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Hi,

( some spoilers)

Everyone I asked about this movie said it was great. Well, you know what that means. You go with your expectations up, expecting to see a real good movie, and then you are often deceived. Not here. It is very nice.

Since it’s French, however, it has some ugly issues as well. It endorses and makes fun of prostitution and, given what pigs French people are in general, yet another movie to normalize homosexuality.

But the main characters don’t have any homosexuality problems and the black guy did an excellent job in his acting. I found this captured a lot of the movie: “The Intouchables works as a crowd-pleaser not because it’s true, but because it’s a plausible enchantment.” Which is why it’s so annoying that they blare out all over the marketing that It’s Based On a True Story. But then you’re fed an entirely witty, cushy, irreverent script, made to please and entertain YOU.

I think the movie is actually based on a book that recounts the experience of the two real-life men. But when I finished watching the film, I was sad. Actually half way or so through the movie, I was already repeatedly thinking how life is so extremely not like this movie. The fact that it may have been somewhat like this for two people doesn’t change that it’s not like it for 8 billion others. The first thing that happens when most employees or anyone else who is in an inferior power position talks back like Driss did in the movie is that they get fired, punished, or suffer retaliation. The very first time they do it.

“A comedy aiming to please crowds.” Totally.

Then there is the issue that one reviewer called the “clash of the classes.” There isn’t much of a clash anywhere in the sense of class struggle or Marxist criticism to the rich or to being rich. A couple of jabs here and there only. Everyone is generally quite happy with the ultra-richness of the white guy – and, ironically, we are talking about France here. 200 years later, Marie Antoinette’s lifestyle is definitely in style without much criticism, having quite effectively subverted the revolutionaries with welfare.

What I found that is much more salient than class conflicts is the “savage comes to the civilized world” thread, with the obvious result that the “savage” then reveals that the “civilized” have their hot-air, silly, dysfunctional, and stupid rules and attitudes. And some of these scenes and jokes are really nice (at the opera, the Fabergé egg being seen as and called a Kinder by Driss, etc.).

Most of the story line develops quite well, with a great pace. However, I felt it was completely abrupt how all of a sudden Driss is let go. It seemed badly written. And then the “Sound of Music” kind of ending was a bit too much Sound of Musicky for the atmosphere and central theme here. After this weird and unconvincing separation, the only thing that salvages it is the the rich guy’s surprise final date.

Lastly, my favorite element in the movie is the reason why the rich guy hired Driss: he was the only person who didn’t treat him with pity. Whatever good feelings Driss displayed in regard to his quadriplegic boss/friend, they were sincere. Driss offered a level playing field in their interactions, even while having some considerable faults (like stealing from the guy, etc.).

I watched it in French with English subtitles and was also quite surprised with the translation quality. Very good translator!

(some spoilers – beware)

First, I definitely recommend you watch this movie at home. Why lose the big screen, you ask? So that you can fast-forward at least five or eight times. The story is that bad. It’s simplistic, it’s overly Manichean, it has too much filler… Way too much sausage filling, just FF until you finally come to a new moment where something is happening in the story.

The photography at times is enormously beautiful. So definitely a point for that. The CGI effects (galore!) are all well done, but guess what? Who wants to see Godzilla crossed with Snow White, a fairy tale? The result is ridiculous. You know, these movie studios need to realize that we have all gotten how clever and wild they can be playing with computers. But it’s still like watching Godzilla or King Kong, little models of monsters, in a context where they hardly belong. Sigh. I almost expected to see 3D dinosaurs leaping out of the Evil Forest at some point, you know, one of the CGI animation directors got so carried away that he thinks, hey, I’m good at this, have you seen my dinosaurs?

Thank you, we have. And these little monsters are not that cool unless you are a teenager, I suppose. So what’s left in the movie is just a series of not-that-interesting chases, the “evil guys” pursuing the “good guys and, especially gal,” and always launching some quite predictable “surprise” attack whenever the latter get to a new place.

A point goes to the screenwriter for actually thinking up of a reason why the Queen became evil. My favorite scenes were when Snow White jumps into action, in Jason Bourne fashion (not that the stories of their characters match). “Snow White action adventure” provided me with  pleasure on many levels. Also the change in the original story that here it’s the “huntsman” and not the “prince” who gets the girl. But the huntsman doesn’t really get her either. So that was interesting. I guess the fact that all the good guys fighting the good fight arrive at the end of the movie alive and well and winners makes this a film for teenagers.

Charlize does a good job being the most nasty, perverse EVIL. Kristen Stewart does a good job any time action is required, but she has little charisma otherwise. And she isn’t strikingly beautiful, nor very graceful. But given, as I said, this is Godzilla Snow White Action Adventure, that’s all right.

The worse of the film, and it is seriously repugnant, is how unnecessarily brutal and gory it gets in several moments. I hate directors who want to shove raw, sadistic cruelty as entertainment. It isn’t. For this reason alone, no one should pay to watch this movie.

In summary, with the remote control in your hand, try this movie. There is a wide mix of elements, both good and bad about it. And the FF button is just a press away.

The Couple That Took the Same Christmas Portrait for 40 Years

 

This movie just went so beyond all my expectations (I was expecting just an OK animation movie). It is very two-layered (one for kids, one for adults), and the adult jokes are just too much fun.

Lovely, fun, lively, and adorable. It’s the little touches and the little jokes that make it really special. Also the whole humor with the military operation style applied to Santa… what a GREAT idea…

Like a breath of fresh air.

So much better than many of these 3D movies coming out… especially the ones with perverted allusions in their jokes, like the Shrek people are always doing…

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Well, spoken too fast. Just read this: “Even more than that: two of the boy elves kiss… each other. It’s progressive. ”

Progressive for disoriented pigs. I hope that most people will not realize what’s happening – I didn’t.

HUDSON, Wis. (AP) — It started as a simple tribute to his mother, a teacher and bibliophile. Todd Bol put up a miniature version of a one-room schoolhouse on a post outside his home in this western Wisconsin city, filled it with books and invited his neighbors to borrow them.

They loved it, and began dropping by so often that his lawn became a gathering spot. Then a friend in Madison put out some similar boxes and got the same reaction. More home-crafted libraries began popping up around Wisconsin’s capital.

Three years later, the whimsical boxes are a global sensation. They number in the thousands and have spread to at least 36 countries, in a testimonial to the power of a good idea, the simple allure of a book and the wildfire of the internet.

“It’s weird to be an international phenomenon,” said Bol, a former international business consultant who finds himself at the head of what has become the Little Free Libraries organization. The book-sharing boxes are being adopted by a growing number of groups as a way of promoting literacy in inner cities and underdeveloped countries.

All the more power to him, great ideas like this one, and technology being put to good use – of which  spreading good ideas is key!

It’s the first time I come across this, although I see by comments that it’s been done before, although it’s rare. I had never thought it would occur to someone to publish such a map. It was a surprise to me. And I can understand the rage of the gun owners to see that they could be pinpointed on the map. On the other hand, if the information is public, isn’t it also good to know who in your neighborhood owns a gun? At the same time that gun owners are right to be upset that they could be made targets of burglaries, to have their arms stolen, they are, in effect, in possession of arms to kill others. I would feel more scared living in a society where people didn’t have to register for a gun or that this information would be kept secret.

 

Hi, just watched this movie. You can find my review on the rottentomatoes site. Hopefully, that is.  I had to sign up on the site to post the review and I’m not sure it’s visible, their interface seemed a bit weird. I suppose it’s better if I copy what I wrote here!

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/hui-buh-the-castle-ghost/

(includes a few spoilers)
Hui Buh – very nice for children, fun and funny. The story is creative, although it will be predictable for adults after the first plot lines are set. It’s the typical all bad versus all good characters story. The idea of a ghost that tries to be scary but is too clumsy to be successful at his task is cute. What is nice though, is that the plot actually develops from there to take on more interesting turns, interweaving several threads.
On the other hand, I feel sorry for the writer of the movie, because the casting was one sorry result for the main actors (third rate casting choices) – they all lack charisma, liveliness, and warmth. Even TV B-movies do better than this. The sidekicks, however, like the two ghost hunters, often did a much better job in their acting (with a perfect reincarnation of Laurel and Hardy), and they reached the level of slapstick comedy acting that would be expected in a movie with this level of production.
The actor for the King was the most frustrating – he is often wooden, and at times he transmits that something like a frustration or anger, or a hunger for power (over others) is festering somewhere beneath the surface within himself – something that is a part of him in real life. Watch his expressions very carefully at all times and see if you catch it. Furthermore, aesthetically, in the first half of the movie, all his clothes seem 2 sizes too big, another unpleasant problem with the casting choice. Just how overly thin is this guy, you keep wondering, that everything must dangle on him? He isn’t facially handsome either – I mean, we are talking about a prince-type character here, aren’t we? Have the producers watch Disney’s Snow White or any decent Prince movie and redo their movie. They were not going for a Shrek message (who cares about the exterior, it’s inner beauty that counts) – these ARE supposed to be Prince and maiden archetypes -so physical appearance counts. We wonder if this actor was chosen after the 3D Hui Buh ghost character had been defined, so as to sort of match the drawing, while leaving us with a very second rate actor. He goes through the motions of his part, he talks, walks, and runs, that is, he moves about, but nothing good comes out of himself. I felt sorry for the actress who had to kiss him. He was just “performing” in the bad sense.
The servant who gets the King doesn’t do anything special in the movie until they both declare their undying love for each other, and then become a team, basically out of nothing more than a couple of glances, which again seemed stupid and vapid. She has very little personality and says nothing for most of the story, except telling the boy that ghosts don’t exist and how much she loves the King.
The animation artistry is without question. It’s very well done, and it comprises an enormous variety of facial expressions, very elastic and expressive movements, gestures, etc., enriching the Hui Buh character a lot. It’s snappy, appropriately caricatural, an excellent job all around.
The make-up artist/team also did an excellent job (along with the costume designers). Obviously this refers in particular to all the ghosts, their outfits, etc. The various funny ideas for the ghosts, leaving in the character the mark of their death, like the iron scaffolding piece traversing the guy’s waist or the top army general with the big see-through hole in his mid-section become particularly fun when we see them walking around. Kudos for the writer. The sets are also very nicely done, and fun, all the asynchronous puns with technology, etc.As I said, everything surrounding the main characters is of excellent professional movie quality (for children’s entertainment movies), which is why it’s a pity that the main characters are so weak.
The turns in the plot to make people become friends and help each other, up to the point of becoming family, also add a nice touch. On the other hand, the last message from the boy’s deceased father seems “too little, too late,” like a clumsy plot line that was never given its proper place with the rest. The movie is not about the boy grieving for his father, even if he goes to ghost village in search of him, and it seems there isn’t any expression of loss or pain in any realistic sense. So, then the “resolution” with that final message just seems tacky at the end, like here, take this bandaid, put it over your pain, loss, or search for your father, and be done with it, because we are out of time and everything must end in false Hollywood fashion of no problems remaining.
Overall, nice and fun entertainment for kids, various good messages in the story, great visuals, sorry acting and casting.

Spotlight on Speech Codes 2013: The State of Free Speech on Our Nation’s Campuses reports on policies at America’s largest and most prestigious colleges and universities. This year’s report shows that many of the nation’s top institutions continue to place substantial restrictions on students’ right to free speech: 

  • Harvard University prohibits actions that “demean” others based on a variety of personal characteristics, as well as “[b]ehavior evidently intended to dishonor such characteristics as race, gender, ethnic group, religious belief, or sexual orientation.”
  • Princeton University prohibits verbal behavior “which demeans … or injures another because of personal characteristics or beliefs or their expression.”
  • Columbia University prohibits “Belittling remarks about a person’s gender or belittling remarks about a person’s sexual orientation based in gender-stereotyping,” and “inappropriate sexual innuendoes or humor,” including over “email, the Internet, or other forms of digital media.”

FIRE Director of Speech Code Research Samantha Harris said, “FIRE is happy that speech codes have again declined, but it is hard to feel too good when so many students are still living with censorship. We will continue our work until campus censorship is a thing of the past.”

Major findings include

  • More than three-fifths (62.1%) of the 409 schools surveyed have speech codes that clearly fail to meet First Amendment standards. (FIRE labels these “red light” speech codes.)
  • Nevertheless, this represents a nearly 13-point decline from five years ago, when policies at 75% of schools seriously restricted student speech.
  • For the first time in seven years, the percentage of red-light public schools (61.6%) fell below the percentage of red-light private schools (63.4%).

Lee Penn says in “We Are The Last Men” (By Rod DreherDecember 22, 2012, 10:52 PM):

In the above post, and among other commentators, I often see the argument that the US (or the West, generally) is being overwhelmed by radical individualism.

I see things quite differently: it appears that collectivism and Statism are on the rise, just as they were in the early 1930s. (Fortunately, the modern equivalent of January 30, 1933 has not yet come. Yet.)

Here are my data points …

1. All the necessary laws and precedents for a radical abridgment of civil liberties are in place, from the Patriot Act through the acceptance of indefinite detention, torture, and the Presidential kill list.
2. The TSA and similar agencies – and police everywhere – are making a hash of the Fourth Amendment. I remember when people could travel without being searched, and when access to government buildings was far freer than it is now.
3. With data mining, security cameras, RFIDs, and other new tools, the framework for public/private partnership for universal surveillance is being built now. The Randian notion that heroic businessmen will resist this is as silly as the rest of her ideology – almost every businessman and firm will cooperate with this trend if they can make money doing so.
4. For obvious reasons, new restrictions on gun ownership are imminent. At the end of this road, the lords and the knights will be allowed to have arms … and the peasants and townsmen will be disarmed.
5. With modern information systems, everyone leaves a wide trail that any investigator can use to track our purchases, our associates, and our beliefs. Privacy, and the American tradition of starting over in a new town with a clean slate, are history.
6. The modern tax system is as invasive and meddlesome as ever.

and so forth …

I get that people are being left increasingly “free” to fornicate and to use smut. That’s the freedom of a barnyard animal; in most cases, unless the animal is a rare breed, the owner does not care who the beast copulates with, or how often the beast acts upon its impulses.

But the freedom to live unmolested by the State unless we harm others is fading into memory.

In other words, I believe that we are entering a new age of collectivism and sophisticated tyranny, not an era of individualism … much less “radical individualism.”

If I am wrong, what am I missing, or failing to understand?

Lee

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Excellent points and questions on our current pseudo-radical individualist society. In many respects, there is less and less freedom (and consequently less individualism) coupled with the increasing freedom for certain behaviors only, namely ones that are sexually perverted and perverse, dysfunctional or harmful.

 

New Mexico Christian School Sued by Homosexual Twosome for Refusing to Admit Preschooler

December 16, 2012 | | By:

Albequerque, New Mexico – Two homosexual men are suing a Christian school in New Mexico for refusing to accept their three-year-old to preschool.

Joseph Romero and John Keelin state that they were originally told by Hope Christian School in Albequerque that the boy could be admitted to class, but received a denial letter after officials discovered that the boy’s parents were both men.

“Same gender couples are inconsistent with [a] Scriptural lifestyle and Biblical teachings,” the letter stated, citing Romans 1:26-27 and 1 Corinthians 6:9. “[Your] home life doesn’t reflect the school’s belief of what a Biblical family lifestyle is.”

The two homosexual men have now filed a lawsuit in Bernalillo County Court, claiming that Hope Christian School has violated the New Mexico Human Rights Act by refusing admission to the boy. New Mexico law prohibits “any person in a public accommodation to make a distinction, directly or indirectly, in offering or refusing to offer its services … to any person because of … sexual orientation.”

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Jason E Hubred · Top Commenter

Today, they come for our Christian schools and businesses. Tomorrow, they will come for our very churches.

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