Yes, Orcas aren’t fish. “Blackfish” is the English translation of a word Pacific Northwest indigenous peoples gave to killer whales, holding them in respectful regard while keeping a traditional safe distance. BLACKFISH is also the title of a new docummentary about how the sea mammals are mistreated by Sea World Marineland circus zoos and about instances of animal rebellion, instigated more often than not it turns out by one captive male named TILIKUM whose record of fragging trainers has been obscured by an entertainment system desperate to sanitize the plush-toy image of its “Shamu” brand. Documentary director Gabriela Cowperthwaite accuses Sea World of carelessly humanizing the ocean’s top predator, albeit whose social evolution appears to have exceeded that of humans. When it becomes apparent to audiences that Tilikum is actually the title character of Cowperthwaite’s expose, isn’t it unfair to refer to him in the generic? Yes “Blackfish” is a catchy title, but outside its Native American context the term is sinister and sub-mammalian. Let’s not vilify actions with which audiences find sympathy. Tilikum murdered his trainers wilfully and with premeditation. If we excuse him of murder it should not be because that’s his animal nature but because we understand his reason.
This movie is rated AYFKM– Film critics are unanimous in their praise of ARGO, Ben Affleck’s retelling of an Iran Hostage Crisis era escape caper. Either these reviews also reflect media agencies uniformly shrugging off Argo’s obvious anti-Iranian jingoism or these authors are inured to crude Islamophobic propaganda. Whatever the film’s highly praised period piece accuracies, the Angry Arab and bearded terrorist stereotype are pure post-9/11 refinements. The ill-fitting eyeglass frames, face-obstructing Prell hair, and presumed fitness-less sloop-shouldered physiques pretend to lampoon everyone of that era, but the character assassination is precision targeted at Iranians, all of them.
Slovenian philosopher Slovaj Zizek has a cult following like Lady Gaga, but denied this weekend any romantic connection. I write this with tongue in cheek, Slavoj’s, because of his comic protestations. Zizek was cajoled by Amy Goodman at Saturday’s London Fronline Club event: did he categorically denied the rumor? Zizek said “Absolute denial on everything.” But he wasn’t dissing Gaga or the notoriety of the mischievous meme, even as he protested: “I didn’t even listen to not one of her songs!” The audience ate it up; how total a rejection. Except Zizek continued playfully: “My God, I listen to Schubert and Schumann songs. Sorry, I’m a conservative.” And there you have the reigning academic of pop cultural references, who cannot make a point without recalling a movie scene, rejecting not Lady Gaga, but Pop. Obviously Zizek’s pop culture isn’t yours.
I know little about fine art photography, darkroom craft or print collecting, but I will foolishly assert this: the future of the two dimensional print is the time-dimensional print. It’s only with the evolution of high definition that I dare say it, video. THE FUTURE OF 2D IS NOT 3D IT’S 4D. (Actually 3-D is a tech injected myopia, by 4D I mean two dimensions plus time plus sound) I do know that photo technology for everyman has breached the fourth dimension, mounted paper prints are a throwback for older generations like mine, who think of the past in terms of stills. Before us it was black and white. Moving picture snap shots are no gimmick. Purists can mourn losing the split-second frozen in time, but who can argue that elapsed time does not add an infinity of fractions more? Yes color film lost the contrast of monochrome, just as paint left the shading of charcoal. Movies have long since eclipsed slide shows and now it’s time that single-frame photographers step up to digital video, same fixed shot, same composition, time exposure set to however long will hold the viewer’s gaze. Soon online videos will embed as smoothly as static images, and two dimension visuals will be lifeless.
Film: Maafa 21, Black Genocide in 21st Century America, a white anti-abortion shockumentary of execrable mendacity
Martin Luther King Jr. was an advocate of birth control, it remains a key tool to escape poverty, but that didn’t stop organizers of MLK tribute festivities at Colorado College from ending today’s program with a screening of MAAFA 21: Black Genocide in 21st Century America, a completely contrived shockumentary attempting to incite African American anger toward reproductive rights activists. Both UCCS and Colorado College fell for the propaganda, even though the pseudo-documentary by Life Dynamics Incorporated, a virulent Christian anti-abortion project, has been thoroughly debunked since its debut in 2009. Add Colorado Springs’ higher educators to duped churches nationwide who are diverting the black struggle against the legacy of slavery, economic oppression, racist yahoos like the makers of Maafa, and endemic racism, into animosity for the social workers of Planned Parenthood and their eugenic agenda of genocide via abortion. While the black community, like its indigenous brothers, does face a real genocidal program of forced poverty and violence, these agitators invoke race baiting to divide class war allies, MLK be damned. CC’s clueless invitation read: This movie has been called “stunning,” “breathtaking,” and “jaw-dropping.” You have only to watch the opening minutes on Youtube to add –execrable, mendacious and absurd. You can be against legal abortion without conniving to blame the Black Holocaust on those who disagree with you.
Crap. The Anti-Apartheid BDS campaign targeted Cannes because of it, Hollywood luminaries boycotted the Toronto Film Festival over the same principles in 2009, you’d think the Springs gay community might have paid heed. Instead the 2010 Pikes Peak Lavender Film Festival opted to screen the Israeli melodrama Eyes Wide Open, Zionists’ illegal appropriation of Jerusalem be damned. When Canadian gays made international news for allowing Queers Against Israeli Apartheid to march in their pride parade, in spite of Jewish philanthropists pressuring the City of Toronto to withdraw funding, I hoped that COS pride festivities might opt to climb aboard. Instead this weekend Colorado Springs gets a full-on endorsement of Israel’s ongoing illegal invasion of Palestine.
For those with a curiosity for how wine terroir is holding up against the onslaught of wine factory farming, the 10-hour miniseries version of MONDOVINO is finally available on DVD. For viewers curious about viniculture globalization under Californian colonial domination, the original feature length documentary delivers, with a long finish. Any time critics accuse a film of being one sided, you know it’s about class war.
NYC- Brent’s first feature film, Gravity Was Everywhere Back Then premiered at Manhattan’s IFC Center this weekend and runs until Thursday May 13. Catch screenings at 3:30 and 7:30 daily. Production artifacts are on view at concurrent gallery exhibits: the Andrew Edlin Gallery in Chelsea until June, and the Berkeley Art Museum, CA, until September. See the NYT review (!!!), read the production blog. Interview below:
Poor wolf man, he’s the bastard of the horror big three. Dracula and Frankenstein have antecedents in folklore but bloomed on the quills of novelists. The werewolf traces back to the Greek, yet no one will pull him from the doghouse, not that Hollywood doesn’t keep trying. Whenever I see the cinematic transformation of man to beast, from An American Werewolf in London to the latest Wolfman offering, I can’t help but recall the terrifying hairification of Jerry Lewis in the Nutty Professor, itself a spoof of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, regarded as the most literary of inferences to lycanthropy. But Robert Louis Stevenson wrote another short story seldom cited as a werewolf tale. Curious, because I think it holds the key to the man- wolf allure, when it’s not gay teen cheese. In his 1887 Olalla, RLS described the entrancing menace and tormented fate of the lupine-afflicted without mentioning the word.
I’d like to contrast the high-profile critical receptions being given two Hollywood films about darker-skinned-ness. Precious is about an African-American girl so dark she absorbs the light, without being about race at all. The movie tells a story of poverty, incest and the cycle of abuse, while tipping the scales with gratuitous stereotypes of Hottentot welfare mamas attendant their usual good-for-trouble black males. Vilifying the subjects it pretends to rescue, Precious has the blessing of the media, a shameless Oprah included. James Cameron’s Avatar on the other hand, opened to depth-charges of faint praise calculated to dim the buzz, perhaps because it packs the most subversive black-is-beautiful message since Muhammad Ali.
I was watching Jacobs Ladder just now. Just a little bit intense. Definitely not your standard war flick. You know, the guy who recommended the film to me, he’d been there, in Nam. And in the VA outpatient clinics too. One of those from Louisiana-East Texas that I just slip right into jawin’ with, easy… we call each other Cousin even if we’ve never met before. God Damn this is a bad movie. Not bad scripting or acting or plot. The bad part of it is that it’s something real.
Nurse Ratched, to my imagination, was the most despised movie villainess of all time. She didn’t murder anyone, but by the sheer frigidity of her indifference, Nurse Ratched caused debilitating anxiety and heart-break. She’s my nominee for the face of the US health insurance lobby.
DumFox Noose and their Demented Minions (selectively) Strike Again!
Now, I used to work for ACORN. Twice. Once in Texas and registering votes in 2004.
You think Dwight D. Eisenhower’s farewell address was a zinger, you should see FDR’s. Unearthed by Michael Moore for his new movie, the footage records Roosevelt declaring his intention to pursue a Second Bill of Rights. FDR died before he could make it happen, and you’ll never feel more sorry for yourself. FDR proposed these economic rights because our “political rights proved inadequate to assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness.” They were: equal rights to a job, fair pay, a home, medical care, retirement, and education. All these would have been affordable to the prospering industrial superpower, before the richest 1% took ownership of 90% of America’s wealth.
Michael Moore’s CAPITALISM: A LOVE STORY opens today in Colorado Springs, at Tinseltown, Cinemark Carefree and Hollywood Interquest. Showtimes and a note from Moore below.
Michael Moore’s documentary about the bank robber barons behind America’s financial collapse will hit the theaters on October 2. Though the Venice Film Festival gave its premier four screenings, and a ten minute standing ovation, American editorials have of course begun to cut Moore down. The fimmaker’s tweets that the LA audience rose from their seats with torches and pitchforks, were quickly doused as hyperbole. Really? The celebrity theatergoers were really just rushing the catering tables. REALLY? That’s less probable.
1. Celebrity activists have joined to condemn the Toronto Film Festival’s celebration of the movie industry of Tel Aviv, inappropriate while an Israeli regime ruthlessly exterminates its Palestinian Problem by seizing their lands, driving them into exile, and interning those who refuse to leave in the ghettos of Gaza and the West Bank, then making warm fuzzy movies about it.
2. Iraqi Bush Shoe-Thrower Muntadhar al-Zaidi has been freed! He says he was tortured for his act, but he didn’t regret it. “I got my chance and I didn’t miss it,” he said, now missing a few teeth. The US media is equating Joe Wilson’s affront to earnest debate to al-Zaidi’s internationally-hailed angry repudiation of a lying mass-murderer. Good luck with that.
3. Activists have been arrested for protesting war recruiting in a Philadelphia mall where children were being offered an “Army Experience Center”. Alright, arrests are not good news, in particular when they include the OpEdNews reporter covering the action, but it’s always encouraging to see Americans stand between Army recruiters and their prey.
Hundreds of thousands of new refugees and yet another country, Yemen, is now being destabilized by the US’s relentless drive to control the Middle East’s oil resources. Yemen is not oil rich but sits in a strategic locale between Iran and Saudi Arabia, and Iran and the Horn of Africa (Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Kenya). That makes it a key battle zone (like Lebanon and Syria to the West) in US efforts to destabilize and topple the current Iranian government in order to replace it with a servile puppet regime under US government control.
Are you looking for a good children’s film, and a film for the whole family to watch? Are you looking for a film where your children can learn about an alternative universe, and one that our American government has helped make? Then check out The Devil’s Miner.
Bolivian children labor in the silver mines of Cerro Rico, dating back to the 16th century, where devout Catholic miners sever their ties with God upon entering the mountain.
Are you a fan of the American Western? How do you think your taste might match a survey of French film critics? Though we mock their high regard for Jerry Lewis, let’s allow that France has a film history that predates ours, and a legacy of critical journals beyond the reach of our Hollywood shills. Besides which, the golden age of the movie western lies well between the brothers Lumiére and the Nouvelle Vague. Perusing John Cawelti’s The Six-Gun Mystique published in 1976, I found a list of the TOP TEN GREATEST WESTERNS. Think any of your favorites made the list?
You know you’re a Post- Baby Boomer when you had to learn that Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds was not an Elton John song. I remember being told by a nanny that you liked either the Monkeys or the Beatles. They broke up before I began listening to pop music. John became an activist, Paul was determined to return to commercial sounds, and George and Ringo faded to slackerdom, having ever only composed While My Guitar Gently Weeps and Octopus’s Garden between them, so I thought. I knew only the Beatles Red and White anthologies.
There is a spate of recent films spilling the beans about the corporate takeover of the global food economy. Many are available online or through Amazon and Netflix.
Please watch some of these. Show your kids. Host a screening in your community. Donate a copy or two to the local library or public school system. Encourage teachers to show the films. Spread the word! Subvert the dominant food paradigm! Refuse to play along anymore!
I’m sure you’ve seen the Sweet Surprise commercials. There are several to target different consumer groups, but all involve a person #1 expressing hesitation at the offer of a high fructose corn syrup-laden “treat” and a smug HFCS-pusher asking sneeringly, “Oh yeah? Well, what’s so bad about HFCS?”
Simple. They wouldn’t be able to Steal nearly as much.
From Bill Moyers documenting the Right Wing Hate-mongers almost successful game plan to discredit the TRUTH exposed by the film “Sicko”… Just painting anybody who believed it as a “lefty loon” wouldn’t be enough… Although our Friendly Right Wing Spokespersons use that attack method.
The video footage is shocking. An attractive young woman watching the demonstrations in Tehran is struck by a sniper’s bullet and dies before several video cameras. The tragedy is projected unto Facebook and Youtube, with advocates hoping it will galvanize (American) public support for the brave reform movement in Iran. News accounts blame “Basij snipers” on the rooftops. Other protesters have been killed in confrontations with Iranian riot police, without the benefit of video witnesses, much like two million Iraqis, Afghans, Pakistanis et al. Poor 27-year-old bystander Neda Soltani stood at the quite improbable convergence of bullet and camera –correction– cameras. I don’t have to suggest the scene was staged; whether or not the triggerman was an American is immaterial.