Thursday, August 17, 2017

Seth Myers on Trump's disastrous Charlottesville news conference

Here's Seth Myers with a Closer Look at conservative President Trump's horrific news conference where he goes off the rails on the Charlottesville riot. We might as well laugh because it hurts so much.

Stick Mike Pence with Donald Trump

If conservative President Donald Trump resigns or is impeached, Democrats must stick Vice President Mike Pence with him. Trump has recently demonstrated he is a racist by defending Nazis and has likely colluded with the Russians. If the Democrats are politically savvy they must attach Pence with him. That won't be hard to do. Use every interview where Republican Pence has kissed Trump's ass by obsequious devotion. Make sure he is damaged politically if Pence runs for President in 2020.

Of course, if Pence had anything to do with Russians then the mid-term elections become even more important. If the Democrats can take the House, a Democratic Speaker could become the next President if Trump and Pence have to leave before 2020.

Stick Pence with Trump like David Letterman jumping into a wall of Velcro.

Will Trump resign?

The Huffington Post is reporting that Tony Schwartz who co-wrote "The Art of the Deal" is predicting that conservative President Donald Trump will resign. He believes that the Russia investigation will do the Republican Trump in. Through his Twitter account, Schwartz argues that Trump will make deal for immunity rather than face criminal charges and resign.

A couple of things to demand from Trump if he wants immunity for resignation. And let's face it, Trump will probably get immunity for his son-in-law, Jared Kushner and son Donald Jr. Obviously Kushner must go as White house Adviser. Second, both Trumps and Kushner must admit that they colluded with the Russians. Third, they must cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller so that he may file a report about Russian meddling with our democracy.

Conservative Trump again defends the Confederacy and knows nothing of history

Republican President Donald Trump has just tweeted bemoaning the nationwide removal of Confederate statues. CNN report. Conservative Trump wrote:

"Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments." "You can't change history, but you can learn from it." "Robert E Lee, Stonewall Jackson - who's next, Washington, Jefferson? So foolish!" CNN report.

If there was any question that Trump is a racist, is over. He is. These statues are monuments to the Confederacy. that's the "culture" he wants to preserve. And while some may have artistic value, almost all of them were erected to honor the Confederacy. And the Confederacy's prime issue was to preserve slavery. It should be noted that removing of Confederate statues is contested by racists and Nazis. By siding with the Confederacy and Nazis, Trump has now shown he is a racist. His support of the Obama birther issue is even more evidence.

Trump also does not know history. Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson fought and killed people to tear the country apart and preserve slavery. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, while not perfect, were the founding fathers of our great democracy.

Conservative President Trump defends Nazis

So I watched Republican President Trump's news conference on Tuesday about the Charlottesville riots. It was a whole dimension of crazy. Call it 3D crazy. It was so deranged that at first I thought his comment about some "very fine people" marched to protest the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue sounded reasonable. CNN Transcript. That is, until I thought about it. First, the protest was organized by far right racists. Second, look at videos of the march the night before the fateful Saturday riots. Those who were marching with torches were Nazis. The shouted "blood and soil." That is a Nazi motto. They also shouted, "Jews will not replace us.' (Vice News Documentary; caution this is video contains disturbing language and images. EVERY REPUBLICAN SHOULD WATCH THIS HBO VICE VIDEO.)   These people are Nazis.

President Trump stated that some  "very fine people" protested against the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue. Not true. When you march with Nazis, you are a Nazi/  . Conservative republican Donald Trump has just defended Nazis.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Trump defends the Confederacy by equating Robert E. Lee to George Washington

Yesterday, conservative President Donald Trump, showed his real self  in a press conference.   When addressing the Charlottesville  riots, Trump revealed he sympathized with the Nazis.  (Here's the CNN transcript.) Perhaps the most outrageous and egregious thing he did was to morally equate Robert E. Lee with George Washington. Here's what he said.

"You had people in that group that were there to protest the taking down of, to them, a very, very important statue and the renaming of a park from Robert E. Lee to another name.
(CROSSTALK)
QUESTION: George Washington and Robert E. Lee are not the same (inaudible)...
(CROSSTALK)
TRUMP: George Washington was a slave-owner. Was George Washington a slave-owner? So, will George Washington now lose his status? Are we going to take down -- excuse me -- are we going to take down -- are we going to take down statues to George Washington?
(CROSSTALK)
TRUMP: How about Thomas Jefferson? What do you think of Thomas Jefferson? You like him?
(CROSSTALK)
TRUMP: OK. Good. Are we going to take down the statue? Because he was a major slave-owner. Now, are we going to take down his statue? So you know what? It's fine. You're changing history. You're changing culture. And you had people, and I'm not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists, because they should be condemned totally. But you had many people in that group other than neo-Nazis and white nationalists.+


Hey President Trump, you blonde haired, orange skin idiot. Comparing Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson to George Washington and Thomas Jefferson means you see them in the same light. Robert E Lee and Stonewall Jackson fought for the Confederacy. The Confederacy wanted to tear America apart and preserve slavery. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were Founding Fathers and created our country. Equating Lee and Jackson to Washington and Jefferson is Trump's way of supporting the Confederacy. Lee and Jackson should not be honored with monuments for fighting for slavery. And while Washington and Jefferson were flawed because they had slaves, they created our created our great democracy.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Stephen Miller should have learned diversity from Star Trek

Back on August 2, White House adviser Stephen Miller defended conservative President Trump's new policy to select English speaking people for legal immigration. CNN's Jim Acosta challenged the policy by raising the poem on the Statue of Liberty about the "huddled masses yearning to breathe free" and arguing that the administration favors immigrants from Great Britain, Australia, i.e. white English speaking countries. Miller then stated that the poem was added later to the statue and implied that it doesn't mean anything as it relates the the monument. He then accused Acosta of having a cosmopolitan bias. Which means Acosta believes in a kind of America that is a melting pot of races and ideas. Politico article.

While researching whether Miller is a racist, I found he is a Star Trek fan. Vanity Fair. I would suggest Miller follow the ideas of Star Trek. Its creator, Gene Roddenberry,  intentionally made a crew of multiple races to push diversity. (Video below.) So it's right for Star Trek, it's right for America. We are a melting pot. And diversity is our strength. Just look at the Women's Olympic Gymnastics team of 1996 and 2016 which won team Gold Medals.

Gene Roddenberry interview ABC Good Morning America, 1986; at 30 seconds made diversity of the crew a priority

Monday, August 14, 2017

Violence from the radical left is also wrong

I've expressed my opposition to Nazis and white supremacists. But here's where I agree with President Trump when he condemned all sides for the Charlottesville violence. Yes, conservative Trump messed up by not pointing out that it was a Nazi who killed a woman. He failed to condemn the Nazis for their ideas. After all, the initial protest was organized by white supremacists and Nazis. However, he is correct to criticize violence from the radical left.

Far left groups like the Antifa are right to oppose fascists and racists. But they should not use violence, or threats to shut down speech. The First Amendment protects even the fascists. By stooping to the level of the fascists, these far left groups give ammunition to them and diminish their cause.

Conservative Trump refuses to name Nazis and white supremacists as the cause of Charlottesville

Republican and Conservative President Donald Trump refused to call out Nazis and white supremacists as the cause of the violence and murder of a woman in Charlottesville, Virginia on Saturday. (Video below.) This is akin to saying that World War II was caused by all sides and refusing to call out the Germans and Japan. Let's be clear. Trump built his political presidential career on the racism of being the chief birther challenging Obama's American birth. There is a clear stream of racism in Trump.

And you conservatives still defending Trump over his refusal to call out Nazis and white supremacists,it makes a difference. I'm saying you Vice President Pence who is also a Republican and conservative. Here's a Huffington Post story with Soledad O' Brian's posting of the Nazis at the Daily Stormer celebrating Trump's response. They say "He loves us all." These Nazis feel emboldened.

Liberals must continue to fight and press Trump to condemn white supremacists and Nazis.

KKK leader David Duke was at Saturday's "Unite the Right" rally. He's at the :50 second mark.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Stephen Colbert teaches us how to love the bomb

Conservative President Donald Trump threatened North Korea with nuclear war. Yes, the blonde hair, orange skin idiot is freaking out the world with the idea of ending it with nuclear war. We need Stephen Colbert with his wit and sarcasm to make us laugh before we are killed by Trump.



The Dark Tower review

The Dark Tower is nowhere near as bad as other film critics say it is. The film is based on Stephen King's eight novels of the same name. It mixes a bunch of genres together. Fantasy. Science Fiction. Westerns. As this  is quite creative, it is also one of the problems with the movie.

The movie opens with a written statement that a Dark Tower keeps the forces of darkness from entering the universe and that a mind of a child can destroy it. Walter Padick aka The Man in Black wants to bring the darkness into the universe.  He is played by a tongue in cheek Matthew McConaughey. He gleefully wonders around the universe getting little girls to learn hate, kill children in a mind machine to see if they can bring down the tower, torture and kill people. He just twitches his nose and magic happens. Um... no that nose twitching is Bewitched.  But he might as well do that. He just says things like, "Stop breathing" and the victim does. It's so effortless that it comes off somewhat ludicrous and McConaughey knows it. He's having fun. It kind of begs the question. Padick is supposed to be a sorcerer.   Yet, he's not the devil and according to the movie he's worse. So can he be killed?

During Padick's search for the child who can bring down the tower, a New York kid named Jake Chambers (Tom Taylor) is having visions of The Gunslinger and the Dark Tower. He also has the "shine" which allows him to send telepathic messages to Jack Nicholson about "all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." Okay, that stuff about Jack Nicholson is not in this movie but is in "The Shining."    The kid does have the "shine."  Anyway, if you can't see the role that Jake is going to play in this movie than you haven't ween any movies based on young adult novels in the last  five years. I mean it's not like the kid is going to get run over by bus five minutes into the movie.

Idris Elba is Roland Deschain aka The Gunslinger, the last of his kind. . He's uses magical six shooters which I think I heard somebody say were made from Arthur's sword, Excalibur?!  Here's a problem. The filmmakers do a terrible job of explaining this. Anyway, he's mad at Padick because he killed his father. And I think he's supposed to protect the Tower. The conflict is that Dechain wants revenge rather than keeping the universe safe. Hold on. Wouldn't killing Padick keep the universe safe? So, why do some aliens give him the guilt trip for trying to seek revenge on  Padick?

Anyway, Jake can also see aliens in New York because he supported Trump and thinks all Mexicans are bad hombres. Er... sorry about that. He can see aliens, the extraterrestrial type. Jake finds a building where he thinks The Gunslinger is at and finds a portal. He turns it on and goes through it and finds himeself on another world called Mid-World. He runs into the Gunslinger and asks him if there is going to be a Pacific Rim sequel. Yes, the sequel stuff aint' true. Anyway, Deschain figures the kid must be important to the plot and must protect him.

There are many problems with this movie. First, if you are going to mash together fantasy, science fiction and Westerns, you had better explain how somethings in your story work. I mean it seems Deschain has super abilities yet he can be killed. Padick's magic doesn't work on Deschain.  How?  And how do magic guns use real world bullets? I  mean wouldn't you need magic bullets to kill a supernatural guy like Padick? And who is Padick? If he's worse than the devil, how can he be killed? And why do almost all of the aliens look like humans? I get it that some aliens on earth use disguises. But why do the aliens look like people on Mid-World?

Director Nikolaj Arcel is skillful in delivering the dystopian visuals of Mid-World and action. The film is not boring. But as i stated there needed to be more focus on the world that the movie is about by showing us how things came to be. The kid with the shining er.. shine is not all that interesting. But Deschain's journey is. I mean the movie talks about killing with the heart, well where did Deschain get that from? Is it like using the Force?   Oh yeah before I forget.  Show the monsters.  When monsters attack, don't do it night or at least light the scene better.

If you are at the theater and can't decide on what film to see, please choose Dunkirk or Atomic Blonde. The Dark Tower should be last on your list. The grade is B minus.





Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Goodbye Glen Campbell

Glen Campbell passed away. God be with him. I grew up with his music. He was one of my first pop music loves. Let's honor him by posting some of his music from the periods I first heard his songs. I've also included a clip from the classic film True Grit (1969) where he saves John Wayne. There's a great line in that movie where his character while fighting death makes another heroic feat and says, "I ain't dead yet." Let's remember to live our lives and fight the obstacles like Glen did.

"Gentle On My Mind" with excellent Campbell solo.


"By the Time I Get to Phoenix" and "Galveston."


"Wichita Lineman."


Classic scene from True Grit (1969) where John Wayne faces four bad guys with the help of Glen Campbell at the end. Great score by Elmer Bernstein also.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Bill Maher exposes conservative hypocrisy about Trump and Obama

I've always said to you conservatives, "If Obama said that, you all would be marching on him" or if "Hillary Clinton did the Russian stuff we have on Trump, you all would be building the gallows for her hanging." I know you conservative Republicans.   You will defend Trump even as he does Russia's bidding.

Well, thanks to Bill Maher for this great comic piece. He shows conservative hypocrisy. Here he has an actor imitating Obama read Trump's actual words. And a warning. These ares some of conservative Trump's more adult and sexually charged comments. I'm talking the Hollywood Access tape. But if you followed  the election, you've heard them.

Conservatives, how do you feel if Obama said Trump's outrageous and terrible statements? Yeah, I see your reaction. Conservatives, put America first. Party should take a back seat to our patriotism.



Sunday, August 6, 2017

Trump's bizarre comments read by Stephen Colbert's cartoon Trump

In case you missed it, Conservative President Trump had a bizarre interview with the Wall Street Journal and Stephen Colbert put some of the weirder quotes to Cartoon Trump. It's as if Trump said a person pays 12 dollars a year for health insurance. Um... sorry conservative Trump did. New York Times via Vox.

Trump shows Russia favoritism by blaming Congress for the bad relationship

Conservative President Donald Trump reluctantly signed the sanctions bill against Russia, Iran and North Korea.  He then blamed Congress for the bad relations with Russia.  Conservatives, I'm not kidding.   Here's what he said:


The vote was for the Russian sanctions was near unanimous bi-partisan support. New York Daily News. These sanctions were for the cyber-attacks against the Democrats but in essence it was an attack on our democracy. The bill passed the House by 419-3, and the Senate by 98-2. CNN By the way, Trump signed the bill because he could not veto it as the support was so complete that any veto would have been overridden. The New York Daily News noted that Trump trashed the bill. He then set out the above tweet.

Conservative Trump has hardly criticized Vladimir Putin. He rushes to defend him. And I agree with Congressmen that the  reason there are sanctions against Russia is not because of Congress but is the fault of Putin. He's the one that's seized the Crimea, interfered militarily in Ukraine's civil war and our 2016 elections. Why doesn't Trump see that? What does Putin have on Trump?



Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Oh no. The Mooch is gone.

White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci aka The Mooch was canned.   He lasted only ten days.  Stephen Colbert is devastated for good reason.  There goes a good source of comedy.  Anyway, Colbert sings Bohemian Rhapsody with new lyrics for the departed.  Funny stuff from Colbert.



The Big Sick review

When Kumail Meets Emily, I mean The Big Sick is a romantic comedy that is based on Pakistani writer Kumail Nanjiani cross cultural and interracial romance with Caucasian Emily Gordon. She also co-wrote the screenplay. Now, when you see a romantic comedy get ready for the formula. Boy meets girl. Boy loses girl. Boy gets girl back assuming you want the Hollywood ending.

Kumail (played by the real Kumail Nanjiani) is a struggling Pakistani-American stand-up comedian in Chicago. During a performance, he's heckled by Emily (Zoe Kazan), a Caucasian woman. When Kumail finishes his set, he goes over to her and hits on her. Later that night, they have sex. Really. This never happens to me. There is a reason for  sex on the first meeting, I won't say impossible on the random sex act because I'm sure it happens somewhere. It's because this film probably would have been three hours long if the two waited for the third date.

Anyway, between Kumail's stand-up and his Uber driving, he is able to maintain a relationship with Emily. Kumail is also pressured by his Muslim parents, father Azmat (Anupam Kher) and mother (Zenobia Shroff) Sharmeen to marry a nice Pakistani girl. Hey it ain't going to be a bad girl. They arrange meetings with women at family dinners. You see in Kumail's culture, people are married by arrangement. And your new wife better be Muslim. It's like Fiddler on the Roof. You know where the Jewish father starts to sing "Tradition." Will I get in trouble by mixing Jews and Muslims? By the way, I can make jokes about Jews and Muslims since I'm a Chinese American. (That's a joke.)

Well, Kumail keeps his relationship with Emily a secret from his parents and that fact from Emily. All right, here it comes.  Boy loses girl.   Then girl goes into a coma.  Um... well it happens this way.  Emily gets sick and must be placed in a medically induced coma. What?! Is this thing turning into Love Story?. Guess what? I've researched this and it really happened to the real Kumail Nanjiani and Emily Gordon. (People) So there. The big, crazy plot point is actually based on something true.   But why should we be surprised at crazy stuff in real life?   We've got a guy who brags he molests women, betrayed his country for the Russians as our President of the United States.   .

Anyway, Emily's parents, Beth (Holly Hunter) and Terry (Ray Romano) arrive to care for their daughter. I don't think Romano will ever shake his character in Everybody Loves Ray unless he plays a serial killer. But God love Holly Hunter. Her Beth is a passionate, loving, Southern liberal. Yeah, they do exist.

Kudos to Nanjiani and Gordon's writing.  You want to see how talented Nanjiani is?   He plays this guy in the video game Mass Effect: Andromeda.   He's the voice of Jarun Tann, a Salarian.  You know those guys with two horns for a head and nasal voices.

But I digress. This film succeeds because of two things. First, the jokes work. The writers are unafraid of poking fun at Muslim traditions, and other topics that do not lend themselves to comedy. There are jokes about 9-11 terrorists, dog erections and being in a coma. And while some of the comedians in the movie disagree about how much  humor is in dog erection jokes, I think they can be quite funny. Second, the romance works. Emily loves Kumail. But can he overcome his cultural upbringing to embrace his love for her?

The Big Sick is very funny, and has a big heart. The grade is A.

John Oliver exposes Alex Jones

Conservative President Donald Trump is a fan of InfoWars, Alex Jones' conspiracy website. As Megyn Kelly reports, he has the ear of Trump. (Beginning and at 2:40 below.) I've embedded Kelly's interview below. Yeah, Jones sounds crazy. But head over to YouTube and check out HBO's John Olive piece, "Alex Jones." First it exposes Jones as not just a conspiracy website but one which uses the stories to sell his products. Yep, I'm not linking because Oliver's piece has a graphic anatomical diagram.

Folks, there are conservative Republicans that follow Jones. Learn the truth about this conspiracy nut. He also pushed the "Pizzagate" story which alleged that Hillary Clinton was running a child sex operation out of a pizza restaurant. (Video at 12:30) A person took that literally and went in with a gun to "investigate." Shots were fired but no one was hurt. The shooter was arrested. That is the definition of "fake news", conservative President Trump.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Stephen Colbert has fun with Anthony Scaramucci

In case you missed White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci's interview with The New Yorker, it is not here. Yeah, I can't. Because I'm trying to keep this blog PG rated. So I'll let Stephen Colbert go over it. Warning. Scaramucci aka "The Mooche" cusses worse than a sailor and discusses White House Adviser Steve Bannon's um... special talent. Funny stuff from Colbert. And here's applause to Jon Baptiste for playing Charlie Parker's "Moose the Mooche" as a motif for Scaramuci. President Trump's team of rivals is going to give us comedy everyday until Trump kills us. Laugh while you can, folks.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Atomic Blonde review

Many of you probably don't remember The Cold War. It was a time when the communist Iron Curtain nations and the West fought each other through proxies and spies. The year 1989 marked the beginning of the end of communism. What would emerge and what will happen to communist spies? A new ideology will arise. It will be criminal greed. Atomic Blonde takes place in this new dawn. The film's arrival is relevant as we are currently in the middle of a Russian scandal of hacking our democracy that is not about old communism but greed.

Atomic Blonde
is told through a series of flashbacks. The place where most of the action takes place is East Berlin. The East German government is about to fall as protesters take to the streets  demanding freedom.  Enter Bourne. Jane Bourne. No. How about    Bond?   Jane Bond. Nyet. Try Broughton. Lorraine Broughton. (Charlize Theron) She is a MI6 agent sent to Berlin to recover a list of agents that if exposed would endanger them and lead to continuation of The Cold War. Hold on. Isn't this the plot to Mission Impossible? Anyway, Broughton is to meet her British contact, David Percival (James McAvoy) who is a entrepreneur when it comes to forbidden Western goods like whiskey. Broughton must follow the trail of a  dead agent to find out where the list is. There are other spies who want the same thing and they will resort to killing for it.

The movie has one hell of a cast. Joining Theron are also Toby Jones and John Goodman who play MI6 and CIA supervisors. Sofia Boutella plays Delphine, a sultry French agent who has an affair with Broughton. There is real chemistry between Theron and Boutella. Their bedroom scenes  smolder and ignite  the screen. James McAvoy is good as the sleazy MI6 agent. But it is Charlize Theron who turns in an Oscar winning performance. It's the small things that make up a whole. The good British accent. The cool and professional way she shoots a gun. And her bad ass fighting skills. She is a fury of punches and kicks. She takes pain and inflicts it. This is one brutal ballet of death. Yet with all the bruises, she still rocks stiletto heals and an evening gown.

Writer Kurt Johnstad adopted a graphic novel, The Coldest City to make Atomic Blonde. It's competent but could use a little more hints for the ending of the movie. But this film has the powerful dominance of its director, David Leitch. First, he drains the movie of much of the color. And when he does use it, the effect is that the color sticks out against the darkness. Theron's blonde heir. Red neon lights. Add to that, the expressionistic use of shadow and you have film noir or should I say spy noir. It's all pat of the mystery and moral ambiguity.  . Furthermore, the use of eighties pop music also helps transport one to 1989. Good to hear 99 Luft Ballons again.

Leitch also knows how to stage action scenes. The fight scenes are carefully choreographed. Then instead of relying on editing, he shows full bodies in motion. I wish every film director would take Leitch's cue. Excessive editing leads to confusion and doesn't give you the idea of the dangerous struggle. The fight scenes though violent are exciting and simply marvelous.

Atomic Blonde is stylish. Thrilling.  Sexy. Go see it. The grade is A Minus.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets review

There are movies when I watch them that make me ask myself, "Am I high?" Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is such a film. So many scenes were hallucinatory. While watching this movie, I wondered if it would be more enjoyable smoking a joint. Okay, I'm joking about the marijuana stuff. But wow, when you see this film, you will be asking 'What the hell is going on?"

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets takes place in the 28th century. Mankind has sent a gigantic space station into space and it being prime real estate attracts thousands of aliens to build upon it and live there. Then Vladimir Putin uses some of the buildings to launder stolen cash. Okay, the last part about Putin is not right.

An androgynous species lives in harmony with nature on the planet called "Mu", or was it "Mule?" They cultivate energy pearls. These pearls are created by space hamsters which sh%t them out. I am not kidding about the space hamsters. All right, maybe the space hamsters aren't sh%tting out the pearls but it seems that way or else they're really constipated. Anyway, a huge space ship crashes and destroys the planet.

Flash forward? Major Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Laureline (Cara Delevingne) are agents of a human police force. They are given a mission by the defense minister (jazz pianist Herbie Hancock?!) to secure one of those space hamsters at a multi-dimensional market. Anyway, it seems other aliens want that space hamster because he's just so cute and he sh%ts energy pearls. All right maybe the cuteness isn't a factor.

Director and writer Luc Besson (The Fifth Element) has taken a French comic and with today's CGI created visually stunning science fiction universe. These are strange new worlds with new life and civilizations. Besson boldly goes where no director has gone before... um, sorry about that. But really, Star Trek could use a little of Valerian in the new life and worlds part. Anyway, Besson milks every bit or should I say byte of the computers of the special effects teams to create dozens of alien species, ships and future technologies.

But it's Besson's "particular set of skills" as a filmmaker that blind him. Yeah, he can create beautiful worlds, exciting action and even write some good jokes. However, he forgets to make a coherent movie. Confusion occurs often due to a lack of exposition and indulgence. During one part of the movie Laureline is forced to wear a dress by hostile aliens. Why? Don't know. Was it necessary to have a market in another dimension so that you had to wear special gear to shop in it? Let me explain this confusing concept further. Valerian is walking around in one reality while his projection or avatar is actually in another.

Besson also likes space divas in his movies. Remember the blue singer in The Fifth Element? This time he has a shapeshifter named Bubble. She's played by Rihanna. Yep, she sings here. What next? Are you going to tell be that fomer model Cara Delevingne is a singer also?


Oy.

After seeing Rihanna's bad acting and ridiculous character in Battleship, there should be a cinematic rule. No Rihanna. For the most part, Besson does a good job writing Bubble and controlling Rihanna's performance. But then there is Bubble's death scene. I know that may be a mild spoiler but Besson kind of wrote himself in a corner because the movie is about Valerian and Laureline. This ain't the Three Musketeers. Anyway, it's never explained how she received her fatal blow. Did a space sword pop her bubble? Don't know. We just see an emotional Valerian comfort her as Rihanna badly acts her way out of the movie.

So, what is the grade? Hold on. In the cast is the goddess Elizabeth Debicki. The grade is going up... must refrain from giving this crazy mess a high grade. Must remember space hamsters pooping pearls . Movie could be a future Mystery Science Theater 3000 project. But the stunning visuals and humor make it a guilty pleasure. The grade for Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is B minus.




Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Dunkirk IMAX review

There's an expression, "live to fight another day." Throughout history, armies have retreated or "strategically redeployed" and survived to fight another day. It is a viable tactic. Look at our American history. George Washington at New York. Now comes a British tale of retreat. It is director and writer Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk.

It's 1940, World War II. Nazi Germany has routed the British and French. What's left of their troops are now surrounded in a French seaside town called Dunkirk. If the British army is destroyed, it's over for the allies and Nazi Germany dominates Europe and perhaps wins the war. The United States at that time has not entered the war. The allies must escape across the English Channel or be destroyed.

Nolan's film follows three arenas of the battle of Dunkirk. First, we meet an English private named Tommy (Fionn Whitehead) who is seen literally running for his life through streets to the beach. Then there is Dawson. (Mark Rylance) He's an English civilian with a motorized yacht. With his son and a teenage friend, they take off for Dunkirk to help rescue soldiers trapped on the beach. The third part of the battle followed is in the air. A squadron of RAF Spitfires is deployed to protect the evacuation of troops. One of the pilots is Farrier. (Tom Hardy) Other actors Kenneth Branagh and James D'Arcy play British officers and provide exposition.

The movie tells the tale of the three in a non-linear fashion, i.e. the story threads intertwine. It also makes the conscious decision to keep its characters somewhat nameless. You won't hear a lot of other soldiers calling each other by their names. Perhaps, that's to demonstrate that the battle was a group effort of the British to prevail.

Performances are all excellent. Fionn Whitehead's Tommy is a scared soldier trying to survive as he's constantly bombed or fired upon. Mark Rylance shows us what the "stiff upper lip" of the English is all about. He's all about his mission to rescue soldiers in the face of trauma of war. I'm a fan of Tom Hardy. (Star Trek: Nemesis). His performance is handicapped by the fact that he must wear a flight mask during most of the movie. Hardy's brilliance is to show his emotions of desperation and determination without seeing three quarters of his face. You get it from his eyes, forehead, and body movement. And listen carefully. There's Michael Caine as one of the pilots. It's honoring Caine's appearance in The Battle of Britain. (1969)

Christopher Nolan has made a taut and riveting film about survival. Dunkirk is more about the individual stories than about big armies facing off with each other. You won't get huge shots of CGI ships and troops. What Nolan does show is that death comes from a faceless Nazi army. He accurately depicts German Stuka dive bombers with their shrill air sirens. When you see and hear them coming at the English soldiers, even being a filmgoer in the theater one is terrified. And that's the point of a Stuka's siren. Not only does it announce the coming of death, it also terrorizes and demoralizes surviving troops. While watching this movie, I never assumed that a character in the movie will live.

Dunkirk is a movie that looks gorgeous and epic on the screen. Fist, Nolan loves shooting on film versus digital video. I am not a disciple of either but film does have more warmth perhaps due to the imperfections whereas video tends to capture more detail. Anyway, Dunkirk radiates that warmth. And by not cramming the screen with thousands of CGI troops and ships, Nolan gives the picture wide open spaces.

There are minor flaws in Dunkirk. For the most part, Nolan stays away from sappy sentimentality, he does engage in a moment of Hollywood hype. I'm talking about a scene where a RAF pilot attacks a Stuka while gliding. Another thing is the overlapping story threads tend to interrupt each other.

Nolan tasks Hans Zimmer to compose the score. Zimmer who has worked on Nolan films (Inception, Interstellar etc.) before. He has a style that emphasizes atmosphere over melody. For the most part, Zimmer's dissonant score for Dunkirk works. This is a reflection of twentieth century conflict versus nineteenth century romanticism. But then he overdoes it with strange instrument combinations such as using electric stings, pulsating rhythms, dissonance and turning up the volume to disturbing levels. It can be overkill.

As far as seeing this movie in regular IMAX, let me point out that Nolan shot Dunkirk with 65 mm IMAX film. (Video belwo.) It was released in regular IMAX or what I call for my viewing digital IMAX. Nolan's preferred viewing is 70 mm film and IMAX film. (Variety)



Good luck finding a theater with a 70 mm projector. According to the article only about 125 exist nationwide. You see movie theaters have moved away from using projectors that use film to ones that use digital hard drives. So you are more than likely going to see Dunkirk on a digital print or regular IMAX, i.e. not IMAX Film. I do recommend IMAX regardless of version. IMAX always gives you better resolution. Add to that the gigantic screen. What you get with Dunkirk is a feeling as if you are there. You are present in a living painting. This is especially prevalent with the first person flying scenes.

Dunkirk is a stunning epic. Scary and thrilling. I can only hope that Christopher Nolan follows it up with a Battle of Britain movie. The grade is A.





Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Star Trek: Discovery trailer

Here's the Star Trek: Discovery TV show trailer. Star Trek belongs on TV. Let's hope it's true to Gene Roddenberry's vision. I love Alexander Courage's Trek fanfare at the end.

Trump wants Obamacare to fail which will cause people to suffer

Yesterday, conservative President Trump said, "We just let Obamacare fail... We're not going to own it, I'm not going to own it." (at the 25 second mark of the video below)


Now it's my turn. Hey Trump, "Bleep you. You piece of bleep." Millions of people will suffer and thousands will die if Obamacare fails. There are millions of people who depend on the healthcare provided by Obamacare. Trump you are a sadistic, selfish man.

Oh, by the way Obamacare is not a failure. Listen to Senator Cory Booker. (D-NJ) (Video below at 2 minute mark.) People with pre-existing conditions are covered. People are not suffering from bankruptuies because their medical bills are covered. More people are covered now than before. Yes, it's not perfect. But it can be tweeked and fixed. Booker calls Trump's comments sinister.


Sen. Bernie Sanders says letting Obamacare fail will cause people to suffer. He also wants a public option as a fix. He also argues for an eventual single payer plan. Video.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Stephen Colbert on the people who were at the Trump Jr.-Russian meeting

It's Russia week at Late Night with Stephen Colbert. He's going to show footage from his trip to Russia. Check out the opening monologue about Trump Jr.'s meeting with the Russians. And if you're curious here's the list of the eight people in the meeting courtesy of Vox. Funny stuff.



Conservative Republicans really don't care about your healthcare

Well, conservative President Trump let the cat out of the bag. He tweeted that conservative Republicans should just repeal Obamacare without any replacement plan. He's not the only conservative that wants to do that. Furthermore, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price yearns for bad old days of pre-Obama care. It is obvious that repealing without a plan will leave much more people without healthcare than the 22 million under the current proposed 'healthcare' plan. How many thousands of people will die because conservative Republicans believe government assisted healthcare is some form of evil welfare?



To show how much the blond, orange skin billionaire cares about you. He wants Obamacare to fail and thus hurt more people so he can score a political victory.



I have always argued that conservative Republicans hate government assisted healthcare plans because this goes back to their god, Ronald Reagan who thought it was evil. Conservative Republicans don't care about the people. They want to move money from the working people to the big rich. That's why the House plan has those gigantic tax cuts. If the conservatives really cared they would take private insurance out or the picture and pass a single payer plan. To them, it's help corporations and the big rich first. Trickle down just the way Reagan liked it.

But the people have spoken. Through protest. They have defeated the conservative Senate "healthcare" plan. Rachel Maddows documents the voices of the people who oppose the conservative Republicans plans to kick people off healthcare. They include the voices of children.


Keep fighting people. Viva La Resistance.

Monday, July 17, 2017

The people in the Trump Campaign's meeting with the Russians

Here's Rachel Maddow's piece on the people who were present at the meeting between the Russians and the Trump Campaign. And yes, Rachel is correct. Don't believe the Trump people as they've been disassembling the truth every day.

Who is the Russian lawyer in the Trump Jr. meeting and why do Russians really want to allow Americans to adopt their orphans

Julia Ioffe of the Atlantic has done an excellent profile of the Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya. She's at the center of the June 2016 meeting with Trump Jr. where he wanted to get dirt on Hilary Clinton from the Russian government. Here's Ioffe's article. Note she has Kremlin connections and sides with conservative American views. She has also advocated the repeal of the Magnitsky Act. Trump Jr initially indicated that the meeting was about adoptions of Russian children.

So, note this. When a Russian comes here to try to end the ban on adoptions of Russian children by American couples, there's a catch. The ban was implemented by Russian president Vladimir Putin in retaliation for the Magnitsky Act which imposed sanctions on Putin's oligarch buddies for the death of Putin critic, Sergei Magnitisky. So, any Russian here is likely going to advocate the repeal of the sanctions and of course, do Putin's bidding.

War for the Planet of the Apes review

Studios love movie franchises. They have name recognition and they bring in the money. But exploiting a franchise is not always artistically or commercially successful. Sometimes the studio's greed will fail both.

Twentieth Century Fox has had successes in some of its franchises. Star Wars. The X-Men. Others not so much. Aliens 3-4. The original Planet of the Apes sequels, 3-5. And the anemic Fantastic Four movies. As for the Planet of the Apes movies, I believed Fox should have stopped after the second one of the original series which was Beneath The Planet of the Apes. (1970) After all, earth was destroyed. Yeah, that was artistic chutzpah. Well after the original Apes movies petered out, Fox tried again in 2001 with the silly Tim Burton reboot. Finally in 2011, Fox replaced the premise that man destroys his society with nuclear war with a weaker premise that man destroys society with a virus that also raises ape intelligence. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. (2011) Since that was a success, they followed that with Rise of the Planet of the Apes. (2014) Yeah, I thought these last two Apes movies were needless but that being said, I concede they were both well made.

That brings us to War for the Planet of the Apes. This movie starts with where "Rise" left off. War has started between humans and apes. Caesar (Andy Serkis) leads an intelligent ape colony. They are getting attacked by a military human army led by Colonel Kurtz (Woody Harrlson) who wants to merciless slaughter Viet Cong and mumble his lines. Um... okay that's Marlon Brando in Apocalypse Now. But honestly the Colonel character is inspired by Brando. Right down to Harrelson's shaved head and the graffiti on a pipe that says Ape-calypse Now. Hollywood Reporter. Anyway, the soldiers kill one of Caesar's sons and his wife. Hey guess which son survives. No surprise. It's Cornelius, a name from the original 1968 Planet of the Apes movie. There are many references to the original Apes movies. By the way, I say no surprise because this is going to leave room for a sequel to this movie. You can easily conclude Cornelius is going to be the top ape in a future Apes movie.

Anyway, Caesar sends the colony away to find a safer home while he goes after the Colonel with his band of brothers. There was a priest, a rabbi and... Sorry, that's a lawyer joke. No, he toes off with three other apes. Caesar kills a man in self defense and find his mute daughter (Amiah Miller) whom they name Nova. Again, another name from the original movie. She is raised by the apes and learns how to summon the creatures of the forest and swing on vines. Okay, that last part is Tarzan. But seriously, the filmmakers took inspiration from many movies.

While they search for the Colonel, he captures the colony. He uses the apes to build a wall and then gets them to pay for it. Trump gives this movie two thumbs up. Yeah, I'm joking about making the apes pay for it. I mean with what? Bananas? However, the Colonel is really using the apes to build a wall. Geez, I thought Fox owner Rupert Murdoch was a friend of the Dear Leader. With Logan and now this movie we're getting two metaphorical films that are critical of the blonde hair, orange skin conservative president.

As I pointed out, I thought rebooting the Apes franchise with a virus was weak. The theme in the 1968 original of man's hatred leading to his self-destruction was powerful. So I admit, I'm not a fan of the recent Apes movies. The objective question is with the first two films in this recent series being of high quality would the third be just as good? The answer is "yes."


War for the Plane of the Apes
works on many levels. Director Matt Reeves and Mark Bomback have used their affinity of other movies to guide them in making a pretty good tale of revenge, hatred, kindness and love. Reeves is excellent at staging exciting action and beautiful shots evocative of westerns. The CGI of the apes is Oscar worthy. I forgot that they were generated by a computer and believed them to be real. Finally, Andy Serkis' performance here is also Oscar worthy. I've said that acting starts with the face. It's the ability to see in a face the emotion the character is feeling without dialogue. And you can certainly see that in Serkis' face even through the CGI motion capture. Anger. Hatred. Uncertainty. Conflict. Compassion. Serkis' Caesar drives the film.

There are just a few problems with this movie. First, the filmmakers want us to believe that Nova just accepts the fact that Caesar kills her father and she feels nothing. Of course, this is moot if the guy wasn't her father. But none of this is explained. Caesar doesn't apologize by saying, "I'm sorry but it was in self-defense." Nova seems to be happy with her big hairy friends. Then there is the long stretch where the ape colony is imprisoned. Yeah, you get the impression that this was inspired by The Great Escape or should I say, "The Great Ape-scape." There definitely needed some pruning here as it slowed down the narrative.

War for the Planet of the Apes is a satisfying conclusion to this Apes trilogy. And no surprise here, you will probably get more Planet of the Apes movies in the future. We seem to be going in the direction of the weak Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973) rather than original 1968 film where the apes are the villains and dominate mankind. i can't dislike new Apes movies if they're made well. The grade for War for the Planet of the Apes is B.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Conservative Republicans never really believed in helping Americans get healthcare

I've previously argued that conservative Republicans never wanted a healthcare plan to help Americans get medical treatment. It stems from their god, Ronald Reagan who believed that socialized medicine was evil.

Well, today, Health and Human Services Tom Price let the cat out of the bag. In support of the current Senate "healthcare" plan which would gut coverage of pre-existent conditions, Price said " “It’s really perplexing, especially from the insurance companies, because all they have to do is dust off how they did business before Obamacare." ABC "This Week." Yep, you heard that right. Conservative Price of the conservative Trump administration wants to go back to pre-Obama care days. Which means nothing for working people.

Come on my fellow Americans. If you are a working person and voted for conservative Republicans, stop it. They don't represent your welfare. They represent the big rich. Why do you think they endorse trickle down economics?

Working with Russians is not a crime according to Trump lawyer

Conservative President Trump's lawyer, Jay Sekulow has been running around the Sunday morning talk shows to argue that Trumps's campaign meeting with Russian government agents wasn't illegal. Maybe Sekulow should got to the law library and check out these Federal statutes. 52 USC 30121, 36 USC 510. You can't solicit or accept things of value from foreign nationals in a campaign. And if Trump's legal team is going to argue that opposition research or dirt is not a thing of value in an election, then they should be prepared to be laughed out of court. Opposition research or dirt is very valuable in that it allows you to inform voters why the other candidate should not be elected. Sekulow is becoming this decade's Baghdad Bob.

Keith Olbermann was prescient two weeks ago when he posted this video. In it, he notes that conservative operatives at Fox News like Sean Hannity were floating trial balloons that the Trump Campaign could have colluded with the Russians. "It's not illegal," the conservatives would say. They seize on the word collusion. Yeah, collusion is not a crime, however conspiracy is. And conspiracy to commit a crime is illegal. Anyway check out his video. Note at the five minute mark, Olbermann cites some of the crimes. Fraud. Public corruption violations. Conspiracy. Campaign contribution violations. Oh, we have not even gotten to violations of the Espionage Act.

Viva La Resistance.

{Two weeks ago, Keith Olbermannn predicted the Trump defense against collusion with the Russians.)

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Trump in Paris and his misappropriation of Les Miserables.

Conservative President Donald Trump aka Dear Leader is in Paris to help celebrate Bastille Day. He's the guest of French President Emanuel Macron as France is also celebrating the 100th anniversary of American Troops to arrive for World War I. Trump has already embarrassed the United States by hitting on Macron's wife by stating how good shape she is in. I hope Americans there and liberal French give Trump a welcome with peaceful protests. Just remember my French friends, he's a climate change denier. I hear that French of good conscience are already planning to protest. NBC News. I say to our progressive French friends, "Dieu vous bénisse. "

While we're thinking about the French. I remember that during the campaign, Trump's team misappropriated Les Miserables. They used from that musical the song, "Do You Hear the People Sing." Totally wrong for the right-wing billionaire conservative Trump. The musical is about the Paris Uprising of 1832 where working people sought to rebel against the monarchy and establish a republic. It was a leftist revolt. L.A. Times. "Do You Hear the People Sing" is about the poor and downtrodden coming together to fight their oppressors. It is not about right-wing billionaires who plan to step on the backs of working people to become richer and more powerful.

My fellow liberals. We must reclaim this song, "Do You Hear The People Sing." Make sure those right-wingers hear our song. "It is the music of the people who will not be slaves again." We must fight against economic oppression. And tell that conservative, blonde hair, orange skin lunatic that we will not be economic slaves or slaves to his Russian masters.

Donald Trump Jr.'s emails and the irony of emails destroying a polititician

Here's the transcript of Donald Trump Jr.'s emails where he agrees to a meeting with a Russian lawyer with ties to the Kremlin. ABC News. Let's go over the stuff that is damning.

From Rob Goldstone:

"The Crown prosecutor of Russia met with his father Aras this morning and in their meeting offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father.

This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump - helped along by Aras and Emin."


Reply from Donald Trump Jr.:


"Seems we have some time and if it's what you say I love it especially later in the summer."



Conclusion.
By this way, there was a meeting between Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner and the Russian lawyer. This is proof of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. At the minimum, it shows that the Trump Campaign wanted to collude with the Russians in the 2016 campaign.

There's irony here. During the campaign, Trump Sr. hammered Hillary Clinton over her missing emails. I'll just let Trevor Noah comment on this in his funny piece below. "Oh cursed irony... The emails giveth the presidency and the emails shall taketh it away." (At the 30 second mark.)


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Stephen Colbert destroys Donald Trump Jr. with hilarious monologue

Last night Stephen Colbert devoted his whole monologue to Donald Trump Jr.'s idiotic act where he released his email that shows he and the Trump Campaign sought to collude with the Russians. Colbert then uses his blackboard gag where he draws you an accurate diagram of what is really happening. Riotous stuff. Laugh your head off.



Spider-Man: Homecoming IMAX review

Spider-Man: Back to School er... Spider-Man: Homecoming is the second reboot to the Spider-Man franchise that has occurred within the last five years. Really. And this one takes the web crawler back to high school literally. Oh, oh. My movie sense is tingling. Did Sony and Marvel see all the profits from young adult fiction like the Hunger Games and mix that with the fact that summer movies are for teenagers? Well, in all fairness, the original comics had Spidey aka Peter Parker in high school.

Spider-Man: Homecoming starts where The Avengers (2012) ended. Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton) is a mischievous ghost who wants to come back to the real world. Um... that's Beetlejuice. Okay, Toomes runs a company that has been contracted to remove and salvage alien parts that occurred at the end of the battle of New York where the Avengers defeated the Chitauri. Yes, it will help if you've seen movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Sigh. And that's the reason why this Spider-Man movie starts out where it does. You see Sony and Marvel have a deal that allows Spider-Man to appear in Captain America: Civil War. (2016) And yes, I've seen the Avengers and Captain America with the first two Thor movies. Okay, I'm a geek. But I'm not a Hulk person. ... yet. Geez, explaining the plot is like a Rachel Maddow piece. Anyway, Toomes is pushed out of salvaging by a Tony Stark company. Since he has to feed his family and employees, he uses the stuff he has salvaged to start a high tech crime gang. Toomes becomes The Vulture, a guy with a flying exoskeleton. The movie makes the wise decision to not give The Vulture a recognizable face which can be somewhat silly. (See the Green Goblin in the 2002 Spider-Man.) The headgear is more like a helmet. Think evil Iron Man.

Flash forward to Civil War. A young Peter Parker (Tom Holland) has joined forces with Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) aka Iron Man and some of the Avengers to fight Captain America. Yes, I said fight Captain America. Look, these plot threads are going to get ridiculous in the future. Anyway, that movie ends with Captain America and his allies escaping leaving Stark to be Peter's father figure?! Hold on. The late Uncle Ben Parker was Peter's father figure. He's the one that said "With great power comes great responsibility." I mean what is Stark going to teach Peter? How to be a billionaire womanizer? Peter can get that from watching Trump. Hey, Trump can teach Parker to "Grab them by the ..." er, sorry about that. This review should be PG rated. Maybe Peter can learn from Trump to "Make Russia Great Again."

But I digress. Parker has to deal with high school while balancing being your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. Academic competitions. Teenage crushes. Breaking up robberies. He wants to do more as he was kind of an Avenger maybe going into space and hanging out with Groot. You see Groot is part of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Um.. never mind. Anyway, doing whatever a spider can has him crossing paths with The Vulture.

Tom Holland might now be a 21 year old English actor but he comes off as a 15 year old Peter Parker from New York. The Toomes character is well written and Michael Keaton understands him well. He's a working man trying to support his family and keep employees working. Toomes will generate some sympathy and he is a three dimensional villain. I love Peter's chubby Asian buddy Ned. (Jacob Batalon) Everybody, not just superheroes, needs friends. And Ned's affection, humor and enthusiasm mandates he be in the next film.

I'm not going to whine about about the casting of MJ (Zendaya) or Flash (Tony Revolari) that tuns white characters into minorities. The filmmakers were making a movie that reflects modern reality. Parker's high school is an inner city New York school. This is not making a white Johnny Storm into a black one. It's not forced. So sorry you right-wing trolls, I'm not playing your game. As for Marisa Tomei not playing a great granny type Aunt May, she is in reality 52. And in Civil War, Tony Stark finds her attractive. Look in the comics world, there are multiple versions of her, and yes, she's often portrayed old. But the fact is that she has an active romantic life even dating Dr. Octopus. So, with an active love life, I think it's okay to have a younger Aunt May. I just want her kind and caring character to be treated with intelligence and respect in light of the big surprise at the end of the movie. .

Spider-Man: Homecoming is an action movie with a lot of comedy. Unlike a straight comedy, this movie uses the serious situations to generate the quips and jokes. Spider-Man in the comics was known to make jokes while fighting crime. There was an army of writers on this movie, six to be exact, and that helps with the jokes since comedy is subjective. Allowing writers to bounce jokes off each other is always beneficial. The jokes work well. Director Jon Watts respects his material to keep out the camp while creating a movie that is not dark like, ahem... the DC cinematic universe. In fact, darkness is the only problem with this film at least in regards to the actual filming. Homecoming has a bit too many night scenes with confusing action. Perhaps, Watts is inspired by the old theme song's lyrics. "In the chill of night, at the scene of a crime."

And speaking of the sixties' theme song, part of it is played before all the action starts. Alas, it's only a tease. Oscar winner Michael Giacchino composes an original score and it kicks ass. Spider-Man's theme is strong and soars. I literally heard other moviegoers sing the song as they left the theater. Bravo, Michael.

I saw this movie on a regular IMAX screen without 3D. As with all IMAX movies, you get a much taller and fatter picture. IMAX always has excellent resolution. Spider-Man: Homecoming IMAX looks fantastic even if it is not in 3D. That being said remember the 3D version is a conversion from 2D. However, I don't recommend seeing this movie on IMAX. It's an excellent movie experience without a giant IMAX screen and you're watching it as a digital print anyway. The extra four to five bucks doesn't really add much. Save your money.

Spider-Man: Homecoming is fun, and exciting. You'll love the well filmed action and humor. The grade is A minus.


Andy Serkis reads Trump's Tweets as Gollum

In an interview with Stephen Colbert, actor Andy Serkis (Lord of the Rings) was asked to read Trump's Tweets as Gollum from Lord of the Rings. Funny stuff.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The smoking gun of Trump campaign-Russian collusion

The New York Times is reporting that Trump campaign official and son, Donald Trump Jr. received an email indicating that his meeting with Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya was part of a Russian government effort to aid his father. Here's the quote from the report:

"Before arranging a meeting with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer he believed would offer him compromising information about Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump Jr. was informed in an email that the material was part of a Russian government effort to aid his father's candidacy, according to three people with knowledge of the email." Paragraph 1.

So what does this mean? We now know that Trump Jr. knew he was meeting with a Russian but not just any Russian. Ms. Veselnitskaya was an agent for the Russian government. Trump Jr. was soliciting a campaign contribution from a foreign national, specifically the Russian government. The email proves intent. I know there are conservatives who say this was not illegal. But for you right-wingers, here's the Federal statute that says it's illegal. 11 CFR 110.20 Here's also a See also CNN report.

My fellow Americans, this is likely the tip of the iceberg. Special Counsel Robert Mueller, the Senate Intelligence Committee and the House Intelligence Committees probably have more damning material. Regardless, we now have evidence of the Trump campaign working with the Russian government in the 2016 election. Impeach Trump before he hurts us.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Trump's plan to cooperate with Russians over a cyber-security unit is life imitating art

Conservative President Trump's idea to work with the Russians by forming an "impenetrable cyber security unit" was met with derision from Democrats and his fellow Republicans. NPR It's a true moment of idiocy by Trump or maybe he wants to betray America. After all, the Russians hacked Americans to influence the election. It's like the fox guarding the hens.

Trump's cyber security unit reminds me of this Saturday Night Live skit. Putin gives Trump a Elf on the Shelf for Christmas. It's really an electronic bug. Check it out below.

Trump campaign officials attempt to collude with the Russians

We've been hearing for weeks from conservative President Donald Trump that there was no collusion between his campaign and the Russians. Now over the weekend there was a report that campaign official and son Donald Trump Jr., son-in-law Jared Kushner and campaign manager Paul Manafort met with a Russian lawyer who had connections with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The purpose of the meeting? To see if she had dirt on Hillary Clinton.

This was no mere opposition research. A foreign agent for a hostile country reached out to the Trump campaign to help influence an American election. It gets worse. According to Trump Jr., there was talk about starting up Russian adoptions. Folks, to do that, you need to repeal the Magnitsky Act unless Putin was going to unilaterally give in. Ha. Check out the videos from MSNBC's Morning Joe detailing the meeting and the possible legal jeopardy for the actors. By the way, the White House is not disputing the meeting.



Richard Engel: Putin's corrupt regime leads to the Magnitsky Act

The New York Times (CNN) is reporting that Donald Trump Jr. met with a Russian lawyer with Putin ties in 2016. The purpose was to see if this Russian had dirt on Hillary Clinton. Aha. Another piece of direct evidence of an American and Trump campaign official, he is the candidate's son, meeting with Russians to collude on defeating Clinton.

Anyway according to the Dear Leader's son, the Russian lawyer talked about Russian adoptions which were ended in retaliation for the American law called the Magnitsky Act.. The law was to punish corrupt Russian oligarchs who had ties to Putin for the death of another Russian lawyer Named Sergei Magnitsky, a dissident. You can get the picture from here. End the sanctions, allow American couples to adopt Russian children.

Richard Engel of MSNBC has done an excellent piece on Putin's corruption, and the deaths of prominent political opponents. Just remember that Trump felt honored to meet Putin. My fellow Americans, resist.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Conservative NRA encourages violence against liberals

There's a new NRA (National Rifle Association) ad that uses a common theme used by right-wing conservatives. Make somebody the enemy. And with conservatives, the enemy is always liberals. In the ad, Dana Loesch says "they" use their media to "assassinate real news", "use their schools to teach children that their President is another Hitler" (presumably Trump) and blames protests on Hollywood actors, Obama and comedians?! for protets against Trump and his right-wing ideas. Loesch angrily ends the ad by stating that the only way to "fight " this "violence of lies" is with the "clenched fist of truth."

First, let me say this ad is totally hypocritical. It's conservatives who lie. President Trump lies constantly. So much that the New York Times has tracked one lie for the first forty days of office. Then there's the lie that conservative Republicans care about healthcare. No. Because if they did they wouldn't be trying to transfer a 770 billion dollar cut to the wealthy in the form of a tax cut. I could go on. And I haven't started with Trump's love for Russian president Vladimir Putin. Something that I'm sure has Reagan spinning in his grave.

But it's the nature of this NRA ad that is reprehensible. It clearly is calling liberals as the enemy. I mean the term "they" describes liberals. It implies that all the millions of people who have protested were violent. Not true. Clearly the Woman's March was non-violent. The problem with the ad is that it calls for gun loving conservatives to commit acts of violence against liberals. Ms. Loesvh says they must fight the "violence" of lies with the "clenched fist" of truth. This sounds like a legal self defense argument that allows "violence' to be repelled by force. In NRA's ad, it means fight the "violence" with a "clenched fist" which every reasonable person knows means to hit something.

To the NRA and Ms. Loesch. Your ad uses fear and hatred. We liberals have as our allies truth, love and justice. We don't need clenched fists. That's because ...

LOVE TRUMPS HATE. And one more thing to drive you conservatives nuts because we have the people with us.

VIVA LA RESISTANCE.

CNN report on NRA ad with opposing thoughts.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Stephen Colbert on the Putin-Trump love affair

Here's the classic and hilarious bit from Stephen Colbert on the Trump-Putin love affair. Since the two presidents are going to meet and you can bet Trump is going to kiss Putin's ass, we need a laugh before Trump kills us. From last November, it's cartoon Trump and Putin.

Trump will likely betray America

Tomorrow is the big meeting between President of Russia, Vladimir Putin and American President Donald Trump. Today, Trump has already trashed our intelligence agencies by not confirming that the Russians hacked our citizens. He said, "I think it could very well have been Russia, but I think it could well have been other countries." (Video at 40 seconds.) He then blasted former President Obama for not doing enough. Hold on. In one breath, he is not sure the Russiand did it then he says they did it while arguing that Obama didn't do enough. What?!

It's clear that Trump is likely to do nothing to stop Russia from hacking future elections. Don't be surprised that Trump will rescind some Russian sanctions without any significant in return. Folks, we're in trouble. Keep resisting my fellow Americans. Impeach this guy before it's too late.

Baby Driver review

Unless you're a fan of films, you may miss Baby Driver in the forest of superhero movies released in the last two months Or maybe it's the title that may put you off. It does sound like a CGI animated family movie. Is it about a cute baby driving in NASCAR? No. So, let me give you a recommendation. See this movie. It's a cool breeze in hot summer of bombastic summer films.

Baby (Ansel Elgort) is a young twenty something getaway driver in Atlanta, Geortia. He's extremely talented at what he does. Consider him the Michael Jordan of getaway drivers. And what helps him concentrate is the music he hears through his earbuds. Baby has to listen to music to drown out the ringing from his tinnitus which he got after being in an auto accident as a child.

When we meet Baby, he's working for Doc (Kevin Spacey), a robbery kingpin. Doc is forcing Baby to drive for the robbery jobs that he sets up because he was caught stealing one of Doc's cars. While Baby is not innocent, he has trouble hurting people. Kevin Spacey is a kind of a nice and proud uncle figure to Baby. But Spacey also demonstrates a villain's cool threatening demeanor without any twirling of a mustache.

This being a movie about bank robbers, you're not going to get nice guys. Crew members include Buddy (Jon Hamm), a former stock broker, who wants the excitement of actually robbing people versus doing it on Wall Street. Darling (Eiza Gonzalez) is Buddy's sexy girlfriend. I predict we're going to see more of Gonzalez in the future. Bats (Jaime Foxx) is the loose cannon with a lunatic rationale for stealing. The victims' property is his property. He is unhinged and unpredictable. Bats doesn't hesitate to deal out death. But not everyone is a crook. Lily James (Cinderella) will make you forget she's English with her good Southern accent. She plays Deborah and for a good part of the movie, her naivete blinds her to Baby's criminal activity.

Writer and director Edgar Wright (The World's End) uses all his skill and experience as a filmmaker to construct a movie that looks to be inspired from Bullitt, Heat, Pulp Fiction, the video game Grand Theft Auto V and the genre of film noir. Yeah, you heard that right. I said Grand Theft Auto V. You have to play the game as it chock full of robberies. And let's not forget the soundtrack. Wright sets all the car chases to music everything from classic rock to blues to R & B. This fusion makes a film that has thrilling action and compelling drama. It is a movie that is near perfect. Wright's car chases feature full shots of the autos. The editing is logical. His guidance of the actors leads to some intense and realistic performances. Only one misstep occurs at the end of the third act where one character seems to have nine lives. That was over the top.

Baby Driver
is the type of heist movie that you want to see multiple times. Think Goodfellas. . This film was morally ambiguous, sometimes humorous and always exciting. It's one heck of a ride. The grade is A Minus.

.



Tuesday, July 4, 2017

A guide for liberal Democrats to return to power

I'll call these Bernie's Rules for liberal Democrats to return to power and keep power.

1. FIGHT FIRE WITH FIRE.
In 1988 Governor Micheal Dukakis got slimed by George H.W. Bush with a flood of negative ads. Thankfully, in the next election the Democrats and Bill Clinton had a rapid response team. Liberal Democrats cannot let conservative Republicans lie. We must launch counterstrikes immediately.

That being said, fighting back is not the way Trump defines it. They play dirty. You got Melania Trump talk about the Dear Leader punching back ten times harder. No. That's not self defense, that's excessive. We don't need hatred and cruelty. We have two stronger and more righteous allies. They are truth and justice. .

2. MAKE THE TERM "CONSERVATIVE" A BAD WORD . Conservatives started to demonize liberals with the presidency of Republican god Ronald Reagan and reached its apex with Newt Gingrich. They made "liberal" a bad word. The liberals didn't fight back and retreated to the term "progressive." Liberal is not a bad word. We, liberals have stood for justice and equality.

Now it's time to make the term "conservative" a bad word. By doing so, people will stay away from "conservatives" at the polling booth. If you noticed, this blog has recently placed the terms "conservative" or "Republican " next to any bad conservative idea. And while I keep an open mind to any idea conservative or progressive because that's what liberals do. There are many bad conservative policies. They favor the big rich. They want to crush the working man to benefit the big rich. They don't believe in climate change or science. They want to suppress the vote of minorities. They are the party of Donald Trump.

3. VOTE. For some reason, many of you liberals don't vote in non-presidential elections. This has led to the Republicans taking control of statehouses and gerrymandering their way to power. You've got to vote every year. One of the reasons why conservatives want to suppress the vote of the working man is because we have the votes to defeat them.

4. DON'T SUPPORT FRINGE CANDIDATES. In 2000, Ralph Nader took enough liberal votes from Al Gore to hand George W. Bush the election. And we know how that turned out. Look, I like the Green Party but they can't win. In the last election, Green Party Jill Stein hurt Hillary Clinton in some of the swing sates. The Hill.

And if you're a member of The Green Party, might I suggest you join the Democratic Party. You have a better chance to change the world from within the Democratic Party than constantly losing.

5. RUN FOR OFFICE. Run for office. Any office. If you're pretty clean as in terms of no criminal record or embarrassments, run for office. We need candidates.

6. EDUCATE BUBBA OR THE ANGRY WHITE WORKING MAN. it's clear that white working men misunderstand the liberal cause. it may sound weak to them. But it's not. they don't understand that our cause is their cause.

We, liberals stand for the working man. We support livable wages. We stand for healthcare for all. We fight against the big rich and corporate interests who want to build their wealth on the backs of the working people. Freedom to us means guarding the rights of individuals. (I've written about this in my article "Educating Bubba.")

7. STICK REPUBLICANS WITH TRUMP. President Trump is the most corrupt, hateful demagogue to ever be President of the United States. He lies virtually every day. (New York Times) He sought the presidency not to help the people but to satisfy his ego and his desire for power. There is nothing in his history to indicate he understands the working people. He inherited his great wealth. Add to that, his indifference to protecting America from Russian cyber attacks.

Yet, conservative Republicans are protecting him. And for good reason. His policies are hard right- wing. There are those conservatives who argue that Trump is not a conservative. That's nonsense as he has done noting that is moderate or liberal. That's why when truth, justice and love defeat Trump, we must stick every conservative Republican to him. So when he is defeated, conservatives policies are defeated.

It's like this bit from David Letterman where he jumps into a Velcro wall wearing a Velcro suit. In our metaphor, the wall represents Trump. Letterman represents conservative Republicans.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Despicable Me 3 review

When you are making a sequel to a movie franchise, you should adhere to story concepts. I'm not talking about repeating tropes like the way Michael Bay throws constant explosions at the audience. No I'm talking about keeping characters together for the movie like Han Solo and Chewbacca. They were always doing things together. That's the big problem with Despicable Me 3.

The movie picks up from the last one, where Gru (Steve Carell) and Lucy (Kristen Wiig) are members of the Anti-Villain League aka AVL. They're sent on a mission to stop Balthazar Bratt voiced by an underused Trey Parker from stealing a diamond. They stop him but Bratt escapes. This causes the couple to be fired from the AVL. While unemployed the majority of the Minions protest Gru's domesticated life and yearn for his old villainous ways. They leave.

Later Gru finds out he has a twin brother named Dru (also voiced by Carell) who lives on the island of Freedonia. The couple with the three girls goes to visit Dru. Gru finds out that Dru is living in a mansion with a herd of pigs. Dru slaughters all the pigs in front of the girls for ham which grosses them out and they turn into vegetarians. Okay, that thing about turning pigs into ham didn't happen. But kids, where do you think ham comes from? Anyway, Dru has a secret. Their father was a supevillain and left them some neat gadgets. They decide to bond and go on a mission to steal a diamond form Bratt.

Like the first two Despicable Me(s) , the art is extremely exaggerated. The faces and bodies will make you smile rather than laugh. Unlike the first two, where those two were mischievous to the point of being subversive this movie is more kiddie friendly. That leaves for the adults some very funny slapstick.

The problem with this film is what I said at the beginning of the review. It takes the risk of not staying true to a concept in the franchise. And that is for the Minions and Gru to be and work together. The comic havoc that Minions could unleash are kept to themselves. That's comedy without a good setup. Then there are the other plot threads. These distract from the movie. Daughter Agnes (Nev Scharrel) goes off to find a unicorn. The annoying citizens of Freedonia. The Minions adventure. Unfortunately, the movie hints at a sequel that will keep characters apart.

When Gru and Dru are on their mission against Bratt, the movie works. It's enjoyable. It just needed to stay focused. The grade is B Minus.

Educating Bubba

When you look at the 2016 presidential election, liberals must analyze why the Democrats lost the white vote. (Pew Research) In future elections, Democrats must do better with white people. But how? First, let's identify the white voter that liberal Democrats can get. He's a beer drinking, angry white working man. I call him Bubba, the guy that Democrat Bill Clinton won back in the nineties. By the way, not to be sexist here, but Bubba can also be a woman.

I understand Bubba. You see, I'm not white but am an Asian liberal. I grew up in a neighborhood of Appalachian white people in Norwood, Ohio. To win the angry white working man we must educate him. And I'm not talking about patronizing him. But he clearly doesn't know anything about the liberal cause. It's like that Saturday Night Live skit where all these Kentucky voters who love Trump but find out he doesn't represent their interests. (Video below.)



So let's go over what liberals must tell Bubba or the white working man about conservatives and liberals.

1. Conservatives hate Medicaid. That's obvious with the recent attempt by Senate Republicans to gut it by reducing it by 770 billion dollars in order to give the rich a tax cut. Do white working people in Kentucky and West Virginia know this? Because if they did, I would hope they get rid of their GOP senators.

Look, Bubba. It's the liberal Democrats that created the program and want to preserve it.

2. The Democratic Party wants healthcare for all. All you need to consider is Obamacare which expanded Medicaid and whose purpose was to provide affordable healthcare for all citizens. If you want more, there' s a movement by liberal Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders to adopt single payer, i.e., Medicaid for all.

3. The Democratic Party is the party of the working man. Tax cuts for the rich has been the mantra of conservative Republicans for years. See Ronald Reagan's trickle down economics. The Democratic Party is the party of labor unions and a livable wage.

4. The Democratic Party is the party that supports women. The face of the Republican Party when it comes to women is President Donald Trump. This is guy that calls women fat pigs, and with journalist Megyn Kelly, he commented that she had blood coming out of her body, a thinly veiled insult about her menstrual cycle. (Video below.) There's the famous Hollywood Access tape where Trump brags he can use is celebrity power to sexually assault women. Just recently he launched attacks against Mika Brzezinski saying she was bleeding and questioned her intelligence. And before you conservative Republicans say Trump doesn't speak for me, he is the leader of your party.



Meanwhile liberal Democrats stand for a woman's right to choose. Equal pay for woman. We respect woman by promoting them to top leaderships of our party. Cong. Nancy Pelosi. Sen. Elizabeth Warren And of course presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

5. Democrats do not want to take Bubba's guns.
I've been a liberal Democrat for over thirty years. And I have not heard one Democrat say they want to repeal the Second Amendment. There's no movement in the party to do this. Yeah, Democrats want common sense gun control. But you don't want guns in the hands of the mentally ill, or terorists, do you angry white guy? We want you to own as many guns as you like. Just no terrorists or mentally ill people.


6. People of color love their country as much as white people.
I remember recently arguing with a white woman. She shouted at me, "Go back to where you came from." And where would I go I thought. Back to Norwood, Ohio ? You see she saw me not as a citizen but an Asian.

Now not all Bubbas are racists. Some are. And to you angry white people that are racists, I know some of you can change. Realize that we people of color love America as much as you. And yes, some of you angry white racist guys think that men of color only want to impregnate white woman. (Video)


Well, angry white racist, that's not true. Because sometime during the mid-century, white people will not be the majority of the population. That's not a lot of race mixing. Regardless, if two people love each other, why should we care about race?

One more thing about the races working together. That diversity served us well in the 1996 and 2016 Olympics. The two American woman teams composed of diverse races won the team Gold in both. Diversity is our strength.

7. It's the liberal Democrats who care about Christian values. You often hear the question "What would Jesus do?" Well, would Jesus throw people off health insurance, and food stamps? Hell, no. Sorry about that cussing, God.

It's conservative Republicans who want to cut Food Stamps and Medicaid. The recent Senate healthcare proposed by the Republicans is a big tax cut for the the big rich funded by the working people. Jesus would not do this. Liberal Democrats oppose the cuts. Liberal Democrats are on the side of Jesus. I often wonder why conservative Republicans want to kill poor people. What the hell is the matter with them? Oops. Sorry God.

Conclusion

Hey, Bubba. Unless you are one of the top one percent of the country in the wealth area, voting for conservative Republicans is not in your interest. Vote for the liberal Democrat instead.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

First direct evidence of collusion between Americans and Russians in the 2016 election

Lost in the Trump Twitter war with Morning Joe was this bombshell news item. The Wall Street Journal has reported that a Republican operative contacted Russian hackers to get Hillary Clinton's deleted emails from her private server. The operative was Peter Smith who indicated that he was working with General Michael Flynn, former National Security Adviser for Trump and also part of the Trump campaign.

And remember, Trump asked the Russians to find those emails. Chris Hayes Video below at the 1:25 minute mark.


And yesterday, the Journal reported that Smith had listed in a recruitment document Trump campaign aides, Steve Bannon, Kelly Ann Conway and Sam Clovis.



No wonder why conservative Republicans have been arguing that even if Trump and the Russians colluded there was no crime. Sorry, conservatives, you are wrong. Check out this Business Insider article detailing the possible crimes. My opinion is that the leading crime committed here is a campaign contribution violation. And Republicans could we have America first over politics?

My fellow liberals and concerned Americans, viva la resistance.

Conservative Republicans real desire: Repeal Obamacare without replacement

Conservative President Donald Trump has exposed the real wishes of the Republicans. Repeal Obamacare without a replacement. This flies in the face of Trump telling CBS' news Lesley Stahl that he wanted to repeal and replace at the same time. Trump's outing of the real desire of conservative Republicans was tweeted after senator Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) expressed support for a straight repeal. Include conservative Rand Paul with support also. (R-Ky) This would line up with the bill passed by Republicans in 2015 and vetoed by President Obama. CNN Trump's idea of throwing Americans out into the street would lead to 26 million uninsured. Politico.

Stop this madness. America needs a single payer plan now.

Dear Leader's tweet: