In WALL-E, we learn just what life would be like were the promise of the welfare state finally realized. Far from the schemes of Utopians, it seems downright hellish. Pixar animator and filmmaker Andrew Stanton told as much to the Christian magazine, World:
“What if everything you needed to survive—health care, food—was taken care of and you had nothing but a perpetual vacation to fill your time? What if the result of all that convenience was that all your relationships became indirect—nobody’s reaching out to each other? A lot of people have suggested that I was making a comment on obesity. But that wasn’t it, I was trying to make humanity big babies because there was no reason for them to grow up anymore.”
Wall-E then wasn’t meant to teach about environmentalism, for the trash that builds up isn’t nearly as important as the trashing of relationships. Wall-E depicts humans as bovine, blobs, plugged into television and seated upon hovercrafts, millions of miles away from the toxic earth aboard Big N Large (“BnL”)’s StarLiners. A commercial broadcasts its Faustian appeal. “Too much garbage in your face? There’s plenty of space out in space! BnL StarLiners leaving each day. We’ll clean up the mess while you’re away.”
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.
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.”
“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:
New York Times movie critic (and Michael Moore fan) A. O. Scott is obsessed with the right-leaning politics and anti-French attitudes he glimpses in the new "Robin Hood" movie, starring Russell Crowe. His Arts section review is titled "Rob the Rich? Give to the Poor? Oh, Puh-leeze!"
You may have heard that Robin Hood stole from the rich and gave to the poor, but that was just liberal media propaganda. This Robin is no socialist bandit practicing freelance wealth redistribution, but rather a manly libertarian rebel striking out against high taxes and a big government scheme to trample the ancient liberties of property owners and provincial nobles. Don't tread on him!
So is "Robin Hood" one big medieval tea party? Kind of, though that description makes the movie sound both more fun and more provocative than it actually is. The film's politics, in any case, are more implicit than overt, so that the filmmakers can plausibly deny any particular topical agenda. Which is fair enough: the fight of ragged warriors against sniveling and sadistic tyrants appeals across tastes and ideologies. In our own minds, at least at the movies, we are all embattled underdogs standing up for our rights against a bunch of overprivileged jerks who won't leave us alone.
Scott, always quick to sniff out political themes in unlikely places (he found references to imperialism and the Vietnam War in the science-fiction thriller "Aliens") continues his odd defense of all things French:
On CBS's Sunday Morning, correspondent Mark Phillips described the latest adaptation of the Robin Hood legend by director Ridley Scott and starring Russell Crowe: "And so here is an evil King John, squeezing his subjects for more taxes....And here is Robin. Not as a thief, but as a revolutionary figure trying to limit the King's power. Robin Hood meets Che Guevara." [Audio available here]
Protesting high taxes and wanting to limit government power is the equivalent of a Communist revolution? Sounds more like the Tea Party movement.
After making that bizarre comparison, Phillips further explained the plot of the new film: "This Robin joins the fight to get the English king to sign the Magna Carta in the year 1215, the document establishing the first rights on which modern democracies are based." Guevara, of course, was the ruthless henchman of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, hardly an advocate for democracy.
When we think of comic-book superheroes, most of us who grew up in the last century think of mild-mannered reporters, or perhaps urbane millionaires with a secret identity, who fight crime heroically. They collar the bad guys and deliver them to justice. Even the supervillains they’d fight always seemed to escape so they could resurface in a later issue, and the struggle of Good vs. Evil continues.
That is not what a customer will find if he makes the mistake of taking in the new movie crudely titled “Kick-Ass.” The concept seems innocent enough – teenage comic-book devotee with absolutely no powers puts on a goofy wetsuit and tries to be a hero. But that's just the first few minutes.
What follows next is an entirely different movie, a gory slasher film, except the vigilante mass murderer is an 11-year-old girl in a costume that included a purple wig and a plaid private-school skirt. This little “Hit Girl” doesn't play by any moral rules, however. In her first mass-murder scene, she even double-spears a prostitute armed with only a broken booze bottle.
Six years after "The Passion of the Christ," anyone expecting a renaissance in faith-based movies has largely been disappointed. This is not to say such movies aren't produced. Every now and then, there's a movie made for this audience, but the audience won't hear about it from the movie critics because these elites aren't interested.
Last weekend, a new film premiered called "Letters to God." A title can't be more explicit about its plot. It's a movie about a 9-year-old soccer-crazy boy stricken with cancer, and the inspiring letters he writes each day to God. It's about prayer — certainly not a favorite topic for secular, sybaritic Hollywood.
When this movie arrived in offices of movie critics at major newspapers and magazines, the splashing sound you heard was the vomit hitting the floor.
National Public Radio’s Morning Edition on Friday devoted its latest interview on DVDs worth watching to the picks of leftist filmmaker Michael Moore, although they used no pesky label for him. Moore began by snobbishly asserting to anchor Steve Inskeep that he doesn’t like DVDs. He likes going to theaters, even for old movies: “I keep a list on my computer of the various art houses and places that show old films. And I'll drive, literally, for hours to go see something from the 1940s, if I can see on a movie screen."
Don’t alert the people who think long drives are causing global warming.
Unsurprisingly, Moore liked leftist films. First he recommended a movie called Czech Dreams, which mocked how desperate people who were liberated from Soviet-imposed communism wanted to shop, shop, shop. The filmmakers promoted a phony mall opening just to mock the suckers who would celebrate it. In the same Moore-pleasing spirit was Borat:
No one has ever accused Alec Baldwin of being a rocket scientist, but apparently the actor fancies himself a nuclear physicist. At least that’s the logical conclusion to draw based on his post over at HuffPo entitled “The Human Cost of Nuclear Power.” The actor assumes his new role with gusto, metaphorically donning a lab coat to explain what he believes are the inherent dangers of nuclear power, but his bizarre conclusions and the outdated, discredited research he cites suggests that a straightjacket would be his better fashion choice.
Let’s start with a question that illustrates just how far the limb that Baldwin is precariously balancing upon extends: what kind of power plant emits the most radiation? The correct answer isn’t the obvious answer. According to the Department of Energy, coal fired power plants emit about one hundred times more radiation, per unit of energy produced, than nuclear plants, chiefly because coal naturally contains trace amounts of radioactive compounds and, unlike nukes, they’re not designed with radioactive shields. Before anyone living near a coal fired power plant runs screaming for the door, I should hasten to add this is still an incredibly tiny amount of radiation, about 1/10,000th of all the radiation that an average person is exposed to each year. Natural sources, by far, make the biggest radioactive contributions to our lives. Nothing else is even close.
"Avatar" director James Cameron had some nasty words for Glenn Beck and global warming "deniers" yesterday.
Cameron said at a news conference that he would like to shoot "those boneheads," referring to skeptics of anthropogenic global warming. "Anybody that is a global warming denier at this point in time has got their head so deeply up their a** I'm not sure they could hear me," Cameron added.
As for Beck, "he's a f****** a**hole," the 2010 Oscar nominee so eloquently put it. He backtracked a bit, but still maintained that the FNC host is "dangerous because his ideas are poisonous," echoing a statement by NPR's Cokie Roberts yesterday. "Of course he wound up on Fox News, which is where he belongs, I guess."
In an interview with Matt Damon near the end of Thursday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith helped promote the actor's latest film, 'Green Zone,' which attacks the Bush administration over the Iraq war: "What was it like to make a movie like this? Because it's a little – it's – I'm not sure if this is an apt analogy, but it's a little 'Bourne' meets 'Hurt Locker.'"
Smith alluded to Damon's role as Jason Bourne in the action movie series and the Oscar-winning film 'Hurt Locker,' which chronicles bomb defusing teams in Iraq. Smith introduced the pre-recorded interview by touting Damon's latest film as a "new Iraq war thriller."
Lending credibility to the 'Green Zone' screenplay, Smith noted the movie was: "loosely based on a book that was written by a correspondent for the Washington Post, but the characters in it are fictional." Damon explained the premise of the film: "The guy I play is based on a real guy, he's leading a mobile exploitation team. We had these teams follow the Army....exploiting these sites where we thought the WMD were....they start realizing that there aren't any weapons there." Smith added: "Yeah, and he's a true believer." Damon replied: "Oh, absolutely."
When Michael Moore starts getting panicked, you know times are getting tumultuous for the left and the Democratic Party.
The anti-corporation, sometimes conspiracy theorist documentary filmmaker aired his frustrations about the current health care reform predicament. Congressional Democrats have gotten themselves into a mess with time running out as the midterm election cycle fast approaches and Moore said he was worried. According to Moore, who appeared on MSNBC's March 10 "The Rachel Maddow Show," if the Democratic Party doesn't make strides in getting their liberal agenda passed - it's bleak times ahead for them.
"Well, we see what it's led us to, to the fact that one out of eight homes now in America is in foreclosure or delinquency," Moore said. "One out of eight home and, of course, the millions that don't have health care and everything else it's - how do you get yourself out of bed every morning to do this show with just the despair of how - the hope that we all had a year, year and a half ago. And now it's like, I just feel like the Democrats are - they're in for an ass-whooping of Biblical proportions in November if they don't get off the dime and do the job they were sent there to do. I mean that. I mean, it - don't they see that?"
On CBS's Sunday Morning, movie reviewer David Edelstein heaped praised upon The Ghost Writer, the latest film by director, and indicted child rapist, Roman Polanski: "Whatever you say about this man, a victim and a victimizer, he's an artist to the end. He can conjure up on screen his inner world. However, malignant."
Edelstein began the review by proclaiming that Polanski's new film: "shows its maker at the height of his powers." That despite the admission that the director is "likely en route to the slammer for a rape he committed in the '70s." Edelstein later gushed: "Polanski's The Ghost Writer is alive and gripping from its first frame....There's an icky erotic undertone. With Polanski, sex and death are sibling close."
Interestingly, on NPR's Morning Edition radio program on Friday, movie reviewer Kenneth Turan had almost identical praise for the controversial director: "Roman Polanski is back, his new film, The Ghost Writer, is a dark pearl of a movie, made with the flare and precision of a director suddenly returned to the height of his powers." Turan later hoped: "With any kind of luck, The Ghost Writer will help Roman Polanski catch fire one last time."
In an October 1, 2009 column entitled "Hollywood's Favorite Rapist," NewsBusters publisher and Media Research Center President Brent Bozell detailed how those in the entertainment industry and the news media have defended Polanski in the wake of the director's recent arrest and indictment for the rape of a 13-year-old girl in 1977.
One familiar trope about horror movies is that the characters can only survive them by abstaining from drinking, drugs, and sex, leading some movie critics to half-facetiously moan about the genre's secret social conservatism. But what about horror movies with a thuddingly obvious left-wing message of environmental alarmism inserted into the script, as part of the studio's ideological vision?
In a Sunday Arts & Leisure article on the new movie the "The Crazies," a remake of a low-budget George Romero zombie movie from the '70s, New York Times movie critic John Anderson equated left-wing environmentalism with serving the "public good."
Turns out "The Crazies" is not just another zombie movie, but a consciousness-raising piece "about the issues of weapons security and the purity of water," as the headline indicated: "Homicidally Unhinged, But for a Cause." The text box: "'The Crazies' aims to scare moviegoers and elevates their social consciousness, too."
Anderson embraced the idea of slipping in left-wing fearmongering without fans noticing:
It may come as a shock, but the fanboys reveling in the eviscerations, explosions and Car Wash of Death scene contained in the director Breck Eisner's new take on "The Crazies" will also be contributing to socially progressive cinema. Perhaps even to the public good. With any luck, they won't notice.
The Washington Post championed a new documentary on Friday, a film airing only at one art theater in town. It’s still championing America-bashing radical leftist whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg in a new film titled "The Most Dangerous Man in America."
In a large spread that starts at the top of the front page of the Style section, film critic Ann Hornaday celebrated Ellsberg’s "moral courage" for damaging the war effort by leaking the so-called "Pentagon Papers" to the New York Times in 1971. Hornaday insisted Ellsberg’s radicalism is still "astonishingly germane" today (although the Post never described him with any ideological label, or described the Vietnamese enemy as communists.)
Hornaday lectured that today’s blogosphere-besmirched media might not emphasize and celebrate the "elegant calculus" and "formidable logic" of Ellsberg’s acts today, like the uniformly liberal "mainstream media" of the Vietnam-Watergate era did:
Two years ago, Time critic Richard Corliss wrote an article that clearly must have resonated at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The Oscar telecast was sinking in the ratings, he wrote, because the nominees were largely unwatched by the masses. It used to be that the Best Picture prize went to mainstream box-office hits. "Now when the nominations come out, people try to catch up with the finalists, but it's almost like homework."
The 2010 Oscar nominations clearly signal that Hollywood is trying to return to a broader vision of the Oscars, as something more than an insular critics’ circle that likes only the self-consciously arty and obscure. That signal came most obviously with the announcement that there would be ten nominees for Best Picture. That list hadn’t seen 10 nominations since 1943, when the winner was "Casablanca."
Arty films that almost nobody has seen are still there – like "An Education." But arty blockbusters are there as well, like "Avatar" – current box office gross: $601 million -- and the animated film "Up," with $293 million. (By contrast, two years ago, the Best Picture box office leader was "Juno" – at $85 million when the nominations came out.)
Why let facts get in the way of a good liberal meme?
Paul Farhi sure didn't when he panned Oscar-nominated movie "The Blind Side" during a special "Hardball on Hollywood" segment with Vanity Fair's Michael Wolff and host Chris Matthews on the February 2 program.
The Washington Post media critic slammed the Best Picture-nominated drama -- based on a true story -- as just another movie in which the white characters' guilt is assauged by helping a black guy (video embedded at right; an MP3 audio clip is available here):
PAUL FARHI, Washington Post: The problem is that the black character is basically a prop to make the white people feel better about themselves, and that's been the major criticism. It's also the "magic negro," in other words, the idea that a black character will emerge to provide wisdom for the white people involved in the movie.
But what does it mean, to replace capitalism with democracy? He sighs and tries to explain. In the old Soviet bloc, he says, communism was the political system and socialism the economic. But with capitalism, he complains, you get political and economic rolled in to one. Big business buys votes in Congress. Lobbyists write laws. The result is that the US political system is awash in capitalist money that has stripped the system of much of its democratic accountability.
Alec Baldwin, award winning actor and wannabe leftist political commentator, called on Congress to sink congressional health care legislation today, saying he would rather the federal government "Put a Major Oil Company Out of Business," according to the headline of his column at the Huffington Post.
Baldwin isn't the only liberal entertainer calling for the death of ObamaCare. Plans to tax so-called "Cadillac" health care plans--or the most expensive insurance plans--have riled up some key Democratic supporters. The Teamsters Union and the AFL-CIO have protested, but now objections are also being raised by Hollywood's biggest unions.
The Los Angeles Times reported yesterday that the "generally cozy relationship between Hollywood's unions and the Obama administration is coming under strain." The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists recently sent a letter to President Obama and congressional leaders pleading with them to drop the Cadillac tax. According to the Times, the Screen Actors Guild, the largest union of actors, is expected to take a similar stance on the legislation.
“Hollywood actress Meryl Streep has admitted that the only person she has been star-struck by is U.S. President Barack Obama,” an India Times item posted on Sunday reported, quoting the actress: “I went to the White House and was star-struck by our President and First Lady. Although I was also impressed by Bruce Springsteen who was there as well.”
The unbylined item, which James Taranto highlighted in his “Best of the Web Today” for the Wall Street Journal’s opinion page, related how “Streep also believes that Barack is more than capable of making the right political choices for the U.S.” She gushed:
I think it is thrilling to have someone who is thoughtful and can articulate with a certain amount of passion and dispassion, the necessary choices that we have in the world.
There has been a substantial push lately by some of Hollywood's big names to reeducate Americans on world history. The leftist-dominated television and film industries have taken it upon themselves to promote histories of the United States and its role in the world that portrays it as an evil, occasionally colonial, always destructive force in global relations.
The latest such effort is being undertaken by director Oliver Stone, well known for his loving portrayal of Venezuela's Marxist dictator Hugo Chavez and derisive portrayal of our previous president in "W". Now Stone has set his sights on Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin. He plans to "liberalize" America's thinking regarding two of the 20th century's most murderous dictators by putting them "in context", whatever that means (h/t Hot Air headlines).
"We can't judge people as only bad or good," Stone said at the Television Critics Association's press tour, referring to two dictators who--unless this writer's understanding of history is not sufficiently "liberalized"--are responsible, in Hitler's case, for the extermination of 6 million Jews and 3 million others in killing camps during World War II, and in Stalin's, for the murders of 20 million individuals in Russia and Soviet-occupied Europe.
It seems, Stone's claims notwithstanding, that one is historically justified in classifying these two particular dictators as "bad".
New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd really wants a national security system that looks really nice and has lots of fancy bells and whistles, but is, beneath the shiny exterior, quite mediocre and extremely expensive.
Dowd implied as much when she asked Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano in a New Years Eve interview, "Why is it so hard for those charged with keeping us safe to be as imaginative and innovative as filmmakers like James Cameron?"
Yes, Cameron is so imaginative that he managed to spend $400 million on what amounts to a visually dazzling remake of Disney's Pocahontas (see plot summary below the fold - h/t Big Hollywood).
It's not because he's a fan of special effects or blockbuster action flicks, but because the "timely" liberal message of the movie could "ripple" through the culture in a manner favorable to, wait for it, "enviro-theism" (emphasis mine):
MSNBC host David Shuster on Wednesday attacked conservatives who have a problem with the liberal agenda of the film Avatar, dismissing their arguments as "shameless and crazy." Shuster and New Live co-host Tamron Hall seemed bewildered by right-wing complaints about the environmentally-themed movie.
Talking with film critic Mike Taibbi, Shuster derided, "Could this be just about the political strategy of punching up? That the Weekly Standard, or whoever wants to criticize, they can get a little bit of attention for their point of view, as shameless and crazy as it may sound, by attaching themselves to a movie that's doing so well?"
Update (Ken Shepherd, Managing Editor, 11:30 p.m. EST): A few minutes ago, Ebert tweeted the following apology on his Twitter feed: "I feel bad about my cheap Limbaugh jokes. Sincere apologies to Rush and you folks. He said he was fine but that's no excuse." # # #
In a demonstration of Hollywood's quintessentially intolerant hatred of conservatives, film critic Roger Ebert took to the Twitterverse on Saturday to mock Rush Limbaugh and his sudden trip to a Hawaii hospital (h/t Big Hollywood headlines).
Ebert was hardly alone in rejoicing Limbaugh's hospital visit--and distressed when he was given a clean bill of health. Liberals nationwide let loose the vitriol, some--including members of the hate-stricken mobs at Daily Kos and DU, as reported by P.J. Gladnick--simply wished he would expire.
For his part, Ebert fell short of calling for Limbaugh's death, and offered only lame fat jokes and implications of racism. Some of the juicier tweets:
If you bother to read Joanna Weiss' column in today's Boston Globe, expect to get a sense of déjà . . . lu. Like untold polemics that have preceded it, "Hollywood’s burden on aging women" stamps its feet over the unequal treatment of aging in men and women.
You know: male stars are allowed to age gracefully, but women must struggle ever-harder to conform to a youthful stereotype of sex-appeal. Unfair!
The feminist response is to blame the culture, in this case embodied by Hollywood, for promoting shallow, sexist values. But the fault, dear Joanna, is not in our stars but in ourselves, or more precisely, our DNA.