Posts Tagged ‘narcotics’

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What is it with Americans and torture?  For a movie that does a lot right, the ease and familiarity it has with the good guys resorting to torture is evidence of a pervasive sickness in this society.  We’re a technological level up on the Romans, reveling in bloodlust in cinema, rather than at the coliseum.

A lot of the world rejected this barbarism a long time ago, including our own nation, as the statutes against torture show.  World War Two and a lot of real torture changed minds on this medieval savagery.  Torture was outlawed, and the world was better off as a result.  The film had a chance to address this and failed.

Of course the bad guys resort to torture, but that’s not the problem here.  As with a long and frustrating list of other Hollywood mainstream product, this film says it’s okay to torture people — in this case water boarding and beating — when the joking jovial lead actors get on board.

So Marky Mark and Denzel want to know something from their captured drug lord.  Torture, of course.  Jokes wash away moral concerns.

It sounds like I had a terrible time with this film, but I didn’t.  It was a short segment.  More torture flows from the very same drug lord in a reversal, and more torture still from a CIA guy.  That’s three, lots of torture.  Do Americans care about much else?

Oh yeah, money.  There’s lots of that too.  Money, torture, bullets and explosions.  It’s not high art — but damn if they didn’t get the CIA drug smuggling partnership right.  So, we actually have some real shit up on screen to discuss, the real state of narcotics trafficking, the real impunity of CIA and their despicable record of partnering with the worst scum on the planet.  That might ring a note for some out there.  It should have been explored more deeply, but I’ll take it.

In the special features Denzel called it escapism, with no meaning whatsoever, that he could discern.  Not so.  It never is.

 

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Funky Alice learns about drugs.

 

 

More lawless assaults on justice from police paid informant provocateurs who plant evidence for political persecution: in other words, state-sponsored terrorism.

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how to

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THu4E99uvYw&feature=player_embedded

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Gary Webb may finally be vindicated this year with a biopic that tells the story of “Dark Alliance,” Webb’s reporting on the CIA/Contra drug running.  This obviously goes straight to the top of my must-see list.

CIA-Contra Cocaine Scandal: The Tragic Saga of Gary Webb

H. “Corky” Johnson reports:

There’s now practically a cargo plane full of records replete with connections between the CIA and drug trafficking. Was the CIA complicit in the Contra drug trade? Check. Did the CIA and the U.S. pay the same Contra contractors who were also shipping drugs to the U.S.? Check. Did CIA Director William Casey obtain a special dispensation from the Attorney General to allow his Contra-support team to “look the other way” regarding the drug dealing? Check. Did the CIA deliberately deny to other agencies knowledge of Contra-connected dealers? Check.”

Jeremy Renner will play Webb in the film adaptation of Kill the Messenger, by Nick Schou.

“By operating in the subterranean world of arms and drug smuggling, the CIA took us down the rabbit hole where narco-mad hatters weren’t about to give us any straight dope, where the spooks had no clue and didn’t care where this unfettered trafficking would lead and where they were powerless to predict how many lives would be ruined in the country they were sworn to protect.”

Gary Webb took his own life after being hounded out of the journalism profession and his character assassinated by corporate media for daring to go after the Central Intelligence Agency.

“There’s no question in my mind that people affiliated with or on the payroll of the CIA were involved in drug trafficking while in support of the Contras.” -Sen. (now Sec. of State) John Kerry, PBS

 

Additional–

I highly suggest you read the above linked article first.  EW has a little more on the production:

“Michael Cuesta (Homeland) will direct, and Peter Landesman (Trade) is writing a script that draws from two books, Kill The Messenger: How the CIA’s Crack-Cocaine Controversy Destroyed Journalist Gary Webb by Nick Schou and Webb’s own book, Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion.”

Get the books:

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DARK ALLIANCE: The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion [Paperback]

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KILL THE MESSENGER: How the CIA’s Crack-Cocaine Controversy Destroyed Journalist Gary Webb [Bargain Price] [Paperback]

 

 

Public Service Announcement

Posted: March 27, 2013 in -
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Choose carefully.

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Reviewing Flight (2012) has compelled me to think back and acknowledge where some real self-destruction and cinematic genius had coalesced. Sid and Nancy is as good a place to start as any.

Based on the real life of Sid Vicious, the bass player of The Sex Pistols, we see how raw and unhinged addiction, the music industry and love can all be.  Throw them together and it’s a ride you won’t soon forget (unlike Denzel’s public service announcement for AA).

Roger Ebert was a big booster for the film:

“[Sid] was handed great fame and a certain amount of power and money, and indirectly told that his success depended on staying fucked up. This is a big assignment for a kid who would otherwise be unemployable. Vicious did his best, fighting and vomiting and kicking his way through his brief days and long nights, until [Nancy] Spungen brought him a measure of relief.”

It’s a fascinating descent into complete shyte.  These two, playing off of one another, expose the senselessness of their reckless ideology, its self-destructive mandate.  On a spiraling death plummet, but not without an original stain on the pavement, Sid and Nancy live forever in infamy.

 Trailer From Hell: Sid and Nancy

Other selections in the sub-genre include Johnny Depp’s Blow, a fantastic modern history of the drug trade and one of his most underrated films.  The allure of prohibition is more than just substance addiction.  Drugs have been a thorn in the side of society for so long, and their outlawing provides for a significant underground economy, including the predictable wars and mayhem associated with avoiding capture and prosecution, the creation of warlords and the casualties produced with increasing territory and profit margins.  People get caught up over their heads in so many ways.  Blow is also based on a true story, and Depp’s range is on display here.  Speaking of Depp, what’s a more mind-bending drug fueled descent into madness than Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas?

While Blow tackles cocaine, the larger problem today is arguably crystal-meth.  Spun is a twisted indie take on that menace, and also underrated / unknown.  Powerful performances, powerful situations, and the filmmaking is sharp as a shiny new hypodermic.  Spun is an experience, a trip to take, much like Requiem For a Dream.  There are just so many great drug addled explorations once that Pandora’s Box is pried open.

Yet another addiction drama with a twist is Rush, with Jason Patric and Jennifer Jason Leigh.  Undercover narcotics officers get hooked on their own contraband.  The lines between law and outlaw are blurry indeed.  Denzel’s previous drug film Training Day also explored that territory.

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Clicking on the Sid and Nancy imdb page instantly prompted me with Oliver Stone’s The Doors, which is another groundbreaking intense exploration of addiction and self-destruction – and pretty much true, and significant.

Others in this genre include Less Than Zero, with Robert Downey Jr. and Bright Lights, Big City with Michael J. Fox.  I’ve given a nod to The Wackness with Ben Kingsley, and even Charlie Bartlett (Downey again) had more complex characterization than Flight.

Perhaps the crème of them all is Phillip K. Dick’s A Scanner Darkly.  Mind bending exploration of addiction, prohibition and the images are presented like no other film you would have seen (except perhaps Waking Life).


If you watch all these films, you will instantly see why Flight comes up so banal and inconsequential by comparison.  It’s relegated itself to the cheap, disposable dustbin of obviousness and even preachiness.  Flight is far too simplistic and simple-minded to bother talking about any further.