Monthly Archives: April 2012



The gripping war movie Lebanon is unpopular with some groups in Israel because, according to a news report, “the film will deter young men from volunteering for the [Israeli] army.”  I don’t entirely buy that argument.

Does Lebanon emphasize the horrors of war?  Yes, indeed.  As you might expect from any war film, there are graphic scenes of violence, gore, and sheer terror.  Does Lebanon also glamorize war?  I’m certain that it does — at least for some members of the audience.

I feel confident that many young men will identify with at least one of the film’s four main characters, young Israelis confined in a hellish tank at the onset of the 1982 conflict in Lebanon.  This kind of viewer-identification is nothing new;  audiences sided with Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker when Bonnie and Clyde was in theaters.  And I’m guessing that more than one Nightmare on Elm Street fan would enjoy being in Freddy Krueger’s blood-stained shoes.  Some young men who watch Lebanon will be repelled by what they see; others will leave the movie and seek out an enlistment officer.




For me (an old man), the most compelling reason to see Lebanon is its stunning photography.  Director Samuel Maoz, who wrote the script based on his own experience as a gunner in the 1982 battle, also has a background in art direction and photography — and man, does it show.  Shot almost entirely within the confines of a leaking, creaking tank, Maoz’s visuals are a luminescent feast, with green and gold patinas casting an eerie glow onto a drop of sweat falling off a soldier’s chin, or a crushed cigarette floating in a pool of oil.

You might think that a 93-minute movie restricted to the inside of a tank is about 90 minutes too much, but you’d be mistaken.  We feel the men’s claustrophobia, but there is also suspense because we see what they see:  kaleidoscopic snapshots of chaos on the dangerous streets outside of their metal cocoon, all viewed through the lens of a rotating gunsight.

Some people will likely experience Lebanon as a big-screen videogame: cool-looking, violent, and with clearly defined good guys and bad guys.  Others will see it as a harrowing anti-war statement.  Some people will see it as pro-military; some will see it as anti-army.  That’s just the way we are.       Grade:  B+


Lebanon3    Lebanon4
Lebanon5    Lebanon6


Director:  Samuel Maoz   Cast:  Yoav Donat, Itay Tiran, Oshri Cohen, Michael Moshonov, Zohar Shtrauss, Dudu Tassa, Ashraf Barhom, Fares Hananya, Reymond Amsalem   Release:  2010




Watch Trailers  (click here)





© 2010-2024 (text only)




A female gang member is recruited by a French intelligence officer and converted into an undercover “hit woman.”   I haven’t seen this, but plenty of people have, since it was remade in the U.S. and later revived as a television series.  Watch the French original by clicking here.


© 2010-2024 (text only)




Hey, we enjoy a good May-December romance as much as the next guy, but this news that 56-year-old Bill Maher is dating 14-year-old Rebecca Black is a bit much, even for us.  *




Jimmy           Theismann


What’s with all of these retired jocks hawking meds for penis problems?  Jimmy Johnson and his penis-enlargement ads finally stopped airing, just in time for Joe Theismann to show up and inform us that his prostate forced him to stay near bathrooms, “just in case I had that sudden urge to go.”  I suppose it’s only a matter of time before we see Brett Favre in … oh, never mind.






Pictured above is apparently Britain’s most beautiful woman, Samantha Brick.  Standing guard is Samantha’s husband, a man who is armed and prickly because, you know, it’s difficult fending off so many wolves.






“Oh, please put security cameras on every street.” — HLN anchor Jane Velez-Mitchell (above) while doing a story about a missing child.  A camera on every street?   Great idea, Jane.  Lots of bad things happen on the street.  Lots of bad things happen in bedrooms, too.  Shall we put security cameras in every bedroom — starting with yours?






To Kill a Mockingbird is back in the news as we celebrate the film version’s anniversary.  Whenever I begin to feel old — like in the mornings, afternoons, and evenings — I remind myself that somewhere in the South, Harper Lee is still alive and kicking.  How cool is that?






Wolf Blitzer reminded viewers on Tuesday of the type of terrorist that law enforcement most fears:  the dreaded “lone wolf.”

I don’t know about you, but I don’t particularly trust bearded men with ominous German-sounding names, and who scowl and lurk in the background at public events.





*  Just in case we hear from Bill Maher’s lawyers … we’d like to point out that this is the April Fools’ Day edition of The Grouchy Editor.


© 2010-2024 (text only)


                                                         by Bill Maher                                                                     



I’m tempted to call Bill Maher a genius – but if I did that, I might be accused of self-flattery, because I happen to agree with about 95 percent of his opinions.  No, that’s not true:  96 percent.  If you lean left like me, Maher is your man, because he counters any “bleeding-heart-liberal” charges with take-no-prisoners wit.

As Maher points out in the foreword to New Rules, this is primarily a joke book, with hundreds of one-paragraph zingers targeting pop culture and everyday life.  The jokes are usually clever, often true, and frequently funny.  But Maher also includes dozens of longer essays – mostly about politics – and this is where he does us pinkos proud.


© 2010-2024 (text only)


by Janet Evanovich



Reading an Evanovich “Stephanie Plum” novel is a bit like watching an episode of I Love Lucy.  Everyone is silly and everything is far-fetched – and yet it’s often quite amusing.  Evanovich goes all supernatural on us in her “between-the-numbers” books, including this one, which makes the proceedings in Plum Spooky even more ridiculous than usual.


© 2010-2024 (text only)




Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has declared that corporations are people and money is speech, I think it’s pretty obvious what needs to be done this November.  We need to elect an ATM as our next president.  Think about it:  ATMs are as American as apple pie and, just like the country they serve, they are often out of cash.








The reviews are in for Mirror Mirror, and many of them stress that the Julia Roberts movie is ideal “for kids of any age.”  Whenever I read that claim, I interpret it as code for:  “This is a kiddie movie; adults should run for the hills.”




Mitt    Bond


This new ad from the Republicans, in which Obama is compared to 007 himself, James Bond … I can see it backfiring on the GOP.  Wouldn’t we all prefer to have Mr. License to Kill in charge, rather than some guy who needs help keeping his balance on a chair?

Then again, a car elevator does seem like a gadget that Bond would endorse.




Starbucks is feeding ground-up insects to customers.  I never go to Starbucks, so this doesn’t bug me.




The honchos at Starz have noticed the success that HBO and Showtime are having with original programming.  Starz would like to have its own hit shows, so Starz introduced Magic City, a new series about the Miami crime scene, circa 1959.  In case you missed the premiere, I watched it for you.  This picture pretty much sums up what you missed:




If you are nice, I’ll summarize future episodes of the show, as well.  It’s a tough job, but somebody ….


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