Nice gauge of the commercial pulse.
For a couple of years I have been getting copies of "L" and distributing them among family, friends and people I come in contact with on the streets, buses and trains in NYC. After reading this so called "review", I WILL NEVER PICK UP ANOTHER "L" magazine. I have not seen the Burzynski movie but I am well acquainted with Dr. Burzynski and the persecution of him and other alternative practitioners by the FDA, Big Pharma and the AMA who want to shut them down because they interfer with their profit making, killing protocols. Why? Because they actually cure people with their treatments instead of killing them. The AMA has documented 100,000 American citizens being killed every year by standard medical treatments. At age 21, doctors wanted to take out my uterus (I had fibroid tumors) and cut off my breast to prevent cancer in the future. In your ignorance, I'm sure you are not aware of an NIH program to remove the uterus of African American, Native American and Puerto Rican women to reduce ther population growth. I suppose the doctors and nurses who tried to convince me to have those procedures thought I was as STUPID as they were. I am age 62, with my uterus and breast because I changed my eating habits, became vegetarian and do not use any commercial "beauty" products since most of them contain cancer causing agents. You probably don't know that either. Evidently the truth is irrelevant to you and you are very dangerous because your writing may turn people away from life saving treatments and send them to off to be tortured with chemo and radiation and dying horrific deaths because of it. Journalism obviously is not your forte. Try Data Entry. NO THINKING REQUIRED, just type what is in front of you. You would be instrumental in saving many lives if you change careers ASAP.
Due to space limitations I couldn't quite expound on the point I only briefly raised, but in essence I find it highly questionable that the Monsieur Verdoux character takes the world to task for its systematic violence and then defends his own killing of women on the grounds that he was just supporting his wife and child: "Wars, conflict -- it's all business. One murder makes a villain; millions, a hero." I'm pretty sure the majority of the human race considers Adolf Hitler a villain.
"... hypocritical black serial killing comedy Monsieur Verdoux ..."
Hypocritical? OK, not finding The Great Dictator funny is a matter of opinion, but the above comment on MV makes no sense. But I'll bite, how is making a serial killer film hypocritical?
I agree that "The Village" is "beautiful without sound"--REALLY beautiful--and for me that's always been enough to have a soft spot for Shyamalan; ditto for Atom Egoyan. And so I think that M Night's best movie is "The Happening," if you can forget Leguizamo's scenes, because Mark Wahlberg is smart enough to have read the script, seen how stupid it was, and to play it as a comedy. He's as funny as he was through Huckabees through the whole thing, Shyamalan's pretty compositions, etc. are in tact, and there's even a wacky environmentalist subtext to enjoy! If you watch it through Wahlberg's perspective--well-meaning and light-hearted--instead of Shyamalan/Leguizamo--world-changing and histrionic--it's a great movie.
Henry, thanks for the response.
You write, "All films come out of some kind of ideology". What does this mean? Obviously, all films are the products of humans with aims. Equally obviously, all films come from a "point of view" in that they convey a limited range of information. A video-taped lecture on the mechanics of engines "come[s] out of some kind of ideology" in these two senses. I assume that you have a more interesting sense of the relevant phrase in mind. What is it?
Of course, you don't need the sweeping claim that all films "come out of a point of view" for your purposes. You can argue that Resptrepo in particular does this without arguing that all films do. But you failed to respond to the main reason that I offered for thinking that Restrepo doesn't "come out of a point of view" in any interesting sense -- namely, that it does not even *feign* to be objective. If I want to manipulate you into believing p via my film, then I will at least offer a cartoon of the perspective of those who reject p in the film, and I'll suggest in the film that that perspective is bad. If all goes well, you'll think that you've seen the whole picture regarding p and can rightfully conclude that p. But it would be inane of me to try to manipulate you into believing p by literally *only* offering the perspective of advocates of p and doing nothing whatever to indicate, let alone undermine, the perspective of advocates of not-p. Obviously, there will be advocates of not-p for any interesting proposition, p. This is all the more obvious when p is (something like) the proposition that Americans should be at war in Afghanistan, and so many Afghans vocally endorse not-p. The effect of a film that literally just presented the perspective of advocates of p would be to leave the (non-idiot) viewer at best agnostic as to whether p -- since he would know full well that there's another side of the story about which he's heard nothing. In all likelihood, then, a film that only presents a single perspective on an issue -- without even presenting a cartoon of the opposite perspective -- is not trying to get you to take a stand on the issue at all. It's trying to do something else. In the case of Restrepo, what I suggested that the film is trying to do is give you a sense of the experience of American soldiers in a physically and morally overwhelming situation. But, even if that's wrong, the point of Restrepo can't sympathetically be thought to be to get across a pro-American message regarding the war in Afghanistan -- given that it doesn't even pretend to tell you what you need to know to evaluate that message.
Thanks for the term paper, Justin; I'll have one of the interns grade it before the week is through. But in the meantime, I'll address a few of your points. Personally!
"The reviewer apparently thinks little of the intention to make a non-political film."
Actually, the reviewer thinks little of the idea that such a thing exists. All films come out of some kind of ideology, and to pretend that "American ideology"="no ideology", as this film and many of its supporters do, is ridiculous.
"the reviewer's thesis is that Restrepo fails because it tries to be non-political but ends up being political"
No, Restrepo fails, in part, because it pretends that the political is non-political: that fetishizing the troops is a neutral position. I do think the filmmakers are barraging us with flattering images. A few instances of the troops' "warts" doesn't really undermine that for me. You can have a celebratory documentary that shows its heroes aren't perfect, too. (Michel Gondry's "The Thorn in the Heart" springs immediately to mind.) In fact, imperfections makes them all the more sympathetic, no? All the more human? (Like the soldier "whining like a little girl". Dude, his friend had just died.) And during the condescending meetings with Afghanis, I felt the film encourage me to condescend along with the soldiers, not side, affronted, with the Afghans. After all, without any input from Afghanis, they were just weirdos at best (LOL, why are their beards red?), "bad guys" at worst.
Also, that the movie concludes by telling us the military ultimately abandoned the land the film's heroes were fighting for is, like, the ULTIMATE example of troop-sympathy. Nothing honors our boys who died more than Finishing The Job they started--even if it means more dead soldiers, whose memories need to be honored with more finishing.
Finally, "Restrepo also offers a deeply compelling portrait of the experience of American soldiers in a physically and morally overwhelming situation. That should be enough." I think that's the heart of our disagreement. What you saw as "deeply compelling" I saw as schmaltzy (watch the last five minutes and tell me this movie isn't head over heels for American soldiers), confusing, and simple--reportage without a nut graf. That shouldn't be enough, no, especially not when we're talking about war.
(Also, please note I'm not saying that American soldiers don't deserve our sympathy: just that any documentary fawning over any group is problematic.)
I'll leave us with some Paddy Chayefsky (not the bit I was looking for, but without a DVD handy I'm reliant on IMDb), as I was thinking a lot about "The Americanization of Emily" while watching "Restrepo":
"War isn't hell at all. It's man at his best; the highest morality he's capable of. It's not war that's insane, you see. It's the morality of it. It's not greed or ambition that makes war: it's goodness. Wars are always fought for the best of reasons: for liberation or manifest destiny. Always against tyranny and always in the interest of humanity. So far this war [WWII], we've managed to butcher some ten million humans in the interest of humanity. Next war it seems we'll have to destroy all of man in order to preserve his damn dignity. It's not war that's unnatural to us, it's virtue. As long as valor remains a virtue, we shall have soldiers. So, I preach cowardice. Through cowardice, we shall all be saved."
I'm actually just genuinely excited about the new place! I went this weekend and was pleased!
'Working Class Hero' --and obvious Phallic narcissist
son of school teachers Hugo Chavez DID serve in an army
--that never fought a war
WHILE Oliver -Son of Wall Street and Yale- 'daring maverick' Stone,
a GENUINE veteran, manages, along with the entire
mainstream RED China sellout and suck-up establishment
to, once again, 'mysteriously and completely overlook'
the staggeringly, urgently, eerily relevant
60th Anniversary of the KOREAN WAR ---June 25th 2010.
It is difficult to locate the thesis of this review. The reviewer acknowledges that the filmmakers at least intended to make a non-political film. The reviewer writes,
"...Restrepo offers a soldier's-eye view of the quagmire in Korengal, a portrait of fraternity whose production notes brag, "we did not interview Afghans, we did not explore geopolitical debates". This, of course, was to avoid Politicization..."
The reviewer apparently thinks little of the intention to make a non-political film. The reviewer continues,
"...but why should willful ignorance be a source of pride? Since when is "context" synonymous with "subjectivity"?"
Perhaps, then, the reviewer's thesis is that Restrepo fails because it is a non-political film, and non-political films are uninteresting (why not give us all of the context that we have available?). However, this conclusion is in tension with the reviewer's explicit conclusion. The reviewer writes,
"Restrepo does a fair job of illustrating the terrifying violence of war, but it's not without a point of view: it's For the Boys, a loving, humanizing bit of jingoistic agitprop that wins festivals because nobody wants to appear, gulp, Anti-Troop."
Perhaps, then, the reviewer's thesis is that Restrepo fails because it tries to be non-political but ends up being political (being "for the boys"). If that is the reviewer's thesis then, the reviewer apparently finds it too obvious to argue for. This commenter does not.
There are at least four reasons to think that this film is not "for the boys".
First, as the reviewer strangely acknowledges, the filmmakers do not even interview a single Afghan. There is no attempt, that is, to undermine whatever perspective Afghans might bring to the conflict. We are straightforwardly left ignorant of that obviously central perspective -- the blatant implication being that the film fails to give one sufficient information to judge the justifiability of the American acts depicted in it.
Second, there is no third-party commentary on the events filmed. There is no attempt, that is, to manipulate our opinions regarding the significance of the footage we watch by having "experts" tell it to us. This might show that the filmmakers are merely trying to manipulate us directly with a barrage of flattering images of the soldiers, but...
Third, we are regularly exposed to the unflattering as well as flattering images of the soldiers. For example, we see soldiers kill Taliban fighters in a video-game spirit, laughing and high-fiving when successful. We see the leader of the soldiers' group condescend to Afghan village elders. And we see an American soldier whine like a little girl in the midst of battle. (We also see graphic images of young, dead, Afghan victims of a botched American bombing -- though perhaps that does not afford unflattering images of the soldiers (in the film) themselves.)
Finally, the film concludes with a prompt suggesting that even the principal American achievement of the film -- the building of Restrepo under Taliban fire -- may have been for naught. That prompt tells us that US forces abandoned the area soon after the filming.
Perhaps the reviewer's most confusing criticism -- which bears uncertain relation to either of the above theses -- is the following.
"The directors spent an entire deployment with the men, and were present for some intense firefights, though without much footage to prove it—just some jangly, disorienting handheld stuff made coherent by post-deployment interviews."
Presumably the reviewer does not think that, in addition to trying to film while hiding under deadly fire, the makers of this film should have tried to film while not hiding under such fire. It is hard to see how the filming of the relevant events could have been safely improved. But perhaps the reviewer thinks that filming such events is inherently problematic. The reviewer writes,
"The lack of compelling images reflects the confusion of the battlefield and the limited view of the warrior....The absence of any Afghani perspective encourages us to embrace the grunt's moral binary, which might do the fighting man well in battle but does little for us at home, struggling to understand."
Again, the reviewer misses the obvious implication. The film, like the soldiers in it, straightforwardly lacks the kind of vivid portrait of the Afghans that one would of course need in order to understand the conflict in any detail. Presumably, the point must of the film must not, therefore, be to get us to understand that conflict in any detail. Rather, its point must be something quite different. As the reviewer writes, "Restrepo does a fair job of illustrating the terrifying violence of war..." What the reviewer fails to note, and what is more important, is that Restrepo also offers a deeply compelling portrait of the experience of American soldiers in a physically and morally overwhelming situation. That should be enough.
Via NewsGallery: If you're looking for a more indie film experience outdoors this weekend upon your search, check out Rooftop Films!: http://bit.ly/RFilmWk2
Nick, I completely agree with your assessment of Jeunet's tired and over-emphasized quirkiness, although it seems very much descended from Terry Gilliam (rather than Home Alone), a kind of delight in the mal-equipped underdog that is infectious to a point, but never adequately captured or recreated (at least, in Gilliam, not since Time Bandits).
Meanwhile, you mention Jeunet's supposedly inoffensive class politics without developing the point much further (presumably due to stringent space constraints). Slumdog Millionaire seems like a handy inter-text here, another film that dilutes massive, global systems of subjugation, exploitation and inequality to a facile opposition between our endearingly impoverished and scruffy protagonists (often children, to boot) and slickly sleazy bad guys. Bowling for Columbine, meanwhile, seems slightly more successful for acknowledging the shear immensity of the aerospace and weapons manufacturing industries that are the antagonists for both Michael Moore and Jeunet. But I think we both agree that such issues are so haphazardly addressed in Micmacs that they barely merit mention (for better or worse). Great review!
I don't think that the reviewer is trying to say whether or not the medicine works. It just seems like a movie that doesn't allow the viewer to decide for himself.
I am stunned at the reviewer's reaction to this film. Everyone I know who saw it were shocked at what Dr. B has been put through for trying something different to cure cancer instead of the same old same old. Many cried, many were angry at the ones who have tried to beat him down. Shame on you! You better do a little research yourself before you slam something as promising as Dr. B's non-toxic cure!!!
The reviewer should do a little research before writing such garbage.
Dr. Burzynski is currently performing FDA approved clinical trials.
Dr. Burzynski does have support of many conventional doctors, especially those
who have patients who are under Dr.Burzynski's care. These are monitoring
doctors who actually see the results of antineoplastons on brain tumors, children who
are alive today because of Dr.Burzynski and his non toxic therapy. Has the "reviewer" ever seen what conventional medicine offers these children with brain tumors? It is not life~it is torture.
Dr. Burzynski saved my life over 20 years ago! I was diagnosed with stage 4 non Hodgkins lymphoma~i was told I was going to die of the disease. A bone marrow transplant was prescribed for me by my doc at UCLA. I was told there was a great likelihood I would contract leukemia or other cancer in as little as 5 years.
I thank goodness everyday I found Dr Burzynski. He saved my life, and he did
it with a non toxic therapy!!! We need to get this treatment approved and Eric Merola is the man who can make this happen.
Thank you to Eric who is brave enough to speak the truth and go up against the
fools who think they can write anything and get away with it.
mary jo siegel
I think the headline of this article does the film a huge injustice. This is no infomercial for pharma.
Dr. Burzynski is not part of the pharma establishment. This movie tells of the mans fight against big pharma, the Nazi medical boards, and the insurance companies. His crime???? Curing brain cancer. You would think that they would give the guy a big ticker tape parade down main street! What the nieve reviewer doesn't understand is the current political climate in medicine. The current political climate is dominated by insurance companies, pharma, public relations firms, and lobbyists. Insurance companies want to make profit and not pay for any new treatments even cures for brain cancer. Drug companies now are trying to take over the supplement industry now selling fish oil, and niacin prescriptions. These are items you can already buy at your local health food store. The Medical Boards works for pharma and insurance; they go after docs that offer any new therapies that insurance doesn't want to pay for. In Burzynski's case they wanted their discoveries for themselves and tried to take out patents for themselves. Did this reviewer watch the movie or was he too busy so just wrote something up from the press notes? Please watch the films you review.
Your headline doesn't do the movie justice. It could be you don't understand the current political climate in which doctors operate, and how any individual that is not part of the big pharma/insuarnce/nazi medical board system is shunned, attacked and persecuted. The current system is set up by the entitities listed above and if you don't kiss their ass at every turn and have the guts and audacity to do research on your own as an individual then you are in for a big fight. Any Ayn Rand Objectivists will exactly understand what I mean by this. I am not an objectivist myself, but I admire the fact that this group stands up for the rights of individuals vs the group mentality. Dr. Burzynski to me is a modern day hero who stood up for his right as an American under the constitution to do and carry out his research for the benefit of mankind. It may be that the movie needed some background info at the beginning on the political climate of medicine, how it operates and how it is controlled by corporate america. If you already know these facts and see the movie then I think the movie is perfect, inspiring and great. However if you don't know how the industry operates and are either nieve or innocent you many not understand the point of the movie. Example: If you don't know that only 20% of Europeans got the swine flu vaccine, and that regular flu killed more people than swine flu; and that the whole swine flu thing was a giant marketing tool for pharma to get rich........ Then maybe you should study these things before going to see the movie.
I can't believe this waste is 2.5 hours. That's just unbelievable.
Yes "hot-blooded" indeed. It's really nicely shot too. I imagine it would have looked much better up on a big screen. Thanks a lot, Kevin Costner.
Thanks for bringing the 1991 version to my attention. Streamed it last night, found it to be a very nicely scaled, hot-blooded B-movie, with good headstrong work by the very young Uma Thurman as Maid Marion.
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