting” role, but without specifically reminding you of David Addison until you look back at the cast list. Even William Shatner, you have to strain your ears to figure out … it’s *him.* Shatner. Really. I mean — *really* Shatner. Really.

    The movie and pop-culture in-jokes are hit-and-miss but somehow I found them less annoying than I did in SHREK and SHARK’S TALE. The CLOSE ENCOUNTERS joke was really funny (and well-hidden); the CITIZEN KANE reference less so (I saw it coming). And while I also saw coming the reversal of the Pepe LePew scenario — dressing up a skunk as a cat to seduce a real cat — I admired the film followed it to the end, and made it consistent with Sykes’ persona and voice. But can we please have a moratorium on characters named “Stella” until screenwriters have learned to resist parodying Marlon Brando? But since even the pop-culture jokes are intrinsic to what the movie is about — the spread of contemporary suburban culture and its threats to a “natural” life — even when they miss, I didn’t resent them. You don’t have to be Naomi Klein to think that life is not about what you own and what brands you use (the fact that the film is a satire of consumerist suburbia means there is no actual product-placement that I recall). The drawing is elemental, spare, with bright colors and not-too-many eccentric angles and “look what I can do with depth of field” showing off). The human characters are flamboyantly bad, even the Type-A psycho-bitch who had the best line, one worthy of STRANGELOVE — “I can’t be arrested. I’m president of a homeowners’ association.” And finally, any movie that has a joke based on the Theory of General Relativity must be awesome.

    Personal point, not related to the movie per se. I deliberately saw OVER THE HEDGE as part of the Other-cott of THE DA VINCI [sic] CRAP. I went with a bunch of Church friends on the Saturday afternoon of opening weekend, one of whom was this guy. David’s been in a very bad place of late, after Holy Week brought him the death of his father and a car-wreck hospitalization. I happened to sit next to him and he was yukking it up like I’ve never seen him. I tease David a lot about economics-related issues (he once called me “Boss Tweed” and a robber baron), and so based on the trailer, I suspected that he would take to OVER THE HEDGE like catnip. I felt glad that, for atwo hours at least, he forgot about it all and just had an uproarious good time.

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    June 1, 2006 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , ,

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  • G-Money and the classics
    (”The Da Vinci Code” is briefly mentioned in this.)

    G-Money and the classics

    I happened to know somehow that Michael Gerardi would soon be watching THE RULES OF THE GAME and I thought back to when I was in my “exhausting the canon” phase, as a young whippersnapper, as he is now. And wondering whether he realized what a corker of a film he was in for, and how many more films he (or any other college student) still has to see for the first time that I now can never see for the first time. It makes you feel old (I turn 40 next week; forgive me). He’s put up several reviews of old classics in recent days, and he’s my reactions to some of them.

    INTOLERANCE — Here, I largely agree with Michael. There’s no doubt Griffith’s folly is a masterpiece (with BIRTH OF A NATION, it even establishes the template of “great blockbuster commercial hit” followed by “great film maudit commercial bust”). But as Michael notes, by contemporary standards, INTOLERANCE is hardly “entertaining” at all. And I say that as someone who has seen it in a theater, albeit via projected video. I really think it takes willed self-discipline to get much from INTOLERANCE, which isn’t to say the effort shouldn’t be made for Griffith, the Aeschylus of film-makers. Peter Reiher really captured all the issues involved with silent films in this essay here. As big a silent-film fan as I am, INTOLERANCE is a wee bit primitive to really stand up well on its own feet, in Peter’s words, it requires allowances to be made for it simply because the state of the art is still so young, so close to the 1890s invention of movies. Stat geekery: of my 20 favorite pre-1920 films, only the one at #1 did I rate higher than 8; of my 10 favorites of 1928, at the end of the silent period, every one is a 10 or 9. I think the end of the silent period, 1925-28, lapping over into the silent holdouts of 1929-31 — films like CITY LIGHTS, EARTH, L’AGE D’OR, MAN WITH A MOVIE CAMERA, L’ARGENT, TABU — was one of the great eras of film. The 1910s, not so much.

    THE RULES OF THE GAME — Here, I’m going to register a disagreement with Michael. Not that it isn’t MUCH more productive to see RULES than THE DA VINCI [sic] CRAP. Duh. But Michael says that RULES has “violent shifts of tone.” I think the tone of RULES is like the smile on the MONA LISA, one of those endless enigmas that most please in their inability to be pinned down, but which are a large part of what makes the work a masterpiece. I don’t think the tone really shifts that much, because I think Michael overstates how belly-laugh funny it is and/or understates the tragic aura overlying it at every moment. It’s not really a comedy as much as a tragedy told though the conventions of comedy. Oh, there’s no doubt that RULES follows all the rules of the comedy of manners and the boudoir farce — parallelled class distinctions, foppish aristocrats, scheming servants, sex-partner roundelays — while ending in a fatal shooting that’s a triple-mistaken-identity but not even arguably played for laughs, even in the immediate setup. The Mozart overture at the start and the quote from Beaumarchais promises a silly romantic comedy, a la Figaro. Which the film certainly does deliver — in a sense. But a big part about what I find so brilliant in RULES is that it played so consistently ambivalently to me, via that impossible-to-pin-down tone, all through scenes that on the surface sound so comic or serious. The film is mordant without being tasteless; serious without being stuffy; wry without being cynical; rueful without being gloomy. And in the end, accepting it all as inevitable and tragic, without tears. IMHO at least, the film famously keeps that crazily-balanced tone for all 110 minutes.

    Take what Michael properly identifies as among the most brilliant scenes ever created — Schumacher chasing Marceau through the chateau while everything else becomes unglued around it. Yes, on a certain level, it’s hilarious, like an enraged Schumacher Fudd chasing a wily Poacher Bugs, while La Grande Dame Christine gets the vapors. But the laughter sticks in the craw for a couple of reasons. For one thing, this scene follows, albeit not immediately, the brilliant rabbit hunt sequence, and the gunshots on the sound mix reverberate back to that unfaked carnage (today’s Humane Society film-guardians would have a fainting spell worthy of a French Grande Dame at that scene). It also has quickly followed the strange Danse Macabre that is one of the most coldly-elegant and chilling scenes I’ve ever seen. And while everything’s spinning out of control, a couple of aristocrats think the Schumacher-Marceau chase is part of the evening’s entertainment. You want to laugh and yell at them at the same time — “what is it, you think this is all about the rules of the game or something.” At every moment, Renoir undercuts his comedy with tragedy — well, maybe “undercuts” isn’t really the word. It’s more like Renoir … well, he said it best himself: “During the shooting of the film I was torn between my desire to make a comedy of it and the wish to tell a tragic story. The result of this ambivalence was the film as it is.”

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    June 30, 2006 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , ,

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  • I have been too stunned for days
    (”The Da Vinci Code” is briefly mentioned in this.)

    I have been too stunned for days

    … I don’t know how to react when the film I think the absolute best of the year wins the Oscar for best film. Not the year’s best American film winning, not the year’s best Oscar-bait film winning, not the best of the five nominees winning — the year’s best film winning. Only 2 1/2 of the 79 previous Best Film winners¹ was my favorite for that year and all of them happened only in retrospect, i.e., in the years from before I became a serious filmgoer: AMADEUS won for 1984 (23 years ago), LAWRENCE OF ARABIA for 1962 (22 years before that), and SUNRISE for 1927-28 (34 years before that). At that rate, I figure the coinciding of tastes should happen once more before I die.

    Anyway, best speeches of the night:

    (1) Brad Bird, accepting the Best Animated Film award for RATATOUILLE, telling the funny story of his guidance counselor — the kind of speech that actually says something interesting to an audience rather than a list of people;
    (2) Marion Cotillard for Best Actress in LA VIE EN ROSE, probably the night’s biggest upset, and she certainly acted as thrilled, “you’ve rocked my life” to her director and saying, as only someone who didn’t expect to win could, that “there are some angels in this city” (it took a Romance-language speaker to think of that);
    (3, the tops) Diablo Cody’s walkoff after winning Best Original Script for JUNO. Like with Cotillard, it was not what she said (thanking her parents) but how she said it and her breaking up over it, betraying a too-close-for-guile authenticity that can’t be faked.

    Best free advice: Don’t compete against yourself, in any category. That means you, ENCHANTED (three songs) and Roger Deakins (two cinematography noms)

    Best line of the night from host Jon Stewart: On NORBIT getting a nomination for best makeup, “too often, the Academy ignores movies that are no good.”

    My Inner Blackwell: Tilda Swinton brought down the high, high reputation of Scottish wifies for fashion sense. Next time, Tilda, buy yourself a *complete* Hefty sack. And as for Diablo Cody — if I wanted to see a tattoo like that on a stripper, I’d go to the kind of strip club that caters to the other team. If I stuck a dollar in her G-string, I’d be looking for 90 cents change. At least.

    High points of the night (unscripted funwise): Daniel Day-Lewis being knighted by The Queen, with Mirren being savvy enough to play along. Runners-up: Cate Blanchett wincing after they showed her clip of the “strip Spain bare” speech from ELIZABETH 2 in the Best Actress setup (she knew that was a ridiculous clip from a sucky movie), and Ethan Coen saying he had nothing more to say when the Coens won the directing award (after saying nothing accepting for script).

    Low point of the night: Culture-war politics, of course. Two of the first awards of the night were given to ELIZABETH: L’AGE D’OR (costumes) and THE GOLDEN COMPASS (visual effects). I texted G-Money that perhaps next year, THE AWFUL DISCLOSURES OF MARIA MONK should be the front-runner for adapted screenplay. He responded that maybe they could redo last year’s awards to give everything to THE DAVINCI CODE. In the middle came the documentary awards and the expected awfulness — the short about a lesbian couple and the speech about the dying wish about making a difference against discrimination (one person I saw the awards with laughed out loud at that) and the feature about (what else) The Evil War by a man who ranted about how “I couldn’t make romantic comedies, after Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib and extraordinary rendition” (bullshit … great films have been made in that genre after the Holocaust. If *you* had it in you, you would get over much less). And practically the last words of the night were Scott Rudin following on Melissa Etheridge’s footsteps of “gay couples’ visibility” in his acceptance speech for producing NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN. Forget it, Victor. It’s Hollywood.
    ———————————————
    ¹ SUNRISE is the “half.” Reason being that in its first year, the Academy gave out two awards — one called “Best Picture, Unique and Artistic Production” (won by Murnau’s film) and “Best Picture, Production” (won by WINGS). So two awards, both called “Best Picture.” Still, it’s notable the Oscar montage on Sunday had the first Best Picture as WINGS.

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    March 1, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized | ,

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    1. Well, I thought Cody’s tattoo was sexy. That’s the thing about those tattoos… generally a bad idea, you know, life-wise, and you know they’ll be sources of regret someday, but at least they can enhance things on a stripper, if you can get over the “gee, I bet you’ll love having that 15 years from now” factor.

      Comment by Adam Villani | March 3, 2008 | Reply


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Kyle Smith8
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  • John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum Is Amazingly, Amusingly Violent
    (”The Da Vinci Code” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    If you take the latest adventures of Keanu Reeves’s titular assassin for what they are, you’ll leave the theater sufficiently thrilled.
    ...
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  • Onward, Christian Soldier
    (”The Da Vinci Code” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    Hollywood’s Christian blockbuster is finally here. Remember how, after “The Passion of the Christ,” Hollywood was going to get wise and make some big mainstream movies that acknowledged the Christianity of a majority of this country? Didn’t happen. Until now. “The Book of Eli” is not only a well-done action picture but an overtly, unabashedly Christian one in which Denzel Washington plays a soldier of God. He’s on a divinely-inspired quest — yes, a literal mission from God — to take The Book to the West as a swarm of wrongdoers led by Gary Oldman try to stop him. In a post-apocalyptic wasteland (the movie hedges its bets on the usual war-or-environment question: this time, both have occurred), an unidentified man known as the Walker (a badass Denzel) strolls through the nightmare defending himself and slaying vicious predators who try to rob him along the way. The one semi-organized remnant of humanity is led by a Mussolini-loving leader (Gary Oldman) who is introduced reading a copy of a bio of Il Duce. Oldman has sent his gangs out looking for a copy of a specific book, although his men are dunces and can’t read. They come back with whatever books they can scrounge up — including, hilariously, a copy of “The Da Vinci Code” (the movie is landing a little jab on the Dan Brown book’s message) but not The Book. Because the only copy left of the Bible is the one Denzel is determined to carry to the West, having heard the voice of God commanding him to do so. Moreover, the Walker seems to be divinely protected: In a shootout, every bullet seems to whiz past him. Even the heavy villains have started to notice the aura of untouchability about him, and they find it unnerving. The Oldman character wants The Book because he’s convinced its words will enable him to control the world, not just the dirtbag town he oversees. But the Walker is the Christ standin determined to redeem mankind with the Bible. The movie is ingeniously designed, the action set pieces are well-executed and it has wit (who would have guessed what the last 45 rpm record in the world might be?). It’s also got guns galore. It’s like “The Road Warrior” as rewritten by St. Peter Paul. (But note: It also has a fond shout-out to Islam and Judaism). It’s going to do heavenly business at the box office. A couple of readers want to know what the shout-out to Islam is. I’m reluctant to give it away, since doing so would involve telling you the entire last act of the movie, which contains lots of surprises, but let’s just say it’s a respectful reference to the Koran. (Or the Qu’ran, as the movie calls it.)]]>
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  • Tom Hanks' Best Hairdos
    (”The Da Vinci Code” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    “When you just start out and no one knows you from Adam, nobody says to you, ‘What’s with the hair?’ You’re just a guy, and that’s the way your hair is,” he told TIME in 2007. “Then you become famous, and people say things like ‘What do you mean by the hair?'” At the time, it was a fair question: the most captivating thing about Hanks’ most recent movie, 2006’s plodding The Da Vinci Code, had been the actor’s extraordinary mullet. The top ten Tom Hanks hairstyles. Nothing can top “Bosom Buddies.” Which, by the way, I have quoted as recently as last night (“Who are the polloi? And what makes them so hoi?”)]]>
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  • "Slanderous & Anti-Christian Falsehoods"
    (”The Da Vinci Code” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    So say these guys about “Angels & Demons.” They’re mainly upset about the movie’s (and the book’s) claim that the Catholic church persecuted Galileo for his scientific discoveries, a claim they attempt to debunk. (H/t to Big Hollywood). The movie is pretty different, from a Church point of view, from “The Da Vinci Code” in that it doesn’t really suggest today’s Catholic church is engaged in a conspiracy (although certain renegade Catholics in the movie do harm).]]>
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  • Devilish Nolte Slams "Angels & Demons"
    (”The Da Vinci Code” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    “There’s a lot of ‘It’s better than “The Da Vinci Code”‘ flying around. That’s like saying it’s smarter than Nancy Pelosi.” So says John Nolte at Big Hollywood. He also thinks it’s anti-Catholic (I don’t, particularly, but then again, as a Catholic, I take marching orders from the Vatican, which has no major problems with the film). I find the movie much less plodding than “TDVC” and I was really enjoying it at first. It gets increasingly silly as it goes along, saving some of the most ridiculous stuff you’ve ever seen for the end. I half-heartedly recommend it.]]>
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  • Vatican Wars!
    (”The Da Vinci Code” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    Ron Howard says there’s been a secret campaign — no doubt clues to it are hidden in various artworks scattered around St. Peters — being conducted by the Vatican to interrupt his attempt to film “Angels & Demons.” Methinks there’s material here for a bestseller! Except, does the Vatican have to grant any filmmaker any rights? Why should the Vatican do him any favors? Oliver Stone filmed “World Trade Center” in Rome and it looked convincing. If Howard had to film “Angels & Demons” somewhere other than the actual locations, he shouldn’t be too surprised. I’m reading Dan Brown’s book, by the way, and it strikes me as more visual than “The Da Vinci Code,” which really was just about a guy solving puzzles, and hence more naturally suited to a movie adaptation. I found “TDC” dull and overwrought.]]>
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  • Ron Howard Taking on Catholic Mouthpiece
    (”The Da Vinci Code” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    Ron Howard is in a fighting mood, taking on “Wild” Bill Donohue, the Catholic League spokesman whom newspapermen (like myself) have long relied upon to provide an aggrieved quote and promises of a toothless boycott whenever anyone comes close to insulting the Church of Rome. Donohue’s total inability to maintain a dignified silence about any Catholic matter (which is in marked contrast to the Vatican itself, which is a lot more circumspect with its words) makes him the go-to-guy when, as they say in the business, it’s time to whip up a little outrage. Howard should himself probably maintain a dignified silence as Donohue publicizes/damns Howard’s upcoming “Angels & Demons” (which Donohue, of course, hasn’t seen). (Nor have I). Howard says the movie shows the hero working together with the Church to foil a sinister plot against the Vatican — so what’s anti-Catholic about that? Howard’s film of “The Da Vinci Code” brought in about a billion dollars, so I don’t think Donohue’s efforts are preventing people from seeing these movies. (“The Golden Compass” flopped because it was a muddled mess, not because of religious leaders’ ire.) Says Howard: I guess Mr. Donohue and I do have one thing in common: we both like to create fictional tales, as he has done with his silly and mean-spirited work of propaganda. ]]>
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  • Most Anticipated Movies of 2009
    (”The Da Vinci Code” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    The Wall Street Journal has a huge story on the most hotly anticipated movies of 2009–but near the top of the list is “Watchmen,” a Warner Bros. blockbuster that is tied up in court and will probably be delayed as Fox’s claim to its rights has just been okayed by a judge. Also on the list are sequels “Angels & Demons,” the “Da Vinci Code” followup; “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” and “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.”]]>
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Hugh Hewitt9
Salem Radio Network



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • Maybe It's Not Any Good?
    (”The Da Vinci Code” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    The DaVinci Code isn’t getting the ordinary roll-out of early screenings: The Da Vinci Code will make its debut at the Cannes Film Festival on Wednesday night. Critics and other journalists will first see the movie on Tuesday night, barely allowing them time to write their articles for the Wednesday premiere and Friday opening in theaters around the world. Even theater owners, who by law must be allowed to see a film before formally booking it for their movie houses, saw the film ‘” running two hours and 29 minutes ‘” only Friday, which by exhibition standards is as last minute as it gets. The strategy, studio representatives say, is to preserve a climate of mystery and excitement around the movie, despite the fact that anyone who is interested probably already knows the plot…. Instead, the film was shown on the Sony lot, with strict security, to close friends and family of the filmmakers, said Michael Rosenberg, the president of Imagine. Their comments were used in place of more scientific feedback, he said. The concerns, said executives involved with the picture, were that information about the film could start a nit-picking debate over the filmmaker’s choices in adapting the book, rather than focus on the movie overall, or that it might fuel religious opposition to the film. For background on the book/movie, visit MarkDRoberts.com. ]]>
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  • The DaVinci Hustle: Part 3. Memo to Tom Hanks
    (”The Da Vinci Code” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    Tom: Careful now. The Saturday Night Live skit was fun, and the “it is just a movie” line works. The pull quotes from this story do not: Hanks said objectors to The Da Vinci Code are taking the film too seriously, telling the Evening Standard: “We always knew there would be a segment of society that would not want this movie to be shown. “But the story we tell is loaded with all sorts of hooey and fun kind of scavenger-hunt-type nonsense. “If you are going to take any sort of movie at face value, particularly a huge-budget motion picture like this, you’d be making a very big mistake. “It’s a damn good story and a lot of fun… all it is is dialogue. That never hurts.” It is difficult to use the “it is only a movie” argument when mixed up with “dialogue is good” and “creepy censors want to shut us down” arguments. The almost universally liked Hanks doesn’t need to get into the theological debate that Dan browns likes to fan. Stick to the obvious –it is an absurd piece of invention that makes for a fun thriller– and all will be well. Hanks should read the Roberts’ series if he wants to understand why some very centrist, learned Christians are concerned about the book’s posturings. ]]>
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  • The DaVinci Hustle, Part 3: Memo to Tom Hanks
    (”The Da Vinci Code” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    Tom: Careful now. The Saturday Night Live skit was great fun, and the “”It’s only a movie,” works. The pull quotes from this story do not: Hanks said objectors to The Da Vinci Code are taking the film too seriously, telling the Evening Standard: “We always knew there would be a segment of society that would not want this movie to be shown. “But the story we tell is loaded with all sorts of hooey and fun kind of scavenger-hunt-type nonsense. “If you are going to take any sort of movie at face value, particularly a huge-budget motion picture like this, you’d be making a very big mistake. “It’s a damn good story and a lot of fun… all it is is dialogue. That never hurts.” It is difficult to use the “it is only a movie” argument when mixed up with “dialogue is good” and “creepy censors want to shut us down” arguments. The almost universally liked Hanks doesn’t need to get into the theological debate that Dan browns likes to fan. Stick to the obvious –it is an absurd piece of invention that makes for a fun thriller– and all will be well. Hanks should read the Roberts’ series if he wants to understand why some very centrist, learned Christians are concerned about the book’s posturings. ]]>
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  • The DaVinci Hustle
    (”The Da Vinci Code” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    USA Today’s Cathy Lynn Grossman tracked me down for some comments on the DaVinci Hustle. She asked me if I thought Satan was behind the bookapalooza and its film: “The movie will come and go. It’s the book, with its bizzaro Christianity, that’s more troubling,” says radio talk-show host Hugh Hewitt, author of several books on conservative religion and politics. “In an era of almost pre-literacy when it comes to theology, a lot of lousy ideas and bad history smuggle themselves in and then get repeated endlessly. “It’s not the devil at work,” Hewitt says. “It’s capitalism’s way of enriching fraud.” For folks interested in a comprehensive but accessible walk through the various absurdities of the DaVinci Code, see Mark Robert’s long series of posts –the DaVinci Opportunity. The Roberts’ series is funny, illustrated, full of excellent scholarship and, crucially, free! (And Roberts’ background is perfectly suited to respond to the hustle.) If I were a youth pastor/college pastor thinking about a summer series, I’d spend this week and next on some introductory material from Roberts’ series, then a couple of weeks after the film opened, I’d take the students to see the movie as a group and then use the Roberts’ series as the spine of the summer sessions. Might be a good way to get some non-believers into the group as well. You will also want to read Dr. Albert Mohler’s July, 2003 review of the novel. Both Mohler and Roberts recognized early on that the novel was trying to be more than a thriller and began answering its ridiculous claims almost three years ago. I think that as the MSM goes in search of people to comment on next week’s movie opening, its representatives ought to pay particular attention to those Christian writers/thinkers who spotted the book’s future arc to cultural phenomenon status early on. Lots of folks want to comment on the book/movie these days, and some are actually part of the DaVinci Hustle. Mohler and Roberts are not. Honest critiques of the claims associated with the book/film will rely on the scholars who saw the wave coming. ]]>
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  • The Da Vinci Hustle
    (”The Da Vinci Code” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    Mark Roberts was my guest on today’s program. As an author, scholar, pastor and theologian, Roberts is uniquely positioned to comment on the book/movie, and Roberts’ website is the single most comprehensive, free collection of material on the book/movie. ]]>
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  • The DaVinci Dialogue
    (”The Da Vinci Code” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    The DaVinci Dialogue is your one stop shop for all the rebuttal material to the claims of the novel which, astonishingly, some people seem to take seriously. “It’s a novel. Fiction. A movie.” If that doesn’t stop people from wondering if that’s Mary Magdalene in DaVinci’s Last Supper, send them to The DaVinci Dialogue, which is adding content regularly. Sony is sponsoring the site, to which I will also contribute a piece. If the movie is as radically anti-Catholic as the book, that won’t exonerate the studio, but creating a place for historians and scholars to collect the facts with which to rebut the fiction that the foolish want to treat as fact is a very good idea. ]]>
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  • The DaVinci Hustle, Part 4: MarkDRoberts.com.
    (”The Da Vinci Code” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    Throughout the day I have been rereading Mark Roberts’ comprehensive and entertaining series of posts on The DaVinci Code. The series is, simply, masterful. I cannot recommend it highly enough if you want to be prepared to discuss the book/movie with believers, non-believers, or anyone in between. I also think the series demonstrates the incredible potential that the blogosphere has made available to scholars/writers who know how to use their learning to help a broad audience understand a complex subject, and to do so with all the tools available to a talented blogger, especially links, diagrams, photos etc. This series should get a chapter in a book on the evolution of the blogosphere as a tool of serious, effective teaching. ]]>
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  • The DaVinci Hustle, Part 2
    (”The Da Vinci Code” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    After my post this morning, Mark Roberts has updated his web site to make the DaVinci Code material much easier to find and use. Again, to MSMers, don’t troll for commentary on the book/movie from folks who are just now popping up to get a piece of the attention pie. Talk to Dr. Roberts and Dr. Mohler for deeply grounded and researched responses. To make it easy for you, here our their e-mails: Dr. Mark Roberts can be reached at mark@markdroberts.com. Dr. Albert Mohler can be reached at mail@albertmohler.com. Commentary from the perspective of Roman Catholics is collected at TheDaVinciHoax, and looks good, as does The Jesus Decoded, but I don’t know the authors personally as I do Drs. Roberts and Mohler. ]]>
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  • The DaVinci Hustle: Ouch.
    (”The Da Vinci Code” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    One MSM critic’s view: The movie Sony Pictures has been desperately trying to position as “the most controversial thriller of the year” turns out to be about as thrilling as watching your parents do a Sudoku puzzle. ]]>
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Steve Sailer1
Taki Mag



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • Mel Gibson: Back Into the Fray
    (”The Da Vinci Code” is briefly mentioned in this.)


    Rather like Donald Trump’s campaign for president in 2016, Mel Gibson’s 2004...

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Mark Steyn2
Fox News



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • National Treasure
    (”The Da Vinci Code” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    It is ... for all its moments a quintessential Bruckheimer project: a big movie that at its core is just too small. - The Spectator EDIT
    Read More | Posted Feb 2, 2018
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    (Review Source)
  • Amélie
    (”The Da Vinci Code” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    During the filming of Gigi, Maurice Chevalier took a first run at "Thank Heaven For Little Girls" and then turned to the song's lyricist, Alan Jay Lerner. "How was I?" he asked. "Perfect," said Lerner. "Every word." "No, no," said Chevalier. "Did I sound
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Soiled Sinema2
Soiled Reviews



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

⚠️ EDGY 🔥 CONTENT 🔥 WARNING 🔥 (NSFW?) ⚠️

🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻


  • What Is It?
    (”The Da Vinci Code” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    With every great film comes controversy; Citizen Kane , The Golden Compass , and The Da Vinci Code are all examples of films in recent me...
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    (Review Source)
  • Bangkok Dangerous (2008)
    (”The Da Vinci Code” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    **Major Spoilers in the 4 th paragraph** Bangkok Dangerous is that film; the one you lampoon and crack witty jokes before the release w...
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Kelly Jane Torrance2
The Weekly Standard



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • More genial collaborators than Frost/Nixon
    (”The Da Vinci Code” is briefly mentioned in this.)

    Ron Howard and Peter Morgan might seem to be unlikely collaborators. Mr. Howard, 54, is an all-American icon whose boyish face isn't all that different from the one that graced television screens as Opie in "The Andy Griffith Show" and Richie on "Happy Days." He's better known now, though, as the director of blockbuster films such as "The Da Vinci Code" and "A Beautiful Mind." Published December 12, 2008

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John Nolte1
Daily Wire / Breitbart



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • ‘Solo’ Review: Too Forgettable to Ruin Your Childhood
    (”The Da Vinci Code” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    Alden Ehrenreich has been given the unenviable task of stepping into the shoes of Harrison Ford, and please forgive my manners as I make an issue of the fact that Ehrenreich is noticeably too short, way too short to step in the shoes of anyone who is not a member of the Lollipop Guild.
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