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Showing posts from December, 2008

Deep Throat croaks

W. Mark Felt passed away this last week. A few years ago he revealed himself as "Deep Throat," Woodward and Bernstein's anonymous source for their investigative reporting into Watergate. Their reporting gave rise to Congressional investigations into misconduct by President Richard Nixon, who, in response to pending impeachment proceedings, resigned from office.I won't debate the sins of Richard Nixon, or the swelled heads of Woodward and Bernstein, and I sure as hell won't join the ranks of those who consider Felt some sort of hero. The reason is simple: He's not a hero.Felt was a deputy director the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He acted as he did out of pure spite. He was resentful that Nixon didn't appoint him as the new FBI director after Hoover died. Snitching on Nixon was not an act of patriotism or courage, it was an act of revenge.He couldn't have objected to the wiretaps or break-ins. After all, Felt himself authorized lots of illegal wire…

New Guilty Pleasure: Wanted

How does one justify liking a movie that is, more often than not, incoherent on its own terms? That pretty consistently lacks any character that you give a good damn for? That has visuals that blur vision and defy reality, physics, and even the norms of acceptable behavior?Well, why bother? For reasons not quite within my comprehension, I actually enjoyed Wanted. Part of it was, no doubt, due to the director Timur Bekmambetov, who also did Night Watch and Day Watch, another pair of guilty pleasures. Those movies are also pretty incoherent, yet embrace a certain poignancy that makes all the noise worth the effort. Wanted hasn't got the poignancy, and yet...The setup is fairly straight-forward. There exists a group known as The Fraternity of Assassins. They've been around for over a thousand years, initially as a band of weavers. Over the centuries they have been engaging in a series of selective assassinations, killing those who are designated to die. How are they chosen? By --…

Regarding Milk

I find myself in strange agreement with Diane Feinstein: I'm not sure I want to see Gus Van Sant's film, Milk. You see, the titular subject of the film reflect history for me, not some distant abstract.I was born and raised in San Francisco, specifically in the Castro (more accurately, Eureka Valley, but that's being picky). I was in high school when The Pendulum opened on 18th Street, just up from Castro, not quite four blocks from home. The Pendulum was the neighborhood's first gay bar, and it started a trend. What was a predominantly working class Irish neighborhood became, over the years, the gay capitol of the state, if not the nation.I remember the gay couple who owned the pet shop (just a couple of doors down from The Pendulum). Wonderful people, had been together for a long time, and if they're still alive I suspect they are still together. They were always mortified and embarrassed when the Gay Pride parade pranced by.Harvey Milk became a member of the San…

DVD: The Dark Knight

I've already gushed, but I feel like raving some more, and the release on DVD is as good an excuse as any.The Dark Knight is the best film I've seen all year, possibly the best I've seen in years. In terms of action films, there's no contest. In terms of superhero films, there's no contest. In terms of drama, okay, there's some give and take. But I think it's better than last year's Best Picture, No Country For Old Men, or its strongest competition, There Will Be Blood. And both those films were great, if subtly flawed. The Dark Knight skips the flaws. Is it too much to compare it to The Lives of Others, the only other recent film that has haunted me this much?The Dark Knight is, as Movie Bob put it, essentially perfect. I saw it once at a regular theatre, a second time at IMAX, and now several times via DVD. I'm enthralled each time. TDK is one of those films that I can't stop watching once I've begun. It has moments where I just want to pu…