KEY SWING STATES NEED YOU
Throughout our history Americans have fought for the right to vote. And the fight isn't over. In the last presidential election, millions of votes were never counted. Ballots were tossed, minorities were disenfranchised, voters were turned away at the polls. That's why the Election Protection partnership needs you to stand up and defend voting rights on November 2. To learn more, visit: http://tinyurl.com/4bmpa
WELCOME TO BUSH WORLD
In his new book, "Sore Winners," John Powers notes that "today's Winners don't simply win, they win badly: bragging, sneering, lording it over the Losers, and promoting themselves with a crassness that would leave Duddy Kravitz blushing." http://www.alternet.org/election04/19466/
by David J. Sirota, Christy Harvey @ In These Times
Misleader-in-chief George Bush is blaming 'intelligence failure' for hyping the threat posed by Iraq. But the evidence shows that the president is lying once again. http://www.alternet.org/waroniraq/19465/
by Davina Baum @ AlterNet
Death Cab for Cutie, Springsteen, Pearl Jam, Dixie Chicks, Keb' Mo, Jurassic 5, Bonnie Raitt. They all want you to vote. And if you live in a battleground state, they're coming to your town. http://www.alternet.org/election04/19453/
ALL ORANGE, ALL THE TIME
by Tom Engelhardt @ tomdispatch.com
An urgent terror alert was based on information that is as much as three years old and largely based on public documents. Why are the media still playing Keystone Kops with the administration? http://www.alternet.org/mediaculture/19456/
OUR "MANCHURIAN CANDIDATES"
by Sean Gonsalves, AlterNet
Until black votes are courted -- and counted -- like white votes, America has a one-party system. http://www.alternet.org/columnists/story/19459/
PERSONAL NEWS #30
Well yes, it has been awhile since my last update. Work has been meandering along at a steady pace, outside activities have been minimal [ie: lunch with my friend Larry, farmers markets, errands, etc, etc], watching the Democratic National Convention on telly [also listening to it via WBAI] and I’ve been watching several new DVDs that I purchased from several sources at affordable prices. So this update is basically movie reviews … so sit back, grab some popcorn and enjoy.
EXTREMELY DANGEROUS [British 1999]
While watching this film, you’ll find yourself thinking isn’t this like the Harrison Ford film “The Fugitive”. In some ways, yes it does, but in others it doesn’t. Neal Byrne (Sean Bean) is convicted of the murder of his wife and daughter. He says he didn't do it. Jury says he did. He's off to prison. Unlike the Fugitive, however, Neal Byrne doesn't wait for things like train derailments, to happen. He takes his future into his own hands when he engineers his own escape. In the course of his investigation, he talks to the police officer that investigated the crime. The investigator tells him that he's investigated crimes in which the perpetrator committed such a heinous act that he wiped it from his own memory. "You did it, Neal." For the rest of the movie, the viewer is left wondering if Neal Byrne did it or not, and this tension is not resolved until the last scene. Throughout the film there are times when Byrne too questions whether or not he has done it, and has to come to terms with his own guilt in the outcome of events. He's got a lot of bad guys and good guys after him. Both groups get closer and closer with each encounter. Moments when the viewer is tempted to develop sympathy for Byrne as a victim are juxtaposed with moments that show him as violent and brutal. These kinds of points/ counter points escalate to critical encounters with the opposition. The groups out to catch or kill him.
Sean Bean is excellent in this and it's a good departure from the Sharpe series. Byrne's bewilderment at the turn his life has taken, his total anger at the people who he believes murdered his family, and his questioning of his own guilt in all this, are nicely drawn. The bottom line is, the viewer wants to like this guy, because he *seems* honest, but the story refuses to allow that, because he might be guilty of some awful stuff. The movie does not rely on improbable leaps from hydroelectric dams, or dramatic, but equally improbable, fight sequences in dry cleaning plants. When someone gets shot ... he goes down. When someone is stabbed, he bleeds. For a moment, it borders on the James Bond, when Byrne dismantles a two-way radio and uses it for phone calls. All in all, this was an exciting movie to watch, and worth 3 or so hours it takes to watch.
This Bond film succeeds in part because it feels a bit like the "greatest hits," with such OO7 trademarks as the Aston Martin, pretty women and big action set-pieces all playing a prominent role. However, GoldenEye (named after Ian Fleming's home in the Caribbean) also acknowledges the fact that times have changed since OO7's Cold War heyday. Bond finds himself traveling to a newly capitalist Russia, and he also has to deal for the first time with a female M, played wonderfully by Judi Dench. There is also a feisty new Miss Moneypenny for Bond to contend with, Samantha Bond replacing Caroline Bliss in the role and making it quite plain that her Moneypenny will be no pushover for OO7. Q, however, is still played by the aging but sprightly Desmond Llewelyn, and although he is only in one short scene it is a good one, providing another link to Bond's past. Unlike many Bond films, GoldenEye has quite a good plot. It certainly helps that the chief villain is a fellow OO agent, who was once a close friend of Bond's. This set-up adds real spice to the scenes between Bond and Trevelyan.
Another plus is the strength of many of the principle characters. Isabella Scorupco is one of the very best Bond girls and proving to be a decent actress. Her character fits in well with the serious, modern tone of the film by being both quite a realistic character and a skilled computer programmer. Sean Bean is quite good as Trevelyan. As much as I adore Sean Bean his rather forced upper-class accent prevents him from being one of the great villains. Still, he is menacing and his final showdown with Bond is gripping and oh so effective. Stealing the show is Famke Janssen, who is the sex-mad henchwoman Xenia Onatopp. Onatopp kills men by crushing them with her legs, and she makes for a classic Bond femme fatale. Then of course there is Pierce Brosnan, who makes a strong debut as OO7. Brosnan makes the most of Bond with a performance that nicely blends toughness with humor, and also traces of humanity. In certain scenes Brosnan does a very nice job of portraying the essential loneliness of OO7, and also his fierce loyalty to his country. In doing so he maintains the welcome seriousness that Dalton brought to the role, but he also comes across as more relaxed and humorous, making his Bond a more rounded character in the style of Sean Connery. [The definative Bond.] GoldenEye is a very entertaining and action-packed film, which captures the essence of Bond and has some real substance too in its plot and characterization.
[Next time I’ll post my reviews on the excellent British series called SHARPE, which stars Sean Bean. I have two of the fourteen DVDs, so far, and they are “Sharpes Rifles” and “Sharpes Enemy”. Plus, more news on other activities. Stay tuned…………]