Monthly Archives: October 2014

Crawl1

 

It’s a tough call on who ranks lower on the scumbag scale, celebrity paparazzi or freelance photographers who film the aftermath of crime scenes.  My vote would go for the latter.  Paparazzi spend their time annoying famous people, but the ghouls who take video of gory accidents have the potential to do more serious damage.

In Nightcrawler, Jake Gyllenhaal plays one of those videographers, and he plays it well.  Louis Bloom is a petty thief who witnesses a car accident and then realizes that he’s stumbled across his own version of the American Dream.  Shallow but smart, Bloom has absorbed the Dream’s work ethic and ambition, but not its soul.  When he meets a local news director (Rene Russo) who shares his disdain for professional ethics, it’s the beginning of a not-so-beautiful relationship.

Nightcrawler aspires to do to local news what Network did to national news, skewering the ratings-are-everything mentality, but mostly this is a character study of a man with no character.  Although Gyllenhaal’s performance is memorable, he’s playing a one-note role.  We see how Bloom gets into the ambulance-chasing racket, and we see how he thrives.  But the movie doesn’t really take off until Bloom’s ambition takes him a step too far – why should he wait for great footage when he can orchestrate it himself?

Dan Gilroy wrote and directed the film.  His direction is good but not great, his script is good but not great, and Nightcrawler is good, but not quite great.        Grade:  B+

 

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Director:  Dan Gilroy  Cast:  Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Riz Ahmed, Bill Paxton, Ann Cusack, Sharon Tay, Leah Fredkin  Release:  2014

 

Crawl3

 

Watch Trailers and Clips (click here)

 

 

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by Janet Evanovich

Takedown

 

There is no point in my writing yet another review of yet another Stephanie Plum novel.  Plum creator Evanovich has been phoning in series entries for years now, and so I will phone in this review.  For more, you can go here.  Or here.  Or here.

 

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Dash1

 

*****

 

Funny

 

The Huffington Post giggled over a typo in The New York Times.

 

I giggled over typos in The Huffington Post:

 

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*****

 

Logo

 

Always on the lookout for the best and brightest journalists and political pundits, Fox News has been showcasing its latest find, the stimulating actress Stacey Dash.

Dash has been showing up everywhere on Fox, including appearances on Outnumbered, Red Eye and The O’Reilly Factor.  

Bill O’Reilly conducted a hard-hitting interview in which we learned that Dash had a difficult childhood.  Rumor has it that Dash might replace veteran pundit Charles Krauthammer as O’Reilly’s go-to-gal on issues of concern to conservatives.

 

Billo

 

Dash, best known for her riveting performance in the soft-core movie Illegal in Blue, is also known for pictures.

 

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Outnumber

Dash lends her expertise to the hosts of Outnumbered

 

Blue

Dash’s pop-up, er, breakout performance in Illegal in Blue

 

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Dash4

 

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Ebola!

Ebola1

Italians take to the streets after rumors spread that two nurses had been spotted in a park

 

President Obama and Thomas R. Frieden of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention today urged public panic in the wake of fears over the spread of the deadly disease Ebola.

“This is not West Africa,” Frieden said.  “My family and I have been tearing the hair out of our heads over this thing, and I suggest that you do so, as well.”

“Everybody run!” said Obama, when asked for comment on his way to a fundraiser in California.

 

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Wall Street workers heed Obama’s advice

 

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Fear spreads in Japan

 

Meanwhile, The Huffington Post ignores its own front page:

 

Middle

 

Top

 

*****

 

In more important matters, Survivor’s Baylor shows us her butt.

 

Baylor1Baylor2Baylor3

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Blue Jasmine

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You can take Woody Allen out of New York, but you can’t take New York out of Woody Allen – thank goodness.  Cate Blanchett shines as a society snob who takes a tumble when her husband goes to prison and her finances vanish, forcing her to shack up with a sister on the West Coast.  The setting is San Francisco, but the characters – each with his or her own idea of “the good life” – are pure New York.  Release:  2013   Grade:  B+

 

*****

 

Honeymoon

Honeymoon

 

Here’s a spooky movie that’s refreshing both for what it is and for what it is not.  It is not zombies and it’s not vampires and it’s not all special effects and gore.  (OK, there is some gore.)  It is a throwback to 1950s science fiction, in which the communist threat reared its ugly head in monsters and neighbors and plants.  The story, in which newlyweds Rose Leslie and Harry Treadaway find more than good sex at a secluded lakeside cottage, is a bit pokey at first, but the final act is chilling.  Release:  2014  Grade:  B

 

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Sean1Bill1

 

“I think Bill Maher’s good for America.  Let me tell you why … he’s willing to speak the truth when so many others in the media are scared to death.” – Fox’s Sean Hannity on Tuesday, causing me to crap my pants.

 

*****

 

“It’s as if in World War II we didn’t call the Nazis ‘Nazis’ because we were afraid to offend them.  You call the enemy by their name.  You call everything by its true name, otherwise it’s pure Orwell.” – Lt. Colonel Ralph Peters (the one with the castrato voice) on “terrorism” vs. “workplace violence.”

This from a guy whose military comes up with terms like “collateral damage,” “degrading the enemy,” and “friendly fire”?

 

*****

 

These endless wars in the Middle East are too depressing to dwell on.  We’ve been told, for years now, that we have Middle Eastern “allies,” yet these comrades-in-arms either dislike us or are spectacularly incompetent.

Seems like Obama has two options:  A)  Get the hell out of the Middle East altogether (sorry, Israel, but this is your problem), or B) do a much, much better job of explaining to the public just exactly why we must be there.  I’m not holding my breath for either scenario.  Congress doesn’t seem to care, so why should we?

 

*****

 

I keep reading that women do not care for penis pictures.  Then why are women so happy to see Ben Affleck’s penis?

 

Capture

 

… and JLaw picks a strange way to gripe about her leaked nudies:

 

jihad

 

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1

 

TV late-night host David Letterman recently announced his retirement, but I think I’ll miss his follow-up act on CBS, Craig Ferguson, even more.  Ferguson, who will be leaving his late-show gig in December, is a funny, affable guy, and that winning personality is on full display in this 2009 memoir.

Possibly I enjoyed the book because — aside from the born-and-raised-in-Scotland business — Ferguson and I share similar backgrounds:  We’re about the same age and we both drank way, way too much alcohol in our younger days.  I do have two quibbles with American on Purpose.  Quibble 1 – the title is a bit misleading; it would more accurately be titled Growing Up Drunk in Britain.  Quibble 2 – Ferguson gushes about former wives and girlfriends, understandably when you consider his behavior toward them, but also unrealistically.  Were all of his former flames such stunning beauties and flawless human beings?  But overall, this is a charming memoir, and I look forward to a sequel.  There will be a sequel, right?

 

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“Just trust us”

 

— the “infallible” U.S. medical system, before releasing an Ebola-infected man into the streets

— the Secret Service, to Barack Obama

— Congress, before taking yet another vacation while the world goes to hell

— Google, before spreading your private, nude photos all over the Internet

 

*****

 

No surprise

 

Why is this not surprising?

 

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