The Fetishism of Commodities: Meditations on Mad Men and Capitalism and Its Discontents

Pull Quote: “People forget that Karl Marx was the greatest economist who ever lived” - Mad Men’s creative copywriter Paul Kinsey.  NOTE: This article contains plot spoilers. When AMC’s Mad Men marathon began on Wednesday, May 13 at 3:00 p.m. PST, I watched 12 hours straight to 3:00 a.m., Thursday morning, and intermittently viewed the ensuing 92 episodes, culminating with the last hurrah at Big Sur entitled Person to Person.  Watching the Continue Reading...

Film Review: Good Kill – High Tech, Low Morals: To Drone or Not To Drone? – That is the Question

In 2013 this reporter interviewed CodePink co-founder Medea Benjamin, author of Drone Warfare, Killing by Remote Control, who asserted: “There were between 46 and 52 drone strikes under the Bush administration.  And now there are over 400 - that’s not counting Afghanistan.  So this has been tremendously increased under the Obama administration.  If you look at Afghanistan the numbers are even more astounding - the last year where have figures for Continue Reading...

Big Muddy Movies: The Top 10 Vietnam War Films

April 30 marked the 40th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War and the reunification of the country.  The liberation of Vietnam was the biggest military and foreign policy defeat in U.S. history.  As Washington faces more overseas debacles we must ponder the disaster of America’s imperial policies in Southeast Asia and learn the lessons re: what happens when empires stick their noses into other peoples’ business, and a great way to reflect is Continue Reading...

The Trans-Generational Quandary of a Buzzcocks Concert

The Buzzcocks live and dope smoking are two activities in which one should never engage concurrently.  Particularly on the long end of 50.  While in the mosh pit, being pummeled by nubile little kamikazes in ripped fishnets and fire-engine lipstick and smirking double-takes that say "what the hell are you doing here, old man?"  But the dope surge dims the reception and you get an elbow from a little shit who clearly doesn't care about the slight Continue Reading...

Rushes to Judgment: The Top 10 Assassination/Conspiracy Movies of All Time, From A – Z

April 15 is the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s death.  The cinema has been filled with assassination and conspiracy-themed plots - which seems only natural, as the Great Emancipator was shot by actor John Wilkes Booth on April 14, 1865 at Ford’s Theatre while watching the play Our American Cousin.  (Note to self: Be careful re: which actors you give bad reviews to.)  One hundred years ago D.W. Griffith directed what may be the Continue Reading...

TV/Cinema’s Civil War Sesquicentennial: 10 Histories Filmed With Lightning

What movie/TV program about America’s Revolution was a blockbuster?  Strangely, the Spirit of ’76 rarely struck box office gold.  Excluding remembering the Alamo, the War of 1812, Mexican-American War and Spanish-American War produced few notable screen adaptations.  But the Civil War is the conflict America fought prior to cinema’s invention that’s most recreated onscreen.  Along with productions about both World Wars, the struggle between the Continue Reading...

Film Review: Queen & Country – No Time for Sergeant-Majors: The Military, What is it Good For? Still Absolutely NOTHING!

In the extremely enjoyable Queen & Country legendary English director John Boorman trods familiar ground we’ve seen in various films wherein recruits are in conflict not so much with the enemy du jour but the military brass.  Queen is far lighter than Fred Zinnemann’s 1953 From Here to Eternity and Stanley Kubrick’s 1987 Vietnam antiwar classic Full Metal Jacket and like Robert Altman’s 1970 MASH, it is a humorous movie set during the Korean Continue Reading...

Film Review: Blackhat – The Thinker’s Thriller

Around the time the anti-nuclear The China Syndrome was released in 1979, the Three Mile Island nuclear reactor calamity occurred.  Similarly, just days before the opening of Universal’s hacking epic Blackhat, the U.S. Central Command’s Twitter account was hacked by ISIS.  Not to mention the recent Sony saga, wherein unflattering emails, et al, were laid bare and North Korea was blamed for this computer hacking.  Although the DPRK denied these Continue Reading...

Film Review: Dear White People, A Wild and Crazy “Post-Racial” Campus Comedy

The most racially charged movie in 25 years is set to be theatrically released around the time when the grand jury in Ferguson is expected to announce its findings regarding the shooting of a Black teenager, Michael Brown, by a white policeman.  Scheduled to open October 17, Dear White People culminates with what may be the big screen’s most intense racial confrontation in a film set in contemporary America since Do the Right Thing.  And the Continue Reading...

Movie Review: The Kill Team

For Whom the Whistle Blows: “The Kill Team” Enters Afghanistan’s Heart of Darkness If Chelsea/Bradley Manning is the whistleblower best known for exposing U.S. war crimes in Iraq, another Army Specialist, Adam Winfield, is arguably the most famous truth teller who revealed American atrocities in Afghanistan.  But like Private First Class Justin Stoner, Winfield found out the hard way that not only is it tough times for those who dare to blow Continue Reading...

Film Review: Sarejevo – Centennial Cinematic Serbian Saga: Oh! What a Not-So-Lovely War

The 9th annual South East European Film Festival started with -- no pun intended -- a bang on May Day, with the world premiere of Sarajevo, an Austrian feature about the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand.  The liquidation of the heir presumptive of the Austro-Hungarian throne at Sarajevo, the capital of the Empire’s Bosnia and Herzegovina province, took place 100 years ago on June 28, 1914.  The shooting, believed to be carried out by Continue Reading...

Movie Review: Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit – The Military-Industrial-Intelligence-Entertainment Complex’s Agitprop Keeps on Coming: Jumping Jack Smash

Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of Ruskies?  The Shadow Recruit knows! Reactionary espionage novelist Tom Clancy may have died last year, but his heroic CIA agent, Jack Ryan, lives on, as does the rightwing pro-CIA Military-Industrial-Intelligence-Entertainment Complex’s agitprop.  To be sure, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, Paramount’s reboot of the Clancy-derived, highly lucrative Ryan film franchise, is a slickly made, entertaining piece Continue Reading...