This Month's Featured Equipment Reviews
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Saturday, 01 September 2007 |
“Blood Diamond” is one of those rare good films that informs as well as
it entertains and incites emotion on part of the viewer. Conflict
diamonds have been the news lately, but many people may not have taken
the time to truly understand what is at stake regarding those gems.
This movie delivers the information and the political problems behind
it in a way that is both compelling and exciting. Viewers may well
wonder about the origins of the diamonds in their lives and what the
cost of getting them truly has been.
Aa blood diamond–also called a “conflict” diamond–is one that is mined
in a country where slave labor is used. The diamonds are used by
revolutionary forces to buy guns and other weapons to strike against
government forces. The rebel forces invade villages and take strong
men, women, and children to work in the mines. Most of those slaves are
Wednesday, 01 August 2007 |
Based on the true story and the trilogy of novels by Charles Nordhoff
and James Norman Hall, “Mutiny on the Bounty” tells the tale of
oppressive, tyrannical Captain Bligh (Trevor Howard) and his troubled
journey to Tahiti in 1787 to transport bread fruit trees for the
British Empire. The elitist and egotistical Bligh makes several
blunders on the trip, causing the deaths of crew members and raising
the ire of Fletcher Christian (Marlon Brando). Christian, the first
mate, is a bit of a dandy, but his senses of justice and humanity are
repeatedly tested and eventually brought to the breaking point.
Brando delivers a good (but not great) performance as Christian, and
there’s a sense in several early sequences that he’s having a bit of
fun with the effete role (the scene he steals in a silver nightgown and
smoking a pipe, for example), and he’s quite playful in the Tahiti
scenes. The ...
Friday, 01 June 2007 |
Many people around the world sighed with relief when not only did
Martin Scorsese finally, FINALLY, win a best director Oscar for “The
Departed,” but the film itself was named Best Picture of the Year. It
seemed about bleedin’ time that Scorsese won this most prestigious
movie award; too bad it couldn’t have been for one of his more
personal, distinctive movies, but “The Departed” is terrific, grand
entertainment with a good cast, excellent production values and enough
violence to equip three or four standard horror movies. But this is a
Martin Scorsese gangster movie; he always emphasizes the blood and gore
attendant upon the gangster lifestyle, and he’s right to do so. His
movies aren’t for those disturbed by realistic depiction of violence,
but they’re also not exploitative—Scorsese is nothing if not honest.
And this time he was playful, too. “The Departed” is the first Scorsese
movie to have an intricate, surprise-packed ...
Thursday, 01 March 2007 |
Hunter S. Thompson is often credited with radically altering modern
journalism; he’s also credited as the source of Uncle Duke in the
“Doonesbury” comic strip. And not long ago, he was credited, all too
accurately, with his own suicide. When you fly to close to the sun, you
tend to burn your wings, but instead of going down in glorious flames,
Thompson had long since immolated at least his reputation. He went from
a gonzo journalist—his own term—of incredible insight and floods of
stream-of-consciousness reports on a wild variety of topics, to a
burned-out, somewhat creepy has-been.
After a variety of directors, including Martin Scorsese, had passed on
directing a movie version of one of Thompson’s best-known books, “Fear
and Loathing in Las Vegas,” Alex Cox picked up the reins and engaged
Jack Nicholson and Marlon Brando as stars. But Cox left the project due
to the standard “artistic differences,” Nicholson and Brando ...
Sunday, 01 October 2006 |
After the 9/11 attack, a book came out that changed the face of
American espionage in the Middle East. In See No Evil, author Robert
Baer accused the Central Intelligence Agency of relying too heavily on
technological spying devices instead of dealing with flesh-and-blood
“assets” (the people they seduce, bribe, blackmail, and brainwash to
help them manage intelligence). The CIA’s response was that it was too
hard to train people to speak Farsi and the other languages involved in
that volatile area, and it was equally as hard to get agents into the
area without getting them killed.
The book was praised and castigated almost equally. However, there was
no refuting the fact that the United States had been caught flatfooted
by a terrorist aggressor and that shouldn’t have happened. The book
became an overnight bestseller and caught the attention of film
director, Stephen Gaghan.
Gaghan wrote the screenplay for Stephen Soderbergh’s “Traffic”, their