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)
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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.

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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)
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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.

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Review (DVD): manolete [Italian Import]

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

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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)

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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
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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.

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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.

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Review (Guest) (DVD): The Social Network

5 Star, Biography & Memoirs, Capitalism (Good & Bad), Change & Innovation, Consciousness & Social IQ, Culture, DVD - Light, Information Society, Reviews (DVD Only)
Amazon Page

Jesse Eisenberg (Actor), Andrew Garfield (Actor), David Fincher (Director)

Review by Jon Lebkowsky

The David Fincher/Aaron Sorkin film collaboration called “The Social Network” is not about technology, though there are scenes that suggest how code is produced through focused work (which actually looks boring when you’re watching it “IRL” (in real life), without Fincher’s hyperactive perspective – but is so engaging you can lose yourself totally in the process when you’re the one actually producing the code).  The film is more about the entrepreneurial spirit, what it takes to have a vision and see it through. The real visionary in the film, Mark Zuckerberg, appears far less intense IRL than Jesse Eisenberg’s interpretation would suggest, but his drive and work ethic are undeniable. It’s not an accident that a guy in his twenties produced a billion-dollar platform; he could have been derailed if he’d lacked the persistence of vision and intent that the film shows so clearly. And, of course, he was kind of a jerk, probably without meaning to be. That kind of focus and drive tends to override comfortable social graces, kind of ironic when you’re building a social platform.

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Review (DVD): 2012

5 Star, Complexity & Catastrophe, Culture, DVD - Light, Reviews (DVD Only)
Amazon Page

5.0 out of 5 stars Normally a Four, Seek to Balance Threes

August 25, 2010

John Cusack

This movie held the attention of my youngest son and myself, and that is a non-trivial accomplishment. Despite the usual and totally insipid tear-jerking moments, the movie is over-all startlingly effective with truly awesome creative graphics and augmented reality.

On multiple levels, I found this movie worthy, and while I would normally have made it a four, am kicking it up to a five. I like the comments of the top reviewers, but disagree with their three ratings.

Review: Shooting the Truth–The Rise of American Political Documentaries

6 Star Top 10%, 9-11 Truth Books & DVDs, America (Founders, Current Situation), Atlases & State of the World, Atrocities & Genocide, Banks, Fed, Money, & Concentrated Wealth, Capitalism (Good & Bad), Censorship & Denial of Access, Communications, Consciousness & Social IQ, Corruption, Culture, DVD - Light, Culture, Research, Democracy, Economics, Education (General), Empire, Sorrows, Hubris, Blowback, History, Impeachment & Treason, Information Society, Iraq, Justice (Failure, Reform), Media, Military & Pentagon Power, Misinformation & Propaganda, Peace, Poverty, & Middle Class, Power (Pathologies & Utilization), Secrecy & Politics of Secrecy, Threats (Emerging & Perennial), Values, Ethics, Sustainable Evolution, Voices Lost (Indigenous, Gender, Poor, Marginalized), War & Face of Battle
Amazon Page

5.0 out of 5 stars Both a Tour of Substance, and an Eye Opener for Book People

July 29, 2010

James McEnteer

This is a 6 Star and Beyond book and is so categorized at Phi Beta Iota, the Public Intelligence Blog, where one can browse all 1600+ of my non-fiction reviews sorted into 98 categories and easily found with keywords–I’ve tried for years to get Amazon to give us this functionality and finally created it for my own work.

I was so impressed, so engaged, so absolutely educated by this author that I spent no less than four hours, and it might be as much as six, creating a table of all 120 films that he mentioned, with the directors, the year of release, and hot links. The complete list with hot links is at Phi Beta Iota, and should have been an appendix–I certainly give the list to the author should he wish to post it anywhere.

A few highlights, followed by the complete table of 120 films:

Review (DVD): Saving God (2008)

Culture, DVD - Light, Reviews (DVD Only)

5.0 out of 5 stars “Ving” Rhames Phenomenal, Movie of Raw Life and Real Hope,

May 10, 2010

Ving Rhames

From Wikipedia in English: Irving Rameses “Ving” Rhames (born May 12, 1959) is an American actor best known for his work in Pulp Fiction, Don King: Only in America, and the Mission: Impossible film series.

I put that up there because for me he will always be one of the main actors in Entrapment (Special Edition) where he very strangely has not received the credit he deserves as a supporting actor.

I am glad that all the Christians like this movie, but for me is is not a Christian movie per se, but rather a movie about raw life, the contradictions and challenges, and more often than most people realize, the unexpected openings for salvation and a new direction. The end is gripping, it can inspire tears.

Ving Rhames is the lead actor here (as he was in the sequel to Kojak as a series) and I would very much like to see him featured in other movies. Solid as a rock and that refers to his mind and his presence, not his body.

Absolutely recommended for viewing by anyone, not just families, and especially anyone who thinks they are “stuck.” Taking a line from Human Target: The Complete First Season, “You’re not as stuck as you think you are.” BRAVO.

As a gesture of respect, and with a tip of the hat to Wikipedia where his entry is one of the better ones on substance, here are the three Mission Impossible movies he appeared in, the only person besides Tom Cruise to have this honor:

Mission Impossible – Ultimate Missions Collection (Mission Impossible / Mission Impossible II / Mission Impossible III)

Also see him with John Travolta in Pulp Fiction.

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Review (DVD) Human Target–The Complete First Season (2010)

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

5.0 out of 5 stars Male Star is Solid–Ready for Prime Time Movies, May 10, 2010

Mark Valley

I had no idea this was a television series when someone loaned me the DVD, nor am I completely used to the idea that I am seeing stuff before it gets released on Amazon–but glad that Amazon allows those of us so privileged to add comments now instead of waiting for the material to be shipped from what is obviously a delayed system.

The star of this TV series is every bit as good as the best of the James Bond actors, and I give him very high marks for combining a physical presence with a mental calmness and a human touch that is rare in this kind of setting. His two co-stars are superb as well, and I for one am absolutely ready to see his trio offered in a prime time movie and then some.

See also:
Quantum of Solace
From Paris With Love
XXX (Full Screen Special Edition)

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Review (DVD): The Men Who Stare at Goats (2009)

5 Star, Culture, DVD - Light, Empire, Sorrows, Hubris, Blowback, Intelligence (Government/Secret), Military & Pentagon Power, Reviews (DVD Only)
Amazon Page

5.0 out of 5 stars Five if you are former CIA or SOF, rest of world will not get it

May 7, 2010

George Clooney, Jeff Bridges

An extraordinarily talented and experienced international law enforcement officer watched this on loan from me before I saw it, and hated it. Now that I have watched it myself, I understand–if you have not been deeply engaged with CIA and all of its idiocyncrasies including remote viewing, acoustic-kitty, the pigeons that came before Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), and then over to SOF (Special Operations Forces) where “unconventional” had to go covert to survive the straight-leg generals with no clue, you will simply not appreciate this movie.

DanD nails it–this is satire and also a brilliant documentary of what can only be decribed as a well-intentioned long-running Goat F..k. The movie is a collage of several different real initiativces including the First Earth Battalion (I knew a couple of the principals, decades ahead of their time); the Peace Warrior initiative, and of course Remote Viewing, the CIA’s notorious MKULTRA and LSD for unwitting victims, and so on.

At one point in the movie the two principal actors are discussing the remorse–the angst–over having used his power to actually kill a goal, and the other guy pops in with “Silence of the Goats.” That just about sums it up–this is, for someone steeped in the well-intentioned lunacy of the past–a perfect five, and I have to believe that the world-class actors that decided to do this did it knowing that it would be misunderstood by many, but a real hoot among the veterans of the seventies and eighties.

The only thing not in here, certainly worthy of a sequel to this movie, is extra-terrestial encounters, leveraging extra-terrestial technologies, warnings from extraterrestrials [humans now being in a state of quarentine for being stupid squared], and the exotic, wasteful, and generally hilarious methods used to keep Area 51 and related projects “secret.”

See also:
Peaceful Warrior (Widescreen)
First Earth Battalion Operations Manual: Reprint of Original Manual from the 70’s
On the Psychology of Military Incompetence
Psychic Warrior
Psychic Warrior: The True Story of America’s Foremost Psychic Spy and the Cover-Up of the CIA’s Top-Secret Stargate Program
Memoirs of a Psychic Spy: The Remarkable Life of U.S. Government Remote Viewer 001
Hidden Secrets: The Complete History of Espionage and the Technology Used to Support ItHidden Truth: Forbidden Knowledge
Disclosure : Military and Government Witnesses Reveal the Greatest Secrets in Modern History
Hidden Truth: Forbidden Knowledge

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Review (DVD): Cecilia and Bryn at Glyndebourne – Arias and Duets (2000)

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

 5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely in every way, including unlisted Magic Flute after the flowers

May 7, 2010

Cecilia Bartoli, Bryn Terfel

 I am not an opera expert, but I like opera and I especially like duets, and that is why I ordered this knowing little of the stars.

The other reviews are more expert, for me this was a hit on voices; on beautifully timed focus on specific instruments and specific musicians contributing to the larger event (a third of the DVD); and finally, not listed and after the flowers, an “unscheduled” duet, Mozart’s Magic Flute, Pan Pan…etcetera.

I will certainly use this totally satisfactory offering to search for “more like this.”

Review (DVD): The Messenger (2010)

5 Star, Communications, Culture, DVD - Light, Empire, Sorrows, Hubris, Blowback, Philosophy, Reviews (DVD Only), War & Face of Battle
Amazon Page

5.0 out of 5 stars Worthy of Serious Viewers, May 4, 2010

Woody Harrelson,  Ben Foster

I take with great seriousness some of the critical reviews, but on balance have to come down in favor of five stars and an enthusiastic recommendation of this movie and its actors. While I know little of current military casualty notification procedures, over-all this movie resonates with my own past as a Marine Corps infantry officer (40 years ago) and I found several things compelling:

1) America does not see enough of the down side of war. From 935 documented lies by the Bush-Cheney Administration to stark ignorance and corruption as the Obama-Biden Administration sells out to the military-intelligence-industrial pork complex, to the absolute and utterly immoral concealment from the public of the actual number of amputees including many many multiple amputees and the rising number of suicides, I find the disconnect between the public and reality to be catastrophic.

2) For me, these two characters are portrayed superbly, in detail. In my own life as a former spy we were obscenely proud of having the highest rates of alcoholism, adultery, divorce, and suicide in the US Government, and I have 19 professional suicides and 1 personal suicide in my life to date. The depth of the pain felt by those who survive was well-portrayed here.

3) The humanity of the protagonist and of the surviving widow, and the nuances of how that developed, were fully developed and expertly acted. This movie held my attention in detail for the duration.

See also:
We Were Soldiers (Widescreen Edition)
Gardens of Stone
Hamburger Hill
Apocalypse Now
Lord of War (Widescreen)

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Review (DVD): Crazy Heart (2009)

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

4.0 out of 5 stars Great as far as it goes not as good as Walk the Line, May 1, 2010

Jeff Bridges

Jeff Bridges is indeed gifted in his portrayal of the alcoholic song writer and guitarist, but the script is a bit too simple and starts in the middle of the story–would have been much more engaging if we had seen him at his height, even if only an opening scence and then “six years later,”–so I personally was somewhat disappointed.

The female supporting star is absolutely wonderful, comes into the film not a second too late.

There wasn’t enough music for my taste–same song over and over, and I could not hear the words for the so-called great song that got him back on his feet financially.

Not as good as:
Walk the Line
Pure Country/Honeysuckle Rose
Beyond the Sea
De-Lovely: The Cole Porter Story
Coal Miner’s Daughter – 25th Anniversary Edition

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