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Editor's rating: 
Saturday, 01 September 2007 |  Written by Mel Odom  | 
Blood Diamond “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 eventually ...
Editor's rating: 
Wednesday, 01 August 2007 |  Written by Darren Gross  | 
Mutiny on the Bounty 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 ...
Editor's rating: 
Friday, 01 June 2007 |  Written by Bill Warren  | 
Departed, The 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 ...
Editor's rating: 
Thursday, 01 March 2007 |  Written by Bill Warren  | 
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas 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 ...
Editor's rating: 
Sunday, 01 October 2006 |  Written by Mel Odom  | 
Syriana 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 take ...
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