Sunday, June 26, 2016

FREE STATE OF JONES

A friend of mine made a comment more or less about how she always goes into a Matthew McConaughey movie not liking him and comes out loving him. The man himself sometimes seems almost a caricature of self importance, but he can act in a movie better than most and once again in FREE STATE OF JONES kicks ass, in every way.

You've probably already heard that this film is about a rebellion within a rebellion, when an entire county, and more, in the Southern most part of the state of Mississippi fought against the Confederacy during The Civil War and managed to win for a while. But it's about so much more as well and goes far to correct the old Hollywood movie myths about the noble cause and the romantic South etc.

It's great story and the movie adheres to most of the actual facts, which makes it even more compelling. It's director and co-writer, Gary Ross, was humble enough to spend many years studying the history of not only the man who led the rebellion, Newton Knight, but of the Civil War, Reconstruction, and Mississippi, before writing the script.

And the cast is perfect, with some of my favorite movie actors, including McConaughey, the too often underused Keri Russell, and the amazing Gugu Mbatha-Raw (check out her performance in BELLE, one of my favorite films, also based on a true story that makes a history lesson dramatically enlightening and engagingly sexy). Relative newcomer to movies, Mahersala Ali's performance in FREE STATE OF JONES is worth the price of admission alone.

I highly recommend watching this in a theater on a big screen, because the battle and crowd scenes, and even the intimate scenes, are so beautifully shot and lit and art directed that you'll want to get the full effect only the big screen can deliver.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

LAST MINUTE REMINDER

Don't forget this Tuesday, June 28th, at 8 PM at Gotham Comedy Club, 208 W. 23rd St. I'll be reading some poems on a bill with other poets and story tellers and more, including the great Elinor Nauen (one of my favorite writers)....there's a cover charge etc. but it's worth it just for John Fugelsang, let alone the rest of the line up. Be there or be...sorry you weren't...

Friday, June 24, 2016

A MIDDAY MINI-RANT

By my perspective, the vote for Britain to leave the European Union is a seeming victory for the little guy who feels oppressed by forces outside his world that seem to control so much inside it, but also a victory for the racist and xenophobe and rightwing hater of change that benefits anyone but the self (often the same people). And all these folks' fears are fanned and manipulated by those in the uber "conservative" elite whose addiction to power and money makes them dangerous to all of us, now more than ever.

As is clear from the reactions to this huge shift in the balance of power and the money needed to sustain it, affecting almost the entire world, it looks at first glance, and even second and third, that it could be a forecast for more rightwing political triumphs (and catastrophes for most of us) to come, including the possible election of Donald Trump.

The main factor in the victory of the right-wingers was the poor turnout among the young, who overwhelmingly were for staying in the European Union but didn't bother to vote. If that occurs in the USA in November, Trump could well pull it off. And there could be the same impact as we're seeing today and will see more of when the actual dismantling of the British connection to Europe begins and continues for years.

At first it'll be the markets riled up, but then it will mean less freedom and even fewer job opportunities, as well as more divisiveness and turmoil. Trump's crowing this morning (even if, as usual, he has his facts all wrong), as are the rightwing nationalist xenophobic political parties throughout Europe, who may follow suit leading to the dismemberment, or at least diminishment, of the European Union, our greatest ally economically and politically. If Trump's elected, our biggest ally might be Putin, if we're to believe Trump's ratio of criticism and praise for other countries and their leaders.