In an interview she conducted with left-wing actor Sean Penn at the Cannes Film Festival that aired on Tuesday, Today co-host Ann Curry behaved like an adoring fan rather than a journalist: "And through all of these years and all these characters....You have trained us to believe you, to believe your transformation, almost instantly. Do you accept that you are one of the greatest actors of our time?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
While discussing Penn's charity work in Haiti, Curry sycophantically proclaimed: "The people who work for you in Haiti have – some of them have called you a demanding boss. You have gotten angry yelling, "That's not good enough!"....Have you always had this moral outrage?"
For several decades, Hollywood has shown its overt support for homosexuality. Brokeback Mountain was nominated for Best Picture for its unabashedly sympathetic portrayal of a doomed gay relationship. Newt Gingrich’s half-sister officiated at a gay wedding on “Friends” in the 1990s. More recently, late night talk show host Conan O’Brian officiated at an actual gay wedding.
During the Holy Week before Easter in 2011, Brent Bozell noticed an "Easter bonnet of mud" timed to be thrown at Christians. One of those mudballs was thrown in Italy, a comedy movie called "Habemus Papam" (Latin for "we have a pope.") Franco Zeffirelli, the director of the TV miniseries “Jesus of Nazareth,” agreed Nanni Moretti's film was an insult to the Pope and the Catholic faithful. "It's a horrible cheap shot," Zeffirelli said. "I feel especially sorry for this pontiff, who may not be a crowd-pleaser, but who is very civilized and reasonable."
So it should not be surprising that National Public Radio would applaud its American release, timed once again on Good Friday. Openly gay movie critic Bob Mondello implausibly declared "There's nothing in 'We Have a Pope' that's likely to offend, much that will amuse and also quite a bit of effective design work."
Movie reviewer A.O. Scott on Wednesday applied his expertise to the scientific ssue of global warming and rising sea levels, in his sarcasm-laden review of "The Island President," a documentary about "climate change" and the danger it supposedly poses to the island of Maldives: "In Paradise, and Closer Than Ever to Disaster."
New York Times critic Jeannette Catsoulis didn't even try in her brief review to render an objective look at the pro-life movie "October Baby," as her copy seethed with anger and evident indignation that pro-lifers still existed in this day and age (note to Catsoulis: by some poll numbers, there are more pro-lifers that pro-abortion believers). Catsoulis's political views are of the simplistic left-wing variety, as she has demonstrated on several occasions in past reviews. She wrote in Friday's Times:
While interviewing actor Ed Helms about his role in 'Dr. Seuss' The Lorax' On Monday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer seemed puzzled that anyone would question the environmentalist message of the book or movie: "...believe it or not, Dr. Seuss has sparked controversy with this movie because Lou Dobbs weighed in on this..."
Lauer quoted criticism from Dobbs: "The Lorax is an example of the President's liberal friends in Hollywood targeting a younger demographic using animated movies to sell their agenda to children." Helms sarcastically joked: "I am so excited that Barack Obama, who is my best friend, got us going on this. Because we're going to indoctrinate a lot of people. If this goes well, I hope." He then exclaimed: "Lou, come on! What are you talking about?"
In a movie opening next week, left-wing activist Woody Harrelson (IMDb page) plays a dirty cop in 1999 Los Angeles whose character impugns the Founding Fathers as “all slave-owners” and warns that if he is fired “I’ll have my own show on Fox News inside one week.”
“I am not a racist,” he declares in a clip from Rampart played on Thursday’s Late Show, arguing: “Now, you want to be mad at someone, try J. Edgar Hoover. He was a racist. Or the Founding Fathers, all slave-owners.” Some Founding Fathers owned slaves, but far short of “all.” In a scene in the promotional trailer featured on Millennium Entertainment’s site for the film, Harrelson’s dirty police officer character threatens: “If you force me to retire, I’ll have my own show on Fox News inside one week. You’ll be my first guest.” (Video of both scenes below)
Appearing on Monday's NBC Today to discuss Golden Globe wins for several of his films, producer Harvey Weinstein was particularly proud of the Margaret Thatcher biopic, "The Iron Lady," selectively praising the former British prime minister: "...you see the values that Margaret Thatcher espouses....she was a social progressive, she was pro-choice...pro-gay, pro, you know, health service."
While Weinstein acknowledged Thatcher to be "fiscally conservative," he seemed to warn those who see her as a conservative icon: "There are myths that we blow away in the movie....Those people who put her name in vain are just lying about it. So I think the movie's explosive and fantastic."
Kyle Smith of the New York Post and I may share a similar political philosophy but we rarely agree on films. I sense we might agree on this one:
…but as “J.Edgar” sits at an astonishing 39 percent [at Rotten Tomatoes] it would be disingenuous not to notice that this film is getting hammered by critics. Despite its Oscar-winning director, writer (Dustin Lance Black) and Oscar-nominated star Leo DiCaprio, it is at the same approval level as “Immortals.” This is a disaster for a serious, highbrow, historical drama. The thought of critical reception didn’t occur to anyone on the set of “Immortals” but “J.Edgar” was made to win critical hosannas and Oscars....Oh, and “J.Edgar” is terrible and I predict pitiful box office and zero Oscar nominations.
Appearing on the front of the New York Times Arts section Tuesday interviewing Pixar founder and “Cars 2” director John Lasseter, Hollywood reporter Brooks Barnes indulged in his preoccupation with political correctness on screen and in movie studios: “It Wasn’t a Wreck, Not Really.”
The "wreck" in question was the critical opprobrium foisted upon the "Cars" sequel, which Lasseter directed. He defended the movie, the only true critical flop from the innovative animated movie studio. But Barnes wanted to talk quotas.
The front of Wednesday’s New York Times Arts section featured Dwight Garner’s review of the new book by left-wing documentary film-maker Michael Moore, “Here Comes Trouble -- Stories From My Life.”
Garner, a fan, called Moore (infamous for his anti-conservative conspiracy theories and vicious, purposely misleading mockery of Republicans) a “necessary irritant,” and in one nauseating paragraph suggested Moore’s book belonged alongside works by the revolutionary founding activist Thomas Paine.
An R-rated flick about a bunch of friends having an orgy gets hailed in today's Weekend Arts section as a "friendly, ramshackle comedy" albeit "somewhat laugh-deficient" while a G-rated drama about a young golfer being mentored by a retired pro is panned as a "stultifying hybrid of instruction film and Christian sermon" that "swoons into its own solemn sanctimony."
Richard Corliss, a liberal film reviewer who found Oliver Stone's "W." too tame for his tastes has decided to let his readers know that, some two years and seven months since the 43rd president left office, he's still not over his anti-Bush derangement.
Corliss shoehorned his strange asides about President George W. Bush -- and 2012 presidential hopeful Gov. Rick Perry (R-Texas) -- in his August 18 review of this summer's remake of "Conan the Barbarian":
Is the Obama Administration inappropriately disclosing classified data to movie producers in the hopes of getting a film about the killing of terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden released before the 2012 election? That is the question that Congressman Peter King (R-NY) is asking after word got out that the White House is giving inside information about the military raid that killed bin Laden earlier this year to the creators of the Oscar-winning film "Hurt Locker."
"This alleged collaboration belies a desire of transparency in favor of a cinematographic view of history," King wrote in a letter addressed to officials at the CIA and the Department of Defense which asked for full details on the government's involvement with the film. The Defense Department acknowledged the collaboration in an interview with the Wall Street Journal:
A reminder this week Hollywood moguls aren’t just enthralled with Barack Obama. They are also ideological liberals who have disgust for conservatives and are especially enraged by the Tea Party’s success.
Explaining his $2 million donation to a left-wing political action committee, DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg told USA Today he was motivated by how “outside Republican spending in 2010 led to the election of ‘Republican extremists.’”
They say the movie theatres make more money on popcorn, candy, and soft drinks than they do on the movie tickets. If that’s true, theatre owners really ought to reconsider the previews they’re airing. They can make you sick to your stomach.
I don’t know why Hollywood moviemakers are so fascinated by with flatulence and excrement. It’s become almost an obsession, a formality of sorts in the “humor” oeuvre.
“Page One,” a new documentary about a year in the life of the New York Times directed by Andrew Rossi, is showing at the sleek new Lincoln Center theatre on Manhattan’s Upper West Side for a mere $13. While not openly partisan or even political (there were no Obama stickers spotted on desks, no rants about the paper’s myriad conservative critics), “Page One,” which captures in semi-compellingif scatter-shot fashion a year or so in the life of the Times’s media desk, fits snugly in to the Upper West Side mentality of entitled liberalism.
It’s a running conversation running over with angst, as Times reporters tackle stories about new media while simultaneously pondering the paper’s own place in the rearranged cosmos, as the paper’s very reason for being seems under attack in the age of Facebook, Twitter, and liberal news aggregators like the Huffington Post stealing audience.
While it was less than loved by critics, there is no question it was a commercial success. In fact, some would say it is Pixar’s most obvious grab at a pay day, appealing to the NASCAR set without even the thinnest of veils. But I would argue its middle-American appeal goes much deeper than its subject matter. Indeed, I believe Cars is a vehicle for the conservative, science-denying belief known as Intelligent Design.
More than any other Republican presidential prospect, Sarah Palin draws white-hot journalistic loathing. She’s too red-state, too gun-toting, too religious, and too unwilling to abort a disabled “fetus.” Even so, filmmaker Steve Bannon remains deeply optimistic his forthcoming Palin documentary “The Undefeated” will sway the media to see Palin in a different light.
Bannon, a former Goldman Sachs banker turned filmmaker, told National Review’s Kathryn Lopez that once he and his producing partner delved into Palin’s life story, “we decided that not just the American people but even the mainstream media were both fair and decent -- that when presented with something that represented a completely different point of view they would be at least open to considering it.”
On Sunday, New York Times movie critic John Anderson issued a favorable profile of “If a Tree Falls,” a partisan documentary from Marshall Curry featuring convicted arsonist Daniel McGowan of the environmental terrorist group Earth Liberation Front: “Activist or Terrorist, Rendered in Red, White and Green.”
When Daniel McGowan moved in with his sister after college, he was so passionate about recycling that he took all the labels off her canned food. The problem was, he didn’t wait for her to open the cans. 'I didn’t know if I had soup, or what kind of soup; I don’t know if there’s peas, or corn,' Lisa McGowan said in an interview. 'He said, 'I never thought of that.'
Some would call Mr. McGowan overeager. The government calls him a terrorist.
The problem is, McGowan isn’t in jail for taking labels off canned food items but for arson and conspiracy related to the destruction of two lumber companies in Oregon, domestic terrorism credited to the Earth Liberation Front.
Joyless New York Times movie critic Manohla Dargis took to the Sunday Arts & Leisure page to spoil yet another summer movie season by ranting about the alleged paucity of roles for women on film: “The Living Is Easy; The Women Are Missing.”
If you’re a woman who roared, snorted or sniggered at 'Bridesmaids,' if you like watching other women on screen, you should see it again. Because that hit comedy written by Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo and directed by Paul Feig, turns out to be one of the few occasions this summer when you can enjoy a movie about and with women released by a major studio. From now through August, American films will again be almost all male, almost all the time (the occasional decorative gal pal notwithstanding) as this year’s boys of summer -- the Green Lantern and Captain America, Conan the Barbarian and Conan O’Brien -- invade the multiplex, seizing media-entertainment minds and your dollars.
This is an update of the argument Dargis unleashed both on May 1 of this year and in the summer of 2008, when she slammed that year's crop of summer movies for the sin of featuring men as leads: “Iron Man, Batman, Big Angry Green Man -- to judge from the new popcorn season it seems as if Hollywood has realized that the best way to deal with its female troubles is to not have any, women, that is.”
Acclaimed playwright David Mamet is featured in the New York Times Sunday magazine’s "Talk" feature (formerly "Q&A") on the eve of the publication of "The Secret Knowledge," his dramatic intellectual break with the political left.
Early reviews suggest Mamet’s message is bracing, and the left has responded in kind with vicious cries of sellout. Perhaps that’s why Andrew Goldman’s Q&A with Mamet is testier than his previous interviews (he replaced the liberal Deborah Solomon in the magazine’s Q&A slot in March). Even the subhead was slanted and hostile: "David Mamet explains his intellectual shift to the right. The far right."
The notion that conservative political views can stunt one's acting career in ultra-liberal Hollywood is occasionally derided as exaggeration at best, or conspiracy-mongering at worst. So it behooves us to point out the actual victims of this sort of McCarthyite blacklisting.
The latest person to provoke the wrath of Hollywood's thought police - or at least to reveal the consequences of that wrath - is former "Everybody Loves Raymond" star Patricia Heaton. Heaton claims that she has been denied roles precisely - and explicitly - because she is "lumped together with conservatives," according to PopEater.com.
In the 10AM ET hour on NBC's Today on Monday, co-host Kathie Lee Gifford applauded the new HBO movie on the 2008 financial crisis, 'Too Big to Fail,' as "not a partisan film at all." However, after asserting that "It didn't take one side or the other," she touted the liberal moral of the story: "that greed is what got us there and lack of regulation."
Left-wing actor Ed Asner, who plays the role of billionaire Warren Buffet, came on to promote the film: "...this movie is practically a study course. You go back and learn each time that you watch it....you become involved and very informed..." He added that the "tragedy" of the crisis "has not been repaired yet." Gifford agreed: "No, it certainly hasn't. Everything's still in place for it to happen again."
New York Times movie critics Manohla Dargis and A. O. Scott spray the new crop of summer flicks with a dose of liberal guilt in Sunday’s “Gosh, Sweetie, That’s a Big Gun.” Dargis in particular just can’t be pleased with how women are portrayed by Hollywood. Three years ago she greeted the summer season with "Is There a Real Woman in This Multiplex?” On Sunday she lamented that the women on screen today are the wrong kind of women, criticizing a scene from "Meek's Cutoff" in embarrassing feminist/Freudian academic language, circa 1968: "I just don’t believe that scene where her character pulls out a rifle to protect the wagon train’s Indian prisoner -- or should I say when she takes possession of the symbolic phallus."
The introductory paragraph set the tone:
The summer season brings the usual cavalcade of testosterone-fueled action heroes, including Thor, the Green Lantern, Captain America and Conan the Barbarian. But action-movie derring-do is not always an exclusively male preserve, and in the last year some women and girls -- Evelyn Salt, Lisbeth Salander and the lingerie-clad avengers of “Sucker Punch,” among others -- have been shooting and not just clawing their way into macho territory. Is this empowerment or exploitation? Feminism or fetishism?
In a report designed to separate fact from fiction on Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, White House correspondent Savannah Guthrie decided to blur fantasy and reality as she compared President Obama's press conference announcing the release of his birth certificate to a moment from the 1995 movie, "The American President." [Audio available here]
After a clip was played of Obama declaring: "We live in a serious time right now, and we do not have time for this kind of silliness. We've got better stuff to do," Guthrie proclaimed: "At that moment, the real president sounding a lot like that Hollywood one." Then footage ran of the fictional President Andrew Shepherd – played by actor Michael Douglas in the liberal film – denouncing one of his Republican opponents: "This is a time for serious people, Bob, and your 15 minutes are up. My name is Andrew Shepherd, and I am the president."
Douglas, of course, narrates the introduction to NBC Nightly News.
Robert Redford's "The Conspirator" is a thinly-veiled political allegory warning against the danger of trying terrorists in military tribunals. And that's why his movie about the military trial of Lincoln assassination conspirator Mary Surratt is problematic.
That's not me talking, that's Washington Post film critic Ann Hornaday in her April 15 movie review:
Twenty-nine years after her death, novelist Ayn Rand is coming to a theater near you. After many failed attempts, her 1957 novel "Atlas Shrugged" has been made into a film.
In an age when overspending, overreaching, higher-taxing and overregulating government increasingly strangles the private sector, robbing us of our liberties and transforming the country into the model of a socialist state, Rand's story reminds us how far ahead of her time she was and just how dangerous a time we live in now.