Archive for Political Propaganda

Sony Pictures Classics, RatPac Entertainment, Echo Lake Entertainment,

Cate Blanchett, Robert Redford, Topher Grace, Elisabeth Moss, Dennis Quaid, Bruce Greenwood, Stacy Keach

Cate Blanchett stars as Mary Mapes, head of the CBS News Department and Robert Redford (Robert Redford?????) as Dan Rather, seasoned reporter for CBS in this docudrama version of the story of how the pair decided to air on 60 Minutes, just before the 2004 Presidential election, a story about how George Bush avoided serving in Viet Nam using his father’s political clout, and even worse, how he went AWOL and never showed at the camp where he supposedly was trained as a National Guard pilot. Though they were convinced their source was valid, it was not very well corroborated and came under fire right away as a hoax, ending up with both Mary and Dan losing their jobs over the rush to get it on the air before the election without proof.

I was very anxious for this film to come out, as I followed the story very closely when it happened and wasn’t really sure what the whole story was. I happily tore into the envelope when this one arrived in my mailbox, and I was sorely disappointed. This is a one sided propaganda piece that set out to bring people to tears at what happened to the poor victims of this vicious attack when they were pure and innocent as drifted snow. I guess had I known that Sir Robert of Redford was going to play Dan Rather, I would probably have been forewarned and skipped it. Certainly he was much more like the Sundance Kid than Dan Rather, though I give him some credit for at least trying to mimic the way Rather talks. I can understand a little how Rather was a victim of sorts in this, and it was a shame that he threw away his career in order to try to overcome the “Swift Boat Scandal” and help get George W Bush defeated. For those who don’t remember, the members of the crew went public with a story condemning what John Kerry has claimed as his war hero record claiming he wasn’t there and it was all a fantasy. Kerry was in trouble in the election and the media was desperate to find any sort of slime to sling at Bush to slow him down. Of course this backfired in a big way, and George W. breezed into a second term. But that’s not the point. There are two big problems I have with CBS, Dan, and Mary. First, it’s a shame that newscasting has resorted to news readers. News programs that used to be part of the public service to the networks, and a big loss to their revenue stream suddenly because very profitable, and the Sixty Minutes was one of the things that first proved that Entertainment News could make huge profits. But the loss is like reality TV, that “reality” is too boring by itself, so you need to spice it up a bit by choosing a story, and then setting out to prove it at all costs. Dan Rather was around when reporters went out in the field and found out first hand what the story is. Today it’s mostly check TMZ.com and report on whatever they say. Many news stories today come straight from TMZ. And when the networks are wrong, TMZ is actually usually right. But instant news on the internet and in your hand on your smart phone has forced them to try to bring something “BIG” to you first for ratings, hence profits. There is a duty to report on a story fairly and factually, but unfortunately entertainment news has made that disappear. The second big problem is the infamous agenda that the networks have today. Whether it’s conservative or liberal, FOX or MSNBC, they set out with a premise and make it happen. Nothing Obama says will be accepted as right by Fox, and even as early as 2003, CBS and especially Mary Mapes wanted ANYTHING they could get against Bush and would have run just about anything if they had anyway at all to justify it. That’s just not right, but that seems to be what we want. So I don’t think this movie is very accurate, and like the news they presented, they started out with one side of the story and then set out to prove it. But even that’s not so bad as the horrible ending on this thing where they build up to this sad tearjerking climax, and the end it with a 10 minute “funeral” for these two. I felt like I was watching the ending of Old Yeller or Marley and Me when the dog dies (oops spoiler). This was not a terrible tragedy. This was the consequence of poor choices and bad judgement and though perhaps sad, certainly not worthy of the somber treatment they gave this at the end. I would have kept a little bit of respect if it wasn’t for that ridiculous ending that really ruins it. I blame that on the agenda of the filmmakers probably more than the editor, but if the film editor screwed up, perhaps he ought to go out to pasture with Mary and Dan. I was very angry at the end of this one.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 


 

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Diamond Docs, Exposure Production, Exposure,

James Balog, Svavar Jonatansson, Adam LeWinter

This documentary right out of the Al Gore playbook travels up north to Iceland, Greenland, etc. to watch and film the glaciers disappearing through years of time lapse photography. In a very clever way, they mounted cameras at advantageous spots and had them snap shots on a regular basis, then put them together to make stop motion films. What they got was very spectacular, and goes to try to prove their global warming theories. The science is hard sold to us, but they can’t take away from the beautiful scenery of stuff I’m sure we’ll never see in our lifetimes.

The problem with global warming is the whole idea that a few years of humanity outdoes billions of years of the history of the Earth. I’ve said all this before, but I just think it’s absurd to blame the imminent end of the world on us puny humans. We don’t have near that much power in the makeup of things. I remember my Grandfather worrying that the overpopulation was going to make a world where there is no place to sit or lay down, because people would only have room to stand. Then we drove him through Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, Nevada, Arizona, and convinced him that we still had a little room left. I remember how we’re all supposed to be dead by now according to the end of the world clock due to the evaporating ozone layer. We were all supposed to burn to death a few years ago. But ecologists don’t mention the ozone hole anymore cause there’s nothing to say. These kinds of things run in circles. Now I have no doubt that the climate is getting warmer, but I suspect that’s what happens. I remember learning about how the Finger Lakes and the Great Lakes were built by the moving glaciers. Where are the glaciers in New York now? Where did they go? I suspect they melted. I believe the earth will survive whether or not you recycle your water bottles or use plastic bags or not. I think the hypocritical people who drive gas guzzlers, and have huge homes with whole house heating and air conditioning, but are zero carbon footprint because of buying “carbon credits” is just like the rich people buying “indulgences” from the Pope to allow them to “pay” for the sins they were going to commit in advance by donating to the church. This whole thing is just a way to control people.

This film is full of disaster warnings to scare you and make you afraid to sleep because the ocean will be crashing through your bedroom window any day now. It makes for cool fictional disaster films, but in reality mother nature will adjust, or we will somehow mutate. We have plenty to worry about, and floods and tornadoes have always been around, and hurricanes worse than Sandy and Katrina have been here before and will be here hundreds of years in the future. Let’s get back to stunning nature films and cut out the propaganda.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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IMAX, MacGillivray Freeman Films, Warner Bros.,

Meryl Streep

Meryl Streep narrates this IMAX film taking us to the Arctic Circle to follow a mother polar bear and her two seven month old cubs and their struggle to survive in a horrific environment. They suffer dangers at every turn, and it will take all her wit and strength to survive. This was originally shown in IMAX 3D.

This film is short. It’s barely 40 minutes long, but the beauty and charm is very stunning. Looking at the glaciers and ice flows of Norway, this is a very nice nature film. Of course they have to waste a lot of the little time reminding us how horrible humans are, especially Americans as we strive to kill the polar bears as quickly as possible with our gasoline cars and nice homes and furnishings. They basically remind us that anyone who doesn’t believe in global warming is just plain stupid. Well, I believe in global warming, and I also believe in global cooling. It’s cyclic, just like most else of nature, and mother nature has a habit of balancing things herself. My poor son is married now, has a beautiful daughter, but I remember the horror he came home from school with about the imminent disaster of the hole in the ozone layer. By 2010 we will never again be able to go to the beach, and when we go outside, it will only be with umbrellas and heavy protective clothing because a mere 10 or 15 minutes in the sun would kill a person. This is not some far distant future, but merely 5 to 10 years down the road. He shook with fear when he talked about how life as we know it is going to end. Sad to do this to an elementary school child. But there were no apologies at all when they realized that it was a cycle, and the hole was closing. Now no one mentions the hole in the ozone. When Mount Pinatubo blew it’s top it put more pollution into the atmosphere in one week than all the humans on earth since the beginning of time. What really chaps me about the global warming argument is that humans can actually have any effect on the globe in such a huge manner. Do we think we’re so important that we can really make that much impact? How proud of ourselves we are. Will we, or the polar bears die because of global warming? Well, that’s up to nature, I guess, as many species aren’t here anymore without the humans harming them, and if it keeps getting warmer, that could happen. But to think that we can stop it is like thinking we can stop the earth from spinning. (If everyone starting running west to east at the same time, perhaps we could slow the earth down and get it spinning the other direction, eh?) Anyway, I will step down off my soap box and get back to the movie. Regardless of the obvious political leanings, I still enjoyed the beauty of this film, even though it was so short. I felt like it could go on and on, but it ended much too soon. But the film was beautiful and very interesting, and quite exciting at times. Very well done from the technical standpoint and the cinematography is awesome. I respect those who go through such hardships to allow us to see something as beautiful as us. Oh, and the polar bears are not from the arctic. They are black bears that migrated up there and gradually adapted to the environment, including changing their color to white to blend in. Just thought I’d mention that. 🙂

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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River Road Entertainment, Participant Media, Imagenation Abu Dhabi FZ

Naomi Watts, Sean Penn, Bruce McGill, Michael Kelly, Ty Burrell, Noah Emmerich, David Andrews, Sam Shepard, Tim Griffin, Jessica Hecht

NOTE: WARNING. THIS FILM MADE ME VERY ANGRY AND THIS IS NOT REALLY A REVIEW BUT MORE OF A RANT. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK, AND I’M SORRY ABOUT THIS IN ADVANCE.

This is a very one sided somewhat documentary film that discusses the “outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame (Naomi Watts)” and the anger and frustration felt by her husband Joe Wilson (Sean Penn). I can understand why Sean Penn is in this, as this is what we would expect from him, but Naomi Watts dropped a lot in my eyes from taking on this one sided propaganda film. This is nothing less than an attempt to attack the Bush administration based upon their side of the story without really having much in the way of facts. It is a fact that someone published the information that Valerie was a CIA agent. This is not nice, and it is a crime. And whoever did it should have been punished. But these guys take A=B and C=D, therefore A=D and make a huge jump in who’s to blame. They come out and say things that have no evidence other than they “feel it must have been like that”. For example, someone at a lower level claimed that they leaked the information, and that they saw it in a memo at the white house. Now I’m sure this was a good topic to be discussing in top secret memos at the White House, “Who is this woman and why does her husband now claim that it is false information?”. Valerie goes to her management and recommends her husband is the right person to fly to Africa to investigate aluminum tubes that are used to enrich materials to make nuclear weapons which were being shipped to Iraq. Turns out that Joe later decides there is no evidence, but that information has been sent over to the White House and compiled with other evidence that Sadaam has WMD’s or is close to making them. The largest of this evidence is the fact that he will not allow UN inspectors to do their job of checking, and is constantly defiantly marching around threatening everyone, (especially other Muslim leader) that he is willing and able to take them out in an instant. (A guy walking around with his hand in his pocket and bragging to the police that he has a gun and is ready to use it cannot be surprised if a cop shoots him. You put your hands up and follow the directions and you’ll be fine. If Sadaam had let the UN inspectors see that his WMD program was kaput, he’d still be in power there. I can still remember Captain Dale Dye, a retired Marine captain who has been a frequent military expert for the media and who is a frequent Hollywood consultant to make films about the military realistic and credible, saying the he was positively certain that the military WOULD find WMD in Iraq based upon Sadaam’s threats and posturing and past history. Basically everyone was certain that it was true, and it was a surprise to find out that though he was living in a golden palace, his WMD program had been destroyed in the first gulf war.

Then Valerie protests that she did NOT send her husband to Africa. Well, of course not, she didn’t have that authority, but she recommended to her superiors that he be sent. And for what that’s worth, we don’t really care whether she sent him or not. The problem that I have with this film is that it’s about as reliable as a film made by Michael Moore. His distorted view on the world ruins his message because he has proved that he will say ANYTHING whether true or not, to prove his view of things. Therefore, though he may have a valid message, it is lost because of his whacked out view on everything makes us unwilling to trust anything he says.

They tried to make a decent spy story here, but the fact this is a biased one sided view makes me doubt what is true and what is their hopes and wishes that are true. I understand that Valerie is mad as hell, and wants to fight for the rest of her life to put George W Bush in jail for being on the other side of the political spectrum and to have the evil Dick Cheney beheaded, but this movie would have been much more useful if it was not simply one side of the story. It’s possible that most of the stuff in this film may have happened the way they described it, but at the same time, it could just as easily be true that very little of it is what actually happened.

That is why I can’t recommend a propaganda film that is told from an extremist point of view. If they had tried in the least to balance the story with some of the other side it might be worth something, but at this point it’s useless. I watched this DVD a while ago, and I expected a fair dramatization of the story and wanted to know more about it. It made me very angry with it’s one sided viewpoint and I wanted to wait a while before trying to write a review. I have still failed, as I’m still angry that they are trying to pull this, and I really wished I had deleted this from my queue before I wasted my time watching it.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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