Thumbnails Nov 15
on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom (10/10):
one of the more astonishing, action-packed, eye-opening films I have
ever seen. Director Evgeny Afineevsky has remarkable footage of almost
every moment of the 93 day winter 2013 Ukrainian revolution that was
virtually ignored by American media. The videos are from his 2 cameras,
but also from the phone and GoPro cameras, of some of the hundreds of
thousands of revolutionaries (of whom 82 died and 1,100 injured), and
from TV crews. The result is a view of the revolution from the ground as
it is happening. It is an astonishing production. The viewer becomes a
part of the revolution. The films he got are shocking in the violence
they show and in the courage of the people.
Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon (10/10):
National Lampoon was the magazine that satirized virtually everything.
This documentary tells how it was started from scratch by Doug Kenney
and Henry Beard, with lots of interviews and archival footage. Myriad
examples of its irreverent humor, sure to offend multitudes, are
included. One was entitled, “Children’s Letters to the Gestapo” by
Michael O’Donoghue (who, according to this film, was almost always
angry): “Dear Heinrich Himmler, How do you get all those people into
your oven? We can hardly get a pork roast into ours. Respectfully, Uta
Grotewohl.” This just touches on the mass of jokes, anecdotes, and
information in this film. I was captivated.
a plodding retelling of Philippe Petit's high wire walk between the Twin
Towers in 1974. But the last 45 minutes still presents exceptional
visual effects and wonderful cinematography. It is so realistic that
people with a fear of heights will have a hard time sitting through it.
The 2008 documentary, “Man on Wire” doesn’t have the amazing
cinematography, but it’s a much better movie.
Bridge of Spies (4/10):
In addition to being deceptive, Director Steven Spielberg’s film creates
a moral equivalence by spinning KGB spy Rudolph Abel (Mark Rylance, who
gives a bravura performance, the main reason for seeing this movie,
equaling his work as Thomas Cromwell in the TV miniseries Wolf Hall)
as “just another guy working for his country.” Well that’s what Hitler
and Dr. Mengele were, too. I don’t have space to list all the troubling
distortions and slants of this movie (one of which defames the U.S.
judge in Abel’s case as no better than Nazi judges in prejudging a case
before the trial began). This is an insidious film of which the
blacklisted Hollywood Ten would be proud. But even they would need some
NoDoz to get through its 140 minutes.
weren’t sure if this was a porn film when you bought your ticket, the
opening sequence showing Aomi Muyock stark naked giving a sexual message
to stark naked and excited Karl Gusman for a period of approximately
three minutes tells you what’s in store for the next two hours 14
minutes. To set it apart from normal porn, it’s shot in 3D. In case
you’re curious, seeing sex in 3D is no different than seeing it in 2D.
gothic horror film two young women seduce happily married Keanu Reeves
and then torture him for being a pedophile (which he isn’t), claiming
that they are underage, and destroy his home and ruin his family life.
It’s horrible and fatiguing to watch and has no redeeming social value.
Director Eli Roth stunningly says he wants the audience to “sympathize
with the women,” which says all you need to know about Mr. Roth.
Even worse than Robert Redford’s laughably dreadful performance as Dan
Rather are the deplorable political bias of the film and its unashamed
misrepresentations. It spins two disgraced, prejudiced journalists as
victims instead of the scoundrels they were when their reporting about
George W. Bush’s National Guard service was jaundiced, shoddy, and
inaccurate. If you want to know the real truth, go to the report of the
CBS independent investigation, not this reprehensible movie.