Archive for the ‘Truth’ Category

 

 

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Tonight at 9:30pm at the Nitehawk Cinema in Brooklyn, the monthly Kevin Geeks Out show returns with KEVIN GEEKS OUT ABOUT DEADLY WOMEN!

 

Kevin Maher, a writer and comedian who just plain always puts on a good show (and who has recently become a Daily Grindhouse contributor!), will host the event, which involves a screening of various film clips related to the “Deadly Women” theme, with color commentary from a variety of speakers. I myself will be there to talk about — what else? — Pam Grier movies.

 

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Here’s the trailer for the show:

 

trailer – KEVIN GEEKS OUT ABOUT DEADLY WOMEN at Nitehawk Cinema from Kevin Maher on Vimeo.

 

 

There are still a couple tickets left, but literally only a couple. Hope to see some of our New York people there!

 

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For some idea of what goes on at these things, here are a couple expanded editions of my talks at a couple past KGO events:

 

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Clint Eastwood, as The Outlaw Josey Wales:

“Now remember, when things look bad and it looks like you’re not gonna make it, then you gotta get mean. I mean plumb, mad-dog mean. ‘Cause if you lose your head and you give up then you neither live nor win. That’s just the way it is.”

@jonnyabomb

#10.  Miami Vice (2006)

I’m sure that there are people who will roll their eyes or sneer at my inclusion of Michael Mann’s Miami Vice feature in my top ten of the entire decade, but that’s fine.  I never started compiling this list with the intention of sounding smarter or cooler than anyone else.

These are the movies that I responded to the most, the ones that I am happiest to revisit.  Miami Vice is probably the least beloved by other people of any other movie on my list, and I think there are two reasons for that.

One is expectations.  If what we saw in the Miami Vice movie was presented instead as a pilot for a re-launched HBO Miami Vice TV series, I bet people would have loved it a lot more.  While the movie is very detail-oriented when it comes to the world and the work it depicts, the characters are done in broader strokes than we expect from our greatest movies.  Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx are better than adequate as Crockett and Tubbs, but we don’t ultimately feel like we ever know them as well as we know the lead characters in, for example, other Michael Mann films.  Great character actors such as John Ortiz, John Hawkes, Barry Shabaka Henley, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Ciarán Hinds, Eddie Marsan, Isaach De Bankolé, and Tom Towles all get brief moments to shine (some briefer than others), but ultimately they are as hard to know as the lead pair.

For me, that works (this time, at least), but I think most people would have been reassured to have been promised that we’d be revisiting these characters in future adventures.  Since there weren’t any more episodes, and since people knew that ahead of time, most people were unsatisfied with the enigmatic, underexplored leads.

The other reason for Miami Vice’s lack of popularity, is that there is a very unusual and specific aesthetic at work here, an aesthetic that Mann pushed even further in 2009’s Public Enemies and lost a lot more audience members and critical defenders as a result of it.  Miami Vice, honestly, is more like a Michael Mann remix of a Michael Mann movie — some Manhunter here, some Heat there, a tiny sprinkle of The Insider, plenty of Collateral, some younger stars and hotter chicks and hotter guns and vehicles and new sounds mixed in — but again, Michael Mann is my favorite director, so I can do better than live with it.  I absolutely love the look, the sound, and the vibe of Miami Vice, but I understand that it’s an uncommon look, sound, and vibe.  For me, there are few movies I’d rather watch, because for some reason I key into its specific rhythms and can sway with ‘em.

And I don’t need much in-depth character work to intuitively understand what Crockett and Tubbs see in their respective ladies – the female leads here are just more interesting to me than you usually see in a modern crime movie.  Gong Li, despite struggling with the subject of mojitos, is an exotic, forbidding, ultimately human love interest, and Naomie Harris, who made such a strong first impression on film in 28 Days Later, is a tough, lovely equal partner to the guys in the film, although her Bronx accent is admittedly unfortunate.  The fact that I warm to these ladies, and that the two main guys are comparatively blank slates, leads me to relate to that ending a lot more strongly than I might have if the movie played any other way. Since it’s painted in broader strokes, character-wise, it’s easier to bring myself to the movie, if that makes sense.

That final sequence, perfectly matched to Mogwai’s “Auto Rock,” is like the greatest music video ever to totally encapsulate my inner romantic world.  The last dialogue we hear in the film resonates with the sentiments “Time is luck” (a frequent motif in Mann’s work)  and “This was too good to last,” and these are sentiments I understand and have felt before.  I know what it’s like to walk away from someone good, for solid reasons, for the wrong reasons, and for no good reason at all – it’s a frequent motif of my own personal story.

This movie, in its final moments, captures that feeling as well as anything I’ve personally seen, heard, or read in all my experiences with popular culture.  It’s a feeling that still hasn’t entirely left me, here now in 2011.  Therefore, neither has this movie.  And I don’t care who knows or judges it.

Inside Job, the documentary written and directed by Charles Ferguson, won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 2010.  It goes into agonizing detail over what caused the global economic crisis in 2008, who was responsible, and how literally none of the guiltiest parties have been made to be accountable for their oversights (and in many cases, greed).

Even though the subject matter involves all of us personally, there are many people who won’t bother to watch this movie.  Economics.  Boring, right?  I’ll readily admit: Inside Job is as clear and understandable as a movie on this subject can be, and most of it still went over my head.  But that’s the entire problem, isn’t it?  The political opportunists and economic looters who got away with all that they have are counting on the fact that most of us in America are more concerned with what we can more easily understand, like Jersey Shore and People Magazine and the SuperBowl and even Inception.  (Believe me, I’m painting myself with the ‘distracted’ brush too.)

Ferguson’s examination is a persuasive argument that many high-ranking politicians and captains of industry – and most distressingly, members of academia – benefitted from conflicts of interest and lack of any policing authority, and that they got richer and richer even as the American economy went to hell.  As usual, the people at the bottom are the ones who suffer most.  Not only will the men responsible for the crisis not be brought to justice, but in most cases, they have actually been rewarded financially for their crimes.

Whether you agree with Inside Job’s claims or not (and if you don’t agree, I bet you have doubts about gravity existing, or 2 and 2 equalling 4), Ferguson’s accomplishment is pretty brave.  Just as brave is Matt Damon’s involvement as narrator – how many other huge movie stars would have the guts to lend their recognizability to such a morally important yet publicly risky venture?  I’ve got all kinds of respect for Matt Damon, particularly after this.  He’s doing such worthy things with his success.  How nice would it be if more celebrities would do the same.

By the way, if you’re thinking that this is some left-wing rant, think again.  Personally, my politics are a lot more nebulous (I don’t talk much about my politics but don’t ever think I can be pegged down cleanly by one side or another) – and this movie certainly argues damningly towards bi-partisan culpability.  While the current fiscal disaster really started with Reagan (and was helped greatly by Bushes 1 and 2), Clinton had a significant role to play as well in fanning the twin flames of ineptitude and opportunism, and Obama, disappointingly, is offering more of the same.

Whether we are Republican or Democrat or both or neither, we clearly can’t sit back and rely on our leaders to do the right thing.  There are no white knights in this story.  It’s up to the rest of us to be them.  We all, Inside Job argues, have to do what we can to stay aware of the important issues and to call for accountability when wrongdoing occurs.  Charles Ferguson and Matt Damon and the rest of this crew stepped up to do their part.  Who’s next?

http://www.sonyclassics.com/insidejob/