Monday, October 20, 2014

Wknd Box Office: Fury (a/k/a Hating Private Ryan), The Best of Me, St. Vincent,The Green Prince (HAMAS Alert), The Judge, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, Kill the Messenger, Addicted, Automata

Here is an interesting article from reviewing some of the movies that came out over the past weekend. This follows this post about some of the movies from last week and THIS POST about some movies that have been released over the past few years that you might have missed! This all follows this post about guidelines to choosing good movies to watch yourself!

Wknd Box Office: Fury (a/k/a Hating Private Ryan), The Best of Me, St. Vincent

By Debbie Schlussel
The only decent new movie in theaters today is a Bill Murray flick–and even that seems like a kinda sort rip-off of Bad Santa. What really galls me is the new anti-American Brad Sh-tt movie.


* “Fury“: More like, Hating Private Ryan. Or Defaming Private Ryan. If you go see this movie, the only Fury here is what you should be feeling toward the disgustingly anti-American filmmakers and actors who made this absolute garbage. This movie is extremely anti-American and makes our troops look like they were murderers, rapists, and thugs, as well as hypocritical religious Christian zealots. It made me very angry to watch this. America had the moral high ground in World War II. Our fighting men were good, and they were moral. But you’d hardly know it watching this crap. Yes, I’m sure there were a few bad apples, as there are everywhere, but overall and in the vast majority, we were–we ARE–the good guys, absolutely the opposite of what this absolutely sh-tty movie shows us.
In this movie, Brad Pitt (a/k/a Mr. Palestina Jolie) plays the commander of a tank unit, and he forces an innocent, naive typist (Logan Lerman) newly assigned to his tank to murder a German soldier who has already surrendered. Then, he forces the innocent soldier to rape a German girl, saying, “if you don’t take her into that bedroom, I will.” Other soldiers rape German women and take German loot. Then, they take the eggs some German women are about to eat, and they lick them all over. The Nazis were horrible, terrible scum. But you’d hardly know it watching this movie. In fact, the movie’s last scene, which takes up about a third of the movie, should be a scene in which you’d root for the American tank crew, fighting the Nazis with everything they’ve got left. But you’re hard-pressed to root for these scumbags you’ve seen behave so horribly.

Even the heroic storming of Omaha Beach and the Normandy invasion of D-Day is distorted and contorted beyond all recognition in this movie. As one of the soldiers in the tank (Michael Pena) tells it, the invasion was all about American soldiers murdering innocent horses that roamed free after German soldiers died. You see, he says that their job when the tank was in Normandy, was to come up to horses pet them and make them feel comfortable and then murder them. HUH? Was the this supposed to be the PETA version of World War II?
Shia LaBeouf’s and Jon Bernthal’s characters are stock Southerners in the eyes of Hollywood, especially the anti-Christian portrayal by LaBeouf. LaBeouf is a zealously religious Christian who doesn’t behave so Christian-like. Bernthal is a would-be rapist and thug toward every woman (and man) who comes along. Ditto for Pena’s character. These people are the scum of the earth, not the good, decent Americans who fought against the Nazis in real life.
My great-uncle Maurice J. Schlussel, a general who fought in World War II and became the U.S. Army’s chief medical officer over the South Pacific, and my grandparents who survived the camps, but lost everyone and everything, are turning over in their graves. They knew who the good and bad guys were in World War II, and this movie says the exact opposite.
The movie takes place in the closing days of World War II. The war is supposed to be over. But the tank, “Fury” is carrying on as the Germans haven’t completely surrendered and the fighting in Germany is ongoing. It was weird to see Clint Eastwood’s hot son, who looked–with his delicate, pretty boy features–like he was still modeling for Abercrombie & Fitch and not a World War II. But he is quickly killed off. In the meantime, the defamation of American soldiers who fought valiantly in World War II continues throughout this film.
Yes, there are a couple of good lines, such as when Brad Pitt tells the innocent typist soldier that “Ideals are peaceful, history is violent.” But none of those lines justify the defamation of American soldiers that comprises this long, slow, boring movie.
It makes me sick that Pitt has spent the last couple of weeks–with the full cooperation of the U.S. Armed Forces and the Obama Pentagon–hanging out with American soldiers and promoting this disgusting flick. Are our troops that stupid that they don’t get this is a slap in their faces and everything they stand for? Is the Pentagon that dumb, too? Or is this systematic demoralization by design?
Army proud? Not here. There is NOTHING patriotic about this movie . . . unless your “patriotism” is to America’s enemies. This movie is a disgrace. I’m sure, though, that it will do blockbuster ticket sales in the Middle East and Eurostan.

* “The Best of Me“: Oy. This predictable, sappy chick flick drivel was cheesy to the max and just laughable (in fact, I laughed several times when humor apparently wasn’t intended). One of the bad guys in the movie is your typical Hollywood defamation of the South. He speaks with a thick Southern accent, uses the word “boy” a lot, and dresses like a slavemaster, circa 1864, even though the movie takes place in the 1990s and the present.
This is yet another one of those cornball Nicholas Sparks romance novels transformed into movies. And, as in nearly every Sparks novel, there is forbidden love in which parents or some other force is trying to separate the two love birds. This particular movie is almost a carbon copy of another, far superior Sparks novel-turned-movie, “The Notebook.”
The story: a Southern teen boy comes has an evil, drug-dealer father who dresses and speaks like a slavemaster from the 1800s, complete with thick Southern drawl. The son, Dawson, is a good, smart kid, who wants to make something of himself and get away from his evil father and Dawson’s older, mullet-endowed drug-dealer, criminal-thug brothers. Dawson meets a nice, rich girl who hits on him relentlessly, and they fall in love. In the meantime, Dawson runs away from his father and lives with Tuck (Gerald McRaney), a benevolent older man and widower. But Dawson’s father and brothers won’t leave him alone, and they terrorize him and the girl. Tragedy ultimately strikes, and Dawson and the girl are separated and break up.
Now, it is 20 years later, and Dawson (James Marsden) and the girl (Michelle Monaghan) are brought back together by the death of their dear friend Tuck. Will they re-unite? I predicted every single thing that happened in this movie. It’s that cheesy and formulaic.
And a few more ridiculous things about this movie: the actors who play the young lovers look absolutely NOTHING like the ones who play them in later adulthood. It’s just silly. Moreover, 20 years later, which is supposed to take place in the present time, the evil father is dressed in a ridiculous wig and wardrobe that make him look like a fugitive from the early-to-mid ’70s. (He looked like Gary Cole, playing convicted murderer Jeffrey MacDonald in the TV movie, “Fatal Vision.”) I laughed really hard, even though, again, I wasn’t supposed to. And, finally, there were so many gratuitous shots of Marsden–and the guy who plays his younger self–shirtless, I thought I was watching the “Magic Mike” sequel. Again, cheeeeeesy. If ya gotta rely on cheesy chest shots, maybe ya got a week script. Just sayin’.
Cheese is fattening and high calorie. Skip this chick flick if you can.

* “St. Vincent“: I had mixed feelings about this movie. It’s kind of a rip-off of “Bad Santa,” but I liked it a little better. On the other hand, I don’t like movies that glorify the Hillary Clinton/”It Takes a Village” baloney about what comprises a family. Plus the movie does kind of glorify a jerk. That said, I found the movie funny and entertaining, and I liked that the very weak protagonist turns out to be a war hero who did valiant things as a U.S. military man at war. And I liked how the protagonist teaches the young kid to stand up for himself.
The story: Bill Murray plays Vincent, a down-on-his-luck bum and misanthrope living in a working class New York borough neighborhood. He gambles, owes a ton of money to bookies (or loan sharks–you’re never really told which), patronizes a hooker who is also a stripper, and owes everyone money. Soon, he ends up taking care of the son of Melissa McCarthy, who has just moved into the neighborhood and works long hours. The son, in Catholic school, is teased and bullied, and Vincent starts teaching the kid how to stand up for himself and fight back. He also teaches the kid other life lessons, some of them not so appropriate, such as when he takes the kid to the race track and they bet on horses. Others are good, such as caring for and humoring Vincent’s wife, who has Alzheimer’s and is in a home for afflicted seniors.
Soon, everyone finds out about Vincent’s “babysitting” and he comes under fire, but the kid finds the good and heroic in Vincent.
Like I said, the movie was entertaining and funny and typical Bill Murray stuff. I also liked that the kid found the good in him and it was redemptive. I didn’t like that they all ended up playing, “We are the world” with the hooker. As I noted, I don’t go for this “It Takes a Village”/”Don’t Judge” baloney.

Belated Wknd Box Office: The Green Prince (HAMAS Alert), The Judge, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, Kill the Messenger, Addicted, Automata

By Debbie Schlussel
I’d written most of these and had them set to go up while I was away for the first half of the Jewish holiday last Friday, but alas it didn’t post, despite my scheduling it. Sorry about that, but you didn’t miss much. Not sure what happened, but we think we fixed it. Because they didn’t go up in time, I went to see “Addicted” after the first part of the holiday ended and added that review here. I think we’ve fixed the glitch, and, hopefully, all of my reviews go up as scheduled today (Friday), as I’m especially itching to tell you my reaction to “Fury.” So here’s what I saw last week (my reviews for today’s new movies coming up today in a separate post):



* “The Green Prince“: I warned you, a few years ago, to ignore the fawning over Mosab Hassan Yousef a/k/a “Son of HAMAS,” as he was not “pro-Israel” as many eager gushers without a clue proclaimed. As I told you, Yousef’s handlers are the openly anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian Christian activist Ron Brackin (who wrote Yousef’s book and did all the PR for it) and disgraced and fired former Shin Bet (Israel’s version of the FBI) agent, Gonen Ben Yitzhak, now a pro-Obama, far-leftist, “peace” activist. Well, this long, slow, mostly boring “documentary” by leftist Israeli filmmaker Nadav Schirman, confirms some of what I’ve warned you about. In the end, this is yet another anti-Israel screed on film, parading to be about undercover espionage and double agents. The movie ends with Yousef crying and whining against Israel.

This whole movie, which could have been about ten minutes to an hour was stretched to 1.5 hours, making it very boring and long. Moreover, the only subjects interviewed for the movie are Yousef and his fired, disgraced, self-hating, anti-Israel ex-Shin Bet handler, so none of what is in the movie is actually reliable. Rather than a documentary–as it purports to be–this movie is really a one-sided set of interviews of two people who are interested in self-promotion for monetary purposes. There is really no fact-checking or other points of view, unlike in Schirman’s first and vastly far superior documentary, 1998’s “The Champagne Spy” (a review of which is scheduled to appear on this site later today).
The story: Yousef is the son of Hassan Yousef, a top HAMAS official and close friend of Yasser Arafat (who was still alive for most of the time that Yousef’s story takes place). The Israelis arrest Yousef and convince him to become a spy for them, assigning him the code name, “The Green Prince.” He isn’t that reluctant to spy against HAMAS and his father because he was raped by another man as a kid, and this makes him question what kind of culture would allow this kind of child rape and sexual molestation. A culture, he answers, that shames and attacks any kid who admits or tells about being a victim of this kind of horrible crime. And that’s the case in Islam, not just HAMAS Palestinian Islam.
Yousef spies on his father and lets the Israelis know when terrorists are coming to visit and where they are going, etc. The film doesn’t really, though, tell us exactly what kind of vital information Yousef gave the Israeli or even how useful–if at all–any of it was. In fact, mass murder homicide bombings of Jews committed by HAMAS and other Palestinian Islamic terrorist factions took place in Israel, killing and maiming many innocent Israeli civilians throughout the time that Yousef was a spy for Israel. So, while he may have risked his life, I’m not sure how much risking he actually did, as he doesn’t seem to have given much useful intelligence to the Israelis. Plus he outed himself and the whole operation, ruining everything, just so he could escape Israel and come to America.
And that’s the real point and purpose of this movie: to tell us how, ultimately, in Yousef’s eyes, Israel is. First, Ben Yitzhak, his handler, is fired by the Shin Bet because (he says) he secretly and repeatedly broke the rules to befriend and hang out with Yousef outside the bounds of his job. He sued the Shin Bet and lost. One day, Yousef told the Israelis he needed a break–a vacation. He lied to the Israelis and told them he was going to vacation in Europe, even though he knew he was going to go to the United States (where he would enter and become an illegal alien). He said he specifically wanted to go to the U.S. because he knew the Israelis couldn’t touch him there and he could get away (that’s quite an assumption). Then, Yousef called his father and told him he’s been a spy for Israel, spoiling all value of any intelligence he ever gave the Israelis).
Yousef claims, the Israelis then told America that a son of a top HAMAS terrorist sneaked into the U.S. and this began deportation procedures against him. Yousef also says that, though he began attending Christian Bible study classes, the Christians were scared of him when he told them who he was. Um, I would be scared, too. This wasn’t long after 9/11, and who knew if this guy was telling the truth or not? I still not buying much of what he’s selling. Yousef begins crying and whining about how Israel worked against him and claims that none of the Israelis he worked for at the Shin Bet would help him. But, in fact, Ben Yitzhak was allowed by the Israelis to travel to America and testify at Yousef’s asylum hearing, which ultimately resulted in the cancellation of his deportation and obtaining a green card. If Israel wanted to bar Ben Yitzhak from testifying, it easily could have done so.
Again, all of this information–every single thing in this movie–is based solely on the claims of Yousef and Ben Yitzhak, both of whom have beefs against Israel, so we don’t know how much of this is true. But even if it is. The movie is far too long, and very thin and drawn out using the same repeated footage, much of it re-created for the movie.
In interviews, Schirman says he made this movie to show that Jews and Muslims–Palestinian Muslims–can be friends and work together, which ain’t news. That goes on in Israel every single day. What is also not news is that lefty Schirman makes Israel the bad guy in this movie and makes the Israelis morally equivalent to the spy they recruited–the HAMAS spy who betrayed them. Somehow, Schirman–with this movie–makes Israel the betrayer, the bad guy. And that just isn’t so.
In any event, the movie is a great propaganda tool for HAMAS or any other Islamic terrorist group to say, “Look what happens when you help the Jews. They betray you.”
With friends like the Green Prince, who needs enemies?

* “The Judge“: Waaaay toooo loooong and not all that interesting. Plus it’s the feel-good uncle, niece incest movie of the year! Plus there is a retarded character, an estranged father-son relationship, a bad divorce, lots of men crying, and more melodrama than a whole decade of the Lifetime Channel. They threw everything but the kitchen sink into this movie. And come to think of it, I saw some kitchen sinks, too. Um, no thanks. I liked the fact that an estranged father and son come back together in this movie and there is some redemption. But that comes only very briefly (and very predictably) at the end of this movie, and it’s not worth sitting through about 2.5 hours to get there.
The story: a cocky, successful Chicago criminal defense attorney (Robert Downey, Jr.) is called home to the small town he came from for the funeral of his mother, who’s just died. The lawyer is estranged from his father, the town’s judge (Robert Duvall), and we later learn why. In the meantime, the judge is arrested for running over and killing a man he once sentenced in a case. Ultimately, despite hating his father, the lawyer takes on his father’s criminal defense. Also, in the meantime, the lawyer makes out with (and maybe has sex with–the movie doesn’t really tell you) a girl who later turns out to be the daughter of his high school girlfriend. He wonders if that is his daughter. Also, the lawyer’s two brothers include a retarded brother, who is obsessed with family movies on an old projector, and a brother who seems helpless and pathetic, and was a promising Major League Baseball prospect, until the lawyer ended his brother’s career in a tragic accident.
Had enough melodrama yet? Me, too. This movie was long, boring, slow, and painful. The only parts I liked–aside from the brief, quick redemption of the father-son estrangement–were the trial scenes. In jury selection, the lawyer is clever, asking the prospective jury members about bumper stickers. The other courtroom scenes are sharp and witty, with Billy Bob Thornton playing the prosecutor.
But, again, this movie was badly in need of some editing, in all senses of the word–too long, too many characters, too much drama, too depressing.

* “Kill the Messenger“: I’m not sure what the point of this movie was . . . other than to provide fodder for every leftist, America-hating corner of America. Oh, and also to attempt to vindicate the Al Sharptons, Jesse Jacksons, Louis Farrakhans, and other race merchants of this country, who claim that every single papercut is a plot by America to destroy its Black population.
“Based on a true story,” Jeremy Renner plays late journalist Gary Webb, a reporter for the San Jose Mercury News. Webb believes he’s uncovered a major story in the 1990s when he claims to find evidence that that Reagan Administration knew it was allowing drug dealers to bring cocaine to America’s streets in exchange for secretly funding the Contras, the Nicaraguan Freedom Fighters who were fighting and ultimately beat the Marxist Sandinistas.
In fact, upon checking the stories it published by Webb, the newspaper made a major apology and Webb was discredited for exaggerating the story and making things up. Meanwhile, the genie was out of the bottle, and every Black demagogue was yelling and screaming that America deliberately brought crack into the inner cities to kill Black children.
The movie makes no attempt to show that maybe Webb wasn’t exactly a diligent or reliable journalist. Instead, the movie makes him out to be the hero and the victim, who was lied about and whose editors were mean to him and made up stuff about him. Webb ultimately committed suicide after his career was ultimately taken away from him, and the movie makes him out to be a saint.
But here’s a reality check: the media hates America, they hated the Reagan Administration, and they hated the Contras. They also loved the Communist Sandinistas and their leader Daniel Ortega (whom Bush allowed to get back into power). The leaders in mainstream media “journalism” would eagerly grab any chance to make America, Reagan, and the Contras look bad. And it’s extremely rare they would go after one of their own–a fellow journalist who took down all of their perceived “right wing bad guys”. This movie makes it look like the exact opposite: that the mainstream media went after Webb and sabotaged him in order to protect the Reagan Administration, years after Reagan was gone from office. It doesn’t make sense.
What does make sense is that Webb exaggerated a story and his editors got caught with their pants down. But this movie doesn’t tell you that. No tears from me over Gary Webb.
The only thing this movie got right was to show you how the media takes a story and exaggerates it out of control to the point that it bears no resemblance to the actual truth or facts. But that wasn’t the main point of this movie, nor was it enough to justify the rest of the propaganda in it.
A movie that Sharpton and Farrakhan would love. But not me.

* “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day“: While mildly cute and occasionally funny, I found this movie to be a substandard rip-off of the far superior “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” movies. Still, it is fine for families with kids, and particularly little boys will love it–full of unlikely and gross hijinks and nothing objectionable in it . . . other than the annoying stay-at-home dad status of the father character (Steve Carell). Do you know what a “fommy” is? Why it’s a “father-mommy!” Yay, feminism.
The story: Alexander (Ed Oxenbould, who looks like a young Dax Shepard) is about to turn 12 years old. But, while everyone else in his family is having great things happen to them, his life is horrible. All the kids at school hate him and make fun of him. They bully him and don’t want to go to his birthday party because a cool kid is having his birthday party at the same time, and the cool kid is going to have cool attractions and rides at his party.
So, at midnight just as he turns 12, Alexander makes a wish on a candle and asks that everyone in his family have a bad day and finally experience how his life is going. The next day, everything goes wrong for everyone in his family. His mother (the always overly saccharine-sweet Jennifer Garner, a crappy actress) doesn’t wake up in time for work and gets in trouble for not catching a spelling error in a child’s book at her publishing house job. Alexander’s sister gets a cold, loses her voice and can’t sing in her starring role as Peter Pan in the school musical. Alexander’s father–a stay at home dad looking for work–can’t find a babysitter and is forced to bring the baby to a job interview at a tech company. Alexander’s brother screws up with his girlfriend and also gets in trouble at school the night of the prom. All of this leads to other disasters that all go out of control. Alexander feels this is all his fault. But everything works out at the end with happy endings for all.
Nothing exciting and not the greatest family movie ever, but the kids at the screening I attended all seemed to love it.

* “Addicted“: This wasn’t screened for critics, and I should have taken the hint. This was soft-core (and not so soft) porn. Disgusting. And incredibly stupid. It was like the Black version of trashy Harlequin Romance “novels” on film. Uggh. And so silly. The Black audience I saw it with was laughing non-stop at the cheesiness.
The story: a woman (Sharon Leal) with very expensive clothes, but a failing company, is addicted to sex. She has a good-looking, hard-working husband (Boris Kodjoe) and great kids, but that isn’t enough for her. She begins having an affair with an artist she is representing in a licensing deal. She also trolls for sex with a total stranger at a bar. Clearly, the point of this movie was to show lots of well-sculpted men with their shirts off, show lots of men’s bare butts, and lots of cheesy, silly sex scenes. Um, isn’t that what internet porn is for?
The tagline of this movie is, “Every Woman Needs an Escape.” If this is your escape, you need a better life, woman.
Just awful.

* “Automata“: My favorite movie is “Blade Runner.” So, when this movie begins and seems like a copy of “Blade Runner,” I thought, great! But, it quickly devolves from what might have been a cool, futuristic science fiction film into a rotten, boring mess. Plus the brief scenes with Melanie Griffith were unbearable to watch. Her obvious plastic surgery is so hideous, her mouth stretched so wide, that she resembles the joker. Since the star of this movie is Antonio Banderas, I assume this flick was sitting on the shelf since before his real-life split from Griffith.
The movie takes place far into the future after an apocalypse has taken place, killing 99% of the earth’s inhabitants. A company builds robots to do jobs for humans (hey, just like “Blade Runner”!). And there are large visual displays and billboards at night with all kinds of images on them (hey, they look just like the street and billboard scenes in “Blade Runner”!). Banderas is an insurance investigator for the company sent to look into renegade robots (hey, sort of like Harrison Ford in “Blade Runner”!). Soon, he believes he is on to some sort of secret or conspiracy involving the robots and their ability to heal themselves and act independently. But he is ordered to close the investigation. He defies orders and ends up for the second half of the movie being transported by renegade robots to somewhere off in the radiation-filled desert, where he also tries to escape killers.
I like a good science fiction movie. I also like a good action thriller. And I like futuristic movies. This film tried to be all of these and managed to be incredibly boring and pointless after about the first 20 minutes. Too bad.

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