Review (DVD): Inception

5 Star, Consciousness & Social IQ, Reviews (DVD Only)
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Leonardo DiCaprio

5.0 out of 5 stars Information/Cyber-Operations on Steroids

January 27, 2011

I admire the level of detail by the several top reviews I read here, and enter this review primarily to draw those who follow my work on Phi Beta Iota the Public Intelligence Blog, to the DVD and the other reviews.

This was the last of five movies I watched over the course of sixteen hours in the air, and it comes very close to making the cut toward six stars. This is–for the intelligence and information professionals–advanced Information Operations and Cyber-Psychological Operations on steroids.

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Review DVD: The 11th Hour

5 Star, Environment (Problems), Nature, Diet, Memetics, Design, Reviews (DVD Only)
11th Hour
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Very Best Combination of Brains, Images, and Words, April 20, 2008

Leonardo DiCaprio

Unlike National Geographic: Six Degrees Could Change the World and National Geographic: Human Footprint, both of which I recommend, this DVD is a very elegant narrative that blends top ecological activists including Stephen Hawking and Paul Hawkins, speaking for a minute or two each, with historical audio-visuals that have been selected with enormous intelligence and integrity.

If you buy only one film, this is the one, but the issue is so very important I would recommend that each of three families buy one of these, and then start passing them around the neighborhood.

The movie opens with a theme of the planet being sick–two complex systems, one human, one all else, are interacting in pathological ways. Man, in being able to think about the future, while also ignoring the limits to growth and maintaining the fiction of being separate from nature, is committing species suicide.

Mankind used to live on current sunlight, which can only sustain up to one billion people. It was the industrial and agricultural era that began to draw down on “stored sunlight” in the form of petroleum and natural gas that set off a race to grow that led to climate change and especially global warming. 20% of the polar ice is gone; catastrophic weather is 50% more often or 50% more powerful. The amplification effect of human misbehavior is creating more and more loss. See The Manufacture of Evil: Ethics, Evolution and the Industrial System; To Govern Evolution: Further Adventures of the Political Animal; and Voltaire’s Bastards: The Dictatorship of Reason in the West

I have a note to myself, this is stark elegant poetry.

The oceans are discussed in terms of our taking out too much (e.g. over-fishing) and putting in too much (toxins and non-biodegradable matter), and at the same time, toxins get concentrated in the food chain and come right back to us. See Blue Frontier : Saving America’s Living Seas

Water that is poisoned ultimately poisons the human species. See
The Blue Death: Disease, Disaster, and the Water We Drink

Toward the end we get to the cruz of the matter, that corporate greed and control has gone global, and the legal systems, the political systems, are hostage to that greed. The Earth–nature–has been commoditized, as have humans (never mind the corruption that allows corporations to loot foreign commonwealths at the same time that Exxon externalizes $12 in “true costs” to future generations for each gallon of gas it sells).

One speaker is very capable in pointing out that this is neither a technology crisis nor even an ecological crisis, but rather a crisis of political policy and a process that has broken down completely. The government “bridge” between the commonwealth and the people, and the economy, has falled down. In the next sentence the problem is defined as our CULTURE, with everything else being a symptom. This was for me a defining moment within this DVD. It’s not about evil–Exxon does what we let them–it’s about what we choose to do or not do as a culture.

Probably citing E. O. Wilson, but without reference to him (he should have appeared in this movie, see his book The Future of Life, one speaker notes that the value of what nature does for us (e.g. bee pollination of crops) has been estimated at 35 trillion dollars a year–vastly more than the 18 trillion that comprises the global economy.

The DVD concludes with an excellent combination of individual statements on how this IS the ecological era, we can reimagine our lives, if we just retrofit all buildings to make them energy efficient it would create 3 million jobs in the US and free us from dependence on foreign oil. We can live with one tenth of the resources we consume now.

[Coincidentally, this was the week that TIME Magazine went green, and while I was watching the movie I was also finishing up Jesse Ventur’s book Don’t Start the Revolution Without Me! in which he recounts his realization that simply unplugging all the TVs in America when not in use would end US energy shortages.]

Di Caprio closes, and I write in my notes: eloquent, inspriing, statesmanlike, learned. He–and all those associated with this project–have it it out of the park. This is a deeply impressive contribution to the public dialog on our future as a species and as a planet.

See also my varied lists. There are a number of books in the cradle to cradle, sustainable design, green to gold, natural capitalism genre, the one that captures the spirit of this DVD and complements it is, in my view, Paul Hawkin’s Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Social Movement in History Is Restoring Grace, Justice, and Beau, which he describes as the Earth’s immune system kicking in.

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Review DVD: The Departed (Widescreen Edition)

5 Star, Crime (Organized, Transnational), Intelligence (Government/Secret), Reviews (DVD Only)
DVD Departed
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SPECATCULAR! Former Spy Loves This Movie, February 5, 2008

Leonardo DiCaprio

I have been trying to stave off insanity these past few weeks, as I have watched America ignnore the urgent need to exile Dick Cheney, send the village idiot home, and “get a grip” (see ten recommendations below).

I have watched this movie four times in the past year. Each time it gets better

First thought: Dicaprio is a world class actor, and the star in the Jason Borne series needs not explaining, except to note that he was a Southie and created the movie script for his first film as a Southie.

This movie is super at three levels:

Strategically: it shows how to penetrate organizations (crime ito police, police into crime) and how to reinforce and protect those penetrations with “back-ups.” CIA and FBI are both penetrated by everyone on the planet (including Guyana), but they are in denial and lie to us by pretending to be some sort of mythical “super” power. I deeply value my past as a spy beacuse it allows me to serve the public by saying IDIOCY AND DECEPTION.

Operationally, this movie is a cut above the average in showing how gangs work, how gang leaders are extremely intelligence and running operations against the police (the movie does not cover this, but most police departments across America are constantly monitored by criminal gangs that have used the back door to the police voice and radio communications systems to route a complete copy of every transmission or conversation to a third site. Cops are on the payroll and do not care about operational security. Criminals understand the value of couter-intelligence and intelligence.

At the tactical level, from wide beaches for executionn to marshes with the unexpect banker getting laid, the movie is fully satisfactory.

I have come to the conclusion that governments and religions are a form of “legal” organized crime that We the People need to “shut down.” ENOUGH.

I have been an undercover officer, in a combat zone as well as more normal locations, I have felt the terror of being exposzed, helpless, and subject to immediate execution (in El Salvador, a direct threat to execute me from the Colonels in charge of the country), and I consider this movie to be, easily, in the top ten alltime great movies about law enforcement, honor, and so one.

One nit: real spies, and the traitors they handle, do not use cell phones. Imagine a web cam following you everywhere. A cell phone can be turned on remotely to become a microphone recording non-cell phone conversations. That is the only unrealistic aspect of this otherwise superb movie.

A Real Pleasure!!!!

Botttom line: plot A+ actors A+ script A+ Execution A+

WOW. This is a GREAT MOVIE. See also:

Democracy’s Edge: Choosing to Save Our Country by Bringing Democracy to Life
The Cheating Culture: Why More Americans Are Doing Wrong to Get Ahead
Breach (Widescreen Edition)
Serpico (Widescreen Edition)
The Informant: A True Story
The Battle for the Soul of Capitalism
Running On Empty: How The Democratic and Republican Parties Are Bankrupting Our Future and What Americans Can Do About It
Vice: Dick Cheney and the Hijacking of the American Presidency
The New Craft of Intelligence: Personal, Public, & Political–Citizen’s Action Handbook for Fighting Terrorism, Genocide, Disease, Toxic Bombs, & Corruption

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