Saturday, February 4, 2017

THE COMEDIAN leaves an audience yawning

In what world do you hire Taylor Hackford to direct a comedy?

Hackford's not a "hack."

He's a hugely underrated director.

AN OFFICER & A GENTLEMAN, for example, it was one the finest romantic films ever made (Richard Gere and Debra Winger star).  AGAINST ALL ODDS has held up very well and is a strong suspense film.  THE IDOL MAKER is woefully underseen but I've never met a real movie fan who's seen the film and not loved it (myself included).

RAY is all Hackford.  Jamie Foxx is not an actor as one movie after another is proving (SLEEPLESS is only the latest example of something was factually evident back when Foxx did MIAMI VICE).

Without Hackford at the helm shaping the film (and Jamie's overrated performance), it would all fall apart.

I don't know what to make of THE DEVIL'S ADVOCATE but DOLORES CLAIBORNE remains a gem.

With all of that said, why would you go to Hackford with a comedy?

That said, I doubt Mel Brooks in his prime could have made much out of THE COMEDIANS.

Not with this cast.

Ava and C.I. have a thing where they talk about actors who 'act into their hand.'

And Robert De Niro certainly falls into that category.

Even worse for the film, so does Leslie Mann.

Do you remember that VANITY FAIR cover where she posed as Goldie Hawn?

It was supposed to be Goldie from LAUGH IN.

Instead of being a dramatic statement, it was a sheepish embarrassment.

You see that inability to step out center stage in her commercial for the body lotion on TV.

It's supposed to be cute and endearing.

Instead, it just makes her come off like a little nothing.


And why you'd cast someone like that in the second lead is an unknown.

De Niro can sometimes come across but not here.

And Mann brings nothing as well.

In very small parts, Danny DeVito and Cloris Leachman deliver.

If they'd been made the leads, it might have worked.

I don't know about Patti LuPone.

Can she act on film?

I know she's a Broadway wiz and that she can sign.

I'm just not sure if she can act on film -- in terms of shaping a character.

I do know she holds your interest and she has a powerful force that comes through the screen.

She connects with the audience.

And THE COMEDIANS needs every second of her it has -- in fact, it needs a lot more of her.

If you are a fan of Patti LuPone or a fan of Cloris Leachman or Danny DeVito and go in knowing their screen time is not lead time, you will get your money's worth.

But if you're going in expecting a funny movie, you're going to feel ripped off.

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

Friday, February 3, 2017.  Chaos and violence continue, it all continues. Day after day.

US House Rep Seth Moulton Tweets:

“We thought we were partners with our American friends, and now we realize that we’re just considered terrorists."

They're not considered to be terrorists.

But they should be.

The Iraqi forces followed orders from Nouri al-Maliki on the day after the US military did their drawdown.  What were those orders?

Tanks encircling the homes of Sunni leaders.

They followed orders in the dawn raid on a Sunni member of Parliament's home that left his brother dead.

These are the reasons that the US government -- among the reasons -- is in violation of the law -- domestic and international -- for supplying Iraq with weapons and money.

That's before we get to the fact that current Prime Minister Hayder al-Abadi brought the Shi'ite militias into the Iraqi forces despite their past history of abuse and the current history as well.

What does the general think is happening to Sunni boys and young men fleeing Mosul?

They're being rounded up by the militias.

They're disappearing.

That means torture or death.

I don't think US President Donald Trump's  90 day moratorium on accepting some Iraqis equals what's being done to the Sunnis right now in Iraq in a supposed 'liberation' effort.


The Trump administration amended its visa ban to allow emigration by the families of Iraqi interpreters

And by the way, we noted former primer minister (and forever thug) Nouri al-Maliki and current prime minister Hayder al-Abadi because they ran and run the country.

In a poor attempt at humor, Donald Fagin posts, at THE HUFFINGTON POST, a fictional commentary that mistakes the ceremonial post of president of Iraq with that of president of the United States.  I guess beating your wife doesn't allow you much time for an education or a fact check.

Domestic abuse is homegrown terrorism and should be treated as such.

Sadly, more and more THE HUFFINGTON POST sees itself as community service for various offenders.

To say it's worse to revoke a visa than bomb Muslims is ridiculous. They hate Trump that's why

Unbelievable how far Obama's cheerleaders will go to defend his every action. Get over it, hypocrites. Your man is a war criminal.

It's a pity that Obama's "regime change" wars did not move liberals to protest the same way Trump's refugee ban did.

Back in August of 2014, the US government began bombing Iraq daily.

The bombings continue.

Yesterday, the US Defense Dept announced:

Strikes in Iraq
Bomber, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft and rocket artillery conducted five strikes in 19 engagements in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

-- Near Kisik, a strike engaged an ISIL staging area.

 Near Mosul, four strikes engaged two ISIL tactical units and an ISIL staging area; destroyed three fighting positions, two vehicles, two vehicle bomb factories, a tunnel entrance, a supply cache and a weapons cache; and damaged a supply route.

Task force officials define a strike as one or more kinetic events that occur in roughly the same geographic location to produce a single, sometimes cumulative, effect. Therefore, officials explained, a single aircraft delivering a single weapon against a lone ISIL vehicle is one strike, but so is multiple aircraft delivering dozens of weapons against buildings, vehicles and weapon systems in a compound, for example, having the cumulative effect of making those targets harder or impossible for ISIL to use. Accordingly, officials said, they do not report the number or type of aircraft employed in a strike, the number of munitions dropped in each strike, or the number of individual munition impact points against a target. Ground-based artillery fired in counterfire or in fire support to maneuver roles is not classified as a strike.

On these daily bombings, REUTERS reports, "Eleven civilians were killed in four separate air strikes by the U.S.-led coalition fighting Islamic State in Iraq and Syria between Oct. 25 and Dec. 9, the U.S. military said on Thursday."

In Basra today, ALSUMARIA reports, hundreds of Iraqis turned out to protest in the dispute over a waterway between Iraq and neighboring Kuwait.

Such disputes are not umcommon for neighboring countries.

And Iraq shares borders with Syria, Jordan, Turkey, Iran, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

On Iran . . .

Iran is rapidly taking over more and more of Iraq even after the U.S. has squandered three trillion dollars there. Obvious long ago!

Hayder al-Abadi has responded that Iran is not in control of Iraq.

Others would beg to differ, many would differ over what control means.

Certainly, Iran has seized land from the border it shares with Iraq.  That has caused tensions in Iraq.

Patrick Cockburn of THE INDEPENDENT has long insisted that Iran chose the 2010 prime minister of Iraq (no, it was the US government and the Iranian government together).

Iranian militias run freely in Iraq.

THE NEW YORK TIMES has reported on increased control of Iraq by Iran for over ten years now in one one report after another.

For over ten years now, the US government has decried Iran's influence in Iraq.

(And we've noted that as a bordering neighbor, of course Iran will have some impact in Iraq.)

In the last year, Nouri al-Maliki has made repeated visits to Iran in what Iraqi political observers see as his attempt to be renamed prime minister.

Former Iraqi president Jalal Talabani was kept in office for a year after the stroke, despite being unable to walk or speak, due to his wife Hero's efforts with the government of Iran.

And Abdulrahman al-Rashed (AL-ARABYIA) argues in a new column:

The new US President Donald Trump criticized his predecessor Barack Obama several times. He said that Obama has left Iraq an easy target for the Iranians, squandering $3 trillion efforts deployed by the US to build an allied Iraq.
The Iranian authorities sent Trump indirect threatening messages instead of reassuring ones. They ordered one of their many militias in Iraq, al-Nujaba movement, to fire missiles in order to show its strength. Al-Nujaba is one of the militias that can target neighboring countries and is similar to the Yemeni Houthis that are also used by Iran to bomb Saudi Arabia with missiles financed by them.
Iran’s threat in Iraq is not just for the neighboring Gulf countries but rather a threat against Iraqis first and then against the surrounding countries.

Iran’s main objective is to seize Iraq, which is the second-richest country in the region, to finance its economic and military needs. During the past six years, Iran has converted Iraq into an Iranian military base, from which it wages its wars in Syria, and threatens Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Jordan.
The leadership of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards brags about not costing the Iranian treasury any money on foreign military activities in Syria and Iraq, because it depends on the Iraqi treasury that has become its financial portfolio and under the control of pro-Iranian groups after marginalizing the authorities of current Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.

Meanwhile, ALSUMARIA reports roads to Baghdad's Tahrir Square were cut off in an attempt to halt today's protest
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