Archive for the ‘Joe Giambrone’ Category

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Glenn Greenwald:

Elizabeth Warren Finally Speaks on Israel/Gaza, Sounds Like Netanyahu

So the so-called “progressive” Democrats are full of shit. There is no hope, nor any representation, for people like myself in the Democrat Party. I knew that already, of course.

That is why I stopped voting for their devil’s bargain back in 2000 and I have been a vocal proponent of third parties, specifically the Greens and Justice Party, ever since. Everyone should de-register Democtat and become an Independent or a Green or whatever. It won’t cost you one penny. It will, however, shake up the business as usual in Washington DC. If there was a mass exodus and they could no longer take YOU for granted, they would have to change. The choice and the moral failing is in your court.

 

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The pathetic pitch of Democrats, how people like Elizabeth Warren are the only hope that we’re supposed to hang all our hopes on, falls away like so much other political propaganda.

I do not endorse Israel’s genocide against the people of Palestine nor do I want ANY much-needed US tax money sent to that terrorist state so that it can steal the rest of the land. Neither of the two corporatist parties reflect that view, and they don’t represent me.

 

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I removed Volume 2 from my Netflix queue, if that tells you anything.

Lars von Trier is the greatest living film director. Just ask him. He’s also obvious and self-indulgent, blunt like a sledgehammer and perhaps not the greatest screenwriter alive, although he may dispute me on it.

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Nymphomaniac is a weird movie, more weird than some of his other pieces. It reeks of male sexual fantasy transplanted onto a female character. It also comes from some hyper-artsy left field, forcing fishing motifs onto the sexual depravity of his puppet.

I never did feel any of it could be real, could happen in the real world as portrayed. The artifice of it all was glorified. Maybe this was an effort to please an audience of one, and the rest of us just simply aren’t in on the joke.

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I feel even more down on the film since it’s a pretty good idea for a movie. I just wish von Trier wasn’t involved, at all, as he fucked it up with pretentious gobbledygook. I’ll skip the finale.

UNDER

 

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Cuban Politics & Zombies

It seems a lot of American critics saw only the surface criticisms of the film, and ignored the equally scathing critique of capitalism contained therein. US pundits, who raved about the movie, sought to use it as a propaganda piece for their own purposes, ignoring the complexity. Predictable.

The film contains an obvious set of barbs skewering the Cuban socialistic system for its shortfalls. It is cut off, with an embargo from the US for fifty years, because the US doesn’t like to have bad examples where the people get health care, for example. The Cuban economy has been hit pretty badly, but it still attracts tourists from across Europe and Latin America, as acknowledged in the film.

Juan and his gang are low level criminals, thieves, grifters, opportunists. Here’s where the unacknowledged critique of capitalism enters the story. When the zombiepocalypse hits, Juan takes it upon himself to start a Ghostbusters type zombie killing service – for a fee. He’s a mercenary, entirely in it for the money and unwilling to help others because it’s the right thing to do. Did you catch that?

He’s a criminal turned capitalist. They are closely related.

His sidekick then literally machetes a man to death, not a zombie, a man who owes him money. Driven by the desire to have money, he murders a begging neighbor in broad daylight.

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While the anachronistic Cuban state TV propaganda receives much deserved satire, so too does the mercenary ruthlessness of disaster capitalism. Both these extremes are lampooned. This also elevates the film well above and beyond the simpleminded propaganda championed by simplistic US proponents. It takes a broader view, a more mature view of economic realities and shortcomings.

Spoiler

To bring the story full circle, Juan reconsiders his own personal self-interest by film’s close. Instead of running off to America with the others, he does a 180. As a patriotic Cuban, he returns to shore to do battle with the zombie hordes and save Cuba: a selfless act in the interest of the many, not of his own skin.

The deeper message is one of sacrificing for the good of the people, the socialistic ideal. The Cuban government, while evolving from the structures of the old Soviet times, retains this sense of the good of the many over the profit desires of psychopathic billionaires from abroad. That much is reinforced in the film. It takes some knowledge of the world beyond US State Department propaganda, though.

Juan is not a great zombie film, but it is a unique one. It’s an interesting take on a part of the world we don’t see too much.

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Regular marijuana use bad for teens’ brains, study finds

While researching an article on this subject I found other studies from neuroscientists that suggest it may be true. The issue is the development of the frontal cortex of the brain, which is not fully cooked until about age 25. Marijuana may interfere with the connections being forged in that region. It is always better to be safe than sorry and to keep your substance abuse to a bare minimum. Young people may be significantly more at risk, and so be warned.

Frequent marijuana use can have a significant negative effect on the brains of teenagers and young adults, including cognitive decline, poor attention and memory, and decreased IQ, according to psychologists. “It needs to be emphasized that regular cannabis use, which we consider once a week, is not safe and may result in addiction and neurocognitive damage, especially in youth,” said one expert.

 

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Alien D-Day Meets Groundhog Day
4.5/5

I’m going to recommend this as a decent sci-fi action spectacular. The story is interesting enough to carry it through to the end, and they spared no expense to bring the world to life.

I zapped off a couple of points for repetitiveness and going over the top, but still if you like sci-fi this film is worth it.

Now the question of militarism comes up, the “glory” of battle, the idea of cowardice to demonize pacifists. This is a controversial point, and the film fulfills its militant premise. War is the only way to save mankind with an alien foe of such genocidal ferocity. To fight back is justified, and this requires outside-the-box thinking.

While the military itself is largely incompetent, rigidly inflexible and the antagonist for much of the film, the lone wolf military men and women, the risk takers, the supermen are presented as the salvation of humanity. This sprouts from very dangerous historical underpinnings, but I think the film is sufficiently contemplative to present these ideas and to explore them.

 

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There is heroic sacrifice, and this may be done to death at the multiplexes, but it’s seldom done well anymore. So you know the kind of movie you’re going to get. It’s going to be big. It’s going to have a twist or three, and heroism and combat are central.

With the time-displacement idea, resetting the day, it gets a bit video-gamey. I’m sure this was intended to appeal to hardcore video gamers who go on journeys much like Tom and company with the constantly-resetting experiments, dying and reincarnation, as the typical game embodies. That’s where it got a bit repetitive. But the jump cuts pushed it along so that we didn’t dwell after the initial setups.

Other than Groundhog Day, we may be seeing the so-called inspiration of that Source Code film. I was not a fan there, and Edge of Tomorrow pulls it off better. The story logic is slightly improved, if such a trick can ever fly. It takes some generosity of spirit on the viewer’s part.

 

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Capt. America v. the New World Order: The good, the bad and the ugly sides of Captain America, The Winter Soldier.

It’s big. It’s dumb. Its explosions are one louder. It feels a bit like The Avengers, which is not such a bad thing. The thing about Cap is that he’s an overgrown, science-enhanced Boy Scout. He always wants to do the right thing, no matter the cost. He’s got an innocence that’s sort of dischordant considering all the violence.

The Good

The Winter Soldier film is an allegory about the shadow government, the US deep state, the bowels of intelligence where Nazis were imported after WW2 to go to work supposedly in the service of America and its values. What’s good about this is that it’s true. It happened. Operation Paperclip gets a mention, although not much detail makes it into the final cut of these things.

In the Marvel World we have S.H.I.E.L.D. rather than the intelligence establishment, those alphabet soup agencies. It’s all a bit more super than that.

But the traitors are in our midst. They’re entrenched in power, inside the deep state. They are ruthless Nazis wearing our uniforms, flying our drones, inciting wars in our name. This is the main metaphor that provides Captain America with a foundation to its story. Our real values are not the values of those people, including those real people who appear on our very real televisions. The metaphor works, even if the film heads off the rails into silliness.

Spoilers

The Winter Soldier character himself, the assassin, is an interesting twist. He’s shooting Russian-made weapons, but he’s no Russian. He’s one of our own, actually Captain America’s boyhood pal, remade, reforged into the evil version of American power projection. He’s the covert assassin beyond the law, unstoppable and responsible for a slew of international crimes. This ties into the theme of the deep state, the Nazi state within the intelligence community that many people would recognize as a reality.

The Bad

Well, physics is of no concern here. Fall off a skyscraper. Whatever. At that point, it doesn’t matter what happens anymore. Nothing is going to alter the trajectory the screenwriters and producers have preordained, because physics is out the window. It sucks the tension and suspense right out of the thing.

The ending, reconciling with Winter Soldier, also fell flat. Cap just gives up, and it’s a blah anti-climax that felt cheap.

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He had a chance to go further with Black Widow as well, but nothing materialized. We had a kiss, a tactical kiss, and nothing more. It was broken wide open to explore Black Widow and Cap more, but the need to blow some more shit up pressured the thing.

The Ugly

Cap, the boy scout, and yet he’s a party to torturing a suspect. He lets Black Widow do it — gutting my view of her. And yet, it’s played for a laugh. Torture is a laughing matter in a movie about a spandex clad guy in red white and blue. Does anyone on the project have any sense? He’s supposed to be the good guy, but more than the good guy, the ultimate expression of lost American values. The torture question is no joke. It’s a felony war crime. Are these people taking their cues from principle, law and American history or from whatever sludge is selling on the other networks?

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The actual plot was a bit of an ugly pretzel, too. Not sure everything added up.

In the end, it’s worth about 3.5 stars for the positive messages concerning deep state covert abominations. We don’t tolerate Nazis and policies of murder. I just wish it would have been a bit more grown up about it.

3.5/5

 

 

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Kurt Russell and Matt Dillon doing what they do best, this is a fun heist film. The funniest I can remember since Disorganized Crime. Terence Stamp shows up. So you know it’s going to be interesting. And it is, with a decent script and distinctive characters who are not the best and brightest.

Looking over the Redbox selections and feeling massively underwhelmed, this was the only pick I could bother with. It has the heist movie homages, but the crew are so inept and at each others’ throats that the chemistry works.

Not an important, seminal work of artistic intent. It is worth watching though.

4/5

 

 

PS.

Snatch and Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels were also pretty fun heist films.

 PPS.

The Big Hit. Way of the Gun.

Any more?  You people listening?