Archive for February, 2010

Bad Lieutenant
DVD: Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans
Blu-ray: Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans

Review: The Bad Lieutenant
by Binoy Kampmark

The Very Bad Lieutenant

When asked at a press conference in Rome in June last year on what he thought about Werner Herzog’s The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, Abel Ferrara could barely contain himself. ‘I think that if they don’t have any original ideas about what movies to make, they should leave mine alone.’ This, regarding his own film from 1992 featuring Harvey Keitel as the drug addled, corrupt member of the New York Police force with an onerous sense of Catholic guilt.

This is one of the most frightening trailers I’ve ever seen in my life.  Haven’t seen the full film yet.

The YouTube description:

Watch Camp FEMA Online or Get Your DVD –


Recent legislation attempting to legitimize the use of internment camps to detain U.S. citizens in the event of an uprising or civil unrest has many people asking what nation they live in.

In a country born out of political dissent, we watch our leaders in Washington slowly pass bills that label ordinary Americans as thought criminals and potential domestic terrorists for simply questioning the actions of their government. We see third party candidates and their impassioned supporters listed in secret government reports that call their allegiance into question and brand them as fanatics and extremists.

Up in the Air

A Review of Up in the Air
A Landscape of Impossible Options


If you’d asked me before I did this movie, “What’s the worst thing about losing your job in this type of economy?” I would’ve probably said the loss of income. But as I talked to these people, that rarely came up. What people said, time and time again, was: “I don’t know what I’m supposed to do.” It was really about a lack of purpose. They would say, you know, “After I finish this interview, I’m going to go get in my car, and I have nowhere to be.” And I can’t imagine thinking that every day.
– Jason Reitman on the making of “Up In The Air”

“How much does your life weigh?” This is the question that Ryan Bingham (played to perfection by George Clooney) asks in Up In The Air, Jason Reitman’s brilliant new movie that so beautifully, hilariously, and brutally encapsulates America’s current cataclysmic economy. This is a question for the current economic landscape where people are losing their jobs, their homes, and their every possession at astronomical rates, an economy where people are being left empty handed and without many options for a new future. Ryan Bingham thinks he understands the transience of material culture. That’s why he delivers informational seminars telling people to eliminate excess weight in their lives. Bingham understands the fragility of economic stability and material acquisition because he spends the large majority of his life traveling the country and telling hard working Americans they’re out of jobs. Yes, Ryan Bingham is a professional hit man in this depression era economy which has generated a real unemployment rate of 22 percent. He packs his suitcase, takes to the air, and is like some kind of corporate downsizing angel of death as he delivers bad news encased in motivational speeches that sound like something he pulled out of a fortune cookie.

As the movie follows the story of Bingham and the people he encounters, it delivers one hell of a powerful commentary on where we stand in today’s economic landscape. While it could be classified as a depression era comedy (and it plays like the best of them), in the end the movie is more devastating than funny. Sure, it has loads of exquisitely hilarious moments in which we laugh our asses off, but ultimately the movie is a sad and tragic tale of the dehumanizing effects of neo-liberal economics and the decimation of the American workforce.

District 9

DVD: District 9 (Two-Disc Edition)
Blu-ray: District 9

See also:

District 9 (2009)
District 9 (2009) – Sci Fi Action With Brains and Soul
District 9 (2009) – Science Fiction of the Now

District 9 & Sci-Fi Politics
Binoy Kampmark

A sci-fi B-Film that punches above its weight. So argued Anthony Quinn of The Independent (Sep 4, 2009) on the South African spectacular District 9, directed by Neill Blomkamp. Certainly, it is a refreshing change from such overly done efforts as the Transformers series and Terminator with their tedious super effect twaddle that does little to inspire. Nor will viewers be left wondering about the special effects in this production – Peter Jackson made sure he peppered this work with a fair assortment of them.

CineSLAM: Call For Entries

Posted: February 3, 2010 in John Scagliotti
Tags: ,

Please forward our call to interested filmmakers you might know.


Vermont’s Pride Film Festival of Shorts
June 18th & 19th, 2010

Sponsored by The Kopkind Colony

The White Ribbon

DVD: The White Ribbon
The Vicious Countryside: Haneke’s The White Ribbon

by Binoy Kampmark

Arthur Conan Doyle found the English countryside seething with potential criminality. His sleuth creation of Sherlock Holmes was never deceived by the tranquil image of the country retreat and escape from the industrialized centre. London, with its bustle, filth and squalor, was a far more decent option. One finds the same theme repeated in such writers as John Mortimer, who only ever lets his famed advocate Rumpole venture out into the country occasionally for a brief. All tend to end badly. Cynicism towards country life, dominated by casual cruelties and sudden death, is ever present.

This case is brilliantly depicted in Michael Haneke’s black and white The White Ribbon (Das weisse Band), a portrait of a north German village in 1913. The narrator (Ernst Jacobi), who is also a teacher (Christian Friedel) resident in that village during the crucial years, speaks of various mysteries that affected its inhabitants. An attempt is seemingly made on the village doctor’s (Rainer Bock) life through tripping his horse by a wire that is mysteriously removed. The wife of the farmer is killed in an accident. Two children, including one with Down syndrome (Eddy Grahl), are found abused in the woods. The estate barn is burned down; and the cabbage crop destroyed. The police are eventually called in, but they are incapable of making sense of it.