Category Archives: Movies

Film review: The Bank Job

This is an excellent action/suspense/good guy does bad things/true crime/keystone cops/stuffy Brits flick. Jason Statham has the leading role, and drags the action through the occasional dry spell. It’s a bit long, in part due to the repeated head shots of Saffron Burrows. I’m not saying it will win any awards, but it’s very entertaining. Just don’t ask yourself why they carried off the ledger.

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Bush says new violence in Iraq is good; Jack Nicholson responds

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Film review: Persepolis

This is a feature-length black and white animation in French, with subtitles. It is the story of a girl growing up in post-Shah Iran. The film is surprisingly moving at times, and generally informative, but it is rather long and, let’s face it, a little boring. It has won a number of awards, and rightly so, but don’t expect miracles.

I am constantly annoyed by the portrayal of Iranian history as starting at the time the Shah was overthrown. The overthrow of the democratically elected leader of Iran by Britain and the US, and the installation of the Shah, set the stage for the revolution and repression that has followed. It’s all about the oil, today as it was back in the 50’s. Don’t let the oily president and vice president of the US fool you.

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Movie review: The Orphanage

Interesting happenstance: the power went out so we just headed for the theater. What we got was the Spanish mystery/horror/chiller film, The Orphanage, directed by first timer Juan Antonio Bayona.
This is a black and white, Spanish production with subtitles, starring Belen Rueda. She buys the ophanage in which she had lived as a child, but strange things begin to happen, and her son disappears, resulting in a frenzied search.

It’s a very good film, and it forces you to pay attention. I understand that it will be nominated for an Oscar, and that would be appropriate, in several categories, including direction and some technical categories. I give it three and a half stars out of a possible four. It’ll spook ya.

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Movie review: I Am Legend. No, you’re not.

Will Smith stars in this unfortunate film, which makes me think of a collage of old movie plots, none of which I liked very much…horrible virus, war of the worlds, road warriors, zombies, Twilight Zone, Rin Tin Tin. It’s a rather shocking horror flick, but also a psychological thriller, a loud sci fi chiller, close encounters, a computer graphics wonderland, and a plot that seems half baked. The ending is limp.

Don’t waste your time unless you really, really like expensive popcorn. 1 out of 4.

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Chuck Norris: litmus test for Americans


Here’s a Chuck Norris fact you may not know. If Chuck Norris endorses you and appears in one of your campaign’s TV ads, you take the lead in an Iowa poll and your Web server crashes. That’s what happened to Mike Huckabee, the shrewder-than-you-realize former Arkansas governor (sound familiar?) who has become a major player in the tight Republican presidential race. The ad opens with Huckabee deadpanning: “My plan to secure the border? Two words: Chuck Norris.” The camera moves back to reveal the Man Himself, who praises Huckabee as a solid, gun-loving, IRS-loathing conservative. Huckabee adds a twist at the end. “I approved this message … So did Chuck.” The ad, which ran in Iowa on cable for a week, has generated an astonishing 1.5 million YouTube views and clogged the campaign’s Web site. Huckabee was rising in Iowa even before the ad, but he took the lead with Chuck as Huckster.

Yes, Chuck Norris, a coveted endorsement for GOP candidates. Perfect. I think that pretty much sums it up. Americans could just choose sides based on whether or not they see Chuck Norris as a guiding light.

Of course, Mike Huckabee doesn’t believe in evolution. Not to say that Chuck Norris hasn’t evolved as much as the rest of us……

This is the kind of shit you get when you cede the country to a bunch of profiteers who are all about trying to sell you fear, cheap TV shows and toxic shit from China while they work on the real business of grabbing your pension.

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Occasional Saturday Big Lebowski Roundup

Big news on TBL this week: a new book.

For those Achievers for whom the movie offers an ethos, catharsis against the daily grind, or Zen philosophy for how to live, I’m a Lebowski, You’re A Lebowski is the book we’ve been waiting for. Written by four Lebowski fans (and Lebowski Fest founders) with both a fierce dedication to the movie and an apparent abundance of available free time, this humorous book offers enough Lebowski ins and outs to satisfy even the most rabid fan.

The book is logically divided into chapters that each take a specific approach related to the movie, and even includes a forward by Jeff Bridges (the Dude himself…er, the movie version of the Dude, anyway). The various chapters cover everything from ways to “Dude-ify” your life, to playful yet informative interviews with the movie’s actors (major roles like John Goodman and minor roles like Jim Hoosier, who played Jesus Quintana’s bowling partner and didn’t even have a single line of dialogue), to a tidy analysis of how The Big Lebowski became a cult classic, to various Lebowski tidbits, including the number of F-bombs dropped in the movie (281 according to the authors. I still count 279, and yes, I clearly need professional psychiatric help).

The most revealing chapter of the book contains interviews with the real-life people upon whom the movie versions of the Dude, Walter, and Little Larry Sellers were based. To a certain amount of horror, we learn that there really was an incident in which a junior high kid was confronted in his home by two men who claimed the kid had stolen the Dude’s car. One of the men even produced the kid’s homework, extracted from the seat of the stolen car, encased in a plastic baggie as if it was some sort of evidence bomb.

I believe I have found a great Xmas gift…..

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Happy Thanksgiving

The management of Over the Line, Smokey! wishes you a happy Thanksgiving. We will be taking the entire research, editorial, technical and janitorial staff out for some bowling, so the lights will be out, the shades drawn, and the doors locked. The alarm system will be armed, a guard dog is posted, and Tommy Lee Jones is on cruiser patrol, so don’t even think about breaking in and stealing our thunder.

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Film review: No Country for Old Men

This is a great flick. Based on the novel by 2007 Pulitzer Prize winner Cormac McCarthy. It’s a little out of the mainstream, but that’s the Coen brothers for you. Tommy Lee Jones, (and other old men from Texas) gets to revel in his down-home accent and various cute homilies, and pretend to be astonished by the level of violence in the world. I mean, Texas is a land of ironies. The mild-mannered, polite, “god-fearing” folks, who drink, smoke, get boob jobs, go to strip clubs and practice racism and violence. But they all “church,” which makes it okay.

Fascinating place. Land of George W. Bush.

Javier Bardem: a total freaking scary guy.

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Gore’s team responds to British “verdict” on An Inconvenient Truth. UPDATED.

Washington Post:

read it. The Gore team decided to take a rather “forest” view instead of “trees;” that is consistent with Gore’s non-confrontational approach. I think they could have refuted in somewhat more detail. For example, the idea that polar bears drowned because of a storm. Well, they have storms there all the time; the issue was that the bears were too far from their ice, because the ice is melting, and couldn’t get back to safety.

but who am I?

UPDATE: for a rather complete discussion, see RealClimate.

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