Pure Fun with Great Visuals–a Fantasy Film to be Sure
March 29, 2010
Meryl Streep, Steve Martin, Alec Baldwin
Guatemala seems to be the place where Academy Award pre-release DVDs find a home and are replicated in the thousands, then sold for a few dollars if not less–I have never bought one, just borrowed from those who have. I am reminded of the VHS underground marketplace in Panama in the 1980’s.
Alec Baldwin really surprised me–he rose to the occasion and turns in one of his best performances as a supporting actor to Meryl Streep, with Steve Allen coming in as third fiddle but the ultimate victor.
I take quite seriously the severe critic that complains this is a white super-suburban fantasy film, and this is absolute true. Having said that, I never-the-less recommend this film very strongly as engaging, with very strong visuals, and a total pleasure across the board.
Not sure why Eva Mendes is not listed by Amazon in the credits. This movie is already very hot in the Latin American bootleg circuit and I watched it this quiet Sunday. As another reviewer observes, this movie has not gotten the publicity it merits, and that surprises me. On balance, a four at the cinema and a solid five for home viewing.
I found it engrossing in part because it does a super job of showing a number of ways in which cops, sometimes in league with other cops, prostitutes, and often on their own, can shake down everyone from the careless suburban types in the big city for a night, to high rollers with connections, to major regional drug pushers.
For me, this movie is NOT over-played, its a great combination of some good and bad clandestine tradecraft, some sparkling lines (am re-learning French and appreciate anything with French actually spoken), some artful nudity, some real art, and over-all, a smooth panorama.
27 March 2010: Full spread sheet and optimal links added below Amazon review.GOT TO RUN, Links later today.
Beyond Five Stars…Gifted Mix of Intelligence, Integrity, Insight Deeply Rooted in History and Firmly Focused on Today’s Reality
March 21, 2010
I do not always agree with Ralph Peters, but along with Steve Metz and Max Manwaring, both at the Strategic Studies Institute (SSI) of the U.S. Army, I consider him one of America’s most gifted strategists whose integrity is absolute. He simplifies sometimes (e.g. Iraqis turned against Al Qaeda because of the demand for marriage that was refused followed by the bloodbath execution of the family by Al Qaeda, not because of anything the US did) but that aside, Ralph is the ONLY person that reminds me of both Winston Churchill–poetry and gifted turns of phrase on every page–and Will Durant, historian extraordinaire. Ralph has a better grasp of history, terrain, and the military than Robert Kaplan, and deeper insights into our failed military leadership (no longer leaders, just politically-correct administrators out of touch with reality) than my favorite journalist-adventurer, Robert Young Pelton.
I have read and reviewed most of Ralph’s books, and am proud to consider him a colleague and a fellow Virginian. Ralph is the only author whose books jump to the top of my “to read” pile, and I absorbed this masterpiece over the course of moving my own flag from Virginia to Latin America. US national and military intelligence have completely given up their integrity, and it resonated with me that the key word that Ralph uses throughout this book–a word I myself adopt in my latest book in carrying on the tradition of Buckminster Fuller on the one hand, and most respected mentor-critic Chuck Spinney on the other–is that very word: INTEGRITY.
Thanks to Steven Aftergood & Secrecy News for the heads up on the new book The Iraq Papers. Secrecy News’ email newsletter describes it this way:
An extensive compilation of official documents, policy advocacy statements, and assorted commentary on the U.S. decision to go to war in Iraq in 2003 is presented in “The Iraq Papers,” a new book from Oxford University Press.Since it seems that there will be no new official reckoning of the Iraq war or other Bush Administration policy choices, it will be left to others to achieve their own understanding of the Bush era and its aftermath. “The Iraq Papers” provides one possible documentary starting point.”The decision to invade Iraq launched a new doctrine of preemptive war, mired the American military in an intractable armed conflict, disrupted world petroleum supplies, cost the United States billions of dollars, and damaged or ended the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans and Iraqis,” the book states.The book editors are not overly perplexed by these events. Somewhat heavy-handedly, they offer their own interpretation of events involving the decisive influence of neo-conservatives, the unitary executive, and a U.S. drive to global hegemony, among other factors. Alternative explanations are not considered here.
Beyond Six Stars–a Game Changer, Pure Public Intelligence
March 15, 2010
This book will join the Six Stars and Beyond group at Phi Beta Iota the Public Intelligence Blog, where I can group my reviews in the 98 categories in which I read and you can do a whole lot of other things such as search all my reviews for specific terms.
This book is deeper than most will give it credit. The author has done a great deal of research, presents verifiable notes, and offers up 27 short section with adequate but not excessive white space. I especially like the quotes, several from Albert Einstein, used throughout the book to highlight a point. I also especially respect the reality that the author speaks to directly: when Western commerce and medicine have been so corrupted by the profit motive, it is very difficult to find research that upholds the truth of natural and alternative cures, or that presents the truth about the dangers of our peverted health system that ignores all but the “profitable” quarter of health, surgical and pharmaceutical remediation.
This is a revolutionary book, and it joins others that make the case for rejecting the big government – big banks – big business triumverate that commoditizes people, loots the treasury, and rapes the Earth for short-term gain by the few against the public interest.