Armond White
(”12 Years a Slave” is briefly mentioned in this.)
Save Gone with the Wind to save ourselves.
(Review Source)
National Review Staff
Gone with the Wind has drawn controversy over its portrayal of African Americans in the antebellum South.
(Review Source)
Armond White
(”12 Years a Slave” is briefly mentioned in this.)
Altman’s classic all-American tragedy returns.
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Sonny Bunch
(”12 Years a Slave” is briefly mentioned in this.)
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Kyle Smith
(”12 Years a Slave” is briefly mentioned in this.)
Why does this World War I film succeed where others failed?
(Review Source)
Vox Day
(”12 Years a Slave” is briefly mentioned in this.)
The latest conspiracy news out of /pol/ points at the military-industrial complex in... Minnesota, of all places:
Last week at work I traced a massive subcontractors mysterious source to someone who is currently running for President.

The company produces nothing, I found it because we gained access to an area of this company that no one has been given access to before by a new employee not fully in the know. What we found were 165 items each individually valued at over $1,000,000 missing, all ordered in quarter 1 of 2019.

Our audit further lead us to investigate quietly and trace back over $10 Billion of undelivered, but paid for, Navy equipment and materials, and it all goes through the same subcontractor.

The subcontractor is fully owned by a shell company which shares a physical location with it but with two different street address, which are actually on two different street because it is a corner facility, very smart. During this process of tracking the missing items we went to the subcontractors facility to find it........completely empty. The two companies have a single office with some desks in it and over 400,000 square feet of empty warehouse in the middle of nowhere West Georgia.

Further tracking the shell company we found that it is owned by another shell company, which in turn is owned by a company which owns 5 luxury car dealerships, a big four professional American Sports Franchise, a VERY liberal movie studio, all of which have been noted as being unprofitable, and this single Navy Contractor.

The family that owns this company has a current Senator and a Current Presidential Candidate in it.
Translation: Amy Klobuchar, the Pohlad family, the Minnesota Twins, and River Road Entertainment, which produced 12 Years a Slave and Brokeback Mountain, among others.

I have to admit, it's a little bit bizarre to read about this, especially in light of the way I could still probably drive River Road, which connects the North campus to the South campus of the private school I attended, while wearing a blindfold.

Posted by Vox Day.
(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)
Kyle Smith
It’s tough to call.
(Review Source)
Kyle Smith
(”12 Years a Slave” is briefly mentioned in this.)
Fighting with My Family puts a quirky, continental spin on professional wrestling.
(Review Source)
Kyle Smith
(”12 Years a Slave” is briefly mentioned in this.)
With a spate of box-office successes garnering nominations, AMPAS takes a small step toward solving its ratings problem.
(Review Source)
Vox Day
(”12 Years a Slave” is briefly mentioned in this.)
Who knew that SJWs could make it even worse than it was? Milo observes that the feminist Ghostbusters is going to be an SJW-inspired disaster:
At this point, everyone who isn’t a Women’s Studies major realises that Ghostbusters is probably going to be a terrible movie. But who’s responsible? To anyone familiar with incompetence in Hollywood, the answer should be obvious. It’s Amy Pascal, of course.

Pascal is the former chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment. She oversaw production of dozens of blockbuster titles over the years, until she was hoist on her own progressivism. A series of  embarrassing emails in which she cracked some not-funny racial jokes about President Obama clashed with her public image as a good feminist progressive, and Pascal promptly exited the company.

“Should I ask him if he liked DJANGO?” asked Pascal in a leaked email to a colleague on the topic of meeting President Barack Obama at a then-upcoming fundraising event. Her colleague, producer Scott Rudin, replied simply with “12 YEARS”, referencing ’12 Years a Slave’: another slavery film.

The two then proceeded to jokingly list numerous films concerning African-Americans. It wasn’t funny, and, considering Pascal’s public image as a Hollywood feminist, it wasn’t clever either. It was this series of emails among others that resulted in Pascal’s forced resignation from Sony.

But cinema still isn’t safe: Pascal is taking a producer role in a handful of upcoming films, including Ghostbusters. Pascal, SJW-watchers will note, is the producer behind the mooted Zoe Quinn biopic Crash Override: How to Save the Internet from Itself, which I’m sure will be at least as successful as the all-female Ghostbusters. (By which I mean: an utter disaster.)

It’s obvious Pascal is trying to recover her progressive credentials. But her movies are visibly suffering as a result.

Despite her self-proclaimed feminist values, Pascal has proven hilariously bad at pandering to her own tribe. After allegations of a pay gap at Sony, Pascal was quick to offer a tone-deaf rebuttal.

“I run a business. People want to work for less money, I’ll pay them less money. I don’t call them up and go, can I give you some more?” said Pascal in an interview at the Women of the World event in San Francisco. Pascal said actresses should learn to “walk away” if they weren’t satisfied with their jobs. “People shouldn’t be so grateful for jobs,” she said.

In a final, desperate attempt to make herself likeable again, Pascal is now producing rancid films dressed up in social justice-friendly narratives. And it’s working! Progressives are rallying to her defence, crying “MISOGYNY” whenever moviegoers object to the garbage Pascal is trying to feed them....

I suspect the film’s defenders are also aware that the movie is an impending disaster, which is why they’ve rushed to the web to brand its critics misogynists. There’s a lot on the line for them. If Ghostbusters flops, it will be yet further proof that feminism and social justice don’t sell.
Addendum to Veblen. We're going to need a new theory to account for this new form of virtue-signaling conspicuous consumption.

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(Review Source)
Vox Day
(”12 Years a Slave” is briefly mentioned in this.)
While the Obama presidency has proven to be an even more amusing comedy of errors than I expected it to be, it's starting to get a little weird. Mr. Obama has fallen from being the Lightbringer capable of commanding the oceans to lying about crashing at his uncle's pad in college. And now, we're informed that he is beyond criticism because movie.
With "12 Years a Slave" petering out at the box office after a decent but unspectacular run (currently $34 million and losing screens), liberals are increasingly angry that the well-filmed, erratically-acted, and poorly-scripted biopic remake has failed to shut down criticism of President Obama. 
Pity George W. Bush never thought of that. How can you criticize me?  Did you not see "Lord of the Rings'? The problem most people have with Obama isn't that he's an uppity Negro. They simply dislike that he's a narcissistic fraud of modest intelligence.

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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)
PJ Media Staff
Ed Driscoll "'Homicide' Creator Uses Slavery to Trash Constitution, Founding Fathers," Lawrence Meyers writes at Big Hollywood:Let me first praise David Simon for his terrific book, Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets which spawned one of the greatest American TV series in history, Homicide: Life on the Street. I also hear The Wire is great.Praise complete. Now I’ll bury this Hollywood liberal bully.Simon presses the liberal agenda of White American Guilt in his oh-so-noble praise of the new film 12 Years a Slave, which also demonstrates how yet another Hollywood know-it-all has absolutely no understanding of our Constitution. This is particularly galling because Simon is an accomplished journalist, and his work on Homicide demonstrated equal compassion for all human beings.Based on this passage from Brett Martin’s best-selling Difficult Men: Behind the Scenes of a Creative Revolution: From The Sopranos and The Wire to Mad Men and Breaking Bad, I’m not sure if it’s fair to call Simon a “liberal.” Obviously not in the original laissez-faire definition of the word, and not even in the L-word's Orwellian hijacking during the FDR era: As much as Simon was devoted to the romance and art of journalism and, more important, to nonfiction, even he had to concede that fiction film and TV were the primary communication media of his era. “To get a best-selling novel on the New York Times Best Sellers list, you need to sell a hundred thousand copies. A poorly watched HBO show is going to draw three or four million a week. That’s ten times as many people acquiring your narrative.” And that mattered because, to Simon and his partner, Ed Burns, The Wire was explicitly a piece of social activism. Among its targets, large and small, were the War on Drugs, the educational policy No Child Left Behind, and the outsize influence of money in America’s political system, of statistics in its police departments, and of Pulitzer Prizes at its newspapers. The big fish, though, was nothing less than a capitalist system that Burns and Simon had begun to see as fundamentally doomed. (If Simon was a dyed-in-the-wool lefty, Burns practically qualified as Zapatista; by ex-cop standards, he might as well have been Trotsky himself.)Yet another reminder that it's not just Time-Warner-CNN-HBO's news division that wants to "fundamentally transform" America by continually shifting it to the left; it's a goal of at least some in their entertainment department as well.Oh, and speaking of their news division, it would take a heart of stone not to laugh at this Chyron de coeur:Disappointing news from Washington: pic.twitter.com/IyIC5cYMuB— Ellen Wernecke (@neithernor) November 5, 2013As with the rest of the gang on the Journolist, CNN certainly did everything they could to help Mr. Obama retcon history in 2008, however:[flashvideo file=http://pjmedia.com/media/video/CNN-Wright-to-Wright-Free-Zone6-7-09-rev-1.flv width=315 height=251 image=http://pjmedia.com/eddriscoll/files/2009/06/cnn-wright-to-wright-free-zone6-7-09-title-cardiii.jpg /] class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/eddriscoll/2013/11/6/home-barack-office/ ]]>
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PJ Media Staff
Lifestyle var dataLayer = window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; dataLayer.push({ 'videoName': 'The Wolf of Wall Street Official Trailer', 'videoType': 'Curated' }); The Oscars won’t be given out until March, but Oscar season is already well underway as studio flacks hold parties and special screenings intended to sway voters. The leading contenders so far are:10 and 9. American Hustle and The Wolf of Wall StreetBoth films make the list solely because of the track record of their respective directors, David O. Russell (The Fighter, Silver Linings Playbook) and Martin Scorsese. Unlike all of the other movies on this list, these two haven’t been publicly shown yet. Scorsese is still editing his Leonardo DiCaprio-starring film about finance-industry debauchery and isn’t expected to be finished until the end of November.Russell says his movie, which stars Christian Bale and Jennifer Lawrence in a drama about a 1970s political scam, is almost ready. American Hustle is due in theaters Dec. 18, Wolf a week later.Likely Oscar nominations: Best Picture? class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/2013/11/15/2013s-top-10-oscar-contenders/ previous Page 1 of 9 next   ]]>
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PJ Media Staff
Lifestyle var dataLayer = window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; dataLayer.push({ 'videoName': '12 Years A Slave - Official Trailer (HD) Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender', 'videoType': 'Curated' }); One of the great tales of courage and survival is a book that you have probably never heard of before.  It is the story of Solomon Northup, a free black who lived in New York state in the 1840s.  He was lured to Washington, D.C., under the promise of work as a fiddler. In D.C., he was drugged and then sold as a slave.  Eventually, because of the intervention of several whites both in Louisiana and in his home state of New York, his freedom was restored.  It is the source of the new film by this same title.This is not the first time that Northup’s inspiring tale of faith and endurance has been made into a movie.  Gordon Parks made a 1984 version for television starring Avery Brooks (who some of you may remember as “Hawk” in the 1980s television series Spenser: For Hire) as Northup.  While faithful to the book, it was produced with about the same budget as some people spend on dental floss, and shot in three weeks.  The acting quality varied substantially, from quite excellent to positively dreadful.  Still, I often use the first few minutes of it in my U.S. history class to emphasize the fundamentally middle class values that many free blacks in America aspired to in that era.12 Years a Slave (2013) is what I had long hoped that Gordon Parks’ version had been.  Well-funded, it has a few big names (Paul Giamatti, Benedict Cumberbatch, Brad Pitt) and exemplary acting performances throughout.  If Lupita Nyong'o (born in Mexico, raised in Kenya, educated in the U.S.), wins an Oscar for her performance as Patsey, I will not be even slightly surprised.  There is not a weak performance anywhere in this – but with material like this, what actor would fail? class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/2013/11/29/we-need-movies-that-tell-the-truth-about-slavery/ previous Page 1 of 3 next   ]]>
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PJ Media Staff
Roger L. Simon Most folks on the right can't stand the Oscars -- and with justification. The movies of recent years -- not the movies of the Frank Capra era -- have been a collection of banal anti-American tracts, subtle or otherwise. There are exceptions, of course, but that's the main thing.Meanwhile, a few of us who vote in the Oscars -- including some very distinguished fellows like David Mamet and Tom Stoppard (arguably the best writer in the English speaking world) -- don't adhere to the sophomoric liberal politics. But we still have to vote in these things.So, like all the other six thousand or so Academy members from Sean Penn to Matt Damon, we have to wade through the annual onslaught of screeners to determine who wins the vaunted Oscar. (You can condemn it all you want, but it's probably a better known prize than anything but the Nobel and even that....)This year there has been a certain amount of libo-babble (to coin a term). The Butler is a salient example of what one might call Oprah Pix, the bathos-laden quasi-historical tale of a White House butler featuring Jane Fonda as Nancy Reagan ('nuff said). Damon's anti-fracking Promised Land is another piece of babble the Academy seems to be ignoring.Indeed by and large the LQ (liberal quotient) hasn't been as egregious as in previous years. (The fine 12 Years a Slave should not be counted as liberal propaganda because no one could dispute its overall historical accuracy.) The times, as one semi-conservative singer once said, may be a changin'. In fact, there was even a movie that celebrated American bravery in Afghanistan, Lone Survivor. (Yes, I voted for it -- in nominations anyway.) class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/rogerlsimon/2014/1/7/confessions-of-an-oscar-voter/ previous Page 1 of 2 next   ]]>
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PJ Media Staff
Lifestyle This is Week 2, day 4 of my new 13 Weeks Radical Reading Experiment. I keep a daily journal of the most interesting media that crosses my path each day. See or create something I should check out? Email me at [email protected]/* <![CDATA[ */!function(t,e,r,n,c,a,p){try{t=document.currentScript||function(){for(t=document.getElementsByTagName('script'),e=t.length;e--;)if(t[e].getAttribute('data-cfhash'))return t[e]}();if(t&&(c=t.previousSibling)){p=t.parentNode;if(a=c.getAttribute('data-cfemail')){for(e='',r='0x'+a.substr(0,2)|0,n=2;a.length-n;n+=2)e+='%'+('0'+('0x'+a.substr(n,2)^r).toString(16)).slice(-2);p.replaceChild(document.createTextNode(decodeURIComponent(e)),c)}p.removeChild(t)}}catch(u){}}()/* ]]> */The Oscar nominations were announced yesterday. Here's the full list at the Hollywood Reporter. Best picture nominees:American Hustle - Charles Roven, Richard Suckle, Megan Ellison and Jonathan Gordon, ProducersCaptain Phillips - Scott Rudin, Dana Brunetti and Michael De Luca, ProducersDallas Buyers Club - Robbie Brenner and Rachel Winter, ProducersGravity - Alfonso Cuaron and David Heyman, ProducersHer - Megan Ellison, Spike Jonze and Vincent Landay, ProducersNebraska - Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa, ProducersPhilomena - Gabrielle Tana, Steve Coogan and Tracey Seaward, Producers12 Years a Slave - Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Steve McQueen and Anthony Katagas, ProducersThe Wolf of Wall Street - Nominees to be determinedA few years back the Academy decided to expand the number of films they'd nominate for best picture, thus diluting the significance of the award. It used to be that only five films would be nominated and it could be a genuinely close race. In 2008 it was Slumdog Millionaire, Frost/Nixon, Milk, The Reader, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. (The best of the them won, IMHO.) Then in 2009 it ballooned to ten, offering an assortment ranging from Avatar to Up to Precious and Inglourious Basterds. var dataLayer = window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; dataLayer.push({ 'videoName': 'Slumdog Millionaire - Trailer', 'videoType': 'Curated' }); It seems weird to compare a blue aliens action flick to a Pixar family comedy to a ghetto sentimentality to a high-brow grindhouse bloodbath. But I guess that's just the nature of our postmodern film age. (Of the films nominated, fanatical Disney partisan I am, Up would've earned my vote.) var dataLayer = window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; dataLayer.push({ 'videoName': 'UP Official Movie Trailer #3', 'videoType': 'Curated' }); This year's list is similarly all over the map and I haven't seen any of them, though I imagine The Wife and I will catch some of when they start making their way to Netflix streaming. With her finishing up graduate school we tend to only make it to the theaters to see something that's really big and mind-blowing. The Hobbit films in IMAX 3-D are well worth whichever arm or leg you'll need to barter for a ticket. var dataLayer = window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; dataLayer.push({ 'videoName': 'The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - HD Main Trailer - Official Warner Bros. UK', 'videoType': 'Curated' }); But for a comedy or a drama, why bother going out to the theaters? The effect of seeing it on a decent-sized screen at home isn't much different. And why bother trying to see all the best picture nominees before the show so you can talk about it when they've inflated the category to ten? That's a lot of work!Film is now a culturally dead medium. It's akin to painting, ballet, classical music, drama, and the literary novel. Other, newer technologies have spawned mediums with greater power and influence amongst the masses while high-thinking elitists talk mostly to themselves about how their art is saving the world.But kudos to Oscar for the delicious snub of Oprah Winfrey's hateful The Butler, a disinformation project designed to make people believe America and conservatives are racist. The one good thing about having 10 best picture spots to fill? Intentionally only pick to fill nine of them and the message to the one snubbed is loud and clear. Are we done with the Oscar-bait genre yet?Maybe now that "film" is dead individual movies can start to live more. Here's the best picture nominee I'm going to make a point to see: var dataLayer = window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; dataLayer.push({ 'videoName': 'Her - Official Trailer 2 [HD]', 'videoType': 'Curated' }); Here are 10 Interesting Stories From Around the Web on Thursday1. Michael Ledeen here at PJM: Exclusive: The Voice of Iranian DissentI’ve received what follows from Iran, via Banafsheh Zand, who has written at PJ Media on several occasions.  As you will see, it’s an open letter from one of the bravest men of our time, Heshmat Tabarzadi, a fighter for the freedom of the Iranian people who has repeatedly put his life on the line in that worthy cause.  Heshmat was one of the central figures in the Iranian student movement, and then joined the Green Movement that was cheated out of its electoral victory in 2009.  Along with other Green leaders, Heshmat was subsequently arrested, convicted by a “Revolutionary Tribunal,” and locked away.As he writes, he was recently paroled halfway through his 8-year sentence.  I rather suspect that the regime hoped he would take the opportunity to flee the country, but he won’t do that.  Like the Green leaders Mousavi, Rahnavard and Karroubi, Heshmat is one of the most respected figures in contemporary Iran, and, so far at least, the regime prefers to keep them locked away rather than killing them, probably hoping they will die in prison.Today, January 15th, they arrested him again and he is incarcerated.  It behooves any one who really cares about human rights to keep his name in front of the civilized world, to condemn his imprisonment, and to call for his release so that he can publicly and freely promote his cause, in which the civilized world purports to believe.Read The Whole Thing. While Americans are having fun debating their popular culture other people are fighting for their freedom:My name is Heshmat Tabarzadi. I am an Iranian secular democrat human rights activist. I have been arrested several times on charges related to my activities, most recently after the green movement and the disputed election results of 2009. In October 2010, I was sentenced to eight years in prison, convicted of five charges of “insulting the Leader,” “insulting the President,” “propaganda against the system,” “gathering and colluding with intent to harm the state security,” and “disturbing public order.” I had already spent seven years of my life in prison, nearly three years of it in solitary confinement for my activities as a student leader. Additionally I have spent another 4 years of my latest verdict and still have four more years remaining. I have spent part of every year of my life in prison since 1999 and while imprisoned I have been tortured on several different occasions. Meanwhile my different publications have been shut down, I have been denied the right to peaceful participation in two secular democratic and human rights organizations, and I have been prohibited from any social activities for 10 years.2. Mediaite: Fox’s Adam Housley Slams ‘Bigoted’ and ‘Pathetic’ Racial Remarks About His Interracial MarriageEarlier today we reported on OWN’s special interview with TV star Mowry, in which she tearfully recounted being called a “white man’s w***e,” among other slurs. Speaking with TVNewser, Housley excoriated those who wish to cut down their relationship.“The fact that in this day and age, we get attacked for our interracial relationship is beyond sad…it is pathetic,” he said. “Yes I am white. Yes she is half black. Marrying a white man does not erase her color and marrying a woman who is half black does not mean I am blinded. The problem isn’t pigmentation…the problem is backwards, bigoted thought from people who should know better.”3. Twitchy: Louis Farrakhan’s extraterrestrial ‘Wheel’ has nothing to do with Pat Sajak … Or does it?If you’re like the vast majority of human beings on this planet, you haven’t closely followed the preaching of minister Louis Farrakhan, former calypso music artist, extremist Islamist, black supremacist, and all around anti-Semite. Well, it’s time you caught up on all the craziness … and Twitchy is here to help!In short, it’s all about The Wheel. No, we’re not talking about the Wheel of Fortune. That’s Pat Sajak — different minister. It’s some kind of mothership from outer space that follows Farrakhan around. At some point, when he’s good and ready, he will climb on board to fly away from planet Earth and, for good measure, maybe kill off all of our planet’s blue-eyed devils.4. Newsbusters: Ann Coulter Challenges Ed Schultz: 'Invite Me on Your Show, You Lying P--sy'Moreover, I don't care that they're all a bunch of pussies at MSNBC, but cut the B.S. posturing when you won't allow any non-retarded conservative on your airwaves.5. Dana Stevens at Slate: Entry 9: Forrest Gump and the Sundance Kid snubbed by the Academy!So I promise to return to 12 Years in our next round (and please get started without me if you like). But first, a few observations about this morning's predawn rites: The biggest puzzle for me is why the Coen Brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis, a near-universal presence on top-10 lists throughout the land and certainly a far more accessible movie than their Oscar-winning No Country for Old Men, has been entirely shut out of the major awards (though it did get some recognition in the technical categories, including a nod for its magic-making DP, Bruno Delbonnel, for his cinematography).6. Noah Rothman at Mediaite: A Fringe Coalition: When the Left and Right Join Forces to Discredit the CenterThe network’s prime time hosts have, in fact, gone all in (so to speak) in the effort to expose Christie as a vindictive and manipulative “bully,” going so far as to repeatedly broadcast arcane and unsubstantiated theories about Christie’s motives. National Review editor Rich Lowry correctly noted that the various theories posited by MSNBC personalities designed to make Christie a toxic property“failed to meet the most basic evidentiary standard of, you know, marshaling some evidence.”But those theories satisfy a purpose, one with bipartisan appeal, apparently: The desperate need shared by both the far-right and the far-left to smother the Christie juggernaut in its crib.Pundits on the cable news networks often lament the lack of bipartisanship that supposedly characterized an idealized version of American history, often while failing to recognize their own roles in an era of hyper-partisan politics. But these pundits could just as easily recognize it in the emerging fringe alliance. Both of America’s political extremes apparently view centrism as an existential threat and are willing, if reluctantly, to ally in order to guarantee that theirs remain the loudest and most influential voices in the room.I'll keep reading Rothman, who I regard as one of the best media writers around, but I found this one to be a misfire in the narrowness with which he chose to frame the "far-right" and "far-left." I registered my dissent with him on Twitter:I disagree with your ideological goal posts here @NoahCRothman Levin/RedState & MSNBC are not "far" on right or left http://t.co/upBPlCBpKi— David Swindle (@DaveSwindle) January 16, 2014 7. New Ann Coulter Column: IS CHRIS CHRISTIE LESS BELIEVABLE THAN TAWANA BRAWLEY?Even in 1997 -- a decade after Brawley's story had been proved a hoax beyond a scintilla of a doubt -- Sharpton arranged for her to give a speech to his United African Movement at a Brooklyn church.I find it hard to believe that Al Sharpton did not know Brawley was lying about being raped by a Nazi cult on the Wappingers Falls police force.Brawley's boyfriend later told Newsday that she had admitted to him at the time that she cooked up the story with her mother. Is it believable that she didn't also tell her trusted adviser Al Sharpton?Is Al Sharpton a "far left" figure? Maybe he was when first starting out, but these days he's within the bosom of the Democratic Party. He's "left" and his views may be "far out" sometimes, but his views, as despicable as they are, count as within the mainstream of progressive/so-called liberal thought.How about this for a definition: you're not "far" anything if you choose to work through either the Democratic or Republican parties.8. Andrew Klavan at Truth Revolt: Lena Dunham Exposes the Truth About OnScreen NudityI’ve been thinking a lot about Lena Dunham’s naked body.  It’s a difficult job, but someone’s got to do it.  Last week, TheWrap’s TV Editor Tim Molloy got yelled at because he dared to ask why Dunham was always taking her clothes off on her TV show Girls.  Girls is an HBO series in which the 20-something actress daughters of famous people — including the daughters of newsman Brian Williams and playwright David Mamet — portray obnoxious, self-obsessed 20-something females trying to make it in New York.  About 870,000 people watch the show every week.  That’s not a lot, but I suspect most of them work in the media.  Anyway, that would explain why the show gets such ecstatic reviews.9. At Elle last month, hat tip to Kathy Shaidle: The Carrie Bradshaw Myth - What's Wrong with 'Sex and the City' - ELLEWell, guess what? I'm an editor at ELLE.com. I have a formidable pile of Miu Miu. My love life is actually pretty exciting. And with every TBS re-run or SATC marathon on the Style Network, I'm starting to realize something kind of sad: What I didn't "get" in my younger days wasn't the secret to Carrie's coolness… it was that Carrie Bradshaw is an idiot. And a sucker. And—this is the part that hurts me most—a really shitty modern woman....And I think that's what pisses me off most about Carrie Bradshaw, what makes me angry at myself for not seeing it before: Carrie pretends to be independent and free-thinking, but at her core, she's a totally passive woman who can't lead an adventure or survive without knowing someone (or actually, everyone) is totally in love with her. Despite her "girls just wanna be free" party line, Carrie Bradshaw still needs a guy to make her feel complete. And to me, that's beyond dumb. It's kind of unforgivable.10. Life News: 29-Year-Old Woman’s Beautiful Answer to “Why are You STILL a Virgin?”I admire Mandy’s stand. As a 32-year-old virgin who’s happily getting married this summer, I know how challenging it can be to save sex for marriage. As a woman who works at a pregnancy resource center, I also see the damaging effects of sex outside marriage. Sex is meant to be a holistic experience that touches our minds, bodies, souls, and emotions. It’s more than just a pleasure; it’s a pleasure that comes with great responsibility.PJ Media Story Round UpLead PJM StoriesBridget Johnson: $1.1 Trillion Spending Bill Easily Approved by CongressBryan Preston: Get Ready, NRA: Harvey Weinstein Is Coming After You with a Movie Starring Meryl StreepBridget Johnson: Colorado Congressman Finds Obamacare Cancellation Number Higher Than ReportedAndrew C. McCarthy: KSM’s Prison Communiqués: Enemy Combatants Back To Being Criminal DefendantsBridget Johnson: Ellison: Tea Party Has ‘Destroyed the Republican Party and Use It Only in Name’Rodrigo Sermeno: Coburn to Congress: ‘The Problem Is Us’Bill Straub: Agencies Sobering Up Travel Spending After Conference PartiesNew at PJ LifestyleBryan Preston: Justin Bieber Should Be DeportedPJ Lifestyle Cute Animal Videos: The Talking Porcupine Likes PumpkinsHelen Smith: Why Marry if You Are a Call Girl?Becky Graebner: #WashingtonDC: Moments of Beauty Chronicled by InstagramKathy Shaidle: Is Canada Becoming the Proving Ground for Eco-Terrorism?Daily ReadingPage 19 of Frank S. Meyer's In Defense of Freedom: Frank S. Meyer's critique of scientism starts In Defense of #Freedom Excerpt from page 19 on the shortcomings of political science and other soft sciences that imitate the hard sciences. #politicalscience #politics #conservatism A post shared by Thoth, Ma'at & Husky Familiar (@thothandmaatmarried) on Jan 16, 2014 at 8:43pm PST class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/2014/1/17/why-this-years-oscar-nominations-confirm-film-is-now-a-culturally-dead-medium/ ]]>
(Review Source)
PJ Media Staff
Lifestyle var dataLayer = window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; dataLayer.push({ 'videoName': 'Batman: The Animated Series (good quality intro)', 'videoType': 'Curated' }); This is Week 2, day 5 of my new 13 Weeks Radical Reading Experiment. I keep a daily journal of the most interesting media that crosses my path each day. See or create something I should check out? Email me at [email protected]/* <![CDATA[ */!function(t,e,r,n,c,a,p){try{t=document.currentScript||function(){for(t=document.getElementsByTagName('script'),e=t.length;e--;)if(t[e].getAttribute('data-cfhash'))return t[e]}();if(t&&(c=t.previousSibling)){p=t.parentNode;if(a=c.getAttribute('data-cfemail')){for(e='',r='0x'+a.substr(0,2)|0,n=2;a.length-n;n+=2)e+='%'+('0'+('0x'+a.substr(n,2)^r).toString(16)).slice(-2);p.replaceChild(document.createTextNode(decodeURIComponent(e)),c)}p.removeChild(t)}}catch(u){}}()/* ]]> */Last year I started experimenting with Instagram. Inspired by PJM columnist Zombie I decided to create an account to A) confuse the hell out of people, B) stir up trouble, and C) explore the truth of what people believe in the world today without the baggage of my existing politically incorrect identity clouding how they addressed me.As with Zombie, with "Thoth and Ma'at Married" people can't even tell if I'm a man or woman -- the handle includes the names of both male and female Egyptian deities of writing (and thus serves as my stealth so-con way of promoting marriage too). They likewise can't tell at first glance what my religion, politics, or philosophy are. I use the account to engage with people all across the spectrum of cultures and ideas to try to learn more about where their values come from and how they think. On January 10, one of the atheists that I follow posted a photo in which he asked for anyone to ask him his opinion about anything. I asked which side he supported in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Here's the exchange that followed and the revealing admission from an atheist about where he really learned right from wrong in our pop culture-dominated world today:So he simultaneously admits he knows nothing but expresses his preset ideological opinion that the governments are driven by money and the militaries by primitivism.Here's when I drop my counterculture conservative provocation, defining the evil in the issue and then seeing how he or any of his followers choose to react to the facts:Did my provocation catch any fish? Yes, two revealing responses. The first a somewhat innocent, naive idealist, and the second doubting my facts.One thing that I've learned in these exchanges over the years is to try to cut to the key points you want to make. Don't go on and on. Just give the link and state your idea. Over-writing is a sign that you're not confident in what you're saying.Here's where I pose the question that really matters to me for my research and writing: if you're an atheist, from where do you get your values? I then offer a number of possibilities. Usually I'll try to throw out five or six, here just three:Sounds like a good punk rock song title, doesn't it? "Let Me Stab to Be Corrected." This is a much more cordial exchange than many that I have with more hostile secularists. But then again, with this particular meme it allowed for more of a thoughtful discussion. Perhaps I should start experimenting with using "Ask My Opinion" and "Ask Anything" type images to fish for more interesting questions...I've found that one of the easiest ways to remind atheists that there are multiple ways of reading the Bible is to start talking about Maimonides. See Douglas Rushkoff's Nothing Sacred: The Truth About Judaism for the accessible introduction that turned me on to the Rambam not just as a Jewish theologian, but as a foundational thinker of Western civilization and one of the inspirers of the Renaissance, Enlightenment, and the founding of America.And here's where I got the kind of off-hand, not-even-thinking-about-it, honest admission that I look for when engaging in these kinds of exchanges:It's hard for me to pinpoint with as much precision as @isaac_of_portage just which specific pop culture properties most influenced my values and understanding of good and evil. There are just so many from Star Wars to Super Mario to the Disney canon which shaped my childhood and initial adolescence much more than the irregular church attendance in mushy Methodism.Though, as I mentioned in the exchange, seeing Schindler's List in seventh grade -- amidst the controversy of it being broadcast uncensored, commercial-free on NBC -- did psychologically scar me somehow. But it's a way that I needed to be scarred -- it was one of the big beginning-to-wake-up-to-evil moments that would take a long time to process. Throughout my life in my obsessions with movies, books, comics, and video games, I understand that I've been influenced both for the good and the bad. Some pop culture properties derive from the foundational stories and myths of Western civilization, others are reinventions of the primitive, pre-modern death cults which one needs to understand in order to make much sense of the first five books of the Bible. (I've found from years of these kinds of exchanges that many secularists misinterpret the Bible to such an extent that they end up taking the side of the Egyptians and Canaanites, not realizing just what the ancient Hebrews were rebelling against -- nature worship, human sacrifice and temple prostitution.)So when I talk about Pop Culture Polytheism, I don't do so with complete condemnation, because it is a religion that I have practiced to one degree or another all my life and still do to a lesser, more controlled extent today. Pop culture polytheists are those who use pop culture properties as substitutes -- or supplements -- to religion. You can be a Christian, Jew, Buddhist, secular humanist, etc. first and a pop culture polytheist second -- many people are, more should be.When pop culture is understood as a tool for us to better understand and engage with the world then it's useful and valuable. When it's held up as how we should model ourselves, when the figures dancing across the screen become like the gods on Mount Olympus, then we've got a problem. And that's what we have to face and confront today. Pop culture polytheism can be a wonderful thing -- my wife and I bond deeply over our shared Disney and Star Trek enthusiasms -- but it is only a toolbox, not a foundation upon which to build a life. So in keeping with my third New Year's resolution...10 Headlines from Around the Web this WeekStarting With 6 Pop Culture Polytheist Idols of the Age1.Mediaite: The Church of ‘Yeezianity’ Is a New Religion That Worships Kanye West var dataLayer = window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; dataLayer.push({ 'videoName': 'New 'Yeezianity' religion worships Kanye', 'videoType': 'Curated' }); This is of course something that West has inspired since posing as Jesus on the cover of Rolling Stone. He put out the magick spell of himself as the Messiah and others took him up on his offer.2. Jessica Winter at Slate: Did Woody Allen Molest His Adopted Daughter 22 Years Ago?In November,Vanity Fair published Maureen Orth’s revisitation of the Allen-Farrow scandal, including the first-ever media interview with Dylan. The interview was a bombshell: Dylan (who now uses a different name) did not waver from the story she told at age 7 about Allen molesting and sexually assaulting her in the attic of her mother’s home in Connecticut, on Aug. 4, 1992. On her side is her brother, media-star-in-the-making Ronan Farrow. After Allen received a lifetime-achievement award at last Sunday’s Golden Globes ceremony,Ronan tweeted, “Missed the Woody Allen tribute—did they put the part where a woman publicly confirmed he molested her at age 7 before or after Annie Hall?”So what should an outside observer make of the Allen-Farrow debacle, two decades after the fact?....In his June 1993 ruling, Wilk also denied Allen any visitation rights with Dylan or his older adopted child with Farrow, 15-year-old Moses. In May 1994, in a hearing considering custody or increased visitation for Allen, the Appellate Division of the state Supreme Court cited a “clear consensus” among psychiatric experts involved in the case that Allen’s “interest in Dylan was abnormally intense.”Popular culture celebrates criminality -- both on screen and off. Someday a lot of people are going to be very ashamed that they gave Allen the benefit of the doubt for all these years. I suspect that some day we'll have a better idea of the full extent of the truth. If Allen is who his accusers claim he is then eventually more victims will emerge. And too many to be denied.But will anybody care? They still listen to Michael Jackson songs, don't they?3. Uproxx: If The Posters For This Year’s Oscar-Nominated Movies Were HonestWhy does Martin Scorsese have to keep remaking the same movie about violent, sex-obsessed, macho jerks over and over again?4. Buzzfeed: Why “12 Years A Slave” Star Lupita Nyong’o Should Be Your New Fashion IdolBut you should also know her as YOUR NEW FASHION IDOL AND A GODDESS WALKING AMONGST US.5. …but also oozes goddess in this sleek, formfitting little black dress.....13. And don’t let the white man’s lighting fool you, HER SKIN IS A FLAWLESS BLANKET OF FLAWLESS....BOW. DOWN.So is it her fashion sense that's being worshiped or her skin color?5. Andrew Johnson at National Review: ABC Swoons: 50 Ways to Celebrate Michelle Obama’s BirthdayIn preparation for the first lady’s 50th birthday on Saturday, ABC News hasserved up a fawning list 50 ways to celebrate the occasion.It highlights Michelle Obama’s most memorable and glamorous moments. Below, ten examples from the list, which you can read in full here:Dance to BeyonceMove into a massive new house with your family and invite your mother to move in tooMake the cover of VogueBuy a Jason Wu dressHang out with your friend, OprahSame question.6. Uproxx: 10 Better Ways Of Spending The $10,000 Jezebel Paid For Untouched Lena Dunham PhotosThere are no winners here. Anna Wintour put Lena Dunham on the cover of Vogue, and Photoshopped out all the physical imperfections that make Dunham, y’know, a human being. Meanwhile, Jezebel offered $10,000 for the untouched photos, and within “two hours of offering [the money], [they] received six allegedly unaltered images.” But not without controversy: Brooklyn Magazine perhaps put it best, or at least the most succinct, with the headline, “Jezebel Offers $10,000 For Unretouched Lena Dunham Photos from Vogue; So, F*ck You Jezebel.”The high priorities of the leading third wave feminist publication today.Last night The Wife and I watched the first two episodes of the new season. What struck me as very awkward during the sex scenes is that with the new short haircut and her insistence on displaying her body she honestly looks more boyish than feminine. So these supposedly heterosexual scenes end up having this creepy homoerotic undertone to them. Hannah doesn't look or behave like a mature woman; in both instances she's a teenage boy. I knew too many Hannahs in college. She unfortunately is a voice of a generation.That's really the nature of the show and of many secular millennial pop culture polytheists: today's politically correct ideology has pushed girls to aspire to be more masculine and men to be more feminine. In a bigger expression it's what we see in Michelle Obama and Valerie Jarrett making the big decisions while hapless, wimpy Barack Obama goes out to whine that his approval ratings are tanking because people just don't like the idea of a black president. class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/2014/1/20/what-is-pop-culture-polytheism/ previous Page 1 of 3 next   ]]>
(Review Source)
PJ Media Staff
(”12 Years a Slave” is briefly mentioned in this.)
Roger L. Simon If conservatives give up Hollywood, they give up the country. Game over.It's Oscar time again and, since I'm one of the half-dozen or so Academy voters to the right of Trotsky (okay, a little exaggeration there, but not much), I am often called upon to write something about it (and give my predictions) for the likes of PJM, National Review or City Journal.But every time I do, especially here, I get a slew of comments, sometimes dozens, reading to the effect: "I hate Hollywood. I haven't seen one of their putrid biased movies since a. The Marx Brothers' Coconuts, b. The Best Years of Our Lives or c. when Rock Hudson and Doris Day were still in the closet."Well, good for you, I say. We should all do what we want with our spare time and Lord knows there are better things to do with it than watch banal liberal propaganda. Have a good time playing Chinese checkers or reading Burke -- whatever, as they say, floats your boat.But as you run your personal boycott of Hollywood, remember this. Almost everyone else you know -- be it family, friends, business associates and, most especially, your children -- is not. They are consuming Hollywood entertainment in mammoth gulps. And politics, as the late Andrew Breitbart said repeatedly (and he was far from the only one), is downstream of culture.You give up Hollywood and you give up the country. Game over. And as we all know, it's almost over already. Want that? Well, if you do, you can skip the rest of this article.So... for those of you that are left... now more than ever is the time for conservatives and libertarians to take back at least some of the entertainment industry. Someone recently told me that Hollywood is like one of those football blowouts with a score of 90 for the liberals and 10 for the conservatives. We have to try to make it at least 70-30 (still a blowout, but there's a glimmer of hope). class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/rogerlsimon/2014/2/28/take-back-hollywood/ previous Page 1 of 2 next   ]]>
(Review Source)
PJ Media Staff
(”12 Years a Slave” is briefly mentioned in this.)
Lifestyle var dataLayer = window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; dataLayer.push({ 'videoName': '', 'videoType': 'Curated' }); 1. Lupita Nyong’o’s beautiful acceptance speechIn her very first film role, the newly minted Yale Drama School graduate snagged the role of Patsey, a slave who is regularly raped by a plantation owner. Nyong’o struck exactly the right tone when she said,"It doesn’t escape me for one moment that so much joy in my life is thanks to so much pain in someone else’s,” she said. “And so I want to salute the spirit of Patsey for her guidance.”Respect was one element that made her speech special; another was the evident excitement on the beaming 31-year-old Kenyan’s face. Nyongo’ was simply adorable, the big star of the evening. class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/2014/3/3/the-oscars-in-review-5-highs-and-5-lows/ previous Page 1 of 10 next   ]]>
(Review Source)
PJ Media Staff
PJ Media Credit: Academy Awards Here are some financial facts showing the disconnect between Hollywood and “the rest of us.” (Facts are so inconvenient.)Question: Of the nine movies nominated for Best Picture, how many ranked among the top-ten highest grossing movies of 2013 at the domestic box office?Answer: Just one, Gravity which ranked sixth highest, hauling in $270,465,000 according to  Box Office Mojo.Now to be fair, Frozen was the third highest grosser with $388,736,000 and that won Best Animated Feature Film but was not nominated for Best Picture.Here are the remaining eight movies nominated for Best Picture and their 2013 domestic rankings at the box office.12 Years a Slave: Winner of Best Picture  Rank 69 -- earned $50,260,000American Hustle: Rank 17 -- earned $146,710,000Captain Phillips:  Rank 32 -- earned $106,957,071Dallas Buyers Club: Rank 99 -- earned $25,318,000Her: Rank 101 –earned $24,604,000Nebraska: Rank 120 – earned $17,133,000Philomena: Rank 83 -- earned $34,629,000The Wolf of Wall Street: Rank 29 – earned $114,579,000For comparison, here are the domestic Top Ten Grossing Movies in 2013:The Hunger Games: Catching Fire:  $423,914,000Iron Man 3: $409,013,994Frozen: $368,736,000Despicable Me: $368,061,265Man of Steel: $291,045,518Gravity: $270,465,000Monsters University: $268,492,764The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug $256,952,000Fast and Furious 6: $238,679,850Oz The Great and Powerful: $234,911,825After seeing these rankings, please comment about whether you think Hollywood is out of touch with “the folks.”  And while you are commenting, how about answering this question: "Should success at the box office impact whether a movie deserves to be nominated or to win Best Picture?"Furthermore, it is my humble opinion that a complete snubbing of Lone Survivor (Rank 24: Gross $123,357,000) sums up everything we need to know about Hollywood culture and values in 2014.  In case you missed it, here was what PJM’s Roger Simon wrote about that snub back when the nominations were announced  in January.Finally, what Donald Trump thought about the Oscars was mentioned today in Politico’s Morning Score:"Was President Obama in charge of this years [sic] Academy Awards - they remind me of the ObamaCare website!  -   Donald Trump tweeted during the Oscars last night.Well, at least First Lady Michelle Obama stayed away from the awards show this year because we all know there is no connection between Hollywood and Washington.   class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/blog/inconvenient-facts-about-what-the-oscar-movies-actually-earned-at-the-box-office-in-2013/ ]]>
(Review Source)
PJ Media Staff
(”12 Years a Slave” is briefly mentioned in this.)
Lifestyle var dataLayer = window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; dataLayer.push({ 'videoName': 'Reason and Emotion', 'videoType': 'Curated' }); Dear Roger,I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to disagree with two points from you piece last week, "How Conservatives Can Take Back (Some of) Hollywood for Oscar Time." First, let's take a look at where you place the goal posts for conservatives to aim:But as you run your personal boycott of Hollywood, remember this. Almost everyone else you know — be it family, friends, business associates and, most especially, your children — is not. They are consuming Hollywood entertainment in mammoth gulps. And politics, as the late Andrew Breitbart said repeatedly (and he was far from the only one), is downstream of culture.You give up Hollywood and you give up the country. Game over. And as we all know, it’s almost over already. Want that? Well, if you do, you can skip the rest of this article.So… for those of you that are left… now more than ever is the time for conservatives and libertarians to take back at least some of the entertainment industry. Someone recently told me that Hollywood is like one of those football blowouts with a score of 90 for the liberals and 10 for the conservatives. We have to try to make it at least 70-30 (still a blowout, but there’s a glimmer of hope).70-30? Come on. Settling for a pittance of the country's entertainment industry is akin to aiming for a passing grade. Conservatives should proclaim bolder objectives with their efforts to enter the entertainment industry: to become billionaires and dominate the entire field through redefining it.I've been studying and blogging on Walt Disney with Chris Queen here at PJ Lifestyle for over a year now to try to understand the secrets of his success. What did Disney do to make his name synonymous with a new art form? He innovated -- a principle you as the co-founder of PJM know well. For Disney, his path -- which is worth recounting visually since we can easily thanks to YouTube -- made the first big splash with synched-sound cartoons in 1928: var dataLayer = window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; dataLayer.push({ 'videoName': 'Walt Disney Animation Studios' Steamboat Willie', 'videoType': 'Curated' }); Then Flowers and Trees, the first technicolor cartoon, in 1932: var dataLayer = window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; dataLayer.push({ 'videoName': 'Disney '32 Silly Symphonies Flowers and Trees Pluto Dingo Daisy Donald Duck Minnie', 'videoType': 'Curated' }); Then Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the first feature-length animated film, in 1937: var dataLayer = window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; dataLayer.push({ 'videoName': 'Heigh Ho - Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs', 'videoType': 'Curated' }); And after World War II then leaping to television and theme parks simultaneously, using one to support the other, with the Disneyland TV show in 1954: var dataLayer = window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; dataLayer.push({ 'videoName': 'Disneyland - 1.01 - The Disneyland Story - Part 1 of 4', 'videoType': 'Curated' }); Nowadays Disney's TV and theme park divisions make much more money than the studio films. (BTW, from David P. Goldman, commenting on my Facebook: "Factoid: The market value of Disney Corp is larger than that of the whole Ukrainian stock exchange. So much for Marxists vs. Disney.")Conservatives should be looking to the future and to new mediums of entertainment. Humans are not going to amuse themselves by sitting around staring at screens forever. I still believe in the Breitbartian idea that the battle for the culture is more important than the fight over political ideology. Where I've changed is in realizing that there's actually a force more important and powerful to affect and control. Culture is driven by technology. Movable type came before the Gutenberg Bible. Edison's film camera came before Hollywood. The techniques of animation had to be discovered by Disney and his animators through years of experimenting with Silly Symphony and Mickey Mouse shorts before Snow White could be achieved.So yeah, politics is downstream of culture. But technology has the power to carve the shape of the river itself.And conservatives are even more behind when it comes to applying technology to winning elections. J. Christian Adams in the symposium last week spells out how now targeting the broad, mainstream culture isn't even necessary for winning elections when it's cheaper to churn out the base rather than work to persuade the undecideds:Modern elections are all about energy. Energy wins. Period.The left has developed an election data tool called Catalist. The GOP has no functioning counterpart.  This database allows leftist groups, the DNC, and the Obama campaign to activate the far left base in ways that were never before possible.How do they do it?  They collect massive amounts of data about everybody.  What you read, what car you drive, what you said in a poll, everything. A consortium of leftist users pump data in, and a consortium of left-wing customers extract data.The data about Democrat voters allow institutions to flip a switch and ensure a massive base vote.So what does this have to do with Ted Cruz?Democrats have realized that modern elections are won or lost by mobilizing the base, period.  Remember the treasured independent middle? Bah. Romney won them overwhelmingly but still lost the election.The left swamped Romney using Catalist. Romney’s counterpart base mobilizer, “Orca,” crashed and burned on election day – literally. While Romney was spending one dollar to win one vote in the middle, Obama (using Catalist data) was spending a dime to get one vote in the base.So the Romney campaign was doubly damned. They were outgunned technologically. But what were they shot with from all angles? Unrelenting images of Mitt the heartless corporate businessman, a symbol of the decadent 1%, lapped up by cultures and generations raised on the image of the evil executive. As I wrote about in the summer of 2012, "Why This Election Year America Is Carmela Soprano," today people no longer know how to recognize good and evil in their leaders or entertainment. When Americans celebrate crooks at the movies they'll surely vote them into office too.How to counter this? What sorts of stories can get people to understand that evil actually often appears harmless or even noble to try to deceive you? With films of military tough guys fighting wars in lands most Americans can't even locate on a map? I have another idea, and Sunday night's Best Picture winner victory speech inspired me. class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/2014/3/5/how-conservatives-can-conquer-hollywood/ previous Page 1 of 3 next   ]]>
(Review Source)
The Federalist Staff
The film “12 Years A Slave” was easily the critics’ favorite last year. It just won the Golden Globe for Best Drama and will surely be nominated for and win many more awards. On Rotten Tomatoes, which aggregates film reviews, the film has positive reviews from 93 percent of viewers and a whopping 98 percent of top critics. It’s not just that it’s good but that there is so little bad in it. If you have a strong enough stomach for visual depictions of unspeakably brutal violence, you likely will not regret seeing this movie. The source material, a memoir of one man’s enslavement, is straightforward. The acting is great. So don’t let the bullying from progressive critics or the lame protests from the professionally outraged dissuade you from seeing the film. To judge from box office receipts, people have been dissuaded. Or, at least, the film is not being seen by many. While someone at Salon thought the movie was “one of the most popular” of last year, that was not true. It was actually ranked 75th. As Jonathan Last pointed out, that means it was less popular than “42,” “The Smurfs 2,” “Jurassic Park 3D” and “A Haunted House.” But the critical reception of the film also demonstrates a dramatic change in critics’ appreciation for violence in movies. When my husband and I viewed the movie, I found it almost unbearable to watch. It reminded me of my response to “The Passion of the Christ,” the visceral 2004 film about the suffering and death of Jesus. Both films are very good. Both films are depictions of real people in history. Both films are full not just of violence but violence that must be depicted because it serves the central point. And both films deal profoundly with the effects of human sinfulness. Perhaps you’ll be as intrigued as I was in seeing the difference in critical reception not just for the films but also on the specific point of violence. Here’s the Rotten Tomatoes summary for “12 Years A Slave“: The blurb, in case you didn’t catch it: “It’s far from comfortable viewing, but 12 Years a Slave’s unflinchingly brutal look at American slavery is also brilliant — and quite possibly essential — cinema.” Now let’s look at “The Passion of the Christ“: Unlike “12 Years a Slave,” “The Passion of the Christ” was wildly popular despite being in Aramaic and Latin — the third-most popular in 2004, coming in only behind the sequels in the Shrek and Spider-Man series. Its domestic receipts were more than $370 million. And even for that level of popularity, it had 81 percent positive reviews from viewers. If you look at the top-three grossing films each year since then, many don’t get that many positive reviews from viewers. Those that did — “Iron Man,” “The Dark Knight,” “Avatar,” “Toy Story 3,” “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2,” “Marvel’s The Avengers,” “The Dark Knight Rises,” “The Hunger Games,” “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” “Despicable Me 2” — also received favorable reviews from the professional critics. But check out that top critics rating for “The Passion of the Christ”: only 37 percent. “The Passion of the Christ” also received no major Oscar nominations. Whereas critics were much more favorable to the other hit films that year relative to the general audience (see Shrek 2 and Spider-Man 2), this was a move in the opposite direction. Dramatically in the opposite direction. And check out that blurb: “The graphic details of Jesus’ torture make the movie tough to sit through and obscure whatever message it is trying to convey.” I went ahead and looked at what top critics had to say for both movies. The comparison and contrast is intriguing. The snippets from these reviews show the vast majority of publications and critics evolved on the violence issue. Whereas many claimed they objected to “The Passion of the Christ” on the grounds of the violence it portrayed, many critics also claimed that the violent depiction of slavery was what made “12 Years A Slave” such a great film. San Jose Mercury News Passion: The extreme violence does not teach a lesson; it’s an end in itself, more suited to the S&M crowd than to anyone seeking an uplifting sermon on everlasting redemption. (Glenn Lovell) Slave: This is not medicine for America to swallow; it’s filmmaking of the highest caliber. (Randy Myers) Detroit News (same critic) Passion: A filmed bloodletting like no other on record, essentially a terribly graphic two-hour torture sequence. (Tom Long) Slave: “12 Years a Slave” lays out an institution so twisted and wrong that its honest portrayal has been avoided for centuries. Yes, it’s dark and brutal. It needs to be. (Tom Long) Boston Globe (same critic) Passion: A profoundly medieval movie, yes. Brutal almost beyond powers of description, yes. More obsessed with capturing every holy drop of martyr’s blood and sacred gobbet of flesh than with any message of Christian love, yes. (Ty Burr) Slave: “12 Years a Slave” isn’t the story of an American tragedy. It’s the story of the American tragedy — this country’s original sin….“12 Years a Slave” is to the “peculiar institution” what “Schindler’s List” was to the Holocaust: a work that, finally, asks a mainstream audience to confront the worst of what humanity can do to itself… This movie is this country’s Schindler’s list in that it takes this traumatic event that is crucial to the understanding in this case of our country and its history and shows it to us in a way that a movie has never really done before in a way that has impact that forces you to really think about what this country did and what it was founded on and what it was built on. (Ty Burr) New York Daily News Passion: The movie is a compendium of tortures that would horrify the regulars at an S&M club. (Jami Bernard) Slave: A harrowing, unforgettable drama that doesn’t look away from the reality of slavery and, in so doing, helps us all fully, truly confront it. (Joe Neumaier) New York Times Passion: The Passion of the Christ is so relentlessly focused on the savagery of Jesus’ final hours that this film seems to arise less from love than from wrath, and to succeed more in assaulting the spirit than in uplifting it. (A.O. Scott) Slave: The genius of “12 Years a Slave” is its insistence on banal evil, and on terror, that seeped into souls, bound bodies and reaped an enduring, terrible price. (Manohla Dargis) New Yorker (same critic) Passion: The movie Gibson has made from his personal obsessions is a sickening death trip, a grimly unilluminating procession of treachery, beatings, blood, and agony. (David Denby) Slave: 12 Years a Slave is easily the greatest feature film ever made about American slavery. (David Denby) Arizona Republic Passion: The basic message of Christianity — love your brother — is obscured under torrents of blood to the point of benumbing the audience. (Bill Muller) Slave: Slavery is revealed for the unrelenting horror that it was. About time. (Bill Goodykoontz) Globe and Mail Passion: So obsessively and so graphically bloody-minded that it comes perilously close to the pornography of violence. (Rick Groen) Slave: 12 Years a Slave, British director Steve McQueen’s antebellum Southern drama, sets a new standard in realistically depicting American slavery. (Liam Lacey) Los Angeles Times (same critic) Passion: A film so narrowly focused as to be inaccessible for all but the devout. (Kenneth Turan) Slave: When a director who never ever blinks takes on a horrific subject, a nightmare in broad daylight is the inevitable result. Welcome, if that is the right word, to the world of “12 Years a Slave.” (Kenneth Turan) Chicago Reader Passion: If I were a Christian, I’d be appalled to have this primitive and pornographic bloodbath presume to speak for me. (Jonathan Rosenbaum) Slave: Slavery here is not only a great moral darkness but a sweeping canvas for depicting the emotional deformities of the people who enforced and exploited the practice. (J.R. Jones) David Edelstein Passion (at Slate): This is a two-hour-and- six-minute snuff movie — The Jesus Chainsaw Massacre — that thinks it’s an act of faith. Slave (at New York Magazine): Twelve Years a Slave, published in 1853, is an even-toned but acid account of unimaginable horror. Toronto Star Passion: What graphic sex is to the use of the body in hardcore porno, graphic violence is to destruction of the body of Christ in this Passion. (Geoff Pevere) Slave: Believe the Oscar buzz. Britain’s Steve McQueen (Hunger, Shame) nails the horror of America’s slavery shame but also finds humanity in one man’s determination to free himself and return to his family. (Peter Howell) Time Out London Passion: With more than a suggestion of a horror film about it, Gibson’s searing, bloody re-creation of Christ’s tormented last hours – from arrest in Gethsemane, to trial, crucifixion and resurrection – is hard to recommend to any but the curious or the converted. Its insistence on the ugly physical nature of the ordeal is almost expressionist – the endless beatings, stonings, flailings and the like would have killed any man long before we see the welt-skeined, naked body hammered to the cross in slo-mo and extreme close-up. (Wally Hammond) Slave: It’s not too soon to call 12 Years a Slave a great film—ruined, tremulously sad, surreal in its evil. (Tom Huddleston) Entertainment Weekly Passion: Ecce Mel, the man who made ”The Passion of the Christ” all but proclaims in his gaudily tormented, pornographically blood-drenched, anything but literal interpretation of the last 12 hours of Jesus’ life: Behold the movie star, laying everything on the line — bankability, reputation, most personal of religious beliefs — like a Crusader among infidels. Yet the Traditionalist Catholic filmmaker only appears to be preaching a stern sermon to a crowd of modern moviegoing sinners in need of a dose of shock and awe. In reality, he is talking to himself alone, a mutter of confession without absolution. (Lisa Schwarzbaum) Slave: As a drama of the slave experience, 12 Years a Slave renders them all irrelevant. It is a new movie landmark of cruelty and transcendence. (Owen Gleiberman) So What’s Going On? There are many more examples of this evolution, including at The New Republic (Passion/Slave), the San Francisco Chronicle (Passion/Slave), the Seattle Times (Passion/Slave), Salon (Passion/Slave), Washington Post (Passion/Slave), Newsday (Passion/Slave) and Peter Rainer at New York and then the Christian Science Monitor (Passion/Slave) There were also outlets that were more consistent. Both films received favorable reviews at the Minneapolis Star Tribune (Passion/Slave), USA Today (Passion/Slave), Miami Herald (Passion/Slave) and New York Post (Passion/Slave). Did critics evolve or did something else happen? Film critic Victor Morton suggests that “The average bobo critic sees [12 Years A Slave protagonist] Solomon Northup as a more worthwhile and relevant Christ figure than the original.” I think he may be onto something. Let’s revisit the reviews of The Boston Globe’s Ty Burr. Burr thought the violence in “Passion” to be “medieval,” “brutal almost beyond the powers of description,” “more obsessed with capturing every holy drop of martyr’s blood and sacred gobbet of flesh than with any message of Christian love.” But with “Slave,” he found the story of “this country’s original sin,” a film that asked viewers to “confront the worst of what humanity can do to itself.” He thought “Slave” forced viewers to really think about that sin and how foundational it is to our country’s foundation. Isn’t that fascinating? In Christian soteriology, the Gospel or good news about Jesus is in response to the bad news of our sin. Or, as it’s written in Romans: For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Or one might remember what John the Baptist says in that beautiful and must-read first chapter of the Gospel of John: The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! Burr suggested that the message of Christian love can be understood apart from a depiction of that “propitiation by his blood,” a depiction of what it means to be “the Lamb of God.” (Read more of what Christians believe was prophesied about Jesus in Isaiah 53.) Certainly other reviewers were hostile to these depictions. Our society is in general agreement that, apart from homophobia and racism, the only real sin is believing in sin. This creates a climate where a brutal depiction of what Christ suffered is frowned upon. At least one “Passion” reviewer was honest enough to admit this. Mike d’Angelo of Time Out New York wrote: If you feel personally responsible for every blow and lash Jesus receives, The Passion of the Christ, which is nothing but blows and lashes, may well be a deeply moving experience. For those who consider Jesus only a man, however—a group that includes this devout atheist—Gibson’s doggedly faithful, scrupulously brutal approach inspires little more than the recurring thought, Ouch, that’s gotta smart. And that might very well sum up the chasm between popular opinion on “Passion” and critical reception of same. There was one critic who was favorable toward “Passion” and slammed “Slave.” Yes, it was Armond White. From his review in which he said “Slave” belonged in “the torture porn genre“: Because 12 Years of Slave is such a repugnant experience, a sensible viewer might be reasonably suspicious about many of the atrocities shown–or at least scoff at the one-sided masochism: Northup talks about survival but he has no spiritual resource or political drive–the means typically revealed when slave narratives are usually recounted. From Mandingo and Roots to Sankofa, Amistad, Nightjohn and Beloved, the capacity for spiritual sustenance, inherited from the legacy of slavery and survival, was essential (as with Baby Sugg’s sermon-in-the-woods in Beloved and John Quincy Adams and Cinque’s reference to ancestors in Amistad) in order to verify and make bearable the otherwise dehumanizing tales. I can’t find White’s review for “Passion” but that year he did note the problem with reviews of same in a panel discussion at Slate: As for The Passion of the Christ, having spent the year outnumbered—because it seems no mainstream publication will hire a Christian movie critic (and I’m not talking about me)—I have found the discussion too oppressively lopsided, if not totalitarian. I can only “discuss” this movie on home turf. And that enrages me, because I have not read a single mainstream review that sought to appreciate Gibson’s basic, powerful imagery on its own terms. Does atheism rule? Does blindness rule criticism? To have this movie reviewed only by nonbelievers and half-thinkers is tantamount to fascism. Linking Gibson’s film with Michael Moore’s [Fahrenheit 9/11] also avoids the film’s aesthetics. Many critics choose to do just that, but I can tell you there are millions of readers who, understandably, feel the lack. They aren’t getting from criticism what they want/need to know about art, mythology, spirituality. They’re only getting objections, recriminations, and remonstrations. It is a problem that hasn’t gotten better since 2004. White, for his part, was just kicked out of the New York Film Critics Circle. Now, White is a famously cantankerous man who has been upsetting and challenging his professional peers for much of his career. Still, it’s worth asking how much his heretical belief that film critics should have some basic grasp of spirituality has hurt his standing among his colleagues. ]]>
(Review Source)
The Federalist Staff
(”12 Years a Slave” is briefly mentioned in this.)
With the Oscars right around the corner the spotlight of public attention is about to shine again on Hollywood. In the light of this inquiry, questions about the moral fiber of Hollywood are sure to crop up. The Gold Standard of ethics in North America has historically been the Judeo-Christian worldview and for many the 10 Commandments are at the center of this worldview. Even if a viewer can’t list the 10 Commandments in order they generally have a good sense of when they are being broken. For this reason the 10 Commandments are often used as the guide by which the moral fiber of Hollywood is judged by the average person in the multiplex. Curiously the 10 Commandments are not all about what not to do. Embedded in these ancient commands are also positive elements. If the commandment says “Thou Shalt Not Murder” then it stands to reason that the positive thing to do would be to strive to help and support our neighbor in every physical need. With this in mind, a little look at Oscar favorites, nominated films, and other recent films may be in order. You Shall Have No Other Gods In 2013 Ang Lee won the Oscar for Best Achievement in Directing for his adaptation of the Yann Martel novel Life of Pi. Life of Pi provides an example of cafeteria style spirituality in film. The Commandment “You shall have no other gods” at its heart calls for spiritual fidelity. In a rather memorable segment of the film the central character Pi Patel tells about his childhood interest in Religion. His interest is diverse to say the least and could itself act as an allegory demonstrating Hollywood’s tricky relationship with the first commandments found within the 10 commandments. Seated around the Supper Table Pi Patel’s father Santosh voices his concern about his son’s religious beliefs saying, “[Y]ou cannot follow three different religions at the same time.” His son Pi responds asking “Why not?” To which his father replies “Because, believing in everything at once is the same thing as believing in nothing.” Pi’s mother defends the 11-year-old, “He is young, Santosh. He is still trying to find his own way.” You Shall Not Misuse The Name Of The LORD Your God The Oscars do enjoy a movie that’s spiritual but not too religious or a film that questions the role of spirituality and religion in society. Philomena, which has garnered a Best Motion Picture of the Year nomination, depicts an odd couple on their own kind of Odyssey. Dame Judi Dench, who plays one half of that odd couple, has received a nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role for her portrayal of Philomena Lee, an Irish Catholic woman who was pressed into giving up the child she bore out of wedlock for adoption. While the film as a whole is often unkind to the Christian faith, within the confines of the characterization of Philomena Lee a picture of positive fulfillment of the commandment “You Shall Not Misuse The Name of The LORD your God” emerges. This is particularly obvious in the way that her character calls upon God in prayer in a faithful way, even when it’s difficult to do so, and ultimately is able to forgive the nuns who took her baby from her. This is contrasted by the other half of the odd couple in the film Martin Sixsmith played by Steve Coogan who is unable to forgive in the name of God and thereby can’t find it in his heart to use God’s name in a proper way. Both Lee and Sixmith are locked in a kind of holding pattern throughout Philomena, neither character is moved much from their starting point. Lee is the woman of faith even in her trouble where Sixmith remains the man without faith. Remember The Sabbath Day By Keeping It Holy Philomena also provides both positive and negative examples of the commandment “Remember the Sabbath Day by Keeping it Holy.” In the opening scenes of the film Sixmith is shown disregarding the value of attending worship services while throughout the film Lee provides a much more positive view on church life and personal devotion amidst her personal struggles. The Second Table Of The Law The first table of the 10 Commandments, which focus on the relationship between God and humanity, is not the bread and butter of Hollywood. The real love of Hollywood when it comes to the 10 Commandments is the second table of the law: human’s relationship with each other, man vs. man, woman vs. woman, man vs. woman and vice versa. There is a reason for this: All good stories are born out of conflict and there can be no drama without conflict. This is where greed, lying, cheating, stealing, murder and poor family relationships come in handy to the Hollywood screen writer and the novelists whose work they often adapt to the big screen. The slate of film offerings in 2013/2014 are no exception to the rule. And Oscar loves a good bit of drama. Honor Your Father and Mother In the category of Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role, Bruce Dern has garnered a nomination for his role of Woody Grant in the Alexander Payne film Nebraska. Woody and his son David, played by Will Forte (SNL), spend the film traveling together to Lincoln Nebraska, on a road trip from Billings, Montana. Much of the film is about David looking after his father. The relationship between father and son predominates the overall narrative of the film. For this reason the heart of the movie is the commandment, “Honor Your Father and Mother.” From scene to scene, David is shown struggling with this task of honoring his father Woody. Sometimes he succeeds, sometimes he fails. Interestingly, Nebraska holds up a mirror to viewers in which they are called to remember that their parents are to be honored even when they are not honorable in the eyes of the world. This is mercy and grace. Nebraska is surprisingly filled with grace–grace for characters who don’t deserve it. Spoiler alert: Nebraska ends with a genuinely positive and tender-hearted fulfillment of the commandment to honor your father and mother. You Shall Not Murder The theme of murder is popular in Hollywood films. But Hollywood didn’t invent murder, it’s been with us from the time of Cain and Abel in Genesis 4 and Jesus even says that the Devil was a murderer from the beginning (John 8:44). 12 Years a Slave, another of this year’s Best Motion Picture of the Year nominations, is perhaps the strongest recent film dealing with the physical needs of men and women and children. When people are bought and sold and used as implements, life becomes cheapened and the needs of those in slavery are not highly valued. While the film isn’t explicitly about murder, it is very much about the poor treatment of fellow human beings and this is at the heart of the commandment “You Shall Not Murder.” 12 Years a Slave is full of distressing scenes of physical peril. There is a disturbing scene at the house of Mr. Ford (Benedict Cumberbatch, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug), where Solomon Northup played by Chiwetel Ejiofor (nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role), is lynched by an unhappy overseer. This overseer and his accomplices are sent running away by Mr. Ford’s chief overseer, but he doesn’t cut Northup down, leaving him standing on the tips of his toes. All day, Northup stands there in danger of slipping and breaking his neck. One woman slave brings him a drink of water but the others go about their routine as if Northup is invisible. Children play, slaves walk by, yet no one raises a finger. It’s a very distressing scene. It calls to mind not only how a person is to refrain from murder but also how people are to work to avoid doing anything to hurt or harm their neighbor in his body. The conclusion of the film sees the positive application of this commandment when Northup is rescued out of his slavery and he finally receives the help and support he’s been deprived of. You Shall Not Commit Adultery Last year’s The Great Gatsby by  Baz Luhrmann was snubbed from nominations in some of the most valued awards but did earn nominations for both Best Achievement in Costume Design and Best Achievement in Production Design. One of the major narratives of the film is an illicit extramarital affair, This falls squarely into the territory of a perennial Hollywood favorite when it comes to the 10 commandments “You Shall Not Commit Adultery.” Gatsby, played by Oscar favourite Leonardo DiCaprio, wants to re-live the past by steeling away the wife of another man. Based rather faithfully on the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel of the same name, the film recounts the scheming of the title character of Gatsby as he works to rekindle the relationship with this other man’s wife. A relationship Gatsby had had in his earlier life. This film is, in part, about the hardships connected with adultery. Many of the central characters in the film are rich and bored and they play fast and loose with their wedding vows and the wedding vows of others who are “less fortunate.” Looking for moments in recent Hollywood films were men and women are shown being faithful to their marriage vows and positively fulfilling this commandment? Look no further than World War Z and Gerry and Karin Lane’s marriage, as played by Brad Pit and Mireille Enos, in last year’s big zombie apocalypse thriller. A marriage, and family unit, that actually grows stronger in the face of trouble and remained the deciding factor in the decision making process of the central character Gerry Lane. Everything hinged on his wife and kids. Or you could look to Matt Damon’s James Granger turning down a very willing Cate Blanchett playing the French art curator Claire Simone in George Clooney’s World War II historical Drama The Monuments Men. You Shall Not Steal While not in the running for any Academy Awards this time around, The Monuments Men is certainly a film about theft, another Hollywood favorite. What on the surface looks to be a Word War II action film ends up being a kind of “heist movie” where one group steals and another group attempts to stop the theft and/or retrieve the stolen goods. This drops squarely in the lap of the commandment: “You shall not steal.” On one hand you have Hollywood’s perennial villains the Nazis taking their neighbor gold (sometimes in the form of gold fillings extracted from the mouths of Jewish men, women and children) and their neighbor possessions in the form of great works of art (including priceless works like The Ghent Altarpiece and Michelangelo’s The Madonna of Bruges), while on the other hand the Monuments Men seek to help their neighbors by protecting their possessions and returning works of art to their rightful owners. When it came to the great works of Art depicted in the film the Nazis were not just stealing from the Jewish people they were stealing from everyone they had under their boot. For the Nazis there was nothing dishonest about their plunder, to the rest of the world this theft was one of the horrors of war. The Monuments Men may not be burning up the box-office but it does portray the struggles inherent in keeping and upholding this commandment about theft. You Shall Not Give False Testimony Against Your Neighbor Actor  Philip Seymour Hoffman who won an Oscar for his portrayal of Truman Capote in the 2005 film of the same name stared in the quintessential film dealing with lying. 2008’s Doubt details accusations of child abuse by a priest. The whole film has at its core the struggles that swirl around the commandment “You Shall Not Give False Testimony Against Your Neighbor.” The film is a mystery and only fully reveals its answers in the end. Hoffman plays the priest in question and he is joined by his accuser in the film Meryl Streep (who is up for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role for her part in 2013’s August: Osage County). Doubt also features another of this year’s nominees for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role: Amy Adams, who is nominated for her role in American Hustle. Where American Hustle revels in the ‘thrill’ of conning people, Doubt deals with the pain and suffering that come with unfounded allegations. With Philip Seymour Hoffman’s recent death Doubt is certainly worth a second look, especially when viewed through the lens of this ancient yet timely commandment about truth and falsehood. You Shall Not Covet Your Neighbour’s House, or Your Neighbours Wife, or His Manservant or Maidservant, His Ox or Donkey, or Anything That Belongs to Your Neighbour Hollywood has a bit of a love hate relationship with the end of the ten commandments. When it comes to “You Shall Not Covet Your Neighbour’s House, or Your Neighbours Wife, or His Manservant or Maidservant, His Ox or Donkey, or Anything That Belongs to Your Neighbour,” you can almost hear 1988’s Best Actor in a Leading Role winner Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko from the film Wall Street saying, “[G]reed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right, greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms; greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge has marked the upward surge of mankind.” 2013 was a big year for greed, from Best Motion Picture of the Year nominee The Wolf of Wall Street to Best Motion Picture of the Year nominee American Hustle greed has been good, at least good for the box office. Themes of coveting pop up all over the place in the last year, it may in fact be the biggest theme of the year; from a dragon sitting on a hoard of gold in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug to Gatsby in The Great Gatsby coveting another man’s wife, to a movie like last year’s Elysium where selfishness motivates almost every character. Coveting and the greed associated with it is the elephant in the room right. Largely unconsidered is that fact that the flipside of coveting is contentment. Any viewer watching a film like The Wolf of Wall needs to ask the question, “What make a person happy in life?” “what makes them content?” From time to time the 10 Commandments in film can be unevenly presented and/or difficult to fully grasp. What often gets overlooked are the virtues inherent in the commandments themselves: spiritual fidelity, humility, sanctity, honor, gentleness, marital fidelity, trustworthiness, honesty, and contentment. When the viewer sees these things displayed in an Oscar Nominated film or performance, the first thought isn’t “Hey look at that! The 10 Commandments!” Whether the negative or positive elements of the 10 Commandments jump out at you, one thing is for certain if there’s one thing Hollywood like more than conflict and drama it’s a happy or at least hopeful ending. ]]>
(Review Source)
The Federalist Staff
(”12 Years a Slave” is briefly mentioned in this.)
The problem that haunts movies that focus on sex is that bodies photograph better and more easily than souls. And because the people onscreen are strangers whom we do not love, the very act of photographing sex, no matter the intent, implies voyeurism by the artist and an invitation to voyeurism for the audience. As a result, scenes and movies that are about sex, as distinct from scenes and movies about love or about marriage, will always be dancing on the edge of pornography — and that dance either has a tendency to swallow the rest of the film or become faintly comic in its trying to avoid showing mere rutting (As Roger Ebert once wrote about one of Ken Russell’s fantasmagorias, “there is nothing quite so ridiculous as someone else’s sexual fantasies, and nothing as fascinating as our own.”). In fact, often the very best scenes in sex-drenched movies are the most surface chaste, or played for emotions other than eros or joy. Last weekend, the Cannes Palme d’Or winner “Blue Is the Warmest Color” opened in New York and Los Angeles, with a rollout to follow in the rest of the country. Even though I haven’t seen it yet, I knew months ago from buzz/gossip from the Cote d’Azur that it contains the longest, most-graphic lesbian scene in the history of respectable movies. And I’ve heard of the subsequent criticism by the lesbian author of the graphic-novel source and of the charges of on-set brutality made by lead actresses Lea Seydoux and Adele Exarchopoulos against director Abdellatif Kechiche, and the subsequent feud by press conference. Which leaves the film with another 2 1/2 (approximately) hours to fill with … two women fully clothed, I guess (and what’d be the possible interest in that?). Similarly, as the late Stanley Kubrick’s swan song “Eyes Wide Shut” was gearing up for release back in 1999, all the speculation surrounded the film’s sexual content — did real-life married couple Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman actually “do it” onscreen; was Cruise cross-dressing, or gay-bashed; is the ratings board gonna let the central orgy stand; are they gonna mess with it electronically? “Eyes Wide Shut” was the greatest joke ever played on pornhounds and libertines, about the necessity of repression, even for sex. As seems to be happening with “Blue,” the actual film got left behind. While sating its opening weekend curiosity, America learned to its shock that Kubrick had made a slow 160-minute dream about erotic simulacrum and about not being able to have sex outside marriage. The notorious orgy scene had breasts, butts and genitals on copious display but for all the eros felt, they might as well have been piles of melons, tripe and kielbasa carefully stacked for display in the produce section at Kroger’s. (Taiwanese director Tsai Ming-liang gets more charge out of the watermelons in “The Wayward Cloud” and a cabbage in “Stray Dogs” … and no, I’m not even slightly joking when I say that.) When Kubrick’s anti-eros played before 1999 audiences expecting “the sexiest movie ever,” there were widespread reports of bad laughs and boos. In an inversion of the usual bohemian script, the orgiasts were people with the most freedom and fewest inhibitions of any people in history and the result was un-erotic nausea. The few moments eros is present in the film (Kidman’s bedroom monolog, Kidman looking into the camera and Cruise’s occasional flash fantasies of her) are tied to the social convention of marriage and its soul-daemons. And then the Stanley Kubrick cheekily ended the film and his career with the f-word, followed by a cut to black. “Eyes Wide Shut” was the greatest joke ever played on pornhounds and libertines, about the necessity of repression, even for sex. We don’t believe that any more, in this enlightened era of liberation and freedom, a time which has given us a whole new genre of sex movie — the sex-addict film, of which I’ve seen four examples in the last few years (two of them still in theaters). Auto Focus None of the four are great and all, to a greater of lesser degree, stumble over the problem of the ubiquity of sex actually being the film’s subject, rather than the occasion. How does one believably portray a sin or vice without making either it too attractive or collapsing into tut-tutting moralism? Sin has to be at least somewhat attractive, otherwise how could temptation work; temptation has to be at least somewhat tempting, right? But a sex addict isn’t like, say, a bank robber or gangster. While audiences might root for James Cagney or Al Pacino (and at least in principle be inspired thereby), the very act of watching “Angels With Dirty Faces” or “The Godfather” isn’t anybody’s unmediated occasion for the sins of murder, drug-pushing, whoremastery, etc. A realistic portrayal of sex addiction, which nearly always involves consumption of imaginary images, i.e., cinema itself, is necessarily a trigger for some, including that part of the audience that “associates with” the film and is likely to especially seek it out. “Why do rock stars date supermodels,” a member of Duran Duran once was asked, and he answered “because they can.” The best of the four is the least-recent, “Auto Focus” from 2002 starring Greg Kinnear as “Hogan’s Heroes” star Bob Crane, who sank into a porn-and-whores habit that wrecked his marriage and career and, the film hypothesizes, led to his murder. Director Paul Schrader still has some of that ol’ time religion in him, but the film’s insight into Crane is that he’s largely a moral drifter, without passion or conviction, coasting through life and his career on good looks, charm and easy amiability. He wouldn’t think that playing drums in a topless bar is a great dilemma one way for good or ill — just be a good egg and go out with a bud (played by Willem Defoe: maybe a little too right as the devil figure). Crane doesn’t get any great pleasure from sexual decadence and the film offers little reverie. But he doesn’t get any great pleasure from his marriage either or apparently from acting. He was conventionally attached to marriage and temperance at the beginning of the film. When rich and famous, he floated just as easily along with the decadent zeitgeist of the 60s and 70s and into a sybaritic lifestyle on the “cuzzican” theory. “Why do rock stars date supermodels,” a member of Duran Duran once was asked, and he answered “because they can.” Shame In 2011, British director Steve McQueen, who also directed this fall’s “12 Years a Slave,” cast Michael Fassbender as a New York sexual compulsive in “Shame.” Compared to the 1970s setting of “Auto Focus,” in the present day, technological advances mean sex and porn are everywhere and one needn’t be a Hollywood star with access to special filming equipment and name recognition to get it. All you need is a modem or hotspot. McQueen, especially in his first film “Hunger” is a master of the set piece and a ferocious director of human flesh and of making bodies and things present to you, rather than mere images. This is a man so sunk in depravity, it’s all he can respond to. When Fassbender has what would be considered a normal date rather than a hookup/purchase, the woman, a co-worker played by Nicole Beharie, wants to know him and is attracted to him, but he cannot reciprocate, either emotionally and intellectually over dinner or physically in bed. Like Marlon Brando in “Last Tango in Paris” (a far better operatic, moralistic film about sex) this is a man so sunk in depravity, it’s all he can respond to. There’s a subplot involving Fassbender’s sister, a depressive singer heroically played by Carey Mulligan despite being anemically underwritten, but “Shame” primarily follows Fassbender through a yo-yo of acting out sexually and regretting it, then expressing his regret by acting out, preferably in a manner designed to hurt himself, in body or soul. The word “yo-yo” is the hint to why  “Shame” failed as a dramatic picture for me; the actions, including a third-act death I didn’t buy for a second, are arbitrary. There is no organic dramatic reason for this moment, rather than that moment, to be (or not to be) the “hit bottom” moment or simply the latest valley to rise back from. That arbitrariness may be an accurate portrayal of addictive behavior, but it sucks as drama. I thought nearly the same thing about the Denzel Washington alcoholic-pilot film “Flight” from last year, also sometimes-superb but unsatisfying as a whole, which suggests that this is a problem with translating the ethos and worldview of the recovery movement to drama. Thanks For Sharing Which provides a nice segue to “Thanks for Sharing,” which resembles “Shame” in being about sexual compulsives — a whole group of them actually — but differs in that the Fassbender character is essentially alone and acts as such. “Thanks for Sharing” is a portrayal of a sex-addicts anonymous circle, principally five-years-sober Mark Ruffalo, longtime circle leader Tim Robbins, and two new members — Josh Gad, a serial public groper forced to come to SA as a condition of sentence, and promiscuous punk Pink. As the title suggests, “Thanks for Sharing” is basically Recovery Movement evangelism, a version of those evangelical films made to spread the Gospel, complete with scenes where the theology of Substitutionary Atonement or of the 12 Steps becomes the stuff of dramatic dialogue (I even saw it on a Sunday, and it made me feel like a Muslim at Mass). One thing “Thanks for Sharing” does do well — indeed better than “Don Jon,” the other film still hanging around in theaters about sexual addiction — is to show the ubiquity of “triggers” in ordinary modern life. The various plot threads illustrate the religion’s teachings and as with Christianity, everybody in this movie is some sort of sinner/addict, especially the ones who say they’re not and/or seem to have their lives most together. “I was attracted to an addict,” one sinner even confesses. As the talent suggests (Gwyneth Paltrow, Patrick Fugit and Joely Richardson have roles too), this is far better acted than such films, because of the makeup of Hollywood and the acting profession. Pink is surprisingly good, fully capable of holding her own in an awards-garlanded cast. While it’s the opposite of the randomness of “Shame,” “Thanks for Sharing” evangelical impulses are their own vice, making the whole thing seem predestined. “One step forward, one step back” also may be true, but if you’ve seen many movies like this, the first time you hear, for example, that Ruffalo has been sober for that long and takes care to remove TVs and computers from hotel rooms on business trips … you know this is gonna end, spectacularly. Which brings us to another unfortunate similarity “Thanks for Sharing” has with “Shame.” Both Ruffalo and Fassbender go on a bender, which the respective films present in what might be called a “montage of degradation.” With disfigured faces. The cutting rhythms are very similar, the shots getting shorter as Ruffalo’s and Fassbender’s faces get more distorted and breathless, and then shorter and shorter, and twisted and short of breath, and short of shot until … well, we’re all big boys here. And I’m sure it’s a coincidence that Fassbender is widely considered one of the sexiest actor-stars (one of the very first shots in the film leaves absolutely nothing about his body to the imagination) and that Ruffalo is by far the best-looking man in his ensemble cast. For equal opportunity, “Thanks for Sharing” does provide a good look at Gwyneth’s tight-as-a-bug’s-nostrils body prancing around in sheer and chic black underwear. Don Jon That mistake is very surprising because one thing “Thanks for Sharing” does do well — indeed better than “Don Jon,” the other film still hanging around in theaters about sexual addiction — is to show the ubiquity of “triggers” in ordinary modern life. By this I don’t mean porn at all, indeed quite the contrary — ordinary TV shows and ads, common forms of dress, posters in the street advertising legitimate products. (Frankly, if I could wave a blue wand that would eliminate all pornography but keep ordinary and general public space as it is, or wave a red wand that would return the latter to 1950s standards for propriety but keeping the porn industry as it is, I’d pick the red wand without much thought.) One of the best moments in “Don Jon,” initially titled “Don Jon’s Addiction” when it played at Sundance earlier this year, is when an ad for a fast-food fish sandwich that looks like a parody of “oversexed ad” comes up on the family TV. Writer-director-star Joseph Gordon-Levitt, though, says it was a real ad and it plays in the film at a time when his titular character is trying (not too hard admittedly) to limit his porn intake as a concession to a girlfriend (Scarlett Johansson) who he thinks might be The One. “Don Jon” doesn’t go as far as “Sharing” in pushing that topic, but it stands out. For 2/3 of its length in fact, “Don Jon” is quite a good film about porn addiction that ducks the language of recovery, a discourse that now, as my friend Eve Tushnet noted at Patheos apropos of “Thanks for Sharing,” seems to provide the only common language to discuss properly theological subjects like grace and redemption. Borrowing from Rousseau in the “Confessions,” Jon forthrightly says fantasy sex (porn and masturbation) is more satisfying than the real thing. And not because he has to “settle for” the fantasy: Jon has the looks and demeanor to get more-or-less any woman at the club to go to bed with him. It’s just that actual people don’t, can’t or only imperfectly fit the fantasies that his sexuality has increasingly molded itself around. It’s just that actual people don’t, can’t or only imperfectly fit the fantasies that his sexuality has increasingly molded itself around and that the highly segmented porn market, thanks to the genius of capitalism, adapts itself to pander to. In short, he’s a s**t whose soul has been reduced to gratification and objectification. But that attracts Jon to Johansson’s character, in fact, is her very inaccessibility, that she refuses to be picked up, used in a one-night stand, and forgotten a week later. After he has won her over and they’re discussing moving in, she walks in on his post-coital ritual of going to the computer for the better sex. She is properly appalled and demands that he stop using porn (which he interprets as “not use as much and not when she is around”). Unfortunately the third act goes off the rails — turning Johansson’s character into a controlling harpy, suddenly turning Jon’s mute sister (a wasted Brie Larson) into an oracle, and presenting as moral growth switching for fornicating a hot woman his own age to doing the same with a cougar who explicitly puts marriage off the table. (Da Joisey Tawk schtick of Gordon-Levitt and dad Tony Danza were an irritant throughout though.) The Damage Done So can a sex scene ever work? Obviously, as anti-eros … as the “Eyes Wide Shut” comparison suggests. Some strong scenes of erotic intimacy involve fully-clothed persons — Keira Knightley and James McAvoy in the library “Atonement,” Henry Gayle Sanders and Kaycee Moore doing a slow embrace-dance while Dinah Washington sings “This Bitter Earth” in “Killer of Sheep.” I also was amused (as I rarely am) by a scene between Mel Gibson and Rene Russo in “Lethal Weapon 3,” because of the foreplay. They’re both badass cops proud of their war wounds and start showing them off, each trying to one-up the other. An inventive way to get their clothes off for what we knew had to happen from the start of the scene, it also played as a funny bit of characterization (wow, what a concept!) For years, I thought the best sex scene was one in which the couple is in bed, but don’t go through with it. In “A Man and A Woman,” as we hear heartbeats on the soundtrack, the recently widowed Anouk Aimee starts having recollections of her husband and, without excessive dramatics, asks Jean-Louis Trintignant to stop. It’s the sexualized version of the end of “Casablanca” — love sometimes means giving someone up. Then in the last decade I have seen two films that both made my Top 10 for their years with lengthy, very explicit scenes — the Israeli film “Late Marriage” and the Romanian “Tuesday, After Christmas” — in which the four actors are nude and you see all the parts eventually (though not hard core, neither film was rated; they would’ve been irredeemably rated NC-17 if they had). These two films suggest another idea — that onscreen sex works best when the takeaway is an establishment of casual intimacy over acrobatics and hotness, i.e., the audience enjoying sex for spectacle’s sake, which porn can always do better anyway. In both films, it’s the first time we see the couples together (in “Tuesday,” it’s the film’s very first scene) and it immediately establishes that these are longtime affairs. This man and this woman are totally comfortable nude around one another, joke about the mechanics of sex, and discuss topics ranging from the role of witchcraft on a woman’s body to Christmas gifts — for his family. It’s not a pickup where you’re worried about impressing or anxious to get her out of the house. And the films share that ease, the camera neither prurient nor prudish about the presence of two naked people. In “Tuesday” in fact, a la The Official Romanian Style, it’s a single shot in which the camera barely moves. Neither director strains for the best angle to assure us that that’s really the lead actor’s manhood nor goes for the “Austin Powers” effect — angles, movements and props placed to show as much flesh and as few pubic hairs as possible. The film takes the characters’ nakedness in as matter-of-fact a way as the lovers themselves do. If breasts are there in the shot, they’re there; if not, not. In “Late Marriage,” the affair is set in a Georgian Jewish culture that still practices arranged marriage, and he knows the woman, a divorcee with a child, would be unacceptable to his parents. It’s a complex and ambivalent film that, in the somewhat loserish character of the man, suggests more than the “follow your heart; arranged marriage is tyranny” template. It can just as easily (if just as oversimplistically) be read as “here’s the schmuckdom and immorality that modern mores produce.” As for “Tuesday, After Christmas,” the first scene, as good as it is and as perfect an overture as it is, isn’t even the best sequence in the most uncompromising adultery drama to be made in many a moon. That would either be a lengthy scene in which the man takes his unwitting wife and daughter to the dentist (his lover is the dentist) or the scene in which the wife confronts him with her suspicions. And is no schmuck. Or maybe the very last shot, on the titular Tuesday after Christmas — the sex has been fun, but the damage we see far greater.  Follow Victor on Twitter. ]]>
(Review Source)
John Hanlon
(”12 Years a Slave” is briefly mentioned in this.)
With 2013 now in the record books, this it’s now time to choose the best movies that the cinematic world had to offer last year. Yesterday, viagra dosage I compiled a list of the must-miss movies from the year , which included two films starring two-time Oscar winner... <img src="http://www.johnhanlonreviews.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/12-Years-a-Slave-Poster-270x400.jpg" type="image/jpeg"/>
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John Hanlon
“She didn’t lose it. We did that to her.” –Peter Quinn So notes Quinn (Rupert Friend) in one of this  episode’s most heartfelt remarks. At the end of the third season’s premiere (last week’s episode), visit this Saul (Mandy... <img src="http://www.johnhanlonreviews.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/12-Years-a-Slave-Poster-105x88.jpg" type="image/jpeg"/>
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The Federalist Staff
(”12 Years a Slave” is briefly mentioned in this.)
As readers of The Federalist are no doubt aware, very few recognized movies in recent decades exhibit non-leftist themes, whether on free-market economics, moral imperatives, national security, or the evils of micromanaging authority. “Ghostbusters” comes to mind on economics. “Chariots of Fire” extols faith without cloying sentimentality. “Red Dawn” (the 1984 one, not that absurd remake) epitomizes our lives under Soviet occupation, and “Hanoi Hilton” provides a glimpse of the inhumane treatment a communist society metes out towards prisoners. “Braveheart” exemplifies Scottish struggle against thirteenth-century England’s tyranny. However, science fiction, the purveyor of future dreams, is largely a wasteland, with execrable fare such as “Avatar” and “Elysium.” No, “Apollo 13” doesn’t count. The dystopian Hunger Games series represents something of an exception, in that although critical theory socialists admire its portrayal of class divisions, non-leftists appreciate its acknowledgement that government enforces the misery of ordinary people, not the market, which in fact supplied the token “Mockingjay” pin Katniss Everdeen wears. Despite fans’ fondness for bold adventure in the original Star Trek television series, the movies lack much galvanizing purpose, as explained at length by Timothy Sandefur in The Federalist and Claremont Review, with the singular exception of “First Contact.” Hiding on the Edge of Civilization Nonetheless, sci-fi lacks a “leave me alone” epic tale, except for “Serenity,” a 2005 space western written and directed by Joss Whedon that continued from the short-lived “Firefly” television series in 2002 and featured the same cast. Set in the twenty-sixth century, Malcolm Reynolds (Nathan Fillion, currently the main character in the television series “Castle”) retired from the battlefield after having fought with the disbanded “browncoats” Independent side that lost against the Alliance. The Alliance is a domineering and paranoid hyperactive polity run by a central authority called Parliament that suffocates all in its embrace. The Alliance is a domineering and paranoid hyperactive polity run by a central authority called Parliament. In the “Firefly” series, Mal tries to avoid the Alliance, and to that end purchased a Firefly-class cargo spaceship with which to earn his keep by freight transport, as well as scavenging and smuggling. He names his ship “Serenity,” after the valley of the browncoats’ surrender. Fugitive passengers and a fractious crew join his struggles, while sharing neither his aspirations nor his decisions. The movie continues in this vein with a twist. The Alliance sets its sights on eliminating passenger River Tam (Summer Glau) as a security threat for her supposed clandestine knowledge. The Alliance assigns an assassin (Chiwetal Ejifor, best known for his starring role as Solomon Northup in “12 Years a Slave”) to search for her. The Operative, as he is known, eventually triggers River to alert him to her presence, and while tracking her down causes widespread and tragic whack-a-mole destruction. At last, Mal seeks refuge by retreating to a derelict planet called Miranda, but his ship must cross a no-man’s-land of Reavers who infest a region of space noted for mayhem and cannibalism. Once there, the Serenity crew encounters a recording that explains the demise of all the inhabitants: they stopped caring and died until the Reavers butchered the remaining few. To pacify the population, the residents had been administered G-23 Paxilon Hydrochlorate, an aerosol tranquilizer nicknamed “Pax.” Its effect eliminated motivation from the people on the planet, except for a minor remnant that became hyper-aggressive. These became the Reavers that prowl at the edge of civilization. Parliament had suppressed this information about Miranda’s mass carnage and, realizing River might remember that, also decided to kill her to prevent the public from discovering this secret. ‘I Aim to Misbehave’ At this stage, Mal delivers his “St Crispin’s Day” speech to the crew: “Sure as I know anything, I know this: they will try again. Maybe on another world, maybe on this very ground swept clean. A year from now, ten? They’ll swing back to the belief that they can make people… better. And I do not hold to that. So no more runnin’. I aim to misbehave.” ‘They’ll swing back to the belief that they can make people… better. And I do not hold to that.’ With that, they re-cross Reaver space and goad the Operative’s fleet to attack Mal’s Firefly, while followed by a hornet’s nest of Reavers. The respective ship formations are cringe-worthy from an orbital mechanics perspective, but ignoring that and other physics deficiencies, the plucky team manages to hold off the Reavers and broadcast the Miranda secret. In an act of mercy or acknowledged futility, the Operative ultimately decides to refurbish the damaged Firefly ship and send the surviving members on their way. Okay, cute. But, how can “Serenity” spawn libertarian or conservative precepts when the director is a Hollywood liberal and Obama donor? Well, inspiring principles need not originate solely from the righteous. Recall Luke 9:49-50 (and Mark 9:38-39), when the disciples asked Jesus to tattletale on an interloper who was casting out demons. The master chastises them, saying, “Do not stop him, for whoever is not against you is for you.” We take our occasional allies wherever they come. The Evils of Do-Gooderism The social impulse to “make people… better” affects do-gooders across the political spectrum, albeit to different degrees and regarding sundry human traits. We are social creatures, and conformity develops cohesiveness, especially in times of adversity. Traditionalists in close-knit cultures enforce moral imperatives through community censure, both to constrain iconoclast expressions and propitiate the accepted deities their society worships. These ‘you didn’t build that’ redistributors neglect to consider or worse refuse to realize that severing incentives from reward leads ultimately to mass starvation. Social-justice advocates seek an economic order that permits everyone to prosper, but at the expense of the productive members—especially entrepreneurs, who accept a disproportionate level of risk. These “you didn’t build that” redistributors neglect to consider or worse refuse to realize that severing incentives from reward leads ultimately to mass starvation, as eventually one runs out of other people’s money, as a well-known British prime minister observed. The entomologist E. O. Wilson quipped about Marxism, “wonderful theory, wrong species.” Striking a balance between “live-and-let-live” and enforcing proper behavior continues to be a struggle in the modern age. On the tenth anniversary of its release by Universal in September 2005, “Serenity” reminds us to temper our impulse for enveloping others under suffocating control. That also goes for the Alliance-mimicking centripetalists, who dominate the media, arts, courts, universities, bureaucracies, and so much in between. They ought to watch that film also. One day, progressives too may find themselves with diminished license for pressuring others about what to do and how to think. Then perhaps they will recall the Roman warning to conquerors parading in a triumph: sic transit gloria mundi, thus worldly glory is fleeting. Even if we have to wait five centuries or so. ]]>
(Review Source)
Michael Medved
http://www.michaelmedved.com/wp-content/uploads/12-YEARS-A-SLAVE.mp3
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Plugged In
Drama We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.Movie ReviewIn her book Freedom at Risk: The Kidnapping of Free Blacks in America, Carol Wilson writes, "The kidnapping of free blacks into slavery in pre-Civil War America has been a topic frequently noted by scholars but not examined in any detail. … [But] the kidnapping of free blacks for sale as slaves was an all-too-common occurrence in the United States during the decades between the Revolution and the Civil War." 12 Years a Slave, based on the 1853 autobiography of Solomon Northup, tells the violently tragic, but ultimately redemptive, tale of one such kidnapping victim. It's 1841, and Solomon Northup kisses his wife, Anne, and two children, Margaret and Alonzo, goodbye for what they think will be a three-week separation. The well-educated violin player, living in Saratoga, N.Y., is then introduced to two men bearing a lucrative offer. Hamilton and Brown work with a circus in Washington, D.C., whose performers are in need of a violin player. The pair offers to pay Solomon handsomely for two weeks of work, and Solomon agrees. But after they pay him, they drug and abduct him. One minute he's enjoying dinner with Hamilton and Brown. The next, he comes to in shackles, where he receives the first of many beatings. Soon he's dumped into a paddleboat … headed south. Away from freedom. Away from dignity. Away from his family. Toward 12 years of slavery.Positive ElementsEn route to the cotton and sugar cane plantations in Louisiana, Solomon quickly realizes that pleading his status as a free man will only result in beatings. He also realizes that resisting is likely to end in death. So Solomon steels himself against his fate, determined to resist despair, to maintain hope, to return to his family again. Solomon befriends a mother of two named Eliza. And the pair is purchased by a plantation owner named William Ford, a man who, though kind in some ways, refuses to purchase Eliza's two children. Solomon tries to comfort Eliza in her grief and give her reason to not give up. (It's a repeated theme, as you can already see.) But there are very, very, very few consolations in what they now face. Never mind that Ford is more generous than many of his peers, even giving Solomon a violin at one point. The reality of their oppressive reality is one of grim violence, dreadful pain, rape and death. The positives in that morass of immorality and inhumanity? Again, that Solomon always looks for a way through, a way to keep living, a way to find his family. And that moviegoers are assailed with the superlative wrongness of treating human beings like animals. Worse than animals. At another plantation, Solomon meets another young woman, named Patsey. He becomes a father figure to her, and works hard to keep her alive (and help her want to stay alive). When she begs him to put an end to her severe suffering (more on that in "Spiritual Content"), he just can't bring himself to help her kill herself. Eventually Solomon meets a Canadian carpenter, a white man named Bass who's outspoken in his criticism of slavery. For example, when Epps offers Bass a drink and comments that he must be thirsty, Bass counters that he should be more concerned with the condition of his slaves. Bass tells Epps he believes that all men are the same in the eyes of God. He rejects the commonly held notion that blacks are brute beasts, saying, "It is a fact—a plain and simple fact—that what is true is true and right, white or black alike." Solomon tells Bass his story, and the man agrees to get in touch with Solomon's friends and family up north—which he actually does, at great risk to himself. Why? In part, he says to Solomon, "My life doesn't mean much to anyone. It seems yours might mean a lot to a lot of people."Spiritual ContentSlaves sing spirituals as they work. And at a funeral they sing "Roll, Jordan, Roll," which rejoices, "My soul arise in heaven, Lord, For to hear when Jordan roll." A man concludes his prayer for the deceased, "God love him. God bless him. God keep him." William Ford reads Scripture to slaves at a weekly church service. And it's Ford's faith that prompts his less harsh treatment of his slaves—even though he remains a slave owner and he employs overseers who are not even close to kind. (After Ford's men try to hang Solomon, Ford cuts him down and brings him into his house.) Epps quotes Scripture too, taking Luke 12 out of context and threatening slaves that if they fail to do their master's will, they "shall be beaten with many stripes." But his "faith," in contrast to Ford's, is more superstition than true Christianity. An example: After Solomon and a group of other slaves are purchased by Epps, his cotton harvest dips badly. Epps describes it as a "biblical plague" and attributes it to the new slaves. So he sends them to work for another plantation owner until his crops recover. Bass, meanwhile, labels slavery "unrighteous" and says that there's no justice in it. He insists that there will be a day of reckoning for slave owners. Another white man (a former overseer) says that torturing slaves wears down one's soul over time. "No man of conscience can take the lash to another human being, day in and day out, without being shredded," he says. And an older black woman says, "The curse of the pharaohs [is nothing] compared to what awaits the plantation class." Patsey mentions taking a walk to "commune with the Lord." When she's brutally whipped, she repeatedly cries out, "Oh Lord." Solomon dares to tell Epps that he'll face eternal justice for the sin of whipping Patsey; Epps replies that it's not a sin because Patsey is his property. He claims that God has given him Patsey as "the blessing and reward of righteous living." Epps' wife, Mary, has another perspective entirely, saying that Epps' sexual abuse of Patsey is "unholy." When Patsey begs Solomon to drown her, Solomon is horrified, saying, "Why would you consign me to the damned with such an ungodly request?" Patsey replies, "God is merciful, and He forgives merciful acts."Sexual ContentEpps rapes Patsey, an assault that's suggested to be habitual. We see explicit sexual movements from the waist up. Patsey is coercively compliant and unresponsive, knowing that resistance would result in beatings and/or death. When she stops breathing during the rape, Epps slaps her face, apparently to ensure that she's still alive. An older black woman tells a younger slave that she learned early on that enduring a slave owner's abusive sexual advances was a much better fate than being regularly whipped. Two scenes show slaves bathing with buckets of water and rags. We see male and female bare backsides, as well as women's breasts. At a slave market, several are lined up naked for inspection. We see nude male torsos from the midsection up and full-frontal female nudity. In a crowded room used for sleeping, Solomon rolls over to see a woman staring at him. She grabs his hand and places it on her breast—though Solomon (who is married) seems at first reluctant to comply. What follows are explicit motions and moans from her that imply much more sexual contact. Afterward, she cries, and Solomon looks pained. Her actions suggest how desperate she is for any tenderness and human contact; her crying indicates she knows it isn't right. Solomon and his wife are shown in bed together, clothed; they kiss.Recommended ResourceA Chicken's Guide to Talking Turkey With Your Kids About SexKevin LemanEven the bravest parents feel timid about discussing sex with their 8- to 14-year-olds! This resource offers reassuring, humorous, real-life anecdotes along with reliable information to help you with this challenging task.Buy NowViolent ContentEpps orders Patsey to be stripped naked, tied to a post and whipped after she goes to another plantation to get some soap to wash herself. And the man he orders to whip her is Solomon. Solomon does land the awful instrument on her back about a dozen times. (We see her face and Solomon behind her.) But Epps isn't satisfied with how hard Solomon is punishing her, saying, "Strike her until flesh is rent and meat and blood flow." He puts a gun to Solomon's head and says he'll start killing other slaves if Solomon doesn't comply. Solomon whips her eight more times, harder, before the enraged Epps grabs the whip himself. Blood sprays from her back with each of his lashings, at least 20 more of them. We see the last few blows land (as well as her bare backside and breasts) as he nearly kills Patsey. Afterward, other slaves tend to Patsey's unimaginably injured back. Every day, Epps' men weigh the cotton his slaves have picked. Those who don't pick as much as the day before are whipped (which happens to Solomon at least twice). Solomon is also beaten severely with fists and a whip, which flays his back open. Solomon gets into a fistfight with Ford's man Tibeats. The overseer responds by trying to hang Solomon. Another man stops the hanging—sort of. He keeps Solomon from dying, but lets him dangle from the noose with his toes barely touching the ground for the rest of the day. For perhaps three or four very long movie minutes, Solomon hangs, choking, gagging and spitting, on the edge of suffocation. In a separate scene, Solomon comes across men in the act of hanging two slaves in the woods. A slave who tries to stop a rape is stabbed and killed. Epps' wife cruelly scratches and scars Patsey's face with her fingernails, as well as throwing a glass bottle at her head. Patsey is shown with one eye completely red and bloody, and it's clear she's been hit by either Epps or his wife. Epps puts a knife threateningly to Solomon's chest. An overseer repeatedly kicks a slave who collapses in the field, dying.Crude or Profane LanguageGod's name is misused a half-dozen or more times, four times paired with "d‑‑n." We hear seven or eight uses of "d‑‑n," three or four of "b‑‑tard" and one or two of "b‑‑ch."Drug and Alcohol ContentSolomon drinks several glasses of wine at a restaurant with Hamilton and Brown. It's implied that the wine is spiked with a drug that knocks him out. Epps is increasingly dependent upon alcohol. He drinks from a steel flask during the day and is repeatedly intoxicated. He hires a white worker who admits to having a whiskey addiction.Other Negative ElementsFord's wife grows weary of Eliza's continued mourning for her children. She cruelly tells the slave, "Your children will soon be forgotten." And when Solomon tries to plead his case to Ford, saying, "Master Ford, you must know that I'm a free man," the man replies, "I cannot hear that"—in part because he still owes money for Solomon.ConclusionEvery so often, a film arrives that aspires to be much more than just mere entertainment. I'm talking about stories that utterly transfix our attention as they force us to confront some of the most brutal—and yet most important—moments in our shared human history. Steven Spielberg's films Schindler's List and Saving Private Ryan accomplished that. So did Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ and Lee Daniels' Precious. And now Steve McQueen's 12 Years a Slave does too. It delivers a riveting, shocking and heartbreaking glimpse into the practices of slavery in pre-Civil War America, giving viewers a documentary-like perspective while gazing unblinkingly at scenes of unthinkable brutality and inhumanity one moment, desperate hope and incredible tenderness the next. Entertainment Weekly's Owen Glieberman writes, "12 Years a Slave lets us stare at the primal sin of America with open eyes, and at moments it is hard to watch, yet it's a movie of such humanity and grace that at every moment, you feel you're seeing something essential." There's no question that this is one of the most searingly intense portraits of slavery ever committed to film, and that it exercises the brutality seen onscreen to bludgeon slavery's grim, cruel and conscience-less degradation. It's certainly worthy of the critical plaudits it's receiving. But I'd strongly suggest that this film, as important as its subject matter is, is equally worthy of careful and critical consideration regarding whether or not exposure to such violent and sexual images of degradation is necessary (or profitable) to understand how horrific such things were … and still are even in our modern world.Pro-social ContentObjectionable ContentSummary AdvisoryPlot SummaryChristian BeliefsOther Belief SystemsAuthority RolesProfanity/ViolenceKissing/Sex/HomosexualityDiscussion TopicsAdditional Comments/NotesEpisode Reviews]]>
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Plugged In
(”12 Years a Slave” is briefly mentioned in this.)
The story of Judah Ben-Hur has been one of the culture’s most popular, most powerful stories for more than a century now, and Jesus has always been at the center of it. Earlier this summer, I wrote a blog about the 1880 book Ben-Hur: The Tale of the Christ, discussing the faith journey of author Lew Wallace. It’s such a powerful tale that Focus on the Family Radio Theatre even created its very own top-notch production of the story. But most of us are probably most familiar with the 1959 movie starring Charlton Heston, Stephen Boyd and the most exciting chariot race in cinematic history. Now there’s a new version of this timeless story charging into theaters this Friday—one crafted by executive producers Mark Burnett and Roma Downey. In Los Angeles, I (along with about 10 other “press” people) had a chance to sit down with Burnett and Downey, both committed Christians, and talk with them about the project, and why they’d want to remake a movie that’d already won 11 Oscars. [Note: When I asked a question or made a statement, my name is included. All other questions came from others in the room and are simply designated with a “Q”. Some editing of the original transcript was done for readability and brevity.] *** Q: It’s almost unimaginable how [some of the movie’s characters could forgive] at the end [of the movie]. Can you tie in that message of forgiveness of Christ and of the film? Downey: At our production company, Lightworkers Media, we have a mantra that it’s better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.  And it’s something that we have been committed to doing in the content that we create. I think that this film at this time hopefully can offer some kind of balm for the hurting world that we live in. …We’re just movie makers. This film comes to an audience as an action adventure movie and it doesn’t disappoint on that, but it holds within it more important, deeper themes of reconciliation, of forgiveness, of loving, of mercy. And the best we can hope is that these themes will touch and open hearts. Burnett: Obviously the faith audience will connect [with] why the forgiveness happened. [The] secular audience will connect [too because] Jesus, in the way [the scene] was shot, was speaking directly to Judah. I bet you many people that day at the crucifixion thought [Jesus] was speaking to them. And in fact He was. Then there’s also a supernatural element—a mystery that none of us actually understands—where things just happen. Sometimes you’ll be in a church setting or a movie or a meeting, and that the spring of the Holy Spirit within you can bubble up, flow through you into others. [You] just gotta make sure you don’t feel like you deserve the credit or it’s because of you it happened. It’s just passing through you. Q: Do you feel that since you’ve made The Bible [miniseries for the History Channel] and now you’ve made these other [biblical] projects, do you feel like something is coming through you? Burnett: I feel all different kinds of things at times. It’s very easy to feel proud of doing or to feel important for doing it. I bet you all the famous pastors sometimes feel that way or cardinals or the Pope feel that way, because we’re humans and we’re weak. Waliszewski: When people ask why remake a film that is so well known—like Charlton Heston’s 1959 classic with its 11 academy awards—what do you say? Downey: We say it’s such a great story and  it’s a story that needs to be seen, heard, and felt by a whole new generation of moviegoers. With all respect to the 1959 movie, it’s just so long ago. Waliszewski: And it’s so long. Downey: And so long. That’s right. Waliszewski: Three hours and 43 minutes. Downey: That’s right.  Our film is significantly shorter. It’s a really great story and we loved working on this screenplay with John Ridley, who of course won the Oscar for 12 Years a Slave.  I think it’s been retold in a way that is both exciting and profoundly touching. When you can for 2016 create [Ben-Hur] in 3-D as a new experience—[bringing on an] Oscar-winning special-effects team to create this amazing CGI as evidenced by the battle scene, the naval battle scene and of course the chariot race—it’s just breathtaking. You will inhale at the beginning when that kerchief drops and those horses come hurdling down that track and you will not exhale till that race is over. I think it over delivers in those scenes. Q: Again, comparing this film to the previous film, what do you think that you guys actually did better in this film? Burnett:  I don’t necessarily think it’s better or worse.  It’s just different. The book is great and the book’s from the 1800s. … I bet you a lot of people will actually want to read the book because of the movie. It’s really strange [how it works.] People write a book.  It becomes a play.  It becomes a movie and another movie and then people rediscover the book.  Not many things are like that. I bet you Shakespeare is a little like that.  The Bible certainly is.  We know millions of people rediscovered the Bible or discovered the Bible because of The Bible [TV] series. And to come back to your question about why remake Ben-Hur: If you stop to analyze the wisdom of it, you would not do it. You wouldn’t. There’s times where you just jump in. …Why would the chairman of MGM, Gary Barber, come to us and say, “We’re the studio that owns Ben-Hur.  We’re gonna redo Ben-Hur.  We’d like you guys to come on as producers on this movie.” The big-baby approach would be, “Whoa, no way!  That could go wrong. That could not end well for us.” And [we could] chart a very safe course. Or you [could] have a little recklessness. …When you get too safe and comfortable, then you probably don’t need to lean on God as much in your own mind. Downey: I think there was a boldness in doing this. We approached it prayerfully—a constant prayer [for us] is Less of me, more of you.  And we try to get out of the way and so that when the Spirit moves, we listen. It’s in every stage of this we just prayed it in and we called in prayers from the community, particularly for the big scenes. Particularly for the crucifixion, which, you know, is a difficult scene to film physically, emotionally, spiritually. And that morning we went up to that hillside with the prayers and support of so many in our community and so we prayed into the fiber of the film that the story that that moment when his heart is touched that people’s hearts will be touched.  That the movie will be seen not just in America but globally, and that there may be an opportunity for people to experience some of the grace and the transformation of his heart that Judah feels, or that Messala feels or that Ilderim feels. … It’s in our broken places often that the light comes in. *** Ben-Hur lands in theaters this Friday. And if you’d like a little taste of the story of Ben-Hur—courtesy our very own Focus on the Family Radio Theatre—click here. ]]>
(Review Source)
Plugged In
(”12 Years a Slave” is briefly mentioned in this.)
Nominations for the 89th Academy Awards were rolled out early this morning. And for the next several days, the entertainment world will be wholly reactionary. Who got in? Who didn’t? Who got snubbed? Meryl Streep again?! We at Plugged In will be thinking and talking about the Oscars over the next month, too. But for now, here are some quick snapshot reactions. Family Friendly? Not Quite. But: Oscar loves its edgy, adult fare. Typically, the derby for Best Picture is dominated by R-rated movies. But this year, for the first time since 2012, PG and PG-13 films outnumber them. Hidden Figures is rated PG. Arrival, Fences, La La Land and Lion are all PG-13, joining the R-rated Hacksaw Ridge, Hell or High Water, Manchester by the Sea and Moonlight. And it’s not just the MPAA ratings that make this crop of nominees encouraging. For the last couple of years, the most honored films have been rather grim. Last year, Spotlight (about the Catholic clergy sex-abuse scandal) and The Revenant (about a guy who was mauled by a bear) duked it out for Best Picture honors (Spotlight won, but both took home plenty of statues). The year before, the dark dramedy Birdman was the buzz of Tinseltown. The year before that? Well, no one’s going to mistake 12 Years a Slave for a fun crowd-pleaser. But this year, the light-but-layered musical confection La La Land leads all contenders. Indeed, its 14 nominations tie Titanic and All About Eve for the most noms ever. Down the ballot, Lion gives us a gripping, emotional and ultimately heartwarming story about a man’s search to find his birth mother after being accidentally separated from her 20 years before. Hidden Figures is a rousing inspirational flick, shining a spotlight on three unsung heroes of the U.S.’s early space program and illustrating how excellence and integrity can combat institutional racism. And if you read our reviews of even the R-rated films up for honors, you’ll find that they, too, have their merits. For instance, Hacksaw Ridge—Mel Gibson’s admittedly bloody return to directorial relevance—is a hard movie to watch, but its hero is a man of faith who, despite refusing to carry a gun in World War II, wins the Medal of Honor. No More #OscarsSoWhite: For two years running, the Academy has come under fire for honoring solely white nominees in its acting categories. Not so this year. Ruth Negga’s understated powerhouse performance in Loving propelled her to a well-deserved Best Actress nomination. Denzel Washington, always a perennial contender, scored his seventh Oscar nom for Fences. (He’s won twice, for Glory and Training Day). Heavy favorite Mahershala Ali (Moonlight) joins Dev Patel (Lion), a British actor of Indian descent, in the Best Supporting Actor category. A trio of African-American women are up for Best Supporting Actress: Viola Davis for Fences, Octavia Spencer for Hidden Figures and Naomie Harris for Moonlight. Oh, and here’s a little bit of trivia for you: Davis, who gave I think the performance of the year in Fences, became the first black actress to score three Oscar noms. Perhaps this is the year she’ll win one. No Pixar? If the acting nominees were fairly diverse, the same could be said in the animated feature category. Disney subsidiary Pixar has long dominated this category whenever it’s had a major film in contention, and make no mistake: Finding Dory was a major film, earning more than $1 billion worldwide. But it was shut out of Oscar’s animation derby. Instead, two films from Disney proper—Zootopia and Moana—joined Focus Features’ Kubo and the Two Strings, the dreamy Japanese fable The Red Turtle (a film completely without dialogue) and the French-made My Life as a Zucchini. I’ve argued for years that animated films are as good as they’ve ever been. And while I still say that Pixar sets the standard by which all others are judged, perhaps this is a sign that the rest of the entertainment world has caught up to the studio. Academy Voters and Film Fans Still Don’t Live in the Same Universe. Sure, some big-budget blockbusters snagged technical kudos from the Academy this year. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the year’s biggest movie, was nominated for two awards, and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Doctor Strange and even Suicide Squad scored a technical category nom or two. But when it comes to Oscar’s biggest categories, you’ll not see a blockbuster in the running at all. Arrival, a clever science fiction tale starring Amy Adams, is as close as it comes among Best Picture honorees, earning $95.7 million during its run thus far. La La Land is next with $89.8 mil. While these films will surely see their grosses grow in the wake of the nominations, this year’s Oscars won’t go down as an example of cinematic populism. ]]>
(Review Source)
Kyle Smith
(”12 Years a Slave” is briefly mentioned in this.)
david oyelowodenzel washingtondiversitylupita nyong'oMoviesnate parkeroscarsoscars 2016oscars 2017will smith “Oops.” “Nevermind.” “Sorry we brought this up.” “We were wrong.” Surely that’s what last year’s Oscar protesters will be saying next winter, because it looks like last year’s Oscar blackout was an anomaly. Next year, by all appearances, will be the year of #OscarsSoDiverse. After last week’s Toronto Film Festival, many films about black life have emerged as serious Oscar contenders. “Moonlight,” a coming-of-age story about a young black boy in Miami struggling with his sexual identity, was hailed as a triumph that could win nominations and awards, maybe even the Best Picture Oscar. Footage from “Hidden Figures,” a feel-good movie about black women working at NASA in the 1960s that has been called “The Help” meets “The Right Stuff” and stars Taraji P. Henson and Oscar winner Octavia Spencer, also earned raves. So did “Loving,” another fact-based historical drama, this one about the 1958 case of Mariel and Richard Loving (Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton) that resulted in the Supreme Court finally backing interracial marriage. As did “A United Kingdom,” in which David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike play a prince from Botswana and a British typist who fall in love in 1947. “12 Years a Slave” star Lupita Nyong’o is being touted for another Best Supporting Actress nomination for her role in “Queen of Katwe,” about a Ugandan chess champ. Meanwhile, Denzel Washington is starring in and directing “Fences,” which hasn’t been screened yet but is based on a Pulitzer Prize winning August Wilson play and is expected to be a strong awards contender when it’s released in December. And then there’s “The Birth of a Nation.” It’s a highly acclaimed film about the Nat Turner-led slave uprising in 1831 Virginia that way back in January sparked Oscar buzz at the Sundance Film Festival for its star, co-writer and director Nate Parker, although subsequent revelations that Parker had been tried and acquitted in a 1999 college sexual-assault case brought by a woman who later committed suicide have dampened enthusiasm for the picture. Oscar voters are being reminded that other artists with morally dubious records have won awards and the film earned standing ovations at the Toronto Film Festival, where attendees were well aware of the news about Parker’s past. SEE ALSO No, George Clooney, the Oscars aren’t racist George Clooney is absolutely right: The Oscars don’t look like... So, next year’s Oscar slate could include as many as five or six or seven films with black protagonists, all of which were in development long before last winter’s outcry. So what was all that fuss about in January, when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences engaged in a public ritual of self-flagellation over the lack of black nominees? The social-media protests left the academy scrambling to institute a huge affirmative-action program, extending invitations to hundreds of members of minority groups, including some who seemingly have had little impact on the motion-picture industry (America Ferrara? Really?). The program is boosting minority representation in the AMPAS from 8 percent to 11 percent in one year. Chris Rock delivered a hilarious opening monologue as host of the 88th Oscars, saying “Why this Oscars? It’s the 88th Academy Awards. Which means this whole ­no-black-nominees thing has happened at least ­71 other times.”EPAYet all last year’s Oscar slate proved was the existence of statistical noise. In a country in which blacks are about 13 percent of the population, it isn’t surprising that the number of black nominees for acting prizes might sometimes be zero (as it was last year) and sometimes be five (as it was in 2004). Blacks are statistically over-represented in some categories (four of the last 10 Best Supporting Actress winners) and under-represented in others (only one Best Actress winner ever). Overall, things pretty much even out, at least lately: if you look at the last 15 years, 10 percent of acting nominees have been black, or almost exactly the same representation as you’d expect (blacks composed 12 to 13 percent of the US population in that period). Besides, why would the same group of people — Oscar voters — have suddenly turned racist between 2013 and 2015? In 2013, black artists won Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Supporting Actress and the Oscar for Best Picture for “12 Years a Slave.” ‘Hollywood has never been more interested in telling stories about blacks than it is right now.’ Last year was simply not a particularly strong one for black cinema. Activists complained that Will Smith wasn’t nominated, but his film “Concussion” was a critical and commercial flop. “Straight Outta Compton” was expected by some to get a Best Picture nomination, but that film was made more for entertainment than art. “Beasts of No Nation”? A brutal, hard-to-watch film about African civil wars that grossed a paltry $91,000. The seventh “Rocky” movie “Creed” also had many admirers, but sequels rarely get Best Picture nominations (seven in the entire history of the Oscars). No fifth, sixth or seventh installment of any franchise has ever gotten a Best Picture nomination. Maybe the #OscarsSoWhite campaign made the Academy take a good hard look at itself, and maybe that’s a good thing. There still aren’t many black (or female) directors. But the protesters missed what was happening right under their noses: Hollywood has never been more interested in telling stories about blacks than it is right now. Share this:FacebookTwitterGoogleFacebook MessengerWhatsAppEmailCopy ]]>
(Review Source)
Kyle Smith
In a sense, Hollywood is facing its first-ever real scandal. What’s going on now has made the movie industry do something it perhaps has never done before: feel deeply ashamed about itself. A famously self-confident, indeed smug, institution is questioning its basic norms. Of previous industry scandals there have been many, but Hollywood itself didn’t take any of them particularly seriously. The Roman Polanski scandal? Hey, it was just sex. Oh, it was sex with an underage girl who had been drugged past the point where she could give meaningful consent? Well, it was the ’70s. Anyway, the girl forgave him.
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(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)
127 Hours
VJ Morton

TIFF 10 capsules — Day 10


OUTBOUND (Bogdan George Apetri, Romania, 9)

OK … I’m tired of being embarrassed by my apparent-fanboy record on new Romanian movies. I’ve seen 13 features; 12 unified films and 1 planned omnibus collection of shorts; average grade 7.74, with none lower than a still-recommended “6” (one of the two of which I’m really unsatisfied by). I’ll just embrace it, by saying right now and staking whatever critical reputation I have on it. Romania is the late-00s is Italy in the late-40s or France in the late-50s — the country with the most exciting, groundbreaking and aesthetically satisfying cinema in the world, with identifiable traits in common by a variety of directors, that truly deserves to be called a “wave.” The 17 films or shorts are credited to 14 directors, but everyone seems to have their fingers in everyone else’s pie.¹

It’s the simplest of formulas — film artists in Romania simply don’t know classicism and realism have been done to death, like we in the rich countries that have great cinematic traditions already behind us know they have been. But by not knowing that and going ahead with stories about real people without special effects, usually following classical story structures and sometimes even the Aristotelian unities, the Romanians prove every time that classicism and realism not only will always be vibrant but are the answers to aesthetic decadence. If I’m gonna compare the current Romanians to the Italian neorealists², then I’ll add that the Belgian team of Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne play the same inspiring-fountainhead role that Jean Renoir did back then. The Romanians prefer the same naturalistic look, the same accretion of lived-in detail, the same lengthy takes and restless camera, the same natural sound mix with little or no score, and the same interest in working-class protagonists and stories in contemporary settings — all Dardennes hallmarks.

Of all the recent Romanian films, OUTBOUND is the one that wears the Dardennes influence nearest to the surface. In fact, though Dardennes comparisons are high compliments, the only significant criticism I would make of OUTBOUND is that Ana Ularu, in the lead role of a Matilda, a woman on a 24-hour furlough from jail, reminded me a bit much physically of Arta Dobroshi in LORNA’S SILENCE and had a determined-ferile quality that put me in mind of Emilie Dequenne in ROSETTA. Ularu gives a brilliant performance, mind you. Dobroshi and Dequenne are fast company — it just seemed a bit familiar. What specifically reminded me of the Belgian masters in OUTBOUND in a good way is the story structure, and the way that, even though OUTBOUND is segmented into three parts, each named for a different male character who plays a significant role, almost all the exposition was indirect or occurs en passant. It only comes out after several minutes, for example, the precise relationship between Matilda and Andrei in the first section. But then, why should they say the first minute they’re together “hello, sister” or the like for our benefit; they know their relationship. It also comes out slowly who “Paul” is, and the precise nature of their pre-prison relationship. It’s never not-thrilling to be in the hands of such story-telling confidence and respect for your ability to think, to remember and to connect, without shoving stuff in your face or reverting to willful obscurantism.

While at the same time, the film is absolutely confident in its rootedness, in knowing its environment, Bucharest as the Dardennes’ Liege/Seraing. We see somebody burning leaves in the background, we see a motorcyclist slow down to observe a scene, and we just expect these to have significance based on Chekhov’s gun maxim. But they don’t, it’s just an accretion of environmental detail. I keep using the word “lived-in” to describe these Romanian films, but there’s no better term. We know that Matilda and Andrei are somehow closely related; we just feel right away that the first shot is a prison, though there’s no metal bars or black stripes or uniformed guards or obvious signifiers. There’s also the utter realism of the psychology in OUTBOUND. While Andrei³ tolerates Matilda, his wife doesn’t, and as a result he gets pulled between the two in a way that’s perfectly convincing in terms of the anger, the keeping up appearances, the manner of speech, the back-and-forth. When Matilda, in part 2, speaks to a prostitute (Skandie Scene Plug if this film ever gets seen), we can believe she wants to impart her hard-won wisdom and warn her against certain things we’ve just been unlucky enough to see about the pimp (there’s no man around, so it’s “girl talk” time). But we also, tragically, realize that there is no reason the prostitute should pay attention to her, and that Romanian contempt and prickliness produces a great exchange without anyone leaving a seat as it goes through the car wash — an image of external cleansing that leaves the inside exactly as it found it. Later, we see Matilda with another person who enables her to fill that kind of elder role, and Ularu successfully creates almost a different woman for that context that is somehow recognizably the same one we’ve been watching for the first hour.

The overall story concerns Matilda’s attempt to raise 1,500 euros in half-a-day to facilitate escape from not just jail but from Romania. But again, realism is everywhere — despite the obvious comparison to RUN LOLA RUN, Matilda doesn’t have elaborate scams or unrealistic capers in mind to raise the money, just two or three vague ideas, where she pushes until other things present themselves. Only because this is Romania, there will always be dark undercurrents in this urgent, life-defining, one-day quest, with the darkest current being other people. I once said the following about 4 MONTHS, 3 WEEKS, 2 DAYS:

life in actually-existing-socialist Romania is portrayed as nothing but lies, where lying about things large and small, hiding things, maintaining appearances, getting around others is ubiquitous. Everybody does it. And everybody knows everybody else does it, making social life one long cynical day of pragmatic getting-by.

Life in actually-existing-capitalist Romania is more prosperous but hasn’t otherwise changed too much, according to OUTBOUND. Indeed, and I will try to speak vaguely, the third act returns the movie to prison and shows how little distance separates an apple and a tree. Gawd … I love this country.


NEDS (Peter Mullan, Britain, 6)

When I posted my schedule for the festival, welshbud Dan Owen predicted that NEDS, about a boy growing up in 1970s Glasgow, “will be a fictionalised version of your youth… I expect a character called v-mort at the very least.” Well … the central character is named “John” (my middle name); he is a round-faced fair-skinned dirty blond (the boy who plays him around 10 is practically a dead ringer for me at that age; not so much Conor McCarron as the teenager, who gets most of the screen time); John starts out as a swot who takes it as a great personal offense when he’s only in second-top track; John has no difficulty expressing contempt for or showing up teachers when he feels like it or taking the strap as the cost therein; John is an altar boy at school Masses, though not at the parish; two characters (though not John; in fact, he attacks them) are dressed in the uniform of the Jesuit prep school I went to once I was old enough to take and pass the entrance exam (St. Aloysius, the best Catholic boys’ school in Scotland); there is even an early scene where an emigrant relative visits from America and tells John he should become a journalist over there; oh … and I prepared for this film in appropriate Glaswegian fashion by getting pished (actually, just one beer … but it’s the principle of the thing).

I don’t know why I’ve written all that, since this film cannot be the Proustian madeleines experience for others that it was for me. And it doesn’t seem like something particularly brag-worthy since John grows up to be a juvenile delinquent (though as alternate history, who knows). Still, I do think NEDS (NED = Non-Educated Delinquent) has some objective virtues for other folks. As one-note kitchen-sink miserabilist downward spirals go, I think NEDS is absolutely first-rate, with some major reservations. Primarily, Mullan gets a series of great naturalistic performances from amateur actors, particularly McCarron in the key role. Though the defining event seems too small a ha’penny to turn a life on — being snubbed by the family when he visits a toff friend — McCarron knows how to exist on camera, as a working-class boy who grows into the role of hard-man without ever really planning to. In the film’s best scene, McCarron makes it clear, without actually tipping his hand onscreen, that he is just dicking around with the teacher and he knows perfectly well what the Latin word for “garden” is. The supporting roles are well-cast and naturalistically played, almost certainly by other non-pros. Indeed, at its best, NEDS reminds one of Ken Loach at his best.

However, incredibly considering that Mullan gave one of era’s great naturalistic performances as a Glasgow drunk in Loach’s MY NAME IS JOE, Mullan is here his own worst actor, as John’s father. Or rather, he has no character to play, so he glowers menacingly and ineffectually (to us). Mullan also breaks the kitchen sink direction on two or three occasions and heads for far-flung expressionist flourishes, to spectacularly variable results, for example scoring a gang fight to “Cheek to Cheek” (not bad, gets across the fun element in a mass fight). He also has a high-on-glue John hallucinate Jesus coming down from the Cross, embrace John but then start kicking his ass until John shivs Him. The latter is a fine idea, to which I don’t object in principle as a hallucination / metaphor for spiritual struggle. But scoring the scene to the New Seekers’ “You’ll Never Find Another Fool Like Me” is not.


NEVER LET ME GO (Mark Romanek, Britain, 7)

On paper, I should think this film is great — a not-really-‘fiction’ science-fiction film about a society that euphemistically breeds stem cells clones for body parts, about the social construction of the self even unto death, about the complicity of “reform” and “regulation” in barbarity, about the terrible calmness and normality of legal human sacrifice and about Keira Knightley ballooning up to a blimpish 105 pounds.

And I do think NEVER LET ME GO (the second festival film to take its title from a song referenced in the movie; the other being NORWEGIAN WOOD) *is* very good. It does deliver on the premises thematically and is well-executed in all the various ways. Knightley, Alex Garfield and Carey Mulligan give finely stifled performances in the principal roles of three embryos (“donors,” in the film and the Kazuo Ishiguro novel, which I haven’t read) allowed to reach the age when their parts are harvestable, managing the tricky task of tugging against their role without ever seeming to do so overtly (that would destroy the story’s integrity). Mark Romanek’s direction is crisp and understated, letting the revelations drift out at a leisurely pace. This is not a suspense film at all, as the trailer may have led you (well, it led me) to expect. Rather it’s a film about resignation, about fate and role not even being something you “accept” but your identity and reality per se (Ed Gonzalez at Slant demands the kids’ behavior be shown as “warped” — the whole point is that they’re not and that it’s appallingly normal). I thought several times about the PD James novel “Children of Men” (very much NOT the Alfonso Cuaron filmic travesty) — never in the history of euthanasia has death been sweeter.

And yet … something was missing. While I have my doubts about whether one can truly love a work of art on human cannibalism whose drama is a stem-cell love triangle, I also think it might just be the nature of the movie medium. Film makes things literal. (Ironically though, the reason we accept the barbarity of embryonic cannibalism and aborted-tissue lampshades is that they happen to unseen persons in an unseen way.) But when characters, words on a page, are embodied in visible persons (“normals” like Knightley, Mulligan, Charlotte Rampling, Sally Hawkins), we want them to act more like persons. By, for example, not showing up for the three or four apparently-uncoerced “donations” (organ harvests) that will bring about their “completion” (death). Voluntarily showing up for a fatal operation without external force is the kind of premise that might work on the page and a premise you can intellectualize. But in a naturalistic film, it’s just too much: “have these people really had no outside contact with the world?” you think. In other words, NEVER LET ME GO is a Tradition of Quality version of DOGTOOTH, and maybe that’s the comparison. Though the Greek movie had an equally unbelievable premise, Lanthimos’ direction was so stylized and the performances so much at right-angles to reality that nobody could have thought they were looking at a facsimile of the real world.


127 HOURS (Danny Boyle, Britain, 7)

Now here is another unbelievable story — except that we know going in it really DID happen. Aron Ralston really go out rock-climbing one day, (um … I guess … SPOILER) slip down a crevice and have a falling rock trap his arm in a wedge, leaving him no choice but (um … I guess … SPOILER again) to cut off his right forearm. It’s a can’t-miss premise that had the potential to be great but, like NEVER LET ME GO, doesn’t do either. In 127 HOURS case, it’s a matter of the wrong director getting attached to the project. Danny Boyle is not a subtle film-maker and is one not given to understatement (and by putting it that way, I am showing that I *am* given to understatement). Boyle’s hyper-caffeinated, balls-out style — no angle is too eccentric, no track too elaborate, no color too fluorescent for him — works brilliantly in the hurly-burly-druggy world of TRAINSPOTTING or the kids-fantasy world of MILLIONS. But here in 127 HOURS, it feels inorganic, working against the material. As a result, what Boyle has made is more of a character study about a guy who happens to have been trapped and less a drama about being trapped itself. The fact Boyle has made as good a film as he has is largely due to James Franco in the central role. He’s arrogantly carefreet enough as Xtreme Dude at the start and pulls off the self-doubt, self-examination, self-ahem-mutilation later on, as his fate gets progressively more dire.

In some ways, this film made me appreciate BURIED even more — both films are about men trapped into immobility, and both face the challenge of how to make that cinematically and dramatically alive. Cortes wrestles head-on with that one-set, one-character restriction but bakes the necessary “cheating” into his plot (the left-behind BlackBerry and all the people he tries to contact) so that it’s not really cheating. Boyle doesn’t embrace the one-set challenge at all, instead waiting about 20 minutes to trap Ralston. During which time, we get a series of ironies in the set-up story, painting Ralston as an Xtreme-sports enthusiast who, like Icarus, flies too close to the sun he wants to touch. To that end, we see him leave his apartment (and forget his Swiss Army knife … ooops), exit just as his parents call (I’ll let the machine get it, I don’t want anyone to know where I’m going … ooops), see a couple of girls and show them the ropes and have a successful impromptu date (and score an invite to a party tomorrow … ooops), etc.

Once Ralston is trapped, Boyle goes hog wild with the full cinematic fireworks and runs through the full panoply of story-telling tricks — flashbacks, fantasies, dreams — to keep the screen busy, busy, busy. He comes up with every angle — inside a water bottle, say — and excuse to hallucinate. Some of them pay off handsomely — the scene of Ralston imagining himself as a guest on a talk-show, with himself as the hectoring host is aces as psychology, and the miles-long super-speed track to a bottle of Gatorade in his trunk is mordantly funny. On the other hand, I love AR Rahman’s music, but there’s too damn much of it, it’s not the right kind, and it’s mixed overloud. I also do not care either for the “blend back into the world at start/emd” shot (see also LOVE ACTUALLY) as though this story was representative of anything. Nor is a real-life person getting a cameo at the end of his story or biopic anything but an insult to the actor (see also, WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT).
——————————————
¹ OUTBOUND is Apetri’s first feature, but the story is by Christian Mungiu of 4 MONTHS fame and the screenplay co-written by Apetri and Tudor Voican who wrote MEDAL OF HONOR and CALIFORNIA DREAMIN. Apetri also has cinematographer Marius Pandaru, who lensed both of Poromboiu’s features, 12:08 EAST OF BUCHAREST and POLICE, ADJECTIVE, and THE HAPPIEST GIRL IN THE WORLD.
² The Romanians also exciting the same “why make depressing movies that make us look bad”-type criticism from some folks at home as the Italians did.)

³ Played by Andy Vasluianu, who also was the protagonist in THE OTHER IRENE and one of the film crew in THE HAPPIEST GIRL IN THE WORLD

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October 1, 2010 - Posted by | Bogdan George Apetri, Danny Boyle, Mark Romanek, Peter Mullan, TIFF 2010

1 Comment »

  1. Why are u not reviewing the Wavelengths, man? Are they some sort of second class citizen to you, man? Unfair. Either way. Show some love. And mercy, dude.

    Give a rating.

    Show you care.

    -cs

    Comment by kristobol schults | October 1, 2010 | Reply


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(Review Source)
VJ Morton
(”127 Hours” is briefly mentioned in this.)
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My Toronto schedule

Labor Day has come and gone, so in honor of last year’s best film at the Toronto International Film Festival (and the best film to be released commercially in the US this year) — it’s mother-tiffing time. The schedulers have made several changes since last year — all of them bad IMHO.

(1) basically all the Gala premieres are now special-ticket only and thus can’t be bought with passes, which means that with a lot of the Hollywood tentpole films, there’s only one chance (in a couple of cases, none) to see it; (2) they’ve extended the festival a day into a second Sunday, which I’m gonna take advantage of, but might make The Festival Wall even harder; (3) they’ve gutted the weekday morning programming (devoting fewer than half the number of screens as previous festivals) and backloaded the festival in terms of sheer numbers.

As I said on my Twitter feed @vjmfilms, where I’ll have an instant reax to every movie I see, there is exactly one (1) film shown to the general public before 3pm Friday that looks like a more attractive experience than having my balls chewed off, and it has two (2) of the five (5) public screening slots in those two half-days (frankly, if I had seen the schedule before booking my plane and hotel, I’d have delayed my trip a day).

But TIFF is still TIFF, and even when it looks like down, it’ll be awesome task to see 40+ films. There Joe and some other Cannes prize-winners, there’s Mike Leigh leading a flurry of promising looking British films, there are a bunch of mouth-watering documentaries by the genre’s masters, there are major sophomore efforts by Affleck (really), Chomet and Dolan, there are returns to roots (and maybe form) by Ozon and Tanovic, and a couple of new films from still-perfect-in-my-eyes Romania (a country that frankly TIFF has not led the way on).

After the jump is what I have tickets for and so expect to see, with the proviso that good buzz can add films and bad buzz and tiredness can take them away.

9 Sept
930pm THE LEGEND OF THE FIST (Andy Lau, Hong Kong) Elgin

10 Sept
400pm A MARRIED COUPLE (Allan King, Canada, 1969) AMC 2
600pm POETRY (Lee Chang-dong, South Korea) Scotiabank 2
1000pm I’M STILL HERE (Casey Affleck, USA) Varsity 8
midnight SUPER (James Gunn, USA) Ryerson

11 Sept
noon THE KING’S SPEECH (Tom Hooper, Britain) Ryerson
330pm BOXING GYM (Frederick Wiseman, USA) AMC 7
600pm THE STRANGE CASE OF ANGELICA (Manoel de Oliveira, Portugal) AMC 4
800pm LOVE CRIME (Alain Corneau, France) Winter Garden

12 Sept
930am CIRKUS COLUMBIA (Danis Tanovic, Bosnia) AMC 6
noon THE CONSPIRATOR (Robert Redford, USA) Ryerson
230pm THE ILLUSIONIST (Sylvain Chomet, Britain/France) Elgin
630pm TABLOID (Errol Morris, USA) Lightbox 2
930pm NORWEGIAN WOOD (Tran Anh Hung, Japan) AMC 7

13 Sept
1230pm CLIENT 9: THE RISE AND FALL OF ELIOT SPITZER (Alex Gibney, USA) Winter Garden
330pm TAMARA DREWE (Stephen Frears, Britain) AMC 7
600pm ANOTHER YEAR (Mike Leigh, Britain) Elgin
900pm WAVELENGTHS 6: COMING ATTRACTIONS (anthology program; various) Jackman Hall
midnight THE WARD (John Carpenter, USA) Ryerson

14 Sept
1100am BLACK SWAN (Darren Aronofsky, USA) Elgin
230pm RABBIT HOLE (John Cameron Mitchell, USA) Elgin
645pm HEARTBEATS (Xavier Dolan, Canada) Varsity 8
900pm LEAP YEAR (Michael Rowe, Mexico) AMC 3

15 Sept
930am POTICHE (Francois Ozon, France) Varsity 8
1230pm BURIED (Rodrigo Cortes, Spain/USA) Varsity 8
300pm BRIGHTON ROCK (Rowan Joffe, Britain) AMC 6
500pm CAVE OF FORGOTTEN DREAMS (Werner Herzog, USA) AMC 7
915pm KABOOM! (Gregg Araki, USA) Ryerson
1045pm PROMISES WRITTEN IN WATER (Vincent Gallo, USA) Isabel Bader Theatre

16 Sept
noon BLUE VALENTINE (Derek Cianfrance, USA) Varsity 8
300pm MEEK’S CUTOFF (Kelly Reichardt, USA) Ryerson
530pm THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF NICOLAE CEAUSESCU (Andrei Ujica, Romania) AMC 10
1030pm UNCLE BOONMEE WHO CAN RECALL HIS PAST LIVES (Apichatpong Weerasethakul aka “Joe,” Thailand) Isabel Bader Theatre

17 Sept
900am IT’S KIND OF A FUNNY STORY (Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden, USA) Varsity 8
1230pm DETECTIVE DEE AND THE MYSTERY OF THE PHANTOM FLAME (Tsui Hark, Hong Kong) Lightbox 2
300pm OF GODS AND MEN (Xavier Beauvois, France) Scotiabank 11
600pm AFTERSHOCK (Feng Xiaogang, China) Elgin
900pm RARE EXPORTS: A CHRISTMAS TALE (Jalmari Helander, Finland) AMC 7

18 Sept
930am OUTBOUND (Bogdan George Apetri, Romania) Scotiabank 3
noon NEDS (Peter Mullan, Britain) Scotiabank3
230pm NEVER LET ME GO (Mark Romanek, Britain) Elgin
600pm 127 HOURS (Danny Boyle, Britain) Lightbox 1
900pm THE TOWN (Ben Affleck, USA) Elgin

19 Sept
915am OKI’S MOVIE (Hong Sang-soo, South Korea) Scotiabank 1
noon YOU WILL MEET A TALL DARK STRANGER (Woody Allen, Britain) AMC 6
300pm THE TRIP (Michael Winterbottom, Britain) Ryerson
600pm A SCREAMING MAN (Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, Chad) AMC 6

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My Toronto scheduleIn "TIFF 2011"

Me and MaxIn "Ingmar Bergman"

Toronto 2012 capsules -- day 8In "TIFF2012"

September 7, 2010 - Posted by | TIFF 2010 |

6 Comments »

  1. Wish I could be there, bud. If only for the Herzog…. and now great reviews of the Reichardt.

    Prediction: NEDS will be a fictionalised version of your youth… I expect a character called v-mort at the very least.

    Have a great time dude. My best to you all.

    Comment by Dan | September 8, 2010 | Reply

  2. But only one midnight? WTF?

    Comment by Dan | September 8, 2010 | Reply

  3. sorry, two, but still…

    Comment by Dan | September 8, 2010 | Reply

  4. Dan:

    I rarely went to more than about three Midnight Madnesses per fest, though some of them were unforgettable experiences (ONG BAK, THE HOST, SYMBOL). But after MARTYRS a couple of years ago and a British film the year before that became the second film in my life I walked out on, I basically wrote off Midnight Madness gore or horror films, which really leaves slim pickins. It not just the material, but the audience. The people at those screenings has the soul of a perverted sex criminal but without the balls of one. I’ll go for comedies, martial-arts and wtf-stuff like Hungarian gangsta-rap cartoons. But not a violent or horror films unless, like with one of the two Midnights for me this year, it’s by a Carpenter or a Miike or a Bong or someone of similar known stature and chops.

    Comment by vjmorton | September 9, 2010 | Reply

  5. Dante Lam is doing some good work in Hong Kong; “Fire of Conscience” is a solid action movie, with some of the best shootouts I’ve seen recently.

    Comment by Joe | September 11, 2010 | Reply

  6. Re #4 — that was Brit film was Christopher Smith’s horror-comedy SEVERANCE. IIRC you had issues with the bear trap scene (namely, as you mentioned, the audience reaction).

    Comment by Alex Fung | September 12, 2010 | Reply


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(Review Source)
PJ Media Staff
(”127 Hours” is briefly mentioned in this.)
Lifestyle Saving the world has been a major theme in story-telling as far back as stories have been recorded, starting with cuneiform scratched into mud tablets well before Babylon rose. It’s also been a part of huge cinematic blockbusters like 2012 (dumb as a sackful of stunned baby rabbits, but I still watched it and even own it on Blu)(fun is often far from great), as well as the more universally beloved Star Wars.The need to save the world is also the plot of Sunshine, in the most explicit way.  Our Sun is dying and a last ditch mission is sent from Earth, with the simple objective of jump-starting the engine of the star by exploding every bit of fissionable material left on the earth in the heart of the Sun.Why is it Great?Where do I start?  The stunning visuals (and amazing SFX)?  The immersive sound that puts you in the middle of the spacecraft?  The eerie soundtrack that sucks you in?  (Certain passages of the music are so powerful they’ve been used repeatedly in trailers and other films)   How about just the story of eight flawed humans, who are the best we can muster, with the burden of saving not only themselves, but everyone and every single thing they love?  To say nothing of the fact that it’s just Bat-S**t Krazy (and I mean BSK with the greatest possible respect and affection). class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/2014/5/27/the-best-science-fiction-movie-youve-never-seen-sunshine/ previous Page 1 of 3 next   ]]>
(Review Source)
PJ Media Staff
(”127 Hours” is briefly mentioned in this.)
Lifestyle 1. Nick DiPaolo's nic-fitThe highlight of my trip to New York City last weekend was getting to attack both a FRED PHELPS chick AND a 9/11 Troother (language warning) one block from the WTC. (It's a sad commentary that I didn't manage to be as calm and classy as, er, DANNY BONADUCE...) var dataLayer = window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; dataLayer.push({ 'videoName': '', 'videoType': 'Curated' }); But this is supposed to be my "showbiz" column, so instead, I'll talk about NICK DIPAOLO.When I heard he was playing the Gotham over the September 11 weekend, I grabbed two tickets online the day they went on sale.This comic cosmic alignment would be like a nineteen-year-old serviceman showing up at the Hollywood Canteen on a night HEDY LAMARR was there.(Why, yes Young People Today® -- within living memory, such a thing existed! Today, we've got this instead.)When he took the stage Saturday night, DiPaolo was cranky. He said he needed a cigarette but Mayor BLOOMBERG wouldn't let him, or anybody else, smoke in New York City anymore.DiPaolo proceeded to speculate upon Bloomberg's sexual orientation, although not in those words."Oooooh! The room gets quiet now? You liberals are the ones wrecking this city," DiPaolo declared, along with "big girl" Bloomberg.Having singled out one side of the Gotham room as leftists, DiPaolo addressed most of his scorn to them, complaining about OBAMA ("The first black President? He makes BRYANT GUMBEL look like FLAVOR FLAV") and other Democratic politicians.DiPaolo noted too -- just as he does in this revealing recent interview -- that his politics have held him back, career-wise:"It's funny, when I did my first couple open mics, 20-something years ago, I remember somebody saying 'You're going to be popular because you're politically incorrect and that's going to be big.' It's still not true, each year since then, and that was in 1988, it's getting more politically correct, and I'm still waiting for it to swing and it's not going to."However, DiPaolo's well-deserved cult following is about to get a lot bigger. His new sports radio show, co-hosted with troubled pal ARTIE LANGE, debuts September 26.I may have to start caring about hockey again. var dataLayer = window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; dataLayer.push({ 'videoName': 'Nick Di Paolo -Torture- from "Raw Nerve"', 'videoType': 'Curated' }); class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/2011/9/14/the-proof-that-i-lack-the-sheer-class-and-self-control-of-danny-bonaduce/ previous Page 1 of 4 next   ]]>
(Review Source)
Crosswalk
Movies DVD Release Date:  March 1, 2011Theatrical Release Date: November 5, 2010 (limited)Rating: R (for language and some disturbing violent content/bloody images)Genre: DramaRun Time: 94 min.Director: Danny BoyleCast: James Franco, Kate Mara, Amber Tamblyn, Treat Williams, Kate Burton "I would go insane."  "There is NO WAY!"  "I would die." These are the kinds of things you'll likely overhear—or be saying yourself—as you walk out of the theater after having screened 127 Hours, a harrowing true-life tale of survival that's as nerve-wracking to endure as it is uplifting to see all the way through—a journey that isn't merely about survival but also humbling self-discovery, and ultimately a parable about the dangers of living a solitary life. The film's title refers to the five-plus days in 2003 that hiker Aron Ralston spent trapped in an isolated Utah canyon with his lower right arm stuck and crushed by a fallen boulder.  It was a dire scenario that would be the realization of anyone's worst fears:  trapped, injured, alone, in the middle of nowhere with no ability to communicate, and no one else knowing where you are.  In short, an absolutely hopeless situation.  And yet he lived to tell the tale, not by some stroke of luck or fate but rather digging deep into a reservoir of unimaginable perseverance that is born only of a will to live at all costs.  In Ralston's case, the cost is simultaneously gruesome and courageous. Similarly, the chutzpah to make an engaging movie about an immobile character is in itself daring, and seemingly the opposite construct of Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle's brand of hyper-kinetic filmmaking (Slumdog Millionaire, Trainspotting, 28 Days Later).  From the opening sequence, however, it's clear that energy will be the least of his problems.  Boyle is a supreme stylist of modern cinematic language and, in what may have been his biggest challenge to date ("an action movie with a guy who can't move," as Boyle describes it), he delivers. Wisely, the film's first act is pre-predicament.  Boyle establishes Ralston's adventurous persona through audacious feats of hiking-and-biking—cliff jumping, crevasse scaling, canyon diving, etc.—capturing both the adrenaline and majesty found in the exploits of this all-terrain thrill seeker.  Before Ralston literally finds himself between a rock and a hard place, we experience some truly breathtaking moments. Boyle's cinematic flair certainly drives that, as does James Franco (the Spider-Man films, Pineapple Express) who embodies Ralston's free spirit with charismatic zeal.  He is driven in a laid-back sort of way, carefree yet addictively seeking the next natural high.  Caution rarely crosses his mind, and fear never does.  He's the master of his own recklessness, a talent as impressive as it is impossible to maintain.  Ralston's luck finally runs out in one single, swift, uncontrollable moment.  Suddenly he's trapped, without so much as a cute volleyball to talk to. Yet despite being stuck, the film remains intensely absorbing.  First, it's impressive to watch how proactive Ralston is, taking stock of how he can utilize the gear from his backpack.  He's inventive and determined in those initial hours, but then as that first night sets in so does the sinking feeling of hopelessness.  Eventually "the elements" also come into play, which Boyle effectively heightens.  A torrential rain can be a blessing and a curse for a guy who needs water but is also stranded in a cavern that can be quickly flooded. There's minimal dialogue, save the desperate cries for help and occasional video journals.  Instead, we experience his experience, one that is at first physical torture but then also expands to psychological.  Flashbacks, daydreams and hallucinations increasingly haunt his mind, all the while his physical pain becomes more severe as he continues to work at breaking free.  It's often cringe-inducing, triggering queasy phantom pains, prompting one to cover eyes and look away.  At early film festivals, some viewers reportedly passed out and suffered panic attacks.  Suffice it to say, this is not for the faint of heart—especially Ralston's ultimate and horrific "last resort" solution. As this whole excruciating experience unfolds, it quietly begins to serve as a powerful metaphor about the dangers of a life lived alone.  Even if yours is filled with thrills and excitement, as Ralston's was, you can quickly come to regret that singular lifestyle when you realize what and who it has kept you from—those who you love, and who love you.  Ralston's regrets aren't merely circumstantial; they're personal.  Consequently, his drive to stay alive becomes as much familial and communal as it is individual, and probably more so.  It even reaches into the philosophical as Ralston contemplates fate and destiny.  "This rock has been waiting for me my entire life", he says in reflection, a thought that serves as another powerful metaphor of all the unforeseen challenges that cross our paths, that we weren't prepared for, and change our lives forever.  It's a telling, truthful moment when Ralston breaks free that his first instinct is to look to the heavens and say "Thank You."  A man who used to live for no one but himself finally sees his life in a much bigger, grander picture. From there, the film steadily builds and ultimately soars to an ending of pure emotional exhilaration (fueled by Sigur Ros' rapturous song "Festival").  As cliché as it sounds, it becomes a triumph of the human spirit; to fight, survive, and not only live but to go on living, fully, to take risks and conquer fears, to truly live life to the fullest—but with others, never alone.127 Hours takes you through the wringer, sure to elicit audible (and collective) gasps, groans, shrieks, and periodic OMGs before concluding in one cathartic exhale of relief and redemption.  It's not the kind of movie to engender multiple viewings, but one is enough to sear it into your mind forever.CAUTIONS: googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('gpt-ad-1'); }); if (gptClientWidth >= 992 && gptClientWidth <= 1000000) googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('gpt-ad-2'); }); Drugs/Alcohol Content:  Alcohol consumed at a party. Language/Profanity:  The Lord's name taken in vain.  A few "f" words.  A couple of "s" words. Sexual Content/Nudity:  Jokes about hiking naked (though it doesn't occur).  Naked college students packed into a vehicle, although no offensive nudity is shown.  Close-up of woman in bed, face lying on man's shoulder as she caresses him.  While Ralston watches video footage of a girl (who's clothed), implication of lustful thoughts. Violence/Other:  Many perils and injuries related to Ralston being trapped and injured by the boulder, and his attempts to break free.  While not always visually graphic, it's intense to watch.  Stabbing of arm.  Internal POV of the blade inside the arm.  Bloody/graphic cutting of arm.  Acid bubbling inside stomach/intestines.  Jeffrey Huston is a film director, writer and producer at Steelehouse Productions in Tulsa, Okla.  He is also cohost of the weekly "Steelehouse Podcast," along with Steelehouse Executive Creative Mark Steele, where they examine the latest in entertainment and discuss evidence of God in pop culture.  To listen to the weekly podcast, please visit www.steelehouse.com.  You can also subscribe to "Steelehouse Podcast" through iTunes.     SEE ALSO: Vibrant Slumdog Millionaire Reaffirms Boyle's Talent ]]>
(Review Source)
Kyle Smith
(”127 Hours” is briefly mentioned in this.)
My senior colleague Lou Lumenick is up in Toronto, where he has a lot of raves, including for Danny Boyle’s “127 Hours,” the movie that (I hope you’re sitting down) may bring James Franco an Oscar nomination. But the big news is that, for the first time I can remember, Lou didn’t like a Clint Eastwood movie, in this case the Matt Damon chiller “Hereafter,” which finds Eastwood working, apparently, “way outside his comfort zone.” Check out the Post’s movie blog for regular updates. Back in New York, I just saw Woody Allen’s London-based “You Will Meet a Tall Dark, Stranger,” which strikes me as Woody basically shuffling the deck of his themes and coming up with exactly zero that is new. It’s a low-stakes comedy-drama that is never particulary funny or dramatic and leaves several plot threads hanging.]]>
(Review Source)
Kyle Smith
The LA Times film blogger took his mom to see….”127 Hours”? Not a great idea. I encourage my mom to see movies like “Up.” Goldstein was promptly punished for this misjudgment. My only advice is not to take your mother to see the movie. That, I discovered, was a totally misguided idea, even before she began lobbing punches at me during the screening — punches that were surprisingly on target, considering she had her eyes covered with her purse. In her defense, let me just say that my mother is an avid moviegoer who probably sees more films than anyone but Roger Ebert. Her tastes are pretty wide-ranging. She loved “The Hangover,” was a big fan of “The Town” and “The Social Network,” but she also haunts the art-house circuit, religiously seeing the latest documentaries and foreign films. Still, she has drawn the line at “Saw,” so I should have known that the Boyle movie would be tough sledding, even if one of her favorite films was “Slumdog Millionaire.”]]>
(Review Source)
Kyle Smith
(”127 Hours” is briefly mentioned in this.)
I just saw “The King’s Speech,” which is a pleasing-enough piece of middlebrow entertainment with a warm heart and a TV soul. Colin Firth seems like a nice guy and it’ll be fine with me if he wins an Oscar for playing the mush-mouthed “Bertie,” King George VI. I thought both James Franco in “127 Hours” and Robert Duvall in “Get Low” gave much more complex and admirable performances. “The King’s Speech,” a sort of Mary Poppins “Eight Mile” (like young Rabbit, Bertie starts the movie with all eyes upon him, about to rap, but freezes instead, and like Rabbit, he learns to make his tongue dance a bit by the end — and it’s all thanks to his eccentric but firm nanny/speech therapist, played by Geoffrey Rush) suffers from a few problems, though. One is a lack of stakes: Who really cares if this inbred German twit manages to spit out a few generic rah-rahs as WW II breaks out? The lowliest soldier in arms had a much more difficult task. Indeed, the average working class wife in the East End slums had a more dramatic arc. It’s not like the king’s speech made Hitler smack his forehead and say, “These English…we’ll never defeat ’em! Let’s attack Stalin instead!” Bertie wasn’t even the true leader of his nation. (Timothy Spall, scowling rather hilariously, plays W. Churchill.) Before this movie began to be hyped, I can’t remember ever reading anything that said George’s speeches were especially inspiring, much less that they warranted an Oscar-type movie. The other big problem is the nature of the handicap we’re talking about. George isn’t exactly in a “Diving Bell and the Butterfly” situation. He was born and bred to be in the ruling class, and the main thing that is asked of him is that he be able to read a few words written by somebody else. On a radio broadcast. Which he delivers in a cozy little room by himself. For pity’s sake, spit it out, man. Still, the movie is ingratiating and uplifting, and the mere fact that we’re talking about royalty gives the movie a little patina of classiness and historical importance for the sort of person who thinks “Shakespeare in Love” is a deathless work of art.]]>
(Review Source)
Kyle Smith
(”127 Hours” is briefly mentioned in this.)
Well, if the hipsters at the National Board of Review say so, it must be true! Suspicion: the members of this team of well-known cinephiles (quick: name one of them) have forgotten about Robert Duvall’s wonderful work in “Get Low” because the movie came out waaaay back in the summer. James Franco in “127 Hours” and Colin Firth in “The King’s Speech” are also far more deserving than Eisenberg, who does a perfectly acceptable job in “The Social Network” but does not exactly give the kind of remarkable performance these other actors do.]]>
(Review Source)
Kyle Smith
(”127 Hours” is briefly mentioned in this.)
Jeffrey Wells writes about “Black Swan” and naysayers who complain about the movie’s flamboyant nuttiness. I enjoyed the movie too, but my problem with it isn’t that it’s off-the-wall and over-the-top. I like bonkers. The problem is “Black Swan” doesn’t have a whole lot of forward progression. For 30 minutes, as Natalie Portman’s prima ballerina is beset by the constant let’s-mess-with-her attitude of her director (Vincent Cassel), her mom (Barbara Hershey) and her rival (Mila Kunis), I was rapt. At the 45 minute point, I started looking at my watch, wondering when we were going to get to the point. By the time the movie was over I realized it basically consisted of two scenes, alternated and endlessly repeated: (1) Natalie is stressed out by the demands of performance in the practice space where she is doing “Swan Lake.” (2) Natalie is really super-stressed-out by freaky surreal possibly imaginary stuff happening to her as a result of no. (1). Both of these scenes are really good, and to a certain extent director Darren Aronofsky ramps up the tension while you wonder where he’s going with this, but really: that’s all there is to the movie. It’s not quite enough. By the second hour, I kept thinking: Jeez, Natalie, you’re in show business. Pull yourself together and go do the damn show. Still, Portman’s performance is pure Oscar stuff: half the movie is a closeup of her freaking out. Also, the screenplay is sure to win a lot of honors. If I had to pick this movie or “The King’s Speech” as the best of the year, I sure wouldn’t vote for the utterly conventional and HBO-ish “King’s Speech.” “127 Hours” is better, livelier, truer, bolder and more intense than either.]]>
(Review Source)
Kyle Smith
(”127 Hours” is briefly mentioned in this.)
Steve Zeitchik figures older viewers aren’t going for “Black Swan” but younger ones are thrilled by it. I was at a party the other night talking about it with a few people and I was somewhat surprised at how tepid the response is. Could it go all the way to a Best Picture win? I don’t think so –it’s a little too weird for that — but I think Natalie Portman will take home the Best Actress Oscar, and deservedly. Now that I’ve seen all the major Oscar contenders for the year, I’m somewhat at a loss to guess which film will win Best Picture. There just isn’t a truly standout classic movie this year. “The King’s Speech” and “The Social Network” seem to be the main contenders. I would not have expected “The Social Network” would still have a chance this late in the game but “True Grit” turned out to be overunderwhelming, “The King’s Speech” is just a little too pat and conventional, “Black Swan” is a little too out there. “127 Hours” is a great movie but I’ve been stunned by how many people I meet who tell me flat out that they cannot bear to see this movie. And these are supposedly the most sophisticated, artistically daring types — the Manhattan chattering classes. I don’t think that bodes very well for its box office prospects. If I had to bet which film is going to win the Best Picture Oscar at this point, I’d go with “The Social Network.” I wonder if the end-of-year-offerings are so disappointing, though, that voters will hit reset and think about movies that came earlier in the year. Does that mean “The Kids Are All Right” has a chance? Not much of one — it’s not a whole lot more interesting than an episode of “Modern Family” –but I do think it’s now pretty well guaranteed to get a Best Picture nomination. And if it’s nominated, who knows what the odds will look like in February?]]>
(Review Source)
Kyle Smith
(”127 Hours” is briefly mentioned in this.)
As I said before, almost all of the films that were specifically made to win awards this year failed to excite me. So my ten best list of the year hails some films that came from, I think, real passion and produce large emotional reactions (including laughter). Click through to the link to find out why I picked them and what my colleague Lou Lumenick selected. My list: 1. 127 Hours 2. Iron Man 2 3. Mademoiselle Chambon 4. My Dog Tulip 5. Another Year 6. Tamara Drewe 7. Hot Tub Time Machine 8. I Love You, Phillip Morris 9. Youth in Revolt 10. Tiny Furniture]]>
(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)
Mark Steyn
This Monday marks the fifth anniversary of the Benghazi attack and, as Hillary Clinton would say, "What difference at this point does it make?" Which is why, presumably, she's chosen the occasion for the release of her latest leaden tome. But it makes
(Review Source)
The Federalist Staff
Turn to movies and art for a mental reset during these trying political times. Here are seven picks to remind you that unity and shared values still exist.
(Review Source)
PJ Media Staff
Roger L. Simon This evening, after I write this piece, I will be voting in the Oscars, for the first time online. (I have been an Academy member since 1985 and we have always voted during that period on written forms mailed directly to Price Waterhouse.)  The Academy discourages us from revealing our votes – so I won’t. (At least not here. Watch the next Poliwood and you might get some idea.)But I will tell you one film I will not be voting for -- Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal’s version of the hunt for Bin Laden.  It’s not that the filmmakers are untalented.  As I mentioned a few years ago on Poliwood, I quite admired their 2008 opus The Hurt Locker.  But Zero Dark Thirty felt rushed and disorganized.  Even a news junkie like me often didn’t know what was happening or why.Perhaps the killing of Bin Laden defies telling in a feature film.  The material is too vast and a mini-series would have been better, especially since it is fraught with irony and Bin Laden’s assassination may have been, in the end, irrelevant.  (“Obama, Obama, we are all Osama.”) In any case, two hours plus is just not enough.One story, however, cries out for cinematic dramatization -- Benghazi.It is concise and highly dramatic.  And mysteries abound – just where was the president of the United States that night our ambassador and others were under terror attack in North Africa?  Why wasn’t Obama directly involved? Why did the secretary of State pay so little attention? Just what was our ambassador to Libya doing in Benghazi that night anyway? Why were the perpetrators allowed to escape?  Why did the president lie for weeks about what transpired, trying to make a hopeless video nobody saw seem  the cause of the event?   And why were his lies covered up by CNN’s Candy Crowley? Why was no attempt made to save our people in the first place? (I could go on, but you get the drift.)Though I could guess (and the Daily Mail has some theories), I don’t know the definitive answer to any of these questions, but I do know one thing: If I did… if anybody did… know the truth, Benghazi would be one helluva movie. And a commercial one.But would anybody make it?That’s the question. class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/rogerlsimon/2013/2/15/benghazi-the-motion-picture/ previous Page 1 of 2 next   ]]>
(Review Source)
PJ Media Staff
Trendingbenghazi 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi is not just an entertaining movie, it's a 144-minute rebuttal to everything the Obama administration has been saying about the attack since it took place on September 11, 2012.The "true story" of Benghazi, as told by the secret soldiers, is a powerful rebuke to the "tall tales" that were told by the White House, the State Department and their defenders. There was no "fog of war" that prevented the Department of Defense from sending military assets to Benghazi -- just a foggy narrative that was created by the commander in chief and secretary of state to explain the debacle without looking weak and feckless two months before an election.The movie is based on the book of the same name, written by Boston University journalism professor Mitchell Zuckoff with the five CIA contractors who were on the ground in Benghazi that night: Jack Silva, Mark "Oz" Geist, John "Tig" Tiegen, Kris "Tanto" Paronto, and Dave "Boon" Benton."Jack Silva" (played by “The Office" alum John Krasinski) and “Dave Benton” (played by David Denman) are pseudonymous names because their real identities have not been revealed.The authors say in the book's introduction that they wanted to avoid politics in favor of presenting a factual account of what happened during the 13 hours of fighting, but it's clear that director Michael Bay has taken sides in the debate about what happened on the ground that night.Oh yes there was a "stand-down order."Members of the security team at the annex were "jocked up and ready to go" within five minutes of the attack on the State Department compound, but were prevented from going for almost 30 minutes. That delay almost certainly cost at least one—and possibly both—of the lives that were lost at the diplomatic compound.If there is a villain in the movie (other than the jihadis) it's "Bob," the CIA station chief who gave the security contractors the stand-down order. But the film has a lot of unnamed villains.Who were the indifferent and indecisive officials in Washington who advised him to stand down? Who in Washington was watching—in real time—the drone feed of the attack?Why were the buffoons in Washington blaming an obviously pre-planned terrorist attack on demonstrations over a YouTube video: "I didn't see any demonstration!" one of the contractors said in stunned disbelief in reaction to the claim, as the enemy assault grew in intensity and RPG fire shook the compound.Who are the officials in Washington who rejected the pleas for reinforcements?At a conference organized by the Maryland Citizen Action Network last weekend, Kris Paronto revealed that two AC-130H “Spectre” gunships were on call and within range of Benghazi that night.One of them was a six-hour flight away, co-located with a U.S. special operations team in Djibouti.The other was at Naval Air Station Sigonella, in Sicily. “That’s a 45-minute flight,” Paronto said.The Spectre gunship with its 25mm rapid-fire gatling guns, its 40 mm precision Bofors gun, and its 105mm canon is “good in urban warfare because you have little collateral damage,” Paronto explained.In fact, it was just what the beleaguered security team needed.The film depicts the men's sense of abandonment over and over again. class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/trending/2016/1/13/13-hours-the-security-contractors-have-their-say/ previous Page 1 of 2 next   ]]>
(Review Source)
PJ Media Staff
PJ Mediaterrorismstate department2016War on Terrorhillary clintonBarack Obamaentertainmentbenghazicampaign2016 presidential electioncharacter confidence presidential election 2016mideast var dataLayer = window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; dataLayer.push({ 'videoName': '13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi - Official Trailer', 'videoType': 'Curated' }); Michael Bay’s 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi is a fantastic film, no less excellent for its surprisingly subtle political commentary. Far better than any direct attack ad, this film blasts President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton while telling a compelling story of terror and heroism.Cinekatz reviewer Vivek Subramanyam declared that “Michael Bay was born to make this movie.” Despite its hyperbole, this statement captures the combination of the action director behind “Transformers” and the tragic but thrilling tale of the September 11, 2012 terror attacks in Benghazi, Libya.The film, based on the Mitchell Zuckoff book 13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi, tells the story of six ex-military security contractors working for a secret CIA base near the diplomatic compound which housed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens. The movie shows how difficult it was for these men to tell friend from foe -- were the native Libyans on their side, or waiting for the perfect moment to kill them?A nail-biter from start to finish, 13 Hours shows events in what seems like real time, jumping from location to location. The film has a purposefully disorienting feel, heightened by ominous music and stunning cinematography -- each shot captures incredible detail of a city at war with itself. The movie is surprisingly funny despite the grave circumstances. (One commando asks another: “You’re going to fight the Holy War in your shorts? Strong move.”) The acting mostly takes a backseat to the action, but John Krasinski (Navy SEAL Jack Silva) and James Badge Dale (Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods) nail their characters' courage. Woods’ disobeyal of direct orders (“None of you have to go, but we are the only hope they have”) is powerful.------------------Unavoidably political, the film bears three themes that condemn the leadership of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton:“The Dark Shadow Of Tyranny Has Been Lifted”After announcing dictator Muammar Gaddafi’s death, President Obama declared: This is a momentous day in the history of Libya. The dark shadow of tyranny has been lifted.The movie begins with a clip of this statement, immediately followed by images of street militias getting their hands on the old regime’s weapons, and scenes of bloody violence thereafter. The carnage and death that characterizes the city of Benghazi throughout the film itself stands as a strong rebuke to Obama’s decision -- advocated by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and others -- to aid the overthrow of Gaddafi’s government. Warfare, not an "Arab Spring," followed the fall of the old regime; the September 11, 2012 attack was only the slightest American taste of the country’s bloodshed.Obama's speech did not end with “the dark shadow of tyranny has been lifted.” He continued, placing the ultimate outcome in the hands of the Libyan people: With this enormous promise, the Libyan people now have a great responsibility to build an inclusive, and tolerant, and democratic Libya that stands as the ultimate rebuke to Gaddafi’s dictatorship.Obama horribly miscalculated this possibility. It was not just the Libyan people who achieved the defeat of Gaddafi -- the continued American presence in the country presented a difficult political problem, illustrated by the armed Libyans who both attacked and defended Americans throughout the film. class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/blog/3-stunning-indictments-of-obama-and-hillary-in-benghazi-movie/ previous Page 1 of 3 next   ]]>
(Review Source)
PJ Media Staff
The Rosett Report It's almost two weeks since the release of "13 Hours," the movie about the Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans. In the modern news cycle, that's time enough for the importance of this movie to be buried by news of the blizzard from which the East Coast is now digging out. But I found this movie so good that I went to see it twice.Both times, I came away wondering the same thing. What, precisely, was President Obama doing during the hours -- all those many hours -- in which the Americans in Benghazi, abandoned by their leaders in Washington, fought for their lives?What was Obama doing, amid the comforts and command centers of the White House, while State Department officer Sean Smith and Ambassador Chris Stevens were choking on the smoke of a diesel-fueled inferno at the poorly secured U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi? What was Obama doing during the hours in which the assault targeted the CIA annex near the compound? What was he doing when al Qaeda-linked terrorists fired mortars at the Americans defending the annex, killing former SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods?Benghazi in that season was six hours ahead of Washington. The attacks began about 9:45 P.M. in Benghazi, and went on intermittently all night, with the deadly mortar assault coming at about 5:15 A.M. It took another five hours, and then some, before the last of the survivors, assembled at the airport, along with the bodies of the four dead Americans, were flown out of Benghazi -- not by American forces, but aboard a Libyan C-130 military cargo plane. Thus the roughly 13 hours referred to in the title of the movie, from approximately 9:45 PM on the evening of Sept. 11, until about 10:30 A.M on the morning of Sept. 12.In Washington, six hours behind, that timing corresponded to roughly 3:45 P.M. on Sept. 11 until 4:30 A.M., Sept. 12, with Americans killed during the first eight hours of this terrible span. When mortar fire killed Doherty and Woods, about 5:15 A.M. in Libya, it was about 11:15 P.M., Sept. 11, in Washington. In other words, on the White House clock, the assault in Benghazi began mid-afternoon, Washington time, and went on for the rest of the afternoon and the entire evening. It was close to midnight, Washington time, when the mortar onslaught killed Woods, who was based in Benghazi, and Doherty, who had flown in that night from Tripoli as part of a small rescue squad. They died as part of a small group of warriors defending the other Americans under attack.What was America's president doing, during all those hours? No one expects the U.S. president to involve himself directly in every firefight that might endanger Americans in far away places. But he is the commander-in-chief, the executive at whose desk the buck is supposed to stop. And there was nothing ordinary about what happened in Benghazi. The symbolically loaded date was Sept. 11. The first target was an American diplomatic compound, which was hit with AK-47 fire and rocket propelled grenades, invaded, plundered and torched with diesel fuel -- killing the ambassador and one of his staff. The next target was a nearby "secret" CIA annex, housing Americans. While far from U.S. shores, what took place in Benghazi was a brazen, heavily armed, terrorist assault on America and its citizens. It was the first time in 33 years that an American ambassador had been murdered. class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/claudiarosett/13-hours-in-benghazi-and-the-still-missing-white-house-timeline/ previous Page 1 of 2 next   ]]>
(Review Source)
PJ Media Staff
(”13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi” is briefly mentioned in this.)
PJ Media Thursday’s Fox Business News Republican presidential debate in Charleston will likely overshadow Sunday’s Democratic debate in that same city.At least that’s the hope of Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Hillary sycophant who chairs the Democratic National Committee. She has allowed only a half-dozen debates (recently on Saturday evenings). This is akin to the State Department releasing Hillary’s emails on Fridays. Both obfuscations are not working.It’s true that Martin O’Malley remains only a distraction, unless he finally challenges Hillary in an unlikely defining moment that goes viral. O’Malley barely qualified for this debate, which may be his last, so why not go for broke?Thus far, a comparatively vibrant O’Malley, 53, has barely confronted a relatively tired Hillary, 68. Along with NBC, the Congressional Black Caucus Institute sponsors this debate. And O’Malley is, after all, the former Maryland governor, and Baltimore’s riots led to O’Malley’s epiphany that “Black Lives Matter” (BLM) as he repudiated his presumed racist rant that “All Lives Matter.” And, as Donald Trump reminds us, BLM protestors seized the microphone from a docile Bernie Sanders.In all the pandering, perhaps Hillary on Sunday will reprise her jive-talk or maybe even black face. More seriously, expect Hillary, who, after discouraging polls on Tuesday, toughened her attack on Bernie’s voting record, to blame inner city black-on-black crime on soft-on-gun-control Sanders, who will respond with passionate indignation.The Congressional Black Caucus is in Hillary’s corner, but Sanders might bring up Bill Clinton’s mass incarceration policies, which the Clintons now disown. Reacting to Tavis Smiley, who said on Monday that on every economic issue black Americans under President Obama have lost ground on the economy, all three Democrats will blame Republicans, not Obama.The latest polls show that Sanders could win Iowa, especially if he draws new voters. An Iowa victory would ensure that Vermont’s Sanders wins neighboring New Hampshire, where he already is leading. Those results would give Sanders momentum -- even in the South.In an era of “Jeb” and “Hillary,” consider that delusional “Bernie” does not get it: if Hillary falters, party bosses will change the convention rules so that a late entrant -- Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, or John Kerry -- could be the nominee. Biden’s praise two days ago for Bernie’s “authenticity” over Hillary on economic issues is further evidence he sees Bernie as a possible stalking horse. Nonetheless, Bernie now thinks he can win, so look for him to be more aggressive in Sunday’s debate, especially as he responds in kind to Hillary’s attacks.Beyond the debate, Hillary is under siege. Developing issues will affect general election polls, effectively helping Sanders claim he would be a better candidate in November.(1) Benghazi and mistrust of Hillary. Benghazi is not an issue for Democrats, but trust does affect independents. This week, 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi opens in theaters. It doesn’t mention Hillary, but it will impact her, especially among younger voters. And remember, Charles Woods, the father of Navy SEAL Ty Woods (who was killed at Benghazi), says Hillary lied to him at Andrews Air Force Base on the arrival of his son’s casket. Even if O’Malley does not mention the movie or Woods in Sunday’s debate , Benghazi will not go away. class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/blog/hillary-under-siege/ previous Page 1 of 2 next   ]]>
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The Weekly Standard Staff
Hollywood Gets Benghazi Right
(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)
The Weekly Substandard Podcast
...Hillary's Failed Foreign Policy
(Review Source)
John Hanlon
(”13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi” is briefly mentioned in this.)
We’re approximately one hundred days away from the 2016 presidential election. During that period, story there will be hundreds of candidate speeches, a seemingly endless series of commercials, and at least three debates. But in the midst of the campaign, there will also... <img src="http://www.johnhanlonreviews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Southside-with-You-Photo-270x400.jpg" type="image/jpeg"/>
(Review Source)
John Hanlon
It’s late July and the 2016 summer box office results are disappointing, approved to say the least. Find out why in our analysis below. Hollywood is having a rough summer at the box office. In fact, approved it’s been a terrible year for many high-budget, big-profile,... <img src="http://www.johnhanlonreviews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Hollywood-Summer-Slump-2016-270x377.jpg" type="image/jpeg"/>
(Review Source)
John Hanlon
(”13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi” is briefly mentioned in this.)
In honor of Independence Day on Monday, we take a look at 10 great movies about American patriots from the past dozen years. On the 4th of July, it’s important to recognize the strength and resolve of the American spirit. At times, it may seem that Hollywood takes that idea... <img src="http://www.johnhanlonreviews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Movies-American-Spirit-270x358.jpg" type="image/jpeg"/>
(Review Source)
John Hanlon
Oscar Nominations 2017 Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone in La La Land
Best motion picture of the year Arrival Fences Hacksaw Ridge Hell or High Water Hidden Figures La La Land Lion Manchester by the Sea Moonlight Achievement in directing Denis Villeneuve, case Arrival Mel Gibson, see Hacksaw Ridge Damien Chazelle, La La Land Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea Barry Jenkins, Moonlight Performance by an actor […]
(Review Source)
John Hanlon
Oscars 2017 Full List of Winners
The names in bold were the winners of this year’s Academy Awards. Best motion picture of the year Arrival Fences Hacksaw Ridge Hell or High Water Hidden Figures La La Land Lion Manchester by the Sea Moonlight Achievement in directing Denis Villeneuve, for sale Arrival Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge Damien Chazelle, La La Land Kenneth […]
(Review Source)
John Hanlon
The subject of what transpired on the night of September 11th 2012 in Benghazi, search Libya has been up for debate since that horrific day. In the debate about who was responsible for the attacks that left four people dead (including Ambassador... <img src="http://www.johnhanlonreviews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/13-Hours-Movie-Poster-105x88.jpg" type="image/jpeg"/>
(Review Source)
Crosswalk
Movies John Krasinski takes on a decidedly different role from Jim in TV's The Office in the new film, 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi.]]>
(Review Source)
The Federalist Staff
This Friday, “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi” will be released in theaters nationwide. The movie, based on the book “13 Hours” by Mitchell Zuckoff, is directed by Michael Bay and gives the public a chance to see one man’s take on what happened in Libya on September 11, 2012, when terrorists stormed our diplomatic compound and killed four Americans: Glen Doherty, Sean Smith, Ambassador Chris Stevens, and Tyrone Woods. The decision to make this movie and release it so widely was likely unpopular with the Democratic political establishment. While the film focuses on the events on the ground in Benghazi, it is bound to generate interest about what was happening back in Washington and what President Obama and his secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, might have done to prevent the loss of American lives. Certainly, it will add publicity to one of the Obama administration’s most public foreign policy debacles. For the first time in years, Hollywood is putting out a picture that might do some harm to the Democratic Party. No Free Speech Before an Election Thanks to our First Amendment, there is nothing the Obama administration can do about it. Government may not censor films about current events, politics, or any other subject even if they might affect an election. Indeed, they may not be censored even if they are designed to affect an election. Government may not censor films about current events, politics, or any other subject even if they might affect an election. That seems obvious to anyone with even a passing knowledge of our First Amendment, but the Supreme Court did not firmly decide this principle until 2009. That year, in a 5-4 decision, the court overturned a law in which Congress had granted the administration the power to censor just such a film. By one vote in Citizens United v. FEC, the Supreme Court struck down the government’s power to censor films or other publications intended to influence elections. In that case, the Federal Election Commission sought to uphold their power under the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA) to limit communications close to the time of an election. Specifically, the FEC wanted the Supreme Court to turn back a challenge to their right to bar a group, Citizens United, from putting a film, “Hillary: The Movie,” and all advertising for it on the airwaves until after the 2008 election. The FEC believed it had the unprecedented power to censor the airwaves based on a BCRA provision that barred corporations or labor unions from spending money on “electioneering communications” (i.e., advertisements mentioning a candidate by name) for 60 days before a general election. Documentaries for the Left, But Not the Right Stretching “electioneering communications” to cover documentary films was not uncontroversial. Before the 2004 election, Citizens United had complained to the FEC that Michael Moore’s film “Fahrenheit 9/11” was just such a communication and, as it was released by a corporation rather than a campaign, it violated BCRA. They wanted Moore’s film (which he admitted he hoped would influence the 2004 election) shut down. The FEC declined to do so, holding that “the film, associated trailers and website represented bona fide commercial activity, not ‘contributions’ or ‘expenditures’” In the name of campaign finance reform, the United States government argued it could ban books. Figuring that if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em, Citizens United, a nonprofit corporation, started producing conservative documentary films in 2005. When they released “Hillary: The Movie” on DirectTV in 2008, they sought assurance that the standard the FEC had applied to Moore’s film in 2004 would apply equally to theirs. They asked the district court in Washington DC to declare that the relevant section of BCRA would be unconstitutional as applied to their film, and for an injunction preventing the FEC from so enforcing it. The district court saw things differently, and ordered summary judgment in the FEC’s favor, because the purpose of the film could only be “to inform the electorate that Senator Clinton is unfit for office, that the United States would be a dangerous place in a President Hillary Clinton world, and that viewers should vote against her.” At the oral argument on appeal, the Supreme Court justices probed the limits of the power the government claimed for itself, and questioned how it squared with the First Amendment. In one incredible back-and-forth, Chief Justice John Roberts asked Deputy Solicitor General Malcolm Stewart if there was “a 500-page book, and at the end it says, and so vote for X, the government could ban that?” Stewart’s response: yes. “Well,” he explains, “if it says vote for X, it would be express advocacy and it would be covered by the pre-existing Federal Election Campaign Act provision.” In the name of campaign finance reform, the United States government argued it could ban books. Citizens United Wasn’t Really about Corporations as People If you hadn’t heard this before, it is likely because Citizens United has been presented in the popular media as a case about the rights of corporations. Maybe in 2010, when the case was decided, you saw some opinion piece forwarded around Facebook that said “Today, the Supreme Court said corporations are people.” Certainly, you’ve heard talking points from Democratic politicians about the need to overturn Citizens United because of the dangerous new powers the court bestowed on Big Business. As early as 1936, the Supreme Court had held that newspapers, although they were corporations, were entitled to the protection of the First Amendment. In their lie, there is a kernel of truth. There was a corporation involved in the case: Citizens United, which claimed its film was protected speech under the First Amendment. But this is nothing new. As early as 1936, the Supreme Court had held that newspapers, although they were corporations, were entitled to the protection of the First Amendment (that case, Grosjean v. American Press Co., also involved a Democratic administration trying to silence unfavorable coverage). The principle was reaffirmed many times since then. Much of the unfavorable coverage of the court’s decision was carried in media outlets owned by for-profit corporations. Many were newspapers that, like Citizens United, make explicit endorsements of candidates before every election and do so under the protection of the First Amendment. Disenfranchising the Little Guys Imagine a world where the Supreme Court had ruled the opposite way in Citizens United. BCRA’s prohibition on corporations and unions spending money on electioneering communications would stand. But that would not likely be the end of it. Barred from speaking about politics at election time, corporations and unions would just have shifted their spending to political action committees (PACs), as many already do. Contribution limits to PACs would reduce their ability to publish their ideas to a wide audience, but there would still be campaign ads and films about candidates. Middle-class people who wanted to start an organization to pool their capital to compete would be barred from doing so. Further, nothing in BCRA could prevent a rich individual from buying ads or distributing movies that seek to influence elections. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton could afford to run ads, as could rich donors from both parties. Corporations and unions could still run “issue ads,” which inform the public but do not mention a candidate by name. Middle-class people who wanted to start an organization to pool their capital to compete would be barred from doing so. Surely the Democratic Congress elected in 2009 would not have let this stand. With the ability to censor corporate and union speech now embedded in case law, there would have been nothing stopping them from barring all corporate communication about election issues. Indeed, at oral arguments, Stewart suggested the definition of “express advocacy” could be drawn fairly widely: if the … narrator had said in the first 30 seconds of the film: A Hillary Clinton presidency would pose a danger to the country, it’s important for all citizens to vote against Hillary Clinton, what follows are extended analyses of episodes in her past that reflect Hillary Clinton’s unsuitability for that office. And if then in the last 89 minutes of the film the film-maker had made no overt reference to the upcoming election but had simply given a negative portrayal of Hillary Clinton, the person, that would be express advocacy that would be proscribable even without regard to BCRA. ‘13 Hours’ Would Have Been Under Scrutiny This brings us back to “13 Hours.” The film, distributed by Paramount Pictures (a for-profit corporation), by all accounts does not expressly advocate an opinion about Clinton or suggest that she is unfit for office. But the Obama administration’s opinion of its power under BCRA is so broad, it is not a great leap to suppose they would think any communication of important issues related to a candidate would constitute electioneering. Without Citizens United, nothing would stop Congress from further restricting the marketplace of political ideas. Would a Congress with the power to prohibit some corporate speech continue to allow other corporate speech based on the simple expedient the speaker of not expressly advocating for or against an individual candidate? Without Citizens United, nothing would stop them from further restricting the marketplace of political ideas. Whether they would or not, the Supreme Court agreed with the drafters of the First Amendment that Congress cannot be trusted to make that decision. The Bill of Rights was the first Congress’s way of limiting itself, reassuring the people of the new republic that the federal government would not ever be granted the power to take away those natural rights that are the birthright of a free people. By a 5-4 vote, those rights were upheld for another generation. If you choose to watch “13 Hours” this weekend, remember Citizens United, and how close we came to losing the right to make that choice. ]]>
(Review Source)
The Federalist Staff
In the opening sequence of “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi,” a security contractor bluffs his way out of a sticky situation on the streets of a violent city far, far from America, a city in which warring factions means the man facing him down could be an ally or could, just as easily, put a bullet in his head. “Look up,” the American says, “See the drone?” There is no drone. But the threat of a drone is enough, barely enough. This is the recurring theme of the film. A fading superpower trades on its still-existing military power while trying to figure out its purpose. Whatever movie audiences expected to emerge from Transformers director Michael Bay’s examination of the Benghazi debacle, it probably wasn’t this insightful war story about astonishing hubris on every level except the men who actually carry the guns. In action and depth, this film rivals recent greats such as “Black Hawk Down” and “Zero Dark Thirty.” What Happened in Benghazi On September 11, 2012, Libyan militia overwhelmed the American diplomatic compound in a small, violent city few in America could place on a map. Over the course of a single, long night, a small contingent of American contractors held off hordes of Libyan attackers. When the smoke cleared, four Americans were dead, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, and the bodies of Libyan fighters littered the countryside. When the smoke cleared, four Americans were dead. The movie tells the story from the vantage point of the American fighters: former military now hired as contractors to protect a Central Intelligence Agency base in Benghazi that, officially, does not exist. Jack (John Krasinski) arrives in Benghazi for his twelfth tour in a war zone. He joins his buddy Tyrone “Rone” Woods (James Dale) and strong men Tanto (Pablo Schreiber), Boon (David Denman), Tig (Dominic Fumusa), and Oz (Max Martini). A mile or so down the road from the secret CIA base, the Benghazi diplomatic compound represents the official face of America. The CIA is in Libya to monitor and do what it can to prevent the massive arms market that has exploded since the downfall of dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Powerful military weapons are auctioned to the highest bidder, which does not help the handful of men charged with protecting the base sleep at night. Chaotic, Middle Eastern Battle Scenes The action in the film, and most of it is battleground action, is fantastic. Very different in feel than the bombastic “Transformers,” it paces well and makes sense. The battle scenes are tense, dark, smoky, confusing, and realistic. Soldiers act like soldiers. The intense violence and language earn the film an R rating. There is no sexual content. When they were younger, they say, it was about being part of something bigger. Now they worry that something bigger is gone. The battles capture the chaos of the Middle East. In one scene, the Americans travel down a Benghazi street, passing militia with massive guns who may be allies, Libyan teenagers drawn toward gunfire for excitement, Libyan men watching a soccer match as the battle rages, and groups of men holding no visible weapons but the anger in their eyes. It is impossible to tell who is friendly, indifferent, or enemy. No one wears uniforms, few can be trusted. Some join the fight on the side of the Americans, others run away, some open fire. Bay makes sure in a touching scene that the audience realizes Libyan woman mourn their dead as much as any American. More than external confusion, though, the film captures the contractors’ internal confusion. Why are they there? Even as they chafe at institutional lethargy, conflicting mission values, and even indifference from the home front, they cannot seem to leave the battle to which they have given so many years of their lives. They talk about this during lulls in the fighting, marveling at how surreal it is that they should be fighting for their very lives in a place so irrelevant to so many of their countrymen. When they were younger, they say, it was about being part of something bigger. Now they worry that something bigger is gone. Yet what can be bigger than keeping weapons out of the hands of thugs and terrorists? Bigger than the hope on the face of Libyans who see in Ambassador Stevens a dream of the free, prosperous, secure country they have desired for so long? Bigger than saving American lives? America No Longer Protects Its Own They have not left the battle, but their superiors have. As they beg for air support and wait for the support that will never come, a U.S. drone circles overhead, watching, only watching. It streams real-time information to military brass on ships, to command centers at home, even to the terrified agents monitoring from inside the compound. People are dying, and the United States government is, simply, MIA. The film leaves it to you to draw conclusions. It shows hundreds of hostiles converging on the few brave men defending the base. It counts them, takes their heat signature, and analyzes their positions. But it never takes action, just watches. It is not clear in the movie whether the drone is even armed, which is exactly the point. It is never intended to aid, only to watch. The movie does not aim to score obvious political points. The president is referenced once in passing. Hillary Clinton is never mentioned, neither by name nor by office. In some ways, this makes a more powerful indictment, as their inaction and disinterest is reflected in every stand-down order given, every refusal to send a plane, every officer who denies authority to act. People are dying, and the United States government is, simply, MIA. The film leaves it to you to draw conclusions. In the film, the evacuation of Benghazi grows to symbolize America’s retreat from the world stage. Scarred and scared, shocked at failure despite constant warnings of the dangers facing them, traumatized by the battle they should have seen coming, America leaves Benghazi to its own devices. The children on the street wave goodbye, those who worked with the Americans return to their own homes, hundreds of thousands join a vigil to honor Ambassador Stevens, but it does not matter. America has gone home. ]]>
(Review Source)
The Federalist Staff
(”13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi” is briefly mentioned in this.)
How many times have we heard that it is righteous and fair to dig into the minutia of a candidate’s personal past, no matter how small or seemingly trivial the issue or how mean-spirited and tendentious the investigation, because, after all, it “goes to character” and, as we all know, when it comes to a presidential candidate, character is everything. That’s why we need to know that 40 years ago Mitt Romney gave some guy an unwanted haircut, or that Ben Carson might be fibbing a bit about… whatever. Maybe we vote largely on policy or, as they say, an assessment as to which candidate is best for our wallet, but character is a deal-breaker. Bad character equals no vote, it is thought. Hence: Unleash the dogs of investigative journalism and lay bare as many foibles, peccadilloes, and bad grade-school report cards you can unearth. It goes to character. How much more do we need to see to know this notion is entirely preposterous? The only character issues most voters care about are the ones associated with the candidates they have no intention of voting for: Yes, those character flaws they care about. A lot. With candidates they support, not so much. With their own favorite, there is no limit to the amount of obvious bad behavior and despicable character traits they will engorge without even beginning to choke. Maybe it’s a matter of turning a blind eye, or rationalizing, re-framing, or putting one’s fingers in one’s ears and humming “Embraceable You,” but the goal is the same: Move on. (Hey, didn’t a website with that name spring forth for the explicit purpose of papering over one particular president’s slimy and probably felonious conduct?) The idea is to achieve stratospheric levels of high dudgeon about bad behavior in the guy you don’t support, while ignoring equally bad behavior, or worse, in the one you do, and by “guy” I mean Hillary. Or Donald. You get the idea. We’ve Ignored Bad Character for Decades Admittedly, and most certainly, it didn’t start with Hillary and Donald: Yes, William Jefferson Clinton may be many things, some of which are considered admirable, even presidential; but his behavior towards women, chronicled over and over for decades, shows he was (and probably still is), by even the most charitable analysis, a pig, everything mainline feminism has found repellent and execrable for 40 years, touching all the bases. Yet they voted for him, overwhelmingly. All three were given a pass by the majority of the electorate. Nixon may have profoundly improved the geopolitical landscape (a matter of continuing debate, but still), yet he was a twisted, petty man, overtaken by the irresistible tide of his own ugly vindictiveness. Not a nice man, you might say. He won in a landslide. Kennedy, we now know, was, among other things, essentially a prep-school advantaged pimp. To this day, he is revered. (Okay, not by everybody, but pretty much.) Three presidents, all men of very questionable “character,” as that term is customarily (and rather incessantly) applied in the context of presidential political gymnastics. No, that’s not all they were, but it is certainly part of what they were. All three were given a pass by the majority of the electorate, and they were given that pass for the same reason and in the same way Hillary and Donald are currently being given a “character” pass. That Brings Us to Hillary and Donald Does anyone—other than Hillary supporters—have the ability to un-see the completely obvious corruption, insider finagling, roaring personal ambition, arrogance, phony-baloney pandering, and habitual prevarication (okay, call it “Clintonian Parsing”) that has draped her entire career, a level of broad-based malfeasance that would not only disqualify anyone else for any public office, but most likely land him in the pokey? He is a guy willing to cut off the health insurance of a deathly ill infant nephew if it suits his purposes. Does anyone—other than Trump supporters—not understand that he has made his fortune by cynically buying off politicians to get them to put their thumbs on the scale, his scale; that, over and over he has shown a willingness to say or do anything to further his own personal interests, happy to roll over anyone or anything that stands in his way; that at his own father’s funeral all he could talk about was himself, that he is a guy willing to cut off the health insurance of a deathly ill infant nephew if it suits his purposes; that he is a nasty, mean-spirited bully obsessed with self-aggrandizement so rampaging that it is possible to imagine him doing just about anything, changing any position at any time, in order to get his next magazine cover; and that his level of debate discourse rises only insignificantly above “Your mother wears combat boots”? They don’t care. Or, more accurately, character only counts if it’s the other guy we’re talking about, and, even then, it only counts with people already inclined against the candidate, serving to deepen their antipathy, not create it. Try This Litmus Test Here’s a litmus test. Go see the movie “13 Hours,” Michael Bay’s gripping account of the events at Benghazi, as told by the people who were there and lived it. If you are not a Hillary supporter, here’s what you are going to be thinking. It was necessary to pretend the problem didn’t exist, to make sure nothing indicated otherwise, all to get Obama re-elected. You will experience a building fury at and loathing for Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama as you watch a magnificent American ambassador murdered and a group of stunningly heroic young Americans fight it out with no support. Your detestation will not only be fueled by the incompetence of the people these guys had every reason to believe would be there for them—but were not—it will be based upon your belief about why it happened, that it occurred two months before the end of a re-election campaign grounded in large part on the claim that Cool Hand Barack had smoothed the waters in the Middle East. That’s why the planes weren’t scrambled: To do so would etch in concrete actions whose authorization could only be accounted for if our adversaries were not “on the run,” not by a long-shot. That’s why there was no official response of any recordable type. It was necessary to pretend the problem didn’t exist, to make sure nothing indicated otherwise, all to get Obama re-elected. If you are not a Hillary supporter, you have not one scintilla of doubt that for the same reason, for purely partisan and self-serving electoral purposes, she promulgated the “video tape” hooey, calculatingly and cynically foisted a bald-face fable on the American public, and lied to the families of the men who died. That notion, as you watch the movie, is nauseating, literally. Yes, that’s what you’re thinking if you’re not a Hillary supporter. If you are a Hillary supporter, here’s what you’re thinking. That Michael Bay is a conservative hack with a long history of producing hyper-patriotic drivel. You can’t take it seriously; it’s propaganda. It’s a typical pre-election hit-job on Hillary, engineered by the vast right-wing conspiracy. Poor Hillary: What she doesn’t have to put up with… Donald Trump: The Man Who Makes Money From Nothing Trump, for his part, has made long strides and accomplished astonishing things by relentlessly and almost obsessively finding ways to convince people that he is a much bigger deal than he actually is. Read “The Art of the Deal” and you’ll see that even he, himself, makes no bones about that: It’s the core of the game. What Trump actually does is less important that what he can make people believe he has done. Along the way, Trump figured out something that has become not only his hallmark, but makes Trump Trump, and it is that what you actually do is less important that what you can make people believe you have done. That belief can be turned into increasing credibility, opportunity, and money, step by step, until you reach the ultimate, the Elysian fields of hot-air-based success: The ability to be paid for doing nothing. That is exactly where Trump is right now. Everything he set out to do—disengaging revenues from accomplishment—has been achieved. Most of his income now derives from nothing more than licensing his name, which is to say, taking a cut of what other people charge folks who mistakenly believe Trump has anything to do with anything. He is making a huge fortune by allowing others to prey on the false belief that this project or that is a “Trump” project, with all that implies, and it implies the kind of overblown illusion of Trumpian greatness that he has spent a lifetime constructing (literally and figuratively). This, despite the fact that he now has little or nothing to do with these projects that are being sold under his name. He no longer needs to do anything or risk anything. This is a pretty good gig, and you have to hand it to him. You don’t, however, have to elect him president, and you don’t have to make it into something it is not. It is opportunism and self-dealing writ on a scale so large that it can be a little hard to see for what it is, and while it tells you a great deal about what he is prepared to do for himself, it tells you nothing about what he can actually be relied on to do for you, if what you want him to do conflicts in the slightest way with what he wants to do for himself. Try Swapping Names with Characters None of this matters to their respective supporters. Character doesn’t count; maybe we don’t vote our wallets, or even our hearts. Maybe even ideology doesn’t hold the day. There’s plenty of evidence that Trump is the furthest thing from a true conservative and may be, in fact, an utterly shameless and thoroughly pragmatic panderer willing to change any stripe at any time if it suits his purpose. But plenty of conservatives are in his corner, foursquare, you betcha. What if it was Hillary and not Trump who had spent a lifetime greasing politicians of every persuasion? Here’s the irony, and perhaps the saddest part of all: If you play the substitution game and swap character flaws between candidates, the hypocrisy becomes glaring. Sure, the Clintons have gone from selling the Lincoln Bedroom during Bill’s tenure to selling the State Department during Hillary’s, engineering what is undoubtedly the largest influence-peddling scheme in the history of the planet, and her supporters have little or nothing to say about it. What if it was Trump who did that? What if it was Trump and not Hillary who did this to Kathleen Willey? What would they have to say, then? The world would see the most sustained explosion of righteous indignation ever recorded. What if it was Hillary and not Trump who had spent a lifetime greasing politicians of every persuasion to get them to provide the abatements and favors that made her whole empire possible, who adopted any policy or political position one day if it suited and the opposite the next, and who, when running into trouble, declared bankruptcy after bankruptcy, and who never passed on an opportunity to go for the jugular with sleazy personal attacks? What would Trump’s supporters have to say about that behavior if it was in Hillary’s resume instead of The Donald’s? Resentment Is No Way to Build a Life We all know what the answer is: There is a kind of dishonesty, a willful obliviousness, that is unseemly no matter which side of the political spectrum embraces it. That’s why we might have to simply accept the fact that in our day, until further notice, character doesn’t matter, nor does policy or even one’s wallet. Maybe we’ve reached the point where the only thing that matters, the only thing driving the votes of the great, heaving majority of voters is bile. In our day, until further notice, character doesn’t matter, nor does policy or even one’s wallet. Hillary spends all day every day validating the perceived victimhood of her constituency, promising to stick it to the bastards who have engineered their misery—you know, the fat cats who have caused them to be completely incapable of affecting their own circumstances in any positive way: It’s not your fault, and I’m going to make the people who did it to you pay. Trump taps into the seething resentment of people who go about their lives treating people fairly, working hard and trying to be decent citizens, and for their trouble are painted as racist, greedy, uncaring. unenlightened Yahoos. They are sick unto death of it and willing to overlook everything, or anything, if their guy is going to stand up and punch the bullies in the nose. It’s of a piece; it’s not good, and to move beyond it we’re going to have to get smarter, fairer, more respectful of our opposites—and very, very lucky. ]]>
(Review Source)
Crosswalk
Movies DVD Release Date: June 7, 2016Theatrical Release Date: January 15, 2016Rating: R (for strong combat violence throughout, bloody images, and language)Genres: Action, Drama, ThrillerRun Time: 144 minutesDirector: Michael BayCast: John Krasinski, James Badge Dale, Max Martini, Pablo Schreiber, Toby Stephens, David Costabile, Matt Letscher, Dominic Fumusa, Alexia Barlier You remember 2012, right? So you’ll understand why real estate professional Jack Silva (John Krasinski, Big Miracle) had to take another job. Leaving his wife and small daughters behind, Jack joins his old friend Tyrone "Rone" Woods (James Badge Dale, World War Z) as part of a six-man team of elite ex-military operators assigned to protect the CIA at a secret location in Benghazi, Libya as part of the CIA's Global Response Staff (GRS). Related: John Krasinski Tells Crosswalk What it Meant to Portray Jack Silva 2012 was not a good year in Libya, either. "It's hard to tell the [expletive deleted] good guys from the bad guys," Rone tells his newly-arrived buddy. He's not kidding: they all look alike and when a bunch of guys show up waving weapons it's hard to know whether to shake their hands or shoot them on sight. While other countries' embassies had already pulled out of Libya by this time, U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens (Matt Letscher) was still optimistically trying to build relationships, the "foundations of diplomacy." A likeable guy, Stevens popped in for what was meant to be a low-key visit to Benghazi. And that's when things went horribly wrong.SEE ALSO: American Sniper an Important, Harrowing Account of Modern Warfare's Toll googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('gpt-ad-1'); }); As the title suggests, the story takes us on an almost hour-by-hour recap of the events of September 11, 2012. If it weren't so tragic it would be a comedy of errors. Not enough security, too much bureaucracy, and a bunch of angry men with weapons are a recipe for disaster. When the embassy outpost was attacked they called for help—but help was a long time coming. If it hadn't been for the GRS team acting against their orders, help wouldn't have come at all. While the movie itself is not thirteen hours long, it sometimes feels that way. True to form, director Michael Bay (Pain & Gain) tells the story in a jumpy, often confusing way, but it (mostly) works. Art imitates life here; both the situation and virtually everyone involved in it were confused. Related: Meet the Real-Life Military Heroes of 13 Hours While the honor and bravery of the GRS team is definitely inspiring, 13 Hours is not likely to engender any warm feelings about the U.S. government's actions (or lack thereof). The CIA comes across as basically useless; Base Chief Bob (David Costabile, The Bounty Hunter) doesn't want the security team there in the first place because "there's no real threat here." He sure doesn't want them to blow the cover of the CIA's "secret" location by racing off on a rescue mission, particularly since he can't get anyone to authorize it. Meanwhile, Agent Jillani (Alexia Barlier) appears to have been given screen time only to provide the movie with a token female.SEE ALSO: Mind of a Soldier Explored Inside The Hurt Locker Since you'll be in the theater for almost three hours (allowing time for previews), it's a good thing this film is visually stunning. The scenery alone is breathtaking, but some of the close-ups are exceptional, especially in contrast to the big picture. As any action movie-goer knows, explosions can be beautiful, and there are plenty of them. The film score hits all the right notes, too; often going unnoticed, it adds depth to the anguish when the time comes to mourn. This being an election year and all, it's hard to miss the political overtones: Hilary Clinton, Secretary of State at the time, is not part of the film but her role in the actual events has been much discussed. There's a scene showing Muslim men at prayer with their weapons propped up along the walls of the mosque that's likely to raise a few hackles, as well. Politics aside, 13 Hours is violent and sometimes bloody. It's long and occasionally slow. The language is on the profane side (though doubtless mild by combat standards). A lot of people die. But it's also a true story; the film is based on the book 13 Hours by New York Times bestselling author Mitchell Zuckoff and members of the security team who lived those hours. Against overwhelming odds, these brave men risked their lives to protect their fellow Americans. And that deserves to be celebrated. CAUTIONS (may contain spoilers):SEE ALSO: Pain & Gain: Lots of the First, None of the Second googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('gpt-ad-2'); }); if (gptClientWidth >= 992 && gptClientWidth <= 1000000) googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('gpt-ad-3'); }); Drugs/Alcohol: Several characters drink alcohol. A group of men is shown smoking a hookah. Language/Profanity: The f-bomb is dropped regularly but not as often as one might expect; other common profanities make an appearance. Jesus’ name is used at least once. A one-finger salute Violence:  This is basically a war movie; people are shot, blown up, and so on. People are attacked or threatened on multiple occasions. Guns, knives, heavy weapons, car crashes, and so on all come into play. There are also a few moments of the ‘blood spurting’ variety but the gore is kept to a minimum. Sex/Nudity:  One man describes how he and his buddies rubbed their sexual organs on the hat of another man they didn’t like. There’s a video of mating rabbits (I’m still not sure why). Several men are shown shirtless, one in tiny shorts, with occasional close ups on bulging muscles. Spiritual Themes: One character reads Joseph Campbell, whose quote “All the gods, all the heavens, all the hells, are within you.” comes up in conversation more than once. One team member says he’s not afraid when the shooting starts because “as long as I’m doing the right thing God’ll protect me.” Publication date: January 15, 2016 ]]>
(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: ]]>
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Michael Medved
http://www.michaelmedved.com/wp-content/uploads/Micheal-Medved-Review-13-Hours-The-Secret-Soldiers-of-Benghazi.mp3
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Plugged In
WarAction/AdventureDrama We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.Movie ReviewWe all know about brave men and women in uniform—the soldiers, sailors and airmen who serve in the Armed Forces. They serve their country, often with distinction, putting their lives on the line for the good of the nation and its interests. When they come home, they’re greeted with flags and honors. If they’ve been hurt, they’re given help to get better. And if they sacrifice their lives for their country, their loss is mourned deeply. But there are other patriots who serve even though they no longer wear an official military uniform. These contract soldiers, who work for the CIA’s Global Response Staff, aren’t SEALs or Rangers or Marines anymore, but their experience makes them valuable—and flexible—commodities. They’re not given orders to land in the world’s hot spots; they're hired to go to those places. And they go wherever they’re paid to be, be it Tel Aviv or Timbuktu, Beirut or Benghazi. They don’t come home to cheering crowds. Sometimes they don't come home at all. Jack, one such GRS contract soldier, arrives in Libya at a difficult time. Strongman Muammar Gaddafi has been deposed and killed. Factions squabble for power. Islamic extremists are making deep inroads across the country, and Americans are not always welcomed. But with tension comes opportunity, and the United States sees plenty of it. The CIA has set up shop in Benghazi, operating out of a not-so-secret compound. Ambassador Christopher Stevens is coming to visit, too, with an eye toward opening regular diplomatic channels with the country. U.S. bigwigs would love to squelch the illegal weapons trade there and foster forces more friendly to America. But to do that, they need people on the ground. And those people need protection. That’s why Jack’s there. Same with Tig and Tanto, Oz and Boon. Tyrone Woods, nicknamed Rone, leads them—assigning guards and drivers for CIA agents. And while the ambassador has his compound and employs his own guards, Rone, Jack and the rest of the guys will be just a few dusty streets down should they ever need assistance. Or so they all assumed. On Sept. 11, 2012, the ambassador’s compound comes under attack by dozens of angry, armed Libyans. By dawn the next morning, four Americans are dead, including the ambassador. The events of that night, and those leading up to it, have been the topic of a great deal of discussion, much of it politically charged. But Jack and his fellow contractors—these un-uniformed soldiers who put their lives on the line that strange, chaotic night—know what truly went on.Positive ElementsWhile 13 Hours chronicles a difficult chapter in American history, there’s much more to it than just the tragic loss of four American lives. “Bottom line, this is inspirational,” said director Michael Bay at a press conference attended by Plugged In. The movie is based on a book of the same name, which in turn was based on the stories of these so-called “secret soldiers,” the contract guards, who lived through it. Bay’s mission was simply to tell the story of that violent night (stripped of its political aftermath). And while there are allusions to where things went wrong—a lack of adequate protection at the outset, American dithering during the attacks—the prime focus here is on the heroism of the people on the ground. “A lot of positive things came out of that night,” Kris “Tanto” Paronto said at the press conference. The six GRS contract soldiers at the core of the story are more than a team: They’re a makeshift family, each willing to put his life on the line for his fellow warriors. All six risk their lives to save the CIA agents they're assigned to, of course; it’s what they’re paid to do, after all. But they go above and beyond as well—doing their best to rescue the ambassador and the rest of his staff. And while four people died during the attacks in Benghazi, dozens of lives were also saved, thanks to the skill, dedication and teamwork of these professional defenders. We also get glimpses of other good people at work, too. Ambassador Stevens is called a “true believer,” someone who hopes trust and friendship might foster a better Libya and, by extension, a more secure Middle East. “Relationships between people is the real foundation for democracy,” he says to a group of Libyans. A brave Libyan interpreter stays with his CIA employers through thick and thin, and other Libyans volunteer to fight alongside the Americans (though sometimes, these fighters are acting duplicitously). Spiritual ContentMilitant Islam is, of course, at the root of the problems chronicled in 13 Hours. Islamic extremists were behind the attacks, and we see many Muslims in the act of prayer as their weapons rest against walls nearby. We hear calls to prayer and, ominously, they go silent all at once—a harbinger, Tanto thinks, of another attack. The movie references the controversy over what supposedly started the attacks: a spontaneous reaction to a YouTube trailer for the movie Innocence of Muslims. One of the GRS employees says that he saw on American news that the attacks were connected with huge demonstrations against the movie. “I didn’t see any demonstrations,” Tanto says, confused. In the film's credits, we see how an estimated 100,000 Muslims grieved the attacks, mourned Stevens’ death and held signs apologizing for the extremists' violent acts. Islam is not the only religion represented in the movie, however. During a lull in the action, Tanto voices his belief that the Almighty is watching him, saying, “As long as I’m doing the right thing, God will protect me.” Then he adds, “That’s crazy, right?” When one of the warriors dies in combat, another says a quick prayer over the body. “God, watch over him,” we hear. “Guide him where he needs to be. Take care of his family.” When help finally arrives, another contractor says, “Oh Lord, oh Jesus,” in thanksgiving. Someone suggests ordering a flyby of F-16s in order to put “the fear of God and the United States” into the terrorists. A line from Joseph Campbell’s The Power of Myth is mentioned several times: “All the gods, all the heavens, all the hells are within you.” Sexual ContentTwo contract soldiers pretend to flirt with Sona, a chilly FBI agent. Someone watches a YouTube clip of rabbits having sex, and there's also a joke about sheep mating. We hear crude references to the male anatomy and joking allusions to "bromances" and “spooning.”Recommended ResourceA Chicken's Guide to Talking Turkey With Your Kids About SexKevin LemanEven the bravest parents feel timid about discussing sex with their 8- to 14-year-olds! This resource offers reassuring, humorous, real-life anecdotes along with reliable information to help you with this challenging task.Buy NowViolent ContentThe 13 hours between nightfall on Sept. 11, 2012, and dawn the following day was filled with the sort of terror and death that those of us who've never been in combat can hardly imagine. Accordingly, the movie does its bloody best to replicate the horrors of that night. Dozens of people die, including four Americans. We see their bodies, and watch one as it’s pushed unceremoniously off a rooftop. Other men are horrifically injured. One had much of his forearm nearly taken off by a mortar blast, and we see it hanging from the rest of his arm by tenuous tendrils of flesh. Another suffers a compound fracture, and the bone juts from the body as blood squirts from the wound. Dozens of Libyan terrorists get gunned down, sometimes dying instantly (and bloodily) via shots to the head or chest. After the battle, wives and mothers run to the dead bodies, crying and mourning. Bombs go off. An armored vehicle rumbles through the street, peppered with bullets, dodging explosions and finally arrives in the compound with a flaming flat tire. Libyans everywhere are carrying guns—a really tricky situation, because the contractors can’t always tell who’s a friend, who’s an enemy and who just happens to be carrying a gun. Military weapons are sold freely in an open-air market. The Ambassador’s residence is set on fire in an effort to flush out those inside.Crude or Profane LanguageAbout 75 f-words and more than 30 s-words. Other profanities include “a--,” “b--ch,” “d--n,” “h---” and “p-ss.” God’s name is misused at least 10 times, with about half of those instances getting paired with the word “d--n." Jesus’ name is abused about five times. We hear several crude references to testicles. Drug and Alcohol ContentCharacters drink beer. A contractor laments that his teenage daughter back home has apparently started drinking. Other Negative ElementsPeople vomit. Someone says he needs to urinate. ConclusionWhile the events in Benghazi were horrifically unique, 13 Hours is not, exactly, a unique movie. We’ve seen several similar “based on a true story” combat narratives in the last few years, from Black Hawk Down to Lone Survivor to American Sniper. And little wonder. These wartime tales are always grimly compelling. The action is relentless. And lots of viewers find these true-life combat stories informative and, of course, entertaining. But you get a different perspective when you talk with some of the real people involved. For Mark “Oz” Geist, John “Tig” Tiegen and Kris “Tanto” Paronto, 13 Hours is more than a movie. They lived through it. They watched friends die as the real battle unfolded. So often, onscreen casualties don’t feel like a big deal. We only know these unfortunate characters, after all, for a couple of hours before they’re gone. And, of course, we know they’re not really gone. Death isn’t real in the movies. But the characters in 13 Hours represent real people. Real casualties. Real loss. To hear Tanto talk about his fallen friends … well, it makes it feel disrespectful to munch popcorn while watching those deaths. Make no mistake: Oz and Tanto and Tig are glad Michael Bay made 13 Hours. After all, they helped him make it. They wanted this story told from their perspective, removed from domestic politics and cable-news bluster. They wanted it to be as true to life as possible. But it’s telling that Tig still hasn’t watched 13 Hours. The events in Benghazi still feel too raw for him. He worries he’d get angry all over again. And I can see why: 13 Hours is a well-made, violent, profane, difficult movie. The fact that it depicts real, important events makes it no less difficult. Pro-social ContentObjectionable ContentSummary AdvisoryPlot SummaryChristian BeliefsOther Belief SystemsAuthority RolesProfanity/ViolenceKissing/Sex/HomosexualityDiscussion TopicsAdditional Comments/NotesEpisode Reviews]]>
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Plugged In
What does it take to topple an utterly dominant, seemingly invincible galactic force? You need a vertically challenged, fast-talking cop, apparently. Oh, and maybe a very angry bear. After four weeks bestriding the box office charts like a colossus, Star Wars: The Force Awakens fell to third this weekend—slipping behind both the comedy Ride Along 2 and Oscar powerhouse The Revenant. Ride Along 2, starring Kevin Hart and Ice Cube, squealed its tires to an estimated $35.3 million payday over the regular three-day weekend—$41.6 million if you count ticket sales from Martin Luther King Jr. Day. That practically guarantees that I’ll be reviewing Ride Along 3 before too long. Lucky me. The Revenant, buoyed by 12 Oscar nominations (including ones for Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Director), held firm in second place, banking a $31.8 million. The brutal survival flick has already collected $97.2 million in its month-long run—and only two weeks in wide release—which makes the Best Picture Oscar derby this year feel surprisingly populist. Two Best Picture nominees have already crested the $100 million threshold (The Martian has earned $227.2 million; Mad Max: Fury Road $153.6 million), and The Revenant looks like it’ll join ’em by the time you finish this paragraph. Of course, the grosses from all the Best Picture nominees together wouldn’t equal what The Force Awakens has banked in its own five-week run. The latest Star Wars flick collected another $26.4 million to run its domestic record to a truly cosmic $858.5 million. It’s also banked more than $1 billion overseas now—only the fifth film in history to do so—bringing its overall grosses to a cool $1.872 billion. Disney may need to build its own Death Star just to hold all that cash. 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi finished fourth with $16.2 million, while the Will Ferrell holdover Daddy’s Home closed out the Top Five with $9.5 million. ]]>
(Review Source)
Plugged In
(”13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi” is briefly mentioned in this.)
When I speak to youth groups and churches on the subject of media discernment, I encourage audiences to consider asking themselves this question when making entertainment decisions: If Jesus and His 12 disciples were walking the face of this planet today—not 2,000 years ago—and one of His disciples, let’s say Matthew or Peter, came up to our Messiah and asked something along these lines, “Jesus, there’s this movie currently playing in the theater, should we load up the van and all go this weekend?” how would Jesus respond? This question, while necessary and helpful, still leaves a lot of gray area regarding how Christ might answer. So to make this mental exercise more practical, I often tweak the question just a bit: Suppose the film Peter is asking to see with the other 11 is reputed to be inspiring, encouraging and even uplifting, but contains two s-words, then how would Jesus answer? I follow up this second question with a reminder that the answers even strong believers will give can be polar opposites. Some will say, “If it’s just two harsh profanities, of course Jesus would go.” Others will say, “If it contains any profanities at all, I’m pretty sure Jesus would steer clear.” Who’s right? Tough inquiry, isn’t it? And we haven’t even begun to talk about violence, sexuality or drinking. Wrestling with questions such as this is my life’s calling, and an uncomfortable one at times. I’m a black-and-white sort of guy. Ask me if it’s ever OK for a couple to jump in bed outside of marriage, and I know the answer. Ask me if it’s ever OK for a person to get intoxicated (say at a wedding), and I know the answer to that one, too. The Bible’s quite clear on both of these issues. But ask me if a film is in-bounds or out-of-bounds due to a few harsh profanities, and I have to admit the Bible is silent. It talks about coarse talk coming out of our mouths. But what about hearing it at school or at work … or in a movie? A gray area indeed. Still, just because the Bible doesn’t contain a direct admonition such as, “Thou shalt never go see a horror film,” that shouldn’t keep us from asking the gray-area questions and grappling with seeking God’s heart on the matter. We still must be prayerful and intentional about following and obeying Christ even (perhaps especially) when the Bible offers no express guidance. Now, take my question above and go from two s-words to 75-100 f-bombs and ramped-up, R-rated violence (along the lines of American Sniper or 13 Hours), and re-ask the question. Because along these lines, sometime later this year or next, we at Plugged In (and you, the American moviegoer) will be wrestling with exactly that question regarding the movie Birth of a Nation. I caught this much buzzed-about motion picture at the Sundance Film Festival a couple of weeks ago, and I’ve thought a lot about it since. I think the movie will be a big hit when it releases and most likely will be nominated for several Oscars. While it’s easy for me to quickly answer the “Jesus and the disciples in the van” question when it comes to films like How to Be Single, Deadpool or Fifty Shades of Black (or Grey), I still wrestle with flicks such as The Finest Hours and Concussion. Would Jesus watch or skip? I have an opinion, for sure, but I’m not extremely confident that my opinion is “gospel.” Birth of a Nation is a rather unique film. Based on true events, it tells the story of Nat Turner, a slave and preacher who led a rebellion of his fellow slaves against their masters back in 1831. It’s kinda like the Exodus story found in the Bible with Turner being Moses. Except rather than just escaping their captors and heading for the Promised Land, the slaves heap vengeance upon their slave owners. Now, mind you, these slave owners were very bad dudes. But I, for one, wanted these slaves to slip away quietly to Canada. That’s not the way it happened. The film spends quite a bit of screen time showing several gruesome ways slaves killed their owners to get back at them for years of abuse. The film’ll be R-rated for sure. As I drive to work, I’ve been listening to a lot of the Bible on CD. Currently, I’m in the book of Isaiah, and I was re-struck with the portion of that book (Chapter 61) that Jesus read in a synagogue, applying the words to Himself. What’s more, as believers in the Messiah, I’m convinced the words also apply to me (and you). Isaiah tells us that we should be about setting the captives free. God is pleased when that happens. It’s something near and dear to His heart. So what if captive people set themselves free, as they did in history and do in this movie? I think God is pleased. But what if they take revenge after they’re no longer prisoners? Ah, now I think God frowns. And that’s where this film goes. So, is the film in-bounds or out-of-bounds? What would Jesus do? Would he have Matthew load the van? Or would the glamorization of vengeance cause our Savior to say, “Get thee behind me?” Your thoughts? ]]>
(Review Source)
Kyle Smith
benghazihillary clintonmichael bay Coming soon to a theater near you: the movie Hillary Clinton wishes didn’t exist. The trailer has just dropped for Michael Bay’s “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi,” based on the book by Mitchell Zuckoff, which in turn is based on the eyewitness reports of five of the six CIA contractors present that night. The sixth, Tyrone Woods, perished in the battle. Due Jan. 15, “13 Hours” seeks to continue the winning streak of fact-based military movies released in January: Two years ago “Lone Survivor” attracted a huge audience, and this winter “American Sniper” ruled the box office. “13 Hours,” the book, trained its eye entirely on events on the ground in Benghazi, Libya, on the night of Sept. 11, 2012, when two CIA outposts were attacked by Islamofascist terrorists. It isn’t a political indictment of officials in Washington, and the movie appears to stick close to the style of the book. Unlike other films based on recent history that admit to fudging details for cinematic convenience, “13 Hours” boldly states — at least in its trailer — “this is a true story.” Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testifies in 2014 before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the deadly 2012 attack on the US diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya.APThat story is that four Americans, including a US ambassador, died in an all-night terror attack, receiving no help from anyone in Washington. Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton isn’t expected to be a character in the film — but just as she is heading into the first primaries of the 2016 campaign, the nation will be reminded that she was in charge, that the administration in which she served tried to deflect blame onto an offensive anti-Muslim video that supposedly angered the militants, and that during congressional inquiries into the matter, she angrily tried to dismiss the whole thing out of hand, shouting, “What difference, at this point, does it make?” Attempts to sort out what happened during the confusing and secrecy-shrouded moving firefight in Benghazi are frequently derided as nutty “conspiracy theories,” but there’s no need to dream up any conspiracy — because the plain facts are horrifying enough. Brave Americans died, and Hillary Clinton — who in her 2008 campaign bragged of being the candidate with the wisdom and experience to take a dire 3 a.m. phone call — stayed out of it. The book, a note explains, “is not about what officials in the United States government knew, said or did after the attack, or about the ongoing controversy over talking points, electoral politics, and alleged conspiracies and coverups.” But Hillary Clinton wants everyone to shut up about the basic intelligence and security failure that was Benghazi, and that it was all, ultimately, her responsibility. “13 Hours” means Benghazi isn’t going to go away. Share this:FacebookTwitterGoogleFacebook MessengerWhatsAppEmailCopy ]]>
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Hugh Hewitt
(”13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi” is briefly mentioned in this.)
  Friday’s show begins with a quick recap of Thursday’s debates –Carly Fiorina won the day, and Senator Rubio and Governors Chirstie, Kasich and Walker won the second debate, with Ted Cruz helping himself almost as much and the rest left looking forward to the next round in Simi Valley at the Reagan Library on September 16.  No one self-combusted with the possible exception of Donald Trump but he hasn’t proven very flammable, at least not for very long. Meet the Press host Chuck Todd joins me as well before I fly off to D.C. to join him on the MTP panel Sunday. Then comes a lot of my friend mark Levin, talking about his new book Plunder and Deceit.  The interview with Mark will span two hours and you won’t want to miss a minute. Finally hour three is the last of the Hillsdale Dialogues devoted to the Lincoln-Douglas debate, this time the the events debate. Here’sa mother reminder to go and get the magnificent 21 hour recreation of the debates by David Straitharn playing Lincoln andRichard Douglas playing Judge Douglas:   The Audio: 08-07hhs-levin The Transcript: HH: Joined now by the Great One, my old friend, Mark Levin, whose brand new book, Plunder and Deceit: Big Government’s Exploitation of Young People and the Future, number one at Amazon. I’m going to talk to him a lot this hour and next hour as this Friday edition of the Hugh Hewitt Show rolls along. Mark Levin, always a pleasure to have you back, my friend. Congratulations, once again, a rocket launch for Plunder and Deceit. ML: You know, you’re always very generous with your time, and you are a good buddy. I appreciate it. HH: I want to begin with Page 2 where you write the very simple but controversial statement in Plunder and Deceit. “There are accepted norms of behavior born of experience and knowledge, instinct and faith.” I immediately went back to the late, great James Q. Wilson who wrote a book in 1997 called The Moral Sense. And you’re just stating the obvious. But you know, the left will quarrel with you on this, Mark Levin, that there are accepted norms. You and I know there are, but they’ll argue that point. ML: This book isn’t for the left. Of course they’re arguing the point. I’m making the point in this book that the left is the problem, that big government’s the problem. I really don’t seek to understand them. I really don’t seek to psychoanalyze them. What I seek to do here is to put on full display in the most aggressive, persuasive way I know how, in 200 pages, what the left, what big government is doing to this country. I have dug deeply, as you can see, into information that really hasn’t been provided before. I’ve drawn on history and economics and philosophy. I’ve drawn on common sense to explain to people that whether it’s the debt or immigration or the environment or entitlements or what have you, that big government is destroying this country. And even more, I’m saying that our generation, Hugh, has a responsibility to do something about it since we’re the ones that control the instrumentalities of government. And I’m also saying that younger people in this country, you know, under 40 or 45, I call it the rising generation, they have a responsibility to stir themselves and save themselves from it or they’re not going to be free, and they’re not going to be prosperous. HH: You know, Mark, it is what I call a cri de Coeur. That’s what Nixon called his 1980 book, The Real War. And I had no idea that this was predominantly directed to young people. And when I was done reading it on Wednesday night, I tweeted out everyone go get five copies of Plunder and Deceit for the young people in your life. And college professors, and this applies to me as well, go get this book and assign it to the young people in your class, because I had no idea you’ve actually targeted young people to get their attention away from the emotional and the passing and the transient and the faddish to focus on the fact they’ve been handed a time bomb. ML: They’ve been handed a time bomb, and I think we parents and grandparents have a responsibility to assist them in addressing this. You know, we sent them into these public school systems with these tenured teachers that are run by the NEA and the AFT. Let’s face it. It’s not really about students or quality. It’s about the teachers and the administrators. And then they get this ideological claptrap that’s forced down their throats, and then they move on to college, many of them, not all of them. They get the same thing in spades with these tenured professors. They get bombarded by Hollywood and the culture and in entertainment. They get bombarded by the media, bombarded by politicians. And then we wonder. You know, 18, 20, 25, 30 year olds, gee, why are they so liberal? Why are so many of them so liberal? Why do they vote the way they vote? Well, why do you think they do? Because there’s no countervailing force fighting them. so that’s why I’ve collected what I, Hugh, over the years, what I’ve been thinking about, the best case I can make so that parents and grandparents take more responsibility over what’s going on, and that’s right. When your kids go off to college, or if you’ve gone through college, you need to understand, you know, the real world, not the propaganda that’s being fed to you. HH: I want to walk through it in a fairly systematic fashion. And I want to begin with the fact that a lot of people on the left don’t understand how you write, Mark Levin. They talk about your books. They’ve never read your books. I had that happen with a New York Times reporter just this very week who had hard things to say about conservative media, but actually hasn’t read how you write. This book is written very accessibly, but at the same time, you’re throwing Montesquieu out there. You’re urging them to read Burke, the Reflections On the Revolution in France. You’re quoting Walter Williams. I love you bring back Dr. Herbert Stein, Ben’s dad, one of my favorite economists of all time. This is a serious book, but it’s not beyond the capability of young people to absorb and read this. ML: That’s right. You know, I write some books that are tough. HH: Yeah. ML: You know, political philosophy. Ameritopia was one of those, and I’m very proud of it. But this book is really aimed at trying to persuade people in a very, I won’t say rudimentary way, but almost an elementary way that you know, survey after survey, poll after poll, shows that young people distrust authority, they question the status quo, they don’t trust politicians and government, and yet in the aggregate, they vote for all those things. HH: Yeah. ML: In the aggregate, they support all those things. So I’m trying to unravel that. I’m looking at the psychosis behind that. And I’ve just concluded there’s a number of things. First of all, their life’s experience is so limited, and you know, so these quixotic, liberal appeals to utopianism, you know, you can have this for free and we can do that, they are alluring. And then on the other hand, they never really have an opportunity, unless it’s your family and mine and some of the others. But so many, they’ve never really had an opportunity, they really never heard a contrary position. HH: No, and you talk about the record levels of anxiety in the country. I immediately made a margin note. That’s because people really know the game is up, Mark. They may not know how to express it. They may not know why. But they know, was it Herb Stein who said when something’s got to come to an end, it ends? ML: Uh-huh. HH: And so that’s where this anxiety comes from. I think everyone’s in on it. But no one knows what to do about it. ML: Nobody knows what to do about it, and so you know, my prior book, the Liberty Amendments, is my best shot at what to do about it, because you know, some people think, maybe even you think, Hugh, I don’t know, that somehow Washington’s going to fix itself. I’d love to see that. HH: I’m more of an optimist than you, but last, I watched you on Wednesday night. ML: Oh, come on now, it’s not a matter of being an optimist. It’s a matter of being a realist. HH: A realist. Okay, I’m less of a realist than you are. I was watching you with George Will and Bret Baier, by the way, on Wednesday night, terrific interview, where George made the argument that the base is angry. And you said no, no, no, it’s disappointed and it’s frustrated. And I think that’s an important thing to drive home. It’s disappointed that what they vote for doesn’t happen. And it’s frustrated at okay, we’ve done it, we gave money, we wrote checks, we turned out, and nothing happens. ML: Do you know why I made that distinction? Because the establishment, including Will, keep putting down the conservative base. The conservative base is the heart of the Republican Party. I remember when Will in 1976 was accusing the supporters of Reagan in that primary against Ford of being kamikaze conservatives. That’s what he called us, kamikaze conservatives. HH: Did he really? ML: Oh, yeah. HH: But he was a big Reagan guy. ML: And I have the article. What’s that? HH: He’s a big Reagan lover now. ML: Well, he is now, but he wasn’t initially. HH: I didn’t know that. I was with Ford in ’76, by the way. I have to confess. I was a Ford man. ML: All right. HH: But I can repent. ML: That’s all right, you and McConnell. Don’t worry about it. HH: (laughing) ML: But here’s, I was a Reagan guy in ’68 before I even knew what the hell he stood for, but that’s a whole other story. So here’s the thing. So I’m making the point, they want to dismiss passionate, thoughtful, serious people as just an angry mob. That’s why I made the distinction oh, it’s angry, it’s volatile, it’s volcanic, I think he said. Well, listen, no, we are disgusted and disappointed and frustrated with what’s going on. So that’s why I wouldn’t let him get away with that. HH: It was very well said. When we come after break, I’m going to talk with Mark Levin about the Jackie Calmes piece over at the Shorenstein Center. She’s the New York Times reporter. — – – — HH: Mark, when we went to break, I was telling you last week I had on the New York Times’ Jackie Calmes. And she wrote a piece for the Shorenstein Center, got a lot of attention, entitled, They Don’t Give A Damn About Governing: Conservative Media’s Influence on the Republican Party. And I told Jackie, who’s a very smart and very able person, I said you actually should read Levin’s book, because he does give a damn about governing. He gives a damn about governing the Constitutional way. And this book, Plunder and Deceit, is about how to get the country back on the rails. And I think that’s actually all you ever write about, is how to govern the right way. ML: Yeah, I don’t understand this argument that if you don’t embrace this massive federal leviathan, and the liberal group think, that you’re opposed to government and governing. Is the Constitution a document of anarchy? Is the Constitution a document of chaos? It’s a carefully-crafted document for a Constitutional republic. And it seems very strange to me, although not surprising, that people who attack me, and there’s plenty of them, of people who attack me, particularly people who work for Bush, and they write at the New York Times and the Washington Post, say that I reject government. No, I don’t reject government. I support a Constitutional republic. HH: Yup. ML: That’s what’s set forth. Now we don’t have a Constitutional republic right now, not when Anthony Kennedy can do whatever he wants to do, not when Barack Obama is violating separation of powers on a daily basis, not when Congress throws up its arms and surrenders key provisions of the Constitution to the president. In many respects, we’re a post-Constitutional government. I don’t see us as much of a representative republic anymore when the EPA can spit out 3,000 regulations a year. I don’t see us as a federal republic much anymore when the states have little or no say in anything. So I really am defending responsible, Constitutional government. What is it that she’s defending? HH: In fact, on Page 171 of Plunder and Deceit, even though I know this, intellectually, when I see the numbers of rules put out from 2005-2014, every year, 3,500 plus rules reaching its height of 3,900 rules in 2005. And these rules are massive. You and I both know what they are like. It is the erosion of self-government. That’s what, that’s where there are some, you write in the book, in Plunder and Deceit, language becomes a problem, because when they say governing, they don’t really mean governing. They mean dictating from D.C. ML: That’s correct. I mean, they’re governing in North Korea. They’re governing in Zimbabwe. What does that mean? HH: Yeah. ML: And so we’re opposed to government. And of course, who do they talk to? Trent Lott, the quintessential sleaze ball, in my humble opinion, the guy that was running the Republican Party in the Senate all these years. Then he’s a lobbyist? His brother-in-law was a big time slip and fall lawyer who ran into trouble in Mississippi, and among his clients, some bank in Russia? I mean, come on. It’s amazing who they go to, to comment on people like me, or comment on our governing system. And you’re right. They don’t read a damn, if they’re talking about me, they don’t read a damn thing that I’ve written. HH: Yeah, they don’t read, and Plunder and Deceit, though, is going to present them with an obstacle impossible to go around. It is the most accessible of your books, I think, Mark, because I think you wrote it for young people in particular. And they ought to walk away stunned at the enormity of the problem. Let me talk about one particular problem you outlined. A lot of people are entrapped in the system. And this goes to Mitt Romney’s 47% remark, which was poorly explained at the time. He worried, Pete Wilson used to say, used to be three people pulling the cart, one person in the cart. Then it became two and two, then it became one and three. And when it becomes zero and four, the cart doesn’t move. That’s what you’re talking about, the entrapment. And that’s where we’re headed. ML: There’s no question that’s where we’re headed. You know, here’s the problem, Hugh. We’re there. It’s not a matter of us being headed there. We are there. Incredible testimony given in February this year by a brilliant economics professor, and he testified, and you can look at his numbers, he said all these numbers that the government put out are absolute nonsense. We’re not $18 trillion dollars in the hole. We’re $215 trillion dollars in the hole when you look at our obligations, our unfunded obligations. He said in every corporation in America, they have to look at unfunded obligations, whether it’s vacation leave or whatever it is. That counts against the books. In the United States, none of it counts against the books. But these are unfunded obligations. And he said it’s $215 trillion, growing by $5-7 trillion a year, not half a billion. He said that would be bad enough. He says Congress is fixing the books, the president is fixing the books, and he’s absolutely right. Now the typical statist response is tax the rich. And so I said okay, let’s think about that. $215 trillion. If we stopped today, and we take every penny out of the private economy, that creates $7.5 trillion dollars GDP. Let’s pretend it’s $20 trillion. And we do that every year for ten years. We don’t even get close at that point to what the unfunded liabilities are. HH: No. ML: That’s how bad the situation is. And that’s just the debt. HH: Just the debt. I’ll be right back with Mark Levin talking about, that was only the debt. We haven’t talked about Social Security, Medicare and Obamacare. These are all discussed in very blunt, specific terms in Plunder and Deceit, his brand new book which is linked at Hughhewitt.com. — – – – – – HH: Mark, I go back to my interview with Jackie Calmes. She was genuinely surprised that we had been colleagues once long ago, far away, and I told her he’s a much better Constitutional expert than I am. He actually understands what the per capita tax stuff means. But I want to read to you an email I got from my friend, Tim Butler, whose son is now Jonah Goldberg’s research assistant, a brilliant intern. And Tim and I were at Michigan Law together. He sent me an email before yesterday’s debate that said Hugh, I now believe what it comes down to with Donald Trump is non-establishment Republicans are desperate for an alpha male, and Trump is clearly the only alpha male in the campaign. They are tired of having sand kicked in their faces by Obama, ISIS, Mexico, Russia, China, etc., and Trump won’t let them kick sand in our faces. At least that’s their belief. That’s why I think he has staying power, and it really doesn’t matter what he says in this or any other debate, although I think he’ll do surprisingly well. As long as he projects the alpha male appearance, he’ll continue to lead in the primary. What do you make of that, Mark Levin? ML: Well, that’s what they’re saying. I mean, that’s kind of what Will said yesterday. I think there’s some truth to that, but you know, I’m very hesitant to predict what’s going to happen down the road. I’ve seen these things flip over and over and over again, so I’m not going to do that. But I don’t, I kind of like the fact that he’s in this campaign. He likes me a lot, by the way. He wants me to meet him. You know, I don’t belong to any of his clubs. I’ve never golfed on any of his courses. You know me, I’m a hermit. But anyway… HH: I know. Have you ever golfed period? ML: Oh, I’ve golfed. Look, every ten years, come hell or high water, I golf. HH: Okay, that’s what I was going to say. Do you throw your clubs? I don’t think you throw your clubs, but… ML: You want to know what’s funny? I’m living in a place, and behind me is a golf course. But anyway, so I just figure they manicure my lawn, and that’s a good thing. HH: Well, Trump’s a great interview. And he likes your straight talk. And he comes on this show all the time. He’s a terrific interview. I’m not sure he’s really a Republican. I don’t know that he’s a Constitutionalist. I don’t know any of that stuff. But what he is, is outspoken. ML: This is the thing. This is the thing. But I think he will have an appeal for a long time. I think it’ll be strong, but I’m not making any predictions. I will tell you this. From me, whomever it is, they’re going to have to be a solid conservative, they’re going to have to show me that they’re a solid conservative over a period of time. I just think there’s so much at stake now, Hugh. I just can’t see us nominating another one of these milquetoast Republicans. We’re told over and over again they can’t lose, and they get walloped. It’s like I told Will the other day, who said I don’t understand these attacks on conservatives. They can win. You know, we haven’t, look, if you’re 45 years old or younger, you’ve never had an opportunity to vote for a conservative. HH: I saw you make that point. ML: I know you think Romney… HH: You’re right. You’re right. ML: I mean, it’s true. I mean, a real conservative. I don’t mean a “bomb-thrower”. That’s what they call us. I mean, if you look at a Ted Cruz or a Scott Walker, that’s only two of them, or a Bobby Jindal. There are others that we can name. These guys have to break through this Washington establishment in order to give us a chance to take on, in the general election, a Hillary Clinton or whomever. And I think it would be enormously appealing to the American people. This is the battle we had to fight for Reagan. I had to fight it twice myself. Nobody thought he could win. Everybody thought his message was too conservative. And yet, we know that’s not true. HH: Until they sit down and hear people talk. So much of it is in fact hemmed in by the new language of narrative and constructs versus true, objective facts and just listening to people. That’s why I don’t like limiting the debates. I urge everyone to go on every show as much as they can, because if they’re confident of their message, and by the way, Walker and Cruz are among the most available people out there. They’re very comfortable with who they are and what they believe in. And Mark Levin, I always say you don’t win nine Supreme Court cases by accident when it comes to Ted Cruz, do you? ML: No, he’s, I’ve known him a long time. He’s an incredibly brilliant guy. And as you can see, he’s very earnest. People say oh, he did this on the Senate floor to get attention, he did this to be trouble. No, he did it because that’s what he believes in. This is a guy who took on one of the most powerful Republican state establishments out there in Texas. He took on the lieutenant governor, who’s worth a quarter of a billion dollars and spent freely. And he built a grassroots operation and whipped him. He came out of nowhere because of his message, because of his persona, because of his principles. HH: Yeah. ML: And so he gets to the Senate, and he looks around, and he says what the hell is going on here. You set up a vote, Mitch McConnell, that you know you’re delivering for the Democrats on the Export-Import Bank, and you know you’re going to vote against it, then you’re going to go home and tell the people in Kentucky how you’re against the corporate welfare. I have had enough of this. HH: Now when you and I sit down next with our mutual friend, D**k Hauser. We can talk Ex-Im, because I support Ex-Im as an instrument of national power, because the Chinese will fill the gap. ML: Oh, I hear that line all the time. HH: I know. We have a long debate, but I want to talk about something Cruz said on the show Wednesday. ML: Yes. HH: A hurricane is coming. It’s called the next government shutdown, because we cannot allow the government to fund the sale of baby parts. Honestly, it’s a moral crisis. It’s bigger than… ML: Well, did you hear what McConnell said? HH: I know. But that’s, it’s coming. It’s coming. ML: McConnell said he is not shutting down the government for that. Here’s what I don’t understand, Hugh. We both served, to me, the 3rd greatest president in American history, Washington, Lincoln, Reagan. Now I mean that. The government was shut down six times under Ronald Reagan. HH: Right. ML: Did you hear him whine and squeal? He used it as the opportunity to educate the American people, inform the American people, send a message to Congress. Our guys not only surrender in advance, they blame themselves in advance. HH: And my analogy, when you know Katrina is coming, you put the plywood on the windows. We know that the House is not going to vote funding, so we have to start messaging why now as opposed to saying we’re not going to shut down the government. We have to start saying we cannot fund the sale of baby parts. ML: So why is the Republican leadership in the Senate doing what it’s doing? HH: They fear getting hammered again like they did in 2013, although we won in 2014. And people tell me I’m crazy. ML: I’ll tell you what I think. HH: Go ahead. ML: They really don’t mind funding Planned Parenthood. HH: Oh, I don’t know about that. ML: I’m not talking about, well, listen, what the hell have they done ever to stop the funding of Planned Parenthood? Nothing. Nothing. You know who we miss? We miss Henry Hyde. Henry Hyde was a class act. He was articulate. Even the Democrats liked him. He could explain this issue. Mitch McConnell, I’m sorry to tell you this, maybe it’ll even upset you. He can’t explain anything. HH: Well, I do love Mitch, you know that. I think he runs the Senate well. But I think on this, we’re going to be arguing with him, because I do not believe the Republicans, they may be forced to their knees after two months or three months, but they can win this battle, Mark. They can win this. If they pass a CR with the new Defense approps and everything except Planned Parenthood and they send to the President, or they break the filibuster rules… ML: You don’t have to convince me. HH: Okay, I’ll be right back with Mark Levin. — – — – HH: The eventual collapse of a colossal government, Mark writes, will indiscriminately engulf an entire society and economy. Now Mark, some people will say you are a prophet of doom. I point out the fact that great civilizations collapse – Rome completely, Great Britain in the aftermath of World War II effectively collapsed and remained there until Thatcher arrived. You’re a prophet. I don’t know if anyone’s paying any attention to you, though. ML: Did you say we’re number one on Amazon? Did I hear you say that? HH: You were when we taped this interview. ML: And do you think I’ll be number one on the New York Times list? HH: No, of course not, because they kept Ted Cruz off of it, they kept Michael Oren’s book, Ally, off of it. ML: How much you want to be I am? HH: Really? ML: How much you want to bet I’m so far ahead of the number two book, no brags, this. I don’t know. I’m guessing. How much you want to bet that I will be number one? HH: Gosh, I hope so. I don’t want to bet against my friend or the future of the country, so… ML: Let me tell you why. HH: Why? ML: My last three books were number one, and they didn’t want it to be number one, either. There are millions and millions of people, Hugh, who agree with us. The problem is they don’t know what kind of action to take or where to go to get this country back. And all I do is I try to explain different ways to do this. Let’s talk to our children and grandchildren. Let’s talk to each other. Let’s spread our ideas. The Liberty Amendments, I do not believe that Washington’s going to fix itself, so let’s do what the framers suggested. I go out and I make my case. I don’t just argue doom and gloom. I try to explain what we might be able to do. But I’m going to tell you something. What if I’m wrong? What if we did some things to pull back the central government, to unleash the private economy, to defend individual liberty, to secure the border, to improve our national security? What if I’m wrong? That still does what? That still advances liberty and opportunity and wealth creation. HH: You bet. ML: So this agenda is the right agenda regardless. HH: Now Mark, after I finished Plunder and Deceit, I actually was moved to think about what a Republican might do, and I encouraged all of the Republicans to take it to the debate, by the way. And I was thinking about a blanket repeal law, a law of a new Congress and a new Republican president that said every law passed from the beginning of President Obama’s tenure and every regulation is hereby repealed and ineffective. And that would tell people we’re resetting the clock completely. Do you think that would make sense to people? ML: I think it would be wonderful. I think we’re going to need new Republican leadership to do that. And if we have a conservative president, as you know, we can get either new Republican leadership in Congress or that Republican leadership will follow the conservative president. Now that said, I’ve been arguing that they put together a group of really solid conservatives, solid conservative libertarian economists, and give them 90 days to go through all these federal agencies and departments, find out what regulations they passed, and undo them. HH: That’s why I just want a blanket repeal. There’s nothing good that’s come out of the Department of the Interior or the EPA in the least six and a half years, nothing. ML: They ought to take Obama’s pen and phone and use it against him. HH: Right. Now let me ask you, the only chapter I didn’t read, and I will admit this to my friend. I didn’t read the minimum wage chapter, because anyone who supports a minimum wage is in my view economically illiterate. ML: Right. HH: I don’t need to be persuaded of that. ML: Right. HH: But do you think we have to make this argument still? Or does everyone know that’s a joke that’s just a Democrat payoff to special interests? ML: Well, I mean, it’s, apparently it’s popular, because it passes every time these states put it on the ballot. It passed in Arkansas, I believe, passed in New Jersey. So, but what I want people to know is, particularly young people, every time they increase the minimum wage, you’re going to have a harder time getting a job or keeping a job. HH: There’s one intern outside, not two. And you know why? It’s because of California’s minimum wage laws. ML: Isn’t that amazing? HH: Yeah. ML: And look at it this way. Our immigration policies bring in illegal immigrants who are paid under the minimum wage. Then they keep driving up the minimum wage. It’s very schizophrenic. But in the end, it’s the American citizen young person who gets stuck, because the illegal alien will get the job, and the minimum wage is driven up. The American who has the job will be pushed out. It’s just so bizarre. And I provide, you know, fact after fact after fact showing that this unrelenting, endless wave of immigration, which is in fact new to this country, is so destructive particularly of opportunities for young people, and by the way, not just people on the minimum wage, in the stems, in the science, technology, engineering and math. We have people who are running up massive student loan bills, $1.3 trillion dollars. And what the hell for? $1.3 trillion dollars. HH: Yeah, for dance classes. I do part company with Ann Coulter and you a little bit on what to do with the illegals who are here, but not on putting a fence on the border. ML: Well, don’t necessarily throw me in with her. I don’t know what position you’re taking. HH: Okay, that’s true. She was just, I was on with her on Sean’s show on Tuesday night, and Ann just, I don’t know what she wants to do at this point. I think she wants to round up everyone in dragnets, and I’m not for that. Let me go with you to… ML: Hold on. Let me just tell you this. Nobody, listen, the only person who ever rounded up everybody was a moderate president by the name of Dwight Eisenhower, who rounded up one million illegal immigrants, and no, literally… HH: Yeah. ML: …and had them moved out of the country. Today, we don’t even talk about that, Hugh. Let’s be honest. We don’t even talk about deportation. HH: No. ML: You can’t even use the phrase self-deportation. Why not? Why not? If people can’t get jobs in this country as a matter of law because they’re here illegally, they’ll go home. There’s nothing wrong with that. And one other thing, Hugh, 40% of those who are here illegally have overstayed their visas. HH: Overstayed visas, yeah. ML: You don’t think they should be thrown out? HH: And I want the fence on the border, absolutely, because of the need to protect our national security. So let’s go to where we agree, which is your national security chapter, something I want to compliment you on that no one else has written. It’s in Plunder and Deceit. I haven’t seen it anywhere else. The average age of an officer in the United States military is 34.8 years. The average year of an enlisted man in the United States military is 27.3. Mark Levin salutes young people in America for carrying the burden of protecting this country at the very same time that old people in America are shoveling debt onto their shoulders. I’ve never seen that argument made before, Mark Levin. Congratulations on putting it front and center. ML: Well, you’re very kind. You know, people are so busy dumping on younger people, who the hell do they think make up the military in this country? Who do they think is fighting these wars? And you know what? This is the problem also, and you know, I want people to understand. When you support candidates for public office who are diminishing the power of the military, who do not think America should be a superpower, you’re provoking our enemies. Our enemies take advantage of us. Reagan made the point, others have made the point. So who will fight the wars? If there’s a World War III and a draft, who do you think’s going to be drafted? So it is in their best interest to support a robust national security, a strong military. And every time we do this to our military, hollow it out, whether it’s pre-World War II, pre-World War I, and so forth, it begets war. So this is the case I’m making to them, and of course, to our generation, I’m making the case, hey, look, these young people aren’t all that bad. For God’s sakes, they’re defending us. HH: Now you know, I saw the trailer for the new Michael Bay movie, 13 Hours on Benghazi, and those studs who went to save the annex and the ambassador. It was too late for the ambassador. They’re all in their 30s. They’re all 20 year olds. They’re all at the tip of the spear. And that’s what we need to fund, and we need to fund the ships to carry them where they need to go and the submarines to keep the deterrent, because Putin and China are eating our lunch. Let me play something for you, Mark Levin, the President said on Tuesday. Here’s what the President said. BO: It’s those hardliners chanting death to America who have been most opposed to the deal. They’re making common cause with the Republican caucus. HH: 30 seconds to the break, Mark. You ever heard anything like that from a president before? ML: No, and I think that’s a historic speech. It’s a historic speech, because one day, people are going to look back and say oh, my God, how wrong he was. It’s the most outrageous position a president has ever taken. HH: I agree. — – – – – HH: Plunder and Deceit is his brand new book, Plunder and Deceit. I hope it is the number one New York Times bestseller that it, if they don’t manipulate the list, it will be, because it’s flying off of shelves everywhere. It’s going to go further and farther and have more impact than the Liberty Amendments, than Ameritopia, than Liberty and Tyranny. ML: No, no, no, not more than Liberty and Tyranny, but I wish it would. HH: Oh, I think it, you underestimate. ML: Think it’ll sell 1.4 million copies? HH: You underestimate how many kids need to be educated in America. That’s where I think this is really going to resonate, Mark. ML: I hope you’re right. HH: I think every mom and dad out there, and you address it very specifically to inter-generational need, as Burke said, to carry forward principles of governance. Now I’ve got to talk to you about a high principle. The filibuster has been around a long time, but you and I both know it’s extra-Constitutional. I’ve argued with a number of Senators from the middle of the party to the conservative wing. They love the filibuster, including Ted Cruz. I hate it. And Jim Talent said on this show there comes a time when things are so broken you have to break the rules in order to save the country. What does Mark Levin think? ML: Well, I guess I am, I have a middle ground on this. I think filibusters, when it applies to judicial nominations, are unconstitutional. HH: I agree. ML: That’s because the framers made it quite clear that the president and one half of the other branch of the Congress, the Senate, have a role to play. HH: I agree. ML: So the filibuster changes that. HH: Yup. ML: So I reject it there. As for legislation, the Constitution also provides that the Senate can set its own rules. So when it comes to legislation, I think they can filibuster. However, that said, prudence needs to be in play here. And when you’re dealing with a president who thumbs his nose at the Constitution daily, I would suspend the filibuster rule, because the Constitution is far more important. I would stop Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer from gumming up the works, and I would send bill after bill after bill to this president’s desk and make him veto it, because Hugh, this guy has vetoed a total of four bills in six and a half years. It is a modern time low, because he either rules by fiat, or they send him bills that he likes. HH: And we have a Defense appropriations bill that is stuck in the Senate, because Democrats won’t defend the United States. They really, literally, will not fund the defense of the United States. ML: So suspend the filibuster rule. There’s nothing wrong. You know what? They fight harder to defend their own rules than they defend the Constitution. HH: This is my point, and this is where they need, I think we need to tell our audiences it’s time to tell leadership get rid of the filibuster. But Ted is one of our guys, and he defends it because of the good argument that in it’s blocked a lot of bad laws in the past. It blocked global climate change. But they went ahead and did it through the EPA anyway. ML: Not only that, isn’t it interesting that Harry Reid did in fact use the so-called nuclear option and suspended it under certain circumstances. So he’s already set the stage for this. Look, I think when you’re dealing with a president who is as reckless as this, and the nation is in such perilous trouble, you’ve got to stand with the Constitution first and foremost. HH: Amen. ML: And whatever the Senate rules are that are stopping you from supporting or upholding the Constitution, to hell with them. HH: Agreed. Now let me ask you before the break and our last segment. Hillary Clinton has broken 18USC1924. You worked for Ed Meese. I worked for Ed Meese. We both had the top secret and the SCI clearances. If we’d left stuff on our desk when we went home at night, we’d have gone to jail, much less taking it home and stealing it at the end of our tenure. Is this Department of Justice so broken from the one that we served that there will be no prosecution of Hillary Clinton for this? ML: It’s possible it is utterly corrupt, and you’re exactly right. People need to understand how serious this is. When you have top secret or coded information, you know, you go through classes and training on how to deal with it. It is a very serious matter, and they have steps on how it’s supposed to be treated, even what kind of folders they need to be in, and who is not allowed to handle it. You’re not allowed to take it home, let alone a whole damn server with emails coming through it every single day. You’re not allowed to take one document home without certain permission, certain approval. HH: Amen. And we used to get briefed all the time about how we lowly special assistants, you were a chief of staff. I was a special assistant to the Attorney General, would be targeted by the enemy, that we would be trailed, that we would be compromised. The Secretary of State, they were reading her stuff in real time, Mark Levin. ML: Unbelievable. Well, she views the Freedom of Information Act and Congressional oversight and things like that as they’re the real enemy. You know, if the other enemy, the foreigners get a hand of it, you know, China, Russia, so be it. HH: So be it. One more segment with my pal, Mark Levin. — – – – – – HH: People have always marveled that we’re pals, but we’ve been pals since the Reagan revolution. And though that we are opposite each other, we are not opposite each other on 90% of the issues. ML: But can I tell you something? HH: Yeah. ML: You give the best, I shouldn’t even say this, you give the best book interview of anybody I have ever talked to. HH: Well, I read the book. ML: No, but you actually delve into stuff. HH: Well, that’s, I read this and I was riveted, because I’ve got young sons, you know? ML: Yeah. HH: And you write this as an appeal to parents. ML: Yeah. HH: And I’m thinking boy are they screwed. They are just so screwed. And talk about grandkids, they’re screwed. But here’s why they’re really screwed. There’s a chapter on the degrowthers in Plunder and Deceit. I do Endangered Species Act and Clean Water Act law for a living when I’m not on the radio, and you understate the problem, even though you’ve completely, correctly state it. They want to take us back to a pre-industrial, they don’t, our audience, even though we tell them, they don’t really believe us, do they, Mark, about what the environmental left wants? ML: That’s why I quote them. I quote the environmental left. They importation it, they call it, in Europe, the degrowth movement. Here, we call it, you know, Clean Air, Clean Water and polar bears. It has nothing to do with clean air, clean water and polar bears. This is an attack on capitalism. They opposed the Industrial Revolution. They are throwbacks. They are regressive. They reject technological advances. You know, it used to be, Hugh, that the attack on capitalism was that it just created too much wealth and there was inequity. Now, the attack is it creates too much wealth period. HH: Period. ML: So they really do want to throw us back. And Obama is the leader of this degrowth movement. The recent regs on Monday and more before that, you know, we litigate against them at the EPA. And the fact of the matter is, you know, he’s closing down coal mines. The Democrats used to stand for coal miners, for crying out loud. He’s closing down steel mills. He is breaking the back of the industrial heartland of this country, and you’re going to see not just electricity bills go up. You’re going to see brownouts and blackouts. And it’s interesting, I’ve tried to draw the parallel with California and water. The first Governor Brown, you know, he obstructed virtually every project that would develop the reservoirs and canals and the movement of water from northern states more into California and so forth, and unfortunately, you’re suffering from that. HH: Oh, my gosh. And these fires that rage, and Jerry Brown sent a fundraising letter for the Democrats blaming it on global climate change, when it fact we could have desalinization plants up and down this coast if we want. On Page 110, Mark, you write probably the most chilling sentence. “Much of the so-called environmental movement today has transmuted into an aggressively nefarious and primitive faction.” And I want to emphasize that word primitive. They do not, in their minds, imagine what it means to be in a slum in India, or dying of famine in South Sudan. They don’t understand it, and so they blithely recommend it to the world. It’s actually the most immoral part of the left, is the degrowthing people. ML: As I say in the end note to that line or that paragraph, that word primitive was one that was assigned to that movement by Ayn Rand. HH: Right. ML: And she was quite right. And this is a primitive movement. It is a backwards movement. The problem is it now controls the Environmental Protection Agency, and thanks to the Supreme Court, the Environmental Protection Agency now seeks to control every business and enterprise in this country. And that’s the problem. If you follow this to its logical extreme, it’s extremely dangerous. How many cars we can have? What kind of cars we can have? How big our house can be? All in the name of carbon pollution? Well of course, carbon dioxide is not pollution. Carbon dioxide in the end creates oxygen. We’re not talking about carbon monoxide, putting your mouth over a muffler in a car. We’re talking about carbon dioxide. You know, greenhouse gasses, all of a sudden, that’s negative. Without greenhouse gasses, we’re Mars. HH: We’re Mars. “So I ask the rising generation, America’s younger people, what do you choose for yourself and future generations? Do you choose liberty or tyranny? And what do you intend to do about it? That’s how you close Plunder and Deceit. How is your reaction among young people? ML: Well, the book’s only been out since Tuesday, and I am somewhat cloistered. So we’ll know in a week or two or three or four, but I can just tell you that the reports are coming in. I don’t even know if I’m allowed to say this. We’re now in our third printing. So I don’t know. I guess somebody’s reading it. HH: I think it’s hitting that seam of the political season. And as you look at those candidates, the first debate was six, the second debate with ten, who is going to channel, it’s not anger, it is energy and it is passion, and I think it’s what my friend, Tim, said, the need for alpha males, or the need for alpha females, the need for leadership. Who’s going to passion that, Mark Levin? ML: I just think it’s too early to tell. You know, that debate format, ten people at 9pm Eastern, with very limited amount of time, we really need to drill down into the substance of where these guys stand. We know where some of them stand, and sort it out. But Hugh, I’ll just tell you, from my perspective, I’m not going to wait until the end of the process where they cherry-pick the conservatives, and then Jeb Bush slips through. I mean, from my perspective, I’m going to focus in on three or four in the few months ahead, and suggest to at least my audience, these are the people we ought to really focus on. HH: And that means checkbook, that means pocketbook, that means giving time, passion, energy and persuasion. The persuasion’s got to come from facts. Facts are in Plunder and Deceit. Thank you, Mark Levin. It is always a pleasure. Off to do your own show, and I appreciate you taking so much time with me. ML: It’s a great honor. Thanks so much, Hugh, and God bless. HH: And you, too. End of interview. ]]>
(Review Source)
Hugh Hewitt
(”13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi” is briefly mentioned in this.)
HH: I begin this hour as I do on Thursdays when I’m lucky with the Columnist of the World, Mark Steyn, the author of a brand new book, A Disgrace to the Profession: The World’s Scientists in Their Own Words on Michael Mann, his “Hockey Stick,” and their Damage to Science which is available on SteynOnline.Com, better book stores at Amazon.com. Mark, welcome back. It’s always great to talk to you.   MS: Hey, good to be with you.   HH: Mark, I have a proposition. No other politician in the western world in any democracy – whether our’s, Canada, Great Britain, Australia – could survive the conduct that Hilary Clinton has engaged in whose last name was not Clinton. Agree or disagree?   MS: Yeah, I think that’s true, and it’s one of these situations where people think “Oh well, that’s just Bill and Hilary. That’s just what they do. And usually it’s just something that is a personal benefit to them that they – going back to when they used to claim Bill’s used underwear as tax-deductible charitable donations back in the early ‘90s in Arkansas – but the idea that the entire chief foreign policy official of the United States can keep the most confidential business with the United States and its relations with the world powers on a server in some guy’s bathroom in an apartment in Colorado and you can only read about that because a British newspaper – the Daily Mail – thought it was kind of newsworthy, but the New York Times and the Washington Post and the LA Times didn’t – that tells you that this woman thinks none of it matters and she’s got a couple of speed bumps on the path to her coronation, but her carriage is still going to make it.   HH: Now Mark, you were the first to hint at this, and I think you’ve been very cautious, but I think the question has to be raised – you hinted at what would be the consequences of the opponents of the United States reading in real-time the Secretary of State’s internet traffic, and you hinted that would have been very bad. Increasingly people realize that was in fact happening. We don’t know which enemies at what time, but increasingly – whether it’s Mike Morell on this show or other NSA folks or Bob Baer on CNN this week. They had it because it is not even a grade school exercise for cyber-espionage experts to break into a private server like this.   MS: No, and as I said when I first mentioned that, I don’t like to seem like a conspiracy guy, but I think it’s clear that once it was known that this the Secretary of State’s email address, that the Russians, the Chinese, and other major sophisticated nations would’ve no problem getting into it. The question then is, who do they share it with? But it was interesting to me all around that period around Benghazi how well-informed America’s enemies were. I mean, for example, just those guys in Benghazi knew the ambassador was not going to be in Tripoli but was going to be in Benghazi, where he was going to be in Benghazi that very night, and you have to operate on the assumption that Mrs. Clinton prioritized keeping her conversation with Sid Blumenthal private over the risk of keeping her conversations with senior American officials around the planet private and out of the hands of Americans enemies.   HH: Because the question that hasn’t been answered yet – because it’s a highly-technical question is once you have a gateway in – and here you have the Secretary of State’s server not protected – you have a gateway in the State Department’s communication, how many tunnels can you go down? Can you go into the classified material and the actually encrypted material. Once the door’s open – the front door – can you get to the basement? And I don’t know the answer to that, Mark Steyn.   MS: Well, I think when you use these words like “encrypted” and “classified,” everyone thinks that they mean more than they do. They mean as much as the person who is privy to that information wants them to mean. So for example, Michael Mukasey wrote a piece in the Wall Street Journal a couple of days ago explaining how very seriously he took all this stuff and certain confidential documents with certain markings – he didn’t get out and look at until he was in the Maxwell Smart “Cone of Silence” or whatever it was called (laughs) and they begathered around there in the top secret bunker and looking at it. But Mrs. Clinton was being emailed on the kind of thing that Mrs. Scoggin on 27 B. Elm Street has on her emails and she didn’t mind that. And if you look at any American embassy around the world, they all have these little top secret bunkers somewhere in the heart of the thing with concrete walls so nobody can hear what they’re talking about, the communication is super-encoded. But none of it means anything if the head of the entire apparatus is just keeping in some guy’s toilet in Colorado.   HH: Agreed. Now twenty years ago – nineteen to be specific – a different Republican candidate was talking about a different Clinton saying “Where’s the outrage?” They ought to run that Bob Dole tape now because I don’t see any outrage. In fact, when Hilary Clinton engaged with the press, here’s the heart of her back-and-forth with Ed Henry.   HC: I have no idea. That’s why we turn it over–   EH: But you were in charge of it. You were the official in charge, did you wipe the server?   HC: Well, wipe with a cloth or something?   EH: Digitally, did you try to wipe the whole server?   HC: I don’t know how it works digitally at all. I do not have any–   EH: You do not have what?   HH: And so then she walked away and said “Nobody cares about this except you guys.” There should be universal condemnation of this Mark Steyn.   MC: Yeah, but she’s wrong on that. The media are protecting her. The media are protecting. The people understand that actually in some basic way this isn’t about the Clintons, this is about America, and that was a very – at the time when Bill was dallying with Monica, that was a harder argument to make because people kept saying “Oh well, everybody does it and we all are about sex and all of us shouldn’t and people didn’t want to hear about it. This is different. This isn’t her business, this is your business, Hugh. This is your listeners’ business. This is the business of the American people. And she exposed America to grave peril. I mean, this is quite astonishing to me. It always amazes me when you read thrillers. You like reading thrillers.   HH: Yes.   MS: You have Daniel Silva and people on and they go to immense lengths to concoct a plausible scenario as to how the security’s breached. None of the further writers you interviews–   HH: (laughs)   MS: . . . Brad Shaw, Daniel Silva — none of them would think of anything so obvious as the Secretary of State of a major global power keeping the important business of that nation on a server in some guy’s toilet in Colorado.   HH: Yeah, Alex Barensen, Chuck Box, the late Vince Flynn – they’d all have that sent back from the editor saying “No one’s going to be buy that. That’s not going to work.”   MS: Yeah, I know, this is ridiculous. It’s ridiculous.   HH: (laughs) Now I’m one of the few people in America who’s seen [the] Man from U.N.C.L.E. – and I’m sorry that I did – but before I had, there was a preview for the new Michael Bay movie Thirteen Hours and it’s gripping, Mark Steyn, the Benghazi real story of what happened. I think Hilary is going to be forced from this race. I used to think she was inevitable. I wrote the book the Queen because of it. But I now believe she’s going to be forced from this race as people’s awareness of what she has done dawns on folks. What do you think?   MS: Yes, I think that’s true and I think that’s evident that people just want a non-Hilary and right now, Bernie Sanders is quite good. Democrats want a non-Hilary. But once we get nearer the general election – Benghazi is a problem for her and again she says “Nobody cares about Benghazi. Who cares about that?” But in the broader sense, she was in total charge of Libya, and Libya is the reason why Italy is now being destabilized by thousands and thousands of refugees landing on its shores because all those ports on the Libyan coast are now in the hands of ISIS and other jihadists and they’re running all these people into Italy and destabilizing Italy. I don’t believe anything. I don’t believe did as Hilary Clinton did as Secretary of State both operationally in terms of emails, but also in policy terms will be able to stand up to the slightest scrutiny were she to be candidate in the general election.   HH: And a last quick question – Donald Trump continues to gather momentum. The polls out today showing him now winning in many states where he was behind Hilary before in head-to-head match-ups. Is there a ceiling for Donald Trump?   MS: I’m not so sure that there is because the ceiling keeps getting higher. Now at some point everyone bumps up against the ceiling, but it is going higher. And I think the way to look on it, Hugh, is like this – you’ve been quite critical of him. You can say “Oh, this guy is an out-of-control lunatic buffoon” but actually–   HH: I never said that. Let the record be clear.   MS: No, no, no. I know you’ve never said that, but a lot of people, but what he’s saying is actually quite sane, where if you think of the so-called sane candidates like Jeb Bush when he talks about illegal immigration as an “act of love” – he may be a sane man, but what he’s saying is far loonier than what Donald Trump is saying. If you got a loony with the sane position versus a sane man with a loony position that other loony with a sane position.   HH: Mark Steyn, always a pleasure. I just had to correct the record. I have no favorites and no opponents in the race. I’m going to be a very fair debate moderator. Mark Steyn, always a pleasure. SteynOnline.Com to get your copy of a Disgrace to the Professon, America, it’s available now. I’ll be right back with Rick Perry on the Hugh Hewitt Show ]]>
(Review Source)
Hugh Hewitt
(”13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi” is briefly mentioned in this.)
Carly Fiorina joined me on the show today, with blunt assessments on why the North Korean regime feels no worries about Team Obama, and how a former member of that team, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, should resign and why the former Secretary of State and the current president should be urging him to do so: Audio: 01-06hhs-fiorina Transcript: HH: As you have no doubt heard by now, North Korea has shaken up not just the Korean Peninsula, but I think the race for the presidency. I’m joined by Carly Fiorina, one of the leading Republican contenders for the nomination. Carly Fiorina, welcome back to the Hugh Hewitt Show, your reaction to the North Korean nuclear test? CF: Well, it reminds us of what a dangerous world we live in. It also reminds us that when we do not respond to provocation and bad behavior, more bad behavior occurs. We did not respond when North Korea attacked Sony Pictures. We did not respond when Iran launched two ballistic missile tests in direct violation to the agreement they had just signed with the P5 + 1. So of course North Korea feels that it can do whatever it likes without impunity. This administration has failed to respond to every provocation. And when we keep allowing bad behavior to occur without response, we’re going to get more of it. HH: Now the original sin with North Korea dates to 1994 in an agreement negotiated, and I have to say this for conflict reasons, by my good friend, Dan Poneman, my college roommate, was up there with Bob Gates when they negotiated this agreement. And it was bad then, and we’ve argued about it since then. But does Hillary Clinton have to own the original flawed deal that her husband approved in 1994? CF: Well, her husband was the president. She wasn’t. But I think it’s a demonstration of the fact that Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton as well have gotten more foreign policy challenges wrong. Mrs. Clinton has gotten every foreign policy challenge wrong as Secretary of State, whether it was Russia, Syria, Libya, Iran, Iraq. Nothing’s happened on her watch to improve the situation with North Korea or China, which is becoming a rising adversary, and which has probably the most influence over North Korea. And meanwhile, our relationship with others in that part of the world – Japan, the Philippines, Vietnam, Australia, South Korea, are not better, and are probably afraid, because we are not providing them with the leadership and the support they’re asking us to provide. HH: So Carly Fiorina, before we move to the politics of the impact of this, what actually would you do as president to try and contain the North Korean nuclear program? CF: Well, number one, there would be immediate response. So when North Korea attacked Sony Pictures, there should have been an immediate response, an immediate retaliation. We should have put them on the terrorist watch list, which this administration and Hillary Clinton refused to do. Second, we need to be providing the support that our allies in this region have asked for – Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Vietnam and Australia, all have asked us for very specific kinds of military equipment and support. We are not providing it. I will, because that, too, is a signal. And three, we must engage in very serious conversations now with China, because China has the most influence. And of course, we responded not at all when China attacked our Office of Personnel Management, and stole the records of 23 million people. Every time, all of these things are related. Every time the United States does not respond appropriately to hostile acts and provocation, we will get more of them. And so all the way back to Hillary Clinton and Benghazi, when we do not respond to a purposeful terrorist attack, and instead our Secretary of State lies about it, the signal that is sent to every adversary we have in this world is the United States will do nothing. Forge ahead. HH: Have you had a chance, Carly Fiorina, to see 13 Hours, yet, the new movie about Benghazi? I have, and it’s very riveting, and it’s very damning, though she is never mentioned, nor is the President. It is utterly damning of the Obama administration. CF: I have seen snippets of it, but of course, it’s utterly damning, because we know enough from her own email trail. We know enough from her Congressional testimony that we know warnings were ignored over and over and over again. We know that additional security and support was refused. We know that the American people were lied to about what really happened. I mean, those things are damning, and it is why we must have a nominee who will hold Hillary Clinton to account. I will. HH: Now I want to switch over to some politics. I am taking a redeye tonight to get to D.C. to be part of the post-presidential town hall forum on CNN, Jake Tapper, tomorrow night, 9pm, there’ll be eight of us commenting on whatever the President has to say. And I hope Rahm Emmanuel comes up, and I asked Chris Christie this on Monday, and I want to ask you today, Carly Fiorina. Should Rahm Emmanuel resign? And should the President urge him to do so as a means of communicating seriousness about not only gun violence, but the need to police your police, and to police your community well? CF: Well, yes. Wouldn’t that be nice? Of course, it won’t happen. Rahm Emmanuel clearly believes in the Clinton way. I must say, what’s the Clinton way? Say whatever you have to say. Lie as long as you can get away with it, and do whatever you need to do to get reelected. And that’s what Rahm Emmanuel clearly has done. This whole terrible tragedy has been swept under the rug for a year to assure that Rahm Emmanuel would be reelected. Just imagine for one moment if the mayor of Chicago were not President Obama’s personal friend. Just imagine for a moment if this were a Republican what President Obama would be saying and doing. He has been incredibly silent on this tragedy. HH: So has Hillary Clinton, and she is his good friend, and Rahm Emmanuel caught her… CF: Exactly. HH: Should she call on him to step down? CF: Well, yes, because wouldn’t that be consistent with the rhetoric they usually use when these tragedies occur? I mean, most of the time, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are right out front way before the facts are known in saying that the police have done something terrible here. This time, when the facts are crystal clear, that in fact this policeman did do something terribly wrong, when the facts are crystal clear that their good friend swept it under the carpet, when the protesters march day after day after day calling on Rahm Emmanuel to resign, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are dead quiet. HH: Now let me speak about the politics of Iowa and New Hampshire. First of all, earlier today I tweeted that if either Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio or Carly Fiorina is our nominee, then either Doug Ducey or Tom Cotton ought to be on the ticket with them for different reasons. They have different skill sets that bring, you can’t have, though, two white males, I don’t believe, and successfully seek the presidency this year for obvious demographic reasons. What do you make of those two guys? Do you know either of them well? CF: I don’t know either of them well, but I certainly know them, and I agree with you that they each would bring different, but important skills to a ticket, without a doubt. HH: All right, now how about Iowa and New Hampshire, and what is your feel for the momentum there, and in South Carolina, obviously, the first big three competitions? CF: Well, I am in New Hampshire all this week, and I must say our crowds are big, very big and growing. We are needing new space. I was in Iowa right before the holidays. We were needing bigger space. My husband, Frank, is in Iowa as I am in New Hampshire, and we will switch places next week. So I am feeling very good about what’s going on here on the ground. The other thing that I would say to you, Hugh, and we know this from the data, but the mainstream media ignores it, the reality is the majority of people in Iowa and New Hampshire don’t make up their minds until the last two weeks or the last five days, and in some cases, the last 24 hours. So this race is going to get won on the ground. And this race is still very much wide open. HH: Patrick Ruffini, one of our best metrics guys on the right, has said that the overwhelming amount of coverage given to Donald Trump has in fact advantaged him in this race. Do you disagree with Patrick? Or do you think he has something of merit in his argument? CF: Oh, there’s no question Donald Trump has been advantaged by all this media coverage. You know, I’ve compared him to the Kim Kardashian of politics. They’re both famous for being famous. And the media plays along. And when Donald Trump gets so much free media day after day after day, when his ads are playing almost 40 times in full on cable television, of course it helps him. HH: And so that sophisticated voter that you spoke about earlier, do they take that into their OODA loop, their observe, orient, decide and act voting OODA loop? CF: Yes, I think they do. I think they absolutely do. I’m not saying that Donald Trump doesn’t have support. He clearly does. I am saying that his support is propped up by a media that features him way too often. I mean, he gets more coverage than all the other candidates combined. On the other hand, why do I have confidence in the common sense and good judgment of the American people and the people of New Hampshire and Iowa and the early states? Because I started out 17 out of 16. The pollsters didn’t even ask my name. Less than 3% of the people had ever heard of me, and I don’t get nearly as much coverage as Donald Trump, and yet here I am tied with governors who have been in politics all their lives, have spent tens of millions of dollars on television advertising. I haven’t spent any, and I’m right in the hunt. HH: When it comes down to it in New Hampshire, they do vote contrarian. Is Carly Fiorina positioned well to tap into that? CF: Well, I certainly hope so. I certainly think so. That’s what I see here on the ground. I talk every day to the people of New Hampshire, as I have to you and the people of America. It is time to take our country back. HH: www.carlyforamerica.com. Carly Fiorina, thank you, always a pleasure, stay warm out there in the colds of New Hampshire and Iowa. End of interview. ]]>
(Review Source)
Hugh Hewitt
(”13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi” is briefly mentioned in this.)
The audio: 01-07hhs-bush The transcript: HH: Joined now by former Florida Governor and candidate for the Republican nomination for the 2016 presidential election, Jeb Bush. Governor Bush, Happy New Year, great to have you back. JB: Great to be with you, Hugh. HH: Does the North Korean explosion and the Sunni-Shiia confrontation today, Iran is claiming that Saudi Arabia sent missiles into their Yemeni embassy, do these sorts of events impact the race on the ground? JB: Absolutely, they will. And it’s a reflection of a presidency that does not believe that America’s role in the world is to bring peace and stability. As we pull back, we’re not the only reason why these things take place, but we, by our abandonment, you see the fragile world that exists. Without American leadership, things get ugly pretty quick. And by the way, Hugh, that’s, I think, an important point, and probably, hopefully, it will be discussed in the debate next week, that Donald Trump’s first impulse as it relates to the issue of North Korea is to say that’s China’s problem. But really, I mean, you think about it, you asked a good question to Mr. Trump about the nuclear triad in the last debate, and he didn’t seem to have much knowledge about it. But it is our problem when they’re trying to build long range missile capabilities in trying to develop a nuclear weapon that could reach the shores of the United States. And we can’t outsource our national security to the Chinese. HH: He has suggested to me… JB: That is just crazy. HH: He has suggested to me that maybe those 28,000 American troops are not providently deployed. Do you agree or disagree with that, on the Korean Peninsula? JB: They are essential. And put aside the size of it, in fact, they’re looking to relocate some of the, at least the command further south. But it is essential for us to be engaged in the world, whether it’s Japan or with our Navy assets or Korea. How do you, I mean, Korea is a good example where American leadership matters. Do the Koreans provide support financially for this? Yeah, they do. Of course, they do. And put aside the amount of troop level, we should stay engaged. And Trump is an isolationist. And I think it’s dangerous in this world. We see it, we see the unfraying happening. We see the attack in Paris at the police station today. We see North Korea kind of feeling like they need more attention, so they test this bomb. We see the Shiia-Sunni conflict playing out in a very dramatic way, principally, and at least in one reason, because the United States is not sending a signal to one of our strongest allies in the region, Saudi Arabia, that we’re going to be with them. HH: Does Donald Trump have, not temperament, but the deep exposure to and nuanced understanding of American foreign policy and Defense factors to be president? JB: Not right now. He doesn’t. I mean, that’s pretty clear. It was clear on the debate stage last week. It’s clear when he talks the way he does. Just take ISIS. Mr. Trump in the matter of, since late September, where he said that we didn’t have a fight in Syria, then he said let’s let the Russians take out ISIS, and prior to that, he said let ISIS take out Assad. And then he said we’re going to bomb the bleep out of ISIS once the attacks took place. That kind of volatility and lack of seriousness should give people pause. We’re electing a president of the United States and a commander-in-chief, and I think we need a steadiness, and someone who has an understanding of the complexity of how the world works, and certainly an understanding about how America’s presence and leadership in the world can bring about security and peace for the homeland. HH: I want to come back to the ’94 deal in just a moment, but to be clear, if Donald Trump is the nominee, will Jeb Bush support him and campaign for him? JB: Donald Trump will not be the nominee, because of the reasons we’re discussing right now. I think there will be, particularly here, I’m in New Hampshire today, as people begin to realize the responsibilities they have as first in the nation primary voters, that they will take into consideration that we’re nominating a candidate to beat Hillary Clinton, which I don’t think he can do, and we’re nominating someone who could be president, which requires leadership skills and understanding of how the world works. HH: But if he were, and I asked this question, I have to ask it twice of everyone. JB: Yeah. HH: If he were, would you support him? JB: Donald Trump’s not going to be the nominee. So you asked me twice, and I answered you twice. HH: Okay, I’ll try three times. Just go with me, because he’s ahead in New Hampshire, he’s ahead everywhere. Would Jeb Bush do the loyal Republican thing and support the nominee? JB: I have been a loyal Republican my entire adult life. I have supported and voted for every Republican candidate since Richard Nixon. That should give you some indication of my loyalty to the conservative cause. HH: So is that a yes, Governor? JB: That’s not a yes, it’s not a no. I’m just telling you, I don’t think it matters. I have been a loyal Republican, and is past is prologue, then I’m confident I’ll be supporting the Republican nominee. HH: But if Donald Trump hears that, and I’ve got to break and then I’ll come back and talk about it after the break, he might say the same thing, which would send shudders down the spine of the Republican Party, right? JB: I’m just telling you what I believe. I believe that we need to have a candidate that can beat Hillary Clinton, and that candidate cannot be a candidate that tries to insult their way to the presidency. Perhaps Mr. Trump will change his path, start taking lessons on how things work. It’s possible, I don’t know. But I’m organizing myself to become the nominee to beat Hillary Clinton. That’s all I can tell you. HH: More on that in a moment. JB: That’s what I know from the bottom of my heart. HH: More on that in a moment. I’ll be right back with Jeb Bush. Go nowhere, America. —- – — – HH: Now I want to go back to the 1994 deal in the North Korean crisis, but one more political question. You are in New Hampshire. You’re getting great crowds. New Hampshire brought Bill Clinton back from the brink in 1992. You don’t have his problems, because they were moral problems, but you’ve got political problems. Do you think New Hampshire will do for Jeb Bush this time what it did for Bill Clinton in ’92? JB: I feel really good about where we are. We have a great ground game. We are, look, we have this superPAC that’s not, that I’m not coordinating with or affiliated with, but they are advertising. I see it when I get home to my home away from home at the Hilton Garden Inn. And it seems like we’re making good progress. The crowd sizes are bigger, the conversion rates are growing. I’m excited about it. It’s fun to campaign here. People actually, really, ask incredibly good questions. And so I can’t predict how this outcomes, this is a pretty volatile year to be making political predictions, but I feel good about where we are. HH: You know, I didn’t get to ask you during the debate about the triad. I took the follow on to Marco Rubio. What would be your priority among the three systems to update and modernize? JB: Well, first of all, had I been asked that question, I would have ripped into Trump saying he had no understanding of the first obligation of a president, which is because he has unique responsibility as it relates to the deterrent effect of what the nuclear triad brings. So I would have prefaced my answer by saying that, rather than ignoring it as Marco did. And then I would have said that all of them are important, but I think the submarine part of this needs to have the highest priority. I think our Navy has been devastated just by neglect. The sequester has been bad across all the Armed Forces for sure, but the United States Naval superiority needs to be maintained. And certainly, the submarine capabilities, which are stealthy, mobile, are not, all of them are important, but that would be, perhaps, the most important thing to modernize and to focus on. HH: There is a Seth Crosby piece in the Wall Street Journal today, Governor Bush. We’re down to 272 ships, and Ash Carter said we’re going lower, not the other way. I’m kind of stunned by this. What was your reaction? Have you had a chance to see the piece? JB: I’ve seen the piece, and I was stunned as well. We are at levels that are dangerous for our country. I mean, think about it. We now announce when we’re going near the island, the manmade island that China has built a hundred miles off in the South China Sea, as though that’s a sign of strength that we just announce that we’re doing it. We should do this as a matter of course, but if we don’t have the naval assets to be able to engage in the Persian Gulf, engage in Asia. The rest of the world sees this, and they take advantage. They immediately, the Chinese aren’t waiting for us to figure out how to deal with sequester. They’re engaged in a major modernization, and building up of a navy. And there’s going to be a tipping point at some point. And I think this is a really dangerous time. The gestation time for getting new ships into the seas, and new arms into the hands of the warfighters, and new planes which haven’t been built in ages is not just a month. This takes years, and yeah, we need to modernize the procurement process and lower the costs and all that. But we need to make a commitment that we’re going to have the greatest fighting force in the 21st Century, not just holding together by Band-Aids the greatest fighting force of the 20th Century. HH: Now I want to switch to the subject of the day. I’m in D.C., because the President is holding a gun forum tonight, and I will be on CNN with Jake Tapper talking about that forum after it concludes. First question that I think is directly related to guns, the President did not ask during the Omni negotiations of last month for anything that he demanded yesterday. How seriously do you take his demands in light of the fact he didn’t even bring them up last month when everything was on the table? JB: I don’t take his interest in dealing with Congress seriously, for sure. I do take, unfortunately, his interest, even though he claims he’s a Constitutional lawyer, to trample the Constitution. He doesn’t have the power to sign executive orders where the authority hasn’t been delegated to him. And every time he does this, he makes it harder and harder to find common ground. And the presidents that are successful have to lead. They can’t just always be pushing down someone who doesn’t agree with him. Look, our gun control laws, I think, are done best from the bottom up, that reflects the uniqueness and the diversity of our country. Florida is a 2nd Amendment state. And I worked to create a support for law abiding citizens being able to access guns. We have background checks. People that are, that have restraining orders because they committed domestic violence, cannot get guns. We have good gun laws, and we punish people that commit crimes with guns. That’s the idea that I think reduces gun violence. And I don’t think we should expect Washington to oppose a one, you know, to create a one size fits all approach to this, and certainly not by executive authority when the president doesn’t have it. HH: Now up in Chicago, a Hillary Clinton/Bill Clinton protégé, and Barack Obama protégé, Rahm Emmanuel, is the mayor, and he’s been involved in a cover-up and a scandal involving police violence. Should Rahm Emmanuel resign? JB: I think that Rahm Emmanuel should embrace an outside investigation of the practices of the police in Chicago, where you have extraordinary increases in violence and death, and you have cover-ups that clearly have taken place. And for his own reputation, he should embrace an outside view of this. Whether he should resign or not, I’d leave that up to him. But I think that there should be, to kind of defiantly go about this, when there are these scandals that have taken place, I think is just plain wrong. Government works when people trust that the people in government are working on their behalf. But when elected officials do the things that they do, that trust is violated, then you have a really dangerous situation. And I think Mayor Emmanuel is a gifted politician. He understands the challenge that’s faced. He should just turn the tables, accept an independent investigation, and then do what politicians used to do that seem not to do it anymore. Stop saying the dog ate my homework. Start fixing things. Accept responsibility. My goodness, you know, there are people that run to the fire, and there are people that run away from the fire. And we have too many politicians right now that when they see a problem under their watch, run away, blame somebody else, blame their predecessor, blame the climate, blame whatever it is, instead of saying this happened on my watch, I’m going to fix it. That’s what he should be doing. HH: Boy, you know, you sound like, I don’t know if you’ve seen the movie, 13 Hours, yet, but that’s the impression one gets of Hillary Clinton when Benghazi was on fire, Governor Bush. Have you seen 13 Hours, yet? JB: I haven’t. Doesn’t it come out next week? HH: Yeah, but I got to see a screener, and some people, there are screeners out there. I’ll be right back, one more short segment with former Governor Jeb Bush. — – – — HH: Governor Bush, there was an interesting piece today that suggests 43, your brother, W., is going to hit the campaign trail with you. Do you have plans for that? JB: Not yet, but my brother happens to be one of the most popular Republicans out there, maybe the most popular Republican, and he’s going to vote for me, and he supports me, and he’s given me good advice and it’s been helpful. And we’re trying to sort all that out. Look, I love my brother, and I’m honored to have his support, but I know at the end of the day, I’ve got to go earn this as well. There are high expectations on me, given my family. The only higher expectations that exist are on myself, by myself, and I know that ultimately, this is my challenge. But having a brother that has done this is, you know, and by your side to help, is great. HH: Yeah, in South Carolina especially… JB: The rest of my family has been supportive as well. HH: In South Carolina, especially with Cologne attacks on New Year’s Eve, with the attack today in Charlie Hebdo anniversary, which thank God was stopped short, with the Paris attacks, San Bernardino attacks, I think people have an appreciation for what he did that would be powerful on the campaign trail after the first couple of touching gloves in Iowa and New Hampshire. Have you talked about it with him? JB: I haven’t talked to him directly about it. I intend to do it. I’m really focused on making progress in the first two states, as you said, as we touch gloves. But there’ll be time to talk about this, and it’s certainly under consideration for sure. HH: All right, last question, you’ve got brother and father down in Texas, so Jerry Jones has got to come across your radar occasionally. JB: (laughing) Once in a while. HH: So the Ohio primary is coming up. Can you persuade Jerry Jones to take Johnny Manziel off the Browns’ hands? That could get you Ohio. JB: I saw, the last Cowboy game that Robert Griffith’s family was dressed up in a Cowboy jersey with his number. HH: Yeah, everyone’s trying to get to Dallas. But I’m telling you… JB: I know you’re a Cleveland fan. HH: Yeah. JB: I think you’re stuck with Manziel for a little bit more, my friend. HH: This is an unfortunate development, and you guys did not come through for, and you did not come through for Ohio State when Florida took on Alabama in the SEC championship, either, Governor… JB: Hey, but Hugh, just remember, you stole the national championship from the University of Miami. HH: Oh, dear, he’s still bitter. Governor, good luck out there in New Hampshire, I will talk to you again in a couple of weeks, and I appreciate you taking the time today. Thank you, Governor. JB: Thank you. End of interview. ]]>
(Review Source)
Hugh Hewitt
(”13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi” is briefly mentioned in this.)
Congressman Mike Pompeo, a member of both the House Intelligence Committee and the Select Committee on Benghazi, joined me in the second hour of today’s show, and gave a pretty detailed roadmap of what is ahead, and all of it is bad news for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: Audio: 08-26hhs-pompeo Transcript: HH: Welcome back America. It’s Hugh Hewitt. Joined now by Congressman Mike Pompeo, a member of the House Intelligence Committee. He represent great district in Kansas – Kansas 4th. Congressman, welcome back. It’s great to have you back. MP: Hugh, it’s great to be on the show. HH: I am alarmed by the number of people with sensitive compartmented information outside of skiffs – special facilities for the use of compartmented information. Are you scratching your head at how it managed to get into – I mean, David Kendall is a lawyer, but that doesn’t mean you get to give him his SCI stuff. MP: It’s absurd Hugh. We still don’t frankly have a handle on exactly the chain of custody of how exactly this material moved around, and your point is well taken. We give some level of clearance to attorneys for particular matters, but still have handling requirements attached to the information transfer and top-secret SAF information goes only to a very few. It appears Mr. Kendall didn’t have that. HH: Has the FBI approached the committe as sometimes happened the Benghazi Special Investigation Committee of which you were a member and asked you not to proceed because you’ll interfere with their investigation or compromise the indictability of some people? MP: Our committee continues to move forward, Hugh. We’re still working. We still got a number of interviews. We have Cheryl Mills and Jake Sullivan – senior State Department employees that will testify next week, and so I intend to move forward October 22nd with former Secretary Clinton and lots of folks in between. HH: Now the Cheryl Mills and Jake Sullivan interviews – will those be closed to the public and can go as long as you want them to go? MP: They are going to be close to the public. They’ll be conducted by members and staff and we will get a chance to ask all of our questions just as we expect to do with former Secretary Clinton as well. HH: Have you been informed of Miss Mills and Mr. Sullivan will be accompanied by counsel? MP: I don’t know the answer to that. The committee would know. I guess I don’t know. I fully expect they’ll have counsel with them just as Sydney Blumethal had counsel with him. Many of them were senior witnesses that had shown up with their own personal attorneys. HH: I’m curious with if you’re allowed to tell me if Blumethal’s attorney made objections repeatedly in the course of the conversaton if he or she played a passive role. MP: Well, I’d rather not get into it. We tried our best to keep the content of these interviews private. I rather just not comment on that, Hugh. HH: Do witnesses receive the 18 USC 1001 warning that any statement that they make that is false is in fact a crime? MP: Every single witness that has testified before – both in the Intelligence Committee related to Benghazi and the Benghazi Committee – has been under the clear instructions that are to speak truthfully and completely, and the results of that could in fact could violation of federal law. I think they all were well-aware of that when they spoke to our committee. HH: Now Congressman Pompeo – you’re a former prosecutor, Harvard Law guy. Trey Gowdy’s a prosecutor. You got all these prosecutors up there. This is a very serious committee that everyone said should never have started on the Democratic side. Have they at least shut up about that now on the Democratic side or are they still complaining about the province of the committee? MP: Hugh, its been remarkable, to be honest with you, to watch the Democrats on the Benghazi Committee actually advocate on behalf of the administration instead of doing their duty. We have a charter -this entire committee has a charter, including the Democrats – they have not moved on from this. Mr. Cummings and Mr. Schiff continue to assert that this is pure politics, but last time I checked, the FBI wasn’t part of the vast right wing conspiracy. And we now have a broad swath of Americans understanding that our committee has behaved precisely as the Speaker demanded – get the facts. Find out why it is the case the four Americans were killed. Now almost three years ago, Hugh, get those facts and answers and get them out to the public and when we’ve done, we will have completed our mission. HH: Have you happened to see the trailer for the Michael Bay movie? I think it’s Thirteen Hours. Is that what this is? MP: I have not seen the trailer. I know the movie you’re referring to, but I’ve not seen the trailer. HH: It’s gut-wrenching. Okay, last couple of quick questions. Other than Mills and Sullivan, are there other witnesses between now and the Secretary? MP: There are. We have other State Department employees. We have a handful of folks that were in other places in government and so we still got a fairly long list of folks to get through and I don’t think they’re scheduled yet, but they will all occur between now and October 22nd and that wouldn’t surprise people what we have a few interviews to complete even after that day. HH: And does Mr. Kendall get access to the interviews prior to the Secretary’s testimony in order to conform her story to whatever’s been said? MP: Well, the information is supposed to be private. I’m hopeful that none of the members of the committee would’ve provided this information anyone. But there would have been counsel to some of the witnesses who would have been there and they certainly would have had access to their witnesses’ testimonies, so I suppose it’s possible. He’ll have had access to those interviews before she speaks to us on the 22nd. HH: But the 22nd is public. MP: The 22nd is public, open. Mr. Kendall has made the committment that former Secretary Clinton will stay until we are done asking questions and I expect them to honor that committment. HH: Oh, that could go twent-four, thirty hours. MP: Well, I’ll buckle in, Hugh. HH: I’m looking forward to that one. Congressman Mike Pompeo, thank you. Great to speak with you. ]]>
(Review Source)
Hugh Hewitt
(”13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi” is briefly mentioned in this.)
It is going to be one great year for political talk radio, and mine began with New jersey Governor Chris Christie: Audio: 01-04hhs-christie Transcript: HH: So great to begin it with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who gave a major speech on his campaign today in New Hampshire. Governor Christie, Happy New Year to you. CC: Thank you, Hugh, and Happy New Year to you. HH: There’s a lot to talk about in this speech, but I have to begin with some less-than-serious questions first of all. CC: Right. HH: You’re friends with Jerry Jones, right? CC: I am. HH: All right. Can we get you to call him to take Manziel off our hands? I mean, don’t you think… CC: (laughing) No thanks, buddy. HH: Now look, look, he would do great in Dallas, Governor. He’s just not our guy in Cleveland. I just renewed my Cleveland Browns season tickets. We’re going to draft a new QB. He would be great in Dallas. CC: Listen, he hadn’t, no one’s ever gotten in trouble for partying in Dallas, right, Hugh? So Johnny Manziel would be perfect for Dallas. That’d be great. HH: So you’re not buying my pitch, huh? CC: No, that’s classic New Jersey sarcasm. HH: Okay, okay, just asking, then. CC: (laughing) HH: Second question, are you a Downton Abbey guy? CC: I am not. HH: Is Mary Pat a Downton Abbey person? CC: Mary Pat is not a Downton Abbey person, either. No, neither one of us. HH: Because it had a prosecution in it that took four seasons to wrap up. And I was going to ask you about that. Are you a Homeland person? Do you watch Homeland? CC: I do not watch Homeland, either. HH: What do you do for popular culture? CC: (laughing) Run for president, Hugh. That’s what I do. HH: Well, there is a piece of popular culture coming out called 13 Hours. It’s a movie by Michael Bay, which I happened to have seen a screening of. It’s about Benghazi. CC: Yeah. HH: It’s an amazing movie. It doesn’t say a word about Hillary, or President Obama. But it damns them. Do you think Benghazi is going to be an issue through this campaign? CC: Yes, as will all the judgments that the Obama-Clinton team have made in foreign policy and that have put us in such an awful position – weakness, timidity, that have been interpreted appropriately by the world as weakness and timidity, and have caused more violence, more danger for Americans and other freedom-loving folks around the world. And all of that, including Benghazi, will be a part of her record, and part of the record that I will prosecute against her come next September. HH: Here’s what the former First Lady and former Secretary of State had to say yesterday about the Saudi Arabian-Iranian confrontation. HRC: I think that even our friends who we work with on so many other areas should not be immune from our criticism and our questions about rule of law, about their treatment of minorities. But clearly, this raises serious questions that we have to raise directly with the Saudi government. I think this is counterproductive for them. This will inflame the region even more, and I think cause even more dissent and more upheaval within Saudi Arabia. So even in the short and medium term, I don’t think it was a smart decision for them to make, and I will criticize them publicly about that. HH: Now Governor Christie, after screwing up Libya, Egypt, Iraq, Syria, she condemns one of our last remaining allies in the region? Isn’t that astonishing? CC: Well, I mean, if you want to talk about inflaming the region, she and the President know a lot about inflaming the region by doing what they did with Iran. That’s done more to inflame the region and cause danger for folks in the region, and now having Iran continue to play this role in Syria, the fact is that Mrs. Clinton has done enough. She’s done enough damage. And it’s time to get her out from behind the foreign policy wheel, because she doesn’t belong there. She is a dangerous driver of American foreign policy. She doesn’t know what she’s doing. And what she’s causing now is to have us have even fewer and fewer friends. Should we be concerned about human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia? Of course, we should. And we should have those conversations quietly and public as friends do. HH: Now do you see an emerging possibility of, there apparently are talks between Saudi Arabia and, of all people, Israel. Egypt and Israel are apparently cooperating on the war against ISIS in the Sanai Peninsula. King Abdullah is doing everything he can to keep Syria from spilling over. Is there a possibility that with leadership, we could put together a Sunni alliance that would be strong and enduring? CC: Absolutely, there is. And they’re begging for us to do it. Include the Emirates in that group as well. They’re begging for us to do it. But they want to know that we’re going to be good to our word. They want to know that when we say we’re in, we’re in, and that we’re going to work with them and not face every policy decision on the next poll or focus group, which is what this administration has done, or the opinions of the Nobel Committee. I mean, so you know, the fact is that we have to put American interests first. And having a strong Sunni Arab alliance with the United States is, in my view, in American interests. HH: Now Governor, I want to turn to your St. Anselm College speech today. Chris Cillizza over at the Washington Post has posted the entire thing, which I actually don’t think I’ve seen in the Washington Post for a long time. But the key takeaway, as I read through it, is anger alone is not a solution. So clearly, you’re feeling the heat out there that is generating so much turmoil on the Republican side. CC: No question. Listen, we see it around the country, Hugh. It’s not just up here in New Hampshire. It’s all over the country. The voters are angry, frustrated and anxiety-ridden because of the incompetence of this government. The way to solve that is to make the government work again. The way to solve that is to put somebody in charge who’s a grown up, who’s made difficult decisions in executive positions before, and knows how to execute upon them and make it work. And so my argument today in the St. Anselm speech is there’s much more that unites us than divides us as Republicans. And if we divide each other, we guarantee a Hillary Clinton victory. And what we need is someone who understands this anger, who’s heard it, who has internalized it, and now can turn that anger into productive results for the American people. HH: Now at one point, you write show time is over. We are not electing an entertainer-in-chief. Showmanship is fun, but it is not the kind of leadership that will change America. If we were going to turn our frustration and anger with the D.C. insiders, the politicians of yesterday and the carnival barkers of today into something that actually changes Americans’ lives, we must elect someone who has been tested. Is that a broadside at Donald Trump? CC: That’s a broadside at all the people who have used this on that stage as an opportunity to just say things that people want to hear, and who don’t understand what it means to actually have to then get those things done. And it’s failure of our government leaders to get things done, both Republicans in Congress and the Democrat in the White House, that has led to the enormous frustration and anger of the American people. And so anyone who is not proposing serious solutions like I have on entitlement reform, which no one else has done, proposed serious solutions on military preparedness, as you know I have done across the board with new military support levels, and the modernization of our nuclear capability, doesn’t belong sitting behind the desk in the Oval Office. When I say show time is over, I mean it’s time for us to demand serious answers from the folks who are running for president, and to then test those serious answers. And that’s what I’m saying. HH: At the last debate, you just referenced our nuclear triad. I brought that up to both Donald Trump and Marco Rubio. I did not have a chance to put the question to you, though I would have loved to. What did you make of Donald Trump’s response and of Marco Rubio’s response? CC: Well listen, as for Donald’s response, it just sounded like he did not know what the nuclear triad was. And if he did, he didn’t give any specific priorities or answers as to you know, exactly what he would do and address as president on the nuclear triad. I made it really clear, as you know, that I believe the Ohio-Class submarines need to be dealt with first. I think that’s the most important part of the nuclear triad for us. It’s the most flexible, it’s the most mobile, it’s the most protectable, and it’s the one that we should modernize first. And so my priorities have been set, and you know, we said those in a speech in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, back in May of 2015. HH: Right. CC: So we’ve been on the record on this, and you know, I think that I’ve given a direct and very substantive response on this. And I think that’s what you should demand of anybody who’s a serious candidate for president of the United States. HH: Do you have a senior foreign policy cabinet, something I ask Donald about whenever he comes on, and he keeps promising it to me. I’m sure he will eventually deliver it. But who is the senior foreign policy advisory circle around Chris Christie? CC: Well, you mean currently? HH: Yeah. CC: Well listen, as I think we’ve talked about this before, you know, the first and most important mentor I’ve had on this is Henry Kissinger, and that I’ve been meeting directly with Dr. Kissinger for 18 months now going through issues of foreign policy. And he’s been incredibly generous with his time and with his advice. Brian Hook is another person who I’ve worked very closely with over the course of time. And he’s coordinated briefings with me with people both in the Defense realm who have been very helpful, and in the foreign policy world. HH: So they’re sticking with you? Are they putting their name on the endorsement line, especially Dr. Kissinger? CC: Well, I don’t think Dr. Kissinger is in the position where he’s endorsing anyone. I think Dr. Kissinger has made it really clear that he wants to be a resource for serious candidates for president of the United States. But I know that he and I have met frequently. We’re meeting again in the near future. And it’s been an enormous help to me to help to get his input on the strategic view of the world not only as events occur now, but also looking down the road and anticipating events that could happen. HH: All right, let me turn to back to the speech you gave today. There’s a line in there that resonated with me. The election of 1980 took place in another atmosphere of crisis as the Carter administration had presided over economic hardships at home and embarrassments abroad. Carter also made a change in his last year. Do you see any change in this president’s last year? CC: No. I think we’re going to get more of the same from this president in his last year. In fact, you’re going to get more of the same on steroids. I think he’s just going to continue to be the petulant child that he is. The more the American people reject his policies, the more he attempts to implement them. I mean, if you look at what’s happened, Hugh, over the course of his presidency, when he came in, in 2008, he ushered in a big House majority for the Democrats. He ushered in a filibuster-proof Democratic majority in the Senate. And he had 29 of the 50 governorships in the country were in the hands of Democrats. What’s happened seven years later? The largest House majority for Republicans since 1928, a now-Republican majority in the United States Senate, and 31 of the 50 governorships are now in the hands of the Republican party. The voters have made wholesale rejection of his liberal, Democratic policies, and those of Hillary Clinton. And it’s on that basis that I am going to fight this election come this fall against Mrs. Clinton. HH: Now if I know my President Obama, and I follow him pretty closely, the Hammond, Oregon takeover of the wildlife refuge empty building will become very important to him. It will become an occasion for him to preen and to proclaim. Do you agree with me about that? CC: Yeah, I think it sounds like something the President will pontificate on. HH: And what ought the Republicans to be saying about what is a lawless action? CC: Listen, this is what I’ve said. I’ve said that the most important thing is you have to make clear to folks that the law will be enforced, that laws matter, and that the law will be enforced. Now you should attempt to do that if you can, Hugh, without the loss of human life. That should always be the goal of law enforcement when enforcing the law, that if we can enforce the law without the loss of human life, we need to do so and at least try to do so. But in the end, the guiding principle must be that we must enforce the law. HH: Okay, now a lot of African-Americans who hear that think Tamir Rice, LaQuan McDonald. They think about everything that we have seen over the last year. Are they wrong to believe that there are two standards at work here? CC: Listen, justice in this country is a constantly evolving, challenging thing. And as a member of the Department of Justice for seven years, let me tell you what I used to tell every assistant United States Attorney when I walked them in before I swore them in for their office as a federal prosecutor. I would ask them to read aloud the seal of the Department. And they would say out loud the Department of Justice. And I said right. That doesn’t say the Department of Prosecutions. It says the Department of Justice. And your job is to make sure that in everything we do and oversee, that justice is done. Enforcing the law will make that happen. And if you have law enforcement officers who operate outside the line, you need to hold them to account by enforcing the law in the exact same way against them that you would against any other American citizen. That’s the type of Attorney General I’ll hire as president. And that’s the type of president I will be – enforcing the law, fairly, evenly and justly. It’s the job of the Department of Justice, and that’s the kind of Attorney General I’ll have. They will execute their job in that way. HH: It’s pretty clear that Chicago is melting down. Should Rahm Emmanuel resign? CC: Listen, you know, resignation is a very personal decision. I think that first, the Mayor of Chicago has to answer some questions. He has to really come clean with what went on in Chicago, and why there has been such a disintegration of order in Chicago, and why the people of Chicago fear that they’ve been lied to. And so I think before we even discuss resignation, Hugh, we need to discuss transparency from the Mayor of Chicago. HH: Does he need to do a Chris Christie two and a half hour press conference like you did after the Bridgegate thing? CC: I absolutely think that what would be smart for the Mayor to do is get out there in front of the Chicago press corps and the national press corps and answer every question just like I did for an hour and 50 minutes until they have no questions left. And that’s where you start to regain the trust of the people that you represent. HH: Well said. Back to the speech, you said today there’s been a lot of wild talk lately about third party runs or a brokered convention, or big GOP donors switching to Democrats if they don’t like our nominee. I’m one of those people that don’t think it’s wrong to think we might have an open convention because of our rules set. But I also don’t think that’s wild talk. That’s just kind of the way the rules are. Would an open convention be the worst thing in the world, Chris Christie? CC: Listen, I don’t think it’s the best thing in the world to defeat Hillary Clinton. And I am singularly focused on defeating Hillary Clinton, and I would like us as a party to come to a consensus and have a nominee prior to the convention. I think that makes the process of focusing on our general election opponent as quickly as possible, easiest. And so listen, as you said, given our rules and everything else, you know, you can’t control what’s going to happen. The voters in the Republican Party are going to determine what’s going to happen. But yeah, I think it would be much better for us to avoid a brokered convention if we could, and have a consensus nominee by the time we walk into the Q Center in Cleveland this July. HH: Where Johnny Manziel should not be a member of the Browns, but should be… CC: (laughing) HH: I’m telling you, you could do very well on March 15th in Ohio if you work… CC: Look, let me just, Hugh, let me just say this. I’m really glad we drafted Zack Martin, All-Pro Zach Martin from the University of Notre Dame. HH: Okay, going back to what I was going to ask you about politics, you’re doing very well in New Hampshire. You’ve got a sneaky campaign on the ground in Iowa. A lot of people aren’t looking at it. I want to ask you about South Carolina. And Dan Balz is coming up after you. And I’ve been making notes. South Carolina is a coastal state driven by tourism with a lot of people who are new to it with a lot of different ethnic identifications and a governor you’ve worked with for a long time. Has Chris Christie got a campaign in South Carolina we should be looking at? CC: Chris Christie has a campaign in South Carolina you should be looking at. And what’s going to happen is after I do very well in Iowa and New Hampshire, we’re going to head immediately to South Carolina personally, and we are going to work that next ten days. We’ll be in South Carolina at least two more times in the month of January to be working down in South Carolina. And so you know, yeah, you should be looking at what we’re going to do in South Carolina. And the fact is that we hope to be able to attract a lot of new and different voters who are Republicans in South Carolina, as you said, who have come to South Carolina recent vintage, and are wanting a real strong, direct, blunt leader to help lead our country. And I think we’ll do well there. HH: Are there some coastal development issues that are unique to states like Jersey and South Carolina that live in the hurricane world? CC: Absolutely, there are. And you know, quite frankly, I think that in many ways, South Carolina was a little bit ahead of New Jersey pre-Hurricane Sandy in terms of the way they dealt with coastal development. And so we’re adopting a number of the things that have been done in South Carolina for some time in New Jersey in the post-Sandy world in terms of elevation of homes, and protection of the coastline. We’re getting some help from the federal government and the Army Corps of Engineers in that regard as well. And I think we’ll be much better positioned if and when another storm comes than we were on October of 2012. HH: And back to the speech to wrap up, you said there are many Republican voters who are supporting what the media calls protest candidates like Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Ben Carson. But most, if not all, of these same voters are loyal Republicans who voted for Mitt Romney in 2012 and John McCain in 2008 and President George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004. These same voters, these voters so demonized in the press, played a critical role of putting the Republicans in charge of the House and the Senate, and put 31 governorships into the state capital. Do you think they can become Christie voters? CC: Of course, they can, because what they’re looking for is someone who is tough, who stands on principles, who is blunt and direct, and who can get things done for them. So absolutely, those folks can become Christie voters. Some of them already are Christie voters. And I think we’ll win many more converts in the course of the next four weeks in Iowa, and the next five weeks in New Hampshire. But my point today in the speech, Hugh, was that a divided Republican Party ensures a Hillary Clinton victory. And so while we need to have our arguments in the primary about who is best, I think what we need to have is a tested, mature leader who has gone through the wars, and gone through them recently, because that’s what it’s going to be against Hillary Clinton. And there are no silver medals in this one, Hugh. This is not like the Miss America pageant. The first runner-up doesn’t get to substitute for Miss America if she doesn’t work out. You know, you go home if you lose. And we need to put someone on that stage who can prosecute the case against Hillary Clinton, and I absolutely believe I’m the person that can more effectively do that in the current field. HH: So I want to close by talking about immigration, which you do a lot in this speech. The last time you were on, you said you were against the wall. I’m a big proponent of the wall. I have been for ten years as the visible expression of an invisible resolve to control our border. Are you open to arguments on that, Chris Christie, because I do think it’s a major touchstone for Republican primary voters, many of whom are not hard-liners on deportation, or in fact are like me, big fans of regularization, but who want control? CC: I am open to putting fencing and walling in the places where it’s most appropriate, which in my view, are in the most highly-populated areas. But I am not someone who believes in a thousands of miles of wall. I don’t think it’s necessary. I don’t think it’s effective. I don’t think it’s efficient. I think we can use electronic means like drones and cameras to be able to oversee the most remote parts of the border. We should be increasing the presence of the FBI, the DEA and the ATF at the border with Border Patrol agents to interdict drugs and guns. Those are the things that I think we need to be doing, in addition to walling or fencing in the appropriate areas, but not a wall across the entire border. I just don’t think that makes sense. HH: All right, last question is political. What are the expectations that you are managing for Iowa and New Hampshire, Governor? CC: We need to do well, Hugh, but you know, I think in the next week or two, we’ll have a much better handle on how that’s defined. You know, experts who have been around New Hampshire politics a lot longer than I, and Iowa politics, have told me that most polls in Iowa and New Hampshire don’t really matter until January 15th forward. And so we’re going to be taking a look at those, and then you know, I’m happy to come back on the show and set specific expectations for you about what we consider to be a good result on primary night in New Hampshire, and on Caucus night in Iowa. But suffice to say, if you’re any one of the 12 members of this race now, you have to do well in Iowa and New Hampshire. If you don’t do well in Iowa or New Hampshire, then you’re going home. HH: I also have to remind you to win the presidency, you’ve got to win Ohio, Governor, and I know Jerry Jones is on your speed dial right there. Third round, fourth round, that’s all I want. CC: (laughing) Let me tell you something. You want a third or fourth round pick for Johnny Manziel? HH: Yeah? CC: Are you kidding? Hugh, please, who do you think, I’m Barack Obama you’re negotiating with? HH: (laughing) On that note, Governor Chris Christie, I’ll talk to again mid-Iowa. Have a great speech today and thanks for spending so much time with me. CC: Thank you, Hugh. End of interview. ]]>
(Review Source)
Hugh Hewitt
(”13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi” is briefly mentioned in this.)
When the blockbuster movie “13 Hours” opens this week there will follow a hard few days for President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Hard, but not as hard as the years that have followed the families of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty. The movie mentions neither the president nor the then secretary of state by name, and no expressed argument is made as to what the two did or didn’t do to assist their embattled ambassador, his staff, and the CIA Benghazi outpost on Sept. 11, 2012. But the overwhelming impression of the huge number of people certain to see the first big release of the year, will be that they did not do enough. In fact, it will be that they did nothing at all. Nothing. The producers of the movie gave gifted director Michael Bay exactly what he needed: an exact replica of the layout of the special mission and the CIA “annex” as well as the chaos that pulsed through the city before and during the attacks. The warrior heroes of the film get the honor they deserve, but the sense of their bravery is mirrored on the downside by the recognition of the cowardice of the political leadership that put them in Benghazi to fend for themselves in the first place. Four died. Many more were wounded. And then the lying began. That lying continues still, though as recently as last week it may have begun to break. Former CIA Director and retired Gen. David Petreaus was in closed session before the House Select Committee on Benghazi as the Trey Gowdy-led panel continues its painstaking inquiry into just what happened that night. “13 Hours” is going to tell everyone who is interested — and millions will be interested, and riveted, by the intense gunfight that breaks out early and never lets up until the dead are sent home — that the cries for help from the brave civilians and soldiers of Benghazi were many and urgent throughout the hours of attack. But the response was … silence. Hillary, of course, famously testified that she talked to the No. 2 in Tripoli, Gregory Hicks, and that later in the evening, as Hicks and his team evacuated to safer quarters and the ambassador’s death was confirmed, that she simply went home. It was, after all, late. She was tired. She had a private server at home to keep her up to speed. We still don’t know what the president was doing as brave men fought and some died. We do not know why Hillary didn’t call back Mr. Hicks. We do know she cut and ran that night. We also now know, thanks to the document dump Friday, that Hillary knew the rules about using private email (she was shocked others did so) and that she directed her staff to alter classified documents and send them to her via non-secure means, a violation of 18 U.S.C. Section 1924. But we don’t know if it will matter to the election of 2016. If Donald Trump makes an issue of her lawlessness regarding the server, the public will get the education it deserves on that front. It is director Bay, however, who will leave those who will open their eyes and ears to see and hear seething about Hillary’s massive fail that night in 2012. Democrats say Americans don’t care, that it is old news, that she testified for 11 hours, et cetera, et cetera. But now they get to see — to feel — what happened. “Game Change” is a book, a movie and yes, now a cliche. “13 Hours” and the latest smoking gun emails aren’t “game changes” in that sense. It doesn’t make political arguments or seek political changes. Rather the movie is simply and completely an indictment. Let’s hope that at least one from the Justice Department follows on some aspect of the corruption that pervaded the State Department, and the secretary and the president who superintended it.   This column was originally posted on WashingtonExaminer.com. ]]>
(Review Source)
Hugh Hewitt
(”13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi” is briefly mentioned in this.)
Erwin Stoff is one of Hollywood’s most successful producers and he joined me today to talk about the release of the new blockbuster “13 Hours”: Audio: 01-14hhs-stoff Transcript: HH: Special show for you today. Of course, the Republican debate will be happening tonight, and I will cover that. I’ll also be on ABC News’ Nightline and Hannity later tonight. A Jakarta terror attack yesterday, a terror attack in Pakistan at a polio clinic, gives context to this hour’s interview. I’m so pleased to welcome, honored to talk to Erwin Stoff, who is the producer of 13 Hours, a fabled film executive whose list of credits include, among others, the Matrix, and the Blind Side, and The Lake House, and The Devil’s Advocate, and Unbroken. But 13 Hours, I think today’s Oscars were announced. A year from today, you’re going to see lots of mentions of 13 Hours. Erwin, welcome to the Hugh Hewitt Show, congratulations on a magnificent film. ES: Thank you very much. Thank you. HH: I’ve got to begin by asking you, I saw the film at the Paramount lot in December, and I wasn’t sure, I was sitting with a warrior who told me it was the most technically proficient movie about war that he’d ever seen. And I have seen the reviews, and they all pay homage to that. Are you surprised that you’ve swept everyone’s acknowledgement that you got it right? ES: I’m actually not surprised. I mean, I’m thrilled about it. But at the risk of not sounding humble, I’m not surprised only because of the amount of effort that went into this insofar as getting it right. If there was one thing that we, that was of greater importance to us than anything else, it was getting it right. HH: Now I want to walk through the story of how 13 Hours came to the screen. It opens tonight in a few places, and across the United States broadly. It will do incredible business, because the reviews are so extraordinary, and it’s a Michael Bay movie. But I want to begin with the central theme. Thucydides said 2,500 years ago the secret to happiness is freedom, and the secret to freedom is courage. This is a movie about warriors and courage, Erwin. And I don’t know if you set out to make that, but that’s what you got. ES: That is exactly what we set out to make. When I first met these guys, to be perfectly honest, or actually, I’ll backtrack for one second. I was very reticent about doing the movie only because by the time this came about, the sort of political fracas over Benghazi had already started. And I was very reticent about wading into that. Once I was persuaded to meet these guys, and once I met them, there was nothing that was going to keep me from making the movie, only because they are such extraordinary guys. They were so selfless, gave of themselves so much. A couple of them made the ultimate sacrifice. And so to me, it really was from the outset a movie that was going to be about courage, self-sacrifice, and you know, what one is willing to do insofar as giving of themselves for the sake of others. HH: Now I will tell people, and this is a center-right audience, obviously. It’s carried across the United States. This is not a political movie, though it will have a political impact. It is relentlessly not political in fact, Erwin. Would you agree with me about that? ES: I would. There’s nothing in this movie that is conjecture. Everything in this movie has been verified by at least two sources. The movie is based on a book by the same title, written by a very respected journalist by the name of Mitch Zuckoff. And he really set out to write a true accounting of what happened that night. And to be honest with you, to make a political movie would be short-changing what these guys did. HH: Yup. And the chief critic of Variety calls 13 Hours and experiential tour de force, but a contextual blur, a movie that captures the confusion of the events as they unfolded on the ground. And I have told people since December when I saw it, I’m not a warrior. I’m not a soldier, a sailor, an Airman or a Marine, and I haven’t stayed at a Holiday Inn. But I think I know a little bit more about what it’s like to be in the middle of a firefight and a gunfight now because of this movie, and I don’t know that I’ve ever said that about a movie before. ES: Yeah, again, we had, these guys were intimately involved in the writing of the book. It is their account of what happened on the ground. And they were intimately involved in the actual production of the movie. So again, there is nothing in the movie that didn’t occur. Some of the smallest details in the movie are in fact what occurred on the ground. HH: I have to tell you a funny story. ES: There are scenes… HH: I got a call from USA Today to ask me, they saw that I had seen the movie, and they wanted my opinion of how John Krasinski did as a special operator, and how he held a machine gun. And I said you might as well ask me how he holds a ketchup bottle. I don’t know anything about that. But you obviously had technical advisors of the greatest sort. You had the guys who were there on the ground. ES: Well, we had sort of two levels. We had the real guys that were there on the ground, and then a lot of the background players who were other SEALs and Delta guys and so on, are all real former SEALs. Michael Bay is a nut for authenticity, and Michael Bay, there’s never been a SEAL or a special operator in any of his movies that is not a real former SEAL or a real former special operator. HH: Oh, that’s why it has that obvious ability to take an active duty warrior, who I was with, who said wow, they got it exactly right. Now let me ask you how you came to this. You can make any movie you want, Erwin, and we’ll talk a little bit about that. By the way, it’s a sad day, Alan Rickman passing today. Did you ever work with Alan Rickman? ES: I did not, but I was an enormous fan. HH: Yeah, as was, I think, all of us. Michael Collins came to mind, but many other fine movies. So you can make any movie that you want. Why did you take on what could become a politically-charged hot potato? You’ve avoided that, but why would you do it? ES: The reason that I really wanted to make the movie was that when I met the five guys, I just felt so strongly that they deserved to have their story told, because what I thought was so unjust was that their story had been eclipsed by all of the politics surrounding it. And what I felt was it was so unjust that these six guys, one of whom, as I said, gave his life and make the ultimate sacrifice, who were responsible for saving the lives of 30-some odd people, because that’s the story that has not been told. 30-some odd people got to return home to their wives, to their husbands, to their children, et cetera. And 30-some odd Americans today are alive because of what these guys did. And as such, I really felt it was my privilege and it was my honor to tell their story. HH: Now Glen Dougherty and Ty Woods among the dead, along with Sean Smith and Ambassador Stevens, and they’re all depicted with extraordinary appreciation for their sacrifice. I mean, Chris Stevens’ family, I don’t know if they’ve seen it, I can’t imagine they won’t be happy with the representation of a selfless hero, the Ambassador to Libya, who went into the war zone. I can’t imagine that anyone will be unhappy with this. But you tell me. Have you heard from any of the families of the victims? ES: Yes, a number of the families have seen the movie. One of the more difficult moments in this whole process was actually watching the movie with Tyrone Woods’ mom. HH: Wow. ES: And that was a very tough, that was a tough thing, and I can’t even imagine how tough it was for her. Then, a couple of days ago, we watched the movie together with Glen Dougherty’s sister and brother-in-law. So a lot of the families, the movie has been screened for Tyrone Woods’ wife. And again, I mean, if nothing else comes of it, one of the things she said is when their children, when their child is old enough, she looks forward to being able to show him the movie and go that’s the kind of hero your dad was. HH: Wow. Now I know Dorothy. I have met Dorothy. So that is the highest compliment you could possibly get. ES: That’s what I feel. So if nothing else happens out of it, that in itself has been an enormously gratifying thing. HH: Well, a lot is going to happen. I think you’re going to have a tidal wave box office. I know it is testing well, because your colleagues in the production of the movie who stay in touch with me tell me whatever the quadrant system is that the studios use, everybody loves the movie. Is that still holding to be true? ES: Yes. One of the really extraordinary things is that when you make a movie, you go and do some market research. And one of the really extraordinary experiences that I’ve had in this movie is that the quadrant, or the group of people whom the movie actually tested higher with were women 35 and above. HH: That’s so remarkable. We’ll come back and talk about that, as well as some of his other movies and how they compare. I’m a huge fan of Erwin Stoff. One of my favorite movies ever, actually, he produced, maybe I’ll play a clip from that when we come back. — – – – – HH: That, of course, is Al Pacino from The Devil’s Advocate, one of the movies of my guest, Erwin Stoff, who is the producer of 13 Hours, which debuts tonight and over this weekend. I thought of that, and it’s one of my favorite sequences in film, Erwin, because you got the best out of Al Pacino in that scene, and you get the best out of John Krasinski and everybody in this scene, and I mean, Michael Bay does. How do you go about staffing a movie about heroes and not pick superstars? John Krasinski, of course, is big, but he’s not Pacino big. What was the choice there? ES: The reason that we made the casting choices we did was that again, what was most important to us was not to make a Hollywood movie, but what was most important to us was to keep a sense of our similitude. What was most important to us was to keep the audience involved with the real story, and to continue to have the audience feel that they were there on the ground with these real guys. And we didn’t want the audience distracted by movie stars. So we very purposely set about casting the best actors, again, I think we have just a spectacular, spectacular cast, but they are not people whom you have identified with a particular role or a particular set of movies, or anything like that. We really wanted the event and these real guys to continue to feel like they are the stars of the movie. HH: Now Krasinski was an interesting choice. I got asked by the USA Today person what I think about it, and I said look, I saw him in Away We Go with Maya Rudolph, and I knew he could act in anything other than sitcoms and other big things, but I’d nevertheless, it’s a revelation. But what’s good is most people don’t get this. Special operators come in all sizes and shapes. They don’t come, they’re all not breachers and big behemoth guys. They come in all sizes and shapes. ES: Exactly. The thing about John Krasinski, and it’s funny, I made a movie about two years ago called Edge Of Tomorrow with Tom Cruise. HH: Yes. ES: …and Emily Blunt. And Emily is married to John, so I got to know John in that context. I knew that he came from a military family. I knew this was a world he really understood. And it was pure instinct. I asked John to come in and audition, and in the very audition, he completely knocked us out. HH: Huh. That is a, I didn’t understand it worked that way. How did you get Michael Bay to say yes, because obviously, he can do whatever he wants to do? ES: Well, it was interesting. There were a couple of other Benghazi movies that were circling around, but they were not movies, they were not scripts that had this level of truth and reality to them, only because we had the rights to the guys’ stories that were there on the ground. The others were all based on say so. So I had known that Michael had turned the others down. It was a shot in the dark, and I wasn’t particularly optimistic, only because I knew he had turned the others down, and I wish I could say it was particularly hard. We got him the script, he read it over a weekend. The following Monday or Tuesday, I was sitting with him at his house. By then, he had a script that was fully annotated and he had notes written on it, both on the script and the book. And by the end of that meeting, he said I want to make this as my next movie. I want to start it in the spring, which was six months ahead from the time that we sat and met, and we were green lit, as it were, as a movie, within a matter of weeks. HH: Now I will come back after the break and talk about the actual physical making. But I have a question for Erwin Stoff. We’re about the same age. And so we’ve seen war movie heroes evolve from John Wayne in The Longest Day, to John Krasinski in 13 Hours. And it’s a great change, which you’ve lived as a movie producer. I think it is a tribute to what they do that we actually get the real worldview. Have they told you that? ES: Yes, completely. Completely. You know, I think what’s happened in the last number of years is because of the media and because of television, the media documentaries, reality shows, etc., etc., etc., we’ve all become much more savvy. And I think whereas John Wayne spoke to a particular tone in the country and so on at that time, I think we know it’s a much more complex and complicated and shaded and gray world today. So I think today, depiction of heroes have to really, those depictions today have to exist in a very real world context. HH: Erwin Stoff, I also was asked by one of my law partners, Robert O’Brien, who has been on the ground in Afghanistan as part of the rule of law effort there, he’s been all throughout the Middle East as part of the U.N. He was Bolton’s deputy. How did they get the so-called Arab Street? And I said the chaos and the confusion is there from the moment of the first opening. And I don’t know how long it took to get that right, but I’m sure people will agree with me that that is accurately portrayed. Have you heard that? ES: Yes. Yes, and again, Michael is a master at this. You know, life got much easier for me when Michael Bay came on to make the movie. HH: I’m sure. I’ll be right back with Erwin Stoff. The movie is 13 Hours. — – – – – HH: The score is magnificent. Before I move on to the set, who did the score for you, Erwin? And tell people about how integral that is to this particular movie. ES: Well, the score was one of the most important, the score was one of the most important elements only because again, what was so important to us was to make an emotionally compelling movie. So the score was done by Hans Zimmer, who’s won I don’t know how many Academy Awards. HH: Right. ES: He’s one of the foremost composers in the movie business. HH: And how long did it take him to do? I’m fascinated by the challenge that this presents, of a real drama with real people and real heroes that is a political hot potato. How long did it take Hans Zimmer to score this? ES: Oh, again, just because you’re dealing with a consummate professional, it just took a couple of months, only because we were under great pressure to get the movie out. We wanted the movie out tomorrow, so we had an unusually short post-production period. And again, only with a pro like Michael Bay can you get a movie like this out quickly. The movie was started nine months almost to the date before the movie is released. HH: Why do you want a January release? For years, the cliché is that’s a bad time to release a movie. Why did you want a January release? ES: Because traditionally, these movies, similarly-themed movies have done very well in January. It’s the window that American Sniper was released in, and it’s the window that Lone Survivor was released in. HH: A-ha. Okay. Now going back to the sets, because I am blown away by the accuracy of the detail of the diplomatic compound as well as the CIA annex, where did you build these? And who helped you get them built to detail? ES: Well, again, what we did is we had actual plans and satellite images of the original structures, and we had the guys. So we exactly, we built these, we replicated both the annex and the diplomatic mission exactly to the inch of… HH: Has that been done before? ES: Not to my knowledge. HH: That’s why it’s so, yeah, the loss of Chris Stevens in the safe room is much detailed and is public knowledge. But you don’t really understand how it can happen until you see this movie. That’s what I think a lot of people may have gotten from Mitchell Zuckoff’s 2014 book. And your writer, Chuck Hogan, gets kind of the chaos and the desperation of it. But you would have had to actually, did they try and recreate the movements as best they knew of the victims? ES: Yes, absolutely. HH: Gosh, that is so hard to do. Now Chuck Hogan is your writer. ES: Yeah. HH: Mitch Zuckoff is the author of the book. What’s that collaboration like? ES: It was actually really close. Mitch Zuckoff and I told him, I told him not to get used to having this kind of continued involvement in movies that he makes in the future, because in all of the movies that I’ve ever directed, I never had an author stay this involved with a movie. And while Chuck Hogan certainly had the ability and the freedom, and he availed himself of it, to call the real guys and say I’m writing this scene, where did you walk to, where did you sit, what was exactly the dialogue in the scene and so on. Mitch Zuckoff spent huge amounts of time with these guys. So Mitch was an enormous, enormous asset for us all throughout production. HH: And so where was the set built? ES: We built the set on two empty lots. Both sets were built on two empty lots in Malta. And most movies you see now, and for the last, I don’t know, ten, fifteen years that depict the Middle East, most of those will be shot, were all shot in Malta, only because the architecture in Malta is of Middle Eastern origin, but it’s a completely safe environment to work. And so we built the sets in Malta. We shot in Malta for nine weeks. And then we went to Morocco for one week. HH: And I want to emphasize to everyone, you’ll think you’re in Benghazi, because you’re hot from the moment the movie begins. And what was the temperature at the time of filming, by the way? ES: It was really hot. I mean, I don’t think we ever had a day under a hundred degrees. HH: Yeah, I’ve been on Malta, and it’s a lovely place, and it’s a historically significant place, but I wouldn’t want to work there for nine weeks. Honestly, I just wouldn’t want to…I’ll come back. One more segment with Erwin Stoff. — – — – HH: I saw it at a screening at the Paramount lot in December. I saw it with a warrior. I saw it with a flack. I saw it with a bunch of career Navy professionals who were there. And we were all blown away. And everyone I’ve talked to who have seen it has said the same thing. It’s an intense experience. You won’t know how long the movie is. I have no idea how long the movie is, because you can’t look up from it. And I’m talking with producer Erwin Stoff, who was kind enough to meet me before and after the flick, and talk a little bit. So Erwin, personal question, does, I don’t know if movies change producers. I really have no idea what your life is like, or if it’s just another movie. But does this movie change you in any way? ES: Absolutely. The experience of, first of all, the experience of every movie changes you, like every life experience changes you. Getting, first of all, to meet and work with the real guys that, I mean, I should say, the real heroes of Benghazi, the guys that were completely committed to giving their lives to save 34 fellow Americans, that has to change you. So that was one thing. The other thing that changed me was for three months, I was in the company of all of these former SEALs. That’s who I was with all day long, and that, of course, also changes you. HH: That’s what I want to get to. What is your impression of this select group of special operators? And they’re all retired now, but what do you, what did you learn from that experience? ES: They’re a breed unto themselves. I found them to be incredibly thoughtful guys. I found them to be not boastful. I found them to be incredibly intelligence, and very, very clear in their view of life, very clear in what they are willing to give of themselves. I mean, for lack of better comparison, you know, it is like meeting John Wayne. I mean, these guys are just extraordinary, extraordinary guys. But they’re real. HH: Given how many movies you have made, and how much history is in your movies, do you think that the nature or the soul of a warrior has changed much in 2,500 years of recorded human history? Are they the same people? ES: I don’t. I don’t. I think that they are the same people. HH: I agree with that, but that’s from reading history, not making movies or hanging out with them. Now let me ask you about Toby Stephens, who played Glen Dougherty, and James Dale, who played Ty Woods. They play two of the casualties. It’s a special obligation. John Krasinski plays a pseudo-anonymous Jack Silva, that’s not his real name, and you make sure that people don’t know that. What did they say about the obligation of these roles to you? ES: Well, again, they felt, I mean, there’s a real onus and a real sense of responsibility when you’re playing somebody who’s no longer with us, who as I said, made the ultimate sacrifice. And they both did copious amounts of research. They spoke to relatives, friends, etc. And the special operator community and the SEAL community per se is so, is such a small, tight community, that for instance, the guy that John Krasinski played was a student of the guy that James Badge Dale played. So the pseudonym character Jack was taught in the SEALs by Tyrone Woods. HH: Yeah, see, and they all know their class when they go through BUDS. They know all that stuff. ES: Yes. HH: And it’s so obvious that you had folks doing your homework with you. Let me close by asking you about the impression that everyone had that I have seen, and it’s not a political movie. It’s not a political statement. But they all have the same question, which is where was the cavalry? Where were the reinforcements? They didn’t know how long this was going to go on. In fact, the guys on the roof don’t know how long it’s going to go on. And it goes on and on and on. It’s a long 13 hours. Is that a ubiquitous reaction, Erwin? ES: Yes. And to be perfectly honest, I don’t know. That is not a question that the movie tackles. What is clear in the movie is that folks all over the world were watching this from an unarmed drone that was flying overhead, but as far as, you know, I mean, reasons have been given why no one came from outside, other than the small team that came in from Tripoli that night. But the honest to God answer is I don’t know. HH: Nobody knows. In fact, General Petraeus was in closed session last week for two and a half hours. ES: Yes. HH: And he has to come back on this question, because the members of the Benghazi Committee are my friends. And they can’t tell me what goes on inside of the closed session, but they can tell me that they still don’t know the answer to that question. So the movie is not political, because it can’t answer a question that hasn’t been answered, yet. ES: Correct. And what we try to do is give you the sense of what that was like on the ground. HH: There is one character who will not be happy with this movie, how they are played and portrayed, and it’s Station Chief. People can see it when it comes down. Have you heard from that individual or that community, yet, as to that representation? ES: We have not, nor do I expect to. HH: Yeah. ES: And look, even he, we try to portray him in a way that I think, that I think, at least, is fair. When, there are two issues that are conflated. One is the issue that no help came from the outside. The other issue is that he gave an order, again, according to our five guys, he was very clear in the order that he gave to not leave the annex to go to the compound. But he gives it for a reason. HH: Oh, yeah. ES: The reason is if they leave the annex, they leave the annex unguarded. If they get into trouble, then there is nobody to go rescue them. HH: It is so fair, and I think the Agency personnel will also applaud this movie, because it salutes their heroism as well as the warrior heroism, and how they operate in the middle of very dangerous circumstances. It’s just a relentlessly fair movie, so my hat is off to you, Erwin. ES: Thank you. HH: I don’t think anyone could have walked this tightrope, and I believe that the consensus from the huge crowds that will see it, will be the same. Congratulations, and good luck on this weekend of the opening of 13 Hours. I appreciate you taking the time. End of interview. ]]>
(Review Source)
Hugh Hewitt
(”13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi” is briefly mentioned in this.)
The audio: 01-15hhs-rubio The transcript: HH: From Hillsdale College’s Kirby Center in Washington, D.C., where I am for Meet The Press on Sunday, I’ll also be on with Don Lemon tonight. I’m pleased to begin the day after the debate with one of the two people I think won the debate, and I wrote that in CNN opinion this morning, Senator Marco Rubio. Senator Rubio, welcome back to the Hugh Hewitt Show, congratulations on a great debate performance last night. MR: Thank you, Hugh, and I’m glad you’re at Hillsdale. It’s a great school and a great campus there in D.C. We love doing events there with them. HH: It is a terrific place to broadcast from as well. Now before I go and congratulate you on the Debate, I have to say I’m sorry about your Miami Dolphins coming in second in the race for Hue Jackson. MR: (laughing) They got their guy. They got who they wanted. HH: Okay, I’m just saying, I’m looking at the draft list here, and it says you basically need everything. All we need is Jared Goff. But nevertheless, let’s go to your biggest moment last night. It came early. One came early, one came late. This is the first big moment for Marco Rubio last night, where you talk about Hillary Clinton, cut number one, please. MR: Well, I would go, first of all, one step further in this description of Hillary Clinton. She wouldn’t just be a disaster. Hillary Clinton is disqualified from being commander-in-chief of the United States. (applause) Someone who cannot handle intelligence information appropriately cannot be commander-in-chief. And someone who lies to the families of the victims in Benghazi can never be president of the United States (laughing). HH: Now Senator Rubio, that sent the meters off the chart, and I think that resonates with everyone. Do you believe she violated 18 USC 1924 or other statutes concerning the handling of sensitive intelligence information? MR: I think that if it is indeed proven that she deliberately asked her staff to delete the labels of intelligence information on there, then she absolutely is in violation of federal law and should be held accountable for it. Let me say on the first part about the Benghazi issue, that’s indisputable. She knew the facts. She was emailing people about the facts, including family members and foreign leaders, and yet she had the faith to go meet with the families, the victims, families of these victims in Benghazi, and tell them this was a spontaneous uprising that caused their death. How can you do that? I don’t understand how you can do that and still think you can be commander-in-chief. HH: Have you had a chance, yet, to see the movie 13 Hours, which opens tonight? MR: No, I have not. But I mean, I know Michael Bay, who’s a producer and the director of the movie, and I know about the project, but I haven’t had a chance to see it. But I’m trying to figure out a way to see it here in the next week or so. We’re on the road a lot, but we’re trying to figure out a way to see it. HH: I think it’s going to profoundly impact public opinion. Do you have confidence in the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the Department of Justice, Senator Rubio, to bring charges that should be brought against Mrs. Clinton? Or is it too corrupt? MR: I have confidence in the FBI. I think the FBI are people of great integrity, and I think they are going to do their investigation, and they’re going to present the evidence to the Department of Justice. I do not have confidence that the current attorney general will do the right thing. I do know that I am going to appoint someone when I am president, an attorney general, that’s going to enforce the law, and that no one will be above the law. And not just Hillary Clinton, but whoever, you know, those responsible for Fast and Furious will also be brought to justice. And again, I have confidence in the FBI’s investigation. I do not have confidence that the current Justice Department leadership will do the right thing. HH: That raises the stakes, however, for those who are currently in the government if they hear a Senator Rubio saying as President Rubio, no investigation will be closed, it won’t be Ollie Ollie In Free. You’re going to go back and look for the lawbreakers? MR: Yeah, people will be held to account. For example, Fast and Furious, someone did something terribly wrong, maybe even criminal. People lost their lives there, and the covering up and the impeding of information, and the constant claiming of executive privilege to avoid the truth coming out, all of that will end. The truth will come out, and the people who have committed crimes are going to be held accountable. And if it were short of a crime but something else, they’re going to be fired on Fast and Furious. And on the issue that you’re talking about with classified information and others, if there was a crime committed, people will be prosecuted. HH: Let me go back to Benghazi. Have you got any idea, yet, why the cavalry never arrived? That is the question that haunts at the end of the movie. MR: You know, again, I mean, they claim, you’ve got conflicting reports here. You’ve got people saying we were ready to go, and we were told not to deploy. Others are saying we weren’t, you know, it gets down to semantics. Basically, these people were ready to go, and they were told, but they were never ordered to go. That is not in dispute. They were never ordered to go. Now you’ve got people like Panetta and others saying well, no one stopped them from going. Well, that’s not the question. The question is not whether somebody stopped them from going. The question is why didn’t someone order them to go when you had personnel in danger? And there’s only two outcomes. Either number one, we didn’t have a force ready to protect them and go save these people, which is incompetence, or number two, we did have one, but they were never ordered to do it, which in my mind is gross incompetence, not ordering them to move in and save these people’s lives. HH: Senator Rubio, at the last debate in which I participated, I asked you a question about the nuclear triad, and you killed it. I want to go back to that for a moment and broaden it out. And at the March 10th debate when I’m back, you can expect more of the same, because I care about Defense. Do you think we have enough soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines, particular emphasis on Marines? And do you think we have enough ships or even a plan to get to the number that we need? MR: No, we do not, and I’ve said that repeatedly. We’re about to have the oldest Navy in a hundred years, the smallest Navy in a hundred years, I should say. And so I’ve heard some in the Navy argue well, we don’t need that many ships, our ships are very technologically capable, which is true. They are. But they still can’t be in two places at once. So for example, there are months at a time where we do not have a carrier group in a specific region, which is inexplicable given the fact that China’s growing increasingly aggressive in that region, as an example. So you talk about Marines. Absolutely, the Marine force is too small. The Army’s about to be the smallest it’s been since the end of the Second World War. And the Air Force is the oldest and the smallest we’ve ever had very soon. This is just inexplicable and unacceptable in an era where we face multiple global threats all working at the same time against our interests here and around the world. HH: Now there is a new study out by retired Navy Captain Jerry Hendricks, who works over at the Center For New American Security. He’s a very centrist guy, that says, it’s titled Retreat Beyond Range. Maybe we’re past the era of carriers. Maybe they’re too vulnerable to long range missiles either from the PRC or from emerging threats. What do you think about that argument, Senator Rubio? MR: I don’t believe that. First of all, I think carriers will never be obsolete. I mean, they’re important in terms of being able to quickly project air power anywhere in the world. They’re a critical part of our ability to forward project power. In addition, they’re not just about warfare. They also serve a valuable role in terms of symbolically, in terms of American leadership, and in a humanitarian crisis. It’s carrier groups that respond, whether it’s what happened in Haiti or the nuclear accident that happened in Japan. So they serve a very important and valuable role. Otherwise, why would China be building a second one now? The second thing I would say is, about that, and the importance of carriers, is we need to be able to protect them from these asymmetrical threats. The answer is not to stop building them. The answer is to develop the protections necessary to prevent them from being struck by an asymmetrical threat like a surface-fired anti-ship missile that the Chinese are developing. We need to be able to defeat those systems. And we need to invest more in that technology to stay ahead of the curve. HH: Back on the Marines, in 2010, and I’m sure you saw this during your service in the Senate, the USMC said they need 186,800 Marines. They’re below that, and they’re falling. And they came to the conclusion that women ought not to be in close quarters combat, and they’ve been overruled. What do you make of both decisions? Will both decisions be on the table for review under President Rubio? MR: Well, anything is always reviewed. I mean, you want to make sure that things are appropriate. On the women in combat role, look, I personally believe, I always defer to commanders on important issues such as this, but I’ve talked to many about it. And I think ultimately, what I’ve settled on based on the input I’ve had, is if someone is physically capable of doing the job, then I don’t, their gender should not be relevant to that decision. They should be able to do the job. But they’ve got, what you can’t do is lower standards in order to meet these sort of political aims. That, we cannot do. And there are women that are physically capable of doing this. In fact, many are doing it now. It’s not defined as combat role, but in fact, they are in those roles. So again, I give great deference to the military commanders. There’s some difference of opinion on different roles. But I’d just say if you are physically capable of doing it, then I am open to that happening. As far as the number of Marines, the Marines are the first force we’re always going to send in when there’s an emerging situation anywhere in the world. And the problem that we have is if you don’t have a sufficient number, what you are doing now is placing tremendous strain on our current Marines. You’re now going to see longer deployments, more redeployments. You’re just putting more strain on them and their families in terms of being able to rotate them back home and send them back out again. The less people you have, the more you need to rely on reservists, on National Guard, for example, and the Army. Again, I think that’s why having a sufficient number is so critical. The Marines play multiple roles, by the way. They don’t just provide combat forces. They provide embassy security around the world. And they’re the first line of defense. We always send them in first when there’s something that happens quickly. And so we need to have sufficient numbers to be able to do that on multiple fronts. HH: Last question on Defense, it goes to combatant commanders. Generals McChrystal, Petraeus, and Mattis were the best war fighters we’ve had in a generation. They’re all on the bench. Would a Senator Rubio becoming President Rubio reconsider whether or not these men ought to be back on active duty? MR: Yeah, and I’m not sure they want to as this point. I mean, they’ve all moved on to different stages in their lives, but I certainly think that they can still serve in a public role, if that’s what they desire to do. I also believe we have young people coming up the ranks that are of equal caliber, and they would tell you that. And I think you always want to look to that next generation. Here’s the thing that we’re blessed with, is despite some of the flaws that we have in many areas of our government, the one thing I can tell you is that the people in this country graduating from West Point, from Annapolis, from the Air Force Academy, are among, are the cream of the cream of the crop. I interview every year the nominees. We review the applications every year, the nominees that are going to these academies, and the people that aren’t making it are extraordinary, so you can just imagine the people that are getting in there. We are really blessed to have such a great generation of young people serving us in those roles. And that’s been happening for a long time. So we’ve got some really talented people in the military who are ready to assume those roles, and we’d have to make sure that we find them and elevate them. HH: Let me turn to your second home run moment last night. Here is the cut where you went after your colleague in the Senate, Ted Cruz: MR: Senator Cruz, you used to say you supported doubling the number of green cards. Now you say that you’re against it. You used to support a 500% increase in the number of guest workers. Now you say that you’re against it. You used to support legalizing people that were here illegally. Now you say you’re against it. You used to say that you were in favor of birthright citizenship. Now you say that you are against it. And by the way, it’s not just on immigration. You used to support TPA. Now you say you’re against it. I saw you on the Senate floor flip your vote on crop insurance, because they told you it would help you in Iowa. And last week, we all saw you flip your vote on ethanol in Iowa for the same reason. TC: I appreciate you dumping your oppo research folder on the debate stage. MR: No, it’s your record. HH: It’s your record. This is widely considered a decisive moment in the debate, Senator Rubio. Did you hold it back to the end? Were you counting on a crescendo? MR: No, if you recall what happened there, I had been asked a question. I answered it, and then Ted jumped in and attacked. And so I responded. And what I responded is because, it’s not, I like Ted Cruz. He’s my friend, and we’ll be friends after this campaign. But he does campaign with a message that he is the only consistent conservative in the race. And to be frank, his record is not one of, on key issues, he has shown consistent political calculation. And I pointed out to those instances, whether it’s flipping his vote on crop insurance on the Senate floor, I watched him do it, whether it’s changing his position on ethanol last week in Iowa for the same reasons, in order to gain support there, where he’s been on immigration. I mean, he used to want to double the number of green cards. Now, he’s against it. And 500% increase in guest workers. Now, he’s against it. He was in favor of legalizing people that are here illegally. Now, he’s against it. On TPA, he wrote an opinion piece with Paul Ryan supporting TPA. He was actually whipping people to vote for TPA. And now, suddenly, he’s flipped positions and he’s against it. So you can’t go around saying you’re the only consistent conservative when your record is far from consistent. It’s more of the record of the someone who is politically calculating. HH: Let me turn to the issue of eligibility. I have a law partner, a former federal judge, former head of organized crime for the Los Angeles U.S. Attorney’s office. His name is the Honorable Stephen Larson. Judge Larson, still practicing before the Supreme Court last month, I called him up yesterday to ask him about this. He said if anyone had standing, and he’d doubt that anyone does, it would be dismissed as a political question, and it is a silly question. Do you agree with him and conclude that Ted Cruz is eligible to be president? MR: Yes, I think that Ted is a natural born citizen, because there’s only two kinds of citizenship – natural born and naturalized. And Ted Cruz was natural born. He was not naturalized. And so he is eligible to run for president, and to me, it’s never been an issue. I’ve never raised it. I’ve, form the very beginning, said I thought it was a non-issue, and I think it’s important we refocus on the issues before our country, the ones that we really should be debating. HH: Now let me ask you, do you believe it is easier to beat Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump? Is it easier to win the nomination or the general election, Marco Rubio? MR: Oh, you know, well, neither will be easy, obviously, but I think our nomination, we have a very talented field. And I think that’s going to make our nominee stronger. I believe I’m going to be our nominee. And I think I’m going to be a stronger candidate because of the competition that this field is providing. And I think that’ll be true of anyone if they’re the nominee. Hillary Clinton will not be easy. She’s going to have a lot of advantages, whether it’s money, or the mainstream media, or the political establishment in this country, and her long history of politics in America. But I do think she will be beat. I know this. I will beat Hillary Clinton. I know she doesn’t want to run against me. I am the candidate with the best ability to unite the Republican Party and conservative movement, attract new people to the conservative movement, and take the right to Hillary Clinton. If I’m our nominee, we will beat her, and she knows that. And that’s why they are constantly attacking me. Last night, as soon as the debate ended, the first person they attacked was me before anybody else, because they don’t want to run against me. But I can’t wait to run against her. HH: Three last political questions. You’ll bring Florida along with a nomination if you’re the nominee of the Republicans. But we also need Virginia, Ohio and Colorado, and the latter is the hardest, 4 ½%. Dope cuts against us there, but guns work for us. How do you win Colorado, Marco Rubio? MR: Well, we’re not in a general election stage, yet, in terms of strategy. I can tell you I think the message works everywhere that we have, and that is that Barack Obama is trying to redefine and change America, and we want to reembrace the principles that made us great, and apply them to the challenges before us. On the issue of the 2nd Amendment, there’s a reason why the Democrats talk about it the way they do. They understand that a majority of Americans support the 2nd Amendment, support the right of all Americans to defend themselves and their family. And a growing number of Americans realize now that if ISIS comes to our life, in our neighborhoods, or we are confronted by a terrorist attack, our right to bear arms is our last line of defense. When I am president, we are defending the 2nd Amendment, not undermining it. HH: Penultimate question, what did you make of Nikki Haley’s response? MR: I thought it was fine. I know, look, I like Nikki. I was proud of her. I thought she did a really good job. I know after the fact, people always go out and make all this noise about it, and you can parse words all you want about it. But I thought she did a good job, and I thought it was a good contrast to the White House’s message. She talked about what real unity looks like, not what the President did, it’s me. I was sitting there at the State of the Union, and it was just ironic that a president that has deliberately divided us and pitted us against each other for six years, seven years, now is going to his last State of the Union pleading for civility and unity after all he’d done for seven years to pit Americans against each other. When I’m president, that will change. I will never pit Americans against each other, and I will ascribe to a politics that will lift everybody up without tearing anyone down. HH: Last question, before I got on the plane today, I was handed a book, Pope Francis has a new book out on mercy, and about being open to the poor. Can the GOP effectively communicate with the people who are poorest in this country, and for whom the Pope speaks often as the dispossessed? MR: Absolutely, and we should, because the fact that someone is poor means that something is impeding them from accessing the promise of free enterprise, whether it’s the lack of skills that they need or some other issue in their life. And that’s why I want our anti-poverty program to cure poverty, not simply treat the pain of poverty. When I am president, we’re going to take our federal anti-poverty programs, we’re going to bloc grant them to the states, and we’re going to allow states and local communities to design innovative programs that cure poverty, not simply treat its symptoms. HH: Marco Rubio, a great pleasure, congratulations on a great debate last night, and we’ll talk to you again before the Iowa Caucuses. Thank you, Senator. MR: Thank you. End of interview. ]]>
(Review Source)
Hugh Hewitt
(”13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi” is briefly mentioned in this.)
Congressman Jason Chaffetz (a supporter of Marco Rubio in the GOP contest) is Chair of the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee joined me and we spent a lot of time discussing the facts behind “13 Hours,” and, as a reminder Chaffetz was the first member of Congress to reach Benghazi in the weeks after the attacks: Audio: 01-21hhs-chaffetz Transcript: HH: Joined now by Congressman Jason Chaffetz. He is, of course, the chairman of the House Government Affairs and Oversight Committee. I just got, just hung up the phone with Chris Christie, Congressman Chaffetz, and obviously he’s in New Hampshire campaigning. He may have to go back to Jersey because of the storm. Are you trapped in D.C. by what we would call a little bit of snow in Ashtabula, Ohio, or Warren, Ohio? Are you trapped there? JC: No, I’m in the blazing sun of Nevada out here, out trying to help Marco Rubio. So I’m basking in the glory of the sun of Nevada. HH: So you got the heck out of Dodge before the big storm arrived. Very smart on your part. The, it’s interesting. I didn’t know you were a Rubio endorsement. When did that endorsement happen? JC: You know, I’ve known Marco for about five years now, just love the guy. I did it a couple of weeks ago. I’ve been traveling with him in New Hampshire and South Carolina, and today, I’m in Nevada for him. HH: All right, so I’ll come back and talk about that, but you went to the House Leadership Retreat with the Senate, I assume. What is the sense within the House Caucus about what’s happening to the party as a result of this fight? JC: It’s totally different atmosphere. Paul Ryan is much more energetic. He’s got new, fresh, creative thinking. I think he understands the commitments we made to the American people, and we’ve got to live up to those. And with all due respect with Speaker Boehner, that just wasn’t happening. And so you know, we’ve made the change midstream, and there’s consequently a lot of optimism. HH: But in terms of the Republican presidential battle tearing the party apart and bricks flying through every window, does that, did that flow over into the retreat as a source of some concern, at least? JC: No, look, hey, we’re the party of the big tent, and we ought to be discussing policy. I don’t want to get into the politics of personal destruction. I want to be able to talk about policy and not be afraid to have those discussions, unlike the Democrats, who just, you know, line up behind their leader and do whatever the heck she says. HH: Now Chris Christie just called Marco Rubio a hypocrite for attacking, for claiming he never attacks when in fact he does attack, and complaining about attacks when he is in fact attacking. You know, this is kind of 101 in Politics for me, but what do you make of the Governor’s charge about the Senator? JC: Oh, come on. Look, let’s debate issues. And there are substantive issue differences, everything from the 2nd Amendment to Planned Parenthood to others that differentiate the candidates. But either one of them, any one of the ones on the Republican side would be better than Hillary Clinton. My number one goal is beating Hillary Clinton. That’s the whole reason I support Marco. I’ve known him, I’ve had a chance to spend a little bit of time with Chris Christie. I think he’s a good person. I don’t have anything disparaging to say about him. I just think that Marco matches up better against Hillary and would be a better president. HH: Now Congressman Chaffetz, have you seen 13 Hours, yet? JC: Yes, I have. HH: What did you make of the movie? JC: Loved the movie. I wish every American would see that. You know, I’ve been to Libya twice. I was right in the thick of the Benghazi when nobody was talking about Benghazi. There’s no way Hillary Clinton should even be a candidate for president if you go watch that. You know, there’s some shocking things. These are true American heroes, and the reality is we had proximity and capability, and we did not go in to save those people. And Hillary Clinton was part of that decision making tree. HH: Now, oh pause there, because that is still the open question. I always press your colleague, Mike Pompeo, and he never tells me anything, because the investigation is still underway, and a lot of the questioning has been under oath and under seal. But the key question is were there assets, and you just said we had proximity and capability, which says in your mind, in the mind of Jason Chaffetz, who knows the most about this of anyone who can talk about it, and you’re not on the Select Committee, why do you think we had proximity and capability? JC: Because days after the attack, I was the first member of Congress to get my butt on a plane. I went with General Ham to Stuttgart. I flew with him in his plane into Tripoli. I met with the people that were on the ground. I spent time with General Ham, who was the four star general in charge. He was there with the President when they made that decision. And he was unequivocal in telling me that they had capability, proximity, and they were not ordered to go in. And if you look at October 26th of 2012, the first comments publicly done by Secretary Panetta, he said the reason he didn’t go in is they didn’t have enough intelligence. He said that there was a ship off the coast. He said that they could have done it, but you go back and read that transcript, which I posted on my Facebook page and others, they had that. They said it at the time. Now, they’re changing their story. HH: Now General Petraeus, then director of the CIA, was just questioned by the Select Committee last week. I think he’s coming back. He was two and a half hours. That tells me a lot, that he’s got to come back, that this is the key question, and after you watch 13 Hours, isn’t that the key question that you come away with? Where was the cavalry? JC: Look, you could have gone from Salt Lake, flown to Dulles Airport, changed planes, flown to Paris, and then go into Tripoli faster than our United States military responded? I mean, the movie is very accurate. When they finally got in the daylight, after dawn, into Benghazi, there was an oil tycoon who provided an airplane. The second plane that showed up was a Libyan military. It was not the United States military. We have assets in NATO and NATO allies that are less than an hour away, and that attack went on for 13 hours, and they still didn’t send those people. In fact, one of the things that happened after the movie is that the movie didn’t have a chance to show, is when those planes took off, they flew to Tripoli. What a bunch of idiots. We’ve got wounded people, people like David Ubben, who almost died and bled out, they could have flown to Italy which is just about as far away and been in a NATO facility. Instead, they flew into Tripoli where we didn’t have the medical assets. HH: Has the question been asked and answered why fighter pilots were not dispatched to fly low over the terrorists, because I am told by former, by fighter pilots who have done this, that they have gone low, even without armament, over bad guys in order to scare them. And clearly, we could have sent a fighter pilot or two from Aviano, couldn’t we? JC: We had assets and NATO allies that were less than an hour away. You fly an F-16 or a Tornado 200 feet off the deck and drop a sonic boom, you’re going to get their attention. You’re going to scatter people. And you’re going to let them know that the United States is there. But they didn’t do that, and that was a conscious decision. You’re telling me with all the assets we have, the $600 billion dollars a year, and in 12 hours, we can’t get a plane over Northern Africa? Bull crap. I don’t buy it. They’re lying about that, and that’s why Trey Gowdy and what they’re doing is the right thing, and why I feel so passionately about it. HH: Now when we come back from break, we have a three minute segment. I want to find out where you think that decision was made. Don’t go anywhere, America. I’m talking with Congressman Jason Chaffetz, who is out campaigning for Marco Rubio in the state of Nevada. He is a Rubio surrogate, but he is also intimately familiar with the details of Benghazi. I want to ask him about the server when we come back. Don’t go anywhere, America. — – – – — – HH: It’s great to have you back, Congressman Chaffetz, of course, from Utah, is chairman of the House Oversight Committee on Governmental Affairs. Congressman, Mr. Chairman, when you talk about Hillary Clinton, the server is at the center of all this. And the Inspector General of the intelligence community sent a scathing letter to the Senate Foreign Affairs and Intelligence Committees this week saying it was chock full of dozens of SAP, and I would call it sensitive compartmented information from my days. What does that tell you about her culpability on the intelligence acts that prohibit the careless storage of classified material? JC: Look, assuming that’s true, she put American lives at risk for her own personal political convenience. She purposefully hid records that under the Federal Records Act you’re not allowed to do to set up this convenient private server so that nobody would have access to this information. She hid that for years so that any FOIA requests, a Freedom Of Information Act request, request from Congress, or documentation, would not be provided. And I think they’re trying to run out the clock, delay it as long as they can, and play hide the documents. And she should be held accountable, as was General Petraeus, as others, because if anybody else in the government had done it, they’d probably be in jail about now. HH: So do you expect her to be indicted? JC: Based on the facts that I’ve been reading about in the media, assuming they’re true, I believe in Mr. Comey as the FBI director is going to do a serious and thorough job, but assuming those things, I don’t, I would conclude that they would have to. I don’t know how you come to any other conclusion. If there’s another answer, the American people need to sort it out sooner rather than later. And they need to do that. HH: All right, and last question goes back to what we were talking about in the last segment about the proximity and capability. General Ham told you he was never ordered to provide relief. Where do you, that’s not a stand-down order. That’s not, that’s a different sort of order. That’s a non-order. Where does that come from? And I know you don’t know, Jason Chaffetz, but you must have a theory of the case. What do you think happened? JC: Look, from my viewpoint, my own personal viewpoint, you had General Ham and the Secretary of Defense meet with the President of the United States, and that is the food chain, right? You go from the president to the Secretary of Defense to General Ham, who’s in charge of Africom, and had combat and command responsibilities in trying to move assets. I would think most instructive are Secretary Panetta’s first public comments on October 26th. I also believe that Hillary Clinton was not necessarily engaged. Keep in mind the night of the attack, the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense never even spoke. The Secretary of State, who’s in the same town as the President, supposedly, they never even met. And you had a fast team coming out of Europe that was going to protect the embassy in Tripoli. What did they do? They were ordered to get out of their military uniform and put on civilian clothes, because the State Department, Hillary Clinton, was concerned. So there’s a lot of culpability there, and you’ve got to hold Panetta, Secretary Clinton and the President responsible for that. They are the top of the food chain. HH: Jason Chaffetz, always a pleasure, Congressman, talk to you again soon. End of interview. ]]>
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Sonny Bunch
If you’re flummoxed by the current political landscape — one that sees self-proclaimed socialist Bernie Sanders and Spy-proclaimed short-fingered vulgarian Donald Trump at or near the top of polls in both of the first two primary and caucus states — you should check out a couple of movies currently in multiplexes: “The Big Short” and...
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