Society Reviews
(”Lone Survivor” is briefly mentioned in this.)

Mile 22 is a film about a convert CIA tactical team called Overwatch. Their job is to get valuable Intel by any means necessary to stop international threats to national security. When an asset walks into an American embassy in Southeast Asia, The team is in a race against the clock to extract the asset out of the country so they can find the location of an extremely hazardous chemical that will put millions of lives at risk.

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Sonny Bunch
(”Lone Survivor” is briefly mentioned in this.)
Mile 22

BY:

Mile 22 doesn’t deal in platitudes so much as luxuriate in them, elevate them. James Silva (Mark Wahlberg) and his team of American paramilitary operatives are “option three”—when diplomacy and the military fail, you call in Overwatch to clean up the mess.

(Review Source)
Christian Toto
(”Lone Survivor” is briefly mentioned in this.)
crazy rich asians review rom com

Could an all-Asian cast bring the rom-com back from the grave? It won’t be for lack of trying.

“Crazy Rich Asians” clings to rom-com formulas like Kathy Griffin embracing her

The post HiT Reviews: ‘Crazy Rich Asians,’ ‘Mile 22’ appeared first on Hollywood in Toto.

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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
(”Lone Survivor” is briefly mentioned in this.)
Lifestyle Three of the most popular “holiday” films share common cause.In American Hustle, a corrupt FBI agent recruits a corrupt businessman to go after corrupt politicians in a mind-numbing series of acts of betrayal, greed, and lust.In the Wolf of Wall Street, a corrupt stockbroker enlists his equally corrupt buddies to swindle honest people in order to fuel his company’s depraved, drug-fueled lifestyle.In Inside Llewyn Davis, a selfish, dead-beat, second-string folk singer meanders around Greenwich Village accomplishing not much of anything other than letting down anyone who cares anything about him.Each film trumpets the return of the anti-hero.Nothing signals a shift in popular culture more than the return of one the most time-worn tropes of Western cinema.The anti-hero is not to be confused with the lead character we love to hate, like the sleazy Gordon Gekko played by hair-slicked-back Michael Douglas in Wall Street (1987). Nor is an anti-hero the noble character with deep flaws such as Llewelyn Moss, the day-old beard, enigmatic welder (Josh Brolin) who runs off with the cartel’s cash in No Country for Old Men. Anti-heroes are not flawed, they are both intentionally amoral and the camera wants us to root for them anyway. class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/2014/1/10/the-anti-hero-rides-back-into-washington/ previous Page 1 of 2 next   ]]>
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PJ Media Staff
Lifestyle 1. The Unabashed Heroism of the American Military—Even During a ScrewupSince the title gives it away, I don’t need to issue a SPOILER ALERT to say that Lone Survivor is about a mission gone wrong, in which only one SEAL makes it out alive.Hollywood action movies tend to go one of two routes—the heroic cartoon, or the “realistic,” ironic, fatalistic film, where violence doesn’t solve anything and soldiers are forced to re-evaluate their former gung-ho attitude, and even the justness of their mission.The second route is the way to the Oscars.(Too many commentators put The Deer Hunter in that category, but I defy you to find one act by an American soldier in that film, or even by the officers or staff at the VA hospitals, which is less than valorous. Conservatives should embrace the movie, but that discussion is for another day.)Lone Survivor is Black Hawk Down on a more personal level. After a botched mission to take out a terrorist commander, outnumbered American warriors face overwhelming odds of survival and kill an unbelievable number of enemies while trying to keep from being overrun.Instead of a whole city coming after a couple of dozen soldiers, in Lone Survivor four Navy SEALs take on a whole al Qaeda militia, while stuck on the side of a mountain.Steven Boone writes:The film opens with a long montage of real-life Navy SEALs in training and ends with a slide show of SEALs and soldiers living full, happy lives off-duty, set to an emotional power ballad. What's in between amounts to "The Passion of the Christ" for U.S. servicemen: a bloody historic episode recounted mainly in images of hardy young men being ripped apart, at screeching volume. Though Berg's source material isn't the New Testament, he often handles Navy Seal Marcus Luttrell's account (via ghostwriter Patrick Robinson) of his doomed 2005 reconnaissance mission with the thunderous reverence Mel Gibson brought to Christ's crucifixion and resurrection.That’s not even factually correct. The film ends with a montage of the characters in their real lives before the mission, while letting you know what they sacrificed to be there. Showing the photos of the real characters in a film is a common enough final-credits sequence, as can be seen in such movies as Gettysburg and Argo.And enough with the The Passion of the Christ references already, as though it is some nadir of filmmaking to be trotted out whenever a liberal reviewer wants to mock a movie but can’t quite admit why it bothers him so much. But nearly every negative review of Lone Survivor brings up Gibson’s epic. (Hey, Bernie Goldberg, are you SURE these people don’t get together and determine the narrative?)Boone goes on… and on:"Lone Survivor" means well, but what it has to say about the costs of modern warfare is nothing new or especially illuminating. It's cut from the same cloth that was once fashioned into the Pat Tillman legend and the Saving Private Lynch saga, honoring sacrifice in imagery that the American war machine can easily fashion into a recruitment commercial. "Lone Survivor" makes political interests superfluous to the religion of the warrior, which is all about enduring whatever hardship is thrown at you while protecting the brother at your side.This is the cheapest of shots, associating the true story of Marcus Luttrell, which has held up and been vetted over the last seven years (George W. Bush awarded the Medal of Honor to mission leader Lt. Michael Murphy), with fog of war stories put out by the Defense Department before all the facts were in.If Lone Survivor has a fault, it’s that it’s too authentic, with enough jargon and tactics talk to satisfy the military buff, and almost, but not quite, getting so caught in the details that an average viewer will drift off or get lost.Admitedly, the account of the final rescue and the Pashtun villagers who act heroically is a bit synthesized (I actually thought the book’s account was even more dramatic), but that was probably for reasons of length.For the most part, however, Lone Survivor deserves a place alongside Black Hawk Down and Zero Dark Thirty as a well-acted, superbly directed, and very well-done depiction of modern warfare and the Americans who get the job done.In case you think I overstated the case of Boone’s agenda because we disagree about the merits of the film, check out this reply to a reader who took him to task for reading politics into a movie that avoids politics (unlike the book).Ah, but politics *are* in every facet of life, including the movies. You might mean partisan politics, but filmmaking that glorifies the American war machine and its employees (let's remember that, whatever their passions and sense of brotherhood, soldiers are paid to do a job) isn't really a right or left proposition. It's a weary Ho'wood tradition, carried into the new century with a jolt of Private Ryan/Black Hawk Down caffeine. A great many filmmakers at Berg's level might be liberal on domestic issues but take a post-9/11 stance on such matters as the War on Terror: whatever it takes, whatever it costs to eliminate the threat....So, yes. Not a movie for twits. class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/2014/1/12/5-reasons-the-left-is-hating-on-lone-survivor-the-same-5-reasons-for-patriots-to-love-it/ previous Page 1 of 5 next   ]]>
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PJ Media Staff
Klavan On The Culture In a surprise to liberal media outlets and no one else, the film Lone Survivor is cleaning up at the box office. This is a surprise to media lefties because, as the New York Times put it with near radiant gormlessness, "Moviegoers have stubbornly refused to care about war movies set in Afghanistan." It apparently never occurred to the Times that stubborn moviegoers just didn't want to see war movies like Lions for Lambs in which America was falsely made out to be the villain!But the folks are showing up for this baby, even despite the occasional Pajama Boy critic whining into his cocoa about having to watch American heroes being heroic in the battle against Islamist bad guys. Reality makes their tartan singlets itchy, I guess.Even PJBs who, like the Times' A.O. Scott, made sure to hint in their reviews at their ever-so-nuanced disapproval of patriotism, heroism and fighting bad guys have been forced to admit the movie's central battle scene is powerful and effective. It's a well-directed, gripping, intense tribute to the men who keep America safe for the movie critics who complain about them.The picture, as you no doubt know, is director Peter Berg's version of Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell's memoir of a good mission gone bad in Afghanistan. Luttrell and his fellow SEALs were sent out to kill a high-profile Islamist terrorist but were unfortunately spotted by two goatherds and a small boy. The Americans made the merciful but unwise decision to spare the civilians, who proceeded to betray their position to the Taliban. The title tells you what happened. class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/andrewklavan/2014/1/14/lone-survivor-is-intense-but-read-the-book/ previous Page 1 of 2 next   ]]>
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PJ Media Staff
Roger L. Simon I probably shouldn't say this, since I have some good friends who are film critics, but I don't think movie reviewing is a very high calling. It's based on the premise that someone's opinion is somehow "better" or "more accurate" than someone else's. Really? We're all just members of the audience and entitled to our reactions to an art work. None of us is superior in that way.Of course, I'm a hypocrite because I read reviews myself and crave good reviews when I write a book or a film. I've even been known to do a little reviewing of my own of a sort, although I attempted to do it from the supposedly empathic position of a fellow filmmaker. Nevertheless I always found something vaguely creepy about the process. My reaction to a snotty review is often if you don't like the movie, why don't you make one yourself? Show us how it's done. (A few have done that in the past -- James Agee who wrote the script for The African Queen, Truffaut and some other members of the French New Wave -- but not many.)The most obvious and revealing thing about a movie review is most often the bias of the reviewer -- something all of us have and some reviewers have in spades.I was thinking about that this morning while perusing the Oscar nominations for this year. As an Academy member, I had voted but did not see my number one selection for Best Picture -- Lone Survivor -- anywhere on the list of the nine nominees. I can't say I was surprised. Lone Survivor is a patriotic film and patriotism isn't high on the list of positive traits for Hollywood these days, except perhaps to that group of once-secret outliers known as the Friends of Abe. class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/rogerlsimon/2014/1/17/lone-survivor/ previous Page 1 of 2 next   ]]>
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PJ Media Staff
PJ Media Supporters of an Idaho soldier taken prisoner of war in Afghanistan back in 2009 have launched a petition to get the White House to make an effort to rescue Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.The only American POW in Afghanistan, believed to be held by the Taliban-affiliated Haqqani network, surfaced in a new video this month. The proof-of-life video, held close to the vest by the military, is the first received in three years."Without getting into too much detail, I mean, clearly, Bowe Bergdahl, having been in captivity for so long, I mean, I'm told that it -- that he does look frail and probably not in the best health he's ever known," Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said Thursday."Without getting into details, I can tell you, across the spectrum, diplomatically, militarily, even from an intelligence perspective, we've never lost focus on Bowe Bergdahl and on trying to get him home," Kirby added.White House press secretary Jay Carney hasn't mentioned Bergdahl's case publicly since a June briefing, after the Taliban offered to trade Bergdahl for five of its members held at Guantanamo Bay."We continue to call for and work toward his safe and immediate release. We cannot discuss all the details of our efforts, but there should be no doubt that on a daily basis we are continuing to pursue -- using our military, intelligence and diplomatic tools -- the effort to return him home safely," Carney said on June 21. "And our hearts are with the Bergdahl family."Over the weekend, Bergdahl's father, Robert, was trying to rally support for the White House petition, including with tweets to Lone Survivor Marcus Luttrell and the actor who plays him in the film, Mark Wahlberg.The petition asks the Obama administration to "take action to secure the release, or rescue, or Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, using all means available, including force."It needs 100,000 signatures by Feb. 16 to prompt a White House response. As of this writing, more than 2,800 have signed the petition.Add your name to the petition here. class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/blog/supporters-of-pow-urging-white-house-to-use-force-if-necessary-to-rescue-sergeant/ ]]>
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PJ Media Staff
Belmont Club Bethany Mandel of PJ Media cites a New York Times article to argue that "women prefer manly men" by inferring from the frequent use in the NYT of the word "submission" some sort of innate desire for a masterful quality. But as the Telegraph points out, submission is often directed towards incompetence. In an article titled "Why women can't resist bad boys," Caroline Kent writes:like many women, I have an illogical soft-spot for massive jerks. There is something about bad boys that we find incredibly appealing, even though we often regret the experience afterwards.I'm so drawn to their powerful/sensitive/artistic (delete as applicable) natures that it allows me to rationalise away their abusive, selfish, sarcastic or psychopathic side, until it's too late. I don't know whether it's chemistry or foolishness on my part, but let me try to explain why we - or at least I - do it.Many women are now attracted to men who can't find their way out of the woods and not to the sort of men who own the woods.  The appeal of such lost men is considerable and they go out of their way to enhance it. Woody Allen consciously adopted the persona of a nebbish. "As a comic, he developed the persona of an insecure, intellectual, fretful nebbish, which he insists is quite different from his real-life personality." Why? Because being the loser gets the gals.By contrast, who likes the manly man today, really? For thousands of years -- at least from Beowulf -- it was customary for men to stand for the "ashes of their fathers and the temples of their gods." Now these are the guys we send off to die. We don't even want them to win. And in fact, the job of every modern enlightened president is to stop them before they do. Do you think any of us are ever going to marry a movie star? Somewhere along the line, things changed. It became cool to be the anti-traditional manly man.  As Roger L. Simon realized, there was no market among the best and the brightest for Lone Survivor. Roger writes, "I was thinking about that this morning while perusing the Oscar nominations for this year. As an Academy member, I had voted but did not see my number one selection for Best Picture — Lone Survivor — anywhere on the list of the nine nominees. I can’t say I was surprised. Lone Survivor is a patriotic film and patriotism isn’t high on the list of positive traits for Hollywood these days, except perhaps to that group of once-secret outliers known as the Friends of Abe."It is now unfashionable to be the old manly man. When the Obama administration launched a campaign to attract enrollees into Obamacare, did they they front up a two-fisted, hard-drinking, cigar-chomping he-man?  Hell no. They employed "Pajama Boy" to lure the mice into the trap. This is who they reckoned the rising generation would admire. The heck with aspiring to be a test pilot or an astronaut. What people want today is the "funemployment" guy; the thing who drinks hot chocolate in his parents' basement preparatory to selling them on subsidized, crap insurance. Pajama Boy is the new beau ideal.  Why would the PR men have used his visage to grace their ads if women preferred "manly men"? Fatal AttractionYou can make the half-serious argument that in order to be a winner in today's world it pays to be a loser.  After all, you get subsidies. You get sympathy. You can play the victim card. Above all, you get the girl. class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/richardfernandez/2014/2/8/the-manly-man/ previous Page 1 of 2 next   ]]>
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PJ Media Staff
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   ]]>
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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/ ]]>
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PJ Media Staff
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   ]]>
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PJ Media Staff
Klavan On The Culture I'm on the east coast this week and just gave a talk at Cornell University sponsored by the Program on Freedom and Free Societies. I spoke at one point about how those who think that Hollywood only cares about money don't really know anything about Hollywood. I pointed out that religious pictures like this week's indie release God's Not Dead are so routinely "surprise hits" that it's hard to figure out where the surprise is coming from. I also had some fun discussing how puzzled the New York Times was at the "surprise hit" Lone Survivor. How very odd, said the Times, or words to that effect. They couldn't comprehend why audiences who had "stubbornly refused" to go to all the other movies about the war on terror turned up to make this one a hit. One wanted to explain patiently, as to a child: Well, dear, it's because all the other movies showed America as the bad guys, and this one showed us as the good guys, and the audience doesn't want to be insulted by elitist claptrap. But the Times is not yet mature enough for that kind of information.Anyway, when my Cornell talk was done, a leftist in the audience termed it "naive" and "bizarre." (I doubt I was naive. I do try to be as bizarre as possible!) He said Hollywood was just a w***e chasing after money.The man spoke so long and said so many things that were untrue, that I couldn't really respond concisely. But there is one thing I really wish I had said, and that is this. Making movies that make money isn't being a w***e. It's called being in the movie business. It's what movies are supposed to do. When your movies make money it means that you did something someone else liked instead of just preening yourself on your skills and insight. When your movies make money, it means they succeeded in doing what movies are supposed to do: entertaining an audience. There is, of course, absolutely nothing at all wrong with making a smaller movie for a smaller audience that makes less money. But to assume that making profitable movies makes you a w***e is elitist in the extreme. It presumes that you have some higher wisdom that should be served over and above the wisdom of the ticket buyers. But in real life... no, you don't. class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/andrewklavan/2014/3/25/hollywood-leaves-more-money-on-the-ground/ previous Page 1 of 2 next   ]]>
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PJ Media Staff
(”Lone Survivor” is briefly mentioned in this.)
Lifestyle var dataLayer = window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; dataLayer.push({ 'videoName': 'Fort Bliss Official Trailer 1 (2014) - Michelle Monaghan War Drama HD', 'videoType': 'Curated' }); America has been at war for over a decade. In that time, Hollywood has managed to make only three films worthy of the people who do our fighting—The Hurt Locker, Lone Survivor, and Fort Bliss. In one way or another, all three stood apart from mainstream Tinseltown. They reached the big screen more because of the passion and vision of the filmmakers than the Hollywood suits who usually pick and choose what gets released to the corner cinema.Take the The Hurt Locker, Kathryn Bigelow’s story tracing the harrowing experiences of a three-man bomb disposal squad in Iraq. Big studios were not that interested in it. As Bigelow noted in a 2009 New York Times interview, “I’ve never made a studio film.” But audiences loved this movie. The Hurt Locker won the Best Picture Oscar in 2008.Peter Berg’s Lone Survivor (2013) performed equally well at the box office, but was snubbed by Oscar. Although Berg has made his share of standard Hollywood fare, this film was anything but mainstream cinema. The director struggled to find support and financing to bring the story of an ill-fated Special Operations mission in Afghanistan to the screen. “Nobody puts a gun to your head and makes you do something,” Berg said in one interview, “It's just better when you care.”  Audiences cared. It was one of the highest-grossing films of the year.Less well-known is Claudia Myers’ Fort Bliss. It recently opened with only a very limited theatrical release. The movie follows an Army medic—a single mom who returns home and struggles to reconnect with her young son only to be confronted with the possibility of being deployed once again. class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/2014/9/30/fort-bliss-moms-at-war/ previous Page 1 of 4 next   ]]>
(Review Source)
PJ Media Staff
(”Lone Survivor” is briefly mentioned in this.)
Lifestyle var dataLayer = window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; dataLayer.push({ 'videoName': 'plan 9 from outer space (trailer)', 'videoType': 'Curated' }); Sometimes Hollywood serves up some pretty indigestible fare. Some films, such as Howard the Duck (1986), are impossible to swallow—so terrible they become synonymous with “bad cinema.” (Who can forget Gary Larson’s The Far Side cartoon depicting "Hell's Video Store," its shelves stocked solely with copies of Ishtar (1987)?)But not every bomb reaches such heights of notoriety.  Here’s a list of movies that are every bit as bad—and leave “real men” with extra heartburn. They degrade the genres that “real men” love best.10. Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959)All right, this utterly dreadful sci-fi schlock is, admittedly, no stranger to lists of worst movies ever. And justifiably so. Written, directed and produced by the world's least talented filmmaker, Edward D. Wood, it’s a bijou of awfulness. What twists the knife in this celluloid sacrilege is the sight of Bela Lugosi, one of Hollywood's greatest horror stars, shambling through what was to be his last appearance on the silver screen. Rather than try to sit through this sad excuse for a film, better to watch Tim Burton's engaging biopic Ed Wood (1994), which tells the story behind the movie. class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/2014/11/27/10-tinseltown-turkeys-that-make-real-men-choke/ previous Page 1 of 10 next   ]]>
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PJ Media Staff
(”Lone Survivor” is briefly mentioned in this.)
PJ Media var dataLayer = window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; dataLayer.push({ 'videoName': 'Bradley Cooper on American Sniper, Chris Kyle and the War on Terror', 'videoType': 'Curated' }); Actor Bradley Cooper, star of American Sniper, said it was a “privilege” to play Navy SEAL Chris Kyle in the Academy-award nominated film.When filming, Cooper said he was focused on being accurate toward Kyle’s character, so his personal thoughts about America’s War on Terror did not come into play.“The honor, it’s right there, I’m standing next to Taya Kyle and any time you get to play an individual who has really lived, or is alive, that’s a privilege but especially when it’s this man, Chris, and the fact that we were going to do it while he was alive and then I continued once he died and she really was the reason why it became the film that it became, you know, that’s the honor,” Cooper said at the Washington screening of American Sniper, which was directed by Clint Eastwood.Kyle is regarded as the most legal sniper in U.S. military history for having the most confirmed kills during his four tours in Iraq.Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Jill made a surprise appearance at the screening in Washington.Filmmaker Michael Moore and actor Seth Rogan recently made controversial comments about the film on Twitter, sparking a debate about Kyle and his wartime actions.“My uncle killed by sniper in WW2. We were taught snipers were cowards. Will shoot u in the back. Snipers aren’t heroes,” Moore wrote on Twitter.Rogan compared American Sniper to a Nazi propaganda film shown in Inglourious Basterds.Conservatives such as former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin have praised the movie.“Bradley Cooper, Clint Eastwood, Mark Wahlberg and others like Dean Cain, who was another friend of Chris, defy typical Hollywood self-centeredness by putting their heart and soul and tremendous physical efforts into accurate portrayals of true heroism,” she said.“I honor them for honoring the U.S. military through projects like American Sniper, Lone Survivor, and their pro-military charity events. Guys like those four – and Gary Sinise, Ted Nugent, Kid Rock, and others – know that the hope for our future is protected by and embodied in brave men and women represented in their work. I love them for standing strong in the face of cowardly fire from their colleagues,” Palin also said.PJ Media asked Cooper if working on the film changed his perspective of the War on Terror.“Never even thought about it. It was all about being accurate toward that character [Chris Kyle] and what he went through and that’s always been the intent … to create and reflect the human that I got to know and that she [Taya Kyle] knew as her husband,” Cooper said.Related: Taya Kyle and American Sniper co-author Jim DeFelice talk with Ed Driscoll. class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/blog/bradley-cooper-american-sniper-interview/ ]]>
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Christian Toto
Showcasing the best of the U.S. military.
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Christian Toto
american-sniper

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

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

My sister in-law,

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

(Review Source)
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"/>
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John Hanlon
(”Lone Survivor” 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
(”Lone Survivor” is briefly mentioned in this.)
The end of 2014 is quickly approaching. With that in mind, page I went back and created a list of all of the films that I reviewed this year and the different ratings I gave them. Of course, this this isn’t a complete list of all of the films I saw this year. It’s... <img src="http://www.johnhanlonreviews.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/boyhood-poster-270x400.jpg" type="image/jpeg"/>
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John Hanlon
Director Peter Berg knows how to celebrate the fraternal affection that men oftentimes share with one another. On the show Friday Night Lights—which he executive produced, hospital wrote for and sometimes directed— the male friendships on... <img src="http://www.johnhanlonreviews.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Lone-Survivor-Poster-105x88.jpg" type="image/jpeg"/>
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The American Conservative Staff
(”Lone Survivor” is briefly mentioned in this.)
“[I]t may be said that the weary melancholy underlying Lawrence of Arabia stems from the stupefying apprehension that, whereas England may have been doomed to civilize the world, no power under heaven can civilize England.” —James Baldwin “I don’t really care what people think of me.” —Chris Kyle The New York Times review of “Lawrence of Arabia” from 1962 complains that we don’t really get to know the titular character, a fault Bosley Crowther blames on “the concept of telling the story of this self-tortured man against a background of action that has the characteristic of a mammoth Western film.” “American Sniper” feels the same way, both in character and background. For most people, consideration of the similarities between Western expansion and America’s permanent presence in the Middle East starts and ends with how one feels about “cowboy president” jokes. But in less self-conscious times, no less than the venerable Robert Kaplan once referred to Little Bighorn as “the 9/11 of its day.” In a 2004 Wall Street Journal article titled “Indian Country,” he referred to a new kind of small-scale independent warfare: An overlooked truth about the war on terrorism, and the war in Iraq in particular, is that they both arrived too soon for the American military: before it had adequately transformed itself from a dinosauric, Industrial Age beast to a light and lethal instrument skilled in guerrilla warfare, attuned to the local environment in the way of the 19th-century Apaches. My mention of the Apaches is deliberate. For in a world where mass infantry invasions are becoming politically and diplomatically prohibitive … the American military is back to the days of fighting the Indians. Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper) represents something like this aspiration. He’s learned the Apache ways, you might say. Snipers operate in a fairly independent way, which fits his personality. Nicknamed “The Legend,” the deadliest sniper in American history, Kyle was on his first of four tours when President George W. Bush declared Iraq a free country, which, if you’re feeling cheeky, makes this a kind of cop movie. In his comments on “Lawrence of Arabia” in The Devil Finds Work, James Baldwin describes how the movie makes barbaric acts comprehensible. The famous “No prisoners!” moment of mass slaughter, he says, makes sense in the context of Lawrence being raped at the hands of the Turks. But there is no analogous moment in “American Sniper.” Chris Kyle’s humiliations are all vicarious—he joined up after the 1998 embassy bombings. The “No prisoners!” moment—the moment the audience is supposed to understand the rules are different—is the very first scene. It’s the one depicted in the trailer which (it isn’t giving too much away to say) ends in him shooting a child, then a woman, who threaten a convoy Kyle is protecting. But the fact remains that T.E. Lawrence probably wasn’t raped, Iraq didn’t have nuclear weapons, Chris Kyle probably lied about a lot of stuff, and he doesn’t actually shoot a kid in the semi-autobiography on which the movie is based. Towards the end of the movie, Kyle returns home and visits a psychiatrist, who says “the Navy has credited you with over 160 kills.” Actually, the Navy has credited him with 160 kills, with 255 claimed. “The thing that haunts me is all the guys I couldn’t save,” Cooper’s Kyle tells the doctor. Real Kyle, in the book, replies, “I only wish I had killed more.” It’s hard not to notice that these are opposites. Does this sort of thing matter? Be careful what you answer, because one’s opinion on “American Sniper” can be controversial. The usual suspects have dusted off a word they only use for things they don’t like, “glorify,” to describe how the film treats violence. The other usual suspects, happy to have Hollywood in their corner for once, have been celebrating the record-breaking opening weekend take of $90 million and six Oscar nominations. The savagery of the Iraqis is mostly taken for granted to have happened off-screen—we see what looks like a captured soldier, clearly tortured, hanging from the ceiling—except for a cartoonishly sadistic villain who tortures a child to death with a power drill. Understand, the terrorists do worse than waterboarding. Some reactions to “American Sniper” have cut across expected political loyalties. Jane Fonda, for example, seemed to sympathize with the movie’s portrayal of PTSD sufferers. And to be sure, the impacts of war on the warriors are not something the movie shies away from—another late scene shows Kyle taking disabled veterans shooting, which, if you know what happened to him, is somewhat tense. More interestingly, Bradley Cooper was listed as one of Politico’s “50 Politicos to Watch” in 2013. He’s appeared at a Center for American Progress event and seems to be quite close with the vice president. This is the star of a movie whose detractors our vigilant right-wing press has been keeping a running tally on. How about that? But the same incuriosity about causes and alternatives its critics condemn is what saves this film from a heavy-handed pro- or anti-war message. Alyssa Rosenberg at the Washington Post wrote that the movie is an object lesson in how the “fear of being seen as political can deaden a story.” There is an inevitability to Chris Kyle. It’s similar to other Clint Eastwood characters who are motivated by revenge, and on whom violence ends up taking a personal toll. “The woman was already dead,” Kyle writes of the encounter depicted in the first scene. “I was just making sure she didn’t take any Marines with her.” We were already in Iraq, I was just making sure we won. This makes for good, heroic—and unifying, if we can take box office numbers as proof of that—filmmaking. “American Sniper” is the first War on Terror film I can think of with a larger-than-life hero at the center of it. It’s much more fun to watch than, say, “Lone Survivor” or “The Hurt Locker.” The climactic fight takes place as a massive sandstorm rolls in; Kyle takes an impossibly long shot, killing his nemesis, a fellow sniper with Olympic shooting credentials, then his squad has to fight off baddies until the timed relief arrives. He calls his wife from the roof of the besieged building, in one of the movie’s less believable moments, to tell her he’s ready to go home. Kyle leaves his rifle in the dirt as he tries to catch a speeding MRAP, bringing a line at the beginning where his father tells him not to leave his rifle in the dirt full-circle. A timer, a villain, family-related moments of realization for the hero—in case you haven’t noticed, these are superhero boss battle tropes. Dramatizations and strategic editing are par for the course in filmmaking; it’s hard to blame Eastwood or screenwriter Jason Hall for these things. They chose to “print the legend,” or The Legend, as many writers have put it. Judgment calls were clearly necessary, because Chris Kyle himself was guilty of spinning some tall tales about how he employed his skills back home. He claimed to have picked off looters during Hurricane Katrina, as reported by the New Yorker, and to have shot two men in Texas who tried to carjack him. Neither of these stories has ever been substantiated. More definitively, a court found that a scene in the book where he punches out a man named “Scruff Face”—who he claimed later in an interview was Jesse Ventura, didn’t happen and constituted defamation. It’s easy to understand why a person would lie about having killed someone. It’s harder to understand why someone would claim to have killed more people than they actually did. To give Kyle the benefit of the doubt, the first two tales read like gung-ho one-upmanship taken too far, but the Ventura story is more complicated. Using a nickname in the book, only then to name the guy he claims to have punched in a televised interview suggests an ill-considered PR move to goose book sales. At the very least, Kyle’s fibs paint a less humble and more media-savvy picture than the one shown in the movie. Do they make him any less of a hero? Probably not. Should we fault “American Sniper” for not dealing with them? Perhaps, but the movie’s boosters would probably say that would have “politicized” it. Unfortunately, humans are political animals, and that’s inevitable: “[American Sniper] may inadvertently be the best argument most Americans will see for the premise of the Iraq war, because it has one small scene where a guy prepping Chris Kyle for his first mission points out … you’re facing basically the A list of the jihadists. … You go, ‘oh my gosh,’ this is fantastic, we’re sending the best of the best Americans to wipe out these bad guys who would, a la Paris today, be somewhere else …  I remember watching the movie thinking, ‘if only the Bush administration had made this case as well as Clint Eastwood just made it on the movie screen.’” —Michael Graham, Weekly Standard podcast, January 19, 2015 [emphasis added] Graham’s substantive point is complete horse-pucky. The years-long insurgency is proof that ordinary Iraqis were a lot more resistant to occupation than we expected them to be. Moreover, nobody who uses “American Sniper” to regurgitate decade-old Bush administration talking points should be allowed to complain about people who “politicize” stuff. To Graham’s editor Bill Kristol, Kyle’s widow is useful only as a prop to beat the administration over the head with. Maybe he thinks more reverent movies about Navy SEALs will give us the gumption to finally put “an end to evil.” But thrusting Taya Kyle onto the national stage to score cheap political points is small consolation for a dead husband, lost to the aftershocks of a war he never stopped defending. Whether or not you see this endless cowboys-and-Indians game as fated—Kaplan calls it “thankless”—there’s a certain self-fulfilling logic to it. To quote Kaplan from 2004: Indian Country has been expanding in recent years because of the security vacuum created by the collapse of traditional dictatorships and the emergence of new democracies—whose short-term institutional weaknesses provide whole new oxygen systems for terrorists. This is exactly the process American foreign policy has been speeding along, in both the Bush and Obama administrations. Then stories come along to help make the things we do comprehensible, and in that sense “American Sniper” is a successful movie. The Crockett Almanacs helped us conquer the frontier, never mind that Davy Crockett didn’t do most of that stuff. Little Bighorn convinced us Indians were savages. It’s pretty clear what role “American Sniper” is playing for some. J. Arthur Bloom is opinion editor at the Daily Caller and managing editor at Front Porch Republic. ]]>
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The American Conservative Staff
(”Lone Survivor” is briefly mentioned in this.)
In the age of the all-volunteer military and an endless stream of war zone losses and ties, it can be hard to keep Homeland enthusiasm up for perpetual war. After all, you don’t get a 9/11 every year to refresh those images of the barbarians at the airport departure gates. In the meantime, Americans are clearly finding it difficult to remain emotionally roiled up about our confusing wars in Syria and Iraq, the sputtering one in Afghanistan, and various raids, drone attacks, and minor conflicts elsewhere. Fortunately, we have just the ticket, one that has been punched again and again for close to a century: Hollywood war movies (to which the Pentagon is always eager to lend a helping hand). “American Sniper”, which started out with the celebratory tagline “the most lethal sniper in U.S. history” and now has the tagline “the most successful war movie of all time,” is just the latest in a long line of films that have kept Americans on their war game. Think of them as war porn, meant to leave us perpetually hyped up. Now, grab some popcorn and settle back to enjoy the show. There’s Only One War Movie Wandering around YouTube recently, I stumbled across some good old government-issue propaganda. It was a video clearly meant to stir American emotions and prepare us for a long struggle against a determined, brutal, and barbaric enemy whose way of life is a challenge to the most basic American values. Here’s some of what I learned: our enemy is engaged in a crusade against the West; wants to establish a world government and make all of us bow down before it; fights fanatically, beheads prisoners, and is willing to sacrifice the lives of its followers in inhuman suicide attacks. Though its weapons are modern, its thinking and beliefs are 2,000 years out of date and inscrutable to us. Of course, you knew there was a trick coming, right? This little U.S. government-produced film wasn’t about the militants of the Islamic State. Made by the U.S. Navy in 1943, its subject was “Our Enemy the Japanese.” Substitute “radical Islam” for “emperor worship,” though, and it still makes a certain propagandistic sense. While the basics may be largely the same (us versus them, good versus evil), modern times do demand something slicker than the video equivalent of an old newsreel. The age of the Internet, with its short attention spans and heightened expectations of cheap thrills, calls for a higher class of war porn, but as with that 1943 film, it remains remarkable how familiar what’s being produced remains. Like propaganda films and sexual pornography, Hollywood movies about America at war have changed remarkably little over the years. Here’s the basic formula, from John Wayne in the World War II-era “Sands of Iwo Jima“ to today’s “American Sniper“: American soldiers are good, the enemy bad. Nearly every war movie is going to have a scene in which Americans label the enemy as “savages,” “barbarians,” or “bloodthirsty fanatics,” typically following a “sneak attack” or a suicide bombing. Our country’s goal is to liberate; the enemy’s, to conquer. Such a framework prepares us to accept things that wouldn’t otherwise pass muster. Racism naturally gets a bye; as they once were “Japs” (not Japanese), they are now “hajjis” and “ragheads” (not Muslims or Iraqis). It’s beyond question that the ends justify just about any means we might use, from the nuclear obliteration of two cities of almost no military significance to the grimmest sort of torture. In this way, the war film long ago became a moral free-fire zone for its American characters. American soldiers believe in God and Country, in “something bigger than themselves,” in something “worth dying for,” but without ever becoming blindly attached to it. The enemy, on the other hand, is blindly devoted to a religion, political faith, or dictator, and it goes without saying (though it’s said) that his God—whether an emperor, communism, or Allah—is evil. As one critic put it back in 2007 with just a tad of hyperbole, “In every movie Hollywood makes, every time an Arab utters the word Allah … something blows up.” War films spend no significant time on why those savages might be so intent on going after us. The purpose of American killing, however, is nearly always clearly defined. It’s to “save American lives,” those over there and those who won’t die because we don’t have to fight them over here. Saving such lives explains American war: in Kathryn Bigelow’s “The Hurt Locker“, for example, the main character defuses roadside bombs to make Iraq safer for other American soldiers. In the recent World War II-themed “Fury“, Brad Pitt similarly mows down ranks of Germans to save his comrades. Even torture is justified, as in “Zero Dark Thirty“, in the cause of saving our lives from their nightmarish schemes. In “American Sniper”, shooter Chris Kyle focuses on the many American lives he’s saved by shooting Iraqis; his PTSD is, in fact, caused by his having “failed” to have saved even more. Hey, when an American kills in war, he’s the one who suffers the most, not that mutilated kid or his grieving mother—I got nightmares, man! I still see their faces! Our soldiers are human beings with emotionally engaging backstories, sweet gals waiting at home, and promising lives ahead of them that might be cut tragically short by an enemy from the gates of hell. The bad guys lack such backstories. They are anonymous fanatics with neither a past worth mentioning nor a future worth imagining. This is usually pretty blunt stuff. Kyle’s nemesis in “American Sniper”, for instance, wears all black. Thanks to that, you know he’s an insta-villain without the need for further information. And speaking of lack of a backstory, he improbably appears in the film both in the Sunni city of Fallujah and in Sadr City, a Shia neighborhood in Baghdad, apparently so super-bad that his desire to kill Americans overcomes even Iraq’s mad sectarianism. It is fashionable for our soldiers, having a kind of depth the enemy lacks, to express some regrets, a dollop of introspection, before (or after) they kill. In “American Sniper”, while back in the U.S. on leave, the protagonist expresses doubts about what he calls his “work.” (No such thoughts are in the book on which the film is based.) Of course, he then goes back to Iraq for three more tours and over two more hours of screen time to amass his 160 “confirmed kills.” Another staple of such films is the training montage. Can a young recruit make it? Often he is the Fat Kid who trims down to his killing weight, or the Skinny Kid who muscles up, or the Quiet Kid who emerges bloodthirsty. (This has been a trope of sexual porn films, too: the geeky looking guy, mocked by beautiful women, who turns out to be a superstar in bed.) The link, up front or implied, between sexuality, manhood, and war is a staple of the form. As part of the curious PTSD recovery plan he develops, for example, Kyle volunteers to teach a paraplegic vet in a wheelchair to snipe. After his first decent shot rings home, the man shouts, “I feel like I got my balls back!” Our soldiers, anguished souls that they are, have no responsibility for what they do once they’ve been thrown into our wars. No baby-killers need apply in support of America’s post-Vietnam, guilt-free mantra, “Hate the war, love the warrior.” In the film “First Blood“, for example, John Rambo is a Vietnam veteran who returns home a broken man. He finds his war buddy dead from Agent Orange-induced cancer and is persecuted by the very Americans whose freedom he believed he had fought for. Because he was screwed over in The ‘Nam, the film gives him a free pass for his homicidal acts, including a two-hour murderous rampage through a Washington State town. The audience is meant to see Rambo as a noble, sympathetic character. He returns for more personal redemption in later films to rescue American prisoners of war left behind in Southeast Asia. For war films, ambiguity is a dirty word. Americans always win, even when they lose in an era in which, out in the world, the losses are piling up. And a win is a win, even when its essence is one-sided bullying as in “Heartbreak Ridge“, the only movie to come out of the ludicrous invasion of Grenada. And a loss is still a win in “Black Hawk Down“, set amid the disaster of Somalia, which ends with scenes of tired warriors who did the right thing. “Argo“—consider it honorary war porn—reduces the debacle of years of U.S. meddling in Iran to a high-fiving hostage rescue. All it takes these days to turn a loss into a win is to zoom in tight enough to ignore defeat. In “American Sniper”, the disastrous occupation of Iraq is shoved offstage so that more Iraqis can die in Kyle’s sniper scope. In “Lone Survivor“, a small American “victory” is somehow dredged out of hopeless Afghanistan because an Afghan man takes a break from being droned to save the life of a SEAL. In sum: gritty, brave, selfless men, stoic women waiting at home, noble wounded warriors, just causes, and the necessity of saving American lives. Against such a lineup, the savage enemy is a crew of sitting ducks who deserve to die. Everything else is just music, narration, and special effects. War pornos, like their oversexed cousins, are all the same movie. A Fantasy That Can Change Reality But it’s just a movie, right? Your favorite shoot-em-up makes no claims to being a documentary. We all know one American can’t gun down 50 bad guys and walk away unscathed, in the same way he can’t bed 50 partners without getting an STD. It’s just entertainment. So what? So what do you, or the typical 18-year-old considering military service, actually know about war on entering that movie theater? Don’t underestimate the degree to which such films can help create broad perceptions of what war’s all about and what kind of people fight it. Those lurid on-screen images, updated and reused so repetitively for so many decades, do help create a self-reinforcing, common understanding of what happens “over there,” particularly since what we are shown mirrors what most of us want to believe anyway. No form of porn is about reality, of course, but that doesn’t mean it can’t create realities all its own. War films have the ability to bring home emotionally a glorious fantasy of America at war, no matter how grim or gritty any of these films may look. War porn can make a young man willing to die before he’s 20. Take my word for it: as a diplomat in Iraq I met young people in uniform suffering from the effects of all this. Such films also make it easier for politicians to sweet-talk the public into supporting conflict after conflict, even as sons and daughters continue to return home damaged or dead and despite the country’s near-complete record of geopolitical failures since September 2001. Funny thing: “American Sniper” was nominated for an Academy Award for best picture as Washington went back to war in Iraq in what you’d have thought would be an unpopular struggle. Learning From the Exceptions You can see a lot of war porn and stop with just your toes in the water, thinking you’ve gone swimming. But eventually you should go into the deep water of the “exceptions,” because only there can you confront the real monsters. There are indeed exceptions to war porn, but don’t fool yourself, size matters. How many people have seen “American Sniper”, “The Hurt Locker”, or “Zero Dark Thirty”? By comparison, how many saw the antiwar Iraq War film “Battle for Haditha“, a lightly fictionalized, deeply unsettling drama about an American massacre of innocent men, women, and children in retaliation for a roadside bomb blast? Timing matters, too, when it comes to the few mainstream exceptions. John Wayne’s “The Green Berets“, a pro-Vietnam War film, came out in 1968 as that conflict was nearing its bloody peak and resistance at home was growing. (“The Green Berets” gets a porn bonus star, as the grizzled Wayne persuades a lefty journalist to alter his negative views on the war.) “Platoon“, with its message of waste and absurdity, had to wait until 1986, more than a decade after the war ended. In propaganda terms, think of this as controlling the narrative. One version of events dominates all others and creates a reality others can only scramble to refute. The exceptions do, however, reveal much about what we don’t normally see of the true nature of American war. They are uncomfortable for any of us to watch, as well as for military recruiters, parents sending a child off to war, and politicians trolling for public support for the next crusade. War is not a two-hour-and-12-minute hard-on. War is what happens when the rules break down and, as fear displaces reason, nothing too terrible is a surprise. The real secret of war for those who experience it isn’t the visceral knowledge that people can be filthy and horrible, but that you, too, can be filthy and horrible. You don’t see much of that on the big screen. The Long Con Of course, there are elements of “nothing new” here. The Romans undoubtedly had their version of war porn that involved mocking the Gauls as subhumans. Yet in 21st-century America, where wars are undeclared and Washington is dependent on volunteers for its new foreign legion, the need to keep the public engaged and filled with fear over our enemies is perhaps more acute than ever. So here’s a question: if the core propaganda messages the U.S. government promoted during World War II are nearly identical to those pushed out today about the Islamic State, and if Hollywood’s war films, themselves a particularly high-class form of propaganda, have promoted the same false images of Americans in conflict from 1941 to the present day, what does that tell us? Is it that our varied enemies across nearly three-quarters of a century of conflict are always unbelievably alike, or is it that when America needs a villain, it always goes to the same script? Peter Van Buren blew the whistle on State Department waste and mismanagement during the Iraqi reconstruction in his first book, We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People. A Tom Dispatch regular, he writes about current events at his blog, We Meant Well. His latest book is Ghosts of Tom Joad: A Story of the #99Percent. Copyright 2015 Peter Van Buren ]]>
(Review Source)
Debbie Schlussel
Blog Posts Movie Reviews August: Osage County“: Oy-ya-yoy. I couldn’t take this slow, boring, pointless hag-fest starring the repellent Julia Roberts (playing her bitter self) and Meryl Streep, playing some crazed old woman. Oh, and then there’s the charming plot line of a woman having a sexual affair with a guy she believes is her first cousin, but turns out to be her brother. Fabulous. This was long and boring, and I struggled to get through the screener. When I was finished, I felt robbed by the time bandit. Two hours of my life wasted–two hours which I ain’t never gonna get back. The “story”: Meryl Streep is the drug-addled, sickly matriarch of a dysfunctional Oklahoma family. When her husband disappears (and then his body is found and a funeral is held), her grown daughters are reunited with her (as are other family members–her sister-in-law, brother-in-law, and Streep’s daughters’ family members, boyfriends, etc.) Most of the story takes place at Streep’s dark country home, with all of the daughters arguing. One of the daughter’s boyfriends gives drugs to–and tries to have sex with–the underaged child of another daughter. One daughter declares she is dating, engaged to, and in love with her first cousin, whom we learn is her half brother. Let’s hear it for grrrl power! There is no plot to this miserable, messed-up stream of consciousness. Figures that all the mainstream liberal movie critics just love this absolute dreck. The tagline of this movie is “Misery Loves Family.” Um, no. Misery is paying ten-plus bucks and sitting through this thing. Skip at all cost. FOUR MARXES PLUS FOUR BETTY FRIEDANS ]]>
(Review Source)
Michael Medved
http://www.michaelmedved.com/wp-content/uploads/LONE-SURVIVOR.mp3
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The American Conservative Staff
(”Lone Survivor” is briefly mentioned in this.)
foreign policy politics film Calum Marsh makes a ridiculous generalization: But it’s important to remember that despite their moralizing, war films are still essentially action films—blockbuster spectacles embellished by the verve and vigor of cutting-edge special effects. They may not strictly glorify. But they almost never discourage. This is a somewhat strange argument, since it is quite easy to come up with a fairly long list of movies that are explicitly and in some cases deliberately antiwar or at least have the effect of discouraging its audience from supporting most wars. There are the obvious examples, such as Grand Illusion, All Quiet on the Western Front, Apocalypse Now, Gallipoli, and Breaker Morant, and there are also less famous films such as Cold Mountain, Bang Rajan or even the recent propaganda film Five Days of War. Those are just the few that came to mind, and I’m sure that a more complete survey would find many more. Not all of them are good movies, but there are quite a few of them out there. One frequently hears complaints from hawks in the U.S. that filmmakers no longer make enough straightforward pro-war movies as they did in the years following WWII, because there really are relatively fewer war movies that are unabashedly trying to celebrate war than there used to be. It’s also worth noting that there are two very different kinds of antiwar movies. One kind tries to demonstrate the futility or injustice of a particular war or war in general, while the other engages in an almost cartoonish oversimplification of a conflict in order to portray war as something forced on the good side by an implacable, evil foe. Both want to reject war and condemn it for its horrible effects, but in some of them the responsibility for the conflict is identified (sometimes accurately, sometimes not) as being entirely on one side. I haven’t seen Lone Survivor, but based on what Marsh tells us about the plot it could easily be an antiwar movie that falls into this second category. ]]>
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Plugged In
DramaWar We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.Movie ReviewLate on the night of June 27, 2005, an MH-47 Special Operations Aircraft inserted, via fast rope, a four-man Navy SEAL reconnaissance and surveillance team between a pair of Afghani mountain peaks. Their mission was labeled Operation Red Wing. Team Spartan―made up of team leader Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy, Gunner's Mate 2nd Class Danny P. Dietz, Sonar Technician 2nd Class Matthew G. Axelson and Corpsman 1st Class Marcus Luttrell―were all seasoned pros, ready to do their job and ready to hike the mountainous mile and a half necessary to reach their destination. Upon reaching the Area of Interest, the SEALs followed protocol, set up mountainside overwatch positions and soon spotted their target�����terrorist leader Ahmed Shahd walking the dirt streets of a village below. There was only one problem: After repeated attempts they could not establish clear radio communication with home base. So it was decided they'd dig in and reattempt connection after a few hours of shuteye. Again, as per protocol. That's when everything fell apart. Team Spartan was accidentally discovered by three local goatherds who all but stumbled over them in the mountain undergrowth. After determining that the men were civilians—not combatants—the SEALs faced a quandary. What should they do now that the operation's cover had been blown? If they let the men go, there was surely a chance they would run to the Taliban forces―the Taliban army―in the village below, leaving the SEALs exposed and, without radio communication, unsure of extraction. On the other hand, even though they could surely defend their need to do so, if the unarmed goatherds were truly innocents, it would be morally wrong to kill them―not to mention likely to show up on CNN and trumpeted as a war crime. Lt. Murphy orders the men released, according to the rules of civilian engagement. And the Navy SEALs begin moving to a point where they might regain radio contact. Two hours later, the Taliban ambush arrive in force from three sides.Positive ElementsThe film's opening moments give us a thumbnail sketch of the kind of torturous training that SEAL candidates go through―pushing their minds and bodies to the breaking point. It also gives us a glimpse into the reasons these men form a lasting bond of brotherhood and interdependence. Both of those elements come fully into play later as the four members of Team Spartan fight through gunshot wounds and broken bones to protect one another, dragging the injured to safety and going far beyond what most would consider even above-normal levels of physical endurance. When the 20-to-one battle gets to its hottest point, one badly wounded SEAL turns to his fellow combatant and says, "If I die, I need Cindy to know how much I loved her and that I died with my brothers with a full f‑‑‑ing heart." In a heroic last-ditch effort to call for help for his comrads, one SEAL climbs a rock outcropping to where his SAT phone might make a connection. In doing so, of course, he knowingly exposes himself to deadly fire from nearby Taliban shooters. Only a horribly bloodied and broken Luttrell is finally left alive (hardly a spoiler given the film's title). And in the story's second act (which is devoted to mercy and courage), he's found and rescued by local Pashtun villagers. We eventually learn that these Afghani villagers have a 2,000-year-old code of honor that calls upon them to protect any injured man from his enemies. In spite of the Taliban threat that they will all be slaughtered, then, the villagers care for Luttrell for five days, taking up arms on his behalf until notified American forces can arrive.Spiritual ContentWhen things start going wrong, one of the SEALs opines that it's starting to feel like a cursed op. Luttrell assures him it's not. And later, after a deadly situation turns out a bit better than they thought, Luttrell grins, "See? God's looking out for us." The other guy retorts, "I'd hate to see Him when He's p‑‑‑ed."Sexual ContentA SEAL rookie recites a team mantra that's sprinkled with macho, sexualized references to male and female genitalia. One of the SEALs rolls out of bed bare-chested so the camera can eye his ripped physique.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 ContentEarly on, a Taliban group drags a suspected traitor out into a village square and viciously hacks off his head (just out of the frame) for the rest of the local villagers to see. That's disturbing and grisly enough, but just a hint of what's coming. It's no exaggeration to say that once Taliban forces mass against the SEALs, the film becomes a real-time stream of nonstop, incredibly lifelike and ultimately soul-pummeling carnage. In the early goings, the well-trained SEALs pick off scores of the enemy with blood- and brain-gushing head and upper torso shots. But as the fighting intensifies and everything from large-caliber mounted machine guns to rocket-propelled grenades are brought into the mix, we watch as our heroes get literally ripped to shreds. The men take bullets and shrapnel to their legs, upper bodies and heads as the camera closely inspects stumps of blown-off fingers, a severed ear and bones protruding through flesh. We watch one team member fight to his last gasping breath—and then his corpse is mutilated with a bullet to the forehead. More brutal punishment comes as the already wounded SEALs are forced to twice drop over sheer cliff faces―agonizingly smashing into trees, logs, rocks and boulders as they tumble down. A helicopter full of supporting troops is blown out of the air by a missile. The craft crashes in a ball of flame. Luttrell has to take a knife and perform surgery on his own grievous wounds, cutting out large chunks of life-threatening shrapnel.Crude or Profane LanguageWell over 150 f-words. We also hear a couple handfuls of s-words and a steady trickle of "b‑‑ch," "b‑‑tard," "d‑‑n" and "h‑‑‑." God's name is linked two or three times with "d‑‑n." Crude references are made to sexual body parts. A few rude jests are shared by SEALs, including a quip about watching their "c‑‑k and balls" around some of the mountainous dangers.Drug and Alcohol ContentAn Afghani smokes a cigarette.Other Negative ElementsConclusionLone Survivor is a cinematic recounting of a real-life failed U.S. military operation. It took place in the mountainous Kunar Province of Afghanistan in June of 2005 and has since been called the worst tragedy in the history of the Navy SEALs―ultimately claiming the lives of 19 Americans. Film director Peter Berg takes that tragic scenario, lifting the essentials from survivor Marcus Luttrell's memoirs, and creates an incredibly visceral, immersive and realistic depiction of the conflict. It's so life-like, gruesome and disturbingly brutal, in truth, that at times it's almost unbearable. This isn't simply a critique of the hell of war, though. Nor is it strictly a protest of the United States' ongoing military efforts in Afghanistan. It's not just a one-dimensional bullet-blazing war flick about a handful of ravaged, obscenity-spewing soldiers. You can find elements to support each of those perspectives if you're looking for them. But there's more than that here. This is a movie that emotionally and caustically challenges us to think about the virtues of self-sacrificial brotherhood, service to country, honor and bravery. It lauds the ability of some to drive themselves to near-impossible levels of physical and mental toughness. And it shakes its cinematic head in awe over how men can willingly put themselves in harm's way to fight for freedom and justice, sometimes even when that freedom and justice is meant for foreigners they have no personal connection to. The film also makes it clear that acts of humanity and decency are alive and well, even on the battlefield. And that those are not solely flag-waving American attributes. They are traits, it tells us, that are woven into the fabric of communities found in any part of the world. And they are traits that somehow manage to survive the stranglehold of violence that otherwise chokes Lone Survivor. Pro-social ContentObjectionable ContentSummary AdvisoryPlot SummaryChristian BeliefsOther Belief SystemsAuthority RolesProfanity/ViolenceKissing/Sex/HomosexualityDiscussion TopicsAdditional Comments/NotesEpisode Reviews]]>
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Lonesome
VJ Morton

LONESOME (Paul Fejos, USA, 1928) 9

Why had I *never even heard of* this movie or this director until @Criterion released this a couple years ago? Is Fejos the man who fused Murnau and Vertov? The man who (inadvertently) showed how hollow and phony the talkies (of the time) were in his own sound scenes, while being was clearly a demented genius of montage and collage. It's *a year earlier* than Vertov's MAN WITH A MOVIE CAMERA ... but has all his superimpositions and montages creating a city, vital and, (and this is what Vertov doesn't do), threatening and isolating.

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Conservative Film Buff

My personal collection of Criterion blu-rays, organized by spine number. For the few on DVD, they are noted as such.

...plus 59 more. View the full list on Letterboxd.

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The Federalist Staff
While the drama seemed real, the 1998 home run chase, like that entire era in baseball, was too good to be true.
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Long Shot
Kyle Smith
(”Long Shot” is briefly mentioned in this.)
The genre is basically dead — on the big screen, at least.
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John Nolte
(”Long Shot” is briefly mentioned in this.)
What do all these flops have in common? An insufferable air of self-importance, a suffocating sense of sanctimony and smug.
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Plugged In
(”Long Shot” is briefly mentioned in this.)
Endgame 3 movie monday

Detective Pikachu came to catch ‘em all—all of us moviegoers, that is. But let’s face it: No matter how cute the little electric rascal might be, and no matter how many volts it packs in that strange little tail of his, Pikachu ultimately fainted before the might of Avengers: Endgame. For the third-straight week, Endgame […]

The post Endgame Escapes Detective Pikachu appeared first on Plugged In Blog.

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Plugged In
endgame movie monday

Endgame, smash. Forget Thanos. The real titan in theaters is Disney/Marvel’s Avengers: Endgame. The movie made hulkish amounts of money again this weekend, turning its competitors green with envy. Just how big is Endgame? Consider this: Disney’s latest and (some say) greatest superhero flick lost nearly 60% of its weekend-over-weekend audience, and it still banked […]

The post Endgame Still Unstoppable appeared first on Plugged In Blog.

(Review Source)
Michael Medved

Star Rating: 1.5 Stars
Cast: Charlize Theron, Seth Rogen, June Diane Raphael
Release Date: Friday, May 3, 2019
MPAA Rating: R
Brought to you by www.michaelmedved.com
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Christian Toto
long shot review liberal

“Long Shot” is a fantasy in more ways than one.

What if a schlubby guy, a Seth Rogen type, fell for a Charlize Theron-level beauty? Only she’s a presidential candidate

The post Star Power Saves ‘Long Shot’ from Liberal Talking Points appeared first on Hollywood in Toto.

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Society Reviews
The nostalgia critic has a saying he does at the beginning of every video: "I remember it so you don't have to". Well, I just created a new saying "I'm reviewing it so I don't have to see it" 
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