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March is Women’s History Month. History has not always been fair to women, don’t even get me started on that big fool Henry VIII, who killed his wives for not giving him a son — when science now knows it was all his fault. My middle-schoolers are always extremely upset about the lack of prominent women in ancient history.
A few weeks ago we got “The LEGO Movie,” an animated feature that looked like a disaster waiting to happen. Since its release, however, the film has become a box office hit and received praise from virtually every human being on the planet, myself included. “Mr. Peabody & Sherman” is another family movie that seemed destined to flop at first glance. A modern day 3-D extravaganza based on a 1960s cartoon that was never even so great to begin with? I smell another “Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle.”
When “300” came out almost seven years ago, you probably either thought it was the coolest movie of all time or the lamest movie of all time. While it was dumb and silly, the film’s glorified violence, striking look, and classic one-liners did admittedly have an effect on the macho dinosaur in me. The sad truth is that the style over substance appeal of “300” is only good for one movie. The first time you see such eye candy popping out at the screen, it’s friggin’ awesome. The second time around, it’s about as repetitive as watching Optimus Prime transform over and over again. That’s just one of the reasons why “300: Rise of the Empire” is dead on arrival.
It’s easy to imagine how the pitch for “Non-Stop,” the latest action thriller starring Liam Neeson, went down. “Okay, guys, how about this? It’s ‘Taken,’ but on an airplane!”
To be perfectly upfront, I’ve never been a huge Kevin Costner fan. That’s not to say he hasn’t been good in a few movies such as “Field of Dreams.” He’s even directed some great movies … well one great movie at least. Then in the late ‘90s, Costner seemed to go on a major ego trip, constantly casting himself as mankind’s savior in movies like “Waterworld” and “The Postman.” Now he’s riding the comeback train with effective work in “Hatfields & McCoys” and “Man of Steel.” “3 Days to Kill” is unfortunately a step backwards for Costner. It won’t kill his career again, but it certainly won’t help it either.
Well it’s February, which means two things. First, we’re going to get a totally lame action picture that wasn’t good enough for a summer release, i.e. “RoboCop.” Second, we’re going to get several predicable romance movies that nobody put any thought into whatsoever. “Endless Love” isn’t just a predicable romance movie. It’s an excruciatingly predicable one. Every character ark and plot point can be seen from several miles away. Watching this seemingly endless parade of clichés will overwhelm any thinking human being with grave frustration, making them want to hurl tomatoes at the screen.
Remember the good old days when a big-budget action picture could earn a hard R rating? It looks like those days are officially dead. “Die Hard,” “The Terminator,” “Total Recall,” these were three of the best action movies of the late ’80s and early ’90s, complete with all the gleeful violence and profanity a kid could desire. Nowadays, everything must be toned down to a PG-13 rating, including the recent sequels and reboots of the three aforementioned films.
"The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” We’re hearing this wonderful admonition a lot these days. Apparently, the original source is an old Chinese proverb, one more importation from America’s trading partners and it’s a good one.
George Bruck, in all of his 80 years, has never had much. And he’s never asked for much.
"We the People” is an 8th grade Social Studies textbook in wide use in Arizona. Exciting title, isn’t it? Allegedly, it’s about teaching the U. S. Constitution. In actuality, it’s subliminal indoctrination of socialist dogma. There is nothing which informs the student our Constitution is unique.
The SUBWAY local family of restaurants took home “Most Valuable Partner” honors in the category of Brand Integration during the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Third Annual “DB Awards.” The award recognizes excellence in among the team’s corporate sponsorships and partnerships.
In nearly six months People Who Could Fly has gone from a new band just starting out to being signed by a manager, recording its first EPA (a CD with a small amount of songs on it), and this weekend the local band will travel to California to perform at the Viper Room in Hollywood and audition for “America’s Got Talent.”
Orphans portrayed as heroic figures are not new to literature. We have sympathized with many through the years.
“It’s not OK anymore to be silent,” said a young mother of four children who had never been to a Gilbert Public School Governing Board meeting.
It’s pretty ironic that a comedy called “That Awkward Moment” is radically lacking in awkward moments. The film isn’t without some potentially uncomfortable setups like walking in on two people having sex, realizing you’ve just had sex with a hooker, and showing up to a fancy party in a racy outfit. “That Awkward Moment” never goes all the way with its awkward humor, though. Scenes often feel incomplete, as if the director yelled, “cut,” before getting to the punch line. As a result, the film fails to deliver any genuine awkward humor or humor in general.
African American male rappers have long endorsed products in commercials. Google “A Brief History of Rappers in Soda Commercials” and “20 Best Rap Commercials of All Time.” There’s nothing inherently problematic aesthetically, creatively, or politically about non-black rapping. I am curious about the television ads and viral YouTube videos that use hip-hop solely to entertain primarily through a comedic end. Such creations beg critical exploration.
How do I turn off the (Facebook) “Share” button on my posts and photos so that no one can share my status or any post, especially photos?
Not recommending “Gimme Shelter” feels about as low as kicking a lost puppy. The film’s heart is definitely in the right place. All writer/director Ron Krauss wishes to do is uplift audiences with an inspiring true story. If it were being graded on good intentions alone, “Gimme Shelter” would be an A+ movie for sure. On an overall filmmaking level, though, it’s more of a C+ movie.
Recently, a 16-year-old Texan, named Ethan Couch, was sentenced to just 10 months probation and a year-long treatment program for driving drunk, killing four people and injuring nine. His parents are paying $450,000 a year for the addiction center, which sounds more like a resort.
Based on his four feature films, it’s clear that Spike Jonze’s mind is nothing short of an endlessly inventive wonderland. He brought two of the most creative screenplays ever written to life in “Being John Malkovich” and “Adaptation.” In “Where the Wild Things Are,” he took a 48-page picture book and transformed it into one of the most emotionally complex family movies of all time. “Her,” the director’s latest outing, is simply a revelation of imagination.
The recent death of Nelson Mendula has put Apartheid back in the news. “The Housemaid’s Daughter,” by Barbara Mutch, is a fictional account of this turbulent time through the voice of one young and humble black girl whose story speaks volumes for the nation.
Making sure students are on the right track is a fundamental component each school tries to keep central, and Kyrene de los Cerritos Elementary School has been infusing these fundamentals within its students with its Leadership Academy.
Back in 1994 — long before Oprah announced her desire for brown angels and her fans then flooded her with brown angels — I wrote a piece, “Angels of Color: Divinely Inspired or Socially Constructed?” that appeared in Diversity: A Journal of Multicultural Issues.
There are moments in David O. Russell’s “American Hustle” where it feels like you’re watching one of the great Martin Scorsese pictures. It’s a slick, passionately constructed crime drama full of smooth dialog and intriguing characters. Of course “American Hustle” never gets quite as brutal as “Goodfellas,” “Casino,” or even “The Departed.” The film is just as much a crime comedy as it is a crime drama. In that sense, perhaps “American Hustle” is more along the lines of “The Sting,” or “Catch Me if You Can,” or maybe even “The Ocean’s Eleven” movies. Whatever you compare it to, “American Hustle” still works beautifully as an enormously fun con artist picture while also managing to be something deeper.
"Inside Llewyn Davis” is a new kind of project for the Coen brothers to take on. To an extent, the film is a musical of sorts along the lines of “Once.” In addition to being a love letter to old folk songs, it’s also one of the most brutally honest, if not disheartening, movies about the cruel nature of show business. While different territory for the masterful directing duo, “Inside Llewyn Davis” still has the Coen’s distinctive signature all over it. As with many of their films, they find the comedy in bleakness and the bleakness in comedy, resulting in a narrative that’s either saying a lot or saying nothing at all. However you view it, boy is it fascinating to watch.