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    Film Review Tag

    If you had asked me a week before the Oscars ceremony who was likely to walk away with the Best Picture award for 2018 film releases, I would've given you two answers: Black Panther or Blackkklansman. In the age of #OscarsSoWhite, where progressive politics rule over Hollywood like the Eye of Sauron, it seemed a safe bet to put money on the films that embrace that which the social justice left deems most valuable. Thus came the surprise when, of all the films that talked about racial issues in 2018, the Best Picture Winner of 2019 turned out to be Green Book, a smaller film produced by a white director that the progressive left largely disregarded as retro.

    Damien Chazelle has been a hot commodity in Hollywood ever since his freshman script Grand Piano was adapted into a surprising small scale thriller in 2013. Since then he's been propelled into the limelight with the success of his critically-acclaimed thriller Whiplash and his Oscar-winning musical La La Land. Following such huge success in Hollywood, Chazelle was approached by Universal/Dreamworks to direct First Man, a biopic about Neil Armstrong and the 1969 moon landing. He signed to direct as his first work-for-hire directing gig and started shooting the film in November 2017 based on a revised script by Josh Singer (The Post, Spotlight).

    Clint Eastwood's late period career track has been a notably mixed one. His last great film Gran Torino was released over a decade ago and since then his films have largely floundered. What hasn't floundered is Clint Eastwood's public image. He has had several financially successful films that have sparked massive culture war debates. American Sniper proved a massive box office but drew acrimony from prominent film critics.

    Adam McKay's career trajectory has proved to be one of the weirdest a contemporary comic director has forged. Having launched his career into the spotlight with his inaugural effort Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgandy, he proceeded to attempt making lightning strike twice with four subsequent team-ups with Will Ferrell that all failed to fully recapture the success of that first film: Talledega Knights, Step Brothers, The Other Guys and Anchorman 2.

    They Shall Not Grow Old is a documentary collaboration between the acclaimed director of the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the British Imperial War Museum and consists entirely of restored World War I footage from the British trenches with exposition taken from hundreds of hours of recordings of actual war veterans talking about their experiences in the trenches. They Shall Not Grow Old is a rare technical achievement that applies the best of modern post-production. The bookends to Jackson’s documentary are presented in the style of a classic zoetrope in smaller dimensions than the rest of the film. This is important because these two segments represent two vital themes presented of the Great War:  naïveté and denial.

    The new film "Chappaquiddick" directed by John Curran and written by Taylor Allen and Andrew Logan opened this weekend. It's a straightforward examination of the events surrounding the death of Mary Jo Kopechne when Ted Kennedy crashed his car off a bridge on Martha's Vineyard.

    Today (May 24th) is Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Day). The newest addition to the Jewish calendar and an Israeli national holiday, Jerusalem Day is held on the 28th day of the Hebrew month of Iyar—six weeks after the Passover seder and one week before the eve of the holiday of Shavuot. In June 1967, 28 Iyar was the third day of the Six-Day War, when Jerusalem’s Old City fell to Israeli forces. As we discussed in prior posts, Jerusalem Day celebrates this reunification of Israel’s capital city, when the IDF essentially brought the holy city back to Jewish sovereignty. It also commemorates the two-day (June 6-7, 1967) hard-fought battle for Jerusalem, when the elite 55th Paratroopers Brigade, led by its legendary commander General Motta Gur, liberated Jewish holy places from an illegal and immoral Jordanian occupation.

    Today is St. Patrick's Day. If you don't have plans to go out for a pint tonight, you may want to just watch a movie at home. There are lots of great films that would fit this list but I'm limiting it to five of my favorites. All of these films are available on Netflix so pick up some Guinness on the way home, I recommend pub draft in cans, and watch a movie.

    We joined millions of other Americans this Christmas season by heading to the movie theaters. Our target: Rogue One, A Star Wars Story! This is the official spoiler alert, so if you haven't seen the film and want to retain the suspense, please read no further than this. I don't give away much, but I don't want to ruin anyone's cinematic fun, either.

    What’s happening to Jewish and pro-Israel students on many American universities and colleges from coast to coast is horribly ugly. On “hotspot campuses” the problem is only getting worse. “Hate Spaces: The Politics of Intolerance on Campus”, a new 70 minute documentary recently released by the organization Americans for Peace and Tolerance, chronicles the rampant anti-Israel and anti-Jewish activism prevalent on many of America’s institutions of higher learning. We featured the film’s trailer in a recent post and the movie premiered in NYC on November 30. Last week, I had the opportunity to watch the film in its entirely. In this follow-up post, I review the documentary’s central themes and take-home messages.

    Americans for Peace and Tolerance is releasing a 70-minute documentary on the rise of antisemitism and anti-Israel activity on campuses and the role played by the BDS movement and Students for Justice in Palestine. The movie is titled Hate Spaces: The Politics of Intolerance on Campus. I was interviewed for the documentary, along with others such as Alan Dershowitz of Harvard, Richard Landes of Boston University, Bret Stephens of The Wall Street Journal and Caroline Glick of The Jerusalem Post. Here is one early review of the film:
    I’ve written about the phenomenon more than once, so I didn’t expect to be surprised by anything in the film. But despite knowing about the various incidents described, the sheer volume and intensity of them taken together left me shaken. Yes, shaken, and I’m not easy to shake....

    Dumbest movie ever or THE dumbest movie ever? Is That a Gun in Your Pocket is set to hit theaters in September takes aim at Texas and our love of guns. The film's official website provides the following synopsis:
    If there's one thing that the men of Rockford Texas love as much as their women, it's their guns. But when a gun incident at a neighborhood school spurs one stay at home mom, Jenna (Andrea Anders), to rethink Rockford's obsessive gun culture, life in this idyllic town is turned upside-down.
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    I watched the new documentary film "Clinton Cash" based on the book by Peter Schweizer this week and all I can say is the Clintons' corruption is worse than most people know. As a full time blogger, I watch cable news and monitor political news all day every day and even I didn't know the extent of the Clintons' influence and the way they've used it to enrich themselves and others. I think most members of the general public would be horrified by what's presented in this film.
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