Barbie dolls spy on families; Corporations take over school districts; Cotton’s letter to Iran

By now, I had planned to post all of my photographs from Burma. However, my own country has been seized by anti-democratic oligarchs, whose activities have escalated. Their assaults are so many, that it is now difficult to keep up. It has come to the point that we, as a people, can no longer afford … Continue reading

Citizen Koch ** State and corporate takeover of schools ** U.S. Government warrantlessly seizes emails after 180 days

Citizen Koch – worth viewing I recently watched a documentary called Citizen Koch. From articles I have read, I gather that this film was originally scheduled to air on PBS, but was pulled when mega-wealthy donors affiliated with the Koch brothers threatened to pull their funding. David Koch has donated $83 million to PBS since the 1980s, the same … Continue reading

Les Miserables with Anne Hathaway, 2012 — Powerful and riveting A few weeks ago, when my husband and I saw the preview  for Les Miserables, I said, “I want to see that.”  I usually like movies with Anne Hathaway, so that sold me a bit right there.  But Les Miserables is a famous play that I’ve never seen.  I wanted to increase my cultural awareness. My … Continue reading

Life of Pi entertaining and thought-provoking

I just got back from seeing the movie Life of Pi. Although the movie was fanciful, I had no trouble suspending disbelief. My husband seemed equally captivated. I can’t even imagine seeing this movie without the 3-D effects. The visuals are stunning. The ending is thought-provoking, and I won’t say more than that for fear of giving it away. It’s much more than the story of a boy and a tiger.

The Master starring Joaquin Phoenix — Like its lead character, no future

We scanned the newspaper, looking for a movie to go to. Arkansas Democrat Gazette reviewer Piers Marchant gave The Master a 90/100. The movie starred Joaquin Phoenix! “How can we go wrong?” we thought.

When only a dozen or so people entered the theater, that might have been a tip-off that it was time to request our money back. Movies, like restaurants, attract crowds when they’re good. An empty parking lot is a warning sign.

But what we needed here wasn’t a warning sign, but a wall preventing entry. This movie was horrible. Joaquin Phoenix gave his usual, splendid performance as a disturbed individual. But the character had absolutely no redeeming features. None. I frankly didn’t care what happened to him because he was so repulsive.

The supporting characters were equally repulsive or, at best, flat. Didn’t much care what happened to them either.

The film meandered, and went nowhere. The “big reveal” at the end of the movie was subtle enough that my husband missed it entirely. My reaction was more like, “That’s it?”

Basically, The Master is a two hour and sixteen minute character study of a man who becomes brain dead after years of drinking his own moonshine , which he concocts using a variety of substances including turpentine. There’s no dramatic change in the character’s thinking. Understandable since he isn’t even capable of thinking.

Save your money. Watch the trailer. It’s actually more interesting (and thankfully shorter) than the film. And if you’re thinking the trailer seems pointless and weird — well then, you’ve captured the essence of The Master.

Director Jay Russell speaks at the 2012 Little Rock Film Festival

Director Jay Russell spoke at the 2012 Little Rock Film Festival. Russell’s film credits include My Dog Skip, The Water Horse, and Tuck Everlasting. Jay presented a clip of his first major film End of the Line, which according to the Internet Movie Database (IMDB), tells the story of “two railroad workers from Clifford, Arkansas [who] become heroes when they hijack … Continue reading

Producers Tim Jackson and Courtney Pledger discuss pitching movies

According to producer Tim Jackson, colleague Courtney Pledger is an expert at pitching stories. “She would stand in hallways holding up a book saying, ‘this would make a great movie.’ She has built a career on finding [and marketing] material.” Together, Tim and Courtney gave tips to young filmmakers on “hip pocket pitches” at the … Continue reading