I haven’t seen “The Blind Side” yet, so I won’t say anything about the quality of the film. But based on the trailer and the true story, my wife and I are as excited about this as any film in a long time. It tells the true story of the adoption of Michael Oher by the Tuohy family in Tennessee and how they helped him go from homeless teenager to professional football star. The book was incredible, the story miraculous. We’re especially excited because we’re big adoption advocates, currently in the middle of our first of many planned adoptions. Also, the Tuohys happen to be conservative Christians like we are, and we don’t normally get to see families like that on screen, at least in movies that are watchable.
Apparently, this makes me a racist.
You see, Michael Oher happens to be black, and the Tuohys happen to be white. I actually think that’s pretty cool, especially because they live in Tennessee, and what gets us farther from the evil days of segregation than an increased number of mixed-race families? One would assume that liberals especially would be excited about that, right?
Behar made suggestion Limbaugh represents himself as someone who is not "in the mainstream" because he argued on his Oct. 14 show the backlash was in part generated by liberal activists threatened by the notion Limbaugh could be considered to be in the mainstream. That notion was one which Belzer lashed out at and called Limbaugh and Fox News host Glenn Beck "fascist stooges" (emphasis added):
No, that's not a made-up headline. The foreclosed and/or evicted homeowners that have played such a role in the current economic meltdown - are they irresponsible borrowers that lived beyond their means or are victims that got swindled? Michael Moore is clear on where he thinks they fall.
Moore matched up with Fox News and conservative talk radio host Sean Hannity on Hannity's Oct. 6 program and Hannity attempted to have Moore explain why he didn't think there was a personal responsibility angle to the home foreclosure crisis.
Here's how it unfolded (emphasis added):
HANNITY: If you put your name on the dotted line in a legal document, don't you bear responsibility? MOORE: These people have been deceived and they've been exploited. You know, this is like - this is like ... HANNITY: No responsibility at all for them? MOORE: No, this is like asking a woman how short was your skirt after she's been raped.
Has it really come to this? Is MSNBC so in the tank for the Democratic Party that it takes far-left documentary filmmaker Michael Moore to bring up malfeasance by a leading Democrat?
Moore appeared on MSNBC's Sept. 29 "Hardball" to promote his new film "Capitalism: A Love Story." With exception of "The Ed Show" fill-in host Lawrence O'Donnell noting the Senate Ethics Committee had cleared Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., of wrongdoing and only reprimanded him verbally, over the last couple of months, MSNBC's prime time shows have ignored a deal Dodd got on a mortgage with Countrywide. That is, until Moore brought it up.
"Chris Dodd may have a problem after being in this movie, I think," Matthews said.
Michael Moore, the man of many hats - documentary filmmaker, political scientist and now, singer.
Moore has been making the rounds to promote his new movie, "Capitalism: A Love Story." On NBC's Sept. 15 "Jay Leno Show," Moore appeared and was asked what was wrong with capitalism.
"Capitalism is actually legalized greed," Moore said. "There's nothing wrong with people earning money, starting a business, selling shoes. That's not what I'm talking about. We're at a point now Jay, in this country, where the richest 1 percent, the very top 1 percent have more financial wealth than the bottom 95 percent combined."
I was stunned to read on Life Site News that a new movie is being planned about Our Lady of Guadalupe, so-named for an appearance of the Virgin Mary near Mexico City in 1531 that’s credited with converting nine million indigenous Mexicans to Christianity. The film, still untitled, will be produced by Mpower Pictures, the company that was launched with the pro-life movie "Bella" in 2006 and founded by "The Passion of the Christ" producer Steve McEveety.
That a movie would be made about Our Lady of Guadalupe is amazing, but that wasn’t half the surprise. The movie is being written by Joe Eszterhas. Yes, the same Joe Eszterhas responsible for screenwriting filthy movies like "Basic Instinct" and most infamously, "Showgirls," a movie so pornographic even the late Jack Valenti condemned it.
What I didn’t know until now is the story of the conversion of Joe Eszterhas in 2001, powerfully captured in his 2008 memoir entitled "Crossbearer: A Memoir of Faith."
Yesterday, Big Hollywood's Chris Yogerst weighed in on Greg Gutfeld’s criticism of Hollywood — specifically Greg’s criticism of “G.I. Joe,” Stallone’s new Rambo film and “Inglourious Basterds” — for choosing politically correct villains over the real ones we face today. Chris is correct that turning Nazis into Jihadists is not something a filmmaker like Quentin Tarantino would do. If he has any, Tarantino’s politics have remained hidden in his work. Up on that screen the only thing he advocates for is overlooked 70’s B-movies and audacious entertainment. However, that doesn’t make the director’s decision to use Nazis any less politically correct or Hollywood’s moral cowardice in this area any more defensible.
Where my colleague Chris and I most disagree is with the assertion that Hollywood chooses “politically correct” or “safe” villains because Hollywood is all about the money and therefore wants to appeal to audiences who care what the villain looks like:
The film industry, like any other business, generally wants to appeal to the largest audience possible. Picking “safe” enemies is one way to do that.
Two of the most profitable films released this past year were “Gran Torino,” where our hero confronts black and Asian street gangs, and “Taken,” where the henchmen are Muslims and the arch-villain Middle Eastern.
In today’s L.A. Times director Oliver Stone discusses his upcoming documentary “South of the Border,” about the “warmhearted” Hugo Chavez. [emphasis added]:
Oliver Stone is shown warmly embracing Hugo Chávez, nibbling coca leaves with Evo Morales and gently teasing Cristina Elizabeth Fernández de Kirchner about how many pairs of shoes she owns. …
“I think he’s an extremely dynamic and charismatic figure. He’s open and warmhearted and big, and a fascinating character,” … ”But when I go back to the States I keep hearing these horror stories about ‘dictator,’ ‘bad guy,’ ‘menace to American society.’ I think the project started as something about the American media demonizing Latin leaders.
Guys like Stone are forced to rationalize that the American media is right-leaning in order to avoid their head exploding due to an acute case of FacingTheTruth-itosis. But maybe the doc will be more critical than we’re led to believe in this article. During their warm embrace, it’s possible Stone whispered hard-hitting questions in Hugo’s ear about reports such as this from the not-so-conservative Human Rights Watch.
Some in Hollywood, it seems, just can't let go of past political hopes – or at least want to use their films to continue pushing their political preferences. In Funny People, the new movie from writer/director Judd Apatow (IMDb page) which opened July 31, a character played by Seth Rogen (IMDb page) wears a 2004-era “Vote Kerry” T-shirt with an artwork outline image of 2004 Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry.
I caught the scene with Rogen sporting the T-shirt in the promotional clip played during this past Monday's re-run of the July 20 Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien on which the star of the film, Adam Sandler, was a guest. IMDb has the same video clip, “George asks Ira to kill him.” (For the image here, I've enlarged the blue on black graphic.)
There have been a couple of constants where Iraq War cinematography is concerned. One, movie makers ignore the public appetite for movies supporting the anti-terror war message in favor of drab, depressing, preachy anti-war politicking featuring marquee names and little else.
Two, those movies, which predictably bomb at the box office, are the rage of the film critics who levitate in ecstasy at the opportunity to praise that which trashes Bush, the war on terror and the military all at once.
So how to explain “The Hurt Locker” and the critical rapture that surrounds it? Here’s a new offering that has none of the political messaging of Hollywood, doesn’t contain a single marquee name, and the critics are cheering.
New York Times tastemaker A.O. Scott bluntly proclaimed it "The best nondocumentary American feature made yet about the war in Iraq." Joe Morgenstern of the Wall Street Journal also raved: "A first-rate action thriller, a vivid evocation of urban warfare in Iraq, a penetrating study of heroism and a showcase for austere technique, terse writing and a trio of brilliant performances."
The plot is disarmingly simple, if I can use that pun. The film follows a team of U.S. Army technicians in Baghdad disarming IEDs (improvised explosive devices). The audience shares the unnerving tension, even paranoia of the soldiers, feeling the prospect of death lurking around every corner, hidden behind every wall, and in the slightest of movements of every Iraqi stranger.
Morgenstern is not kidding about "austere technique." This has to be the quietest war movie ever made, and it’s a quiet movie about… bombs? Outside of a few breaks of inside-the-movie music (rock music from boom-boxes or video games), there is no mood-establishing music until the 1:02 mark – a sensual eternity.
Director Kathryn Bigelow never provides the viewer with the audio cues warning of impending crisis, leaving the viewer conditioned to expect disaster constantly. There is no Dolby-Stereo wizardry or enormous special-effects monsters in "The Hurt Locker." This film operates on a maddeningly vulnerable, heart-pounding human scale.
This is not a pro-war movie; it is a movie about war, period. It is certainly the first Iraq War movie that drains all of the political rhetoric out, offering instead just the microcosm of American troops in a theatre where terrorists really are blowing people up with a quick dial on their cell phones.
Some leftist critics have found that lack of politicking to be political. Tara McKelvey of the American Prospect complained that the movie was "propaganda," an "effective recruiting tool" for the Army. Yet McKelvey can't even seem to convince herself. In another passage, she stated the movie "shows the paranoia, rage, and brutal recklessness of soldiers trapped in the downward death spiral of the Iraq war."
The soldiers here are not bigoted monsters. In New York magazine, critic David Edelstein suggested "The Hurt Locker might be the first Iraq-set film to break through to a mass audience because it doesn't lead with the paralysis of the guilt-ridden Yank."
The central character of the movie, Staff Sgt. Will James, is not guilt-ridden, but he's also not your standard G.I. Joe action hero. The soldiers under his command are so unnerved at his reckless bomb-disabling antics that they briefly consider taking him out with friendly fire to keep him from getting them killed.
Ice seems to flow through Will's veins as he takes apart bombs that could blow up a city block. And yet when he returns home to his wife and infant son, he's clearly unnerved by the tedium of rolling through a supermarket deciding which cereal to buy, as the syrupy sounds of Muzak suggest a stark contrast with the exploding ordinance of a war zone. While his squad dreams of going home in one piece, he's clearly much happier hovering over a bomb fuse. There is no dramatic "Top Gun" hero ending, where he's applauded by a cast of hundreds. In the end he’s as conflicted as when he was first introduced.
Some Iraq veterans have complained the movie isn't militarily realistic about what Army bomb squads actually do, but that reminds us of the D-Day vets who said the opening act of “Saving Private Ryan” wasn’t realistic enough. The viewer certainly feels he is trudging along with the troops on very perilous ground.
It’s a good movie to see, if only to remember the next time you come across a veteran deserving a nation’s gratitude.
So the latest GI Joe flick is creating controversy, because the character is no longer portrayed as a typical American soldier. Instead he’s part of some elite murky force of international fighters - a Benetton ad with rocket launchers. On MSNBC, Donny Deutsch tried to take John J. Miller to task over his objections to the change – pointing out that the shift from an iconic American character to a mushy international delight is a “business” decision. For the movie to make money internationally, Donny thinks the character has to become part of global task force of community organizers. To this, I say, “Fiddle faddle,” which is short for “Silly stupid fiddle faddle.”
I wrote about this two years ago, just when Hasbro and Paramount execs decided to give GI Joe a makeover. Back then they felt the world would be too pissed at us for getting rid of Saddam Hussein to go see a movie about an American hero. As it turns out, they were wrong - the backlash over Saddam’s death had less impact than Norman Fell’s.
But for a moment, let’s attempt to use Donny’s logic on other flicks.
If you think the national news media is biased, spend some time rummaging through the world of entertainment news. Today’s L.A. Times piece about the marketing of “G.I. Joe” has an especially priceless whopper:
Yet overseas, where big action films often earn 60% or more of their ticket sales, rah-rah American sentiment doesn’t play well. So those references have vanished from the advertising.
The Great Lie told by Leftist Hollywood and the media who shill for them is that in order to make money the likes and dislikes of an “international” audience must be considered, and international audiences loathe Americanism.
Let’s see how that’s working out with some overseas numbers for a few “big action films.”
Greenpeace and the Canadian-born actor joined forces against Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) and accused the company of "breaking green promises" for not producing products completely free of PVC plastic and brominated flame retardants. Activists from the radical environmental group painted a giant message on the roof of Hewlett-Packard's headquarters in Palo Alto, Calif. that read "Hazardous Products."
And in addition to the rooftop graffiti, Greenpeace set up an automated message to dial HP employee's numbers and then play them a recorded message from Shatner.
When it comes to awful movies, Pat Buchanan once quipped he didn’t have to look underneath a manhole cover to know there’s a sewer down below. The smutty new movie "Bruno" can be read by its cover. In the midst of a barrage of crude sexual humor, master satirist Sacha Baron Cohen is once again exposing Americans for what Time magazine calls their "ignorance and prejudice, hypocrisy and primitive rage."
Yes, I’m sure it has its funny moments, and some are laugh-out-loud hilarious. I say I’m sure because I really don’t know. I was on my way to the theater when I reversed course. I’m not going to give these slimy people $9.50, or $1.50. Besides, it’s all there on the Internet.
In his last film, "Borat," Cohen played an idiotic journalist from Kazakhstan who attempted to expose unsuspecting people as misogynistic, racist, and anti-Semitic. The new title character of "Bruno" is a flamboyantly gay Austrian fashion reporter who is going to expose the raging "homophobia" in America, especially the South (also targeted in the last film).
New York Times movie critic Stephen Holden found "The Age of Stupid," a new mock-documentary looking back at a future environmental apocalypse, is a "frightening jeremiad about the effects of climate change." Coming from the left-wing critic Holden, that's high praise.
In "The Age of Stupid," a frightening jeremiad about the effects of climate change, the craggy-faced British actor Pete Postlethwaite plays the Archivist, a finger-pointing, futuristic voice of doom in 2055. Peering into a retrospective crystal ball that shows scenes from the early 21st century, he scolds the human race for having committed suicide.
For Hank Stuever of the Washington Post, Sacha Baron Cohen's latest movie, "Bruno," is a reflection of America's "giant case of sex phobia."
Cohen's movie tells the tale of Bruno, a gay Austrian fashionista who embarks on a quest for fame (to become "the most famous Austrian since Hitler"). Its depictions of gay sex and a gay man flamboyantly flaunting his sexuality caused worry among gay activists about an increase of homophobia, despite a statement from Universal Pictures that the film aimed to "shed light on the absurdity of many kinds of intolerance and ignorance, including homophobia."
Stuever offered Post readers an inside look on July 9 at what it felt like to be a gay man watching "Bruno" and concluded that the movie didn't teach anything "other than sex is basically a total gross out."
Teasing an upcoming interview with actress Megan Fox on Tuesday’s Early Show, co-host Harry Smith gushed: "...this woman has jumped from virtual unknown to Hollywood A-lister. It doesn’t hurt she is one of the most beautiful women on the planet...And a very nice young person."
Smith failed to make any mention of the "Transformers" star’s controversial comments in a June 5 interview, in which she wished the villainous robots in the movie could "...just take out all of the white trash, hillbilly, anti-gay, super bible-beating people in Middle America." Fox, a self-described bisexual, made the comments while talking with "Total Film UK."
Fellow co-host Maggie Rodriguez similarly fawned over Fox: "Harry already got the chance to meet her and I said ‘how is she?’ You sounded like Tony the Tiger...‘She’s great.’ A lot of people are saying, you know, she’s the new ‘it girl,’ the new Angelina Jolie."
Editor's Note: The following was originally posted to Andrew Breitbart's Big Hollywood blog on June 24. Perhaps of greatest note to NewsBusters readers is Tapson's reporting on the pronouncements of Daily Beast contributor and UC Riverside professor Reza Aslan that "There is no such thing as Sharia."
While Iranian-American protesters packed streetcorners in Westwood last Saturday afternoon in support of the revolution currently playing out in the streets of Tehran, an historical drama about stoning in Iran got underway at the Los Angeles Film Festival mere blocks away.
For the few who don’t know by now, The Stoning of Soraya M. is based on French-Iranian journalist Freidoune Sahebjam’s bestselling book, which relates the true story of a woman in a remote Iranian village, in the years after the 1979 Khomeini revolution, who is falsely accused of adultery and stoned to death by a mob desperate to cleanse themselves of this affront to their collective honor and to their religion. It’s not only a gripping story in its own right, but it shines a harsh spotlight on the almost unimaginable reality that the barbaric punishment of stoning still exists in the Iranian law code, despite a largely nominal 2002 moratorium, the result of pressure from Western human rights groups.
(Full disclosure, even though I’m not reviewing the film here: I’m close friends with the filmmakers Cyrus and Betsy Nowrasteh, I provided Mpower Pictures with a bit of research on the project, I’m friends with other cast and crew and producers associated with the film, and I think stoning is bad. So don’t take my word for it when I say SorayaBig Hollywood’s John Nolte will be the most important, affecting film you’ll see all year. Instead seek out the multitude of reviewers who recommend the film, including and then see it for yourself.)
Following Saturday’s screening was a panel discussion, not so much moderated as simply hosted by Iranian novelist Khaled Hosseini, author of the bestselling The Kite Runner, who personally selected the film for the L.A. Film Festival. The panel also included Soraya’s writer-director Cyrus Nowrasteh, starring actress Shohreh Aghdashloo, and Dr. Reza Aslan, billed as an Islamic scholar.
Leave it to New York Times liberal movie critic Stephen Holden to come down on "The Stoning of Soraya M," for stereotyping a couple of murderous, misogynist Islamists as...murderous misogynist Islamists.
Holden generally likes politically activist movies, especially left-wing documentaries that take aim at politically correct targets like big business and heartland hicks. By contrast, he's not fond of Israel or the Catholic Church, or evidently, movies about injustices committed against women in the Muslim world, like "The Stoning of Soraya M." Conservatives have embraced the movie, which might also provide a clue as to why Holden hates it. In calling it "lurid torture-porn," Holden echoes columnist Frank Rich's smear against "The Passion of the Christ" as "a joyride for sadomasochists."
Whenever Oscar-winning filmmaker Michael Moore releases a new documentary the reaction in the press is typically jubilant. Rave reviews. Fawning interviews which rarely ask tough questions. Oscar buzz aplenty.
But this time could be different.
Moore’s last film, “Slacker Uprising,” didn’t go straight to DVD. It went straight to download. Now, Moore’s catching heat from Movieline.com, the online film magazine which routinely taunts conservative targets like Gov. Sarah Palin. The site’s new Moore-related post swats the filmmaker for a less than sharp attempt at marketing his upcoming film about the country’s economic collapse. The movie blogger sets up his critique here:
"Michael Moore, the filmmaker, is back and this time he was taking aim at Wall Street," Watson said on June 15. "[H]e did a very funny thing, Sarah, this weekend when you showed his documentary in some of the movie theatres. It was very interesting. He had ushers walk along, trying to take up money for CEOs and Wall Street banks."
Megan Fox recently stated that her solution to a real life evil Transformer invasion would be to negotiate and ask, “instead of the entire planet, can you just take out all of the white trash, hillbilly, anti-gay, super bible-beating people in Middle America?”
I also found these quotes from Ms. Fox:
“I don’t want to have to go on talk shows and pull out every single S.A.T. word I’ve ever learned, to prove, like, ‘Take me seriously, I am intelligent, I can speak.’ I don’t want to have to do that. I resent having to prove that I’m not a retard.”
“Women are expected to be conformist automatons in L.A. but in Britain you can be more yourself and people will take you on face value.”
Far be it from me to point out that the base audience for “Transformers” is young males in Middle America, the same men that Fox condemns to a robot apocalypse. I doubt the bi-coastal elites from Beverly Hills to the Upper West Side will be waiting in line for the midnight showing of Michael Bay’s latest opus.
Ten years ago, the movie The Cider House Rules was toasted in Hollywood for its fervent support of the need for abortion doctors. But you wouldn't know that from today's TV listings.
The film is airing Tuesday night on WGN, and the plot summary in the Washington Post TV Week section on Sunday says only this: "Raised to be an obstetrician at a Maine orphanage, a young man leaves to work at a cider mill with a soldier's beloved."
James Bowman's takedown of the film is here. He wrote, in part:
The rules against abortion are (or were, when there were such things) made by men, who do not live in women's bodies. Therefore, women need not obey them. Indeed, it is a question whether they need obey any rules imposed upon them by a patriarchal society.
After promoting the controversial, religion-baiting film "Angels & Demons" for a combined 19 minutes last week on "Good Morning America," ABC finally featured a Catholic priest to object to the movie. Unfortunately, the interview was relegated only to the network's website, not the ABC morning show. (Considering the four days of fawning coverage to the film's stars last week, this hardly seems fair.) Father Edward Beck appeared on the internet-based "Focus on Faith" to talk to Chris Cuomo and point out the inaccuracies.
Beck critiqued the filmmakers behind "Angels & Demons," which falsely features the Catholic Church participating in a brutal massacre of a secret society, asserting that they should be more responsible for "doing their homework, even with a work of fiction." Cuomo bizarrely responded by claiming Beck needed to consider "the atheistic [position], which is, 'It's all fiction.' So, the church doesn't have any right to hold its own truth when it is a fiction in and of itself." He reiterated the disbelievers take, stating, "Anything you say you believe in is based on a fiction, because God is a fiction. So, what's wrong with having a fiction about fiction?"
Beck quickly retorted, "No. Whether or not the church kills people is not fiction. Either they do or they don't." Beck went on to note other offensive elements of the movie, such as the fact that the deceased Pope in the movie turns out to have fathered a child through artificial insemination. The New York-based priest complained, "Now, I mean, how unrealistic do we really want to make this?" Appearing to miss the point, Cuomo replied, "You taking yourself too seriously in the organized church?" (It should be pointed out that some of the tone was light-hearted as Cuomo and Beck are apparently friends.)
"Good Morning America" on Thursday capped off four days and nearly 20 minutes of fawning coverage of "Angels & Demons," the just-released film that features the Catholic Church participating in a brutal massacre. On Thursday, co-star Ayelet Zurer appeared to promote the movie, whose main villain turns out to be a priest who murdered the previous Pope and is also his son. And just like with the interviews of director Ron Howard and stars Tom Hanks and Ewan McGregor, the film's controversial, anti-Christian elements were completely ignored.
Instead, Sawyer focused on the number of languages the Israeli Zurer could speak and how she prepared for the role. The GMA host never mentioned how the film's storyline, involving the Catholic Church wiping out a secret society called the Illuminati, is false. And, just as with fellow co-star McGregor, she ignored the fact that the movie's big surprise turns out to be that the priest (McGregor's character) is a murderer and the son of the late Pope. On Wednesday, McGregor absurdly claimed, "However, I would stress there is, really, no controversy. There's no anti-Catholicism or anti-Christianity in the movie at all." Sawyer didn't challenge the point.
Newsweek hasn’t favored the movie Angels & Demons with a cover story like it did for The DaVinci Code, but it is allowing the cast to make the usual denials of anti-Catholicism on the Newsweek website. In an interview for their Pop Vox blog with Newsweek’s Nicki Gostin, actor Ewan McGregor repeats his mantra that "There’s nothing anti-Catholic or anti-church or anything that challenges people’s beliefs in the film."
That’s an interesting thing to say when your character is supposedly an idealistic Catholic priest who ends up being the film’s supervillain, poisoning the Pope and murdering Cardinals, until he finds out he was the Pope’s son (by artificial insemination). Learning that he poisoned his own father, he commits suicide. He’s a perfect portrait in Catholic corruption. But McGregor wants us to buy the notion that none of this "challenges people’s beliefs" about the Church:
In addition to the anti-Catholicism present in the forthcoming release of "Angels & Demons", there's another politically correct element to the movie adaptation of the Dan Brown novel that's worth noting: Hollywood's aversion to portraying radical Muslims as the bad guys.
I just cannot get behind this Star Trek rebirth. The whole thing is just so unrealistic. Not the warp speed or phasers or beaming about the universe - those are at least remotely plausible. I am talking about the fact that the starship Enterprise is composed entirely of officers and yet it still seems to function. Where are the non-commissioned officers (NCO), the petty officers and sergeants who actually make any military organization run? No, I can suspend disbelief over Klingons and tribbles, and I actively support the notion of green alien hotties. But the idea of a functioning military unit without sergeants is just a wormhole too far.
Hollywood movies often focus on the commanders, the captains and colonels, but they have also managed to highlight some great sergeants as well. When you are picking out DVDs for next weekend, remember that May 16th is Armed Forces Day and consider a few selections that show the sergeant in all his gruff and grumbling glory.
If you have never experienced the joy of going through basic training and do not plan to, your first stop should be Full Metal Jacket, with R. Lee Ermey’s legendary portrayal of a Marine drill instructor who must have missed out on the block of instruction on sensitivity. I saw this in the theater about a week before I reported to Basic. That was a poor idea.