Monday, February 20, 2023

Weekend box office (and AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER reaches another milestone)

From THENUMBERS.COM, this is the box office for last weekend:

1 N Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania Walt Disney $105,500,000   4,345   $24,281 $105,500,000 1
2 (2) Avatar: The Way of Water 20th Century… $6,454,000 -11% 2,675 -390 $2,413 $657,411,991 10
3 (1) Magic Mike’s Last Dance Warner Bros. $5,460,000 -34% 3,034 +1,538 $1,800 $18,050,454 2
4 (5) Puss in Boots: The Last Wish Universal $5,310,000 -5% 3,012 -215 $1,763 $166,126,100 9
5 (6) Knock at the Cabin Universal $3,970,000 -27% 2,601 -1,056 $1,526 $30,442,270 3
6 (4) 80 for Brady Paramount Pi… $3,750,000 -35% 3,119 -820 $1,202 $32,398,000 3
7 (3) Titanic (25th Anniversary) Paramount Pi… $2,410,000 -64% 2,132 -332 $1,130 $671,896,000 1,314
8 (8) Missing Sony Pictures $1,750,000 -31% 1,516 -799 $1,154 $29,692,645 5
9 (7) A Man Called Otto Sony Pictures $1,600,000 -39% 1,725 -1,099 $928 $60,622,204 8
10 (9) M3GAN Universal $1,350,000 -44% 1,389 -1,119 $972 $93,456,015 7

What's the big news about the weekend box office?  AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER.  If you missed it:

"Avatar: The Way of Water" keeps soaring to new heights. James Cameron's Pandora-set sequel has surpassed his 1997 film "Titanic" as the third highest-grossing film of all time at the worldwide box office.

In the 10th weekend following its release, the Oscar-nominated sci-fi epic — the long-awaited follow-up to 2009's "Avatar" — has so far grossed an estimated $2.24 billion globally. As of Sunday, "The Way of Water" has edged out "Titanic," which has grossed about $2.243 billion over the years (including its recent 25th anniversary re-release), to take over the No. 3 spot in the list of highest-grossing films ever behind the original "Avatar" and "Avengers: Endgame" (2019).

"The Way of Water" picks up the story over a decade after the first "Avatar" film. It follows former human Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), Na'vi leader Neytiri (Zoe Saldaña) and their family. As Times film critic Justin Chang wrote in his review, "In 'Avatar: The Way of Water' ... Cameron pulls you down so deep, and sets you so gently adrift, that at times you don’t feel like you’re watching a movie so much as floating in one."

Can I just take a moment to point out that some of us had faith and knew this would happen.  Not the industry trades.  In fact, they didn't even like the movie.  But so many of you do and I can see that in the stats.  If I just type "AVATAR" in a post since that movie came out, people show up to read.  Because we are speaking to each other.  We didn't try to be a private club.  We love AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER and wish everyone would see it and love it.  But there was a surprising level of hate aimed at the movie (including by WSWS).  So those of us who saw the art and beauty in Cameron's masterpiece ended up talking to each other, the only ones who appreciated it.  

I think James Cameron is one of the greatest directors of my lifetime.  He may be the finest of my lifetime.  The only thing I'd really hesitate over?  Brian De Palma.  I think Brian's a genius film maker as well.

When I hear that foolish woman who 'directed' TILL whine and whine about how hard it is to be a female of color, I think, "Huh?"  Lady, you filmed a TV movie and passed it off as a theatrical film.  Your skin color and gender didn't harm you and prevent you from getting an Oscar nomination, your bad movie did.  

James Cameron created a world and his actors inhabited it.  Let's not pretend that the 'drawing room' scenes of TILL ever seem like anything approaching a great film.  It's too talky and it's too static.  Learn to stage a scene, learn to move the camera.  That woman seems to think that just because her film got released, she accomplished something.


It's a bad TV movie.  You didn't use the language of the big screen, you didn't deliver haunting images, you didn't do anything.  If it were on TV, we'd all pretend it was a great TV movie -- the new SOMETHING ABOUT AMELIA, even.  Reality, though, is even for a TV movie, it's rather run of the mill.  She needs to study real movies and see how real directors make them.  It's more than yelling action.

James Cameron has a vision.  Kathryn Bigelow, to name a female director, has a vision.  Even Barbra Streisand has a vision when she's directing.  And I don't mean that as an insult to Streisand.  She really does have a visual vision and if you watch YENTL, THE PRINCE OF TIDES and THE MIRROR HAS TWO FACES, you should marvel over her visuals and what she accomplishes.  

The director of TILL seems to feel her noble intentions are enough for an Oscar.  No, they really aren't.  You need to deliver a film and she doesn't. 


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


Monday, February 20, 2022.  The 'big' 'event' in DC turns out to be a big flop, they brought together the center, the right and the extreme right, THE GUARDIAN continues to sell war, Iraq needs to get serious about preventing domestic abuse, and much more.

They had their Sunday non-action.  Not a big turnout.  At times it seemed more speakers showed up than 'activists.'  Was it an issue of lack of star power?

Look! It's Ron Paul! And Tulsi Gabbard!!!! With Mindy Cohn!

You take the good, you take the bad
You take them both and there you have 
The facts of life
The facts of life

Poor Sabby Sabs.  On TV, behind a desk, she can pretend she's slender.  Look at her next to Jimmy Dore.  He's thinner than she is.

Fortunately, she's not a complete idiot.  She knew the next best thing to FACETUNE was the original slenderizing ap: StandNextToTara.  Yep, stand next to her and the pounds just seem to melt away.

Looking at the small turnout, I'm starting to think they shouldn't have banned convicted pedophile Scott Ritter-- they truly did need every person that they could scrounge up.

Such a small turnout and it is surprising.  I mean they had all the losers on their side.  Even Ryan Dawson used his Twitter feed to promote it -- ahead of the 'event' and after.  You know Dawson, right?  No?  SPL describes him for you:

Another Mises Caucus-linked speaker, Clint Russell, is a host of the “Liberty Lockdown” podcast. Russell started the podcast in May 2020 to push against COVID-19 lockdowns meant to stop the spread of the virus.

Russell has appeared alongside Ryan Dawson, a Holocaust denier and self-described journalist who combines criticism of Israel’s occupation of East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank with antisemitic tropes.

In one video that garnered widespread criticism, Dawson claimed Jewish people are responsible for communism, pedophilia, wars and more. He then said, “And for no reason at all, they elected Adolf Hitler,” referencing the Nazi government that oversaw the Holocaust.

The video originally featured a thumbnail image of Zyklon-B, the gas Nazis used in death camps to kill millions of Jews in the Holocaust.

Sound like a fun bunch?

A smattering of people attended thereby ensuring that Tucker Carlson stayed true to form -- lying.  He'd declared it would be a "massive turnout."  Well if by now you don't know that FOX NEWS is where you tune in to hear lies, I guess you never will.

Maybe the 'action' fed Jimmy Dore's ego -- wasn't that always the point?

Let's note a portion of this Tweet from Jimmy.

I’m killing it in this clip, thanks for posting!

Even when dealing with a supposed massive 'action,' it's all about Jimmy for Jimmy: "I'm killing it in this clip."  When he makes love to his wife, do you think he scream his own name?  Yeah, I think so too.

The “Rage Against the War Machine” rally held yesterday in Washington, D.C., was a political freak show attended by a motley crowd of several hundred Libertarian Party supporters, neo-fascists, and disoriented and demoralized middle-class individuals without an independent program or perspective. The speeches, many of which were obscenity-laced rants, were pitched to the lowest political level. By the time the event finally dribbled to an end, it had left nothing behind but confusion and a bad smell.

That is so perfect, I just want to stop there.  Read that again.

Okay, let's continue with their report:

The rally, which was moderated by Angela McArdle of the Libertarian Party and Nick Brana of the “People’s Party,” was sold as an opportunity by the organizers and the speakers to “bring together” the “left and the right” to oppose war. In fact, there was no left-wing perspective; the political direction was provided entirely by the right.

Even on its own terms, the event was an organizational fiasco, with a turnout of approximately 750 to 1,000 people, at most, despite being promoted on Fox News by Tucker Carlson and other right-wing outlets.

The rally featured no less than three speakers from organizations affiliated with the late fascist and anti-Semitic cult-leader, Lyndon LaRouche, including his wife, Helga Zepp-LaRouche. A platform was also provided for Jackson Hinkle, a fascist proponent of “MAGA communism,” and Jordan Page, who wrote the Oath Keepers anthem. Page gave an extended “musical” interlude with far-right anti-vaccine advocate and “bitcoin” enthusiast, Tatiana Moroz.

[. . .]

To the extent there was a political perspective, it was provided by Paul, the former Texas congressman. In his headline speech, Paul falsely claimed that by eliminating the Federal Reserve, the US government would be forced to pay its debts and therefore could not fund military expenditures.

In reality, Paul’s program of austerity and debt elimination, if put into practice, would result in the evisceration of every single social welfare program in the United States, which is in fact the aim of the most right-wing sections of the ruling class and the program of the Libertarian Party.

Paul ended his speech with a call for an end to all “regulations,” i.e., minimum wage, social security, medicare and medicaid, child labor and work place safety laws, that “bankrupt the country.”

Individuals linked to the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and who participated in former President Donald Trump’s failed coup were in attendance.

Local journalist Molly Conger photographed Matthew Heimbach, the leading neo-Nazi who helped organize the 2017 rally in Charlottesville. In a podcast prior to the Unite the Right rally, Heimbach called for the extermination of the “international Jew and the local Jew, I don’t care if he runs a f**king bagel shop, he’s got to go.”

Conger also photographed Proud Boy Randy Ireland, wearing a shirt with the phrase “Justice 4 J6,” a reference to the small number of individuals who were imprisoned for participating in Trump’s failed coup.

Perhaps the biggest fraud of all was that the rally was an “antiwar” event. Whatever the denunciations of the “military-industrial complex” and the “war machine,” the main impact of the rally was to politically legitimize and elevate far-right forces that are utilized by sections of the ruling class itself.

Because we have a large international audience, let me be clear, I was being sarcastic at the top when I said Mindy Cohn attended.  That was a man who looked like her, Mindy has too much intelligence to ever show up at a dumpster rally with those people.

Turning to Iraq, the Iraq War is being used again.  By THE GUARDIAN, no surprise. I guess we're not done with the idiots at the rally just yet.  But at THE GUARDIAN, columnist John Kampfner wants to insist "Iraq was a terrible war but it cannot excuse our failure to confront the tyranny today."

No link to trash.

I don't know how much time you have, but mine is limited.  So once I got 2015 and saw that John hasn't written on Iraq in the last seven years, I knew he was a useless whore.  Today, to sell continued war, he wants to pretend that he sees the Iraq War as terrible.  But the reality is he didn't.

Of course he didn't.  He wrote for THE GUARDIAN.

Which brings us to Idiot Swanson.

David Swanson was at the DC 'event.'  Of course he was.  He's to be found where ever non-action occurs.  He's the original WalkOn,

He cared briefly about Iraq.  Or pretended to.

He was especially vocal -- for months and months -- about The Downing Street Memo that exposed Bully Boy Bush's plan for war and the decision to go to war being made at a meeting between Bully Boy and Tony Blair at the former's Crawford Ranch.

He called out a lot of press for ignoring that memo.

He had a real hard time calling out THE GUARDIAN.

THE GUARDIAN did ignore it.  They were a pro-war publication.  In the UK, Tony Blair was the 'left.'  As a result, it was the right-wing TIMES OF LONDON that published the memo.  THE GUARDIAN never covered it.  Not one write up.  David was so sweet on them that he never called them out.  That's how you know you're dealing with a fake ass, they don't have the guts to tell you the truth.

A number of high-profile cases of women and girls killed by family members across Iraq in recent months are attracting attention once again, leading to a resurgence of calls for Iraq to enact laws against domestic violence. 

Last month, the case of a young woman in a “family dispute” in which the community police had been asked to mediate ended badly when a 22-year-old Youtuber was killed by her father. He has reportedly admitted to strangling her in her sleep.  

An outcry on social media followed, with many calling for the case to be treated as premeditated murder and not as a so-called honor crime

“Iraq has failed to criminalize domestic violence despite an increase in reporting of incidents of domestic violence by national NGOs. Shockingly, the Iraqi penal code still treats leniently so-called 'honor crimes’ comprising violent acts such as assault and even murder. There is also no effective system in place for reporting domestic violence nor adequate shelters to protect women and girls,” Amnesty International noted earlier this month. 

Iraq’s community police answer to the Interior Ministry and operate only in central government areas and not the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI). They are tasked with alleviating problems plaguing Iraqi society, such as domestic abuse, electronic blackmail, drug use and runaways, and they claim to be seen as more approachable by the population than other parts of the country’s security forces. 

The case of Tiba al-Ali

The young woman killed on Jan. 31, Tiba al-Ali, had returned to Iraq for a visit but had been living independently in Turkey for years. She reportedly had complained of being sexually assaulted by her brother in previous years, which her family allegedly told her to “forget about.”  

She appeared happy and carefree in several videos posted online from Turkey with her Syrian-born fiancé.

In a December interview in Baghdad prior to her killing, Brig. Gen. Ghalib Atiyah, who has been at the helm of the community police for the last three years, told Al-Monitor that none of the women and girls whose cases the community police had been involved in, had been killed. He stressed that this should be seen as an accomplishment, given the influence that tribal norms continue to have on the country. 

Of the 153 cases that Iraq’s community police dealt with regarding runaways in 2022, “not a single [woman or girl] was killed,” Atiyah said. 

During our visit to his office, a printout was provided with the number of “family violence” cases the community police had dealt with in the previous year. It listed the number of “child runaways” as 32 and “young women runaways” as 153.  

Al-Monitor was told that the “child” category refers to males under age 18, while “young women” refers to women and girls both under and over 18 but that “most of them are very young.”  When this difference in categorization was pointed out, Brig. Gen. Atiyah stressed that many Westerners do not understand that “most Iraqi women live with their families until they are married.” Many of the runaway cases are related to young women who are “tricked” by men they meet online, he said, adding that the runaways “fall in love,” but they are then lied to by these men and want to go home but are too afraid to do so.

He said that through mediation with the families and regularly checking up on the young women who return to their homes, his force plays a key role in ensuring many of them do not end up doing desperate things to survive and that their families agree to let them come home without harming them.  

A 2018 study by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime found that, at the global level, their homes are “the most dangerous place for women, with the majority of female homicide victims worldwide killed by partners or family.” 

One female hotel employee in Baghdad claimed to Al-Monitor in a conversation in early February that, from what she has seen, it is often the families of young women who push them into prostitution in the Iraqi capital.  

 Hey, remember when THE NEW YORK TIMES used to tell us there was no prostitution in Iraq?  Remember it was while their own Go-Go Boys in the Green Zone were paying prostitutes -- which meant THE TIMES was paying them.  Remember how only a few of us bothered to tell the truth on that?  OFF OUR BACKS is sorely missed.  They were one of the few feminist outlets that was actually interested in reporting, not in being a glossy, lifestyle magazine.

Kat's "Kat's Korner: Chase Rice delivers and then some" went up Sunday.  The following sites updated:


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