• Movies,  Trump

    Trump the cartoon tough guy

    The smartest and most incisive writing about Donald Trump is being produced by conservatives who have the sense to be horrified by him and his sycophants. And so I recommend this article by Kevin Williamson of The National Review in which he explains how Trump’s tough-guy persona is an utter sham. He suggests that Trump is a wannabe Blake (Alec Baldwin) from the movie version of Glengarry Glen Ross who can’t quite pull it off. In fact he’s really more like the hapless salesman Shelley Levene (Jack Lemmon). Despite his railing and threatening, Trump can’t get a Republican majority in Congress to kill the dreaded Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare).…

  • antisemitism,  History,  Movies


    A good interview on National Public Radio with Prof. Deborah Lipstadt about the new film “Denial,” based on the legal challenge she faced from David Irving in 1996 after she called him a Holocaust denier. Here’s the trailer. Avoid the comments if you don’t want to have your stomach turned. Apparently Irving is a martyr to a frightening number of people.

  • History,  Movies,  The Left

    Trumbo: Stalinists as victims

    Cross-posted from Eric Lee “Trumbo” is a the latest in a series of Hollywood films that looks back nostalgically at the McCarthy era, a time when the good guys were blacklisted writers accused of membership in the Communist Party, and the bad guys were the US government, studio bosses, and right-wing media. The first of those films was probably “The Way We Were” (1973) starring Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford. Made only a few years after blacklisting had ended, when the Cold War was still raging, it became a template for future films on the subject. The film takes place over several decades, as Streisand and Redford fall in and…

  • Movies

    Unleash the news!

    I’ve just seen the film Spotlight, an investigative thriller.  A team of journalists working for the Boston Globe dig into records and interview witnesses and after a year of toil finally gain their prize, the story of the widespread abuse of children by priests and the Roman Catholic Church’s cover up. It’s an exciting film, well-acted, shot and scored. The reporters are dogged heroes on a quest, moving from house to house speaking to victims and going through directories of the names and parishes of priests with a ruler, like a heroine in a fairy story sorting out millet and lentils. Meanwhile the great stone churches of Boston loom over…

  • Dress Down Friday,  Movies

    Again with the “Star Wars”?

    I saw the original “Star Wars” movie when it came out in 1977. I never had the slightest desire to see any of the subsequent sequels or prequels, and haven’t. I’ve sometimes wondered if I would have felt differently if I had been, say, 10 years younger. And I’ve decided: Nah.

  • Movies,  North Korea

    “The Interview” is back

    After pressure from President Obama, among others, the good news is that Sony Entertainment has reversed itself and agreed to a limited release on December 25 of the movie “The Interview”– a comedy about a CIA-sponsored assassination of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. The less-good news is that “The Interview” is, by most reports, a not-so-terrific movie. I just hope New Regency will revive plans to make “Pyongyang,” which looks like it would be a much more interesting film.

  • Freedom of Expression,  Movies,  North Korea

    No joke

    When I posted last June about an upcoming movie comedy depicting a CIA plot to assassinate North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, I titled the post: Not coming soon to the Pyongyang multiplex. Now, it appears, it won’t be coming to any theaters in the US either. Sony Pictures Entertainment has dropped its plans for a Dec. 25 release of “The Interview,” a crude comedy that prompted a threat of terror against theaters. The cancellation Wednesday afternoon came as the largest United States and Canadian film exhibitors said they would not show the movie. In a statement, Sony said: “We respect and understand our partners’ decision and, of course, completely…

  • Iran,  Movies


    On Sunday I drove 50 miles to the big city (Roanoke, Virginia) to see “Rosewater,” a movie based on the experiences of the Iranian-born journalist Maziar Bahari as he covered the beginning of the 2009 Green Revolution and underwent 118 days of solitary confinement, endless interrogation and brutal treatment in Iran’s notorious Evin Prison as an alleged spy. The film, written and directed by Jon Stewart of “The Daily Show,” is a moving (and sometimes funny) reminder of a moment in recent history when it seemed that the suffocating grip of the mullahs on Iran might actually be smashed through the sheer determination of the millions of Iranians who took…

  • Movies,  Wikileaks

    WikiLeaks: the movie

    Coming in October to a theater possibly near you: Garance Franke-Ruta writes: Based on Daniel Domscheit-Berg’s book Inside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange at the World’s Most Dangerous Website and David Leigh and Luke Harding’s WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy, the film covers the heady early days of the site and appears from the trailer, which was just released, to cast Assange as a heroic visionary who takes things too far. “You can’t change change the world without crashing the system,” the movie trailer says. It would seem an apt tagline for Snowden’s activities, too — and a reminder that it’s only a matter of time before…