Archives April 2013

A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW: THE COMPANY YOU KEEP = 7 1/2

 THE COMPANY YOU KEEP   =   7 ½  

     Directed by and starring Robert Redford, this is a good movie with plot twists and suspense starting from the opening scene when Susan Sarandon is arrested for a crime that occurred thirty years earlier when she and a group of others belonging to the Weather Underground terrorized American institutions in protest of the Viet Nam War. The arrest sparks a search for a number of other conspirators of those times, wanted for murder.

      Redford, aging and settled into Americana, was one of those underground protesters of 1972, since changing his name and living as a reputable lawyer in Albany New York, a widower with the responsibility of an eleven year-old daughter for whom he devotes his life. (played ably by screen newcomer, Jackie Evancho) Suddenly, after living a comfortable life in disguise, Redford is on the run.

     As the story unfolds, many characters come into play, all played by seasoned actors like Terrence Howard (FBI chief Investigator), Nick Nolte (old time comrade), Julie Christie (another old comrade) Stanley Tucci (Chief editor of the Albany newspaper) Richard Jenkins (old comrade now professor), Sam Elliott, and Shia LeBeouff who plays the dogged news reporter who defiantly pursues the story.

     This is what movies are meant to be; a story, good acting, surprise twists, human struggle and suspense.  It keeps the viewer captivated without car chases, crashes, glass breaking and bullets flying everywhere.  It even minimizes the “F” word which is way overused in today’s motion picture vernacular.

     Pay particular attention to the child star, Jackie Evancho. This bundle of talent rose to instant stardom on America’s Got Talent in 2010 when she sang opera arias with the voice of a seasoned diva. She has since blossomed into a successful recording artist and now, has made her first movie. I suspect there will be many more.    

     If you don’t remember Jackie, here’s a link from that show:

     Click here: America’s Got Talent YouTube Special – Jackie Evancho – YouTube

     I think this could have been a better movie had it been directed by an Eastwood or a Ron Howard. Some of the acting was cheesy and implausible though all the primary actors were major stars.  Terrence Howard overplayed his role as head of the FBI team. I also felt the script over-glamourized the era of domestic terrorists, a la Bill Ayres, and the like…which some of these characters portrayed.

     I score this movie a 7 ½ … worth the price of a ticket for people who enjoy good suspense, plot and unpredictable endings.

     Click here: The Company You Keep (2012) – IMDb

A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW: '42' = 8


“42” = 8
The movie was predictable. Even the most uninformed in the annals of baseball have heard of Jackie Robinson and his famous milestone of breaking the color barrier into the Major Leagues in 1947. We all knew how the story would begin and end.
But that’s not what was important. Most bio epics, from stories from Jesus to famous politicians, have known beginnings and endings. This story rehashed the old wounds of racial discrimination of merely 65 years ago, when black celebrities, in sports or entertainment, were relegated to separate bathrooms, water fountains and lodgings…still considered second-class citizens no matter when they went, no matter their wealth.
What the movie brought out was the horrid humiliations that Robinson was forced to endure, especially by fellow ball players, few of whom had the courage to come to his side, as did Pee Wee Reese. While Branch Rickey was credited with bringing Robinson into the majors, we didn’t really know how much he played a part in how the young star from the Negro Leagues would handle the firestorm emotionally. This piqued in a poignant scene, as Rickey is warning Robinson of what’s to come if he brings him into the Brooklyn Dodger team. Robinson alludes to having the courage to fight, at which time Rickey counters, “What’s more important, I want a player who has the guts not to fight back.”
Harrison Ford plays an Oscar-worthy portrayal of Branch Rickey, while Chadwick Boseman does an excellent job of playing Jackie Robinson. Also worthy of mention is Nicole Beharie, who played an essential role as Jackie’s wife, Rachel.
I was a baseball fan in 1947 and well remember the hoopla over a black man integrating major league baseball. It seemed strange, indeed. But I never realized what he had to suffer as he blazed the trail for the black ballplayers that followed; Monte Irvin, Larry Doby, Don Newcombe and Roy Campenella…and now, thousands more.
Jackie Robinson overcame hard adversity and discrimination, but his play on the field was all the answer he needed, as he posted a lifetime average higher than most of his teammates, (.311) and won the Most Valuable Player award in the entire league in 1949. He was elected to the Hall of Fame on first ballot in 1962, five years after his retirement.
Today, no one pays any attention to color or ethnicity, only batting averages and double plays. Following baseball’s integration, other teams sports followed suit, including football and basketball.
It is good that his legacy has been honored by retiring his number “42” from baseball, on all teams, the only number so chosen. In the wake of the recent Boston massacre, did anyone notice that the Red Sox, and other Major League Teams, were all wearing the number “42” on their uniforms?
 “42” is a very good movie. It’s also a good learning experience for people too young to remember. It probably won’t win any Oscars, but it’s rated an 8 nonetheless.
Click here: 42 Trailer (U.S. Version #2) – IMDb
Below, Jackie Robinson with Branch Rickey:
 
 
 

A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW: ’42’ = 8

“42” = 8

The movie was predictable. Even the most uninformed in the annals of baseball have heard of Jackie Robinson and his famous milestone of breaking the color barrier into the Major Leagues in 1947. We all knew how the story would begin and end.

But that’s not what was important. Most bio epics, from stories from Jesus to famous politicians, have known beginnings and endings. This story rehashed the old wounds of racial discrimination of merely 65 years ago, when black celebrities, in sports or entertainment, were relegated to separate bathrooms, water fountains and lodgings…still considered second-class citizens no matter when they went, no matter their wealth.

What the movie brought out was the horrid humiliations that Robinson was forced to endure, especially by fellow ball players, few of whom had the courage to come to his side, as did Pee Wee Reese. While Branch Rickey was credited with bringing Robinson into the majors, we didn’t really know how much he played a part in how the young star from the Negro Leagues would handle the firestorm emotionally. This piqued in a poignant scene, as Rickey is warning Robinson of what’s to come if he brings him into the Brooklyn Dodger team. Robinson alludes to having the courage to fight, at which time Rickey counters, “What’s more important, I want a player who has the guts not to fight back.”

Harrison Ford plays an Oscar-worthy portrayal of Branch Rickey, while Chadwick Boseman does an excellent job of playing Jackie Robinson. Also worthy of mention is Nicole Beharie, who played an essential role as Jackie’s wife, Rachel.

I was a baseball fan in 1947 and well remember the hoopla over a black man integrating major league baseball. It seemed strange, indeed. But I never realized what he had to suffer as he blazed the trail for the black ballplayers that followed; Monte Irvin, Larry Doby, Don Newcombe and Roy Campenella…and now, thousands more.

Jackie Robinson overcame hard adversity and discrimination, but his play on the field was all the answer he needed, as he posted a lifetime average higher than most of his teammates, (.311) and won the Most Valuable Player award in the entire league in 1949. He was elected to the Hall of Fame on first ballot in 1962, five years after his retirement.

Today, no one pays any attention to color or ethnicity, only batting averages and double plays. Following baseball’s integration, other teams sports followed suit, including football and basketball.

It is good that his legacy has been honored by retiring his number “42” from baseball, on all teams, the only number so chosen. In the wake of the recent Boston massacre, did anyone notice that the Red Sox, and other Major League Teams, were all wearing the number “42” on their uniforms?

 “42” is a very good movie. It’s also a good learning experience for people too young to remember. It probably won’t win any Oscars, but it’s rated an 8 nonetheless.

Click here: 42 Trailer (U.S. Version #2) – IMDb

Below, Jackie Robinson with Branch Rickey:

 

 

 

DRONE STRIKES: MURDER OR JUSTIFIABLE HOMICIDE?

Article was  published in the  Treasure Coast Journal newspapers from Vero beach to Stuart on April 18, 2013.

     Let’s assume, for a moment, that a Russian terrorist fled to the United States. Russian investigators locate him in Miami, and instead of arresting and bringing the man to trial, they deploy armed drones from Cuba and kill the suspect as he’s driving on I-95 with three civilian friends in the car. All of them, plus three other Americans including two kids, are killed in the raid. C’est la vie. Collateral damage.

     Is this all right?

     The question is rhetorical. The assassination of anyone in the United States by an agent of another nation is unequivocally murder, regardless the egregious nature of the target. Our country would certainly take swift action.

     But wait.  It’s okay if we do it.  The United States assumes the right to enter into the borders of any country it chooses with high-tech weaponry to assassinate anyone we deem a “terrorist.” No due process, no trial, no conviction, just execution.

     How does that not equate to murder?

     Since 2002, when President G.W. Bush authorized a drone killing of a terrorist in Yemen, the United States has deployed hundreds of drone strikes, mostly in Pakistan and Yemen and a handful in Somalia.  The number of drone attacks has increased substantially under President Obama. Death tallies, to date, vary according to the source. Seemingly, the most reliable comes from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism which cites some 422 drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen, 373 of which were under Obama. Total kills are as many as 3,308, two-thirds of which were deemed “militants.” The others were civilians. Up to nine strikes took place in Somalia. At least two-hundred children have been killed.

     We all realize there is a so-called “war on terror” that transcends the entire planet. Then again, has anyone truly defined that term, or is it a convenient catch-all to give license to our government to kill anyone we want anywhere we want, without due process? After all, there is really no such enemy as “terror,” our enemy are men and women espousing a radical ideology of conquest, and they number in the millions.

     We well remember this administration castigating the evil President G.W. Bush for approving waterboard interrogations of three terrorists, some of which resulted in saved lives and untold intelligence. The Obama team has the media and the American people lulled into thinking it’s inhumane to waterboard three people, but not inhumane to assassinate some three thousand human beings.

     Even the ACLU, with whom I often disagree, has filed a lawsuit charging that the Yemeni drone killing of Anwar Al-Aulaqi, and two others in 2011, violated the constitution’s guarantee against deprivation of life without due process of law.

     Of greater concern are the precedents being set. How far will future government leaders define “danger” and stretch the legitimacy of assassinating anyone for alleged intentions to commit crimes against our country? How many other nations will we use as a base for killing?  Is this a prelude to assassinations on American soil to avoid interrogations and trials?

     It appears the mighty dam that has held our constitution sturdy is forming huge cracks that may never be repaired. Many of the founding fathers should be stirring in their graves.

WORLD OF TERROR HAS ONE COMMON DENOMINATOR

There is one common denominator for all the terrorism in the world which are linked by an invincible bond.  That common denominator is “Islam.”

     Please spare me the caveats about “not all Muslims are terrorists” because it doesn’t matter. All terrorists, with rare exception, are Muslims. That’s what matters.

     I write this article as law enforcement is surrounding a neighborhood in search of a second subject in the Boston bombings. The two suspects have been identified. Interesting to note that all television news channels continually refer to them as young men, immigrants, Chechnyans and every other description, carefully omitting the term “Muslim” or “Islam” so we don’t offend the religion of peace.

     So we don’t offend?  Are you kidding me?

     I have got news for Muslims. You are not the only people capable of being offended.

     I’m offended by the audacity of brutally murdering people at random in a U.S. city, maiming and injuring hundreds. I’m offended that “peaceful” Muslims in other countries celebrated and partied at the news that Islamists have again killed Americans at random.

     Click here: Muslims celebrate with sweets, praise to Allah over Boston bombing

 It offends me that Jihad Muslim web sites applaud and celebrate the killings andmaimings of Americans by Islamists.

     Click here: Jihadist Web Forums Celebrate Boston Bombing | Washington Free Beacon

      I’m offended by the numerous acts of Islamic terror against this country, here and a broad, since Lebanese Muslims bombed the Marine barracks in Lebanon in 1983 killing 241 Marines. Add to that, the plane bombing at Lockerbie, Scotland, the first World Trade Center bombing, U.S. military headquarters in Saudi Arabia, U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, the USS Cole in Yemen, then 9/11 in 2001. The death toll continues, by the religion of peace who celebrate the killing of Americans.   

     The underwear bomber, the shoe bomber, the Times Square Bomber, and much more all have one common denominator: Islam

     I’m equally offended that we are constantly on alert throughout all our transportation venues, costing us billions in security systems throughout the world, all because of the constant threat of Islamic terror.

     I am offended that the mass murder at Ft.Hood in 2009, where a radical Muslim officer shouted Allah Akbar as he shot 41 people, killing 13, is referred to by our president as “work place violence.” I’m offended that he has still not been tried and punished in nearly four years, not to mention he continues to receive his military pay while awaiting trial.

     I’m offended by the world of Islam taking offense to a stupid caricature made by a Denmark cartoonist, thereby punishing thousands around the world with violence, killing many innocents. That offends me.

     It offends me that a movie maker would be murdered in the streets of Amsterdam for exercising his right to free speech.

     It offends me that our administration has given orders to federal law enforcement and military training not to associate terror with Islam.    

     The website Religion of Peace has noted that in the past 30 days, Islamists worldwide have committed 205 acts of terrorism resulting in 1,008 killed and 2,027 wounded. Since the first of the year there have been 500 attacks which have killed 2,807 individuals and wounded 4,533 worldwide. Since 9/11/2001, Islamists worldwide have carried out 20,270 acts of terror, in England, France, Spain, Somalia, Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, Germany, Iraq, Lebanon, Israel, United States…you get the point.

    Yet, the media is so careful that we don’t offend Muslims. And our highly defensive president continually tells us we are not at war with Islam.

     Sorry, Muslims are offending Americans, big time. Not only the killers, but those who support them.  And there are two ways to support them, directly and indirectly.

     The Muslim community who — rather than speak out in outrage — does nothing to put a stop to it all. Rather, they protect and defend all Muslims in general, and fire back indignantly by name-calling people like me “bigots” “racists.”  Then, the media jumps on the bandwagon. Result: The good guys look bad; The bad guys look good.

     The common demoninator for all terror in the world remains: Islam.

     The information we have available as this is written, is that the two known Boston Marathon bombers are Chechnyans. Chechnya is an Islamist dominated country that once was a part of the Soviet Union. They come from the same region that is causing havoc in Moscow and other places in Russia with untold acts of terror…too many to list in this blog. They are dedicated Islamists who hate America.

     They are Muslims.

     Don’t think for a minute they acted totally alone.

     This segment from a new post by Debbie Schlussel, who digs up much more than the NY Times would ever tell you.

     Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the 26 year-old brother of the second Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, had a YouTube page where he posted religious videos, including a video of Feiz Mohammad, a fundamentalist Australian Muslim preacher who rails against the evils of Harry Potter. Among those videos is one dedicated to the prophecy of the Black Banners of Khurasan which is embraced by Islamic extremists—particularly Al Qaeda. The videos posted on what appears to be Tsarnaev’s YouTube page may shed light on the motivations for the attack on the Boston Marathon

     For a full article by Debbie Schlussel, here’s the link:

Click here: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev & Tamerlan Tsarnaev, Chechen Muslim Terrorists & U.S. Immigrants –

      How long are we going to stay stupid?

     Answer:  Until we look back and say, “All the signs were there, we just didn’t read them.”

     Click here: Islam: Making a True Difference in the World – One Body at a Time