Posts Tagged ‘narrative’

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.

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.

The Road (2009)

Posted: January 2, 2010 in Kim Nicolini
Tags: , ,

The Road

Book: The Road
(DVD not yet available)

by Kim Nicolini

I finally caught John Hillcoat’s adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. This is a movie that I’ve been looking forward to for a long time. McCarthy and Hillcoat seem to be the perfect marriage with their mutually bleak and apocalyptic vision of the West. Hillcoat’s The Proposition is by far one of my favorite Westerns of all time, and I read McCarthy’s book The Road twice. I was stunned by the barren, desperate, hardcore, ruthlessly survivalist tone of both these narratives. It seemed to me that Hillcoat was the perfect choice to adapt McCarthy’s poetic and savage view of survival in a post-apocalyptic landscape.


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.

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?

The International
DVD: The International
Blu-ray: The International

This film is a fictionalized suspense thriller based upon a criminal international bank. This story, as revealed by the writer in the DVD extras, is based upon BCCI, the Bank of Credit and Commerce International, which was one of the largest criminal conspiracies ever to exist.

The International is a well thought out suspense plot where a lone Interpol investigator (Clive Owen) goes up against an insurmountably huge and well-connected adversary, the “International Bank of Business and Credit.”


There Will Be Blood
DVD: There Will Be Blood
Blu-ray: There Will Be Blood

Oil, blood and greed

Alan Maass compares the movie There Will Be Blood with the book that inspired it.

Article originally appeared at

WHEN I heard about it–one of today’s best filmmakers, Paul Thomas Anderson, making a movie from a novel by socialist writer Upton Sinclair–I moved quick, and asked to do the SW review.

There Will Be Blood, written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, based on a novel Oil! by Upton Sinclair, starring Daniel Day-Lewis and Paul Dano.