Tuesday, December 31, 2019

2019 in films -- Ann and Stan

Ann & Stan: 2019 in movies.  While the superheroes dominated the box office, they really didn't do that great onscreen, they didn't deliver.  Yes, Robert Downey Jr. was awesome but are we really supposed to ignore that we don't get a real funeral or wake for Black Widow?  Or that it's the driver that gets the strong scene with Tony's daughter and not Gwyneth Paltrow who is Tony's widow and the child's mother.  As long as you don't think about what MARVEL puts on the screen, it's easy to praise those movies, isn't it?  Just keep pretending that Scarlet Witch isn't that powerful and is knocked out easily time after time, right?

"Oh," some readers groan, "they're Martin Scorsese devotees!"

We do like his films -- GOODFELLAS is incredible -- but we weren't impressed with THE IRISHMAN which we found lifeless, plodding and oh,so out of touch.

We are tired of bad films that critics applaud.  We are tired of good films being attacked.

If we had more time -- we spent five hours debating out top ten -- we'd explore one development.  Horror films continue to be one of the few film types that can hold their own against the superhero flicks.  And we are seeing more and more diversity and inclusion and rule breaking of the format in this genre than in any other one.  READY OR NOT is not on our top ten.  If it was a top eleven, it would be.  If it were a top 15, MA would be on the list.  Horror has delivered throughout 2019.

Here's our list and we hope there's something on the list for you.

1) US.

Genre bending, genre breaking, US is still shocking and continues to grab you.  We've watched it many times and it really stands up.  Jordan Peele's follow up to GET OUT shows a steadier hand and a continued gift.  Lupita Nyong'o leads the amazing cast.  


Lorene Scafaria.  She's directed and written a great movie.  We went back and forth over whether it was the second best or the best and we think US beats it by a very thin margin.  In a so-so year for films, these two were gifts, wonderful gifts, for movie lovers.  It was great to see Julia Stiles in a solid movie again, Jennifer Lopez delivered a career best performance, Constance Wu was wonderful and who knew Cardi B could deliver as an actress?  Amazing film.  If you feel it should have been the number one choice, we're not going to disagree with you.  It was a very hard choice when we had to rank all the films but especially to rank numbers one and two.


Taron Egerton was amazing as Elton John.  This film is available for streaming right now if you missed it in the theaters.  It really is something and director Dexter Fletcher deserves high praise for the way he keeps everything moving.  This is a real musical and every moment is magic.  Fletcher doesn't go heavy handed once.


Don't like foreign films?  Then you haven't seen Bong Joon-ho's PARASITE.  If you do see it, rave over it to friends, absolutely, but do not give out any spoilers.


If we can be adults, a mystery film can work.  That means keep our mouths shut about who did it in a who done it.  This year, we've been able to be adults and that's a good thing because Rian Johnson's film is really something and the cast -- especially Toni Collette, Daniel Craig, Lakeith Stanfield and Chris Evans -- is top notch.


Craig Brewer's film is the first one for a streaming service that we've felt deserved to be on the list (the film had a limited release but was really a NETFLIX film).  It's not that we haven't seen other films on NETFLIX or on AMAZON either during or after their token film theater release.  It's just we're not impressed.  DOLEMITE IS MY NAME impressed us.  It was a real film. And Eddie Murphy gave a real performance.  The film zips along and is full of life and energy (two things we found absent from THE IRISHMAN -- in case you're wondering).


This film runs on the chemistry and energy of Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson.  It's a comedy that's previously been made as BEDTIME STORY and then as DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS.  This was not the nonsense that was the GHOSTBUSTERS remake.  This was an actual film and you didn't have to say "well, they had good intentions" because it was an actual story and it was actually funny.  "Oh, Ann, Stan, the critics hated it!"  Oh, who gives a damn.  Whenever women do comedy, you get a lot of jerks saying "It's not funny!"  These jerks carved up Goldie Hawn in the eighties and nineties, they carved up Meg Ryan after they were done with Goldie.  No woman is ever going to please these pigs -- and these sexists critics are male and female -- they just don't like women.  This is a funny movie, a bust-a-gut funny movie.


 This is the third comedy film to make this top ten list.  It was a good year for comedy.  Gene Stupnitsky directed GOOD BOYS and it's funny throughout.  In fact, it's almost as funny as THE HUSTLE.  Pigs loved it but, of course, they did.  Women are the 'other' throughout this film and it's part of the joke.  What would have been total pig play had the leads been adults worked here because they were little boys.  Grasp a clue here, young boys will always get away with more than adult males.


Did you hear?  Clint Eastwood did a poor little reporter dirty?  See this drug addict who died because of her addiction, this tool of the government who smeared a man and destroyed his life, she had a line that she drew.  She wouldn't sleep with a source.  Or that's the claim anyway.  We think Clint made one mistake and that was in casting the role of the reporter.  Olivia Wilde is fine in the role but we think he should have cast Melanie Griffith.  We love Melanie but we're making this argument because we would have loved for her, as the reporter, to have delivered her big lines from BODY DOUBLE: " I do not do animal acts. I do not do S&M or any variations of that particular bent, no water sports either. I will not shave my p**sy, no fistf**king and absolutely no coming in my face. I get $2000 a day and I do not work without a contract."  Kathy Bates deserves an Oscar nomination for her performance.  The US press deserves a public spanking, bare assed, over their whining about the poor little reporter.


Melina Matsoukas' film directing debut is an announcement of the emergence of a major talent.  She's delivered the goods and then some with QUEEN & SLIM cannot wait to see what she follows up with.  But this is a benchmark film, one that raises the standards for film making.

Now here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Tuesday, December 31, 2019.  The US Embassy in Baghdad is stormed.  If you're not an adult, please don't join the conversation, we don't have time for the faux 'resistance' to try to turn this into another obsessive Donald Trump Twitter thread.

Well who didn't see this happening?  Basically the entire western press who makes a point to masturbate daily on the public's time when not pontificating about all things small and petty while ignoring reality.

The US Embassy in Baghdad has been stormed today.

What's going on?

Well since the press wouldn't tell you let's watch them scramble.

In the meantime, you can refer to this from Sunday and Monday:

  • Iraq snapshot
  • Joe hits bumpy waters on the campaign trail and th...

  • As we pointed out, attacking Kata'ib Hezbollah was attacking the Iraqi military.

    Last Friday, there was a rocket attack that killed 1 US contractor and left four US service members injured.  Now they were disappeared from the story, the four wounded.  Apparently, it was too 'messy' for the press.  The way Mark Bingham was disappeared from the 9/11 coverage when it was discovered he was gay.  Not saying the four were gay, just that they 'embarrassed' the press -- remember there's no war in Iraq, Barack ended.

    That lie is embraced by so many.

    On Sunday, the US government bombed Kata'ib Hezbollah reportedly killing at least 25 members.

    Kata'ib Hezbollah -- and all the militias -- were folded into the Iraqi military.  Nouri al-Maliki had wanted to do that.  Hayder al-Abadi formally did that.  Both were installed by the US government.  Now many of us were outraged that these thugs were being made a part of the Iraqi military.  Barack was president and he didn't opposed a damn thing so take that party to his house.

    No surprise, many in Iraq are outraged.  Yesterday afternoon came news that the prime minister of Iraq (that's a whole other story -- we'll get to it) was calling out the US government.

    Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi on Monday condemned U.S. air strikes on bases of Iranian-backed Iraqi militia, a move that could plunge Iraq further into the heart of a proxy conflict between the United States and Iran. 

    [. . . ]

    “The prime minister described the American attack on the Iraqi armed forces as an unacceptable vicious assault that will have dangerous consequences,” his office said.

    Merrit Kennedy (NPR) reported yesterday:

    "We stress that Iraq is an independent country, and its internal security takes priority, and serious attention, and will not be allowed to become a battlefield, or a route for launching attacks," Iraq's Foreign Ministry said in a statement about what it planned to tell the U.S. ambassador.
    [. . .]
    Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi's office said in a statement that he received a call from U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper shortly before the airstrikes and asked for them to be called off. Abdul-Mahdi decried the strikes as a unilateral act by the U.S.-led coalition that is considered a violation of Iraq's sovereignty.

    She doesn't note what other reports do, Mahdi has stated that as soon as he was informed, he attempted to contact Kata'ib Hezbollah to warn them.

    That's a key detail.

    It will have a huge impact, going forward, on US government interaction with Mahdi.

    A huge detail like that needs to be reported, not ignored.

    Falih Hassan and Ben Hubbard (NEW YORK TIMES) report:

    Thousands of protesters marched into Baghdad’s heavily guarded Green Zone on Tuesday after prayer services for the militia fighters killed in the American strikes. While few of them were armed, many were members of Kataib Hezbollah and other groups that are technically overseen by the Iraqi military. The militia is separate from the Hezbollah movement in Lebanon, although both groups are backed by Iran and oppose the United States.
    At the United States Embassy, protesters broke security cameras, covered the compound walls with anti-American graffiti and lit a guardhouse on fire. After breaking open a compound entrance, dozens of men entered and lit more fires inside while embassy security guards fired tear gas.
    The demonstrators did not break into the embassy buildings, but their ability to storm the most heavily guarded zone in Baghdad prompted speculation that they had received at least tacit permission from Iraqi security officials sympathetic to their demands.

    The report has already resulted in two responses on Twitter.

    Replying to 

    The militias  try to storm the US embassy in Baghdad, NOT "IRAQ PROTESTERS "
     4 minutes ago
    Replying to 

    These “protestors” do not represent Tahrir Square, they represent the PMF and some political parties, meanwhile the true protesters still in their positions and they’re worried about an attack from the same exact people who are attacking the US embassy.

    Kareem Khadder, Arwa Damon and Angela Dewan (CNN) report:

    The pro-Iranian demonstrators were mostly from Iraq's Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), a coalition of predominantly Shiite militias, and three leaders of powerful militia groups were also seen at the protest.

    55 minutes ago, President Donald Trump Tweeted:

    Iran killed an American contractor, wounding many. We strongly responded, and always will. Now Iran is orchestrating an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Iraq. They will be held fully responsible. In addition, we expect Iraq to use its forces to protect the Embassy, and so notified!

    So when you see liars and whores Tweeting something from five minutes ago, grasp that they are shameless liars and whores who hopes no one checks on them.

    While Iranian-backed Shiite militia  belonging to Hezbollah masquerading as "Iraqi protesters" are storming the largest US embassy in the world in Baghdad, Trump is tweeting about "sleepy Joe Biden" and his son Hunter.


    Lying whore.  Grasp it, remember it.

    The US embassy in Iraq was attacked by protesters, gunfire was heard and a guard tower was set on fire. Not sure who is in the embassy, supposedly some military.

    The first tweet by is about Joe Biden.

    Good to know what his priorities are.

    And good to know that you have no ethics and a difficult relationship with the truth.

    There is a whole swarm of liars who are bound and determined to lie.  Why?  Because this can't be about Iraq for even one moment.  The faux 'resistance' must live their lives through a Donald Trump prism.  They're obsessed and they are liars and whores who are destroying the county.  Imagine if they'd used that time to work on ending wars, on addressing climate change, on actually doing something.  Instead, like rabid dogs, they foam at the mouth and show the entire world that they will lie in their efforts to smear Donald Trump.

    I've known Donald for years and, honestly, I'm shocked that anyone has to work so hard to say bad things about him.  They really have to work hard and they have to lie.  Every time they lie and get exposed, it just shows how unethical they are.  It also allows the pro-Trump faction to point out that they were caught lying on this and then argue so they must be lying about something else.

    The US Embassy in Baghdad was attacked and they want to play political football with it.

    I seem to recall the press and a lot of the public attacking Mitt Romney for doing that with Benghazi.

    There's much to address in what is happening right now -- including should US forces still be on the ground in Iraq -- a much larger issue than Donald Trump.


    Important.. The Iraqi National Security Council headed by the PM Abd Mahdi considers the US bombing of the headquarters a violation of the Iraqi sovereignty, and this pushes the government to reconsider the relation with the led by the US.

    There's the fact that Mahdi is strutting around as prime minister again.  Supposedly, he was going to be in the background until replaced.  There's the anger over the attack on the Iraqi military -- that's what Sunday's bombing was -- which has many Iraqis outraged.

    Iraqis throwing stones at US Embassy.

    This comes after Iraqis have put up with US occupation, rape, murder and meddling for decades.

    Time the western imperialists leave.



    Kata’ib supporters wearing an |ian flag attempting to break down a CCTV Camera at the Embassy I’m ,



    "(Qasem) Soleimani is my leader." Outside the US Embassy in 's $GreenZone.

    The Iraqi people do not want to be controlled by the US government or by the Iranian government.  There is, for some, an anti-Iranian government aspect to the ongoing, months long protest.

    The strike on Sunday was not smart in a large number of ways.  I'd noted Condi Rice here and how every time it seemed Moqtada al-Sadr was on the ropes in the early years of the Iraq War, she'd make some stupid remark that elevated him instead of letting him hang himself.  Now Moqtada's one of the country's most popular leaders.  Thank Condi for that.

    And thank Donald Trump for blowing the moment where strong divisions were emerging between Iran and Iraq.

    There are real issues at stake here, including the future of Iraq.

    So if you think you're helping anyone by lying that Donald Trump hadn't Tweeted about the attack, you're not.

    The world can't afford you.  You may have the luxury of lying and indulging in sloth but the world is suffering and if you can't address that you really need to stop pretending you're part of a grown up conversation.

    There are real issues here and maybe the immature 'resistance' can't handle real issues?  Who know.  A Tweet from a guy who served in the US Navy exhibits outrage that Donald is saying Iraq must protect the Embassy.

    Any US Embassy has a small number of military support for protecting.  But it is always the host country's job to protect an embassy on their soil.  And what was the Iraqi government's response?  Did they send forces to attempt to disrupt the crowd attacking?  If not, why not?

    They may have sent some contingent of forces (they should have) but what they did needs to be known and discussed.

    BREAKING: Iraqi supporters of a Shiite militia have broken into the U.S. embassy compound in Baghdad after smashing a door and storming inside, prompting tear gas and sounds of gunfire. The attack on the compounds follows deadly U.S. airstrikes.

    Protesters set fire to guard tower of US embassy compound in Baghdad in unrest over recent US air strikes - reports

    Kataib Hezbollah protesters breaching the gates of the US embassy in Baghdad. They say they will stay till US troops leave. It’s the biggest US embassy in the world & supposedly secure but hard to see how diplomats can remain now


    These are real issues.

    The best video of the storming of US Embassy in Iraq is not coming from America but from , an Iranian based media outlet. US media showing handful of protesters burning trees and throwing rocks. Deception to the very end

    Our latest on the storming of the gates of US embassy Baghdad, with an eyewitness account by the great

    We don't need to be sheltered, we need to have an adult conversation.

    Violent Mob Storms, Burns Embassy in — American Soldiers Seen Trapped on Roof .S.Embassy...

    Is that true?  I have no idea.  But it's a scary thought, "American Soldiers Seen Trapped on Roof."  If that's true, it needs to be reported.  If it's true, we need to seriously look at what's going on.  I'd argue for Congressional hearings.  That image, I would argue, demands Congressional hearings.

    The following sites updated: