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A true story made headlines Nov. 4. A trove of approximately 1,500 works of art confiscated by the Nazis in World War II were seized in a Munich apartment. The value was estimated to be $1.3 billion by artists such as Picasso, Matisse and Chagall. The news goes on to say that determining the rightful owners of the works decades after they were either sold under duress or seized could take years.
Eight years ago, my daughter Jasmine asked if she could audition for the Ahwatukee Foothills “Nutcracker” performance. She was new to the world of ballet and dance, but I relented, and she was thrilled to get parts as a Baby Mouse and a Mini Bon Bon. And the next thing I knew, her Saturday soccer games now had conflicts with “The Nutcracker” practice — called “rehearsals,” I was quickly corrected. I kept hearing about how much fun Jasmine was having at these rehearsals, how many new friends she was making, and how she couldn’t wait for “Opening Night.” I didn’t pay too much attention. I just paid for the costumes, bought tickets for a performance, and occasionally picked her up after a rehearsal and raced her to her soccer game.
1 Peter 5:8 says, “Be alert, be on watch! Your enemy, the devil, roams around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.”
Common Core has been the enemy du jour of the tea party these days — at least when partiers are not busy trying to defund Obamacare or failing to stop Medicare expansion here in Arizona.
President Obama’s decision to defer to Congress the decision about whether to slap around Syria was a pure political masterstroke.
The Distinguished Flying Cross was awarded to Charles Nesbitt for heroism while participating in aerial flight. The incident occurred Nov. 14, 1968 while on a mission, which his company was ordered never to talk about. A former state assemblyman, Nesbitt is a decorated UH1H (Huey) helicopter pilot, having received an air medal with 26 oak leaf clusters for service in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. Nesbitt’s friend Jim Well was also serving in Vietnam when his company was trapped on a mountainside by the enemy. When other pilots refused to fly, Nesbitt braved bad weather to fly down between a layer of clouds and rescue the unit off the mountainside.
"Somewhere along the way I lost a step," says Vin Diesel, aka that gravelly voiced, visually impaired, planet-hopping outlaw and badass they call Riddick. "I went and got sloppy."
Self confidence and financial confidence can go hand-in-hand, according to Cynthia Fick of Financial Life Planners in Ahwatukee. That’s why Financial Life Planners decided to become the corporate sponsor for the Girls Rule Foundation.
The decision that voters in Phoenix City Council District 6 make on Tuesday, Aug. 27 will determine whether we remain a great city for the benefit of future generations or embark on the path of decline already laid out by cities like Detroit.
Early in President’s Obama’s presidency some critiques of the president were claiming he was traveling around the world on what they called an “apology tour,” but nothing can be farther from the truth. Looking back, yes, President Obama seemed to be uneasy when meeting some world leaders, but no one can deny the fact that his presidency has taken on our foes with a precise and deadly intensity.
Don Kennedy’s guest commentary in the May 15 AFN (“Why the resistance to background checks and why the need for semi-automatics?”) attempts to perpetuate various false assertions of the gun lobby. Let’s call him on a few:
There is no short answer to the question — one which is asked by almost every gun control advocate in the U.S.
I did it. Even though it might make me the last person in Ahwatukee over the age of 9 to do so, I have a smartphone. It was not a case of desire; the screen on my “vintage” phone was so scratched I couldn’t see it, and it turned out I could get the smartphone and pay $10 less per month. I suspect the kid that sold it to me was like a seedy, back alley pusher — “come on, its even cheaper” — and that a smartphone is gateway technology.
There's a siege mentality about Michael Bay's movies, as though viewers are the enemy holed up in a bunker and he's the guy ordering heavy-metal music around-the-clock to wear down our morale and force us to surrender.
"Oblivion” is another movie that seems better suited for a video game than a motion picture. Watching the characters engage in endless shoot outs and explore vast, abandoned terrains, all you want to do is get your hands on a controller. Since a movie is unequipped with game play, though, you’re forced to sit back and merely observe the story. Then again, most modern video games have more three-dimensional characters and smarter plots than “Oblivion.” This science fiction mystery from director Joseph Kosinski isn’t completely without some good ideas, elevating it above “Transformers” schlock. It’s just unfortunate those ideas never meld into anything that intriguing.
The gentleman produced a well-written, cogent commentary (“Can anyone seriously argue that the Iraq War was truly justified?” AFN, March 27) on the wisdom of the Iraq War. However, isn’t the Iraq War old news? Unless, perhaps, one wants to review the Iraqi constitution, which is a perfect example of a theocratic state. That constitution specifically says Islam is the national religion. Somewhat contrary to our Constitution, which supports religious freedom. How is it possible to have a free democracy when the government tells you who to worship as your spiritual savior?
Jackie Robinson was the ideal class act to break the barrier and become the first black player in Major League Baseball.
If a big, dumb action movie knows it's a big, dumb action movie and revels in that fact, is that preferable to a big, dumb action movie making the mistake of thinking it's significant, relevant art?
That's the question to ponder — if you can think straight and your ears aren't ringing too badly — during "G.I. Joe: Retaliation." This sequel of sorts to the 2009 blockbuster "G.I. Joe: The Rise of the Cobra" seems to have some cheeky fun with itself, from Bruce Willis cheerily revealing the arsenal he's hiding in his quiet suburban home to RZA from the Wu-Tang Clan essentially showing up and playing himself. A major city is obliterated with the touch of a button and several others are in peril as the world hinges on nuclear destruction in what amounts to a hammy game of chicken.
Nothing matters really. This is a movie based on a Hasbro toy, after all — it's all spectacle and bombast. But at least "G.I. Joe" is aware of its vapidity compared to, say, last week's "Olympus Has Fallen," in which North Korean terrorists took over the White House in self-serious fashion but our secret-service-agent hero found time to make wedged-in, smart-alecky quips on the way to saving the day.
That's not to say that this "G.I. Joe" is good, aside from a couple of dazzling action set pieces, but at least it's efficient in its muscular mindlessness.
The elite military team of Joes, now led by Duke (Channing Tatum, returning from the first film), is sent to Pakistan to recover some nuclear weapons. But they find themselves double-crossed by their own government, led by an imposter president, and lose many among their ranks in a massive ambush. The survivors — Roadblock (Dwayne Johnson, reliable as ever), Flint (D.J. Cotrona, who's given no personality) and Lady Jaye (Adrianne Palicki, in full makeup for covert ops) — must find out who's running the country and get to the bottom of this villain's dastardly plan.
Turns out it's master of disguise Zartan, part of the enemy group Cobra, who's posing as the president while the real commander in chief is locked up in a bomb shelter. (Jonathan Pryce plays both roles; he's far too qualified for even one of them.) The three Joes realize they need help to bring him down, so they round up the far-flung Snake Eyes (Ray Park), the petite warrior Jinx (Elodie Yung, whose character trains with the Blind Master, RZA) and the reluctant Storm Shadow (Korean superstar Byung-hun Lee, an athletic and elegant specimen).
They also need some firepower, so they track down Willis' Original Joe, Gen. Colton, who provides his own personal gun show. (You'd never know there's a gun control debate in this country from watching this movie; it's all very macho and rah-rah. The flip side is, none of the casualties from all this sophisticated weaponry results in any blood. This is an astonishingly violent PG-13 movie.)
"Retaliation" initially was scheduled to come out last summer, but the studio pulled it and delayed its release to convert the movie to 3-D. With a director like Jon M. Chu, who's shown a flair for integrating 3-D with the dance extravaganza "Step Up 3D" and the concert film "Justin Bieber: Never Say Never," why not just shoot it that way in the first place? As it stands now, the extra dimension doesn't add much, and often is used in that simplistic, tried-and-true way of flinging things at us from the screen: bullets, throwing stars, etc.
There is one absolutely astounding extended sequence about halfway through, in which two teams of ninjas face off in a battle on the sheer cliff faces of the Himalayas. Using cables and zip lines, it's as if they're running, leaping and practically dancing on walls in the sky — a breathtaking piece of choreography in its own right, regardless of the dimension through which it's viewed.
"G.I. Joe Retaliation," a Paramount Pictures release, is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of combat violence and martial arts action throughout, and for brief sensuality. Running time: 110 minutes. Two stars out of four.
Motion Picture Association of America rating definition for PG-13: Parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.
In a week when North Korea posted a homemade video showing the U.S. Capitol building being destroyed by a missile, what more logical response could Hollywood offer than a macho thriller about a Secret Service agent who takes on North Korean terrorists who attack the White House? The first of two similarly themed action dramas set for this year ("White House Down" arrives in June), "Olympus Has Fallen" will put to the test the question of whether American audiences are ready, 12 years after 9-11, to watch, strictly as disposable popcorn entertainment, a film in which the United States and some of its most prominent landmarks are devastated by foreign terrorists.
LOS ANGELES — A grave 12-year-old African girl, abducted from her village by vicious armed rebels and forced to wage war as a child soldier, guides the viewer through the horrors of Canadian director Kim Nguyen's engrossing Oscar-nominated drama "War Witch." Managing to be neither sentimental nor sensationalistic, the film tells its story from the heart, and from the simple, straightforward viewpoint of young heroine Komona, warmly played by the talented Rachel Mwanza in her screen debut.
For Horizon Honors senior Stephanie Yamamoto, 17, Japanese taiko drumming is more than just rigorous exercise or a way to get in touch with her roots — it’s a spiritual art.
It's supposed to be a parody of itself, right?
It's easy to understand why Hollywood loves doing business with author Nicholas Sparks. His books are huge best-sellers, and several of the films adapted from his novels - "Message in a Bottle," ''The Notebook," and "Dear John" - have achieved impressive box office grosses. The latest Sparks adaptation, "Safe Haven," will probably continue his winning streak, especially with its Valentine's Day opening pegged to lure female fans. A thriller element that has not been present in earlier Sparks movies is designed to draw reluctant male viewers to see the picture, but they won't respond with the same enthusiasm as his core audience of woozy romantics.
When people think of Jewish film, their minds tend to jump right to two subjects: religion and the Holocaust. While the Greater Phoenix Jewish Film Festival certainly embraces those subject matters, executive director Jerry Mittelman ensures that they make up only a slice of the wide spectrum of films the fest has to offer.
I am a former Army officer, Tillman Scholar and combat veteran. I received my commission through the University of Arizona’s ROTC program. As a young lieutenant I believed that women should not serve in combat units for all of the same reasons we are used to hearing; physical ability, unit cohesion, rape, capture, etc. I actually wrote a paper on it once. However, as most of us know, actual experience vs. theory is what often changes one’s opinion.