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Films Worth Viewing

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"The Hate U Give"Henry Tillman Jr.-2018

I picked up this film for $2 at my local library. I haven't read the book on which it is based. Let me say at the outset that I believe it is a pretty good film. Tillman is a solid director ("Soul Food:), and the cast is quite good.
It had a solid budget ($23 million), and the critical reception starting with the Toronto Film Festival was pretty good. It is a coming of age film set in a Black neighborhood in a Southern city. The novel was set In Jackson, Mississippi; it was filmed in Atlanta, but the city isn't identified.

The protagonist, Star Carter (Amandla Stenberg) lives in one neighborhood, but she and her 2 brothers go to a private school which is predominantly white. Star is 16 and is dating a white boy, Chris (K.J. Alpha). The film opens with "the talk." This is where an adult, in this case her father, Mav Carter (Russell Hornsby) explains how to behave when the child is confronted by a policeman. We know right away that there is going to be a major conflict with the police. In the special features the cast, director, and the book's author discuss what they hoped would be an outcome of the film. If one considers slavery as the original sin of America, then continued racial conflict is a predictable outcome. When the police are involved, civilian deaths are always a possibility. The title comes from a line from Tupac Shakur: "The hate u give little infants f---s everybody." This translates to "Thug life." We are given a picture of urban reality from the point of view of an intelligent, loving, 16 year old black girl. (The film makes the choice to use Black rather than African American.)

There clearly is an attempt to provide understanding for both white and black audiences, However, it is made clear several times that empathy doesn't really bridge the gap. One example Chris tries to comfort Star by telling her he doesn't see her as Black; he sees her as Star. Her rejoinder is that she is Black, and unless and until he understands that; he can't understand her. This is made even clearer when Star informs him that seeing her childhood friend Khalill shot by policeman 115 was the second time she has been a witness to a violent death. The first was years ago when her best friend was shot in a gang drive by. The movie deals with both problems: black on black violence and the shooting of an unarmed civilian by a police officer.

Star's position as a witness to a violent crime committed by a police officer places her in jeopardy. Even testifying before the Grand Jury brings her to the attention of the local gang leader, King (Anthony Makie). This is complicated by the fact that her father was a senior gang member. He spent 3 years in prison for Makie. Makie gave him the money to open his convenience store. The protest after officer 115 isn't charged by the grand jury first enlists Star's involvement, then her encouraging the crowd with a speech over a bullhorn, and finally a full scale riot. One other interesting complexity, Star's uncle is a police officer. Star confronts him about the officer's behavior in Khalill's shooting and death. Uncle Carlos (Common) admits that he would treat a white man differently in a similar situation. The film uses this to show the double standard in street justice; I had a slightly different take. Carlos told her the truth straight out. There is a little bit of observation of the difficulties black policemen face.

The film doesn't provide easy answers. The ending seems a little tacked on. Still this is a very watchable film.
40 years ago I was teaching high school in the inner city. The high school was 90% black. I was involved with the students in and out of class. I coached soccer; I did tech for school plays; I was a class adviser; and I went to a variety of student activities. I knew the music; I knew the movies, and I talked about a variety of subjects.
Those days are long past. What I write about this film is informed by my experiences, but ....

Unfortunately this film played to a specific audience. It would serve as a useful discussion starter for a racially diverse audience of high school students. There is no free streaming, so look at your local library. This is well worth viewing, highly recommended.

Next up "Blinded By the Light" then the original "Miracle on 34th Street."
 
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"Blinded By the Light"-Gurinder Chada-2019

This is another coming of age story. The protagonist is Javed Khan a teen aged Pakistani immigrant 6th form student in Luton a working class exurb of London in 1987-88. Early on Javed's father is made redundant at Vauxhall Motors after 16 years. This puts the family's economic future in Peril; his mother must take in mor sewing. His father goes to the job center daily always dressed in a suit, but there is no work to be found. There are 3 million unemployed in Great Britain. Then there is the presence of the National Front (a proto Nazi group wearing swastikas and painting anti Paki graffiti around Luton). Javed wants to become a writer and get out of Luton. Javed discovers the music of Bruce Springsteen through Roops ( a fellow sixth former who is a Sikh). The music and the lyrics of Springsteen speak to Javed. They encourage him to follow his dream to become a writer.
He is encouraged in this by Ms. Clay (Haley Atwell), his girlfriend Emma (Kit Reeve), and a neighbor Mr. Evans (David Harryman). His father (K. Ghir) wants to pursue subjects which will lead to a successful career: accountant, lawyer, or estate agent.

The story is based on the memoir of Safrez Mansoor "Greetings from Bury Park: Race, Religion, and Rock 'N' Roll." Mansoor did become a writer for BBC and "The Guardian" a progressive newspaper. The memoir was published in 2007. I read it for this piece; I recommend it heartily. Mansoor co-wrote the script with Chada and her husband. Springsteen read the memoir and liked it. They sent him the script; he approved and allowed the film to use his songs in the picture. The film premiered at the Seattle film festival to critical acclaim, but more importantly Warner Brothers paid $15 million for the rights to be the world wide distributor of the movie. Both Mansoor and Chada are Springsteen fans; Mansoor has heard the "Boss" in concert over 150 times. My total is one.

This was filmed in Luton and every effort was made to re-create the late 1980's. Chada is very good at putting the viewer in the mileu. She found the exact car color, make, and year that Mansoor's father drove. the same level of care was devoted to every aspect of the film. Just a few examples, the principal's mobile phone, the posters in Javed's room, the records, turntable, and sound equipment in the student radio station,
the proper copy of the "New Music Express" which Javed buys and discovers Springsteen is coming to perform in London. The cast is a mix of highly seasoned veterans like Hayley Atwell (Agent Carter in the Marvel Universe) and newcomers like Viviek Kaira (Javed). Some critics have criticized the story as trite, overly sentimental and done before. The story was condensed, and modified, but Mansoor testifies toits accuracy. I admit that this is a feel good movie, but should it have been a feel bad movie. Chada and Mansoor stress the connections among people. Even a Pakastani immigrant in Britain shares more with us than we are often willing to admit. We can understand and empathize; in "The Hate U Give" the emphasis is on the differences in "Blinded By the Light" the emphasis is on the shared life experiences and values.

I've watched this movie twice recently; the second time was much better than the first. It made the "Washington Post's" top 10 for 2019; it received 31/2 stars on the Ebert site. I think many of you will find this film to be two hours of real pleasure. My highest recommendation. This isn't available to stream for free, but there are dozens of clips available.
 
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"Miracle on 34th Street"George Seaton-1947

I am assuming that most Yarders have seen this film multiple times, so I will provide only a brief summary. The film opens with the Macy's Christmas Parade of 1946. We see Doris Walker (Maureen O'Hara) dealing with the many problems that arise in an event of that size. A bystander informs her that the parade's Santa Claus is drunk. Mrs. Walker asks this gentleman to take the drunk Santa's place. She asks him if he has had any experience portraying Santa. He admits to having some experience. Thus begins the story.

The original story was written Valentine Davies. He showed it to his friend, George Seaton. Seaton wrote a script, and Daryl Zanuck agreed to have 20th Century Fox make the film. Fox demanded that O'Hara comeback from Ireland; she was to star in the film. Seaton insisted that much of the film be shot in NYC. This was a time when studios rarely went on location. Fox had recently completed "The House on 92nd Street" a success with critics and at the box office. Filming the parade was absolutely essential, Seaton used 11 cameras. The actors were actually on site during the filming. Surprisingly, the Santa in the parade is Kris Kringle (Edmund Gwenn).
Mrs Walker returns home before the parade ends. Her daughter Susan (Natalie Wood) is watching the parade from a neighbor's apartment. The neighbor has a front row seat for the parade. Doris joins Fred Gailley (John Payne) and her daughter.

It is interesting to note that Natalie Wood was filming 2 or 3 other movies simultaneously with "Miracle." She was only 8 at the time. This is a brilliant performance; her expressions are wonderful. Of course Gwenn steals the film with a magical performance as Kris Kringle, but the supporting actors are uniformly excellent. Many of them didn't receive screen credit including: Thelma Ritter, Alvin Grossman (Alfred) and Robert Hyatt (the prosecutor's son.)

The film crew filmed inside Macy's during the Christmas rush. The availing current availability wasn't sufficient so they disabled one elevator. Fortunately they filmed mostly at night. The toy/Santa section was re-created at Fox studios to provide cover shots. It was dressed with props direct from Macy's. Despite all this filming; the management of both Macy's and Gimbells had veto power over the filming. If they didn't like it; major portions of the film would have to be re-shot. Fortunately, both managements were more than pleased. The filming took place between November of '46 and March '47. The film was ready to be shown to the public; Zanuck decided to release it in June because summer was the time more people went to the movies. The film was a major box office success, and it showed in New York for over a year. It had a US box office 4 times the films cost. Box office figures are notoriously unreliable and foreign figures even more so, but over a period of several years Fox released the film in every Western country to critical and box office success. In the 90's Macy's had all its Christmas windows devoted to the film. Maureen O'Hara pulled the curtain to open the windows. She also does the commentary on the DVD.

The film was nominated for four Oscars; it won for best story, best screenplay, and best supporting actor. It lost only for best picture. This is classic studio movie making at its best. It has been re-made 3 times, but the original is still the best version. This is a must re-see film.

I will return after Christmas with more film commentaries. Season's greetings and best wishes for a season of joy and giving.
 
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"Shadow of a Doubt"-Alfred Hitchcock-1943

Hitch often said that this was his favorite film. On the surface that doesn't seem logical, but logic doesn't often enter the arena of likes and loves. Interpreters of this film find hints of the Dracula mythos in the movie. This is a bridge too far, despite the evocative scenes of the Pulaski Skyway in the film. The base story involves Uncle Charlie loosely based on Earle Hudson. This serial killer killed women who owned boarding houses and stole their money and valuables. Uncle Charlie strangles wealthy widows and takes their money and valuables. He is one of the prime suspects in the "Merry Widow" murders. The role of Uncle Charlie was an unusual one for Joseph Cotton. He is still primarily known for his work with Orson Welles; however, he usually played supporting characters and not villains. I think this is a surprising performance; Uncle Charlie is a charismatic figure. One can understand and see his charm.

The film opens on the East coast. Charlie is staying in a boarding house. We first see him lying on a bed, posed almost like a corpse in a coffin. We first see his niece Charlie (Teresa Wright) emulating her uncle's posture on her bed. This is used to show an unusual connection between this unlikely pair. Uncle Charlie is under investigation for the murders of multiple merry widows. Two detectives are outside his boarding house. He telegraphs his sister in Santa Rosa that he is coming. His niece Charlie goes to the telegraph office planning to telegraph her uncle. She reads the telegram he sent. Then we have a little discussion of telepathy and telegraphy. Charlie has the ability to read/intuit her uncle. Their connection is the core of the film; what she begins to see beneath the charm and affability of this man she adored is the engine which drives the action.

Hitchcock as he always did composed the film in his mind. Teresa Wright was convinced to play this role after hearing the story from the master. Hitch had many disparaging things to say about actors in his over 50 year career as a director; however, in this movie the actors had only kind things to say about the master. Hitch got along very well with Thornton Wilder. Wilder was brought in to write the script; several others including Hitch himself also were involved. Hitch wanted a small town feel for this film. He felt that he wasn't familiar with American small towns. Santa Rosa was an excellent find; despite being in the wine country; in the '40's Santa Rosa could stand for small towns across the country. The location for the pivotal Newton residence was successful, but the owners painted the house and did some repairs; so Hitch had to return the house to its slightly distressed state.

To be continued
 
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Santa Rosa provided the extras, but more importantly they provided the Newton children. Ann was played by a young girl with no acting experience; she is quite good. The supporting cast is first rate: McDonald Carey as one of the cops who follow Charlie across the country, Henry Travers and Patricia Collinge as the Newton parents, and Hume Cronin in his first screen role as Henry Travers' best friend are uniformly excellent. Despite being filmed during WWII, there is no mention of the war in the dialogue. The film was a flop at the box office. In recent years it has been re-evaluated as one of Hitch's best films. There are some plot holes, but they don't really detract from the sense of unfolding evil. When Uncle Charlie arrives a cloud of dark smoke envelops the station. Hitchcock really liked the idea of evil invading a small all American town. I like trains in movies; Hitchcock uses the trains to make plot points. Sometimes subtle, other times not so subtle.

There is one speech in the film where Uncle Charlie likens rich widows to useless animals who deserve to die. Behind the charm, good looks, and manners; Charlie is an atypical monster. If he has genuine feelings for anyone it is for his namesake. Young Charlie has real love for her uncle; he told her that she had no understanding of the "real world." As the story unfolds; she matures and still shows her love of others as well as her new found strength. Teresa Wright was never better, and Joseph Cotton showed why he is severely underrated as an actor. I'm not sure why he didn't get more starring roles. Supposedly, he was uncomfortable playing leads. "Shadow" benefits from Hitch's masterwork with the camera. There is a subtlety in this film which is uncharacteristic for Hitchcock. As always he finds a way to get on camera. This time his appearance has a little message.

This made Ebert's "The Great Movies" and it makes most lists of the 1000 greatest films ever made. I agree. It is available to stream for free. Watch this classic.
 
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Santa Rosa provided the extras, but more importantly they provided the Newton children. Ann was played by a young girl with no acting experience; she is quite good. The supporting cast is first rate: McDonald Carey as one of the cops who follow Charlie across the country, Henry Travers and Patricia Collinge as the Newton parents, and Hume Cronin in his first screen role as Henry Travers' best friend are uniformly excellent. Despite being filmed during WWII, there is no mention of the war in the dialogue. The film was a flop at the box office. In recent years it has been re-evaluated as one of Hitch's best films. There are some plot holes, but they don't really detract from the sense of unfolding evil. When Uncle Charlie arrives a cloud of dark smoke envelops the station. Hitchcock really liked the idea of evil invading a small all American town. I like trains in movies; Hitchcock uses the trains to make plot points. Sometimes subtle, other times not so subtle.

There is one speech in the film where Uncle Charlie likens rich widows to useless animals who deserve to die. Behind the charm, good looks, and manners; Charlie is an atypical monster. If he has genuine feelings for anyone it is for his namesake. Young Charlie has real love for her uncle; he told her that she had no understanding of the "real world." As the story unfolds; she matures and still shows her love of others as well as her new found strength. Teresa Wright was never better, and Joseph Cotton showed why he is severely underrated as an actor. I'm not sure why he didn't get more starring roles. Supposedly, he was uncomfortable playing leads. "Shadow" benefits from Hitch's masterwork with the camera. There is a subtlety in this film which is uncharacteristic for Hitchcock. As always he finds a way to get on camera. This time his appearance has a little message.

This made Ebert's "The Great Movies" and it makes most lists of the 1000 greatest films ever made. I agree. It is available to stream for free. Watch this classic.
This is one of my wife's favorite Hitchcock films. As for myself, I have not seen it from start to finish in many years, and my memory is faulty about this one, so I am not about to rate it myself until I have a chance to see it again sometime. Still, I do recall that I thought Joseph Cotten was quite good in playing the villain in this film.
 
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"The Iron Cross"-Sam Peckinpah-1977

James Coburn has this great line:"I taught him everything he knows, but not everything I know." I thought it came from "Harry in Your Pocket," but it is actually from "The Baltimore Bullet." The first is a good film about pickpockets; the second is a so so film about pool hustlers. This just goes to show I am a film nerd. Often when I choose films to analyze; I choose less well known films. Since I often rely on the what pops into your head system; this is not surprising. "The Iron Cross" is neither the best film from Sam Peckinpah nor the best film by James Coburn.

Notably hot tempered, a heavy drinker, but undeniably talented, Peckinpah died from a heart attack at 59. Dan Siegel (Invasion of the Body Snatchers) was his mentor. His best and most productive period was between 1969 and 1977. The list of his films from that period is impressive: "The Wild Bunch," "The Ballad of Cable Hogue," "Straw Dogs," Junior Bonner," "The Getaway," "Pat Garret and Billy the Kid," "Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia," "The Killer Elite," and "Cross of Iron." His films are marked by quite a lot of violence.

"Cross of Iron" had a quality cast: David Warner, Max Schell, James Mason, and James Coburn. The story is based on a German novel set in 1943 on the Russian front. Coburn plays Max Steiner, a gifted non com who hates officers. The other 3 stars play officers in the German army. The Germans are losing. There is an abundance of violence. The plot line centers on the conflict between Schell and Coburn. Schell volunteered for the Russian Front so he could win an Iron Cross. Coburn stands in his way when Schell advances a false claim of bravery so he can get his medal.

The funding was insufficient to make the film, but Peckinpah almost miraculously completed the film. It was filmed primarily in Yugoslavia; most of the cast was German; the dialogue is hard to understand. The company that made the film went bankrupt. The DVD comes from a reputable company. Studio Canal, but they had poor options for transfer. There are no extras. The viewer is left with a complicated film, graphically depicting a nasty war, with very solid performances, and a protagonist who is intelligent, insubordinate, and very good at killing and leading others.

This is well worth viewing. However, it is not available for free streaming. It is a high quality largely forgotten film by an important director.
 
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"Pather Panjali"-or the Song of the Little Road-Satayjit Ray-1955

"To have not seen the films of Ray is to have lived in the world without ever having seen the moon and the sun"
Kurosawa. Okay, that gets the essential film business out of the way. Now we run into the problems. The film was restored by Criterion in 2013. It was re-released in the US in 1915, It is now available on the Criterion site. They have their own streaming site. It costs $100 a year, but there is a 14 day free trial. The Apu Trilogy is available as a box set on DVD; or the films are available singly. The trilogy box costs about $60. Your local library might have a copy; or they might have sharing with another library which does have a copy.

India developed a film industry fairly early, by the 1920's silent films were being made. There were film houses in the metropolitan areas, but for most of the country films were seen in tents show by traveling crews. I saw several films that way in the '60's. In the 30's a mammoth film industry developed in Bombay (Mumbai) producing Hindi films. India developed an internal system of distribution, and films were made in the major local languages. Satayjit Ray was born into an artistic family. His father and grandfather were both artists. Ray worked as an artist for an advertising agency in Calcutta. He also provided cover art and illustrations for Bengali novels and children's stories. On of the writers whose works he illustrated was Bibhut Busan Banerjee.

During WWII thousands of British and American soldiers, sailors, airmen, and supporting staff came to Calcutta.
They brought their films and some of their foods with them. Toast came to South India as a result of this incursion. Ray was able to see a wide variety of Western films during this period. He founded the Calcutta Film Society in 1947 with a group of friends. Their first film was "The Battleship Potemkin." Ray began to write about films for English language newspapers. He also took up screenwriting as a hobby. He would reed novels and write scripts. After he saw the movies; he would revise his scripts. I believe that a business trip to England in 1950 was the turning point in his career. On the 16 days voyage from India; he wrote his first script for what was to become "Pather Panchali." While in London he viewed about 100 films. The one film which most affected him was De Sica's "The Bicycle Thieves." Ray believed he could make a film with amateurs, shot on location, in a naturalistic style.

When he returned to India he gathered a group of friends with no movie experience, but from the artistic circles in Calcutta. One of the major problems was money, Ray didn't have any. Think "The Blair Witch Project" with even less experience and money. Wait, Ray could only shoot on Sunday because he worked six days a week. He managed to scrounge up 8,000 rupees about $1,000 dollars. With this money he hoped to make enough film to show to investors to get the the rest of the funding he needed to complete the film. He also brought along his hand drawn story boards. This filming process took 2 and 1/2 years. The state government of Bengal finally gave him enough money to finish the film. Luckily John Huston was in India scouting locations for "The Man Who Would Be King." He saw 20+ minutes of film without a soundtrack, and he praised it to a friend connected to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Museum was planning a major exhibition of Indian Art and was looking for a film to show as part of the exhibit. So strangely this great Indian film had its world premier at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

Of course there was a late mad dash to complete the film. One of the last major bits to be done was the soundtrack. Ray was friends with Ravi Shankar, the great composer and sitar player. Shankar assembled a group of musicians and in an 11 hour session they played music while watching the film. They never did more than two takes. Think jazz improvisation. Yes, Shankar had composed some music before the musicians sat down to play, but most of it was improvised while watching the film. Naturally, the completed film wasn't available so some music was added later. The film arrived in NYC without sub-titles.

Once the West Bengal government provided the necessary funding; Ray took a four months leave of absence from his job to complete the film. It runs a little over two hours. The dialogue is spare. There is a free streaming option available without subtitles. I don't recommend this. Ray's production is based on an amalgam of Eastern and Western aesthetics. The setting ,the lack of costumes and make-up, and the story are Western. The feel of the film is Eastern. The film happens on the screen; we are observers. The central characters are a Brahmin family in a small village. The father is unable to adequately provide for his family financially. His wife becomes the anchor of the film; the father is absent for most of the story. A son, Apu, is born early in the film. He has an older sister, Durga. Most of the film takes place during a single year when Apu is about 5 or 6. Durga is about 11. We see the daily life of the family in the village. There are some notable events: a group of travelling players come to the village during a religious festival, a sweet seller visits, Durga and Apu see the railroad train, and the monsoons come. In the background is the family's poverty. The father is away when Durga dies. When he returns the remaining family members embark on a journey to Banares where they hope to be able to make a better living.

The film was a commercial success when it opened in August of 1955 in Calcutta. Prime Minister Nehru saw the film. He worked to get "Pather Panchali" on the program at Cannes in 1956. The success of this film was big enough so that Ray decided to become a full time film director. He died in 1992. He was feted at the Academy Awards in 1991. It was discovered that his great early films were in such poor shape that they couldn't be shown. The best prints were sent to London. A fire destroyed thousands of films including Ray's trilogy. The remains were moved and Criterion began a reconstruction process in 2010. Thousands of hours of work later the trilogy was released in 2013.

I saw the film in the 60's as part of our film series at Vanderbilt. I saw it again later in the 60's with a group of film buff friends. I hadn't seen it in 50 years. I was strangely reluctant to watch it. I have the trilogy on DVD.
My mixed bag of experiences with art house films led me to doubt my experiences from the 60's. Among my disappointments were "Shoot the Piano Player," and in general Fellini. It was with some trepidation that I watched this film, but thankfully I can affirm that in this case my opinions formed 50 years are correct. This is a great film. I started out this look at "Pather Panchali" with the quote from Kurosawa and a discussion of the difficulties finding and seeing this film. I direct you once again to Roger Ebert.com. Ebert includes the Apu Trilogy in his the great films series. This is a must see film for film nerds.
 
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"Nightcrawler"-Dan Gilroy-2014

This film did well at the box office and critically. It was made for a modest $8.5 million and grossed over $38.5 million at the box office. Gilroy had a modest track record before this film, and since this film hasn't done anything remarkable. He scripted "Nightcrawler as well as directing. The story is supposedly based on the career of "Weegee" Felig. He was a nightcrawler which is a freelance photo-journalist who has a police band radio and a camera. These individuals go to and from disaster and crime scenes multiple times a night shooting film which they sell to local TV stations.

The protagonist, Louis Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) is more than troubled. We first observe him bearing up a security guard so he can rob a site. His haul is copper, fencing, and manhole covers. He sells this lot at a salvage yard. He tries to work the owner into giving him a job. He nods his head when the owner states he won't hire a thief. He observes some freelance photojournalists working, and he believes that this would be a good career for him.

Gyllenhaal lost 20 lbs for the role. He also is able to limit his eye blinking. This was a technique he mastered while filming "Donny Darko." He also speaks very precisely. The effects work; this is a creepy guy. He next steals a very expensive bike. He converts this into a video camera and a police scanner at a pawn shop.He now has the basics he needs to become a nightcrawler. He hires Rikki (Riz Ahmed) to be his assistant at $30 a night.
He develops a profitable working relationship with a producer/news director, Nina Romini (Renee Russo), at a local station.

Ahmed and Gyllenhaal rode with independent crews prior to shooting. This is supposed to be an an accurate representation of the process of video news reporting. Larry Bloom becomes successful. The picture ends with a Line from Russo: "I think Lou is inspiring us all to reach a little higher." The final scene has Lou addressing his 3 interns who will help man his two new vans.

Gyllenhaal creates a credible character. It is an open question as to whether he is a sociopath. Recommended, but this is like watching car crashes at the track.
 
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"Batman"-Tim Burton-1989 and "The Dark Knight"Christopher Nolan-2008

I'm easily old enough to remember when the Burton "Batman" had its debut. For its day it had a huge media boost. Burton was a strange choice. Bringing Batman to the big screen for the first time since the '60's had proven remarkably difficult. The success of the first two Superman movies should have made for a better market, but the last two Superman films were deadly. There was a feeling among comic fans that a real Batman film should definitely not be the camp comedy of the Batman television show. Burton was given a large collection of Batman comics to inform his vision. Since the film was to be made at Pinehurst Studios in England, he was able to escape the media conflict. Michael Keaton was not a popular choice with the comic fans. Burton picked him primarily because of his "Beetlejuice" role. He felt that Keaton would make a realistic Bruce Wayne, and that his comic training would allow him to make a believable transformation into Batman. The suit and the Batmobile were vital to the Batman image. What Burton really brought to the saga was his attention to the setting. The image of Gotham as a dystopia, before the word was commonly used, was and still is striking.

The film opens with a street crime, a robbery of a family coming out of the movies, harkens back to the Batman origin story. We find out when the parents aren't murdered, this is not young Bruce Wayne and his parents. Batman appears and deals with the street hoods. Later in the film in a flashback; we see the original incident. Of course in this film it is the Joker who rules. Jack Nicholson was the first choice for the role once the film was going to be made. He was enormously expensive; it is estimated that he made $60 million because he got a share of the profits. He wanted and received veto right over his make-up. This is a great performance. He has more variety than Ledger. I particularly like the murder on the courthouse steps and the action inside the museum. Where "The Dark Knight" betters "Batman" is in the supporting cast.

I like the Danny Elfman score better than the Nolan score. I like the milieu better. The plot is more straightforward in "Batman". The addition of a full blown Harvey Dent subplot weakens the coherence of "The Dark Knight." However, the special effects and action sequences are much better in"The Dark Night."
Morgan Freeman, Gary Oldman, and Michael Caine are major pluses for "The Dark Knight." I was curious how both films would stand up. I haven't watched "Batman" in at least a decade; I haven't watched "The Dark Knight" in at least five years. I liked "The Dark Knight" better when I initially saw it, but now I find myself very slightly favoring "Batman."

Nolan was lucky he was able to shoot his trilogy. Burton was replaced after "Batman Returns." The last two films are pretty bad. I think that both are good to very good films, neither touches greatness in my opinion.
It is just over 30 years since "Batman" opened, and over a decade since "The Dark Knight" appeared. Are we ready for a new interpretation of this classic character? Both Marvel and DC seem to be more interested in multiple character mega battles against otherworldly types. Bring back human villains.

Solid recommendations for both films, but do try and re-watch both.
 

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Jack Nicholson as the Joker was, um... Jack Nicholson as the Joker. I'll take TDK over any and all Batman films, mostly due to Ledger's performance. I find Burton's treatments far more campy than Nolan's. In general, I find comic book movies frivoulous and directed at a segment of population lacking maturity, however, Nolan's films rise above the genre, TDK in particularly. Logan was another example of an actual "serious" comic book treatment, IMO.

As to "bring back human villains", I think that's what makes the Kingsman series more fun than other superhero garbage.
 
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I can see your points. Nolan makes a point of having a semi-realistic setting. Burton is fantasy grounded. For me Ledger is a one note character. Nicholson has more variety and playfulness. When you have characters as old as Superman and Batman, do you try and make them contemporary? If you do, how do you keep the soul of the character alive? Bruce Wayne is probably the first fictional billionaire, royalty excepted. That makes him an American creation. Superman is an immigrant. His backstory particularly his escape from death is compelling. Batman has always been more interesting to me. He has been molded by an horrorific experience,
but it is one shared by many others. It is individual; he doesn't lose his parents in a World War or to a natural disaster. Superman is the product of both a war and a natural disaster.

"Gotham" the tv show had an interesting take a young Bruce Wayne. I would like to see a new Batman series based on that Bruce Wayne as an adult. There are reasons why Batman and Superman are the most successful and enduring superhero characters. The trick is obviously to embrace the legend, but to find compelling new stories. Our treatment of heroes has changed significantly over the past 80 years. Batman unusually always was a flawed hero. Superman is a goody two shoes who can be harmed by a magical other world substance. Superman always had Lois Lane; Batman never could have someone.
 
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I've been a serious Batman guy since I was a kid. Hated stuff like Super Friends (if only I was a kid when TAS came out). I was so looking forward to Burton's Batman and hated it. And not just because the Joker takes out the Batwing with a handgun. It was so slow and ponderous. And those clearly phony sets made it tough to suspend my disbelief. Nolan was so much better.
 
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"The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo"-Niels Arden Oplev-2009

This is the first book in a trilogy, all of which were published posthumously. The author, Steig Larson created a complex world of betrayal, rape, murder, and government corruption. The three films were done with the same principals. There is an American version of the first film directed by David Fincher and starring Daniel Craig. The books and the films are often called Millennium Trilogy. In this first film Michael Nyquist plays Mikel Blomkvist an editor of the periodical "Millennium." The film begins with a libel trial which Bloomkvist loses. He is facing a brief imprisonment. He is convinced to take up a private investigation for Henrik Venger the 80+ retired chairman of the Venger Group. 40 years ago his beloved niece disappeared and is presumed dead. While Blomkvist is the protagonist of this film; the protagonist of the trilogy is Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace). She is a young woman who makes a living working for a security firm. Her most recent job was a deep background investigation of Blomkvist on behalf of Venger's lawyer.

Lisbeth Salander has been deeply damaged, but she has mad skills and an inability to be deterred by obstacles.
In this film the focus is on solving the disappearance/murder of a 16 year old in 1966. However, we see glimpses into her background. Can two people have a close but prickly relationship? Rapace creates more than a memorable character. This is an individual who projects both indifference and hostility. Amazingly most of the audience root for her. Somehow she is able to draw people to her despite her attitude of indifference/rejection, and they stick by her. She is able to get loyalty from a doctor, a lawyer, a hacker acquaintance, and of course Blomkvist.

The plot of the first film is twisty, but it only leads into a solution of the immediate problem. The uncovering of Lisbeth's background makes the initial film look sunny despite the uncovering of a mass murderer. Taking the first film by itself, the ending seems drawn out. You must understand that you have a mission to complete the trilogy. The drawn out conclusion is the prologue for volumes 2 and 3. The first film is the best of the three, but the ending drags things out. The second and third films are more quickly paced, but not as thoughtful. The Fincher film has its advocates; it's a solid film, but try the original.

I would hope you would watch all three, but I'll settle for one. Highly recommended.
 
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"The Ten Commandments"-Cecil B. de Mille-1956

I struggled with this film. I had intended to watch both this film and de Mille's '23 silent version. After nearly 4 hours of '56; I was spent. This is basically a biography of Moses. Parts are skipped over, i.e. wandering in the wilderness. This film has been a fixture on American TV for 50 years on Easter. It is part of popular culture; It is one of the great filmed spectacles. In its day it was the most expensive film ever made; it was also a huge box office success. It featured Charlton Heston as Moses (his baby son as the baby Moses), John Gielgood as Sethi,
and Yul Brenner as Ramses. There were more than 70 speaking roles, and of course thousands of extras. It was filmed both in Egypt and on the Paramount lot in Hollywood. De Mille had a heart attack during production; he returned to complete the film, but this was his last film.

In the movie the prophecy of a deliverer of the followers of Abraham in bondage in Egypt was born. A pharaoh commanded that all male babies of these Palestinian slaves be put to death. One mother places her son in a wicker basket and sets on the Nile. The basket is found by an Egyptian princess. The child is named Moses, and he is raised as an Egyptian prince. At one time it appeared that he might become the successor to Sethi and marry the princess Nefertiri, But he becomes aware of his true heritage.

The balance of the movie depicts his meetings with God, and his instructions from God to deliver the people of Abraham from Egypt and lead them to the promised land. In the first section of the movie, Moses is in conflict with Ramses. Moses is exiled; he survives the wilderness. He climbs a mountain and he finds a burning bush where God speaks to him. When he returns to Egypt he finds that Ramses has become pharaoh; GOD hardens Ramses' heart, and he refuses to let the children of Abraham go. There are ten plagues visited upon Egypt. We see only a couple hailstones which turn to fire and death coming to the first born male in every Egyptian family.

This film is remembered today primarily for the extraordinary special effects the greatest of which is the parting of the red sea. If you are interested in this movie magic, google it. It is spectacular. Moses leads the people into the Wilderness. He leaves the people and goes up the mountain to commune with God. He is gone so long that his followers turn to the worship of a false God, a golden calf. When Moses comes down from the mountain, the worship of the false God has descended into a full scale orgy. Moses breaks the Ten Commandments written by the fiery finger of God.

In its day this film was highly rated for its scope, meticulous craftsmanship, special effects, and its photography. The acting wasn't considered to be of the same quality. One interesting side note Edward G. Robinson plays a sort of villain. He is the character who introduces the golden idol; he was on a blacklist. His role in this film effectively ended his blacklist. I recommend this film despite its length and the rather pedestrian acting for its grandeur, special effects, and cultural importance.
 
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"The Ten Commandments"-Cecil B. de Mille-1956

I struggled with this film. I had intended to watch both this film and de Mille's '23 silent version. After nearly 4 hours of '56; I was spent. This is basically a biography of Moses. Parts are skipped over, i.e. wandering in the wilderness. This film has been a fixture on American TV for 50 years on Easter. It is part of popular culture; It is one of the great filmed spectacles. In its day it was the most expensive film ever made; it was also a huge box office success. It featured Charlton Heston as Moses (his baby son as the baby Moses), John Gielgood as Sethi,
and Yul Brenner as Ramses. There were more than 70 speaking roles, and of course thousands of extras. It was filmed both in Egypt and on the Paramount lot in Hollywood. De Mille had a heart attack during production; he returned to complete the film, but this was his last film.

In the movie the prophecy of a deliverer of the followers of Abraham in bondage in Egypt was born. A pharaoh commanded that all male babies of these Palestinian slaves be put to death. One mother places her son in a wicker basket and sets on the Nile. The basket is found by an Egyptian princess. The child is named Moses, and he is raised as an Egyptian prince. At one time it appeared that he might become the successor to Sethi and marry the princess Nefertiri, But he becomes aware of his true heritage.

The balance of the movie depicts his meetings with God, and his instructions from God to deliver the people of Abraham from Egypt and lead them to the promised land. In the first section of the movie, Moses is in conflict with Ramses. Moses is exiled; he survives the wilderness. He climbs a mountain and he finds a burning bush where God speaks to him. When he returns to Egypt he finds that Ramses has become pharaoh; GOD hardens Ramses' heart, and he refuses to let the children of Abraham go. There are ten plagues visited upon Egypt. We see only a couple hailstones which turn to fire and death coming to the first born male in every Egyptian family.

This film is remembered today primarily for the extraordinary special effects the greatest of which is the parting of the red sea. If you are interested in this movie magic, google it. It is spectacular. Moses leads the people into the Wilderness. He leaves the people and goes up the mountain to commune with God. He is gone so long that his followers turn to the worship of a false God, a golden calf. When Moses comes down from the mountain, the worship of the false God has descended into a full scale orgy. Moses breaks the Ten Commandments written by the fiery finger of God.

In its day this film was highly rated for its scope, meticulous craftsmanship, special effects, and its photography. The acting wasn't considered to be of the same quality. One interesting side note Edward G. Robinson plays a sort of villain. He is the character who introduces the golden idol; he was on a blacklist. His role in this film effectively ended his blacklist. I recommend this film despite its length and the rather pedestrian acting for its grandeur, special effects, and cultural importance.
One correction to make. Cedric Hardwicke plays Sethi, not John Gielgud.

This is one of those films that has ended up being required viewing in our house. My wife just loves this one, while I find it to be a tremendously entertaining star search spectacle of a movie. I ended up buying the DVD as a gift for my wife so we wouldn't have to sit through the endless commercials when it shows up on television. Anyway, getting back to the film, my wife and I do find it a bit more comic than probably DeMille ever intended it to be. We both get a good chuckle at the various adventures of John Derek as Joshua, among other things. Still, despite this sort of stuff, we find it extremely watchable and enjoyable. In the end I just have to also marvel at the spectacle of it all plus DeMille's ability to handle the mob of extras that it took to make this movie.
 
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my bad you're right of course. De Mille was an incredibly organized director. The sets are remarkable and the costumes and props for literally thousands of extras were researched carefully. Now everything would be done by CGI; we are unlikely to see massive historical spectacles in our lifetimes.
 
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"The Bank Dick"-Edward Cline-1940

W.C.Fields made most of his films at Paramount. They are available on several Universal Packages because Universal bought Paramount's early library. Most of his films are available for free streaming; this one isn't or at least I couldn't find it. There is an Ebert review at The Great Movies. If you bother to read it, you will find that it covers his career and film persona rather than the individual film. In his later years Fields wrote his own scripts under fake names; this time he used Mahatma Kane Jeeves. Fields often played hen pecked husbands with rather horrible families. His character, Egbert Souse, frequents a bar called The Black Cat Cafe. He is mistaken for a hero when he is discovered with one of the two bank robbers by the police. He is given a hearty handclasp by the bank's president and offered a job as a bank detective. The rest of the film involves a series of complications of his own making. He convinces his daughter's fiance to borrow $500 from the bank ahead of his bonus to buy 5000 shares of stock in a mine. The bank examiner, Franklin Pangborne, arrives. Souse takes him to the bar and connives to make him sick. Despite a visit from a charlatan doctor, Pangborne returns to duty. It appears that the embezzlement will be discovered. Fortunately, the bank is robbed again by the robber who got away from the first robbery. A car chase follows; Souse ends up "catching" the robber after being forced to drive the getaway car. He receives a $5000 reward for catching the bank robber, and $10,000 for a film script. I missed telling you about A.Pismo Clam a drunk film director who Souse replaces for about 10 minutes. The mine stocks turn out to be hugely valuable. In the tag on ending we see Egbert Souse now rich. His behavior is still the same, but now his family respects him. The plot teeters on the edge of comic lunacy; what makes Field's films watchable are the inventive skits. Two bits stand out in this film. The first is the director/screen writer sequence; the second is a wild car chase after the second bank robbery.

One film available for free streaming is "Big Broadcast of 1938." This details the race between two passenger ships racing between New York and Cherbourg. The ships are the Colossus and the Gigantic. On board the Gigantic there is a musical show of sorts MCeed by Bob Hope. This film introduces his signature song, "Thanks for the Memory." You can watch this wonderful number and Fields skits separately. The only time in his film career Fields played it straight was in "David Copperfield" as Mr. Micawber. This is a very solid film and Fields is excellent.

Back to business, Fields has many films available for free streaming including his great shorts. You should at least dip your big toe into this flood of cinema history. I recommend "The Bank Dick", bot Google Fields and you are offered numerous options for free viewing.
 
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"The Shanghai Express"-Josef von Sternberg-1932

We looked at Dietrich/Sternberg in re "The Blue Angel" as I mentioned then, Dietrich is thinner, blonder, and much more glamorous in "Shanghai Express." Surprisingly, this film did more business than any other film in the US and Canada in 1932. Dietrich plays a coaster, a courtesan a woman who lives by her wits, i.e. that is to say a fallen woman. She is riding in a first class coach traveling between Peiping and Shanghai. The passengers in the first class coach are mainly European, but there are two Chinese. Mr. Chang (Warner Oland) turns out to be Eurasian. He had a Chinese mother and an English father. This ways before the Hayes Code; interracial sex/love was a big no no. no. Oland was a Swedish actor who played yellow face roles He had already played Manchu and the first of many Charlie Chan roles before this film. He was highly intelligent; he translated many Strindberg plays from Swedish into English. The other Chinese passenger in first class was Anna Mae Wong.. She plays a Chinese courtesan. Anna May Wong was a Chinese American actress, She began her career in films at age 16. This is one of her better film roles.

The story is based on a real event. This train, the Shanghai Express, was captured in 1923. Twenty-five European travelers and 300 Chinese were held for ransom. In the script the train is seized by Chinese revolutionary troops. The other first class passengers include a Christian missionary, a French major, a boarding house manager and her dog, Waffles, a German opium dealer, and a Captain in the British army, Clive Brook. He is a surgeon and is coming to Shanghai to perform surgery on a high British official. He had an affair with Dietrich five years ago As Dietrich tells him: "It took More than one man to change my name to Shanghai Lilly."

The plot is thin and contrived, but the film seems to be largely a device to allow the camera to worship Dietrich. This is a thinner, blonder, and more glamorous than she was in "The Blue Angel." Her clothes add to the visual images, but it is primarily her face that is strikingly portrayed. The use of light and shadow, chiaroscuro, gives us memorable images. There is perhaps no better photographed film from the 30's. The film was nominated for a bunch of Oscars, but it won only for cinematography. Lee Garmes won, but in her autobiography Dietrich claimed that it was von Sternberg who set up every shot. It is worth mentioning that pictures of the countryside seen through the train windows were filmed in China, by James Wong Howe. There are a number of sequences where we see double images, one on top of another. The top image is ghostly.

This is available for free streaming. I urge you to find the Criterion DVD; it has an excellent bit of analysis by Homay King. Highly recommended.
 
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Today I propose to cover four films from this iconic British studio all featuring Alec Guinness. First up is "Kind Hearts and Coronets." Directed by Robert Hammer and released in 1949 this film features Guinness playing eight roles. Denis Price plays a young man whose titled mother who married an Italian opera singer. The family disowned her, and Price's character grew up in relative poverty. When his mother is refused burial in the family crypt; Louis Massini's (Price) resolve is set. He will murder all those closer to inheriting the title of Duke so that
he will gain the title. The film's title refers to a Tennyson poem "Lady Clara Vere de Vere." The full line is:"Kind Hearts are more than coronets and simple faith than Norman blood."

Massini plans a series of ingenious murders; he luckily only has to murder six. One dies of a heart attack, and an Admiral dies in a collision at sea. The first murder is accomplished by opening a weir and the heir and his mistress die by drowning going over a fall. Price murders a General with exploding caviar, a vicar with a poison which mimics a heart attack while disguised as a visiting bishop from Africa, a titled sufferagette by shooting down a balloon with an arrow, a photographic hobbyist with flammable developing chemicals, and finally the incumbent Duke by first trapping him in an illegal man trap set to stop poaching and then shooting him with his own shotgun.

Massini becomes the Duke and makes an advantageous marriage to the widow of one of his victims. Just when he has achieved all his dreams Scotland Yard appears. He is tried, convicted of murder, and sentenced to hang not for any of his noble murders but for the death of a man he quarreled with. We see Massini writing his memoirs while awaiting his execution. He completes his memoirs and is taken to his public hanging, but wait a suicide note is found. Massini is freed, as he exits the prison he realizes he has left his memoirs behind. Alas, they detail all his murders. So justice is served.

These films and other classics from this studio were remastered and re-released in 2005. Two other important comic films are:"Passport to Pimlico" and "Whiskey Galore." Considering the age of these films;
they are all supremely watchable. Let me end my first intro with a classic quote from this film: "I shot an arrow in the air, she fell to earth in Berkeley Square." Since this is British English Berkeley is pronounced as if it were written Barclay.
FYI, Kind Hearts and Coronets is being rereleased in a new "4K 70th anniversary restoration" version. It's playing at Trinity's Cinestudio from 2/16 to 2/21. I caught the trailer last night and it was really something. Cinestudio is always nice for a mid-week date.
 
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FYI, Kind Hearts and Coronets is being rereleased in a new "4K 70th anniversary restoration" version. It's playing at Trinity's Cinestudio from 2/16 to 2/21. I caught the trailer last night and it was really something. Cinestudio is always nice for a mid-week date.
I've never seen Kind Hearts and Coronets. In recent years it has moved way up in my interest of movies I want to see. I just found that Kind Hearts and Coronets is now available through Netflix, so I expect that we will be watching it sometime in the near future.
 

ClifSpliffy

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"The Ten Commandments"-Cecil B. de Mille-1956

I struggled with this film. I had intended to watch both this film and de Mille's '23 silent version. After nearly 4 hours of '56; I was spent. This is basically a biography of Moses. Parts are skipped over, i.e. wandering in the wilderness. This film has been a fixture on American TV for 50 years on Easter. It is part of popular culture; It is one of the great filmed spectacles. In its day it was the most expensive film ever made; it was also a huge box office success. It featured Charlton Heston as Moses (his baby son as the baby Moses), John Gielgood as Sethi,
and Yul Brenner as Ramses. There were more than 70 speaking roles, and of course thousands of extras. It was filmed both in Egypt and on the Paramount lot in Hollywood. De Mille had a heart attack during production; he returned to complete the film, but this was his last film.

In the movie the prophecy of a deliverer of the followers of Abraham in bondage in Egypt was born. A pharaoh commanded that all male babies of these Palestinian slaves be put to death. One mother places her son in a wicker basket and sets on the Nile. The basket is found by an Egyptian princess. The child is named Moses, and he is raised as an Egyptian prince. At one time it appeared that he might become the successor to Sethi and marry the princess Nefertiri, But he becomes aware of his true heritage.

The balance of the movie depicts his meetings with God, and his instructions from God to deliver the people of Abraham from Egypt and lead them to the promised land. In the first section of the movie, Moses is in conflict with Ramses. Moses is exiled; he survives the wilderness. He climbs a mountain and he finds a burning bush where God speaks to him. When he returns to Egypt he finds that Ramses has become pharaoh; GOD hardens Ramses' heart, and he refuses to let the children of Abraham go. There are ten plagues visited upon Egypt. We see only a couple hailstones which turn to fire and death coming to the first born male in every Egyptian family.

This film is remembered today primarily for the extraordinary special effects the greatest of which is the parting of the red sea. If you are interested in this movie magic, google it. It is spectacular. Moses leads the people into the Wilderness. He leaves the people and goes up the mountain to commune with God. He is gone so long that his followers turn to the worship of a false God, a golden calf. When Moses comes down from the mountain, the worship of the false God has descended into a full scale orgy. Moses breaks the Ten Commandments written by the fiery finger of God.

In its day this film was highly rated for its scope, meticulous craftsmanship, special effects, and its photography. The acting wasn't considered to be of the same quality. One interesting side note Edward G. Robinson plays a sort of villain. He is the character who introduces the golden idol; he was on a blacklist. His role in this film effectively ended his blacklist. I recommend this film despite its length and the rather pedestrian acting for its grandeur, special effects, and cultural importance.
'palestinan?' yeah, uh no. real or not (I vote real) the exodus story historically occurred before the onslaught of 'the sea peoples' in the eastern Mediterranean, in which the philistines ('palestinan,' check your etymology) cruised over from somewhere in the Aegean, likely no earlier than around 1200 bc. 'peleset' in Egyptian. 'The "Peleset" appear in four different texts from the time of the New Kingdom.[49] Two of these, the inscriptions at Medinet Habu and the Rhetorical Stela at Deir al-Medinah, are dated to the time of the reign of Ramesses III (1186–1155 BC).[49] Another was composed in the period immediately following the death of Ramesses III (Papyrus Harris I).[49] The fourth, the Onomasticon of Amenope, is dated to some time between the end of the 12th or early 11th century BC'
the Egyptian Merneptah Stele, 1200 bc+(the 'israel stele') refers to 'israel' from an earlier time.
by far, all the historical evidence places 'canaanite' as the most likely label for those folks, tho 'habiru' ('apiru'), Hebrew, was also highly popular at that time.
'Scholars broadly agree that the Exodus is not a historical account, and that the Israelites originated in Canaan and from the Canaanites.[14][15] A majority of scholars nevertheless believes that the Exodus has a historical basis of some kind, even if this does not closely resemble the biblical narrative.'
not 'Palestinian.' simply not possible.
 
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'palestinan?' yeah, uh no. real or not (I vote real) the exodus story historically occurred before the onslaught of 'the sea peoples' in the eastern Mediterranean, in which the philistines ('palestinan,' check your etymology) cruised over from somewhere in the Aegean, likely no earlier than around 1200 bc. 'peleset' in Egyptian. 'The "Peleset" appear in four different texts from the time of the New Kingdom.[49] Two of these, the inscriptions at Medinet Habu and the Rhetorical Stela at Deir al-Medinah, are dated to the time of the reign of Ramesses III (1186–1155 BC).[49] Another was composed in the period immediately following the death of Ramesses III (Papyrus Harris I).[49] The fourth, the Onomasticon of Amenope, is dated to some time between the end of the 12th or early 11th century BC'
the Egyptian Merneptah Stele, 1200 bc+(the 'israel stele') refers to 'israel' from an earlier time.
by far, all the historical evidence places 'canaanite' as the most likely label for those folks, tho 'habiru' ('apiru'), Hebrew, was also highly popular at that time.
'Scholars broadly agree that the Exodus is not a historical account, and that the Israelites originated in Canaan and from the Canaanites.[14][15] A majority of scholars nevertheless believes that the Exodus has a historical basis of some kind, even if this does not closely resemble the biblical narrative.'
not 'Palestinian.' simply not possible.
 
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I didn't know what to call the proto Hebrews. You can't call them Jews. The stories of Genesis have the descendants of Abraham coming to Egypt. One of the problems is that even among Biblical scholars it has never been clear under the reign of which Pharaoh the exodus happened. As you obviously realize the knowledge of ancient Egypt is not one of my sweet spots. I should stop now before I get myself in even more trouble. Stopping
 
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"Death Wish"-Michael Winner-1974

This was based on a Brian Garfield novel. It made quite a few bucks and launched 4 sequels. I won't comment on the preposterous nature of the story. Charles Bronson stars as an executive in a construction company. During a home invasion his wife is killed and his daughter is raped and traumatized. Bronson had been a conscientious objector medic in Korea. This event changes his thinking; he becomes a vigilante. He goes as far as courting attacks. He then shoots and kills his attackers. This presents major problems for the police. Vincent Guardenia plays a senior police officer Ochoa. He identifies the Bronson Character, and under direction for the District Attorney and the Commissioner of Police figures a way to get Bronson out of town. The film has a coda where Bronson joins his company's Chicago office. He witnesses a mugging and he mimes a shooting with a smile on his face for the perps.

Okay, I acknowledge this is an unexpected film to discuss. I had a very fragmentary memory of the film, but it got into my head that I should watch it again. The world will little note nor long remember what I write, but cinematic masterpieces cannot be ignored. You are not encouraged to watch this film; however, if you were to read the viewer reviews at IMDb; you would find widespread adulation. BTW Jeff Goldblum makes his film debut. The film is clunky, but it was successful. There probably is a moral or a nugget of wisdom I should impart, but ...

Next up: "Blade Runner 2049"
 

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