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Movie review, “Churchill,” Directed by Jonathan Teplitzk, 110 minutes

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I can only think of one good reason to go and see the new biopic, “Churchill.” It’s an opportunity to see the great Miranda Richardson, who plays his wife.

The movie takes place in the last few days before June 6, 1944, when Allied forces invaded Normandy. Sir Winston is portrayed as a greatly flawed hero, but a hero all the same. It’s all dialogue with, it seems, millions of closeups of the old gentleman’s kindly and concerned face. The real Churchill looked exactly like a bulldog. Compassion is the last thing one would associate with him.

But in this movie, he tries to stop Generals Eisenhower and Montgomery from invading France out of his overwhelming compassion for young soldiers. The reason given is his sense of guilt over the massacre at Gallipoli during World War I. He has been blamed for that and it’s inferred in this movie.

To give credit where it is due, Sir Winston’s rhetoric helped inspire and organize the Britons through extreme duress. We still listen to his speeches, and one of them is the high point of this film effort. But that is no excuse for boring moviegoers for nearly two hours and presenting one of the least-admirable characters of British history as someone to love.

Far from compassion, Churchill burned with elitism and anti-semitism. He helped make anti-communism a world religion. Among the many world figures who allowed Hitler to gain enough power to threaten the entire world, Churchill is a standout. Hitler came to power in Germany because he was seen as the best way to overcome German communism, and Churchill was a co-thinker. Instead of stopping the fascists in Spain, or earlier or later, the “great powers” allowed him to build his great war machine in hopes that he would throw it against the Soviet Union first.

I find it impossible to associate Churchill with compassion for soldiers for one main reason: he advocated for war after World War II was over and done. It was Churchill’s “Iron Curtain” speech that popularized the cold war.

Try an internet search for “Churchill and anticommunism.” Here are a few of the things that pop up:

“…His deep early admiration of Benito Mussolini was rooted in his shrewd appreciation of what Mussolini had accomplished (or so he thought). In an Italy teetering on the brink of Leninist revolution, Il Duce had discovered the one formula that could counteract the Leninist appeal: hypernationalism with a social slant. Churchill lauded “Fascismo’s triumphant struggle against the bestial appetites and passions of Leninism,” claiming that “it proved the necessary antidote to the Communist poison.” From “Churchill Extols Fascismo for Italy” New York Times, January 21, 1927. Churchill even had admiring words for Hitler; as late as 1937, he wrote: “one may dislike Hitler’s system and yet admire his patriotic achievement. If our country were defeated, I hope we should find a champion as indomitable to restore our courage and lead us back to our place among the nations.” James, “Churchill the Politician,” p. 118. On the conditions of the Fascist takeover in Italy, see Ralph Raico, “Mises on Fascism and Democracy,” Journal of Libertarian Studies 12, no 1 (Spring 1996): 1-27.  https://mises.org/library/rethinking-churchill

Churchill is credited with having begun the cold war:

http://www.theimaginativeconservative.org/2014/05/winston-churchills-iron-curtain.html

He is credited with helping the Nazis take power outside Germany:  http://azvsas.blogspot.com/2015/01/winston-churchill-anti-communist-who.html

He is credited with sharing Hitler’s anti-semitism:

https://jodebloggs.wordpress.com/2015/05/29/winston-churchill-and-the-rise-of-bolshevism-1917-1927/

If you think I say outrageous things, you might check out my weekly radio show on KNON.org or 89.3FM in Dallas.  –Gene Lantz

 

Are we stuck with the Donald or can progress still happen in America?

me-copeguitar

Check out my new song: https://youtu.be/_MVyGYFCgz4

If you’ll sing along, here is the latest version:

We’re plowing for progress but we’ve hit a stump

We lost our Obama and got Donald Trump

He holds up our plowing, no goals can be reached

We’ll do so much better when he gets impeached

We’ll sing, So long Donald, it’s been good to know you

So long, it’s been good to know you

So long, it’s been good to know you

You’re going backward but we’re going on

And we’ve got to be moving along

The big man in Congress, his name is Paul Ryan

He don’t care who’s hurting, he don’t care who’s dying

He prisses and prances across Congress’ floor

But pretty soon he will dance out the door

We’ll sing, So long Ryan, it’s been good to know you

So long, it’s been good to know you

So long, it’s been good to know you

You’re going backward but we’re going on

And we’ve got to be moving along

They can’t stand the truth now, they’re just blowing smoke

The worst of the liars are both brothers Koch

Just sing this song now and please heed the call

We’ll get to work and get rid of them all

We’ll sing, So long Kochs, it’s been good to know you

So long, it’s been good to know you

So long, it’s been good to know you

You’re going backward but we’re going on

And we’ve got to be moving along

##################

I have an unshakable confidence that people will figure out what is going on and act responsibly. My argument is this:

  • I figured it out
  • I’m not so smart (I know, I’ve been tested)
  • Everybody else is at least as smart as I am
  • Therefore, everybody else will figure it out

I also think that we are suffocating in a capitalist-created culture. Even though we may not be the best singers or the most clever poets, we should treasure a culture that is our own. That’s why I’m always trying to get you to sing.

It’s also why I continue volunteering at KNON radio 89.3 FM and http://knon.org every Saturday at 9AM

–Gene Lantz

Yesterday, May 3, we celebrated Pete Seeger’s birthday at our house.

seegerpete

With a few musically inclined friends, we sang and played some of Pete’s better-known hits.

Linda Coleman gave a short talk and conducted a discussion about Pete’s life. She was particularly incensed that he was blacklisted for so much of the time when the world needed him most. We hooked a computer up to the TV so we could watch Pete’s videos on YouTube.

Their Culture Is All Over Us, and All In Us

On my radio show, I often make the point that almost everything a person reads, or sees, or hears, in America was either written by the bosses or approved by them. They own almost all the movie studios, the TV channels, the book publishers, the music producers, etc. We can’t avoid their culture because it’s in the very air we breath, and, like their other pollution, it’s not good for us.

Their culture teaches us that we are helpless, that we can’t change anything, that things are the way they have always been, and, worst of all, their culture teaches us alienation from one another. “Life is a jungle,” they tell us constantly.

Pete Seeger, of course, contributed to a culture that uplifted us and brought us together. That’s why they were so eager to blacklist him.

You Can’t Escape Their Influence, But…

If we recognize their culture and we recognize our culture, and we learn the difference between them, we can cope. That’s why it’s important to celebrate Pete Seeger’s birthday, and a lot of other important birthdays and anniversaries.

By the way, Woody Guthrie was born July 14.

–Gene Lantz

I’m still on 89.3 FM in Dallas and http://knon.org all over the world, 9AM Central Time

 

Movie review: “Elle,” Directed by Paul Verhoeven, 130 minutes

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Disclaimer: I admit that I would probably buy a ticket to watch a movie about a a woman sitting on a couch watching TV, if the actress was Isabel Hupert. I’ve never seen her in anything I didn’t really enjoy.

In “Elle”Ms Hupert plays a middle-aged business woman who has always had to deal with monsters. Because she’s such a terrific actress, I was never quite certain whether she was one of the victims, one of the monsters, a bemused observer, or just somebody who really knows how to cope. Maybe all of it.

How Do You Cope?

In a large sense, we really are surrounded by monsters, just look at American politics for example, and we really do have to cope. How do you cope with monsters? Do you call the police? Do you buy a gun? Do you shrug it off? Do you join them? Perhaps you could start a pornographic video game company and make caricatures of them raping and murdering one another?

If I understood French, I’d probably be completely blown away by the nuances in this film. Even reading the subtitles, I was intrigued. Hupert is a mystery, and she reminds us that so are we all!

–Gene Lantz

Listen to “Workers Beat” at 9 CST every Saturday morning on 89.3FM and http://knon.org

If you want to know what I really think, look at my life’s lessons site

Movie review: Nocturnal Animals, Written and Directed by Tom Ford, 117 minutes

amyadams

I really like Amy Adams. Apparently, so does director Tom Ford, because he keeps her in close-up most of the way through this movie.

The opening credits, arguably the best part of the movie, really grab one’s attention. Having grabbed it, though, it doesn’t do anything with it. Maybe it’s art, but it doesn’t teach me anything or change me in anyway. It’s just shocking without any actual effect or purpose.

Amy Adams, always a fine actress, puts on art shows but doesn’t really believe she’s doing anything worthwhile. She remembers her ex-husband, played by the very able Jake Gyllenhall, who put his heart and soul into his art, and she wants to recapture youth, love, and real commitment. She’s reading his novel. It’s full of sex, violence, and violent sex. It really grabs one’s attention, and Amy Adams has to job of convincing us in the audience that it means something.

But it doesn’t, and neither do the wistful wishes of Amy Adams’ character. And neither does the entire movie. Art, to be art, needs to do something besides shock us and grab our attention.

–Gene Lantz

Listen to “Workers Beat” at 9 CST every Saturday morning on 89.3FM and http://knon.org

If you want to know what I really think, look at my life’s lessons site

Movie Review: “The Dressmaker,” Director: Jocelyn Moorhouse, 2 hours

katewinslet

Since I saw her in “The Reader,” maybe even before that, I have been going around saying that Kate Winslet is our best living movie star. Some people might say it’s Judy Davis, but we wouldn’t have to argue about “The Dressmaker” since both talented actresses, playing mother and daughter, are in almost every scene.

The movie is more enjoyable if we think of it as a fable rather than a true-to-life drama. A wronged woman returns to her backward and tiny hometown to clear up any misunderstandings and settle all scores.

Texas Women Need Fairness or Maybe Revenge!

We’ve seen the idea several times before. What makes it doubly pertinent to me now is that I live in Texas, where new records for maternal deaths are being set and where battered children can’t even get a visit from state authorities. Like the rest of the nation, we also suffer from the wage disparity that Economic Policy Institute is covering so thoroughly today. Did I mention, too, that the state politicians are in court to tighten restrictions on women’s reproductive rights? Oh yeah, the Governor of Texas is planning even more state-sponsored misogyny in the next legislature!

Then there’s the woman-basher planning to become President of the United States. If it isn’t time for women to get some fairness, maybe it actually is time for them to savor some revenge! At least, we can enjoy a movie about it, can’t we? It’s surely time for that!

The Story and the Problem

In the faraway outback Down Under, an overdressed fashion designer returns to her hick town where she has been considered to be a murderess since the age of 10. Her mother, the town crackpot, is just as happy to accuse her as the rest of the eccentrics there. That’s the beginning and it’s very promising. The ending is fine, too. Kind of spectacular.

It’s the middle of the movie where the problems lie. It was the same with the recent civil rights film about Nat Turner’s rebellion, “Birth of a Nation.” Great beginning, fine ending, saggy middle. I like to think the problem is with the movie money-men, not with the artists involved. They just can’t make a film without attaching a romantic love story in it somewhere, even if it has nothing to do with anything else. In both movies, the sex and groping slathered on to the middle of the story is a distraction.

I liked “The Dressmaker.” The real critics in Dallas gave it a “D.” But Kate Winslet never made a “D” in her movie career. Go see it. When you get to the middle part and the virile characters start making goo-go0 eyes at each other, that’s a good time to go get your popcorn.

–Gene Lantz

Click here if you want to know what I really think!

“The Handmaiden,” Director: Park Chan-wook, 2 hours 47 minutes.

handmaidenmovie

In Korea in the 1930s, Japanese occupiers clash with Korean occupied, bourgeoisie clash with lower classes, morals clash with dissipation, men clash with women, men clash with men, and women clash with women in this wonderful Eastern version of “The Sting.” While the viewer may be amazed at the character development or the amazing settings or the wonderfully stylized presentations, it’s the story itself that transfixes us. Like most good stories, it takes its own leisurely time in the telling. It involves the long con and several short cons. Its point of view completely changes more than once.

We’re talking about a complicated movie here, but one unraveled for us by outstanding storytelling.

If erotic sex scenes worry you, don’t take your kids to see this one. Some will call it a dirty movie, but it’s less pornography than about pornography. A dissolute, cruel and dirty old rich man sits at the center of the story. He dedicates himself to rich pretensions, dirty books and corruption. Everybody else is straining to overcome him and each other. The characters we sympathize with most are the two young women who are presented at the beginning of the story as an unscrupulous con artist pretending to be a handmaiden and a her rich and naive mistress. Moviegoers will be pulling for them, or at least one or the other of them, to find love and victory over cruelty, shame, men in general, and the old sleazeball. But will love ever find a way?