Saturday, July 7, 2018

Hit comedy of the summer?

I love comedies.  I wish the studios would make more of them.  I'll be seeing ANT MAN & THE WASP in part because it's comedy (also because Michelle Pfeiffer's in it, also because the original has aged well and I still watch it).

This summer, a number of comedies have been released.  TAG and UNCLE DREW are only two of the most recent.  Others include LIFE OF THE PARTY, OVERBOARD and I FEEL PRETTY.

TAG and UNCLE DREW are both going to be lucky to make $40 million.  Since they don't have real star power and they're not special effects driven, they had lower budgets and so that's fine.

LIFE OF THE PARTY starred Melissa McCarthy.  It grossed $52 million and wasn't heavily promoted compared to the one we'll note next.  It's probably made back its budget (including promotion).  I FEEL PRETTY was promoted like crazy.  It grossed $48 million.  It's probably not making back its budget (including promotion) until after DVD and streaming.  Melissa's film was a bad idea that was well exectued.  It's funny.  But most teens don't want to see Mommy goes to college with them (the storyline).  Even BACK TO SCHOOL (the classic in the genre of parents going to college with their kids) wasn't huge at the box office.  I FEEL PRETTY was Amy Schumer in a romantic comedy.  The film was so-so but it even opened soft.  Why?  Because Amy's loud mouth has ticked off everyone.  Somehow she thought being overweight made her a political genius when, in reality, it didn't even make her funny.  Her negatives are so high and her box office crashing with each film, I wouldn't be surprised if I FEEL PRETTY was her last lead in a film.  She might be able to be part of an ensemble at this point but I wouldn't expect much more.

OVERBOARD was another comedy and it's made $50 million.  I'd say that's really good because the film stars Anna Farris (who is hilarious) -- an actress who didn't get a huge pay day the way Amy Schumer did.  (8 to 10 million is supposed to be what Amy got for I FEEL PRETTY.)

SORRY TO BOTHER YOU is hilarious.  I don't think it's going to find an audience until home video.  But it is hilarious and Danny Glover and Armie Hammer and especially Terry Crews are great in it.  If you have a chance to see it, I recommend you do.  Boots Riley deserves an Academy Award nomination for direction.  Most likely, he'll get a nomination for screenplay -- which he deserves but that tends to be the consolation prize for too many directors.

So what's the hit comedy of the summer?

BOOK CLUB.  The Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton, Candice Bergen and Mary Steenburgen comedy will have grossed $67 million by the end of this weekend.

That's amazing when you consider that not many were expecting it to even do well.  That's amazing when you grasp that Paramount paid ten million for it.

It's a funny film that's had staying power.  And it's currently the comedy hit of the summer.

Going out with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Friday, July 6, 2018.  Violence continues in Iraq as it gets harder and harder to pretend the Islamic State was ever defeated.  In addition, triple digits temperatures in Iraq as the drought gets worse.

The violence never ends in Iraq.  XINHUA reports:

Islamic State (IS) militants executed seven people in Iraq's eastern province of Diyala after kidnapping them, a provincial police source said on Friday.
The incident took place late on Thursday night when IS militants set up a fake checkpoint on the main road between Baghdad and the provincial capital Baquba, some 65 km northeast of Baghdad, and kidnapped seven passengers from a minibus, Major Alaa al-Saadi told Xinhua.

Hayder al-Abadi based his re-election as prime minister on the claim that he had vanquished the Islamic State.  Are you starting to get why he came in third?

The US media could -- and did -- portray ISIS as defeated.  It even tricked many news consumers; however, those living in Iraq were harder to fool.

Now AFP reports on (yet another) major operation to combat ISIS.

Mustafa Saadoun (AL-MONITOR) reports:

Islamic State affiliates have increased their activity in Kirkuk province in northern Iraq and are said to be focused on attacking civilians and government institutions. Authorities believe IS seeks to destabilize security and re-establish itself after being defeated by Iraqi security and international coalition forces.
The group has been operating for months on Kirkuk's outskirts but has stepped up its efforts recently, kidnapping and killing civilians and carrying out random attacks. On June 27, an IS-affiliated group of five used light weapons to attack some villages in the Daqouk district in southern Kirkuk, killing one civilian and wounding others. Also on June 27, five people from the provinces of Anbar and Karbala who were kidnapped while working with security forces in Kirkuk were found executed on the Kirkuk-Baghdad road.


In other violence, ALSUMARIA reports 1 corpse was found dumped north of Baghdad -- the corpse was handcuffed and had been shot in the head, a roadside bombing near Baji left two people injured, a sticky bombing outside Baghdad left two people injured, a bombing to the west of Baghdad left one Iraqi soldier and one civilian injured, and a Taji bombing set a police station on fire. Dropping back to Thursday's violence, Margaret Griffis (ANTIWAR.COM) notes, "At least 25 people were killed, and eight were wounded in recent violence, while six bodies were recovered in Mosul."

As the war continues, critiques of it become more apparent.

: The is in its influence. Its , despite absurd amounts of money, sophisticated technology & well-trained officials & troops, has delivered conclusive in , , , , , ->

Replying to 
I know this is a critique from hindsight but your plan to break iraq into three pieces aka Biden plan would have caused more violence. The sectarianism was exacerbated by the US imposed gov structure and the butcher colonel James steele. The US doesn't want iraq to be stable

Replying to   and
The US is ostensibly a secular gov't. The invasion of Iraq killed more and destroyed more lives than ISIS could dream to. Yet our analysis doesn't dare condemn or blame them. That sorta stuff is why we say "Religion causes wars" but are blind to much much worse secular violence.

Turning again to the topic of the drought in Iraq, today, the temperature in Basra right now is 122 degrees Fahrenheit.

Below is a video from last month that UNESCO put on Iraq's water issues.

Iraq suffering severe drought, upstream states hoarding water [Photos]

  1. ICYMI: Big read on water, dam-building and drought in Turkey and Iraq. By and me in the

Catastrophic Drought Threatens Iraq as Major Dams in Surrounding Countries Cut off Water to Its Great Rivers

Drought in Iraq, photos

"As Iraq begins to recover from 40 years of wars and emergences, its existence is being threatened by the rapidly falling water levels in the two great rivers on which its people depend."

bans farming summer crops as water crisis grows dire.

As we've noted repeatedly, this drought was not unexpected and politicians have had years to address it.  They have done nothing.   Histyar Qader and Awara Hamid (NIQASH) report on one failed attempt to address the issue:

The nature of those problems is a little more difficult to trace back. Money was not the issue apparently. In 2005, as the Iraqi Kurdish authorities resumed contact with the Iraqi government, Baghdad promised to put US$5 billion into the dam’s completion.
“During the al-Maliki government, we followed up on the amount of money for the project and we note that the Iraqi ministry of water resources did discuss the issue with authorities from the Kurdish region,” says Mahmoud Raza, an MP in Baghdad. “The plan for the dam changed several times. But the Kurdish authorities wouldn’t agree to it being built.”  
Apparently the problem was the level of water in the dam and its size. There was concern about how much water the dam would collect and whether this would block the flow of water into the rest of Iraq.

Alternative plans were suggested by the Kurdish authorities but these were not viable, Zafer Abdullah, an adviser to Iraq's ministry of water resources, told NIQASH. “Other plans involved reducing the water level in the dam and the size of the reservoir,” he said. “At that time, the Kurdish presidency was against the dam being constructed and some said there were political reasons behind this.”
“It was the Kurdish leadership who would not accept the construction of the dam, despite the fact that the Iraqi government gave them three alternative designs for the project,” Mohammed, head of the regional department for dams in Iraqi Kurdistan, confirms.
Over the course of two weeks researching this story, NIQASH tried to contact the Kurdish government’s spokesperson, Safeen Dizayee, several times to ask why but had no response.

A large part of the “political” reason behind the lack of progress on the Bekhme dam also has to do with the fact that around 54 villages in the area would be submerged, says Karwan Karim Khan, mayor of Khalifan, where the Bekhme dam would be located.

The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley and PACIFICA EVENING NEWS -- updated:

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