Saturday, January 27, 2018

The Post review

I'm going to use an early seventies metaphor to describe the film The Post. It's like an Apollo rocket just before launch. It stands there quietly with little action. But when ignition comes, it is a powerful testament to an idea. Literally, the rocket is the triumph of science. But in our metaphor if the rocket is the movie, The Post is a tribute to a free press.

The Post starts out with Daniel Ellsberg (Matthew Rhys) a researcher with the Department of Defense and later The Rand Corporation seeing the horrors of the Viet Nam war. It's the late sixties. While at Rand, he sneaks out a secret government study of the war and its dirty secrets. In essence, the report concludes the war could not be won and the basic reason for it was American prestige. He leaks it to the New York Times.

Meanwhile, Washington Post owner Katherine Graham (Meryl Streep) is about to offer her paper for public investment. She's warned that any catastrophic event would scare off the bankers and investors. Post editor Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks) is frustrated that the New York Times constantly scoops them, particularly with the publication of Ellsberg's report now known as The Pentagon Papers. When the government gets an injunction against the Times, Bradlee dispatches reporter Ben Bagdikian (Bob Odenkirk) to get leads on the Pentagon Papers.

Every performance in The Post rings true, from the part of the maid to the major roles. Meryl Streep's Graham is a study in sadness over the loss of her husband, fear over the possible loss of paper, and moral heroism in risking it all to publish the truth. Tom Hanks plays his Bradlee as cantankerous newsman drive with one goal. Speak truth to power. Bruce Greenwood as former Defense Secretary Robert McNamara is not an evil man. But he's supporting a lie that he feels will benefit the country. Bob Odenkirk's Bagdikian is a dedicated, yet neurotic reporter.

Liz Hannah and Josh Singer's script takes enough artistic license to make compelling cinema. Yeah, the move feels inert during the first half. It's an Apollo rocket. The ignition comes when Bagdikian meets Ellsberg in a motel room with volumes of the Pentagon Papers. Their conversation details the risks and Ellsberg's sense of guilt for the country. The movie lifts off. Graham must decide whether to publish the truth and face possible jail or choose the safe route. I have no problem with the speeches made in this film. They are exactly what is needed to elucidate the importance of a free press. And that wonderful idea is a bedrock of American democracy. The movie has purpose.

Director Steven Spielberg is one of America's greatest filmmakers. He uses every trick in his repertoire to create a compelling, interesting and triumphant film. He gets great performances from his actors. There is fascinating camera movements. He either drains the color or uses filters to give the move an old yet timeless quality. Kudos also to Janusz Kaminski's cinematography. It's a beautiful use of light and shadow.

Spielberg said on directing The Post, "this was a story i felt we needed to tell today." (USA Today) Amen to that. President Donald Trump hates the free press. That's because they will speak truth to power especially when the government doesn't want the truth to come out. If a partisan Congress won't tell the truth on Trump's ties to Russia then a free press will.

The Post may not be as entertaining as other good films of 2017. But it is certainly the most important. And it deserves the Oscar for Best Picture. The grade is A.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Vain, idiot conservative President Trump thinks the Women's March was about him

Hundreds of thousands of people marched in protest on the one year anniversary of Republican President Donald Trump's term of office. This was the second Women's March following last year's protest march of Trump. Of course, the vain and conservative president thought it was about him. He tweeted,

"Beautiful weather all over our great country, a perfect day for all Women to March. Get out there now to celebrate the historic milestones and unprecedented economic success and wealth creation that has taken place over the last 12 months. Lowest female unemployment in 18 years!"

What an idiot. This is coming from a man who looks at the sun directly during an eclipse. God help us. Speaking of God, thank her for our late night comedians. Here's Stephen Colbert and Seth Myers with their takes. And to quote Trump from a tweet, "Enjoy."

Stephen Colbert on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

Seth Myers on his The Late Show with Seth Myers.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Stephen Colbert's hilarious skit on Melania Trump's take of Fire and Fury book

We need a laugh during these terrible days of conservative President Trump. Stephen Colbert with the help of the lovely and talented Laura Benanti perform this riotous skit of an interview with Melania Trump as she addresses the tell all book of Fire and Fury

Conservative Republican President Trump overtly expresses his racism

During a meeting with Republican congressmen and one Democrat, Sen. Dick Durbin (Il.), conservative President Donald Trump overtly expressed his hatred of people of color. The conversation was about extending protections to immigrants from Haitians and Africans who are in America.

“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” Trump then said America should be bringing in more people from countries like Norway. New York Post and Washington Post.

If you didn't think conservative Trump is a racist, it is now apparent. He is saying that people from Africa and Haiti are from "shithole" countries. But this is where it's racist. He wants more people from Norway which is a white country. All due respect to the people of Norway by the way. Trump wants just white people to come to America.

And by the way it goes against his merit based immigration desire. You see he wants to eliminate even brilliant people from Africa and Haiti. That's because Trump doesn't want black people to come to America. He wants white people from Norway.

If you are an American who believes in love, justice, equality and freedom, then resist conservative Trump. Vote liberal Democrat if you want to live.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Conservative Republicans want a criminal investigation on an American ally

It is simply despicable that conservative Republicans want a criminal investigation of former MI6 agent Christopher Steele. His alleged crime? Notifying the FBI of evidence that the Russians could blackmail conservative President Donald Trump. But what is the real reason behind this outrage? David Corn of Mother Jones, who reported on the Steele Dossier which outlined Trump-Russia collusion says it's all about defending Trump and not getting at the truth.

"The Republican Party, which for decades claimed it was the party that championed patriotism and national security, has jettisoned these priorities for Trump protectionism."

David Corn. "Republican Senators target Christopher Steele and the reason is obvious." Mother Jones.

Amen. Conservative Republicans are not trying to get at the truth. Folks, Trump campaign officials Donald Jr., Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner met with Russians with the idea to get "dirt" on opponent Hillary Clinton from the Russian government. Nobody's denying that fact. Instead of trying to find out if the Russians not only hacked into Democratic emails and possibly colluded with Trump campaign officials, the Republicans are making smoke screens to cover up the truth.

To Mr. Steele and our English friends. I'm sorry for the conservative Republican attack on our alliance that for decades has stood for democracy. The great majority of Americans are still your friends and cherish our shared democratic values. To my fellow Americans. Vote liberal Democrat if you want to live.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Stephen Colbert: Cheeseburger in POTUS' bed

Oy. According to Michael Wolff 's book Fire and Fury, conservative President Donald Trump likes to have a cheeseburger in bed. And yesterday, Trump made an appearance via TV screen during the White House Press briefing. Yeah, we get it. That's so Trump doesn't have to face the press. I'm guessing Stephen Colbert has something to say about this. Yep. Hilarious commentary from The Late Show with Stehen Colbert.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Stephen Colbert:: The Trump presidency is like "The Producers"

Okay, we need to a laugh before conservative President Trump gets us all killed. Here's Stephen Colbert on the upcoming book Fire and Fury by Mihcael Wolff. We find out that Trump did not expect to win and was not prepared for the job. It was like Mel Brooks' "The Producers." Oy.

Steven Bannon: Trump campaign meeting with Russians was treasonous

I think it's time to bury conservative President Donald Trump's claims that there is no evidence of collusion between his campaign and the Russians. Former campaign CEO and political adviser Steve Bannon is quoted in a new book by Michael Wolff,

"Even if you thought that this was not treasonous or unpatriotic or bad sh..t, and I happen to think it's all of that ..." (From Fire and Fury; See the Guardian. )

I've always said that the June 2016 meeting and the email setting up the meeting was direct proof of collusion. Now we have somebody next to Trump who agrees.

Vote liberal Democrat if you want to live.

Check out MSNBC report.

Darkest Hour review

The Darkest Hour is about Winston Churchill's first days as Prime Minister. The war against the Nazis is going bad and France is about to fall. The plot is about the tumultuous days before the "battle" of Dunkirk. That's the engagement with the Germans where the British people in civilian boats rescued their army and hence allowed the fight to go on. Before the rescue, Churchill must decide whether to pursue peace as Foreign Secretary Lord Hallifax (Stephan Dillane) and former Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain (Ronald Pickup) want or to fight on even if France falls.

There's basically one performance that we should talk about in this movie. And all due respect to the excellent cast. But it is Gary Oldman as Churchill. Wearing astounding make-up, Oldman is the Churchill we remember. Maybe not factually accurate but one that is poetic, irascible, doubtful, emotional and heroic. His Churchill matches the actual rhythm of the man while still imbuing more life if that's possible to his dramatic portrayal. When Churchill knows he's in the right and is going to fight, there's a swagger to his step. It's an Oscar worthy performance by Goldman.

I've complained that historical dramas may need some well, Hollywood license in how to depict the facts. Anthony McCarten's screenplay does a little of that. There's a scene where Churchill runs off into the subway to find out what Londoners thought of peace with the Nazis. It didn't happen but it's an emotional scene. But Churchill was known to talk to the common man at times. (The Heavy) So it's not outside of the realm. I think McCarten needed a scene where Churchill realizes that Nazism must be defeated at all costs. That would have helped. But I'm guessing that he assumes the audience knows that. I do like that the movie does not depict Chamberlain or Hallifax as bad guys. I could see where they were coming from in terms of seeking a peace agreement with Hitler.

The movie really takes off with the realization that France is going to fall and maybe Great Britain should sue for peace. Director Joe Wright (Atonement) stays out of the way of that drama. He frames shots to show that Churchill is one man with the forces of history putting pressure on him. That decision with all its consequences drives the film.

Darkest Hour has one of the best performances of the year from Gary Oldman. It's a nice companion piece to last year's Dunkirk. The grade is B Plus.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Trump says his nuclear button is bigger than Kim Jong Un's

Oy. The President of the United States Donald Trump just compared the size of his nuclear button to that of North Korean President Kim Jong Un's by tweeting, " it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!"

Of course, Twitter is destroying Trump. The Hill. Yeah, you blonde hair, orange skin freak, we get the sexual innuendo. But if we weren't talking about the end of the human race, it might be funny. Let me give everybody some of Bernie's Philosophy.

"Do not be surprised about getting shot when you goad an insane man with a gun."

And remember America, vote liberal Democrat if you want to live.

Monday, January 1, 2018

The Bengals' Super Bowl moment

 I stopped watching the Cincinnati Bengals game against the Baltimore Ravens when it looked like the Ravens were going to take the lead.  Typical Bengals heartbreaking loss.  Then something happened with less than a minute to play and the Bengals down 27-24.

The Bengals were down to their last play.  4th and 12.  The Ravens needed the win to make the playoffs.  The Buffalo Bills needed the Ravens to lose to make the playoffs.  It looks grim if you're a Bills' fan.  But Andy "The Red Rifle" Dalton hit an open Tyler Boyd in the seam. He shot through the defenders for a touchdown.    Hey , no calling Dalton "Opie" today.  For one brief shining moment,  the  Cincinnati Bengals had their miraculous Super Bowl play.  Bengals win 31-27.   The Bills send love and chicken wings to the Bengals.   Check out the play below.  And Happy New Year Bengals Nation and the people of Buffalo, New York.