Monthly Archives: April 2013

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DVD Review – The Scarlet Pimpernel

Category : DVD Review


Director: Clive Donner
Starring: Jane Seymour, Anthony Andrews, Ian McKellen
Year: 1982

This was one of those movies that could only exceed expectations, but only because expectations were decidedly low.  CBS produced this version of the classic Baroness Orczy novel in 1982, casting Seymour (Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman), Andrews (The King’s Speech), and McKellan (The Lord of the Rings).  However, The Scarlet Pimpernel was aired long before these actors became known for these projects.  So, what we have is a made-for-TV movie about a swashbuckling fop starring relative unknowns broadcast on network TV in the 80s.  Sounds like a recipe for disaster.  But looks can be deceiving, and that, as the saying goes, is why you play the game.  What should have been a ridiculous waste of time turned out to be a solid piece of cinema that surprised audiences and launched careers.  Bravo, CBS, bravo.

The Movie

The story was written in 1903 for the stage, the novel appeared in 1905 and was an instant success.  The title character went on to appear in countless volumes, adaptations, and references, and, although the history behind the story is factual, the rest is purely fictitious.  The plot is driven by the Reign of Terror during the French Revolution of the 1790s.  The common people had overthrown the French aristocracy and were beheading nobles by the dozens each day by way of the guillotine.  Many in England saw the political murders as unacceptable atrocities, among them Sir Percy Blakeney, secretly know as the Scarlet Pimpernel.  Hiding behind the facade of a vain, foolish, spoiled aristocrat, Percy works tirelessly in Paris to save as many noble families from a cruel death as possible.  A master of disguises, he usea wit and trickery to evade capture, protect the innocent, and bring justice back to France.
Things are going swimmingly for Sir Blakeney, and plans are in place to rescue the young Dauphin from captivity next.  But love has a way of complicating matters, and even the elusive Scarlet Pimpernel can fall victim to its power.  The beautiful French actress Marguerite St. Just has captured the heart of our hero, and his marriage to her might ruin everything.  She was once the beloved of the ruthless Chauvelin, a man who will stop at nothing to kill the cunning Pimpernel.  As he doggedly hounds his quarry and viciously manipulates his lost love, Chauvelin comes closer and closer to discovering the true identity of his adversary.  Even Marguerite does not know her husband’s secrets, as he cannot fully trust her, and this mistrust leads to betrayal, coercion, and finally to a stunning climax in which the Scarlet Pimpernel must pull off his more daring escapade yet, all while winning back the heart of his one true love.

It would be safe to say that I was surprised by how much I liked this film.  I wasn’t expecting much from a made-for-TV movie starring Dr. Quinn, but The Scarlet Pimpernel really delivered.  First, the story was very interesting.  The time period was well represented and it was like a very quick history lesson on the origins of modern France.  The common hero role was reversed, as he was a rich man saving the lives of aristocrats from the rebellious working class, instead of a Robin Hood-like figure.  The movie stayed very closely to the book with all plot lines touched at some point.  At times this led to a little confusion, especially with the role call of French names, but as long as you stayed attentive the characters names are repeated enough that you can eventually get them all straight.
And the acting may have been the most surprising aspect of all.  Jame Seymour was good, but not amazing.  Again, I wasn’t expecting too much, not after seeing a couple Open Hearts Collection commercials, so the bar was set pretty low.  But she was beautiful and vulnerable, and that really made her character.  Anthony Andrews was a perfect Sir Blakeney, combining silly English nobility with heroic bravery.  At first his foppish accent, dress, and demeanor were so ridiculous that they were a little off-putting, but when you see the real Percy after dropping the act, you realize that you just witnessed some A-class acting.  And speaking of, Ian McKellen stole the show.  He was ruthless, cunning, tortured, and I believed every second of it.
The quality of the film was exactly what you would expect from the 80s, so there was nothing to get excited about there.  It was often like watching a homemade movie; scenes shot outside were just fine but indoors everything became dark and grainy.  Side characters were not very well developed or acted.  Costumes were fairly accurate and well-made, but not special.  So, as far as period pieces go, The Scarlet Pimpernel wasn’t the best, but it definitely wasn’t the worst either.  It was a surprisingly captivating movie that smartly stayed true to a classic novel, and therefore didn’t go astray.  The acting was better than average and the pace was fairly fast for it’s 136 minutes.  All in all, a strong film that is better than its made-for-TV label.

The DVD

Video – With an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 (4:3), don’t get excited about the DVD.  You don’t get an HD picture or a widescreen format.  What you do get is a message at the beginning of the movie basically apologizing for the poor video transfer.  If I learned one thing in Speech class it’s that you never start with an apology, it makes your audience expect to not like what’s coming.
Audio – The only sound option on the DVD is whether to turn the subtitles on or off.  Again, the lack of features isn’t exactly surprising.  The audio during the movie was fine; I didn’t notice any glaring problems.  But don’t expect much from what may be a difficult word to swallow; Mono.
Extras – There are zero extras on the DVD.  No commentary, interviews, special features, bonus scenes, nothing.  Not shocking exactly, but not very interesting either.

Final Thoughts

RecommendedThe Scarlet Pimpernel went above and beyond my expectations of a CBS special presentation.  Based on a classic novel, it had a strong foundation and an interesting history to use as guidelines, and it didn’t fail to use them well.  Excellent acting from before-they-were-stars, cool characters, and a quick plot combined to make a good movie.  The video, audio, and extras were poor, but not unexpected.  So, save it for a rainy day, don’t expect much out of your HDTV, and enjoy a charming movie that you will remember fondly.

✰ ✰ ✰ ✰ – Content
✰ ✰ – Video
✰ ✰ – Audio
– Extras
✰ ✰ ✰ – Replay


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Thought – Mommy Guilt

Category : Thought

My wife posted a link to an article the other day, and it was very interesting.  You can read it here.  It was a blog post from one of the Mommy Blogs she reads; a blog about kids, pregnancy, motherhood, parenting, etc.  The post was about Mommy Guilt, which I immediately understood.  It’s something my wife feels for no reason at all other than because she’s a mother.  It’s a feeling that she can’t shake, a mindset in which she thinks she can’t possibly do enough for me or for our kids; guilt over being by herself, guilt over not spending every second with her family, guilt over going to work, guilt over leaving the kids with a grandparent, guilt over getting upset, guilt over not focusing her attention on us every moment of every day.  Basically, Mommy Guilt is feeling guilty for not being superhuman.  And it’s not just women themselves who produce the guilt, it’s society and other moms as well.  It’s a constant pressure to be perfect, to make a perfect choice every time, and to never get distracted, tired, or angry.  Impossible to live up to and impossible to escape.
Now, as a stay-at-home dad, I think I have a unique perspective on this issue.  Not once in my fatherhood have I felt Daddy Guilt.  I know that I work extremely hard for my family and take care of them to the best of my ability.  I love my kids, play with them, teach them, give them what they need, and help to keep them happy, healthy, and secure.  Yes, sometimes I look at my iPhone.  Sometimes I turn on a baseball game in the background.  Sometimes I get mad, make a bad decision, say something I regret, don’t know an answer, or just want to be by myself.  This doesn’t make me a poor father, it makes me human.
After reading that blog post and thinking about my wife’s own guilt, I began to wonder why I don’t feel guilty.  Maybe the root of the problem is something sociological, something about men being taught that dominance and confidence are necessary traits, while women are taught subservience.  But a more immediate answer is that no one tells me I should feel guilty, and therefor I don’t.  I just can’t imagine anyone ever saying that I needed to pay more attention to my kids or that I didn’t deserve time alone.  The only things I ever get are, “What a great dad!” or “Your kids are so lucky!”.  Wouldn’t they be just as lucky if my wife got to stay home instead of me?  Wouldn’t she be doing just as good a job?  Wouldn’t she need a little break from the kids sometimes?  Why am I a hero for doing what women do every day all over the world?  The answer is that I’m not.  I’m just a normal dad who happens to want to stay home with his kids.  No one should make me feel guilty for not being perfect every day.  But, you see, they don’t.  And that’s the point.

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Movie Review – Django Unchained

Category : Movie Review

Director: Quentin Tarantino
Starring: Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio
Year: 2012

You just can’t talk about a Tarantino film without talking about other Tarantino films.  Some directors work picture to picture; it seems like he is working on one gigantic, gory magnum opus.  And perhaps this opus can be broken down into two parts: Crime and Punishment.  Crime would be made up of Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, and Jackie Brown; films based on heists, thugs, and good plans gone bad.  Punishment would be made up of Kill Bill, Inglorious Basterds, and Django Unchained; films based on revenge, murder, and bullets to the brain.  Not everyone is into both parts of the bigger picture; some people don’t like the Elmore Leonard crime caper and some people don’t like the gun-slinging blood bath.  But whatever our tastes are, we can’t deny the genius of Quentin Tarantino and we can’t resist the magic of his films, be they cooly criminal or violently vengeful.

Django Unchained is a remake/spoof/homage to the classic cowboy movie series starring Franco Nero.  Tarantino loves this 60s spaghetti western, using it as an inspiration for Kill Bill as well.  Nero even makes a cameo in the film, when the old Django meets the new.  The modern version is played by Jamie Foxx, portraying an ex-slave who’s only goal is the rescue of his wife.  Teaming up with the bounty hunter Dr. Schultz, Django begins a killing spree that he hopes will end with a happy reunion.  Along the way the duo fight violent lawmen, slave owners, the KKK, and Calvin Candie, a ruthless southern aristocrat who owns Django’s wife Hildy and runs the gruesome Mandingo fighting circle.  The team must infiltrate Candie’s plantation, outsmart the villain, rescue Hildy, and make their escape; a task that turns out to be both very difficult and very bloody.

In Kill Bill Tarantino mixed spaghetti westerns with kung fu.  In Django Unchained he mixed them with slavery, and the result was surprisingly awesome.  The film was a mix of extremely cool moments and laugh-out-loud humor.  It was a perfect blend of farce and honesty, and the result was a completely original take on classic cinema.  Of course, there was the patented Tarantino violence in almost every scene; blood sprayed almost constantly, sometimes comically and sometimes disgustingly.  There were explosions, gun fights, tortures, dogs ripping people to pieces, and more bullet wounds than you could count.  But if you can stomach the bloodshed then you’re left with a film that is truly wonderful.
And let’s touch on the acting as well, since there was so much Oscar buzz surrounding the film.  Jamie Foxx was good, not great.  He was cool and believable, but nothing to write home about, and it’s not surprising that he wasn’t nominated for Best Actor.  What is surprising though is that Leo wasn’t given much credit for his role.  He was vicious, insane, and as spot on as ever.  I’m not saying he would have beat out Waltz for Best Supporting, who was about as perfect as an actor could be and won the award himself, but he deserved a nod.  Even the cameos were fun and well developed; Don Johnson, Jonah Hill, Bruce Dern, Samuel L. Jackson.  The film, adding up all of these elements, deserved to beat out Argo for best picture.  It was directed, acted, and produced at a higher quality, it just wasn’t about the Middle East.  Django Unchained is an immensely entertaining movie, a well-made film, and just another piece of the puzzle in Tarantino’s life work.  Next up, Kill Bill Vol. 3.

My rating: ✰ ✰ ✰ ✰ ✰


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Movie Trailer – Rush

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Ron Howard
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Daniel Bruhl, Olivia Wilde
Release: September 20th, 2013

Oh, Opie.  You’ve done some excellent work; Willow, Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind.  But you’ve also done some crap; Edtv, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The Dilemma.  So I just don’t know what to think.  And I’ve already seen Days of Thunder and Driven, the latter being one of the worst movies ever;  I’m not sure I want to see the lovechild of the two.


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DVD Review – Out in the Open

Category : DVD Review

Director: Matthew Smith
Starring: Matthew Smith, Solly Hemus, Carson Kressley
Year: 2013

If you want to see a documentary about a relevant and intriguing topic, you would be hard pressed to find one more fitting than Out in the Open.  The issues of gay rights and marriage equality are on the table right now in our country, and in ten years laws, cultures, and mindsets may be completely different than they are today.  It’s exciting to be alive in a time of change, whichever side you may be on, and that fervor comes through very clearly in this film.  But putting equal rights aside, there are other issues confronting homosexual culture, and they may be the most important of all; AIDS, suicide, acceptance, bullying.  A documentary that attempts to tackle all of these serious issues in one feature film has taken on a tall task, but one that is extremely meaningful and deserving of attention.

The Movie

In this compact documentary, filmmaker Matthew Smith attempts to reach gay, at risk young people from around the world in an attempt to show them that coming out can be a healthy, happy, and life changing experience.  Revealing to your family and friends who you really are inside doesn’t have to be miserable, tortured, or dramatic.  If you are homosexual than you have been so your entire life; announcing it will not change the person you are.  And not only that, but being open with the people around you about your sexuality might inspire others to be honest with themselves as well, cutting down on the number of suicides by extremely depressed gay youths, reducing the violence and bullying in schools by the uneducated and afraid, and creating a world in which people are honest with themselves and the world around them.  Only through open discussion can misconceptions and fears be put aside and real acceptance take place.
But not only does this film speak to the homosexual community, it speaks to the heterosexual as well.  The message is simple; that people are people, regardless of sexual orientation.  Through humor and surprising candor, various celebrities, actors, activists, and allies recount parts of their life stories, revealing that every single person has a history including good and bad days, and that we all desire love, friendship, and acceptance on our journey towards happiness.  Diver Greg Louganis, TV personality Carson Kressley, actor Eric Roberts; they all have a story to tell that allows us to see that, gay or straight, we are not that different.  Even director Matthew Smith allows us into his home and introduces us to the love of his life, Solly.  Their relationship serves as an example of the simple truths that love cannot be denied, quantified, or explained, and that homosexual couples are as “normal” as anyone else.

It’s hard to talk about the movie without talking about the issues it deals with.  It purports itself to be a message to gay youth and a support to those wanting to come out of the closet, and it is exactly that.  It’s easy to imagine someone being directly spoken to by this film, seeing it as a private entreaty just to them to be themselves, be proud, and be happy.  Sharing their coming out stories and hopeful messages, the creators of this film attempt to shed light on what must be a very frightening and difficult decision to make.  There is a very positive undercurrent to the message, and it is shared without hate for any other group and with appreciation for the differences inherent in each individual.  As a confused, scared, or lonely young person, this film could be extremely helpful.
And it’s not only a message directed to homosexual youths, but to their families as well.  I couldn’t imagine a better tool to bridge the gap of acceptance than this film.  Watching it, I could picture someone sharing this movie with a family member, opening up a dialogue, and revealing to them the truth that they had been hiding for so long.  And the very clear way that the director shows his own relationship is refreshing, as it could also be an example to insecure family members of just how “normally” a life can be lived, regardless of sexual preference.  All of the people who contributed to this project were endearing, open, supportive, and honest.  This positive outlook on a complex issue was very uplifting, giving me hope that it all might just work out.
Out in the Open is a documentary with a very specific purpose, which it achieved quite easily.  But that also makes it difficult to judge alongside other films.  When comparing it to a film like Religulous, for example, it stands out as far superior.  It’s message was clear, well delivered, concise, and real.  That alone gives it a step up on other documentaries.  Matthew Smith, who was the mind behind the film, created something that flowed, kept my attention, seemed genuine, and never fell flat.  The only oddity was a strange voice-over during the beginning of the film that was supposed to be making a point about false fears.  It didn’t add anything to the movie and only served to make it seem juvenile.  But as that faded the film improved, and by the end I was sold; I got the message loud and clear and I saw the vast difference that a project like this could impact.

The DVD

Video – The film was shot in 16:9, so it’s a standard HD video, but you never have the opportunity to really notice.  As with other interview-based documentaries, the image quality isn’t the focal point.  You might notice the clarity in picture of Matthew’s hair, but that’s about it.
Audio – There are no audio options with this disk; no language selection or subtitles for the hearing impaired.  The sound is mixed well throughout and the interviews are clear and well balanced.  The only negative I noticed was an extremely loud wind during the Roberts interview, which was distracting, but if you’ve ever been to California you know that filming outdoors can be a challenge.
Extras – There are a multitude of extras with this DVD.  First, you can watch the original version of the film or a version with commentary, featuring the director, editor, and producers.  There are two featurettes: extra footage with the Lifeworks team and a set of scenes created by OutSet.  There are two blooper reels: one from the film and one from the comical PSA.  Also, there are four extended interviews: with Carson Kressley, Rev. Dave Stambaugh, Eric & Eliza Roberts, and DJ Paul V.  Lastly, there is a photo gallery, a trailer for the film, and trailers for five other Breaking Glass projects.

Final Thoughts

Recommended.  This is a film that could make a difference in someone’s life.  Even for those who are not struggling with anything concerning this issue, it could be a very educational experience.  Out in the Open is a well-made documentary that comes from a very honest and refreshing place.  The video quality is good, the audio quality is fine, and the extras are there for the watching.  This is a movie that deserves to be shared with others, especially where it might do some good.

✰ ✰ ✰ ✰ – Content
✰ ✰ ✰ – Video
✰ ✰ – Audio
✰ ✰ ✰ ✰ – Extras
✰ ✰ ✰ – Replay


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Movie Trailer – The English Teacher

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Craig Zisk
Starring: Julianne Moore, Michael Angarano, Greg Kinnear
Release: May 17th, 2013

Did you not hire a casting company?  Did you not run screen tests?  Julianne Moore is one of the worst actresses of our time (The Forgotten, Hannibal) and cannot possibly support the lead role.  I like Greg Kinnear, but he’s spotty at best.  And Michael Angarano will never not be Jack’s illegitimate son from Will & Grace.  No thank you.


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Sports – NFL 2013 Schedule

Category : Sports

The NFL schedule was released for the 2013 season, and there are so many marquee matchups that I might not be able to stand it.  The Broncos, who are of course my team, have a very entertaining schedule, as does seemingly every club not named the Bills.  With the Draft coming up this Thursday and preseason just around the corner, I’m starting to get excited for what should be another excellent NFL season.  Check out NFL.com/schedules for a complete run-down, but here are a few of the meetings that I am most anticipating:
Week 1 – Baltimore @ Denver – Opening game of the NFL season and a re-match of an awesome playoff game.  How will Champ and Raheem Moore fair this time around?
Week 2 – Denver @ NYG – Manning Bowl!  Peyton has never lost against his little brother Eli and the Broncos will have extra time to prepare after a their Thursday matchup.
Week 3 – Houston @ Baltimore – Two of the elite AFC teams going head to head early on.  And with Ed Reed now a Texan, I expect a hard fought game.
Week 4 – New England @ Atlanta – This was almost the Super Bowl last year and it very likely could be this year.  Both teams will want to make a statement.
Week 5 – New Orleans @ Chicago – I really like both these teams this season, both should be improved and hungry.  Look for a high scoring game here.
Week 6 – Washington @ Dallas – RG3 should be 100% by this game, and Tony Romo should be fighting for respect as always.  I expect a slump by Griffin, but we’ll see.
Week 7 – Denver @ Indianapolis – Peyton returns to Indy to face Luck.  I wouldn’t mind going to this game; I think I could wear my Manning Broncos jersey and survive.
Week 8 – NYG @ Philadelphia – It’ll be interesting to see what Chip Kelly has done with his team up to this point; we should know whether they can make this a good game or not.
Week 9 – Chicago @ Green Bay – It doesn’t get much better than the Bears vs. the Packers on Monday Night Football in November.  I love watching games at Lambeau.
Week 10 – Dallas @ New Orleans – Rob Ryan should be coaching with a chip on his shoulder and I expect Romo to get sacked more than his fair share of times.
Week 11 – Minnesota @ Seattle – Might not look like an amazing game on paper, but I expect a ton of scoring and a wild game between to intriguing teams.
Week 12 – Denver @ New England – I know I’ve chosen a lot of Broncos games, but come on; Peyton vs. Tom, Welker returning to face the Pats, a possibly AFC Championship preview.
Week 13 – Pittsburgh @ Baltimore – What a great Thanksgiving night matchup.  Should be low scoring, smash-mouth, and down to the wire; what else could you want.
Week 14 – Indianapolis @ Cincinnati – These teams match up well, and it should be a very even contest.  It’s not a night game or anything, but should be fun to watch.
Week 15 – Washington @ Atlanta – I just love watching Matty Ice throw the ball, and of course RG3 is one cut away from either scoring a TD or breaking off his leg.
Week 16 – New Orleans @ Carolina – The Panthers could be clawing for a playoff spot this week, and Cam might be up to the challenge of knocking off Brees and the Saints.
Week 17 – Detroit @ Minnesota – In the last week of the season you’re just looking for who has something to play for, and this game could have two teams fighting for survival.

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Movie Trailer – Man of Steel

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Zack Snyder
Starring: Henry Cavill, Russell Crowe, Amy Adams
Release: June 14th, 2013

Finally, a comic book movie that actually looks watchable.  I don’t know exactly how they did it, but perhaps they’ll start a trend.  I mean, everyone loves Superman but you can’t just give it a half-assed effort and expect us all to line up, you gotta give it some punch and originality.  And I heart Amy Adams for some reason, which doesn’t hurt.  Maybe it’s because she’s the best actress to emerge in the last twenty years.  As long as Russell Crowe, Kevin Cosner, and Diane Lane are kept to a minimum I think I’m sold.


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Thought – Boston

Category : Thought

When a tragedy occurs, my first reaction is cynicism.  I see my lack of compassion as a character flaw that I have to live with, but I don’t necessarily think that it makes me a bad person.  There are plenty of helpful and giving people out there who make a difference every day; I just don’t happen to be one of them.  Call me callus, but I just don’t get very gushy.
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that most people don’t care so much that it hurts and that most people are as selfish as I am.  I don’t see selfishness as evil; you are you and your life, by definition, revolves around you.  And this belief is why I get so cynical and grumpy when I see the masses being falsely sincere and emotional.
Let’s look at the recent Boston tragedy, and let’s try to keep an open mind.  It was an awful thing that happened.  As the husband of a marathon runner, my mind immediately went to the finish line and picturing myself and my two kids standing there waiting for her to cross.  How horrible it must have been for the people there, their families, and the people of Boston who will be living in fear for quite some time now.  But as bad a thing as it was, it only directly affected a handful of people.  Chances are you weren’t there, you didn’t know anybody there, and your life has not changed in any way since that day.  So why do you feel the urge to post on FaceBook that you’re thinking about Boston today, or that you’re praying for some strangers, or that America will get whoever did this and make them pay?  The answer; because you’re thinking about yourself.  You’re attempting to feel what it might have been like to be there because that makes you feel alive.  You’re putting yourself into a group that you’re not really a part of because it’s nice to be a part of something.  We are all of us very selfish people who show it in very unusual ways.  I just happen to write it on a blog.
Maybe I’m being insensitive.  Maybe it’s too soon, or you think you really do care, or it really was that bad.  But I just don’t think so.  I think people, especially we as Americans, are extremely short-sighted and that this wasn’t really as horrible as we’re making it out to be for our own selfish reasons.  Take a look at this article.  I am struck by the quote, “In Syria, it’s not Boston every day, but many times per day.”  We are extremely lucky to live in this country.  It’s far from perfect and let’s not kid ourselves and claim that it’s the best place in the world, but the majority of us are wealthy, safe, and free.  This is not the case in most countries.  Not every one has terrorist violence every single day, but a lot do.  And so when something bad happens here, when three people die, when we feel a little shaken, we band together and cry and seek justice and feel angry and post things on FaceBook and very soon we forget all about it.  Why?  Because we can.  Because that is a luxury we can afford; forgetting that awful thing that once happened because it only happens once every few years.
I guess my point is that we could all be a little more “real”.  The attack in Boston was awful, but worst things happen every day all over the world and we don’t even care.  We don’t care because we’re selfish, because we’re safe, because we’re us and they’re them.  So maybe we should stop saying how horrible we feel, how we’ll never forget this, and how tight we are as a country now, when in reality we’re getting a little high from the excitement and in six months we won’t remember it.  Maybe we shouldn’t pretend to be moved by pictures of sobbing families when what we really like are pictures of bloody streets. We are all, selfishly, getting something out of this tragedy, and perhaps that’s a cynical thing to say, but then again no one ever accused me of being warm and fuzzy.

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Movie Trailer – Behind the Candelabra

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Steven Soderbergh
Starring: Michael Douglas, Matt Damon, Rob Lowe
Release: May 26th, 2013

So, from Damon in Elysium to Damon in Liberace.  Strange.  The film is based on the autobiography of the flamboyant piano player and will be released first on HBO in May.  Should be interesting, if nothing else.  And Rob Lowe is an added bonus, a very underrated actor.  Who knows; I don’t get HBO, but maybe I’ll look for a way to see this one.