Armond White
(”1001 Arabian Nights” is briefly mentioned in this.)
May his daring at least get Disney’s closed minds to rerelease Song of the South.
(Review Source)
11/8/16
Christian Toto
11 8 16 review

Watching “11/8/16” is like scanning Facebook over the past 12 months.

It isn’t pretty.

The documentary, available now via iTunes, select theaters and Netflix, is a revealing look at our

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(Review Source)
12 Strong
Christian Toto
Showcasing the best of the U.S. military.
(Review Source)
Christian Toto
12 strong review chris hemsworth

You may want to Google the story behind “12 Strong” before lining up to see it.

How could a small group of Green Berets strike a blow against the Taliban

The post HiT Movie Reviews: ’12 Strong,’ ‘Forever My Girl’ appeared first on Hollywood in Toto.

(Review Source)
Christian Toto
american-sniper

I was attending a Christmas party over the holidays and, in the course of conversation, made the following statement:

“I can’t watch very many war movies anymore.”

My sister in-law,

The post Decorated Soldier Picks the Best, and Worst, War Movies appeared first on Hollywood in Toto.

(Review Source)
Armond White
(”12 Years a Slave” is briefly mentioned in this.)
Save Gone with the Wind to save ourselves.
(Review Source)
Armond White
(”12 Years a Slave” is briefly mentioned in this.)
Altman’s classic all-American tragedy returns.
(Review Source)
Armond White
(”12 Years a Slave” is briefly mentioned in this.)
Jordan Peele depicts black American identity as a freak show.
(Review Source)
Armond White
(”12 Years a Slave” is briefly mentioned in this.)
Filmmaker Charles Burnett was awarded a career-achievement Oscar by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences this past weekend. Who’s Burnett? That fair question is part of the Oscars’ ongoing problem, but it’s also part of film culture’s ongoing political crisis. Burnett is an honorable filmmaker whose movies fill the gap left by the racial exclusion of Hollywood studios that refuse to depict black American lives to any regular, authentic, or imaginative degree. But honoring him does not redeem the Academy’s current lack of popularity or relevance. Few people have seen Burnett’s best-known films: Killer of Sheep (1976), which was inducted
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(Review Source)
Christian Toto
(”12 Years a Slave” is briefly mentioned in this.)
widows-review

“Widows” offers a few sit-up-straight moments long before the film’s plot kicks in.

You look at the cast (Viola Davis! Robert Duvall! Daniel Kaluuya!) and you wonder how they got

The post HiT Reviews: ‘Widows,’ ‘Instant Family’ appeared first on Hollywood in Toto.

(Review Source)
Debbie Schlussel
Blog Posts Movie Reviews Enough Said“: I had mixed feelings about this movie. On the one hand, it’s mostly light and very funny. But then it gets slightly melodramatic and sad for my taste. Also, I could have done without the main character, Eva (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), who plays a mother of a teen daughter, advising her daughter’s teen friend that she should have sex with some random guy. Um, nice parenting. I did like that the movie made fun of left-wing female poets and how intolerant and base they actually are. And I liked the movie’s slight commentary on the deviant, all-too-casual sexual behavior of teens today. Eva is a masseuse and divorced single mother. She is about to lose her teen daughter to college and her daughter’s classmate and friend is a little too close to Eva. Eva and some friends go to a party hosted by someone in the publishing industry. While there, she meets Marianne (Catherine Keener), a poet, who hires Eva to massage her. Eva also meets Albert (James Gandolfini in his last role), who asks Eva out on a date. Soon, Eva becomes good friends with Marianne, who constantly, snobbishly attacks her ex-husband. Eva also becomes romantically involved with Albert, who talks about how his ex-wife treated him terribly. Eventually, Eva puts two and two together and realizes that Marianne and Albert are divorced from each other. But Eva doesn’t want to tell either of them that she knows the other because she thinks it’s too awkward and too late. But Eva and Albert’s relationship is poisoned by Marianne’s attacks on her ex. The movie presents several ethical dilemmas, and it’s definitely entertaining. But, as I noted above, I could have done without the slight, brief, melodrama, as well as the horribly irresponsible parental “advice” from Eva to her daughter’s friend. This would have been a TWO REAGAN movie but because of that, I give it . . . ONE-AND-A-HALF REAGANS ]]>
(Review Source)
Armond White
Michael Bay and Adam McKay both miss what’s important. Neither an exoneration of Hillary Clinton nor a clear explanation of the events of September 11, 2012, which left four Americans dead at the U.S. embassy in Libya’​s capital, Michael Bay’s 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi is something political pundits almost never understand: It’s a movie. Bay focuses on five former military contractors assigned to protect CIA officers at an annex to the U.S. embassy, who eventually fight off marauding Libyan rebels. In these profiles in courage, actors portray real-life figures (some of them former Navy SEALs) Tyrone “Rone” Woods (James Badge Dale), Kris “Tanto” Paronto (Pablo Schreiber), Dave “Boon” Benton (David Denman), John “Tig” Tiegen (Dominic Fumusa), and Mark “Oz” Geist (Max Martini). Bay adds a sixth figure, the fictional Jack Silva (John Krasinski), who joins their muscular elite. He is both “brother” (as the former G.I. Joes address one another) and audience-surrogate. On these terms, 13 Hours is undeniably superficial — not an explicitly political film or a factual historical account. Action director Bay works “apolitically,” which is a more complicated circumstance than partisan pundits may be willing to comprehend. The economic motivations of Hollywood make it unlikely that a mainstream movie will dare indulge in political controversy. (Remember how Clint Eastwood played both sides of the aisle in American Sniper?) Historical tragedies usually make it to the screen through sentimental pandering, and that is the case with 13 Hours: Action-movie suspense is combined with stereotypical tough-guy heroism. Even that simplification has its political aspects, although most pundits customarily praise or condemn movies according to what fits their political bias. (Remember how discussions of Zero Dark Thirty ricocheted across both sides of the aisle?) But since many filmgoers are reluctant to consider that all cinema is ideologically loaded (“It’s just a movie!” fanboys insist), 13 Hours can be sold as an “important” action movie without actually saying anything important. Vague introductory titles assert that Libya’s strongman, Moammar Gaddafi, was “deposed.” In a TV clip, President Obama proclaims the end of a “long and painful chapter for the people of Libya” — conveniently disconnecting U.S. policy from regime change there and setting out Libya’s political chaos as a “turf war” among unspecified factions with American onlookers stuck in the middle. (function($){ var swapArticleBodyPullAd = function() { if ($('body').hasClass('node-type-articles')) { var $pullAd = $('.story-container .pullad').addClass('mobile-position'); if (window.matchMedia("(min-width: 640px)").matches) { if ($pullAd.hasClass('mobile-position')) { $pullAd .addClass('desktop-position') .insertBefore('.article-ad-desktop-position'); } } else { if ($pullAd.hasClass('mobile-position')) { $pullAd .addClass('mobile-position') .insertBefore('.article-ad-mobile-position'); } } } }; $(window).on('resize', function(){ swapArticleBodyPullAd(); }).resize(); })(jQuery); Bay is not of the Eisenstein, Pontecorvo, or Costa-Gavras politically motivated school that dramatizes ideological cause and effect. Bay and screenwriter Chuck Hogan avoid depicting the details that led to the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens. “We didn’t hear any protests,” one soldier says. “It was on the news,” another responds — conveniently glossing over the Obama administration’s convoluted propaganda war that first blamed the attack on an American-made Islamophobic video. Stevens (portrayed by actor Matt Letscher) is respectfully described as “the real deal, a true believer, here to win hearts and minds.” From that “due diligence” pretense, Bay proceeds to do his ad man’s thing. In the same way that Bay’s 2001 Pearl Harbor used history for a pseudo-patriotic blockbuster extravaganza, 13 Hours applies an advertising man’s delirium to the depiction of political turmoil. Whatever political-social comment on the Benghazi locale there is in this movie is presented through visual koans: Ambassador Stevens enjoying a large, blue swimming pool, Libyan kids playing on a rusted car hood, rebels shooting holes in an American flag (seen from on high in typical Bay-vision). Adducing these images never leads one to a political assessment. Yet, finally, when the embassy compound is under fire, Bay shifts gears and does a 360 circling of the rainbow-hued siege: An interior shot shows Stevens and staffer Sean Smith fleeing beneath a ceiling of flames. And among the waves of combatants, a video insert of the black ISIS flag can be glimpsed while ammo flashes punctuate the fighting. How else would Hollywood make a contemporary war movie when our media culture routinely dissociates itself from military purpose and commitment? Since Vietnam, Hollywood always looks at the military with either skepticism or contempt for what it stands for. Bay has inherited this cynicism, but, as an advertising aesthete whose fascination with technology has provoked snotty condescension from liberal critics loath to admit their secret regard for materialism and industry, he exults in the paradox of action-movie extravagance. Bay’s real motivation here is revealed when one soldier says the Libyan raiders are coming from “Zombieland,” and, aiming his weapon, shouts: “I feel like I’m in a fucking horror movie!” More Movies Mark Ruffalo vs. White ‘Conservative’ Women The Mummy Unwrapped: American Guilt and Masochism There’s Still Life in The Mummy Bay illustrates the excessive violence of war in imagery that recalls Vittorio Mussolini’s infamous poetry describing bombs as “budding roses.” The best scenes in 13 Hours occur when Bay imagines warfare as spectacle. Soldiers caught behind a windshield during a street standoff take point-blank gunfire in a montage that would do Eisenstein or Peckinpah proud. In a rooftop bombardment, a barrage of mortar shells raises sparks that ignite into star-like twinkles — in dazzling real time. The audience I saw the film with was stunned by this, but I swear all Madison Avenue will gasp. This is the opposite of peacenik imagery — which doesn’t mean Bay is a fascist warmonger, but it makes his appreciation for fighting men’s bravery more convincing than 13 Hours’s superficial characterizations. Bay’s imagery externalizes the men’s stress as it also visualizes wonder, and this works better than the film’s mawkish view of military heroism, which conservative viewers should not fall for too easily. Krasinski’s Silva repeats a passage from Joseph Campbell’s The Power of Myth, which he and his post-9/11 fighter buddies read as religiously as soldiers in WWII movies read the Bible: “All the gods, all the hells, all the heavens are within you.” Worse than warmongering, this nods to the nihilism of post–Iraq War films like The Hurt Locker that demonize soldiers as psychopaths. In an after-battle scene, Bay contrasts a bullet-ridden American flag in a ditch with scenes of Libyan women in black reclaiming the bodies of dead jihadis. Like other post–Iraq War Hollywood movies, 13 Hours tries to have it both ways. *      *      * Hollywood often pays “Support Our Troops” lip service to soldiers, but the industry’s real heroes are hustlers, which explains the unfathomable acclaim for The Big Short. Adam McKay’s satire about the 2008 stock-market crash completes an impulse he first showed in an angry animated sequence in The Other Guys. Now he’s gotten sanctimonious: His white-collar cast keeps overexplaining the crash (a “short” is an investment bet that depends upon a stock’s losing value), then sentimentalizes the crooks who should have known better. Steve Carell, who throws off every drama he makes, plays hedge-fund manager Mark Baum, who represents McKay’s obnoxious moral center along with Christian Bale as an autistic Wall Street whiz, Michael Burry. Clearly, McKay has no real moral compass. His quick-cut visual metaphors, celebrity cameos (Margot Robbie, Richard Thaler, Selena Gomez), inexactitude, and flippancy suggest a disastrously failed Altman panorama. McKay shows no ethics-based approach to greed, only class sarcasm, self-pity, and snide judgment. These narrative tactics combined with inanity show the influence of Michael Moore’s supercilious moralizing. The Big Short’s superficial cynicism concludes with a Haruki Murakami quote: “Everyone deep in their hearts is waiting for the world to end.” McKay is so smug in his self-righteousness (typical liberal arrogance) that he lacks a genuine sense of tragedy. The chatter, the explanations, the cartoon doodles and celebrity asides are nonstop and tedious. McKay can’t even resist interrupting Mark Baum’s grandstanding mea culpa with another narrative tangent. When not sarcastic, McKay is maudlin, with no capacity for empathy. “All the people I respected won’t talk to me anymore except through lawyers,” Baum says. That’s modern Hollywood in a nutshell. No wonder The Big Short has gotten five Oscar nominations. — Armond White, a film critic who writes about movies for National Review Online, received the American Book Awards’ Anti-Censorship Award. He is the author of The Resistance: Ten Years of Pop Culture That Shook the World and the forthcoming What We Don’t Talk about When We Talk about the Movies.   ]]>
(Review Source)
Armond White
Armond WhiteMoviesmilitary “I love a man in a uniform,” sang the post-punk British band Gang of Four. That highly danceable tune about political and romantic indoctrination could as well be the theme song of the new Michael Bay movie 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi. It’s the secret in the subtitle that intrigues. 13 Hours pays homage to the team of elite contractors—former Navy SEALS—who defended the U.S. Embassy and a nearby CIA annex on September 11, 2012. Four Americans died in that tragedy, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, but the film doesn’t specifically detail that (or the political controversy surrounding the circumstances of the terrorist siege). It’s really your basic action movie, turning political tragedy into escapism and using speed, energy, strength, force, and courage as romanticized definitions of masculinity. In other words, the actors portraying Tyrone “Rone” Woods (James Badge Dale), Kris “Tonto” Paranto (Pablo Schreiber), Dave “Boon” Benton (David Denman), John “Tig” Tiegen (Dominic Fumusa), Mark “Oz” Geist (Max Martini) and Jack Silva (John Krasinski) are hot. But 13 Hours isn’t just a testosterone strut down a cat walk. It enshrines a specific type of hypermasculinity as a principle of camaraderie and that makes it gay. “There’s something to be said for the life of men among men,” Marlon Brando memorably said with a southern twang as gay Army Major Pendleton in Reflections in a Golden Eye. Who ever tweeted the scurrilous lie that the lumbersexual beard was on its way out will have to delete that tweet after seeing 13 Hours. The elite soldiers’ facial hair is part of their government-issue sexiness. It’s a visible passcode that denotes their training, camaraderie and fidelity; the common bond, like the patriotic bond, that each of them will fight for and commit to sacrifice. A clean-cut, pants-creased soldier (squaddie, private or gunner) is also a man to respect but 13 Hours’ bearded tribe denotes a measure of experience. In contrast to the Harvard-grad CIA wonks they’re assigned to protect, these grunts are lions. The look of scruff has a sensual quality, alternately rough or soft. Matched to their forceful, disciplined movements and purposed virility this new militarized look provides a sense of character—personality through iconography. They’re all tough looking (even Krasinski, hulkish after from his role on The Office, has man-upped). Still, they're all boys together. The best part of their camaraderie is the jokes they exchange, the confidences they share, the harmony of tenor and bass. Aside from Michael Bay’s amazing, pyrotechnic battle scenes, the best moment in the film comes as Silva watches the short Libyan aide Amal (Peyman Moaadi) put on a helmet, carry a gun, and timidly join the fight. Silva’s look of concern proves irresistible masculine sensitivity. Long-faced, square-jawed Schreiber as Tonto has jock magnetism—the kind that distracts. His relationship to Amal is expressed in a line that is humorous yet heartfelt: “I’m gonna have to break-up with him.” The round of laughter that follows is not from macho bullies but a compassionate, cross-cultural, sexually-open brotherhood. 13 Hours could almost be recruiting poster propaganda. Hollywood’s post-Vietnam attitude toward the military is usually skeptical yet the social option it offers has been real and admirable, especially since the armed forces opened-up after DADT. The repeal of DADT in 2011 also gave access to the role of the soldier for actors to portray with fresh sensitivity. During downtime, the fighters in 13 Hours watch Robert Downey, Jr. in Tropic Thunder deliver the comic routine “I know who I am. I’m just a guy playing a dude disguised as another dude”—and they all repeat the line. It’s double-edged: embracing the institution as a personal right and also embracing military drag without losing a sense of self. In 13 Hours, these living breathing G.I. Joes are more than just politically correct, they’re also anatomically correct dolls. 13 Hours is out in theaters today. Watch the trailer below: ]]>
(Review Source)
John Nolte
(”13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi” is briefly mentioned in this.)
If Tarantino's greatest movie was made up only of scenes showing Brad Pitt driving around Los Angeles, it still would have made this list.
(Review Source)
John Nolte
The first trailer for Michael Bay's movie 13 Hours, based on a first-person account of the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, was released Tuesday. Many sites—including Breitbart News—posted the trailer, but Vox went well beyond that, offering a 1,500-word review of the two-minute clip.
(Review Source)
15 Minutes
Christian Toto
15 minutes kelsey grammer social media

‘“In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.” — Andy Warhol

That famous Andy Warhol quote is the basis for the criminally underrated “15 Minutes.” The 2001 film

The post How ’15 Minutes’ Predicted Our Crazy Social Media Age appeared first on Hollywood in Toto.

(Review Source)
1917
Armond White
Disdain, contrivance, and irony produce fake feeling.
(Review Source)
Armond White
Good movies vs. Netflix cynicism
(Review Source)
1917
Christian Toto
(”1917” is briefly mentioned in this.)
true history of the kelly gang review Russell Crowe

We live in strange times. Hollywood is shut down, and the industry’s bizarre virtue signaling has been brought to bear upon shelter in place orders. The media industrial complex has been shown, again, to not be a beacon of resistance to tyranny but a mainstream lap dog possessing no more credibility than any other modern …

The post ‘True History of the Kelly Gang’ Breaks a Critical Biopic Rule appeared first on Hollywood in Toto.

(Review Source)
Christian Toto
1917 review

There’s too much blood, sweat and cinematic tears spilled in “1917” to be crushed by a gimmick.

It still comes too close for comfort.

Director Sam Mendes’ film, a brilliantly

The post ‘1917’ – A Bracing War Drama Marred by Contrivance appeared first on Hollywood in Toto.

(Review Source)
1917
John Nolte
If you’re looking for a couple hours of escape and explosions mixed with moments of tension, you could do a lot worse. If you’re looking for something to live up to the hype and stick to the ribs, this is not it.
(Review Source)