Posted by: consigliere5 | April 6, 2010

April 6 2010

Political Content from dvds released on April 6, 2010 plus some older ones including 2 that are faith-based: Newly released: Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans… older: Amelia, Nim’s Island, Analyze This, The Piano, The Beautiful Country, House on Haunted Hill, Return to House on Haunted Hill, L’enfant, [REC]… faith-based: The List, Midnight Clear

1. Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans [Rated R for drug use and language throughout, some violence and sexuality.]

summary from imdb:

Terence McDonagh is a drug- and gambling-addled detective in post-Katrina New Orleans investigating the killing of five Senegalese immigrants.

directed by: Werner Herzog

starring: Nicolas Cage, Eva Mendes, Val Kilmer, Fairuza Balk, Xzibit, Shawn Hatosy, Jennifer Coolidge, Vondie Curtis-Hall, Brad Dourif, Irma P. Hall, Shea Whigham, Michael Shannon

Conservo-Libertarian Reviews:
Kyle Smith
Kurt Loder
movieguide.org Christian reviews

Poli-Bits: police corruption

leave it to the great Werner Herzog to make a post-Katrina movie set in New Orleans and never blame Bush for it… (though there is a mention of Guantanamo)

dialogue:

Val Kilmer: that means Guantanamo Bay ?rules?

drugdealer guy: this that Taliban s###… that’s what this is… that s### that Osama give a m#####f##### before they blow themselves up

2. Amelia (2009) [Rated PG for some sensuality, language, thematic elements and smoking.]

summary from imdb.com:

A look at the life of legendary American pilot Amelia Earhart, who disappeared while flying over the Pacific Ocean in 1937 in an attempt to make a flight around the world.

starring: Hilary Swank, Richard Gere, Ewan McGregor, Christopher Eccleston, Cherry Jones, Mia Wasikowska

Conservo-Libertarian Reviews:
Carl Kozlowski at Big Hollywood
Christian Toto
movieguide.org Christian reviews

Poli-Bits:

from the Flick Filosopher:

The movie consists, mostly, of a series of flashbacks covering the ten years prior to that historical circumnavigation, when she has affairs with the publisher George Putnam (Richard Gere: I’m Not There, The Hunting Party) — who invents her in the eyes of the media — but to whom she is wary of making any “medieval” vows of faithfulness, and with the aviator Gene Vidal (Ewan McGregor: Angels & Demons, Cassandra’s Dream), too, who shares her passion for flying. She doesn’t hesitate to love both men at the same time, and you can have all the debates you want over the rightness or wrongness or the fairness or the unkindness of what she did — is it “cheating” when you’ve made no bones about your lack of desire for exclusive loyalty? — but this was who she was. And this is what the film gives us: her idea of autonomy and independence that is so intrinsic to who she is that there is no question about it in the film’s mind.

That — the assumption of autonomy, whether your idea of autonomy is the same — is a luxury rarely accorded to women in our pop culture, and it is wonderful to see here.

dialogue:

George: But all the money from this will go to Mrs. Guest.

Amelia: Except for the part that goes to you…

George: Well, this is America… and therefore I am obligated to make as much money as I can…

Amelia: How much fuel do you lose because of these?

pilot: costs us at least 400 gallons…

Amelia: well, then why have them?

George: the owner wants to protect her plane in case you have to ditch it at sea…

Amelia: but those are decisions I have to make, not somebody else… they’re not making this trip, we are…

George: But she owns the plane, and this is still America, Miss Earhart… Ownership is the trump card…

pilot: Sad to say, but dollars put planes in the air…

from a letter written by Amelia:

In our life together, I shall not hold you to any medieval code of faithfulness to me nor shall I consider myself bound to you similarly…

Minister: Amelia, do you promise to love, honor and obey this man…

Amelia: excuse me, sir? may we take that back a bit, please? Love, yes, if it’s warranted… honor, same thing… obey, I can’t promise that under any circumstances… but the groom understands that…

George: please remove “obey” from the prayer so we can wrap this up before the bride runs off…

3. Nim’s Island (2008) [Rated PG for mild adventure action and brief language.]

summary from imdb.com:

A young girl inhabits an isolated island with her scientist father and communicates with a reclusive author of the novel she’s reading.

starring: Abigail Breslin, Gerard Butler, Jodie Foster

Conservo-Libertarian Reviews:
Christian Toto

Poli-Bits: nothing…

but… if you’re a leftist reviewer… you might agree with Cynthia Fuchs when she writes:

Early in Nim’s Island, the lovely, serenely self-confident Nim (Abigail Breslin) loses herself in a new book. It’s the latest in her favorite series, written by Alex Rover and starring Alex Rover, an adventurer of the Indiana Jones persuasion. As Nim settles into her bed and begins reading My Arabian Adventure, the screen situates her in the middle of the fantasy, such that Alex (Gerard Butler) appears in the desert, surrounded by dark-skinned Arabs in white robes. To effect his escape from the threat of a “Pot of Spiders,” he grabs up one of his enemies’ swords and starts swashbuckling. They fall by the wayside, defeated.

Nim smiles, her faith in Alex’s heroism reaffirmed. But you might be cringing. Racist fantasy is never a good start for a children’s film, or any film, for that matter. It’s also not helpful that Alex’s next adventure, imagined by his creator back in San Francisco, Alexandra Rover (Jodie Foster), has him tied to a pole and carried by black African primitives, who mean to dump him into a volcano as a human sacrifice. Erk.

These disturbing images are, to be fair, brief, essentially jokey moments in Nim’s Island. The focus is more earnestly on the relationship that develops between 11-year-old Nim and Alex from San Francisco…

4. Analyze This (1999)[Rated R for language, a scene of sexuality and some violence.]

summary from imdb.com:

The basic premise of this film is what if one of gangland’s Dons suddenly started having anxiety attacks because of past problems. When he decides to see a shrink, what can he tell him without giving away the gang’s secrets and reveal too much about his own situations? Add to the fact that this type of individual is used to everyone catering to his whims and he expects the psychiatrist to do the same, neglecting his regular practice and his attempts to get married.

starring: Robert De Niro, Billy Crystal, Lisa Kudrow, Chazz Palminteri, Joe Viterelli, Molly Shannon, Max Casella, Tony Bennett

Conservo-Libertarian Reviews:
John Simon at the National Review
movieguide.org Christian Reviews

Poli-Bits: nothing

5. The Piano (1993) [Rated R for moments of extremely graphic sexuality.]

summary from imdb.com:

It is the mid-nineteenth century. Ada is a mute who has a young daughter, Flora. In an arranged marriage she leaves her native Scotland accompanied by her daughter and her beloved piano. Life in the rugged forests of New Zealand’s South Island is not all she may have imagined and nor is her relationship with her new husband Stewart. She suffers torment and loss when Stewart sells her piano to a neighbour, George. Ada learns from George that she may earn back her piano by giving him piano lessons, but only with certain other conditions attached. At first Ada despises George but slowly their relationship is transformed and this propels them into a dire situation.

starring: Holly Hunter, Harvey Keitel, Sam Neill, Anna Paquin, Cliff Curtis,

Conservo-Libertarian Reviews:
movieguide.org Christian Reviews

Poli-Bits:

from James Berardinelli:

The Piano is about passion, the most basic and primal element of human nature. No matter how thick the veneer of civilization is, or how deeply-buried beneath layers of social repression those latent emotions are, passion ultimately cannot be denied. This is something that the three principals of this movie learn in various, often unpleasant, ways. […] The Piano has powerful emotional themes resonating through it, all dealing with the release of repressed passion. Baines, who has embraced the native Maori methods of living, no longer clings to the values of British society, and is therefore quite capable of expressing himself freely — which he does, albeit in some strange ways. Stewart, however, views the Maori with suspicion and hostility and, in clinging to the tenants of English society, refuses to allow himself to feel until one violent moment when everything comes pouring out. Ada, hampered as much by her lack of voice as by social pressures, is yearning to break free, and only through Baines does she find the courage to do so.

6. The Beautiful Country (2004) [Rated R for some language and a crude sexual reference.]

summary from imdb.com:

After reuniting with his mother in Ho Chi Minh City, a family tragedy causes Binh to flee from Viet Nam to America. Landing in New York, Binh begins a road trip to Texas, where his American father is said to live.

starring: Damien Nguyen, Nick Nolte, Tim Roth

Conservo-Libertarian Reviews:
movieguide.org Christian Reviews

Poli-Bits:

from Reeling Reviews

Moland has done great work with his cast (the villains on either end are unfeeling capitalists

from PopMatters:

“I’ve been to your country,” Captain Oh (Tim Roth) tells Binh (Damien Nguyen). “Both of your countries. You will always be out of place wherever you go. And poor.” Damien nods and bows his head, used to being called ugly, different, and doomed. In rural Vietnam, where he has grown up, he is called [Bui Doi] (translating as “less than dust”). Alone and afraid, he is also determined. […]

Their eventual escape and transport on Captain Oh’s ship exposes still more of the hypocrisies that order the refugees’ world. They huddle in the hold, starving amid filth and stormy disarray, advised that they should stay healthy, in order to earn the transporter (Temuera Morrison) top dollar (“You’ll all be rich in America,” he lies). With nothing but time and desperate hope on their hands, the wage contests for water and wormy rice, based on the ability to list U.S. products: Clint Eastwood, NBA, and Folgers coffee. For most of the journey, Binh observes, trying to remain unseen and out of danger; when pressed to his utter limit by a dreadful turn of events, he reveals himself: he knows the names of more products than anyone, spitting them with aggressive contempt rather than expectation.

Having signed papers that consign them to work off their passage once they arrive in New York City, the new illegal immigrants follow strict routines: Binh again keeps his head down as he shuffles from his Chinatown restaurant job (where he throws out platefuls of uneaten food) to his underground bunk every night, while Ling sings at a karaoke bar, turning tricks with odious, brash Caucasians in suits. Again, Binh’s inclined to rescue her, but she feels so lost at this point that she can only reject his affection. “I’m ugly too,” she says, as they stand surrounded by NYC traffic, her fake leather fringe jacket and gaudy jewelry flashing in the neon lights.

Despondent, Binh plays cards with his bunkmates, the tv in the background conveniently running Gordon Gekko’s “Greed is good” speech at the very moment they let slip that Binh actually has legal rights as a child of a U.S. soldier. That is, he came by way of the horrific ship voyage when he would have been afforded free air transport to the States (owing to the 1984 Amerasian repatriation program, and then, the 1988 Amerasian Homecoming Act, which formalized immigration and provided acclimation programs in the U.S.). It’s a stunning, depressing discovery, that he has been so easily exploited, at any number of moments over the past months. And yet, Binh is also coming to understand this Western capitalism: humans are property, in war and in peace.

The frustration gets him moving again, catching a couple of emblematic rides. The first is with a group of Vietnam war veterans, all amputees (“What you lookin’ at boy?” comes the initial challenge, until Binh assures him that he’s seen many people without limbs. The second offers another way of thinking about race, racism, and the status of immigrants. A truck pulls over, and the Mexican driver peers out at him: “I thought you were Mexican,” he says. “Ah what the hell, get in.”

At once metaphorical and brutal, Binh’s long-anticipated reunion with Steve (Nick Nolte) offers only rational reasons for the father’s abandonment. Binh may or may not forgive him, but the more daunting effect is visible in their long pauses — and Steve’s brief, pained fingering of his son’s “ugly” face. They’re both seeking, both enduring the continuing costs of war — the Vietnam war in particular, others certainly. Literally blind, Steve embodies U.S. lapses and longings, political and moral missteps, and the guilt that drives and undermines all efforts to do right.

7. House on Haunted Hill (1999)[Rated R for horror violence and gore, sexual images and language.]

summary from imdb.com:

How far would you go for a million dollars? Would you spend the night in a haunted house? When twisted billionaire Stephen Price and his devilish wife, Evelyn, offer six strangers one million dollars each, there is only one rule to the game: they’ll have to survive one night in a former mental institution, haunted by the ghosts of the inmates killed there, and an insane doctor who did unspeakable things… At first, everyone is having fun, thinking that the whole thing is a joke. But once the entire house automatically seals itself shut, they realize that this is no joke.

starring: Geoffrey Rush, Famke Janssen, Taye Diggs, Peter Gallagher, Chris Kattan, Ali Larter, Bridgette Wilson, Max Perlich, Jeffrey Combs, James Marsters, Lisa Loeb, Peter Graves

non-Conservative  Reviews

Poli-Bits: nothing

8. Return to House on Haunted Hill (2007) [Rated R for strong bloody horror violence, language and brief sexuality/nudity.]

summary from imdb.com:

8 Years have passed since Sara Wolfe and Eddie Baker escaped the House on Haunted Hill. Now the kidnapped Ariel, Sara’s sister, goes inside the house with a group of treasure hunters to find the statue of Baphomet, worth millions and believed to be the cause of the House’s evil.

starring: Amanda Righetti, Cerina Vincent, Erik Palladino, Jeffrey Combs

non-Conservative Reviews

Poli-Bits: it just wouldn’t be Hollywood without the obligatory mention of the church and the Inquisition…

9. L’enfant (2005) [Rated R for brief language.]

summary from imdb.com:

Bruno and Sonia are boy friend and girl friend, playful, immature. She’s still in her teens; they chase each other, share cigarettes, spray sodas and wrestle. The thing is, they also have a new baby. Just out of hospital, Sonia seeks out Bruno to bring him his son. Bruno’s indifferent. In the grimy Belgian city of Seraing, he’s a petty thief with no interest in work, no plan, spending money as fast as he can fence cameras and jewelry. He sells the baby. Sonia’s reaction and Bruno’s surprise at her response inform his subsequent actions. The camera follows and observes him: has he a nascent conscience or any chance at redemption? Can he help himself?

non-Conservative reviews

Poli-Bits:

from Slant Magazine:

They may see Bruno’s actions as the residual damage of a heartless social existence (a dog-eat-dog global market)

from Los Angeles Times:

In these and the still earlier “La Promesse,” the Belgian directing brothers deal with themes they have made their own: the difficulty of being moral in an amoral world and the grinding, unforgiving nature of reality for those forced by poverty to live on the margins of society. […] For if they are after nothing else, the Dardennes are determined to demonstrate how little room to maneuver there is for individuals marginalized by implacable social forces, how difficult it can be to have ordinary feelings while living in painfully impoverished circumstances.

from the Village Voice

and an unlikely affinity for Robert Bresson; the mode might be described as spiritually infused social realism./As the brothers’ 1999 come-from-nowhere Cannes laureate Rosetta suggested a Marxist remake of Bresson’s Mouchette, so their second Palme d’Or triumph, L’Enfant (premiered here at last fall’s New York Film Festival), revisits Bresson’s more abstract Pickpocket in its saga of crime, punishment, and redemption.

10. [REC] (2007) [Rated R for bloody horror violence and language.]

summary from imdb.com:

“REC” turns on a young TV reporter and her cameraman who cover the night shift at the local fire station. Receiving a call from an old lady trapped in her house, they reach her building to hear horrifying screams — which begin a long nightmare and a uniquely dramatic TV report.

non-Conservative reviews

Poli-Bits: nothing

11. The List (2007) [Rated PG for thematic elements including some peril and brief incidental smoking.]

summary from imdb.com:

A sudden death tied to a list from the past leads to unimaginable evil. Fresh out of law school and full of hope for the future, Renny Jacobson is stunned by his father’s sudden death–and then by the terms of the will: the elder Jacobson has left the bulk of his estate to charity. For his only son, he has left nothing more than the contents of a deposit box and interest in a company no one has heard of–the Covenant List of South Carolina, Ltd. When Renny encounters lovely Jo Johnston, meets the members of “The List,” and discovers the staggering value of his father’s mysterious bequest, his hope is resurrected. But why is Jo, to whom he is deeply attracted, so reluctant for him to claim his rightful share? Renny feels the supernatural power of the 140-year-old covenant–feels it and wants it for himself. But when his life and Jo’s begin to unravel, he is forced to face the truth about “The List.” And nothing short of a miracle will save them from its grasp.

starring: Malcolm McDowell, Hilarie Burton, Pat Hingle, Mary Beth Peil, Will Patton

Conservo-Libertarian Reviews:
movieguide.org Christian Reviews

non-Conservative reviews

Poli-Bits: nothing

from PopMatters

The List is tale of supernatural combat in which the forces of greed, black magic and the lust for power are pitted against Christian faith, love and the power of prayer.

12. Midnight Clear (2006) [Rated PG-13 for some mature thematic elements.]

summary from imdb.com:

A recently homeless and jobless loser, a senior citizen estranged from her family, a mother of one dealing with her husband’s brain damage, a gas station owner stuck in a job he hates, and a youth pastor feeling irrelevant face depression and loneliness on Christmas Eve. As they cross paths and experience random and minor acts of kindness, their lives are changed forever.

directed by: Dallas Jenkins

starring: Stephen Baldwin, K Callan, Victoria Jackson, Richard Riehle

non-conservative reviews

Poli-Bits: nothing

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Responses

  1. A rule to live by:

    Don’t presume to write movie reviews if you didn’t graduate from high school. LOL!


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