Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Television: Catherine Crier Cancelled by Court TV

Court TV has continued down the path of promoting the dumbing down of America by canceling "Catherine Crier" live after seven years on Court TV.

Crier is a former judge and author of several books about the sad state of the current American Legal system. I found her discussions and interviews to be fair-minded and accurate. Her legal training and experience match favorably with legal experts. Instead of the noisy attacking style used by other pundits on Court TV, such as Nancy Grace, Crier asked pertinent questions and gave her guests the opportunity to respond without the verbal attacks that are far too common on current talk shows.

Court TV explains that it is reformatting its broadcasting in favor of "reality-based television." What this appears to mean is that shows such as "Cops" and other featuring high speed chases, drunks, and battling families will be promoted. I find it sad is how often these shows portray primarily people and seem to key in on people with heavy southern accents. Feeding the stereotype of the poor southern trash.

Show some class Court TV. Instead of endless garbage TV why not play coverage of court cases in the evening when more adults are home to watch instead of this so-called reality programming. It's not my reality nor that of most people. Program responsibly Court TV and you'll likely be surprised how many people will support quality television.
Show some class Court TV.


Friday, July 13, 2007

DVD Review: "The Aura" (el aura)

I just finished watching my first Argentinean movie ever, "The Aura (el aura)." I watched it on DVD listened to the Spanish dialog and read English subtitles when necessary. Surprising to me since my Spanish is minimal at best, I was able to follow most of the dialog without using the subtitles. Instead of the quick-paced Spanish I normally find when I watch Spanish stations on TV, the dialog was slow and deliberate. I found I needed the subtitles only when the characters were using profanity. I guess this is an area I need to work on.

"The Aura" is the story of a man, Esteban Espinosa who has developed a mental plan that would all but guarantee a successful robbery of the local bank. The plan remains a mental exercise, but the main character, Espinosa (played by Ricardo Darin) finds himself in the middle of a real-life plot to rob an armored car.

During the execution Espinosa discovers an unaccounted for variable in the routine of the armored car company that leads to tragic results. Although he has time to warn his accomplices he suffers an epileptic seizure that prevents him from doing so.

The cinematography of "The Aura" is interesting. It is perhaps the best feature of the movie. The plot feels contrived and the acting lacks energy. Despite this, I encourage people to watch this film. The move takes some getting into. Only during the last thirty minutes or so when loose ends are tied does the movie become satisfying. I had never heard of Fabián Bielinsky, the directory before watching this movie, but soon after watching the DVD I added his first film "Nine Queens" to my queue at Blockbuster.

I give this movie a good solid B, leaning toward a B+, or an 88%.

Pop some popcorn and let's watch a double feature-tfedge

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

DVD: The Messenger

"The Messenger" is the 1999 movie version of the story of Jean d'Arc starring Milla Jovovich as Jean (Joan). Milla Jovovich portrays the main character well and comes across as someone who is either divinely inspired, crazy, or perhaps a bit of both. Rather than the noble, saint as has been portrayed before, it was nice to see her fully human.

Jon Malkovich played Charles VII and does a credible job of playing an immature youth far beneath his own age and sophistication. Faye Dunaway as the very beautiful, bright, and calculating Yolande D'Aragon. It's hard to believe she has been a star for forty years and is approaching sixty-seven. Dustin Hoffman played the Conscience of the adult (or at least as close to adult as she was allowed to advance to) Jean. I found the intensity with which he played the role a little overstated and found myself wondering if perhaps some scenes that would have made it more convincing hadn't been left on the editing room floor.

Young Jean was played by Jane Valentine with considerable intensity and believability. So much that I found myself wishing for a less abrupt transition from the young Jean to the nineteen-year-old eager to lead an army for France.

I enjoyed the movie. It featured a much more disturbed Jean than is often portrayed. Although she was devoted to her God at times she came to have doubts how much of her visions were from her and how much were heaven sent.
I recommend watching this movie on the DVD, but I'd like to see it as a double feature with the 1948 version starring Ingrid Bergman.

Pop some popcorn and let's watch a double feature-tfedge

Friday, July 6, 2007

DVD: "An Inconvenient Truth"

I finally got around to watching the DVD "An Inconvenient Truth." I was much more impressed that I expected to be. I found it to be a good presentation that should be watched for what it is: a presentation of how mankind is damaging the planet. Anyone who denies this is just a damn fool.

There is overwhelming evidence that weather and climate patterns have changed and that damage is resulting. Reduction of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and moving to a more conservationist lifestyle cannot help but improve the quality of life. Even those people who believe this is a natural cycle should recognize this. It is natural for people to get old and for joints to stiffen, but that doesn't mean individuals should exercise their joints, stretch for flexibility, and take glucosamine. It is a shame that many people are making this a Democrat/Republican issue. It should be a human issue. From the scientific view I found little that was fundamentally knew to me. There were some details that surprised me, particularly the quickness that damage has been done, but this was more a surprise in timing rather than substance.

Sure Al Gore has a somewhat wooden appearance that sometimes seems to solidify while on the screen and his sense of humor doesn't quite work at times, but overall "An Inconvenient Truth" tells the store of a passionate man. What is refreshing is that Gore's passion isn't to lower taxes or attack communism or fight for any particular political or social agenda. Gore's passion is to make sure people of the world will continue to live in a world that supports both quantity and quality of life. Even if you disagree with all of his statements and believe all of the facts he presented are wrong, you've go to give him credit for this passion. I respect him for showing the leadership to go out on his own, not as a representative of an industry or a political action group, but as a person.

After watching this film, for the first time I started thinking that Al Gore might have the leadership ability to be President of the United States. This is a big improvement on my feelings about all of the current candidates. I give the message of "An Inconvenient Truth" and A+ or 100. The presentation needs a little work, give it an A- or 91 for a good solid A or 95 overall. If you haven't watch this DVD I would strongly encourage you to do so.


Thursday, June 28, 2007

DVD: Flags of Our fathers

I was really disappointed in Clint Eastwood's movie "Flags of Our Fathers." I think I was more disappointed because of all the hype when the movie came out, but I didn't see much here.

I was familiar with the story of the restaging of the planting of the flag on Iwo Jima. I was familiar with Ira Hays thanks to the Johnny Cash song. Frankly, when I got don watching the moving, I found myself asking myself, "so what?" I didn't feel like any of the characters were developed well enough to interest me.

The most interesting thing was the need to sell ward bonds to pay for the ongoing World War II effort. This was particularly poignant given the recent funding struggles of the war in Iraq. Apparently FDR and Truman (both Democrats) weren't as comfortable with deficit spending as the current Republican regime.

I enjoyed Adam Beach as Ira Hays who seems to be the current choice to play young Native American men. I liked him in the Tony Hillerman shows on PBS where he played Jim Chee. I also liked him in "Windtalkers" where he appeared with Nicholas Cage. I was surprised to see that he has appeared in about fifty movies and televisions shows. Anyway, he did a good job as Ira Hays.

Overall I don't rate the movie as being particularly good. It certainly wasn't worth all the hype. Maybe a C+ or 79%.

"Aspire rather to be a hero than merely appear one." -Baltasar Gracian

Pop some popcorn and let's watch a double feature.