Archive for December, 2009

On Invictus (2009)

Posted: December 16, 2009 in Binoy Kampmark
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Invictus: Dreams and Realities
Column: Binoy Kampmark

I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul
William Ernest Henley, ‘Invictus’ (1875)

When the Springboks, South Africa’s famed rugby team, returned to the international fold after decades of isolation, suggestions were made to change the name. Drop the label and jersey, went the cry, those hated symbols and reminders of apartheid. Embrace, instead, the emblem of the floral protea. But the Boks were spared by the sagacious and calculating President Nelson Mandela. A traumatized nation had to be healed, and rugby might well assist in that enterprise. Clint Eastwood’s Invictus, based on John Carlin’s account in Playing the Enemy, is a narration on the subject.


DVD: McLibel

The McNightmare is Real

Two London activists go up against the global McMafia in what became the longest trial in British history.

This film should be taught in every grammar school — or at least junior high.

I was ecstatic when I first learned about this film, and I put it at the top of my queue. England has draconian libel laws and the balance is clearly skewed to the one with the bigger pocketbook. In this case the mismatch was so gratuitous and ridiculous, that even if you were a McDonald’s shareholder you’d have to be rooting for Dave and Helen by the end.

The hidden microphone conversations with the capos is hilarious. Some McHonchos flew over to try and force a settlement, while not actually agreeing to anything in exchange. The conversations are revealing of a corporate criminal mindset and disdain for the concept of free speech.

I’m not sure how anyone can eat at the open grease pit, which is the subject of the film, but people do. Perhaps if they saw this film, they wouldn’t.

McLibel’s got a third act, and a twist ending … and that’s all I’ll say.

Super Size Me

DVD: Super Size Me

Except they also gave a shout out to Morgan Spurlock and his Supersize Me experiment.


Hollywood’s Enduring Myth of the Black Male Sexual Predator
The Selling of “Precious”


“A niche market could be defined as a component that gives your business power. A niche market allows you to define whom you are marketing to. When you know who are you are marketing to it’s easy to determine where your marketing energy and dollars should be spent.”
Defining Your Nice Market, A Critical Step in Small Business Marketing by Laura Lake

One can view Sarah Siegel on “YouTube” discussing her approach to marketing. During her dispassionate recital she says that she sees a “niche dilemma,” and finds a way to solve that dilemma. Seeing that no one had supplied women with panties that were meant to be visible while wearing low cut jeans, she captured the niche and made a fortune. With five million dollars, she invested in the film Precious, which was adapted from the book Push, written by Ramona Lofton, who goes by the pen name of Sapphire, after the emasculating shrew in “Amos and Andy,” a show created by white vaudevillians Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll.

(Ms. Lofton also knows a thing or two about marketing. Noticing the need for white New York feminists to use black men as the fall guys for world misogyny, while keeping silent about the misogyny of those who share their ethnic back-ground, she joined in on the lynching of five black and Hispanic boys, “who grew up in jail.” She made money, and became famous. They were innocent!)

When Lionsgate Studio and Harvey Weinstein were quarrelling over the rights to Push, which has been marketed under the title of Precious, about a pregnant 350 pound illiterate black teenager, who has borne her father’s child and is assaulted sexually by her mother, Sarah Greenberg, speaking for Lionsgate, said that the movie would provide the studio with “a gold mine of opportunity,” which is probably true, since the image of the black male as sexual predator has created a profit center for over one hundred years and even won elections for politicians like Bush, The First.

John Scagliotti, member of the National Gay and Lesbian Journalist Association’s documentary caucus and programmer of Kopkind’s CineSlam, Vermont’s LGBT Fest of Shorts.

AP headline: “Economy grows in 3Q, signals end of recession”

We are helping do our part by announcing a $250 reduction for Pride of the Ocean’s first historic LGBT Film Cruise (benefit for Kopkind’s CineSlam, VT’s LGBT shorts festival) for registering before Dec 20th for the May 30th 2010 embarkation from New York City (where we will be commemorating the first pride event 40 years ago: The Christopher Street Liberation March (June 1970) . Don’t forget to invite some NY State Senators to join you .)

Battle For Terra (2007)

Posted: December 3, 2009 in Joe Giambrone
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Battle For Terra

DVD: Battle for Terra
Blu-ray: Battle for Terra

More interesting sci-fi, and this time it’s kid friendly. With District 9 and Sleep Dealer, we’ve had some pretty decent sci-fi lately.

This animated film takes place on a completely different planet, a place of peace and harmony. The indigenous life forms live together with respect for all life. That is a conscious choice the society has made, and it is accepted by all.

Enter the earthlings, having destroyed not one but three planets (venus, earth and mars), and brought themselves to the brink of extinction. The earthlings are militarists for the most part, and the military faction is about to assert itself here.

The Men Who Stare At Goats (2009)

Posted: December 3, 2009 in Binoy Kampmark
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Men Who Stare At Goats

When men do stare at goats
by Binoy Kampmark

Your wives are back at home having sex with Bart Simpson and Burt Reynolds.”
-Iraqi Propaganda leaflet, to American soldiers in the 1991 Gulf War.

There is a line at the start of Grant Heslov’s The Men Who Stare at Goats: ‘More of this is true than you would believe.’ The line is off putting – what is, or isn’t true? The audience is none the wiser, and the traces to the original book from 2004 by Jon Ronson by that name are left vague.

Military men are as superstitious as any other, hiding behind the veneer of scientific dogma and vast, mechanized schedules for killing and maiming. But when it comes down to it, do these lethal practitioners know any better than the sagacious shaman?