If you’re not interested in having Will Ferrell lecture you on the evils of capitalism this coming weekend and would instead prefer to cozy up at home before the warm glow of plasma with a cold one in one hand a Redbox receipt in the other, here are five fairly new-to-DVD flicks that won’t leave you feeling sucker punched.
1.The Road: Director John Hillcoat’s adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s Pulitzer Prize winner was unforgivably snubbed for Oscar consideration last year, as was leading man Viggo Mortensen for his heart-wrenching work as a widowed father leading his adolescent son across a dangerous, barren post-apocalyptic America. Muted, heartbreaking, and yet hopeful, this is a story about a father teaching his son about what it takes to survive at any cost other than losing your humanity. Perfectly acted, beautifully directed and paced in such a way that casts an hypnotic spell, “The Road” is part Christian allegory, part zombie movie, and boasts an unforgettable cameo by Robert Duvall.
When the credits are the most intriguing part of the movie, there's a problem.
In the new film "The Other Guys," starring Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell, two mismatched cops try to make a name for themselves by investigating a potential Ponzi scheme run by a corrupt investor. The villain is a pseudo-Bernie Madoff but rather than vilifying a single fraud, director Adam McKay ("Anchorman," "Step Brothers") lumped all investors together and attacked Wall Street as a whole.
"The Other Guys" is a funny but not hilarious movie for 1 hour and 47 minutes but instead of simply rolling the credits and letting viewers leave smiling, McKay followed with graphics criticizing Wall Street and corporate executives. It was almost as if Michael Moore filmed the closing credits, as graphics included the anatomy of a Ponzi scheme, the ratio of CEO to employee salaries, a comparison of the New York Police Department's pension fund to an average CEO's pension fund, an average worker's 401(k) account compared to a CEO's, and the amount of taxes Goldman Sachs paid after the bailout.
While the credits provided the most egregious anti-business attacks, there were other subtle pokes at business and Republicans within the film. For example, the villain, named David Ershon (whose last name rhymes eerily with ‘Enron'), is seen in a photograph with former President George W. Bush and is said to be friends with conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Other chides included Ershon stealing from both the lottery and the NYPD pension fund -- essentially stealing money from the state and a labor union -- and the villains' drive SUV's while the heroes drive a Toyota Prius.
The last thing I was worrying about was that The Other Guys would be too preachy. Sure, Will Ferrell has a long history of deep, thought-provoking critiques of society and culture, so that should have been my big concern. Also subtitles. And having the last shot of the film be the word "Fin" superimposed over the freeze-framed image of a crying child alone on a beach symbolizing death or something.
You know, sometimes you just want to go, have a drink or two, or three, or ten, and then sit in a movie theater and tune out the seemingly endless parades of nimrods, pinkos and sanctimonious deadbeats who make up so much of our society today. You just want some guys to come on the screen and to do and say some funny stuff. Maybe you want an explosion or two, perhaps a gratuitous shower scene - strike that, as shower scenes are never gratuitous. Unless it's a dude. Or Kathy Bates.
The point is the last thing you want after a Dos XX prep and handing over $11.75 each for yourself and your life partner/designated driver is for a bunch of Hollywood half-wits to stop the fun to give you a PowerPoint briefing on their insights into modern politics - without even the PowerPoint. And it appears that this is exactly what The Other Guys intends to do.
UPDATE:An earlier version of this post implied that Friends of Abe had raised money for California GOP candidates, which is not the case. We apologize for the mistake.
In the giant morass of Hollywood leftism, there is a small - but growing - group of conservatives doing its best to sway the utter one-sidedness of celebrity politics.
The group, known as the Friends of Abe, includes a number of well-known A-list personalities, some of them renowned for their outside-the-mainstream (in their line of work) politics. Kelsey Grammar, Gary Sinese, Dennis Miller, and Jon Voight among them.
But though the group is small, secretive, and far less influential than its political-professional counterpart (the rest of Hollywood), "conservative frustration with the Democratic control of Washington might be helping them flourish," according to the Hollywood Reporter.
But there are still plenty of times when the producers of even good series that aren't usually political (in contrast to, say, the intensely political Law and Order) have to take their jabs at the dangerously ignorant boobs they see as populating Middle America. Two crime dramas in the past week have done just that.
Last week's episode of The Closer, on TNT, set up a typical serial killer story but with an obviously political angle: the people being killed were all female illegal immigrants. Even more pointedly (spoiler alert), it turns out that the murderer is an agent of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) who chooses them as his targets because their lack of documentation makes it less likely he'll be caught.
There was a lot of cool news out of Comic Con last week. The "Avengers" has a great cast, with the addition of Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner, and a great director in Joss Whedon. The images from Zack Snyder's "Sucker Punch" look awesome. "Scott Pilgrim vs. The World" was screened and people love it. Oh, and the upcoming "Captain America" film won't be "about America so much as it is about the spirit of doing the right thing."
That's right kids. Captain America will be out there fighting the real evil of the world: corporations, Tea Partiers, global warming, and those who oppose gay marriage.
Even the L.A. Times notes that the decision to not make Captain America "jingoistic and flag waving" is a personal choice by the filmmaker. After all, it's hard to demand that change in the name of commerce. Marvel's own decidedly libertarian franchise "Iron Man" has earned nearly two billion dollars world wide.
Friday's CBS Early Show devoted a six-minute segment in its 7:30AM ET half hour to the Saturday wedding of Chelsea Clinton. Correspondent Elaine Quijano reported on the event having "Eva Longoria's florist" and "presidential party planners." Entertainment Tonight correspondent Diane Dimond added: "...they have porcelain port-a-potties for all of the guests....with music piped in."
Dimond went on to mention how the guest list would feature Hollywood liberals like Barbara Streisand and Steven Spielberg. Concluding her report, Quijano declared: "Now tonight the rehearsal dinner is reportedly set to take place nearby, at the 500-plus acre Grasmere estate. We are told, Harry, that guests will dine in an old stone barn overlooking a bucolic pastoral setting....they're being asked to wear country chic." The segment did not raise any questions about the over-the-top extravagance of the affair, which is estimated to cost a few million dollars.
Hollywood director Oliver Stone - who previously tried to rewrite history with his ultra-left conspiracy work of fiction "JFK" is at it again. But this time he's not accusing the American government of murdering its own president.
Instead, he's simply trying to stop the "Jewish domination of the media," so that the film industry can put Nazi leader Adolf Hitler "in context," as an "easy scapegoat," and "a product of a series of actions," in his upcoming 10-hour Showtime docudrama, "The Secret History of America."
This past weekend Stone told the Sunday Times in England: "We can't judge people as only bad or good . . . Hitler was a Frankenstein, but there was also a Dr. Frankenstein. German industrialists, the Americans and the British. He had a lot of support."
On Sunday, Alana Goodman reported on an anti-semitic interview given by director Oliver Stone in the Sunday edition of The Times of London. Stone said that Jews dominate the media, "stay on top of every comment" and have "the most powerful lobby in Washington."
Earlier today, The Daily Mail reported that Stone had apologized for his remarks.
He said: "In trying to make a broader historical point about the range of atrocities the Germans committed against many people, I made a clumsy association about the Holocaust, for which I am sorry and I regret."
Stone told The Sunday Times "Hitler was a Frankenstein but there was also a Dr Frankenstein. German industrialists, the Americans and the British. He had a lot of support."
If insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result, liberal Hollywood directors must be utterly certifiable. How else does one explain Hollywood's penchant for de-Americanizing thoroughly patriotic superhero and/or comic book icons?
Take Joe Johnston. The cinematic genius who gave the world "Jurassic Park 3" is directing a "Captain America" feature that will release in 2011, the 70th anniversary of the Marvel superhero's creation.
The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) is conflict with itself. Like all unions, although it’s ostensibly in existence to help the little people, what’s really happening is that prominent members of SAG are making a killing without any real redistribution of their wealth to other members or to society.
The hypocrisy of this is evident when we consider that some of the more prominent members of SAG – actors like George Clooney and actresses like Julia Roberts – are die hard liberals who supported Obama’s campaign of “hope” and “change.” After all, like the CEOs at all those “awful” corporations, the amount of money A-listers like Clooney and Roberts make is many, many times that of the average actor or crew- member working on their films.
I can’t help but be bothered by the arrogance of such people who, although making tens of millions of dollars per movie, vote for a man who campaigned on tax increases. In other words, after going on TV talk shows and letting their little hearts bleed about the plight of the poor or the pain of the hungry, they vote for tax increases on average Americans instead of just reaching into their own pockets to correct fixable problems overnight.
One of the big stories in filmdom today is about all the concerns surrounding the marketing of Christopher Nolan’s new film “Inception,” which cost a reported $160 million to produce and hits theatres next Friday, July 16th. According to Reuters, awareness isn’t as high as the studio would like, especially in Middle America.
Well, here’s one way to entice Middle America into your film, insult them by having your three main stars hit the promotional circuit and savage Dick Cheney and Sarah Palin as stupid and evil (video below the jump).
The children eager to attend Harlem Success Academies don’t care about partisan politics or ideological turf wars. They just want the best education possible. “The Lottery,” a new documentary by Madeleine Sackler, showcases families desperate for an alternative to the New York Public School system.
The film, playing an exclusive engagement through July 15 at the Starz FilmCenter in Denver, follows four such families who enter a lottery system so their children can attend a prestigious charter school. Strip away the interpersonal dynamics and you’ll find a full-throated argument on behalf of charter schools. And those who think only Republicans support school choice measures will be surprised to see a large number of Democrats eager to give charter schools a try.
Deadline Hollywood Daily's Editor-In-Chief Nikki Finke has declared a Red State Alert over the news that documentary filmmaker and Oscar-winner Michael Moore has just been elected to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Board of Governors. She writes, Hollywood-hating conservatives are going to have a field day with this (And predictably the L.A. Times' Patrick Goldstein knee-jerks with this: You could hear the outcry in conservative quarters from a million miles away.)
If for no other reason than she saves me from having to spend money on a "Variety" subscription, I love Nikki, but this conservative has no problem whatsoever with Michael Moore being elected to the Academy's prestigious Board of Governors, because this conservative believes Michael Moore has earned it.
Yes, Michael Moore is a liar, a shameless propagandist and an anti-American leftist of the highest order. But he's also one helluva talented filmmaker and it would be wildly hypocritical for me to believe or argue that anyone should be blacklisted from AMPAS due to their political beliefs. And that's the only reason I could possibly use to argue against this appointment.
Of the more than 300 corporate sponsors who have sponsored Comedy Central in the past, not a single one has indicated their intention to buy advertising time on the planned "JC" program should it ever be set to go to broadcast.
That's the victorious announcement today from Citizens Against Religious Bigotry (CARB), a group co-founded by NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell and a handful of other social conservative activists.
"The sponsors understand what the programming department at Comedy Central does not: Religious bigotry is bad business," Bozell noted in a statement. "With literally zero advertiser support for this program, the only reason Comedy Central would put it on their broadcast schedule is in an effort to offend Christianity and Christians. There is no valid business reason for airing 'JC,'" the Media Research Center founder argued.
Editor's Note: The following originally appeared at Andrew Breitbart's Big Hollywood.
Appearing on CNN with Anderson Cooper, film director Spike Lee implored President Obama to infuse his handling of the Gulf oil spill with more emotion. Demonstrating the astute analysis we have come to expect from the director, Lee implored Obama to “one time, go off.”
Perhaps he is of the same mind as Bill Maher, that the authentic black man is one who is always armed and resorts to violence and loud-talking when things do not go his way. (Note to self: On the way home from the liquor store, I must pick up my Glock from the gun shop.)
Both Lee and Maher seem to share the opinion of a great many progressives that emotion is the same as leadership and that problems are most easily solved by decree. It is no mistake that following criticism by Lee and others, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs was declaring to the media that he had “seen rage from him [President Obama].” Apparently, when Obama gets angry, he clinches his jaw.
Editor's Note: The following was originally posted at Andrew Breitbart's Big Hollywood.
Seeing that George Soros and Sting are working together to “end the drug war” puts me in mind of a story an Army buddy who works in the DEA told me about busting in the door of a drug house only to find three occupants – the oldest four years old, having been left in charge while his “parents” went out to score meth. Yeah, drug use is a victimless crime – if you ignore the victims.
Apparently not content to subsidize the whining of the nonentities at Media Matters, Soros is taking a break from his adventures in currency manipulation and general scuzziness to enlist entertainment celebrities like Sting in his newest quest. The Drug Policy Alliance is the result, a group whose members, as its founder puts it, “come from across the drug use spectrum.” Yes, the junkies, stoners, hopheads, dope fiends, pill-poppers, and Lindsay Lohan are unanimous: Drug laws are bad, and it’s probably BusHitler’s fault.
Editor's Note: The following was originally posted at Andrew Breitbart's Big Hollywood.
[WARNING: Major series finale spoilers]
Before the series finale of “24” began, Kiefer Sutherland (a.k.a Jack Bauer) appeared on the Fox network and thanked the show’s audience for their support of the long-running program. After eight seasons (eight days in the show’s life), “24” was cancelled earlier this year, although the show will likely be made into a movie. However, after so many great seasons and an emotionally satisfying conclusion, it should be the audience thanking both Kiefer Sutherland and his alter ego.
As the series finale began, the president of the United States, Allison Taylor (Cherry Jones), was preparing to have a historic peace agreement signed. However, the idealistic Taylor had been forced to make numerous ethical compromises in order to get the agreement signed and then discovers that Russia’s leader had planned the assassination of a Middle Eastern leader who was set to sign the agreement. Even knowing that, Taylor continued to obsessively pursue the treaty, which would likely become a major part of her presidential legacy.
NewsBusters Publisher Brent Bozell appeared on WMAL's "Grandy Group" shortly after 8 a.m. this morning.
The Media Research Center President discussed the media's anti-Israel bias flaring up afresh after the Gaza flotilla incident (click image at right for MP3 audio):
FRED GRANDY, host: You follow this more closely than do I. Um, over the last three or four days, has al-Jazeera acquired NBC, CBS, ABC, all the major outlets, because it seems there's such a clear media bias against what Israel did that it's hard for the truth to get out. Who ever thought that Benjamin Netanyahu and Joe Biden would be the two guys speaking truth to power on this?!
BRENT BOZELL: You know, it's very sad but this is a continuation of a narrative we've seen since the late 1980s with the intifadas that Palestine was launching against Israel where Palestine was always the innocent one and Israel was always the aggressor. You've got to put the story into context.
"Don't you think you're jumping the gun a little bit? I mean, the show's not even on the air."
That's how MSNBC's Contessa Brewer opened her June 3 interview with Rabbi Daniel Lapin, who appeared via satellite to discuss his work with the newly-formed Citizens Against Religious Bigotry (CARB) to get advertisers on Viacom's Comedy Central to publicly pledge to not support or underwrite a show currently in pre-production entitled "JC" for Jesus Christ. For full disclosure, NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell is a founding member of CARB.
"Just playing devil's advocate here, because I am the daughter of a Baptist preacher, don't you think Jesus Christ is tough enough to withstand it?" Brewer prodded Lapin. After all, "he's a big guy," Brewer argued. [MP3 audio available for download here; WMV video for download here]
Given the irreverent and downright blasphemous treatment Jesus Christ and God have gotten at the hands of "South Park" and Sarah Silverman, Brewer later asked Lapin, in all seriousness, "What if this turns out to be more like a Sunday School lesson than the worst imaginings of you and Bill Donohue of the Catholic League and on and on?"
NewsBusters Publisher and Media Research Center President Brent Bozell and five other members of the Citizens Against Religious Bigotry (CARB) coalition will hold a tele-news conference tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. EDT to ask advertisers on Viacom's Comedy Central to publicly pledge to not support/underwrite a show currently in pre-production. The show is entitled "JC" - as in Jesus Christ.
[More information on how to join the call-in appears below the page break]
Joining Bozell on the call will be Family Research Council president Tony Perkins, syndicated radio host Michael Medved, Catholic League president Bill Donohue, Parents Television Council president Tim Winter, and Rabbi Daniel Lapin of the American Alliance of Jews and Christians.
For the conference call, Bozell will unveil an exclusive, four-minute video mash-up of some of the network's many offensive clips referencing Jesus Christ and God, as evidence of what we can most likely expect from "JC."
The CARB leaders will reconvene for another tele-press conference call on June 17th, to announce the names of the companies that have publicly pledged to not sponsor religious bigotry. And to discuss further action for those who fail to do so.
Editor's Note: The following originally appeared at Andrew Breitbart's Big Hollywood.
M. Night Shyamalan’s latest film production, "The Last Airbender," was recently awarded over $35 million in film tax credits from Pennsylvania over two years. The award is the largest in the history of Pennsylvania’s Film Tax Credit (FTC), breaking the record held by his previous project, "The Happening," which received $12 million in tax credits. His film "Lady in the Water" also received a film production grant. The only good news is that taxpayers are only forced to subsidize these movies, not to watch them.
Pennsylvania first created a film tax credit in 2004, replaced it with a film grant program in 2006, then enacted its current $75 tax credit program in 2007, in which films can receive up to 25 percent of production costs in the form of tax credit. The state’s FTC was temporarily reduced, as the 2009 state budget agreement reduced all tax credits by 33% for three years.
In the May 26 issue of Rolling Stone, Taibbi's article, "Wall Street War," lamented the impact lobbyists in Washington, D.C. have had on the legislative process of the financial regulation reform. And in order to keep readers interested, he painted Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., as a villain with a degree of insult:
On Thursday's edition of "The View," Joy Behar and her mostly left-wing co-hosts attempted to associate a strong, independent woman with liberalism. The occasion, actress Rachel Weisz appeared on the program to promote her new role in the upcoming movie "Agora."
The film is set in Roman Egypt during the fourth century and focuses on the life of Hypatia, a female philosopher and scholar. Behar insisted the character must have been a "liberal."
During the exchange, Weisz began discussing her role as Hypatia and how her character, “believed in having the people from different backgrounds with different political views, rather like you ladies sitting here.” Immediately following this assertion, Joy Behar announced, “Oh, so she was liberal” and “bipartisan.”
"Law & Order," the popular courtroom drama that concluded its 20th and final season May 24, is a primetime TV legend. But the show that boasted its stories were "ripped from the headlines" often provided its viewers a distorted reality in which businesspeople were mostly portrayed as villains.
The Business & Media Institute examined "Law & Order," along with other television dramas' treatment of businessmen in 2005. BMI found that you were 21 times more likely to be kidnapped or killed by a businessman that a mobster.
Since 1990, the cop/attorney drama created by liberal Dick Wolf has covered a host of "bad" businesses from the company secretly testing roach poison on children and the greedy pharmaceutical execs selling a bad vaccine to the military to allegedly dirty defense contractors, landlords and medical device manufacturers.
In two out of three of its final episodes, the original "Law & Order" continued to demonize businessmen. One of those anti-business episodes villainized a bio-research firm, HemaLabs, for "stealing" DNA and blood samples from a family to create cancer treatment drugs. The company never compensated the impoverished family.
“Sex and the City 2” hits theaters May 27 and the media have been promoting the new film. NBC’s “The Today Show” joined in touting the movie by having star Cynthia Nixon, who plays Miranda Hobbes, on May 25. But the interview took a curious turn when Nixon was given a platform to support same-sex marriage in New York.
Host Meredith Vieira was discussing a Hollywood Reporter review that called the movie “proudly feminist, but blatantly anti-Muslim, when she stated, “In real life, you are engaged to Christine Mariononi.”
Nixon began dating Mariononi after splitting with her husband, Danny Mozes, with whom she has two children. Nixon and Mariononi became engaged last year.
After Nixon confirmed she still was, Vieira said, “Your partner for six years. And you have said if the, the same sex-marriage bill passes in this state, you plan to get married.”
Editor's Note: This post originally appeared at Andrew Breitbart's Big Hollywood.
The political thriller Fair Game premiered at Cannes today. (Pause for giant, collective yawn from Big Hollywood readers…)
The Sean Penn-Naomi Watts “starrer” (hey, it’s fun using unnecessarily awkward Variety-speak!) revisits the Valerie Plame Wilson scandal, an episode I’m not even going to bother recapping, because to do so would simply be coma-inducing for all of us. Besides, I already summed up the affair and dissected the screenplay’s political slant for Big Hollywood here. Suffice it to say, it’s a tale the Hollywood Left is hell-bent on getting Americans to care about.
As are its water-carriers in the media. In a deceptive puff piece an article last week for the Los Angeles Times, Rachel Abramowitz discusses the film and interviews its director Doug Liman. The first clue that we’re about to be sold a crockpot of hooey comes when she describes Valerie Plame as “the undercover CIA operative whose name was leaked to the media by the Bush White House in an effort to discredit her husband, former Ambassador Joe Wilson.”
Taxpayers may be forced to foot a portion of the bill for a new movie that has become a stark -- and violent -- message against the recently passed Arizona immigration law. The liberal political stance is nothing new in the movie world. That the film is still being considered for indirect public funding, however, is quite striking.
An online trailer for the film "Machete," released on Cinco de Mayo (and embedded below the fold), begins with the title character saying he has a "special message...to Arizona!" That special message, as the New York Post writes, seems to be "They just f---ed with the wrong Mexican."
Some commentators believe that the film could actually provoke violence. But at the very least, "Machete" seems to be making a very strong and provocative political statement about an extremely divisive issue -- while at the same time applying for tax breaks from the Texas state government. So Texans may be forced to help pay for a statment to which -- if national polls are any indicator -- many are opposed.
As an admirer of his work, I’ve tried to see things from Polanski’s point of view in the past, but if these charges turn out to be true, it would be harder than ever to defend him. Once burned is twice shy.
What a relief to know Goldstein draws the line somewhere. But he’s not alone. Here’s Jeff Wells: