Sunday, October 28, 2007

Eastern Promises

In an interview with Toronto’s Eye Weekly, Canadian-born director David Cronenberg explains why he could care less for a crime story just as itself. “I was watching Miami Vice last night, and I realize that I’m not interested in the mechanics of the mob, but criminality and people who live in a state of perpetual transgression -- that is interesting to me.”

His new thriller, Eastern Promises, does not go into detail on how the Russian Mafia does its business, or how a London midwife hospital worker named Anna Khitrova (Naomi Watts) uses the diary of the dead 14 year-old girl to find the baby’s relatives. Cronenberg, instead shows us why members of the Vory V Zakone syndicate such as Nikolai (Viggo Mortensen) could continue to be apart of this crime ring, or why would a nurse risk her life to save the child of a baby, she does not know about?

The young girl’s diary leads Anna into the heart of the Russian Mafia, and to its crime boss, Semyon (Armin Mueller-Stahl) who runs a popular restaurant in London, his degenerate, drunken son, Kirill (Vincent Cassel) and the loyal, yet violent driver, Nikolai. Now what does the young girl’s diary and her baby have to do with the violent criminal underworld of the Russian Mob? I'll never tell, and don't you dare let anyone else squeal.

Many directors today can film a bloody, violent scene, and it becomes the watercooler topic for a few days with friends. Cronenberg dosen't take that route. He instead makes it quick and uncomfortable to sit through, such as the case when we watch the young girl expel her bloody fetus from her uterus at the London hospital. The scene itself leaves a etch into your memory that you wont be able to shake for days.

The acting in Eastern Promises is first rate. Naomi Watts is extraordinary. Vincent Cassel digs deep to show us the vile nature of Kirill, and a glimpse of his nagging conscious towards the end of the film. As the leader of the Vory V Zakone crime family, Semyon, Armin Mueller-Stahl gives a performance that should put him on the front list for Best Supporting Actor come Oscar time. However, it is Viggo Mortensen who gives the knockout performance this year as Nikolai, a man who has been to hell, and has the tattoos all over his body to tell us where he has been. The scene with Mortensen naked, fighting off two knife-wielding thugs in a bathhouse is something that will be talked about, and more-than-likely manipulated, for years to come. Eastern Promises is not just one of-if not-the best film of 2007, it is a film that grabs you and doesn't let go. Don’t miss it.
**** stars out of ****

I've put this off for far too long

Allow me to steal a quote from General Douglas MacArthur:

"people of the blogosphere, I have returned."

Sorry for the lack of postings, but once again, life has other plans for me. Damn.

Anyway, I am safe and my family's house is one piece. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the thousands of San Diegans who have lost their homes to these destructive wildfires. Here's the updates i've kept about the fires over at Newshounds's Off-Topic Corner.

As in all tragedies such as these, you have stories of people in the community lending a helping hand, and you have stores that make you want to get violent over the lack of humanity in people. Here's the good, the bad, and the ugly stories that came out of the Wildfires 2007.

The Good: Regardless of what you think of the Spanos Family, here they did good work, by giving $1 million to the Fire Relief Fund.

Alex and Dean Spanos announced today a commitment of $1 million to aid victims of San Diego County’s wildfires and also to support the community’s firefighting efforts. The Spanos family made a similar donation of $1 million to the Chargers Fire Relief Fund following the destructive wildfires that ravaged San Diego in 2003.

“I can’t believe this is happening to our community again,” said Chargers President Dean Spanos. “But no matter how bad it gets, the people of San Diego always find a way to pull together during hard times, and that makes us all so proud to live here and be part of this community.

You also had members of the Chargers football club who helped out the evacuees at Qualcomm Stadium.

As is custom during the season, Chargers players had the day off Tuesday, but like usual, a few of them chose to dedicate their free time to helping others.

Safety Clinton Hart spent most of his day at Qualcomm Stadium where thousands of people have made temporary homes while wildfires continue to sweep through San Diego County. Hart helped distribute food, water and supplies to those supplanted from their homes. He also dished out smiles and hugs and signed countless autographs.

“It was good to see people keeping their chins up and staying positive through a tough time,” Hart said. “I wanted to go down there and encourage people. I spent a lot of time talking to people who were away from the crowds and hanging out by themselves. I had some really good conversations.”

Hart also spent several hours at Qualcomm Stadium Monday night. He was so encouraged by the hundreds of fellow volunteers that gave their time to helping others that he decided to go back Tuesday.

Most importantly, I would like to thank all the firefighters who have worked tirelessly to save as many homes as possible. You guys put yourselves on the front lines while putting your own lives at risk. Thank you for all that you have done.

The Bad: Unfortunately, there are some people who just don't have any humanity whatsoever, as is the case with the anonymous asshole who started the Santiago Fire up in the O.C.

One of the larger fires in Southern California was deliberately started by someone with apparent knowledge of arson, a fire official said Thursday.

The Santiago Fire in Orange County was started in two places along a little-traveled road, according to Chief Chip Prather of the county's fire authority.

The fire, which has burned more than 25,000 acres, was started in brush just off Santiago Canyon Road, not close to homes. It spread rapidly, indicating the arsonist had some knowledge of winds and other factors.

"It is a confirmed arson. There was evidence found at the scene. That is the purpose of our early declaration of it being an arson-caused fire," Prather said. He would not describe the evidence.

To the jerkoff who did this, let me say this: enjoy Hell. You've earned a one-way ticket.

As I have learned though the Virgina Tech Massacre, some right-wing clowns don't know when to keep their fucking mouths closed during a time of tragedy. Insert radio talk show host Glenn Beck as a candidate for Asshole of the Year with these idiotic comments.

I think there is a handful of people who hate America. Unfortunately for them, a lot of them are losing their homes in a forest fire today.

There's a name for people who act like this during troubling times like what San Diego County - and most of Southern California for that matter - went through: selfish, mean-spirited pricks.

That's all i've got for now.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Rush Limbaugh is an innocent bystander! And those who exposed him are just trying to silence him!

Here's a nice case of right wing lunacy to begin the month of October: all of us are now aware of how conservative radio talk show host/drug addict/America's no. 1 doucebag Rush Limbaugh stepped in it - again.

LIMBAUGH: Another Mike, this one in Olympia, Washington. Welcome to the EIB Network. Hello.

CALLER 2: Hi Rush, thanks for taking my call.

LIMBAUGH: You bet.

CALLER 2: I have a retort to Mike in Chicago, because I am a serving American military, in the Army. I've been serving for 14 years, very proudly.

LIMBAUGH: Thank you, sir.

CALLER 2: And, you know, I'm one of the few that joined the Army to serve my country, I'm proud to say, not for the money or anything like that. What I would like to retort to is that, if we pull -- what these people don't understand is if we pull out of Iraq right now, which is about impossible because of all the stuff that's over there, it'd take us at least a year to pull everything back out of Iraq, then Iraq itself would collapse, and we'd have to go right back over there within a year or so. And --

LIMBAUGH: There's a lot more than that that they don't understand. They can't even -- if -- the next guy that calls here, I'm gonna ask him: Why should we pull -- what is the imperative for pulling out? What's in it for the United States to pull out? They can't -- I don't think they have an answer for that other than, "Well, we just gotta bring the troops home."

CALLER 2: Yeah, and, you know what --

LIMBAUGH: "Save the -- keep the troops safe" or whatever. I -- it's not possible, intellectually, to follow these people.

CALLER 2: No, it's not, and what's really funny is, they never talk to real soldiers. They like to pull these soldiers that come up out of the blue and talk to the media.

LIMBAUGH: The phony soldiers.

CALLER 2: The phony soldiers. If you talk to a real soldier, they are proud to serve. They want to be over in Iraq.
They understand their sacrifice, and they're willing to sacrifice for their country.

LIMBAUGH: They joined to be in Iraq. They joined --

CALLER 2: A lot of them -- the new kids, yeah.

LIMBAUGH: Well, you know where you're going these days, the last four years, if you signed up. The odds are you're going there or Afghanistan or somewhere.

CALLER 2: Exactly, sir.

Amazing. Veterans of the Iraq War who now choose to speak out against it are being lectured by this gutless coward????? The same man who joined the ranks of other Vietnam era draft dodgers such as Bush Jr., Cheney, and DeLay, by claiming that he had a boil on his ass that prevented him from running??

What's more amazing, or un-amazing, is that the rank-and-file lapdogs, ranging from the GOP blogsites, to the Fox Propaganda Network, are actually defending this idiot's comments, and some of the wingnuts are even blaming........wait for it.......Hillary Clinton and George Soros for Oxycontin's act of random idiocy on the air!

Unfortunately, as folks around the country saw this play out on their television sets and newspapers, few were at all familiar with the organization behind the smear campaigns, or that this same group started the firestorm which ended with radio host Don Imus being terminated by NBC and CBS in April.

Maybe more importantly, even fewer citizens are aware that this organization is linked directly to Bill and Hillary Clinton, as well as billionaire leftist George Soros.

It gets even better from here, folks.

CAP is heavily funded by the aforementioned billionaire financier George Soros, and in turn works closely with Media Matters to remove potential roadblocks (like Don Imus) from Hillary Clinton’s path to the White House. According to Bill O’Reilly, some of the money Soros gives to CAP eventually finds its way into the coffers of Media Matters, though Media Matters disputes this................

Is the picture becoming clearer? Hillary and her backers have created an advocacy network whose expressed goal is to take down all of her critics in the media.

In fact, after Imus was fired by NBC and CBS, Media Matters published a 6,000-word article entitled “It’s Not Just Imus,” listing other political enemies of the Clintons such as Glenn Beck, Neal Boortz, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, Michael Savage, Michael Smerconish, and John Gibson.

Yes, the picture is becoming clearer.........just how is it that the liberals are labeled 'conspiracy theorists' when the nutters on the right are coming up with inane shit like this?

And yet, even with the original recording of the incident and the transcript of the remark, the ever-faithful right-wingers are still in denial about it ever being said, even going as far as to say that poor Rush is being taken out of context!

This kind of insanity really shouldn't be new to me, or to any of the Americans who aren't dumbed-down ditto-heads. Hell, it's the kind of Orwellian-type thinking (up is down, ignorance is strength, etc.) that this country has had to endure ever since the current administration set the standard that anyone who dares disagree with the GOP or the plan of action is either un-American or unpatriotic. i just can't figure out what's more pathetic here - Rush Limbaugh himself, or the shrinking minority of die-hard wingnuts/Bushbots who defend him and easily punish those who exposeed the jackass.

Either way, it's just another episode of the three-ringed freakshow that is the right-wing world.