July 12, 2007

As if his name wasn't embarassing enough....

"Wimps," House GOP leader John Boehner called Republican defectors in the Senate — a growing breed as public opinion polls chart ever-deepening opposition to the war and a climbing U.S. casualty count 16 months before the 2008 elections.

Boehner, R-Ohio, made his "wimps" remark in a private meeting Wednesday with rank-and-file Republicans — ironically at nearly the same moment that several GOP senators beseeched the White House without apparent success for a quick change in course on Iraq.

Wimps? After going on four years of keeping silent while thousands of men, women, and children get slaughtered in Iraq, SOME republicans begin to speak up and say that JUST MAYBE we should be getting out of there by now. And, the unfortunately named, John Boehner feels the need to lash out at them as wimps. Unbelievable.
What world am I stuck in?

July 11, 2007


Judge Reduces Bond For Man Accused Of Running Underage Strip Club


The man accused of running an underage strip club out of his Weirton home was back in court Tuesday, trying to get his bond reduced.

The judge reduced Ray Loy's bond from $200,000 to $100,000.

Loy is charged with four counts of using a minor in sexually explicit conduct.

If Loy posts bond, he will be on house arrest.

More lunacy....

So tomorrow the U.S. Senate will open with a Hindu prayer by Rajan Zed, a Hindu chaplain that says he believes this may be the first time any Hindu prayer is delivered in the Senate since its formation in 1789. Seems like a nice sentiment. Most Americans don't know the difference between an Arab and an Indian to begin with, so what harm could be done by having some dialogue and reaching out to the Indian community by having a Hindu Prayer open a session of the U.S. Senate. Works for me.

Seriously. This is U.S. SENATE we are talking about. A full Pentecostal Tent revival, four Catholic masses, and a Wiccan Full Moon testimonial couldn't wash these swine clean of the blood on their hands.

But OF COURSE....somebody is upset. This is America....somebody is always upset for one reason or another. And that somebody this time would be the always tolerant, loving, 'let he without sin' crowd......

WallBuilders president David Barton is questioning why the U.S. government is seeking the invocation of a non-monotheistic god. Barton points out that since Hindus worship multiple gods, the prayer will be completely outside the American paradigm, flying in the face of the American motto "One Nation Under God."

"In Hindu, you have not one God, but many, many, many, many, many gods," the Christian historian explains. "And certainly that was never in the minds of those who did the Constitution, did the Declaration [of Independence] when they talked about Creator -- that's not one that fits here because we don't know which creator we're talking about within the Hindu religion."

The American Family Association also has their holier-than-thou panties all up in a bunch about it as well. Sending emails out asking the faithful to contact their Senator and complain.

3,000 plus dead in the most worthless joke of a war ever carried out......and the hardcore Christian groups are seriously PISSED about a Hindu prayer. Maybe it's deity envy. They have the one lonely God, while the Hindus have that whole polytheistic thing going on.

July 10, 2007

What a joke

Apparantly, according to the new strict German (and absolutely batsh!t crazy) pope, if you ain't goin' to a CATHOLLIC church, then you ain't really goin' to church at all !

That's right skippy. If it ain't the Catholic collection plate you are droppin ca$h into.....then you have just bought yourself a one way ticket to eternal damnation.

Read on and get thee to a confessional booth PRONTO!!

This Pope is turning out to be the most entertaining Pope is quite some time. Not as amusing as Pope Paul III (1534–1549) mind you......but pretty damn entertaining nonetheless.

Pope: Other Christians not true churches

By NICOLE WINFIELD, Associated Press Writer

Pope Benedict XVI has reasserted the universal primacy of the Roman Catholic Church, approving a document released Tuesday that says Orthodox churches were defective and that other Christian denominations were not true churches.

Benedict approved a document from his old offices at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith that restates church teaching on relations with other Christians. It was the second time in a week the pope has corrected what he says are erroneous interpretations of the Second Vatican Council, the 1962-65 meetings that modernized the church.

On Saturday, Benedict revisited another key aspect of Vatican II by reviving the old Latin Mass. Traditional Catholics cheered the move, but more liberal ones called it a step back from Vatican II.

Benedict, who attended Vatican II as a young theologian, has long complained about what he considers the erroneous interpretation of the council by liberals, saying it was not a break from the past but rather a renewal of church tradition.

In the latest document — formulated as five questions and answers — the Vatican seeks to set the record straight on Vatican II's ecumenical intent, saying some contemporary theological interpretation had been "erroneous or ambiguous" and had prompted confusion and doubt.
It restates key sections of a 2000 document the pope wrote when he was prefect of the congregation, "Dominus Iesus," which set off a firestorm of criticism among Protestant and other Christian denominations because it said they were not true churches but merely ecclesial communities and therefore did not have the "means of salvation."

In the new document and an accompanying commentary, which were released as the pope vacations here in Italy's Dolomite mountains, the Vatican repeated that position.

"Christ 'established here on earth' only one church," the document said. The other communities "cannot be called 'churches' in the proper sense" because they do not have apostolic succession — the ability to trace their bishops back to Christ's original apostles.

The Rev. Sara MacVane of the Anglican Centre in Rome, said there was nothing new in the document.

"I don't know what motivated it at this time," she said. "But it's important always to point out that there's the official position and there's the huge amount of friendship and fellowship and worshipping together that goes on at all levels, certainly between Anglican and Catholics and all the other groups and Catholics."

The document said Orthodox churches were indeed "churches" because they have apostolic succession and that they enjoyed "many elements of sanctification and of truth." But it said they lack something because they do not recognize the primacy of the pope — a defect, or a "wound" that harmed them, it said.

"This is obviously not compatible with the doctrine of primacy which, according to the Catholic faith, is an 'internal constitutive principle' of the very existence of a particular church," the commentary said.

Despite the harsh tone of the document, it stresses that Benedict remains committed to ecumenical dialogue.

"However, if such dialogue is to be truly constructive, it must involve not just the mutual openness of the participants but also fidelity to the identity of the Catholic faith," the commentary said.

The document, signed by the congregation prefect, U.S. Cardinal William Levada, was approved by Benedict on June 29, the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul — a major ecumenical feast day.

There was no indication about why the pope felt it necessary to release the document, particularly since his 2000 document summed up the same principles. Some analysts suggested it could be a question of internal church politics, or that it could simply be an indication of Benedict using his office as pope to again stress key doctrinal issues from his time at the congregation

May 24, 2007

And it's about time too.....

Angry atheists are hot authors

By RACHEL ZOLL, AP Religion Writer

The time for polite debate is over. Militant, atheist writers are making an all-out assault on religious faith and reaching the top of the best-seller list, a sign of widespread resentment over the influence of religion in the world among nonbelievers.

Christopher Hitchens' book, "God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything," has sold briskly ever since it was published last month, and his debates with clergy are drawing crowds at every stop.

Sam Harris was a little-known graduate student until he wrote the phenomenally successful "The End of Faith" and its follow-up, "Letter to a Christian Nation." Richard Dawkins' "The God Delusion" and Daniel Dennett's "Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon" struck similar themes — and sold.

"There is something like a change in the Zeitgeist," Hitchens said, noting that sales of his latest book far outnumber those for his earlier work that had challenged faith. "There are a lot of people, in this country in particular, who are fed up with endless lectures by bogus clerics and endless bullying."

Richard Mouw, president of Fuller Theological Seminary, a prominent evangelical school in Pasadena, Calif., said the books' success reflect a new vehemence in the atheist critique.

"I don't believe in conspiracy theories," Mouw said, "but it's almost like they all had a meeting and said, 'Let's counterattack.'"

The war metaphor is apt. The writers see themselves in a battle for reason in a world crippled by superstition. In their view, Muslim extremists, Jewish settlers and Christian right activists are from the same mold, using fairy tales posing as divine scripture to justify their lust for power. Bad behavior in the name of religion is behind some of the most dangerous global conflicts and the terrorist attacks in the U.S., London and Madrid, the atheists say.

As Hitchens puts it: "Religion kills."

The Rev. Douglas Wilson, senior fellow in theology at New Saint Andrews College, a Christian school in Moscow, Idaho, sees the books as a sign of secular panic. He says nonbelievers are finally realizing that, contrary to what they were taught in college, faith is not dead.

Signs of believers' political and cultural might abound.

Religious challenges to teaching evolution are still having an impact, 80 years after the infamous Scopes "Monkey" trial. The dramatic growth in homeschooling and private Christian schools is raising questions about the future of public education. Religious leaders have succeeded in putting some limits on stem-cell research.

And the recent
U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding a national ban on a procedure critics call "partial-birth abortion" — the first federal curbs on an abortion procedure in a generation — came after decades of religious lobbying for conservative justices.

"It sort of dawned on the secular establishment that they might lose here," said Wilson, who is debating Hitchens on christianitytoday.com and has written the book "Letter from a Christian Citizen" in response to Harris. "All of this is happening precisely because there's a significant force that they have to deal with."

Indeed, believers far outnumber nonbelievers in America. In an 2005 AP-Ipsos poll on religion, only 2 percent of U.S. respondents said they did not believe in God. Other surveys concluded that 14 percent of Americans consider themselves secular, a term that can include believers who say they have no religion.

Some say liberal outrage over the policies of
President Bush is partly fueling sales, even though Hitchens famously supported the invasion of

To those Americans, the nation's born-again president is the No. 1 representative of the religious right activists who helped put him in office. Critics see Bush's Christian faith behind some of his worst decisions and his stubborn defense of the war in Iraq.

"There is this general sense that evangelicals have really gained a lot of power in the United States and the Bush administration seems to represent that in some significant ways," said Christian Smith, a sociologist of religion at the University of Notre Dame. "A certain group of people sees it that way and that's really disturbing."

Mouw said conservative Christians are partly to blame for the backlash. The rhetoric of some evangelical leaders has been so strident, they have invited the rebuke, the seminary president said.

"We have done a terrible job of presenting our perspective as a plausible world view that has implications for public life and for education, presenting that in a way that is sensitive to the concerns of people who may disagree," he said. "Whatever may be wrong with Christopher Hitchens attacks on religious leaders, we have certainly already matched it in our attacks."

Given the popularity of the anti-religion books so far, publishers are expected to roll out even more in the future. Lynn Garrett, senior religion editor for Publishers Weekly, says religion has been one of the fastest-growing categories in publishing in the last 15 years, and the rise of books by atheists is "the flip-side of that."

"It was just the time," she said, "for the atheists to take the gloves off."

April 05, 2007


This week's new LOST episode, Left Behind was a tad better than last week's episode.....but yeah, it was a little 'light' on stuff actually HAPPENING.

We basically saw Kate and Juliet get thrown out in the jungle and come back.....and that's about it.

Sure, old smokey the monster-security-thing was back....but aside from making noise (and some light flashes) even it didn't do a whole lot.

I suppose that the security fence makes a little more sense now.

The highlight of the show (creating the biggest new 'mystery') would have to be Locke's appearance at the beginning. Sporting a heavily bandaged hand he announced to Kate she's not a "good person" (an idea that has come up over and over again in the show) and he was cutting out with The Others. Interesting to say the least.

The flashback this week was kind of dull. Basically we saw Kate hanging with Sawyers ex (and amusingly suggesting she call the cops on the man who wronged her......that would be Sawyer). Aside from that, and a well done scene between Kate and her mom....it was dull.

The beach stuff with Sawyer and Hurley (in a mini parody of SURVIVOR) was boring and annoying.

So we are left with....

Can Juliet be trusted ? (I say no way)

Where did The Others go ? (I'm guessing back to Alcatraz Island.......but then, how did they get there?)

Has Locke joined The Others ? (I'm hoping not)

Next week we get the continuation of Juliet's story and how she came to the island in the first place.

Fun Friday on Thursday

I stopped watching Saturday Night Live YEARS ago.....mostly for the simple reason that it's not funny anymore. But this fake PSA with Peyton Manning had me laughing out loud.

April 04, 2007

The thumb could be coming back...

The greatest film reviewer since Pauline Kael....Roger Ebert seems to be getting better slowly but surely. He's been out of commission due to cancer for some time now. He's always been a favorite film critic of mine (heck, for writing BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS alone) and I've sorely missed checking his website every Friday for his take on the latest flicks hitting the cineplex.

Ebert: Despite setbacks, I am feeling better every day

From suntimes.com

April 3, 2007

As I look at the date, I realize I was named film critic of the Chicago Sun-Times 40 years ago Sunday. I had no idea I was embarking on a lifelong career, but I was, and I can't think of a better one.

Now here I am with another milestone. Nine months ago I was leaving Northwestern Memorial Hospital after surgery for salivary-gland cancer. I was planning to be back in action in a few weeks, but unfortunately, there were complications, and more medical procedures resulted. I was in bed so long that I experienced serious deconditioning that led to a stint at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.

I began my rehabilitation there, and I am continuing it, along with an overhaul of my general health, at the Pritikin Center in Florida. Also, because of a tracheostomy, my speaking voice is on hold until my upcoming completion surgery. I am feeling better every day and my wife, Chaz, says we can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

During this difficult period it was important for me to write some movie reviews for the Sun-Times, and I was happy to continue my Outguess Ebert Oscar predictions contest. It also was important for me to make contributions to WLS-Channel 7, where I am film critic. At "Ebert & Roeper," with my encouragement, we are using a revolving selection of critics and filmmakers to spar with my partner Richard Roeper, and I tune in to the show, just like you, to be entertained and informed. After the autumn publication of Awake in the Dark and Movie Yearbook 2007, I have yet another new book being published this month: Your Movie Sucks, reviews of movies I hated.

I am happy to say my ninth annual Overlooked Film Festival will be held April 25-29 as scheduled at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I'll be there, but friends and colleagues will take over the onstage Q&A duties. I'll watch from the audience. I think of the festival as the first step on my return to action.

This has been a long and unexpected ordeal, made better by many kind and gifted doctors and nurses, led by the incomparable Dr. Harold Pelzer and Dr. Robert Havey, and above all by the selfless and loving care of my wife, Chaz.

I plan to gradually increase my duties in the months to come. I still love writing about the movies. Forty years is not enough.

March 30, 2007

Fun Friday

A horrible movie, but a great scene. The amazing Don Rickles doing what Don does best.

March 28, 2007

God's Dupes

An all around fanatastic editorial from the L.A. Times by Sam Harris.......God's Dupes.

Reading the line "There is no question that many people do good things in the name of their faith — but there are better reasons to help the poor, feed the hungry and defend the weak than the belief that an Imaginary Friend wants you to do it." brought an enourmous smile and nod from this non-believer. This is just all around good stuff.

Thanks Sam.

PETE STARK, a California Democrat, appears to be the first congressman in U.S. history to acknowledge that he doesn't believe in God. In a country in which 83% of the population thinks that the Bible is the literal or "inspired" word of the creator of the universe, this took political courage.

Of course, one can imagine that Cicero's handlers in the 1st century BC lost some sleep when he likened the traditional accounts of the Greco-Roman gods to the "dreams of madmen" and to the "insane mythology of Egypt."

Mythology is where all gods go to die, and it seems that Stark has secured a place in American history simply by admitting that a fresh grave should be dug for the God of Abraham — the jealous, genocidal, priggish and self-contradictory tyrant of the Bible and the Koran. Stark is the first of our leaders to display a level of intellectual honesty befitting a consul of ancient Rome. Bravo.

The truth is, there is not a person on Earth who has a good reason to believe that Jesus rose from the dead or that Muhammad spoke to the angel Gabriel in a cave. And yet billions of people claim to be certain about such things. As a result, Iron Age ideas about everything high and low — sex, cosmology, gender equality, immortal souls, the end of the world, the validity of prophecy, etc. — continue to divide our world and subvert our national discourse. Many of these ideas, by their very nature, hobble science, inflame human conflict and squander scarce resources.

Of course, no religion is monolithic. Within every faith one can see people arranged along a spectrum of belief. Picture concentric circles of diminishing reasonableness: At the center, one finds the truest of true believers — the Muslim jihadis, for instance, who not only support suicidal terrorism but who are the first to turn themselves into bombs; or the Dominionist Christians, who openly call for homosexuals and blasphemers to be put to death.

Outside this sphere of maniacs, one finds millions more who share their views but lack their zeal. Beyond them, one encounters pious multitudes who respect the beliefs of their more deranged brethren but who disagree with them on small points of doctrine — of course the world is going to end in glory and Jesus will appear in the sky like a superhero, but we can't be sure it will happen in our lifetime.

Out further still, one meets religious moderates and liberals of diverse hues — people who remain supportive of the basic scheme that has balkanized our world into Christians, Muslims and Jews, but who are less willing to profess certainty about any article of faith. Is Jesus really the son of God? Will we all meet our grannies again in heaven? Moderates and liberals are none too sure.

Those on this spectrum view the people further toward the center as too rigid, dogmatic and hostile to doubt, and they generally view those outside as corrupted by sin, weak-willed or unchurched.

The problem is that wherever one stands on this continuum, one inadvertently shelters those who are more fanatical than oneself from criticism. Ordinary fundamentalist Christians, by maintaining that the Bible is the perfect word of God, inadvertently support the Dominionists — men and women who, by the millions, are quietly working to turn our country into a totalitarian theocracy reminiscent of John Calvin's Geneva. Christian moderates, by their lingering attachment to the unique divinity of Jesus, protect the faith of fundamentalists from public scorn. Christian liberals — who aren't sure what they believe but just love the experience of going to church occasionally — deny the moderates a proper collision with scientific rationality. And in this way centuries have come and gone without an honest word being spoken about God in our society.

People of all faiths — and none — regularly change their lives for the better, for good and bad reasons. And yet such transformations are regularly put forward as evidence in support of a specific religious creed. President Bush has cited his own sobriety as suggestive of the divinity of Jesus. No doubt Christians do get sober from time to time — but Hindus (polytheists) and atheists do as well. How, therefore, can any thinking person imagine that his experience of sobriety lends credence to the idea that a supreme being is watching over our world and that Jesus is his son?

There is no question that many people do good things in the name of their faith — but there are better reasons to help the poor, feed the hungry and defend the weak than the belief that an Imaginary Friend wants you to do it. Compassion is deeper than religion. As is ecstasy. It is time that we acknowledge that human beings can be profoundly ethical — and even spiritual — without pretending to know things they do not know.

Let us hope that Stark's candor inspires others in our government to admit their doubts about God. Indeed, it is time we broke this spell en masse. Every one of the world's "great" religions utterly trivializes the immensity and beauty of the cosmos. Books like the Bible and the Koran get almost every significant fact about us and our world wrong. Every scientific domain — from cosmology to psychology to economics — has superseded and surpassed the wisdom of Scripture.

Everything of value that people get from religion can be had more honestly, without presuming anything on insufficient evidence. The rest is self-deception, set to music.

March 23, 2007

Fun Friday continues.....

The great Calvert DeForest as Larry "Bud" Melman on Letterman. Hot towels for folks in the port authority in New York. RIP Larry.

Fun Friday

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March 20, 2007

Orson Welles roasts Dean Martin

Orson during a more sober moment roasting the great Dean Martin. His reading of the lyrics to "That's Amore'" is just plain funny.

March 19, 2007

Drunken Orson Welles

Oh how the mighty have fallen.....

The first great film of 2007

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Either you KNOW David Fincher's movies or you don't. What's surprising about his new film ZODIAC is that it's so different from ALL of his previous works. Gone are the flashy camera moves, digital special effect touches, and dense characterization. Gone!

In his latest Fincher goes for 1970's straight ahead storytelling. He unfolds the tale of San Francisco and the town's panic in the grip of a serial killer who's identity was never discovered.

Pacing the story over nearly 3 hours, Fincher takes the time to look at every angle possible. Starting with the killings themselves, then moving slowly into the newspaper and local media's reaction to the communications the killer sends (along with coded messages) then slowly again morphing the media story into the police investigation and then finally doubling back again to the media and finally to one lone man's obsession with discovering the killer.

The film's pace is flawless. Moving from one aspect of the crimes to another and covering almost 20 years of story Fincher never amps things up and gets falsley dramatic or bogs down. His focus on the group of men who are at first curious and later obsessed and haunted by the killer's identity is never lost.

March 16, 2007


Nobody I know is watching LOST anymore. Everyone has either become frustrated with the program for moving too slow and not revealing any of the grand mysteries.

I'm still hooked. There every Wednesday night. Leaning forward looking for clues and ideas relating to the 'grand scheme' of the island and The Others that inhabit it.

Absolutely fantastic ending for last week's episode featuring the "search party" and their quest to bring Jack back home to the "beach camp".

Loved our heroes stumbling upon Jack to believe he's running toward them.....only to find him playing FOOTBALL with weird Tom! Genius! Jack apparently is NOT going to be in a hurry to leave.

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Locke gets stranger every episode. I'm thinking along these lines.....ever since his faith in the "button" and the computer was shattered along with the implosion of the Hatch....he has a new mission in mind. That is to STAY on the island. Locke believes that the island is the reason he is walking and therefor he is on a mission to blow up any and all means of rescue and getting off the island.

Seeing that preview of next week with Locke holding Ben at gunpoint!! Holy crap! AND we finally find out how Locke ended up in that wheelchair!! Is it Wed night yet??

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March 13, 2007

Jim Rome

This is just plain funny. I love a good television fight.

The greatest news ever.....

Congressman Holds No God-Belief

Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.) is first Congress member in history to acknowledge his nontheism

For Immediate Release
Contact: Lori Lipman Brown,
March 12, 2007

There is only one member of Congress who is on record as not holding a god-belief.

Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.), a member of Congress since 1973, acknowledged his nontheism in response to an inquiry by the Secular Coalition for America. Rep. Stark is a senior member of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee and is Chair of the Health Subcommittee.

Although the Constitution prohibits religious tests for public office, the Coalition's research reveals that Rep. Stark is the first open nontheist in the history of the Congress. Recent polls show that Americans without a god-belief are, as a group, more distrusted than any other minority in America. Surveys show that the majority of Americans would not vote for an atheist for president even if he or she were the most qualified for the office.

Herb Silverman, president of the Secular Coalition for America, attributes these attitudes to the demonization of people who don't believe in God. "The truth is," says Silverman, "the vast majority of us follow the Golden Rule and are as likely to be good citizens, just like Rep. Stark with over 30 years of exemplary public service. The only way to counter the prejudice against nontheists is for more people to publicly identify as nontheists. Rep. Stark shows remarkable courage in being the first member of Congress to do so."

In October, 2006 the Secular Coalition for America, a national lobby representing the interests of atheists, humanists, freethinkers, and other nontheists, announced a contest. At the time, few if any elected officials, even at the lowest level, would self-identify as a nontheist. So the Coalition offered $1,000 to the person who could identify the highest level atheist, agnostic, humanist or any other kind of nontheist currently holding elected public office in the United States.

In addition to Rep. Stark only three other elected officials agreed to do so: Terry S. Doran, president of the School Board in Berkeley, Calif.; Nancy Glista on the School Committee in Franklin, Maine; and Michael Cerone, a Town Meeting Member from Arlington, Mass.

Surveys vary in the percentage of atheists, humanists, freethinkers and other nontheists in the U.S, with about 10% (30 million people) a fair middle point. "If the number of nontheists in Congress reflected the percentage of nontheists in the population," Lori Lipman Brown, director of the Secular Coalition, observes, "there would be 53-54 nontheistic Congress members instead of one."

January 18, 2007


If Alfonso Cuaron's new film CHILDREN OF MEN is any indication of what kind of year 2007 will be in film, we are in for a fantastic voyage indeed.

Ok, so technically released in 2006 (to attempt to latch onto Oscar votes and years end "best of" lists) it has only recently seen a wider release in Ohio area theaters. Do yourself a humongous favor and make it a point to see what it truly a remarkable film on the big screen with a decent sound system, both of which will only enhance the film's many strong points.

A dark look at the near future (the year 2027) where the world's youngest living human has just died, and women have been mysteriously stricken infertile for the past 30 years. A strikingly different 'end of the world' scenario than has previously played out in works like Stephen King's novel THE STAND, Boris Sagal's cartoonish film THE OMEGA MAN, or any number of 'post apocalyptic' films like Jean-Pierre Jeunet's DELICATESSEN.

The setting is England where an obvious police state has been enacted and all foreigners have been (and are being) evacuated. England has thrown up the fences, border patrols, and military to keep the country intact and the world at bay. But bombs are going off, underground rebel groups supporting immigrants rights are attacking from within, and civilization seems to be hanging by a thread.

I say "seems to be" for a good reason. Cuaron has structured his film is such a way that we are literally with the protagonist, Theodore Faron played by Clive Owen, from the opening frames of the film to the end. There is very little that happens on screen that is not directly in Theodore's immediate realm of senses. We SEE the backgrounds of the crumbling England, the lines of refugees, the cages, the police, and the occasional bomb....but always in a passive manner. Theodore's been here, seen all this, and observes it with a kind of apathetic detachment. Images like a abandoned elementary school or a spay painted sign reading "Last One Alive In England Turn Out The Lights" may grip us with morbid fascination, but they pass by as quickly as they came.

The central story of CHILDREN OF MEN, which I won't go into too much detail about for fears of spoiling it's many surprises and plot twists, actually brings to mind Michael Cutiz's CASABLANCA. At it's core is the story is of Theodore, the uninterested businessman drone (with echoes of Terry Gilliam's BRAZIL here), drug into Bogart's world of passports, papers, visas, checkpoints, and espionage. It's what Cuaron does with that simple story that sets CHILDREN OF MEN apart from the rest of the cineplex crowd.

By making the decision to tell the entire story through Theodore's eyes Cuaron creates the entire world that his film is set in so utterly believable and immediate that it resonates like no other look at our 'future' we've seen before or since. We hear tidbits of television and radio chatter that give us bits and pieces to go on as far as what state the world is in. There are asides and pieces of conversations that we/Theodore hear about a possible 'flu pandemic' or 'nuclear strikes' in the world, but none that go as far as explaining exactly how mankind has arrived at this point in time.

It's this vague 'just out of reach' look at the world Cuaron has dropped us in that give the film such an amazing feel. From there we follow Theodore on trains, buses, buildings, farms, checkpoints, and hideouts on his given quest of what could be the key to mankind's future.
Sounds heavy, and it is, but Cuaron infuses the action sequences with an immediacy that was unlike anything I'd seen recently at the cinema. Prolonged "one take" camera setups literally thrust the viewer into Theodore's immediate place and time.

Supporting roles of note include yet another interesting character brought to life by Michael Caine. He's an aging 'buck the system' hippie that has dropped out to his house in the woods to watch the world go down while listening to music and partaking in what hippies partake in. Julianne Moore is solid as Theodore's ex who sets the mechanics of the plot in motion with her 'special request' of Theodore.

CHILDREN OF MEN builds to an ending that is more than a little heavy handedly promises the possibility of brighter tomorrows. But it's the trip there, and the frighteningly timely images and reminders along the way that warn us of the possibilities ahead.

January 16, 2007


Why is it that the icons of the Christian Religion are constantly popping up in food, water, trees, potatoes, and toast?

Do deities of the Muslim religion make a practice out of popping up on desert plants or Middle Eastern foodstuff to incite a passion in the faithful? Does Ganesh do this? I never hear of Jews getting excited about an apparition of some Old Testament figure in a kosher meal.

Since these Heroes of Christian Literature aren't' REALLY becoming bored in some mystical spirit world and making that snap decision to rally the troops by popping up in a urinal hockey puck or half-burnt piece of grilled cheese......you know, because that's ridiculous, then it all comes down to the Christians themselves.

What is it about Christians that makes them seek out these images in everyday life? Certainly not an amazing phenomena.....I remember picking out teddy bears and rabbits out of cloud formations as a kid. But then I grew up and realized they were just......clouds.

I'm not specifically picking on Christians........at least their current fascination isn't strapping on explosives and taking out shopping centers. I'm more amused than anything.

Crowds Pray To Frozen Virgin Mary In Store Freezer

POSTED: 11:52 am EST January 15, 2007
UPDATED: 12:15 pm EST January 15, 2007

An ice formation inside a Morton, Texas, grocery store's freezer is prompting tears from people who see it and has apparently answered the prayers of some visitors, according to a Local 6 News report.

Morton Thrifty Foods employee Alma Avalos said when she went to the back she noticed that some drops of water from the ceiling had frozen.As more and more people began to hear about the Virgin Mary, they started traveling in droves to see the ice.Some people cried when they spotted the ice and others said it answered their prayers."I had a lump in my breast and yesterday when I went home it disappeared," a woman said. "I don't have it no more."Others said they believe the ice formation is the real thing."There are some really Catholic people that really cherish her and they really know it's her and stuff like that and they are really amazed," visitor Stephanie Santos said.Workers at Morton Thrifty Foods said they will keep the Virgin Mary in the freezer.Watch Local 6 News for more on this story

January 08, 2007


"We Are Marshall" could have used an editor at the very least (and the most a more experienced and talented director wouldn't have hurt).

After a brisk and serviceable set up the movie then spins it's wheels for almost an hour and a half. Scenes of grief, heaped upon scenes of more grief with the occasional redundant scene of one character after another expressing doubt. And grief.

A story on the rebuilding of the football program would have been interesting in and of itself, but instead we are subjected to long drawn out "should we or shouldn't we" scenarios that seep to be on some kind of loop.

Eventually the movie get out of this downward spiral of reveling in despair in time to feature a couple of football games. Neither of which contain anything in the way of surprise or originality.

It's a shame such an interesting and human tale was stripped of all reality and emotion and saddled with every single known cliche' that exists in the sports film handbook.