Monday, February 29, 2016

John Oliver exposes Donald Trump

Last night, HBO's John Oliver did an excellent and funny piece on Donald Trump. He exposes him for the fraud that he is. So you Republicans that are in full panic mode over the specter of Trump winning the Republican nomination, enjoy this hilarious video courtesy of HBO and Youtube.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Celebrate Black History Month with Charlie Parker

In honor of black history month, I present the greatest musician of the twentieth century. CHARLIE PARKER. Here is his great song "Confirmation."

Shut up Chris Rock

So I'm watching the Oscars and am waiting what host Chris Rock would say about the lack of people of color in the acting categories. And his monologue was funny but went on too long about the lack of blacks in cinema. I mean the whole thing was about that. Then he insulted the first presenters Emily Blunt and Charlize Theron by making a joke about Emily and saying she's accompanied by somebody even whiter. These actresses didn't need to be insulted like that. They can't help it if they are white.

Then there was the first filmed skit. It featured scenes from this year's movies with black actors interrupting the scenes with jokes about not being in these films. Not funny. Why? The type of racism that they portray is not present. For example, NASA would not abandon an astronaut on Mars because he was black. Maybe that's funny in Blazing Saddles when that type of racism existed but not now.

Then Chris Rock decided to say something about one actor who was not nominated. Michael Jordan. When Rock introduced Jordan, he said he should have been nominated. Really? Does that mean the other actors in the Best Actor category were not deserving? Maybe you want a quota system? It insults the performances of the actors who were nominated in this category. Then there was the unfunny Black Moment in Film sketch. And then there was the video piece where Rock interviews black people about the controversy. That skit come at almost two hours later! Sigh.

Enough Chris Rock. Shut up. It was just two years ago that Lupinta Nyong'o won an Oscar for 12 Years a Slave. Hollywood is the most liberal segments of our society. They have pushed diversity for years. Sure, there are problems getting more people of color in film. I do want more people of color to be considered for roles that don't require a particular race.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Classic Saturday Night Live Republican debate skit

As I watched clips of last week's Republican Presidential debate, I couldn't help but think about the hilarious Saturday Night Live Republican debate skit from last fall. I meant there was a bunch of insults thrown in that skit by Donald Trump. And as I watched the real thing, it's almost as if life was imitating art. Back then it was art imitating life but now you can't separate them. So here it is. The SNL riotous Republican Presidential debate from September 2015, just in time for today's South Carolina primary. Enjoy.

Apollo 10 astronauts hear space "music"

Cue the X-Files theme. The Huffington Post is reporting as Apollo 10 was orbiting on the far side of the moon that the astronauts heard space "music." This music really sounds like a whistling noise that was heard through the radio. Now note as the ship is orbiting that part of the moon there is no radio contact. The report is highlighted in the Science Channel's series, "NASA's Unexplained Files." Check out the clip from the show below.

So, what was it? Easily explained ship noise? Then why is it over the radio? Or is it from aliens? The truth is out there.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Classic SNL Democratic debate skit from 2015

Okay, let's take a breather from Republicans slinging mud at each other and watch this classic debate parody from Saturday Night Live. Yes, I know this covers this year's Democrats and you may think it's too early to call it classic. Just watch it. It's very funny and they got Bernie Sanders just right. Kudos to Larry David for playing him. It's Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld as Bernie Sanders. Gotta love Hillary trying to tell voters to be well more practical versus Sanders' idealism. Enjoy.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day. How about "Sunday Morning" from Maroon 5?

Conservative Republicans immediately politicize Scalia's death

Justice Antonin Scalia died yesterday. And within a few minutes, Conservative Republicans have politicized his death by fretting over his replacement on the Supreme Court. The man has been dead for less than a day folks. Can't we mourn his death and celebrate his life?

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) has said he wants the next president to pick his successor. What the .... ? Dude, President Obama has 340 days left. This is the Supreme Court. Decisions need to be made in a timely manner. These are critical decisions that affect the nation. Let me guess. he wants a right wing judge. Because if she's a liberal or moderate, the right wing is afraid of decisions that don't fit the conservative mode. I'm sorry but the needs of the nation trump conservative fears. It's simply despicable that conservative Republicans put their political views ahead of the welfare of the nation.

Ted Cruz is a hypocrite when it comes to Christian values

I hate to say this but I agree with Donald Trump. Sen. Ted Cruz is a hypocrite when it comes to Christian values. And I'm not talking about Trump's charge that Cruz is liar. Well, Cruz does play dirty. Look at the shenanigans he pulled on Ben Carson by saying he withdrew in Iowa.

Anyway, Cruz has lately pulled an ad that featured actress Amy Lindsay. His reason was that she was in some soft core porn movies. First, I say "so what?!" She wasn't doing any porn in the ad unless you consider his Cruz's ad to be porn. Why are we punishing this woman for her career choices? Second, assuming that it's a Christian virtue to forgive and doing porn is bad, where is Cruz's forgiveness? Yep, if interferes with his right-wing values, Cruz is a hypocrite when it comes to being a Christian.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Deadpool review

So, yesterday, I wrote a film review on Carol, a lovely story about two women who have an affair against the background of a fifties homophobic society. Today, I'm reviewing Deadpool. And it ain't an indie drama about two cowboys finding love. Nope. Deadpool is a fourth wall busting, kick-ass action comedy. I meant Deadpool could have had gay cowboys but that wouldn't fit the plot. Maybe next time, Deadpool 2, The Sequel could have subplot about gay henchmen.

Deadpool shows you the tone of this movie during the opening credits. I don't think I've ever seen funnier opening credits which destroyed the superhero genre. Yes, if you know anything about the comic book hero Deadpool, you know he will break the fourth wall. Anyway, the film starts out with Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) chasing the villain Ajax (Ed Skrein) and his henchmen in a wild car chase and firefight. But before we find out what happens, the film then flashes back to show how Wade Wilson (Reynolds) became the mutant Deadpool. You see it was Ajax that mutated Wilson and now, Wilson aka Deadpool, aka The Merc with a Mouth, seeks revenge.

I like the idea of a superhero movie making fun of its genre. Ryan Reynolds delivers his sarcastic lines with more than a little mischief as many fanboys thought he would be the perfect superhero. See Reynolds in Green Lantern (2011) or don't as it bombed. By the way, there are a couple of good jokes at Green Lantern's expense in this movie. With that and those opening credits, Deadpool frequently demolishes the fourth wall. And many times the jokes hit their target the way Deadpool's bullets blow off the heads of bad guys.

Alas, not everything is chimichangas, Deadpool's favorite food. Not all the jokes work. And believe it or not the filmmakers seem to have curbed some of jokes. For example, during a sex scene between Wilson and his girlfriend Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), she is um... having her way with Wilson. Well, you have to think about the punch line and Reynolds facial close up to get the joke. Would have been much funnier if we got to see the, ahem... marital aid. Yeah, it could be done in a "R" movie as this one. There was much worse in The Hangover II. You think they were afraid the kiddies would sneek in to see this or worse yet, the parents brought the kids to see it. Which makes me wonder if you brought your children to see Deadpool and say, "Are you nuts?" No wonder why Mike Huckabee thinks the country is going to hell.

I'm also not a fan of the flashback to orgins plot device. It pretty much brought the movie to a halt as it was too long, and at times, too serious. I mean you start out with a wild action scene, interrupt it and then we have to wait for about forty minutes for it to resolve. Deadpool should have also stuck to its more satirical roots. Because a third of this movie felt more like a conventional superhero flick.

So, you might have some questions after reading this review. "Is this movie any good?" "Will we ever see a Green Lantern II and III starring Ryan Reynolds?" "Should I vote for Ted Cruz?" The answers to those questions are: Yes, no, and hell, no. Ted Cruz? Really? You probably think Richard Nixon was not a crook. The grade for Deadpool is B.

No, you are not getting the red band trailer. This is a PG-13 blog.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Carol review

There's a scene in the movie Carol where actress Cate Blanchett is sitting in a diner pinning over her lost love. I actually know this restaurant. You see this movie was filmed in my hometown of Cincinnati. Today, that diner no longer exists. But it made think about the people who worked there, the waitress that served me, and Bill, the owner. Now, they've faded away and there is disappointment that I didn't get to say goodbye or have one last conversation. It's just a segment of my life that has passed. Maybe, it's the characters in Carol that made me feel that way. Their longing for happiness. The regret.

The movie is based on Patricia Highsmith's novel, The Price of Salt. It takes place in 1952, New York City. Therese Belivet (Rooney Mara) is a sales clerk at a department store. It's Christmas time. Wealthy socialite Carol Aird (Cate Blanchett) is shopping for a doll for her daughter. They don't have the doll she's looking for but Therese suggests a train set since she is a fan of that kind of toy. They seem to be attracted to each other. Carol buys one and has it sent to her home however she leaves her gloves at the store.

Therese mails the gloves back to her and Carol uses the gesture to invite Therese to her home. While there, Carol shows that she is interested in Therese in more than a platonic way. Unfortunately, Carol's husband, Harge, (Kyle Chandler) arrives and we find out that the marriage is in distress because Carol's previous lesbian affair. At risk because of Carol's lesbianism is custody of their daughter.

Director Todd Haynes has created a movie that feels like 1952. It also reflects films of that time. There are interior scenes with film noir conventions. Light reflected through blind curtains. He and cinematographer Edward Lachman have drained color from the film, thereby giving a faded and thus dated look. Many of the scenes look like they are from a Edward Hopper painting. It gives the movie a feeling of the past, not just the character's past but it makes the viewer think of his past. Haynes also doesn't over-direct. He let's the story dictate. There is very little fast cutting and there's some old school cover shots. Haynes' direction allows the audience to focus on the compelling story.

Cate Blanchett as the conflicted Carol is her usual solid self. She maintains a cold exterior yet she has lesbian desire while struggling to retain custody of her daughter. I don't know if this is a problem but I will say Blanchett's glamour and beauty many times overwhelm a scene. Rooney Mara gets to really stretch her acting chops her. She plays Therese as a naive woman who has lesbian leanings while suppressing them. Her looks and grace remind me of Audrey Hepburn. She's the second actress in a year that has reminded me of Hepburn. The first being in Elizabeth Debicki. (The Man From The U.N.C.L.E. 2015)

My only problem with this movie is the lack of dialogue. Yes, you heard that right. This movie actually needs more dialogue. I'm talking about two scenes. The first being the meeting between Carol and Therese at Carol's home. There needed more conversation between the two women to build up the attraction between the two. The second occurs at a later time which I won't discuss it in detail since it contains spoilers. But again it's a meeting between Therese and Carol. This absolutely needed more dialogue from Therese to explain her motivation and feelings. Shots of Rooney Mara's face doesn't let me know what she is thinking. Still, none of this hurts the film significantly.

Carol is a film about a time where homosexuality was considered immoral, a psychological disease. It's an emotional story about two women who struggle to live with their love when the world is against their very happiness. It's heart wrenching and well told. The grade is B Plus.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The problem with Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton started as the shoo-in Democratic presidential nominee. That idea has taken a hit after last night's New Hampshire primary. Senator Bernie Sanders from Vermont destroyed her by winning 60-38 percent. She lost among every major demographic of the Democratic Party. (Fox News report. Hey, I'm fair and balanced.) Particularly troubling is her gap with young people.

So, what's wrong with Hillary? Here it is from this liberal. We don't trust her. She seems to want to be President because of raw ambition. Unlike, Bernie Sanders who is idealistic. I don't believe she will be a liberal in the White House. She can scream that she is one but she comes from the Clinton wing of the party. And that is Democratic Leadership Council, whose purpose was to move the party to the center so it could win elections. Nothing wrong with being a moderate but the Democratic Party has a long history of being idealistic. For example, she can't talk about Wall Street reform when her husband as President repealed sections of Glass-Steagall and allowed banks and investment banks to merge. That helped to lead to great economic crisis of 2008. ( The film, Inside Job. 2010) Yet, I strain to hear her talk about any legislation to rein in Wall Street. Worse, she has earned a king's ransom in speaking fees from Goldman Sachs amounting $675,000.00. And I'll bet she didn't tell them to "knock it off." Because that's not a message that the bankers pay to hear. (See Politico article.)

Hillary's problem can be summed up in this skit from Saturday Night Live, "A Hillary Christmas." She comes off as all ambition.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The New American Fascist, Donald Trump, Wins

First let me just say that I was one of the first to call Donald Trump, a fascist. (April 26, 2011 post) That was long before fellow Republicans called him one. So today, I'm happy he won the New Hampshire Republican primary for President.

Happy you say? Absolutely. I don't believe a racist and fascist can win the White House. That means that even a socialist like Senator Bernie Sanders could be our next President. Second, this just shows you who populates the modern Republican party. Angry, white men who agree with Trump's racist ideas. And don't get me wrong. The Republican Party has some good people in it but those angry white guys from the Tea Party wing are now dictating policy. Third, I will have some great comedy to post in the upcoming months.

For example, comedian Lewis Black raised the possibility of a Trump candidacy in 2011 on The Daily Show. Here's his riotous video piece. Enjoy.