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The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
DVD

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Desolation of Jackson, July 16, 2014
This bloated, hyper version of The Hobbit, drawn out to ridiculous length by Hollywood's greedy desire to make one story into THREE movies, turns Tolkien's wonderful story into a Transformers video game for adolescents. Jackson shows his contempt for Tolkien's book, as well as for fans of "The Lord of the Rings," by larding out the story into 3 movies, seemingly just to make more money, because the writing quality of the fill-in material is so bad! (Didn't he earn enough from the "Rings" movies, so that he could actually make a good job of this one?) A perfect example of how Hollywood destroys a good story. A real hyper-frenetic mess of a movie, which is all the more infuriating because the original story was so good. They Hollywood-ized it.

At least in "Rings," Jackson stayed mostly with the book's story. "Rings" was a trilogy movie, because, well, the BOOK was a trilogy. The Hobbit is a single book of reasonable length, and at most, it could have supported 2 movies. To make 3 out of it means that the writers had to add in a lot of modern, trashy, fluffy, stupid, uninspired schlock WRITING that is NOT TOLKIEN. It's Spiderman 2, Transformers 5, Fast and Furious 6, Marvel Comics 7, with CGI Orcs. Frenetic video-game action for adolescents just took the place of Tolkien's clever and well-crafted tale.

Take the Elves. Legolas wasn't in Tolkien's Hobbit but he's in here, in spades. (Why? Because Orlando Bloom has a large adolescent fan club?) As is his babe companion female Elf (played by Evangeline Lilly). These 2 Elves are simply frenetic, unstoppable killing machines who defy the laws of physics. They kill giant spiders and Orcs with chilling, impossible, invulnerable robotic efficiency, over and over again until you just get worn out and disgusted. Then you realize that Jackson put all that "action" in there to fill out the movie. But it's way, way too long -- it's a 2 1/2 hour movie that should be maybe 1 hour 45 minutes. That's about 45 minutes of simple "action"; ridiculous, over-the-top, orc-killing, stupendous, stupidly directed, frenetic "action." You even start rooting for one of those poor Orcs to get SOME licks in there, against these impossibly invulnerable Elves.

[Warning -- Spoilers!!!]
One example of Jackson ruining the wonderful Tolkien story with his own schlock writers: in the original Hobbit, Bilbo frees the other dwarves from the spiders by putting on the ring and tricking the spiders, taunting them, drawing them away etc. But in this modern rehash they all fight the spiders to the death, and then in come the invulnerable Elf-Assassins to finish the job. Especially Evangeline Lilly's Elf, a bizarre combination of effortless, ferocious killing machine and sensitive beauty. Of course, not a Dwarf or an Elf gets a single spider scratch on them!

Another example: in the original Hobbit, the Dwarves escape from Smaug the dragon in the Lonely Mountain by hiding, and the awakened, enraged dragon then flies out to destroy the Lake-town. Here, we take a 20 minute detour while the Dwarves do all sorts of battling, frenetic, ridiculous video-game "action" fighting Smaug, even melting huge pots of gold to dump on him, of course hurting him not at all and of course, none of the Dwarves getting a scratch on them, before Smaug flies out to do in the town. By the time all this stupid, excessive "action" is done, you're exhausted, saying to yourself "get on with the story!", and then the story ends. You'll have to pay for a third movie. Ripoff.

They should've stuck by the story and stopped at 2 movies for the Hobbit. Jackson and his producers ruined a great story. Hollywood strikes again. A hack-job, and as someone else said, it shows the unraveling of the "Rings" film franchise. I can't see why any Tolkien fans would give it more than 2 stars.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 23, 2014 5:41 AM PDT


The Killing Season
The Killing Season
by Miles Corwin
Edition: Paperback
Price: $15.89
46 used & new from $0.72

4.0 out of 5 stars Shocking look at a Barbarous Sub-Culture, from a Detective's Viewpoint, May 19, 2013
This review is from: The Killing Season (Paperback)
Is this book good? Yes and no. It's well written and compelling for the most part (except for the author's idiotic liberal commentary about the OJ trial). But the subject matter described inside, that of the barbaric sub-culture of urban ghetto swagger combined with the horrific breakdown of civilized values, combined with the ready availability of guns, combined with the total lack of appreciation by such sub-cultures for the value of life, is hardly something to call "good." It's a shocking insider's look at the homicide problem in South-Central LA, which could be duplicated probably in 50 to 100 different locations in the United States where the black (and a growing latino) under-class dominates. A man is robbed at gunpoint but he doesn't pull out his wallet fast enough so he's shot. Another man doesn't answer the "Where you from" gang challenge well enough and is shot. A man gets macho and confrontational and is stabbed to death. A decent man is shot to death at a carwash, for the gold chain around his neck. A girl is disses a teenage boy, he yells at her and throws garbage at her, so her mother gets her boyfriend to shoot and kill him. A man is mistaken for his brother, who was selling drugs on some gangbanger's turf, and is shot to death in front of his son. A man breaks up a fight, one of the assailants doesn't like it that he broke it up, so he shoots to death both him AND the guy he was fighting. One depressing, evil act after another by gangsters, gang members, and gangbangers, who seem to proliferate like cockroaches in the absence of any responsible adult male role-models. The detectives have to sift through one case after another, barely being able to spend a day or two on a case when another murder occurs.

The book is about 2 detectives: the older white fellow named Razanskas, a Ukranian immigrant who grew up in Venezuela, then moved to LA, served in Vietnam, and then became a cop; his younger trainee partner, Winn, who grew up in South Central LA and became a cop because she wanted to make a difference in her hometown, and is now training to solve homicides. The book is good about picking up the chatter and feelings between the two, the tension along with the good, and their different styles in interviewing witnesses and solving crimes. Obviously they come from different backgrounds and are of different races, but they develop a good rapport, both being committed to solving murders and getting the perpetrators off of the streets. The story takes place in 1994, the year of the OJ trial and just 2 years after the LA riots. It's a very bad time for the country and for LA, where death and murder have escalated due to the crack epidemic and the gang epidemic and a host of other societal factors. I like the book but it sheds light on a somber phenomenon that is much more important than the story of 2 detectives, yet is neglected, almost in a conspiratorial fashion, by the dominant Liberal Media: the ubiquitousness of crime in neighborhoods where the black underclass live, and to a lessor extent in hispanic neighborhoods.

Razanskas and Winn start out in the spring as new partners and have to toil days and nights through a hot summer where the homicides come spilling out in buckets, in a year that history will show was one of LA's statistically worst in terms of murders. In that year, LA as a whole had about 20 murders per 100,000 people. South Central, composed almost entirely of blacks and hispanics, had an OBSCENE rate of 80 murders per 100,000 people that year: 400 murders over a population of about 500,000 people. By contrast, the county where I live, San Diego County, had 110 murders for 3.1 million people last year, or a rate of 3.5 murders. Even that's too many (in comparison, England has a rate of about 2 homicides per 100,000). I can't even imagine living in a war zone where 80 people out of 100,000 are slain each year. Imagine that in your town!!!

Something is really, really wrong with the people in these places and "The Killing Season" sheds some light on this. Obviously a huge factor is the proliferation of gangs, which comes about in places where fathers are absent (Thank You, Liberal Democrats, for chasing fathers out of the family with your Welfare State policies!). Another factor is the prison culture of "never talk to the police" or you're a Snitch. Somehow that's become the dominant value in these neighborhoods. As Razanskas says in the book, "Finding the Murderer is easy. Finding a witness is the hard part." I think that this more than anything except the absence of fathers, contributes to the Murder Culture of such ghettos. Don't these people know that if they turn in the perps, that their neighborhoods will be much safer? Of course many know, but they are afraid of being murdered by the gangs. It's a horrible problem. Then there's the Machismo low-life attitude, of never backing down, ratcheting up every human confrontation to extreme violence. It's obviously there in high doses, in these neighborhoods filled with gangs, black fatherless boys, and poor hispanics that have migrated to LA illegally. Finally add in a large dose of a disrespect for life. Where does this come from? Look at our dominant culture -- the decline of Christianity -- the proliferation of abortions, violence on TV, family breakdown -- who knows?

Add in to this lethal brew, that it's ridiculously easy to get a gun, and you have a recipe for the societal disaster that is depicted in "The Killing Season." Most of the homicides are by gun, with a substantial minority being committed with knives. One wonders, looking at the life in South-Central, if these people really have the 2nd Amendment right to own firearms. I would say, as a group, no, because guns are so abused and used for killings all the time. But on the other hand, the good people that live there have the right to protect themselves from the gangs. The California ban on Concealed Carry denies ordinary folks the right to protect themselves on the street. One can see a real argument for letting more citizens who live in these war zones, carry concealed handguns. It can't get much worse than 80 homicides per 100,000 people per year!!!

This book has one heartbreaking chapter on the Mothers of the young men who were murdered -- you can almost feel their psychic pain come flowing out of the book's pages. It was a bad, bad, sad time. The good news is that in the years since 1994, homicides have dropped dramatically. LA now has a rate of "only" 7.6 per 100,000 people per year, down from 20 in 1994. The Murder Epidemic is settling down. Let us pray that society gets some stability and that the Killing Season doesn't come back.


Here Comes The Boom
Here Comes The Boom
DVD

4.0 out of 5 stars Funny and Entertaining Comedy about MMA Fighting, "Family Friendly", February 24, 2013
It's funny and entertaining. Kevin James plays the perfect part of a 42 year-old biology teacher who dives into MMA fighting in order to raise money for his school, so that the music department (headed by Henry Winkler) won't be shut down. In this day of ubiquitous profanity, gratuitous violence and sexual references, it's ALMOST a film that the whole family can see. The rough guys of the UFC are also portrayed as down-to-earth, likeable, and they even pray before a match. This gives the film a good vibe. James' character also leads a kind of a resurgence in people's lives, including his brother (who would rather be a chef than a painter), the oddball music teacher (Winkler, in a great role), his trainer Niko (a charismatic and physical character) and the father of one of his students (a restaurant owner). For such a bunch of tough guys, there's little profanity (usually centered on a guy saying he's going to kick another guy's a**). There is the violence around UFC fighting though, some graphic blood, and one very gross yet funny scene where James's character throws up on a downed opponent. ALMOST family-friendly - for the jaded movie environment these days, that's about as close as you're going to get! The funniest scene is when James tries to win a bet with the winsome Selma Hayek about dunking a basketball, uses a trampoline, and misses it anyway.

The ending is typical Hollywood unrealisticness, but hey, it's heartwarming and (if I forgot to say it yet), funny.


Arbitrage
Arbitrage
DVD
Price: $2.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Effective Wall Street Noir of a Successful Man Walking a Tightrope -- Will He Fall?, February 24, 2013
This review is from: Arbitrage (Amazon Instant Video)
Arbitrage is an effective thriller about the Dark Side of the life of a successful man walking on the edge. Richard Gere plays the super egotistical, narcissistic businessman Robert Miller, whose business and personal life is exploding around him, and you see how he manages to clinge on .... will his business fail, will his marriage fail, will he go to jail, or will he end up succeeding because of his wit, smarts, chutzpah, and luck? You shouldn't care about Gere's character. He cheats on his wife, he's trying to sell his company while illegally covering up a huge speculative loss, and he is egotistical and sociopathic in his business dealings. You shouldn't care what happens to this upper-class scoundrel when his life spins out of control after a tragic accident that he's involved in. But you do. I don't know if it's the script, or if it's Gere's acting ability, that makes you want him to succeed despite the odds and the police against him. I think it's because his character is 3-dimensional and you can identify with his good parts (husband, head of the family business, father to wonderful grown children, benefactor of his employee's orphaned child after the employee died), rather than his bad parts (manipulative, selfish, narcissistic, buys people off).

The film works on 2 levels: (1) the personal level where you start empathizing with Robert Miller and wonder if he will succeed despite all the forces working against him; and (2) the ideological level, where white-collar upper-class corruption in the Hedge Fund business is examined and criticized. I'm not sure if any real businessman could get away with what Robert Miller does in his business dealings (fraudulently borrowing money to cover over a huge trading loss in order to sell his company), but then again, many speculators in the real-world case of Long Term Capital Management got away with murder after losing huge amounts of money and getting bailed out by the Fed! So, although Hollywood movies have the tendency to skew very anti-business, maybe in the case of hedge fund managers, they are closer to the truth.

My criticisms of this movie (which I actually rate at about 3.5 stars): in order to contrast the style of the cops to Gere's upper-class character, they throw in a lot of F-words, which gets tiresome. Don't writers have the talent to portray a gritty cop or lower-class character without stuffing his language full of F words? Or has that become a prerequisite for "realistic" movies these days? Also, the character of Jimmy, the Black son of his former employee, is a bit too Hollywood-PC: he's like a saint, in contrast to all the white upper-class corrupt businessmen and lawyers. It does fall into the cliched Hollywood-style politically correct mode. However, I still like the character of Jimmy, and you're rooting for him to escape the net that the nasty cops are spreading out for him. He's loyal, even if he is technically an accessory to a crime.

But overall I liked this movie and Gere's portrayal. It hits home if you've ever worked in a company and maybe you have seen for yourself the flaws and corrupt secrets of your own company's insiders!


Lincoln
Lincoln
DVD ~ Daniel Day-Lewis
Price: $14.96
27 used & new from $5.28

38 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent, Impressive Look at Lincoln and the Times; Gotta Give it 5 Stars, January 29, 2013
This review is from: Lincoln (DVD)
Lincoln isn't a perfect movie (what is?) but it is extremely impressive. It only suffers in comparison to what a "perfect" movie about Lincoln would be. In comparison to mere mortal movies, it gets 5 stars. I can't believe that it would get any competition for a Best Picture Oscar from silly films like Django Unchained. Argo was good, but not nearly as good as this one. Lincoln will enthrall those who are interested in this dramatic, amazing time in US history. Yet it's not a war movie, it's a look at Lincoln the Man and how he navigates his role as US President, masterfully.

Daniel Day Lewis is wonderful as Lincoln. For an Englishman to play Lincoln so masterfully, he deserves the Oscar for Best Actor. The look and feel of the movie is amazing. You believe that you're in a time machine and that you're really THERE, in Washington, in 1865. The portrayal of Lincoln's political infighting with an entrenched and arrogant Congress to get the 13th Amendment passed, is intriguing and intelligent. Day inspires as Lincoln throughout. One really gets the feeling of a storm of swirling voices in a desperate time of war, crying to be heard and followed, while Lincoln is the Man of his time, calmly staying strong and resolute in the midst of this chaos and grinding out his policies. If Lincoln hadn't show great Leadership and pushed the 13th Amendment at the time he did, who knows when the country would have gotten up the courage to abolish slavery again?

The secondary performances are great, including Sally Fields as Mary Todd Lincoln, Tommy Lee Jones as the Abolitionist Congressman Stevens, James Spader as a shifty Republican operative, David Strathairn as Secretary of State Seward, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Robert Lincoln. Fields in particular played a very difficult role (of the suffering and neurotic Mary Todd) very well. ALL the performances were so well played -- like I said -- you think that you're really there in 1865.

Lincoln, the movie, doesn't pull punches. I hope that the producers made sure that they researched their material well and stayed true to the facts, because it makes SUCH an impact. Film-goers who always thought that the Democrats were for freeing the slaves will be surprised to find this truth out: Demos in those days were absolutely for slavery and it fell to the Republicans (split into two camps: the Abolitionists and the Conservatives) to push the 13th Amendment through. The sentiments of the anti-13th-Amendment crowd in those days is also portrayed with shocking candor. Racial fear and hatred is expressed openly in the movie. It's hard to swallow at times: was this really the mood of the people, or was this played up by Spielberg artificially? Let the viewer watch it and decide! I'm personally going to read more first-person accounts of that time of history.

I have a few "small" criticisms of the movie: some of the scenes where citizens seem to me to be insolent in front of the President were hard to take. (An opening scene with some soldiers talking to Lincoln in a very familiar and non-respectful way; a scene where Lincoln bursts in upon a lobbyist who exclaims, "Well I'll be F****ed!") I would think that coming before the President would cause 99.9% to be utterly respectfull if not petrified! Also, the opening scene of black Union soldiers hand-fighting & killing Confederates up close & personnal, is disturbing for those not thick-skinned. I'm really not sure that that scene needed to be in there as it was. But if the viewer can suffer these small annoyances and look at the overall magnificence of this film, I believe that he/she will be impressed with Lincoln's intelligence, power, realism and emotional impact.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 25, 2013 12:40 PM PDT


The Double
The Double
DVD
Price: $3.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Russians Are Coming!, December 20, 2012
This review is from: The Double (Amazon Instant Video)
Spy vs. Spy thriller about Russian spies and assassins infiltrating the US. If there were not enough crime elements to worry about for the average American (street gangs, Mexican drug cartels, inner-city crime wave, serial murderers, the Mafia, deranged mass killers), now we have to worry about Russian Assassins!

The assassin in particular is a ghostly guy formerly working for the KGB, code-named Cassius. Cassius put together a team of Russian assassins and controlled them from afar, back in the day (the Cold War). Then he dissapeared for 20 years. Richard Gere plays retired CIA operative Paul Shepherdson, who looked for Cassius and tried to kill his team of assassins in the '80s, and is now called out of retirement. Topher Grace plays Ben Geary, a young nerdy FBI agaent with a wife and young family, who teams up with Gere to solve a Cassius-like murder of a US Senator. Has the fiend Cassius resurfaced in the US? You see, Cassius has a nearly invincible knack to kill people with his "wire around the neck" technique: very gruesome. So when the Senator gets knocked off in similar manner, the CIA gives Topher and Gere the task of tracking Cassius down. Then the dynamic duo get to bang heads with one Russian thug after another.

The plot proceeds in a reasonable manner, until there are lots of twists, a sudden escalation of violence, and you don't know who is the good guy and who is the bad guy (hence the title). There's a big twist at the movie's end (I won't tell it to you).

Does this film, plot, premise and actors work for me? Meh .... The premise of tons of scary Russian assassins infiltrating the US seems to me to be pushing credulity. The premise of Cassius' invincibility and his method of killing also leaves me skeptical. But OK, even if I accept the premise, then I have some difficulty with fully accepting the turns & twists of the plot, especially Gere's character. It's not that it's a bad plot, it just doesn't totally ring true for me. Finally, I like Gere as an actor usually, but I just don't quite feel he measures up in action & dynamism for the role he's playing. A credible job, yes, but another "Meh" feeling for the actors. Which leads to a workmanlike "3" rating for this movie, worth the $2 to rent but that's about it. Also, kids shouldn't watch it because of the gruesomeness of the wire murders.


Argo
Argo
DVD ~ Kyle Chandler
Offered by Phase 3, LLC
Price: $17.95
20 used & new from $1.26

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tense, tense, tense realism!, December 2, 2012
This review is from: Argo (DVD)
First of all I give it 4.5 stars. Full Disclosure: I like spy movies, I like realistic and historical movies, I'm tired of silly fantasy flicks and I want more movies like this one! In my opinion the essence of a spy movie is the ability of the director to get the viewer engaged and empathetic with the characters, and then feel the tension as the possibility of getting caught and punished (imprisoned for life? Hanged? Tortured?) is always hovering over everything. This movie accomplishes that! It's based on real history, so the story has that extra edge of truth to ground the plot.

Ben Affleck plays a very charismatic yet realistic member of the CIA, an "Exfil" specialist, who is trying to exfiltrate 6 Americans who escaped from the doomed American embassy in Iran and are hiding out in the house of a Canadian ambassador. I really like Affleck's no-BS performance. (I think that he's maturing as an actor and, like Dicaprio and Tom Cruise, is getting very good at playing more serious and realistic roles these days.)

Affleck's character (Tony Mendez) comes up with a cockamanie idea to gin up a fake movie production based upon a real script ("Argo", a cheesy sci-fi film), get some publicity for it from his Hollywood co-conspirators, and go over to Iran as a Canadian film producer. His idea is to hoodwink the totalitarian Iranian government apparatus that 6 Canadian members of his film crew are on-site with him to scout the film, and then they'll just return to Canada by air. Audacious, crazy, full of weaknesses, but as the dialogue says, "It's the best Bad Idea that we have." Mendez's Hollywood willing co-conspirators (played delightfully by John Goodman and Alan Arkin) are willing to go along 100% with the ruse, to make it seem as though Argo is legit. That's the fun part of the film.

It's when you are "in" Iran that the film really hits home. It makes you really think that you are there. The initial scenes of the American embassy getting over-run and the 6 people escaping is gripping. The scenes of terror in the post-Shah Islamic Republic of Iran effectively convey the chaos, hatred, mob dynamics and fear of a fanatical, America-hating foreign country under Jihadish revolution. But the movie really kicks into gear when Mendez goes there and actually starts implementing his plan. The tension kicks up a notch when the 6 escapees realize that they have to do this, kicks up another notch when they start executing their plan, and kicks waaaay up as they are actually trying to get out! You understand all the time that there is no guarantee of success (and that the odds of escaping are actually against them).

I really like the ride that this movie gives. Kudos to Affleck for directing it and in his portrayal of a true American hero, Tony Mendez of the CIA!


The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture
The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture
by David Mamet
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.17
67 used & new from $1.01

6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Insightful Look Inside the Mind of a Liberal Apostate, November 22, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
And what a good mind it is! Literate, analytical and incisive, Mr. Mamet has, seemingly, rejected Liberalism and switched to being conservative mostly on his own, having grown up in politically Liberal environments most of his life (Chicago Jewish upbringing as a child, playwright & Hollywood screenwriter for 40 years). In the acknowledgements of The Secret Knowledge, he writes: "I had never knowingly talked with nor read the works of a Conservative before moving to Los Angeles, some eight years ago." So, after feeling for years that something was wrong with Liberalism, and finally meeting some conservatives, as well as reading Hayek and Friedman and Sowell and other conservative economists, Mr. Mamet worked out his own views. And these views are such that most conservatives will find a kindred spirit here. He's original, to be sure, as he takes a fresh look at why some conservative principles have worked for thousands of years (like marriage and the free market), and why we shouldn't allow Liberals to do reckless experimentation with their wacky ideas to destroy these principles.

I think that Mamet's chief reason for writing this book are two-fold: (1) He's aghast at what the Left (which he saw emerge in the 60's and was indeed one of them) has done to American culture, a culture that he has grown to treasure. This is summed up by his statement "The Left, in suspending reason and accountability, is ravaging our beautiful culture." (2) He is aghast that the American Left is so anti-Israel in such a knee-jerk fashion. These two themes run throughout Mamet's interesting collection of 39 short essays.

Mr. Mamet is not your average conservative writer. Read his book with a good dictionary at your side, as he has a commanding vocabulary. (When was the last time you used the word "inchoate" in a sentence? "Malversation?" "doyenne?"). His skill comes from his incisiveness and writing ability, plus his unique position as an inside observer of Liberalism in the Movie/Theater world. He also seems to have a great family (his short reflections of conversations with his 10 year-old son are precious), and, having successfully worked with thousands of people on plays and movies over the years, he has first-hand experience at carrying on life and his job without Government intervention. Mr. Mamet obviously does not like Big Government and he gives the reader much material on why Big Government is a corrupting influence on any society. He also heavily criticizes the Liberal University environment, particularly Liberal Arts programs, a beast that he has jousted with from within. He is withering in his virtual contempt for the graduate student in the Liberal Arts. He rightly sees that such a person is not being trained to do anything useful once they graduate.

I find in reading "The Secret Knowledge" that I like Mr. Mamet's observations and his thought processes. and I find myself cheering when he wades into some subjects without fear. For example, he has no hesitancy in denouncing the foolishness and destructiveness of Affirmative Action, busing, etc. (He says: "How can one support racial preferences and set-asides, when they run contrary to the evidence of the results of all race- or genetic-based programs in history -- their existence an incipient invitation to murder?") He castigates such programs as obvious Liberal experiments that have failed.

However, he definitely is circumspect in his criticism of Obama. Perhaps Mamet is careful in criticizing Obama because, well, he lives in Los Angeles (which he has called "a company town") and works in Hollywood. But he does put out one very funny criticism of Obama: when Obama said he was a White Sox fan, but couldn't identify a single player he liked and mis-pronounced the Sox's stadium name! Mamet is a lifelong Chicagoan so that gaffe didn't get past him, although the Main-Stream-Pro-OB-Media did their best to cover it up!

In short, I like "The Secret Knowledge". I like having an insight into David Mamet's mind, straight from the source. I like it that he is an articulate advocate against Liberalism, and for reducing big governmental controls and bureaucracy. I give him 4 stars on his first (and hopefully not his last) political book.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 19, 2013 7:25 PM PST


Mugged: Racial Demagoguery from the Seventies to Obama
Mugged: Racial Demagoguery from the Seventies to Obama
by Ann Coulter
Edition: Hardcover
102 used & new from $0.01

14 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ann Deserves a Prize from Eric Holder, October 14, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Eric Holder infamously said that we "are a nation of cowards" when it comes to discussing race in America. OK, Holder, therefore, if someone comes out and intelligently discusses race, racism, and racial manipulation by liberals, then surely you will give her the "Eric Holder Medal of Bravery" ??? I guess that Mr. Holder, a good friend of Al Sharpton, will probably pass on that one. But Ann deserves one. I am tempted to give her 5 stars on her witty and incisive book; to me it's more like 4.5 stars.

I urge everyone to read Coulter's "Mugged" along with several other books that were written in response to Mr. Holder's provocative throwdown: "White Girl Bleed A Lot," by Colin Flaherty, which documents black riots and racist violence in the last few years, and "No Matter What...They'll Call This Book Racist" by Harry Stein, who likewise intelligently discusses race "relations" with a clear and brave eye towards the Truth, as well as "Black Rednecks, White Liberals" by black economist Thomas Sowell.

ALL of these writers are brave. They all could be blacklisted by the McCarthyist Liberal Media, and for the crime of intelligently discussing the myths surrounding race in America, they could be likewise smeared as racist. Coulter is very good at skewering this kind of nonsense. She is devastating in her expose of accusations of white-on-black violence that turned out to be hoaxes. Seems as though the liberals, when it comes to race, can be led around by the nose so very, very easily! The liberal political, educational and media institutions are almost totally dysfunctional when confronted with racial realities, when an honest and truthful discussion of race in America is needed. Her chapter on racial hoaxes in the 80's is so amazing, because you've never heard of these things in the Liberal Media Machine! Her two chapters on the obscene OJ trial and the LA Riots of 1992 are likewise spot on and jaw-dropping.

Coulter also uncovers another great truth: that the great, wonderful Democrat Party was the party of Southern Segregationists just as recently as 1968 (with a former KKK'er as Senator, Robert Byrd), while Republicans did the most for integration. Hmmmm, bet you didn't know that! It seems as though some revisionist history has been taught in our liberally-biased schools. She also gives a hard-hitting rebuke to the "Republican Southern Strategy" myth.

Finally, Coulter correctly paints Obama as a racial demagogue, for his response to the Henry Gates incident and the Trayvon Martin shooting. He definitely deserves this moniker. (Obama infamously said "If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon." Talk about a smooth demagogue!) She neglects to note, however, his despicable support of the "Jena 6", a group of 6 teenage black thugs in Louisiana who beat a white teenager unconscious. The disgusting Al Sharpton and other black demagogues formed huge marches in support of the criminals. Then Barack the Nobel Peace Winner weighed in (before he was President): saying that the 6 black thugs were just "boys" who simply "got in a schoolyard fight." (Since when is a 6-on-1 beating, where the victim is unconscious on the ground and being stomped, a fight??) Even Ann wouldn't go there in castigating Obama for his demagogic response to this incident, although he deserved special condemnation for it.

One of Ann's wittiest and most insightful sections is Obama's Pandering Formula (which he used to win the election). It might give the reader some insight as to why only 33% white males voted for Obama:

"His sole appeal to white men (in 2008 as well as 2012) was to offer not to call them racists if they voted for him....

Obama's Pandering Calculation went like this:
* Women would get abortion and welfare;
* Latinos would get amnesty and welfare;
* Blacks would get a black president and welfare;
* Environmentalists would get no drilling, no Keystone Pipeline, no industrial advancement, and welfare;
* LGBT Americans would get gay marriage and tax breaks; and
* Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders would get affirmative action and welfare.

White men got the possibility of not being called racists...."

SARCASTIC and TRUE! Sometimes it takes Coulter to speak the Truth boldly.

The issue of Racial Manipulation is a large one, and Coulter is admirable in what topics she does bring out, with quite a lot of satirical skill and wit. Read this book along with others listed above and you will get a true feeling for the frightening racial issues that face our country today, and the despicable and dysfunctional way that the Liberal Media Machine propagandizes race. And hopefully, you won't be intimidated by that favorite of all Liberal propaganda tactics: calling you a racist, if you dare to look at these issues with truth and honesty. Even the liberal critics on this website try to use that tactic!


Demonic: How the Liberal Mob Is Endangering America
Demonic: How the Liberal Mob Is Endangering America
by Ann Coulter
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.57
101 used & new from $0.01

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Premise; Inconsistent Execution, October 2, 2012
I am generally a fan of Ann Coulter. This book has a brilliant premise, basically that the Democratic Party is the descendent of the French Revolution, but the Republican Party is the descendent of the American Revolution. Hence, since the French Revolution was a statist, socialist and mob-driven violent movement, then the Democrats are basically the same -- leaning towards statism, socialism, mob dynamics, and violence.

In short, I don't think that she delivers what she promises in the premise. I think that she is way too obsessed with VIRTUAL MOBS (i.e. led by the Democrat/Liberal Media complex), and doesn't give enough examples of ACTUAL MOBS that are politically motivated (i.e. the Wisconsin Union mobs, mob violence in New Orleans against Republicans, the intimidation tactics of the New Black Panther Party, the mobs in Jena, LA, mobs incited by Al Sharpton etc). This is where this book dissapoints me. Sorry, conservatives & Coulter lovers.

Ann skillfully makes the case that (a) the F.R. was a very bad event, totally different than the A.R.; and (b) the F.R. was the historical forerunner to statist nightmarish political movements like communism. Then, up comes the subject of the modern Democrat party. Democrat ties to the F.R. and "progressive" statist/socialist philosopy is well documented in Goldberg's excellent "Liberal Fascism." Coulter then tries to connect the Demos to these philosophies and also to a rampant mob mentality (which statist/socialist thought often degenerates into). I think that she makes many good points, but doesn't convince me. Many Liberals are part of the herd to be sure, but they are not violence-oriented. Are the Swedes, definitely socialist-leaning, violence-prone? I don't think so. Many liberals are basically wimps who have a naive and utopian view of society, and are mentally Constitution-deprived (I think they never got taught the Constitution in school). But Violent? Hmm.

There are other types of Liberals who are definitely violent and very mob-like ... e.g. see the way that Al Sharpton riled up mobs in Harlem against Jewish shopkeepers. But Al the Demagogue only gets about 2 pages of Coulter's book, waaay to little. The Wisconsin Union mobs against Scott Walker get virtually nothing. (Granted, Demonic came out in 2011, but she should've postponed its publication to get the Wisconsin events in there!) She focusses very, very strongly upon the virtual mob of the Liberal Media, which is obnoxious to be sure, deceitful, lying and manipulative (see Bernie Goldberg's books), but honestly, it's usually not violent! I guess that Ann has gotten so much crap from the Liberal Media that she has a personal bone to pick with them.

Coulter also goes out on a narrow limb with her typical over-the-top statements: a)She tarnishes Jefferson as the Founder of the Democrat party. Come on! b) She says that all mobs are anti-religious, even the Islamic mobs. Really? Islamic mobs are the worst type of mobs, and they seem extremely "religion"-motivated to me. They are virulent because they are based upon a flawed and extremely authoritarian religion that seems to be dominated by ultra-hard-core Islamists. So how could Coulter say that Islamic mobs deny religion? She makes a statement that she can't back up there. c) She also links Democrats to the Irish anti-draft riots in New York during the Civil War. Again, that's kind of a stretch, going back 160 years. I want to see some more careful scholarship that backs up these kinds of provocative statements.

But my main beef is in her examples of mobs, what she puts in as typical Democrat mobs and what she leaves out. For example she discusses the Central Park "wilding" gang-rape of the 80's, a horrific gang crime, and definitely a demonic mob. BUT..... was it linked to politics? (No); the Democrat Party? The crime, no, it was a bunch of vicious teenage thugs. How does she link this to her premise (Democrats are ideological descendents of the F.R.)? She doesn't, bascially. So how does it add to her premise? She DOES mention the DESPICABLE demagogue Al Sharpton and his role in supporting the rapist Central Park barbarians. But there's not enough of discussing Sharpton, and too much on the media, in this book.

Some other incidents that she could've/should've put in her book, but sadly, didn't: (1) the Youtube video from 2008 of McCain supporters marching through Manhattan, and getting booed at and given the finger by dozens of nasty white liberal; (2) the Leftist mob attacks by shaggy-haired anarchists on a Republican fundraiser in New Orleans in 2009, in which a girl's leg was broken and her boyfriend's nose broken because they were accused of wearing a Palin button; (3) The entire Wisconsin Union Demonstrations; (4) Sharpton's despicable march on Jena, LA, in which a huge mob of black Democrats supported 6 black criminals who beat a white teen into a coma and stomped his head (and which Obama also sickenly supported in his Presidential campaign); (5) Democrat Union organizers throwing eggs at a bus driving to a Tea-party rally in Nevada in 2009; (6) A video of a mob of angry homosexual men in California after Prop 8 passed, surrounding a trembling older woman holding a cross, getting in her face, yelling at her, ripping the cross out of her hands; etc, etc, etc. Why is there not more documentation of ACTUAL Liberal mob violence rather than Liberal MEDIA virtual mob violence?

Finally, there's the packaging: the title and back cover. Mobs are DEMONIC, yes, but Democrats aren't necessarily demonic. She broad-brush paints them as being equal in entirety, to the mob. Yes, the hard-core Left is an evil phenomenon in my opinion-- but she just puts out this provocative title without really backing it up. (Ann was never one to be shy of saying controversial things, granted.) Is the Media, her target throughout 90% of the book, DEMONIC? Manipulative, yes, lying, yes, but DEMONIC? It's over the top. And then there's the cheesecake pic of her on the back .... is this a serious political book? Why shoot her looking like she's going on the cover of Maxim? Yeah, nice skin-tight, white dress showing lots of tanned legs, but it just rubs me the wrong way for a supposedly serious book about a serious topic.

OK, 3 stars only for Demonic, but that still won't prevent me from reading her next book.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 3, 2012 8:36 AM PDT


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