Review: Improper behavior–when misconduct is good for society

5 Star, Culture, DVD - Light, Democracy, Values, Ethics, Sustainable Evolution, Voices Lost (Indigenous, Gender, Poor, Marginalized)
Amazon Page
Amazon Page

Elizabeth Janeway

This is how your review will appear:

EDIT of 24 February 2013

This book has now passed into Open Access, but I continue to believe that Amazon should consider offering it as a CreateSpace and Kindle option. Dissent is a patriotic duty. The Iraq War was elective and based on 935 now-documented lies. What is done in our name today with drones and assassination teams and incarceration without due process is unConstitutional in the USA and a crime against humanity abroad. I am a patriot. A patriot does not let traitors get away with hijacking the government and must at a minimum speak their mind.

New links since the original review was written:

Why Societies Need Dissent (Oliver Wendell Holmes Lectures)
The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot
Pedagogy of Freedom: Ethics, Democracy, and Civic Courage (Critical Perspectives Series: A Book Series Dedicated to Paulo Freire)

ORIGINAL REVIEW of 13 August 2008

I entitled this review with the sub-title of Elizabeth Janeway's brilliant book. This is a book that is long overdue for a reprint and perhaps an update. I read it in the 1980's and used it in the 1990's on more than one occasion, with the line, inspired by this book:

“It used to be legal to oppress people of color and women–that did not make it right.”

The author, and the book, are central to any literature or discussion of the role of dissent in society, and the manner in which the public can ultimately triumph over any external authority including dictatorships and abusive corrupt regimes.

Continue reading “Review: Improper behavior–when misconduct is good for society”

Review (Guest): Zero — an investigation into 9/11

5 Star, 9-11 Truth Books & DVDs, Atrocities & Genocide, Congress (Failure, Reform), Corruption, Crime (Corporate), Crime (Government), Culture, DVD - Light, Executive (Partisan Failure, Reform), History, Impeachment & Treason, Intelligence (Government/Secret), Justice (Failure, Reform), Military & Pentagon Power, Misinformation & Propaganda, Politics, Power (Pathologies & Utilization), Reviews (DVD Only), Secrecy & Politics of Secrecy, Threats (Emerging & Perennial)
Amazon Page

5.0 out of 5 stars Who You Gonna Believe?, September 13, 2009

Reviewed by Howard M. Kindel

This is the film that makes it impossible to accept the “official” version of the “911” tragedy any longer. It presents no new, startling evidence – no “smoking gun.” What it does, though, is to organize the wealth of available material in such a way as leave no room for doubt.

Front and center, for me anyway, has always been the Video supposedly showing Osama Bin Laden taking credit for the attacks – a Video that just magically turned up almost out of nowhere a couple months after the attacks. This Video has always been suspect precisely because it surfaced just about the time people were beginning to doubt the “official” version.

Continue reading “Review (Guest): Zero — an investigation into 9/11”

Review (DVD): manolete [Italian Import]

6 Star Top 10%, Culture, DVD - Light, Reviews (DVD Only)
Amazon Page

penelope cruz (Actor), Adrien Brody (Actor), santiago segura (Actor), menno meyjes (Director)

5.0 out of 5 stars Six Star Instant Classic–Needs to Come in US DVD

January 27, 2011

If you are a Latino or have any grasp of Latino culture, this is a 6. This is as good as Evita and confirms in my own mind Penelope Cruz, who awed in Spanglish, as the Greta Garbo of our time. It took me some time to realize it was her, as her role, both through facial and body language as well as costume and design, was completely opposite that of the role she played in Spanglish. The male star, Adrien Brody, was himself phenomenal, and one has to give enormous credit to every side of this production from script and casting to settings, supporting actors at all levels, and the over-all framing of the story. This could easily become a cult classic to be enjoyed over and over again. I personally found it head and shoulders above just about every film I have watched these past five or six years. Penelope Cruz's face is a work of art in constant motion, and I was absolutely fascinated by the choreography of her eyes and mouth and the entire setting both up close and personal and in the larger cultural landscape that the producer and director captured to perfection.

I certainly hope this becomes available in USA standard (still incredible that there is not one global standard for DVDs, digits are digits) because when it does I will buy and keep this particular DVD for recurring viewing.

Writing this review has exposed me to the enormous body of work of Penelope Cruz, and caused me to explore the work of Adrian Brody. Below are a few DVDs that I have selected from a very large–a surprisingly large–selection, all of which, in combination with the two performances by Penelope Cruz I have actually seen, cause me to feel she is truly one of the most diverse, nuanced, beautiful, and downright plain TALENTED actresses of our time.

Open Your Eyes
and many others

The Pianist
Love the Hard Way
and many others

CORRECTION with thanks to alert reader who pointed out that Paz Vega is not Penelope Cruz.
Sex and Lucia (R-Rated Edition) [VHS]

Review (DVD): Smash His Camara

4 Star, Culture, DVD - Light, Reviews (DVD Only)
Amazon Page

Floyd Abrams (Actor), Gilbert M. ‘Broncho Billy' Anderson (Actor), Leon Gast (Director)

4.0 out of 5 stars Classic View of Greatest American Photo-Stalker

January 27, 2011

Rough patches, but a period cultural piece and for me quite fascinating. Almost a five and not left at four for itself but rather in comparison with other movies as alternative ways of spending time. This is a documentary of one of the greatest American “paraparatzi” of our time, in blends live interviews with re-collective discussions of specific photos that have made history including, most memorably, “windblown Jackie,” and as an American I found it both fascinating and not done deeply or broadly enough. I would have like to see much more. HOWEVER, the movie does whet the appetite for the book No Pictures, and I recommend both.

This movie, and the act of writing the review, brought to my attention other books by this photographer and out of respect I list them:

Continue reading “Review (DVD): Smash His Camara”

Review: Harry Brown

4 Star, Culture, DVD - Light, Reviews (DVD Only)
Amazon Page

4.0 out of 5 stars Surprising–Did Not Disappoint

December 4, 2010

I got this on a whim because Michael Caine is one of my top three serious actors along with Alec Guinness and Anthony Hopkins, and my assumption was that he would not stoop to a simple Death Wish kind of film. This is a uniquely British film that melds themes well-described by other reviewers.

My primary purpose here is to flag this at Phi Beta Iota the Public Intelligence Blog as one of 117 DVDs for smart people that don't like run of the mill movies. This is worth watching and the ending is especially surprising and alone worth the wait.

A few other crime-related action films I recommend:

From Paris with Love
Brooklyn's Finest
Righteous Kill
The Departed (Widescreen Edition)
Gran Torino (Widescreen Edition)
Human Target: The Complete First Season
Five Minutes of Heaven
Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans
The Limits of Control
Twisted (Special Collector's Edition)

Vote and/or Comment on Review

Review (DVD): Robin Hood

5 Star, Crime (Government), Culture, DVD - Light, History, Insurgency & Revolution, Justice (Failure, Reform), Leadership, Peace, Poverty, & Middle Class, Reviews (DVD Only), Threats (Emerging & Perennial), Values, Ethics, Sustainable Evolution
Amazon Page

5.0 out of 5 stars Righteous, Timely, Absorbing

December 4, 2010

I like the first and most popular review by the scholar. Here I will provide a snap-shot of my own and a couple of quotations from a rather good wikipedia review of Thoreau.

The film was longer, better, and had more stars than I expected, including William Hurt. Triteness was avoided. Above all, this movie is righteous and timely as we contemplate the present situation.

From Wikipedia on Thoreau:

The government, according to Thoreau, is not just a little corrupt or unjust in the course of doing its otherwise-important work, but in fact the government is primarily an agent of corruption and injustice. Because of this, it is “not too soon for honest men to rebel and revolutionize.”

Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison…. where the State places those who are not with her, but against her,- the only house in a slave State in which a free man can abide with honor…. Cast your whole vote, not a strip of paper merely, but your whole influence.

The movie ends where I expected to begin. And now America begins anew, with a convergence of forces in 2012, where I had hoped it might end with peace and prosperity for all. The fight has only now begun as the public has awakened to the injustices done at our expense and in our name.


Here are two lists of lists of summary reviews of non-fiction work that bears on the current and future nature of the world. Both are at Phi Beta Iota the Public Intelligence Blog under REVIEWS.

Worth a Look: Book Review Lists (Positive)

Worth a Look: Book Review Lists (Negative)

Down at the bottom of the middle column I also have 116 DVD reviews for smart people that dislike run of the mill fare.

Vote and/or Comment on Review

Review (DVD): Date Night with Tiny Fey

4 Star, Culture, DVD - Light, Reviews (DVD Only)
Amazon Page

4.0 out of 5 stars All About Tina Fey–She is Leslie Nielsen for Smart People

December 5, 2010

I cut this movie off a third of the way into it, then came back to it later, and my over-all conclusion as a result is that this movie is all about Tina Fey, her audition for the future, and if viewed in that light, it is both a delight and worth watching all the way through.

In a nutshell, she is Leslie Nielsen for smart people. This is not Blind Date, or True Lies, or The Naked Gun – From the Files of Police Squad! or American Beauty or Mr. & Mrs. Smith (Widescreen Edition), all of which I recommend, this is “all about Tiny Fey” as a potential actress with recurring hits.

She passes and is worthy.

The movie is a mixed bag of boring married pathos made funny, Tiny Fey practicing a wide variety of subtle and not-so-subtle emotions and facial expressions and body language (including an upper body that is world class, a lower body that could use a little trimming), and over-all, a full-length screen test.

Bottom line: more of Tiny Fey on screen would be most welcome. She will find her groove, and when she does, it will be richly rewarding for all of us.

Vote and/or Comment on Review