Reverential Retrospective Recounts U.S. Pilots’ Role in Israel’s War of Independence

 

Above and Beyond

Film Review by Kam Williams

Reverential Retrospective Recounts U.S. Pilots’ Role in Israel’s War of Independence

 

 

Israel found itself losing its War of Independence in 1948 because it had no fighter planes with which to respond to air attacks on the part of its Arab adversaries. Luckily, a number of World War II fighter pilots from half a world away would answer its desperate plea for assistance.

above_and_beyondThough this ragtag band of brothers considered themselves more American than Jewish, they were nevertheless willing to risk their U.S. citizenship and their very lives by volunteering to come to the rescue. So, they started by smuggling planes out of the country in order to train behind the Iron Curtain in Czechoslovakia.

Next, they flew to the war-torn Middle East where they would play a pivotal role in turning the tide of the conflict, while cultivating an unexpected Jewish pride in the process. The daring exploits of these unsung aviators are recounted in vivid fashion in Above and

Beyond, a reverential documentary directed by Roberta Grossman.

Among the octet feted here is Leon Frankel, a bomber pilot who had received a Navy Cross for the heroism he’d exhibited over Okinawa. Another is Coleman Goldstein, who had been shot down over France in 1943 and declared missing in action. However, he survived WWII by making his way over the Pyrenees to Spain where he was rescued and reunited with his squadron. Then there’s the late Milton Rubenfeld, fondly remembered here by his son Paul, better know as comedian Pee Wee Herman.

Inter alia, we learn that the members of the 101st painted “Angels of Death” as a logo on their aircrafts’ fuselages. On one mission, a former commercial pilot for TWA tricked Egyptian air traffic controllers into believing that he was about to land in Cairo before dropping explosives on a city which had never been bombed before.

Another recounts observing refugees from Hitler’s death camps kissing the ground upon arriving in Israel. Besides fighting, the 101st not only flew supplies to the front lines but evacuated wounded soldiers from the Negev Desert battlefields.

As the curtain comes down, one ace waxes rhapsodic with, “God allowed us to survive World War II, so we could come to Israel and help the remnants of our people survive.” Hear, hear!

 

Excellent (4 stars)

Unrated

In English and Hebrew with subtitles

Running time: 87 minutes

Distributor: International Film Circuit

 

To see a trailer for Above and Beyond, visit: http://aboveandbeyondthemovie.com/trailer

Source:  Baret News Wire

Grandparents Square-Off over Biracial Child in Contentious Courtroom Drama

 

Black or White

Film Review by Kam Williams

Grandparents Square-Off over Biracial Child in Contentious Courtroom Drama

 

When Elliot Anderson’s (Kevin Costner) wife Carol (Jennifer Ehle) perishes in a tragic car accident, he suddenly finds himself facing the prospect of raising his 7 year-old granddaughter Eloise (Jillian Estell) alone. After all, the couple had originally assumed custody from the moment their own daughter died giving birth to the little girl, since the baby’s drug-addicted father (Andre Holland) was behind bars and totally unfit to be a parent.

127703_galToday, however, Elliot does have a drinking problem which proceeds to escalate out of control in the wake of his spouse’s untimely demise. And this state of affairs comes to the attention of Eloise’s fraternal grandmother, Rowena “Wee-Wee” Davis (Octavia Spencer), who soon resurfaces for the first time in years.

She approaches Elliot about setting up visitation, in spite of her son’s substance abuse problems, since Eloise has a lot of other relatives on her father’s side of the family eager to see her. But the wealthy, white lawyer balks at the very suggestion, presumably because they’re black and from the ‘hood, and he’s thus far managed to shield his relatively-privileged granddaughter from the ghetto and its host of woes.

Of course, Wee-Wee doesn’t take the rebuff sitting down, but rather prevails upon her attorney brother, Jeremiah (Anthony Mackie), to file suit. Next thing you know, the parties are slinging mud at one another in an ugly custody battle where Reggie is accused of being a crack head with a criminal record and Elliot is labeled a racist and an alcoholic. Responsibility for dispensing justice blindly falls to Judge Margaret Cummings (Paula Newsome), who might very well be a bit biased in favor of plaintiff Rowena, given that she’s also African-American and female.

All roads inexorably lead to a big courtroom showdown in Black or White, a cross-cultural melodrama written and directed by Mike Binder (Reign over Me). Ostensibly “inspired by true events,” the picture pits a couple of worthy adversaries against each other in Elliot and Wee-Wee, as capably played by Oscar-winners Kevin Costner (for Dances with Wolves) and Octavia Spencer (for The Help).

Any lawyer worth his or her salt knows that you never ask a question on cross-examination that you don’t already127545_gal know the answer to. Nonetheless, Jeremiah violates that cardinal rule by asking Elliot, “Do you dislike all black people?” This affords the just-disgraced granddad an opportunity to rehabilitate his tarnished image courtesy of a scintillating, self-serving soliloquy reminiscent of Jack Nicholson’s “You can’t handle the truth!” monologue in A Few Good Men.

If only the rest of this racially-tinged baby-daddy drama had matched that climactic moment in terms of intensity. Still, the film is worth the investment for veteran Costner’s vintage performance and for the way in which the timely script dares to tackle some tough social questions in refreshingly-realistic, if perhaps politically-incorrect fashion.

 

Very Good (3 stars)

Rated PG-13 for profanity, fighting, ethnic slurs, and mature themes involving drugs and alcohol

Running time: 121 minutes

Distributor: Relativity Media

 

 Source: Baret News Wire

 

Deflate-Gate or Deflated-Ego-Gate you tell me!

 

Deflate-Gate or Deflated-Ego-Gate you tell me! 

 

I’m Will Roberts, and this is the daily scream!! Ahh, here we go!
Now how sad is it that we question everything these days, I will tell ya the question, next!
Deflate gate
Now, I don’t know the outcome of whether they did or didn’t deflate the football. And if you don’t what I am talking about its probably best. But this line of questioning by the opposite team that was slaughtered seems it hold less air than the football does.
I’m not even sure you can use the phrase anymore “ benefit of the doubt”  because, unfortunately, there’s more doubt these days then there is the benefit.  The only game you see use this kind of tactics is POLITICS. They question everything, and we believe nothing.
I could see the question being posed if the opposite team was tied, with two seconds to go, but not with a point difference that this game WILL SAYS ICONhad, maybe they should question their abilities first.
But footballs are the hardest to tell if they are up to snuff.  I mean, with baseball, it would be called softball. Basketball dribbling would be a dribble; Tennis would be Badminton.
I say, we fill the balls with helium.  That’ll make the game a lot more interesting. A field goal will cover the field. A Hail Mary will be a hella ah  of a Mary.  But ultimately, we might just be better to hand out Band-Aids to the opposite team, to fix their bruised egos
Wills Daily Cartoon

 

Get my cartoons, go to my willsays.com

Individualism and Reporting in Sports Becomes an Unknown Concept

 

Individualism and Reporting in Sports Becomes an Unknown Concept

 ~ Amy Lignor

A very famous racing icon has announced that 2015 will be his last year in the world of NASCAR.

 

Serena Williams is going off the charts at the Australian Open, beating competitors left and right and screaming, at herself, when she doesn’t do something ‘to utter perfection’. Along with her mighty wins, comes the surprise defeat of another amazing individual, Roger Federer, who finds himself eliminated. A man who deserves, yet may never get back to, #1.
roadsign with a poor excuse concept illustration designThere are sports going on everywhere. There are individuals who are sparking the imagination of children, speaking to their fans and, better yet, showing their fans true and utter power and talent on their chosen fields. Basketball has kings and losers; as well as yet another icon who may just see his whole magical career end on a rotator cuff injury. But…what do we talk about? Balls, apparently. And seeing as that I have already voiced-off regarding the Patriots – now is the time to extend the same kindness to the media and an individual Seahawk.

 

I am fan of neither team. I love football; it is my passion. However, my favorite is not at the big game this year, and as far as the teams playing I have no ‘one over the other’ wish. What I DO wish for, however, is that the media remembers that the only thing about football that football fans really want to hear about now is the Super Bowl. In other words, leave the balls at the door. We’re tired.

 

To end this ridiculous week, the Seahawk criminal should be given the same ‘time’ as Brady, the Patriot’s supposed criminal. Of course, these are two far different cases. Brady is being held over an open fire pit, being accused of doing something that according to Troy Aikman is far worse than taking performance-enhancing drugs. The media is desperately trying to knock Brady off his pedestal, forgetting completely that they were the ones who put him there.

 

But then we have Seattle. Marshawn Lynch has had his own ‘ball’ battle to deal with this week. Lynch is referred to by some in the media as being, “An incredibly real brother.” Others state that he is: “A player who should be highly respected because he cares deeply about his team and loves what he does.” Yet nowhere in these glowing reports come the words: Grow up!

 

The Lynch performance deserves an Oscar way before the Brady press conference does. From the man’s ridiculous actions on the field (by the way, Marshawn, that move is just wonderful for a stadium full of kids who idolize you, to watch); to the, “Thanks for Atskin” speech, is annoying. We are constantly reminded that Lynch came from the streets of Oakland, became educated, and is now a shining star. Yet, every time the mouth opens or the hand gesture is done, Lynch makes himself look very much uneducated.

 

If a player cannot speak to the media because of, say, anxiety issues – fine. Then get a doctor’s note and be excused. Although, why anyone wants to speak with this man to begin with, is a mystery.

 

Fined $20,000 for yet another of his own ‘ball’ tricks, a warning was also issued from the NFL stating they would fine the man $50,000 if he doesn’t speak to the media this Super Bowl event. Even if I dislike the attitude of the man, Lynch should be aware that all of these things take away from the fact that he can play the game. The negativity being issued from Lynch spreads to the fans. His brashness, his juvenile actions – none of this makes this man an individual, it makes him a punk.

 

Whether or not Tom Brady had a clandestine meeting about deflating footballs is not relevant to Lynch’s problems. In fact, most fans wish everyone would shut up about it and get on with the Super Bowl. But no matter who you are rooting for; no matter who you believe in Deflate Gate, or how you feel about Marshawn Lynch and his stupid way of showing his individualism – actual fans want to hear about sports.


There are sports out there to discuss. There are subjects fans of all sports want to hear about. Can we please talk about them now? I would even find it a gift to hear about a ping pong ball instead.

 

Source:  Sportsmans Lifestyle

True Tale Recounts How CIA First Introduced Crack to the ‘Hood

 

Kill the Messenger

DVD Review by Kam Williams

True Tale Recounts How CIA First Introduced Crack to the ‘Hood

 

 

In August of 1996, the San Jose Mercury News published an eye-opening expose’ detailing exactly how the Central Intelligence Agency had orchestrated the importation of crack cocaine from Nicaragua as well as its distribution in the black community of South Central Los Angeles. Entitled “Dark Alliance,” the 20,000-word series was written by Gary Webb (Jeremy Renner), an investigative journalist who’d risked life and limb to release the incendiary information.

61Ynyxull9LFor, in the midst of conducting his research, he had been asked “Do you have a family?” by a CIA operative trying to intimidate him into killing the article. The spy agency was ostensibly determined to suppress any facts which might shed light on its covert dealings with the Contras, the rebels attempting to topple the government of Nicaragua.

But Webb, already a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, would not be intimidated and went with the piece. And even though he had supported his shocking allegations with declassified documents obtained via the Freedom of Information Act, the Establishment secretly enlisted the assistance of the New York Times, the Washington Post and the L.A. Times to discredit him.

These prominent papers pooh-poohed the very notion that the CIA could possibly be behind the dissemination of crack in the inner-city. Nevertheless, “Dark Alliance” became the biggest story of the year, especially among African-Americans, many of whom surfed the internet for the first time in order to read the damning report.

Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) took to the floor to warn that “Somebody’s going to have to pay for what they have done to my people.” Yet, the revelations seemed to take the greatest toll on Gary Webb, who lost his good name, his job, his career, his home, and even the love of his wife (Rosemarie DeWitt ) in due course.

This shameful chapter in American history is the subject of Kill the Messenger, a sobering biopic directed by Michael Cuesta and starring Jeremy Renner. The film features an A-list cast also including Ray Liotta, Barry Pepper, Tim Blake Nelson, Andy Garcia, Oliver Platt, Michael Sheen, Robert Patrick and Paz Vega.

However, make no mistake, this riveting thriller is a Renner vehicle, and the two-time Academy Award-nominee (for The Hurt Locker and The Town) delivers another Oscar-quality performance as a family man/respected writer slowly turned into a paranoid soul haunted by demons and hunted by Machiavellian mercenaries drunk with power. A cautionary tale about what might easily transpire whenever the Fourth Estate is willing to serve as the Fifth Column rather than as a government watchdog.

 

Excellent (4 stars)

Rated R for profanity and drug use

Running time: 112 minutes

Distributor: Universal Studios Home Entertainment

Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack Extras: Feature commentary with director Michael Cuesta; deleted scenes commentary with commentary by Michael Cuesta; Kill the Messenger: The All-Star Cast; Crack in America; and Filming in Georgia.

 


To order Kill the Messenger on Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack, visit: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00P6VM1SM/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

 

Source:  Baret News Wire

Downey Plays Prodigal Son in Search of Redemption in Compelling Courtroom Drama

 

The Judge

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Downey Plays Prodigal Son in Search of Redemption in Compelling Courtroom Drama

 

 

Hank Palmer (Robert Downey, Jr.) is a very successful, criminal defense attorney with a good reason to hide his humble roots. After all, he was a rebellious kid who frequently landed in trouble with the law while growing up in tiny Carlinville, Indiana.
51d-NY2KN9LThat juvenile delinquency only served to alienate him from his father, Joseph (Robert Duvall), who just happened to be the town’s only judge. In addition, one of Hank’s more egregious missteps left him permanently estranged from his older brother, Glen (Vincent D’Onofrio). And since their only other sibling, Dale (Jeremy Palmer), was mentally handicapped, Hank hadn’t been back in ages when he received word that his mother (Catherine Cummings) had died.

So, he only planned to make a perfunctory appearance at the funeral before quickly returning to Chicago where he had his hands full, between his high-flying career and a custody battle with his estranged wife (Sarah Lancaster) over their young daughter (Emma Tremblay). However, everything changes when Judge Palmer is suddenly arrested in the hit-and-run killing of a creepy convict (Mark Kiely) he’d publicly castigated in court before releasing back onto the street.

This shocking development conveniently forces Hank to stick around to represent his father, and simultaneously affords him the opportunity to mend a few fences. Plus, it gives him time to unwittingly seduce a woman he meets in a bar (Leighton Meester), who is not only the daughter of his high school sweetheart (Vera Farmiga), but might be the love child he never knew he had.

 

Thus unfolds The Judge, a character-driven drama which is half-whodunit, half-kitchen sink soap opera that pulls another rabbit out of the hat every five minutes or so. A potentially farcical film remains rather well grounded thanks to Robert Duvall who plays the Palmer family patriarch with a sobering, stone cold gravitas.

 

Both Robert Downey, Jr. and Billy Bob Thornton turn in inspired performances, too, as the opposing attorneys matching wits in a classic courtroom showdown. And the rest of the ensemble more than holds their own as well in service of a script that has a tendency to strain credulity.

A fanciful, thoroughly-modern variation on the parable of the Prodigal Son!

 

Excellent (3.5 stars)

Rated R for profanity and sexual references

Running time: 141 minutes

Distributor: Warner Home Entertainment Group

Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack Extras: Deleted scenes; deleted scenes with optional commentary by director David Dobkin; commentary by David Dobkin; Inside the Judge; and Getting Deep with Dax Shepard.

 

 

To order a copy of The Judge Blu-ray/DVD combo pack, visit: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00OD37P2Q/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Source:  Baret News Wire

Oscar-Winner Reflects on Life, Career and His Latest Film

 

Kevin Costner

The “Black or White” Interview

with Kam Williams

Oscar-Winner Reflects on Life, Career and His Latest Film

 

 

Kevin Michael Costner was born in Lynwood, California on January 18, 1955. After landing a breakout role in Silverado in 1985, he enjoyed a meteoric rise in such hit pictures as The Untouchables, No Way Out, Bull Durham and Field of Dreams en route to winning a couple of Academy Awards for Dancing with Wolves.

 

37227_galOther films on his impressive resume include JFK, The Bodyguard, Message in a Bottle and Draft Day, to name a few. Here, he discusses his latest film, Black or White, a courtroom drama where he plays a grandfather caught up in a legal fight for custody of his biracial granddaughter with the black side of her family.

 

 

Kam Williams: Hi Kevin, thanks for the interview. I’m honored to have this opportunity.

Kevin Costner: You can call me Kevin, Kam.

 

KW: Thanks! I told my readers I’d be interviewing you, so I have a lot of questions for you from fans. Children’s book author Irene Smalls asks: What attracted you to this project, and do you think the plot is relevant, given the evolution of race relations in America?

KC: That’s what attracted me to the project. It reminded me of one of the things I like about movies. I remember how, after I read the script for Dances with Wolves, I just knew that I had to make it, when not everybody else wanted to. But I did end up making it. Similarly, Bull Durham and Fields of Dreams, didn’t strike people as giant movies, but I think the hallmark of all three of those pictures is that they have traveled through time and become classics. And when I read Black or White, I had the exact same feeling. I said, “Oh my God! This is about the moment that we’re living in right now. And this was before Ferguson, and all this stuff. You know, our problems didn’t just start in August. I’ve been living with this my entire life. But I thought there was a level of genius in the writing that I thought would make everybody rush to make this movie also. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen, and so the journey of this project has been very much like the journey of others that I’ve had to push uphill. But I didn’t think Black or White had any less value, so I decided I would pay for it, and make this movie because I just thought it had a chance to be a classic, and because it said some things I think a lot of people need to hear and would even perhaps say themselves, if they could string the words together.

 

KW: Sangeetha Subramanian says: Black or White looks like a great movie, Kevin. Did you give your on-screen granddaughter, Jillian Estell, any acting advice on the set?

KC: No I didn’t. I just tried to lead by example by the way I behaved on the set, and she understood. She’s a little girl, and I always had to keep that in mind. But she gave us the performance that we really needed. This movie depended on her being really good, which she was!

 

KW: Harriet Pakula-Teweles says: Field of Dreams’ message was, “If you build it, he will come.” What’s the takeaway built into Black or White?

KC: I guess the message of Field of Dreams, ultimately, was about things that go unsaid between people who really love each other, and about how it’s important that you try to say those things while you’re still alive, so that they have that level of meaning, that level of value, that you can carry with you for the rest of your life.

Field of Dreams, to me, was always about things that go unsaid that need to be talked about. I don’t know what the takeaway for Black or White is, but I do know that if you’re going to make a movie, and it’s going to deal with race, you have to make it authentic, and not pull any punches. You have to use the language that’s appropriate. And I thought this movie was a miracle because writer/director Mike Binder was able to just be authentic in dealing with race. These were things that wanted to be said, so I knew that I would have a kind of a role of a lifetime in Elliot Anderson.

 

KW: Director Larry Greenberg says: Black or White touches on how alcoholism and addiction impact parenting. Is this an issue that you feel needs more attention?

KC: Well, obviously, you were able to see the movie, Larry, and for that I’m grateful. The hope is that, if the movie
did touch you, you’ll continue to tell other people about it. But alcohol, used in any excess, is always going to put a veil over how we behave… clouding our judgment… and affecting our ability to love and to be responsible. And certainly, in this instance, it’s pretty clear that what was driving the drinking was the loss of the love of his life, his wife, and the loss of his child seven years earlier. The discussion of alcohol, and where he is in terms of it, is pretty unique in this film, because at one point he suggests that maybe he isn’t an alcoholic, but just an angry person. And that clouds his judgment when he’s backed into a corner. Also, the movie deals with addictions on both sides, which makes it very balanced and enjoyable to watch.

 

KW: Sherry Gillam says: Happy Belated Birthday! [January 18th] I saw your picture on the cover of AARP Magazine a couple of months ago. You’re still just as handsome as ever.

KC: [Laughs heartily] Thank Sherry a lot. I have no choice, but that was really a high compliment. It’s been a pleasure making movies for people of my generation. I try to make films that will stand the test of time, so that the younger generations will be inclined to catch up to them. That’s what I tried to do with Black or White. It’s relevant to us now, but I’m hopeful that someone watching it twenty years from now will understand what’s at stake when you’re dealing with the welfare of a child, and of the problem that might come when you overlay it with race.

 

KW: Sherry did have a question, too. She asks: What makes you smile on the inside?

KC: [Laughs again] A good idea makes me smile. My children succeeding makes me smile. My wife looking at me and saying she’s proud of me makes me smile. Even just being surprised makes me smile.

 

KW: Professor/director/author Hisani Dubose says: You have such a broad range of movies, which I think is great. What attracts you to a script? Is there a unifying factor?

KC: Sometimes, it’s the chance to say something I want to say for myself. Other times, it’s having an opportunity to say something that I feel everyone in the world would like to say. And Black or White really matches up with that. There are some things said in this movie that I know people have wanted to say for a long time. I was given the speech of a lifetime in the courtroom, and I’m gratified to hear that audiences have been clapping when I’m done. A lot of people would never think that’s possible, given the movie, but I’ve seen it in theaters night after night. That’s been very pleasing to me.

 

KW: Documentary filmmaker Kevin Williams says: Thank you for making so many great, enjoyable films. When you look back upon your career, how do you remember your magical rise from Silverado to winning a couple of Oscars for Dances with Wolves?

KC: The truth is that I can remember it, I understand, yet I never thought my career would ever have that kind of success. Listen, I’ve had such good luck. I didn’t know it could ever be as wonderful as it has been, although it has had a measure of stress and pain. Still, it’s been an incredible ride. I appreciate my good luck and my good fortune, and I have loved every minute of it. Silverado, Fandango, No Way Out, The Untouchables, Open Range, Hatfields & McCoys, all these movies that I look back on, and now Black or White. Listen, I’ve had good luck, and I get that. I just hope the second half of my life plays out in a way that I am able to continue to make movies that are relevant not only to me but to people who like to go to the theater.

 

KW: My favorite of your films, one which I’ve watched over a dozen times, is No Way Out.

KC: [Chuckles] That was a movie that wasn’t going to get made, either. It was sitting at Warner Brothers in a state of limbo known as turnaround. It just wasn’t on the minds of anybody. Orion Pictures wanted to do a picture with me, but they didn’t have anything in mind. They asked me what I was interested in, and I told them that there was this picture over at Warner Brothers I really loved called Finished with Engines. I brought the script to them and they decided they would do it, but they changed the title to No Way Out.

 

KW: Environmental activist Grace Sinden asks: What do you enjoy the most about the moviemaking process?

KC: I really love rehearsal. I love being with people and working on something when no one else is looking. Another aspect I enjoy is having a job where you have breakfast, lunch and dinner with the people you work with. You always get to know people a lot better when you’re actually able to have meals with them. So, I was really perfectly suited for the movie business. I don’t know how I got so lucky, but I thank God for it every day.

 

KW: Attorney Bernadette Beekman asks: Do you think this film will initiate a debate about interracial adoption?

KC: I think that if you see this movie with someone who doesn’t look like you, you’re going to have an incredible conversation afterwards. I believe Black or White will really foster conversation whether you see it with friends or with your sweetheart, and that you will be a little different when you come out of the theater.

 

KW: David Roth says: In Black or White, your character, Elliot, is raising a black granddaughter, sheltering her from her junkie dad and the perceived instability of her black relatives. Does this picture pander to “white knight coming to the rescue of a person of color” stereotype avoided by Selma director Ava DuVernay in her downplaying President LBJ’s role in the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

KC: Audiences coming out of the theater say how refreshing Black or White is because of its evenhandedness in that regard. We know that humans are sometimes willing to fight unfairly, and what makes this picture great is that it feels very, very authentic. We’re not dealing with the same issue that David has with Selma. No one likes to go to a movie and fell like they’ve been manipulated. You smell a rat when you’re being manipulated. The truth is just as entertaining as a lie, so why not shoot the truth?

37225_gal

KW: When you look in the mirror, what do you see?

KC: I see a full life. And I’m raising young children, and my desire to stay healthy and to remain relevant is uppermost in my mind.

 

KW: The Ling-Ju Yen question: What is your earliest childhood memory?

KC: I remember everything from about 2½ or 3 years-old on. I remember my father coming home and unlacing his work boots… I remember my mom cooking in the kitchen… I remember the curtains… the couches… the smell of the linoleum. I even remember some of my dreams from back then.

 

KW: I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that powerful eulogy you delivered for Whitney Houston. There were a lot of great eulogies that day, but yours eclipsed them all.

KC: Thank you. Well, Whitney and I had a unique relationship. I wasn’t even sure that I should be up there talking, but it seemed like the world demanded that because of our make believe relationship in The Bodyguard. The world has linked us together because of that movie. So when I was asked to speak, I could only talk about what it was I knew.

 

KW: Harriet also asks: With so many classic films being redone, is there a remake you’d like to star in?

KC: I don’t really think about that very much. There are a couple that I might redo, but I still just love breaking new ground on an individual movie. I appreciate great classics, and perhaps I’ll make one someday, but I have six or seven lined up, and not one of them is a remake or a sequel.

 

KW: Are any of your kids interested in following in your footsteps?

KC: No, they’ve all charted their own paths. None of them has pivoted off my name. They’re all doing their own thing. That’s what I love about them. My daughter [Lily] sings in Black or White. That’s her singing in the funeral scene. She’s 28, and an amazing singer/songwriter.

 

KW: Lastly, what’s in your wallet?

KC: [LOL] What’s in my wallet? Well, at the premiere a few days ago, this Chinese fellow came up to me, handed me his card, and said, “I want to make movies with you.” I haven’t called him yet, but we’ll see if he really means it.

 

KW: Thanks again for the time, Kevin, and best of luck with the film.

KC: I’m glad you liked the movie, Kam, and thanks for writing about it.

 

 Source:  Baret News Wire

Brad Pitt Plays Tough Tank Commander in WWII Flick

 

Fury

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Brad Pitt Plays Tough Tank Commander in WWII Flick

 

 

It is April of 1945, and the Allies are making major inroads across the European theater. However, Adolf Hitler has responded to the attrition in the ranks of his army by exhorting women and children to take up arms in a desperate fight to the death.
51q-YiKb-4LThis is the state of affairs awaiting Don “Wardaddy” Collier (Brad Pitt) when he reaches Germany after engagements in Africa, Belgium and the Netherlands. Sergeant Collier is the commander of a Sherman tank that is part of a battle-hardened armored division being dispatched deep into enemy territory to help deliver the coup de grace to the Nazis.

 

We meet Wardaddy during a brief pause in the action taken to refuel, to restock ammo and to replace his recently-deceased “best damn gunner in the 9th battalion.” Now, he must make do with Norman Ellison (Logan Lerman), a private with no fighting experience just plucked out of the typing pool.

The other members of Collier’s motley crew include tank driver Trini Garcia (Michael Pena), Bible-thumping Boyd Swan (Shia LaBeouf) and a good ol’ boy who goes by Coon-Ass (Jon Benthal). Their next mission is to rescue some stranded GIs urgently in need of assistance.

But prior to shipping out, Collier wants to make sure his greenhorn is ready for the front. So, he forces him to shoot a captured SS officer in the head to show he has no qualms about killing.

 

That is the premise established at the outset of Fury, a fairly gruesome adventure written and directed by U.S. Navy veteran David Ayer (Training Day). Fair warning: this is a film you don’t so much watch as endure. Picture the sheer intensity of Saving Private Ryan coupled with the visual capture of The Thin Red Line, the harrowing claustrophobia of Das Boot, and the utter insanity of Apocalypse Now.

Brad Pitt exudes an endearing combination of confidence and charm as a calm leader who proves himself quite capable of generating a genuine camaraderie among his men despite the cramped quarters and constant close brushes of death. Moreover, he exhibits an uncanny ingenuity when forced by circumstances to survive by his wits as their resources dwindle.

The meat grinder that was World War II convincingly portrayed from the point-of-view of a band of brothers who were like sitting ducks stuck in a sardine can.

 

Excellent (4 stars)

Rated R for sexuality, graphic violence, grisly images and pervasive profanity

In English and German with subtitles

Running time: 135 minutes

Distributor: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Blu-ray Extras: 50+ minutes of deleted and extended scenes; Director’s Combat Journal; Armored Warriors: The Real Men inside the Shermans; Taming the Beasts: How to Drive, Fire and Shoot inside a 30-Ton Tank; Photo Gallery; and Blood Brothers.

 


To order Fury on Blu-ray, visit: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00OMC0W9G/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

 

Source:  Baret News Wire

CNN Special Revisits the Liberation of Notorious Concentration Camp

 

Voices of Auschwitz

TV Review by Kam Williams

CNN Special Revisits the Liberation of Notorious Concentration Camp

 

 

While tracing his roots a year ago, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer learned for the first time that his paternal grandparents had perished at Auschwitz during the Second World War. That discovery made him a natural to host Voices of Auschwitz, a powerful documentary commemorating the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the infamous concentration camp.

Over one million Jews were murdered there at the hands of the Nazis, whether in the crematorium, by firing squad, as guinea pigs in experiments, or by other methods. This CNN special focuses on the reflections of a quartet of Auschwitz survivors, Renee Firestone, Martin Greenfield, Eva Kor, Anita Lasker-Wallfisch, members of an aging fraternity whose numbers are definitely dwindling. For that reason, it is important to hear how they not only miraculously managed to survive the ordeal, but went on to lead very productive lives after the war, despite losing most of their relatives.

Renee Firestone

Renee Firestone

Renee relates how upon arriving at Auschwitz, her mother was sent straight to the gas chamber, while she and her sister were sent into the prison where she bought time by offering her services as an aspiring fashion designer. Similarly, Martin worked as a tailor for the Gestapo, and was able to endure the bitter cold by sewing together scraps of discarded material.

Martin Greenfield

Martin Greenfield

Anita got a reprieve by playing the cello in a makeshift inmate orchestra, and eventually founded the English Chamber Orchestra. And Eva was only 10 years-old when her arm was branded “A-7063” at Auschwitz where she and her twin sister Miriam were subjected to torture on a daily basis at the hands of the diabolical Dr. Mengele.

Elizabeth Lefkowits

Elizabeth Lefkowits

Besides interviewing these survivors, Blitzer shares a tete-a-tete with film director Steven Spielberg, who credits shooting Schindler’s List and creating the Shoah Foundation for his renewal as a Jew. In sum, this moving memoir stands as a remarkable testament to the indomitability of the human spirit as well as a mighty reminder why the evils of the Holocaust must never be forgotten.

 

Excellent (4 stars)

Running time: 49 minutes

Distributor: CNN

 

Voices of Auschwitz premieres on CNN on Wednesday, January 28th @ 9pm ET/PT (check your local listings)

 

To see a trailer for Voices of Auschwitz, visit:  http://www.cnn.com/videos/tv/2015/01/23/exp-promo-voices-of-auschwitz.cnn

Source:  Baret News Wire

Top Ten DVD List for January 27, 2015

This Week’s DVD Releases

by Kam Williams

 

 

medical-simulation-top-10-400Top Ten DVD List for January 27, 2015

 

Kill the Messenger

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00P6VM1SM/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

 

Downton Abbey: Season Five

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00MO21WAY/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

 

Fury

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00OMC0W9G/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

 

The Judge

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00OD37P2Q/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

 

The Story of Women and Art

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00OMBJYOG/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

 

Horror 4 in 1 Collection: Hostel / Hollow Man / When a Stranger Calls / I Know What You Did Last Summer

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00OU4MSKC/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

 

My Old Lady

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00PS39OPG/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

 

Regular Show: Mordecai Pack

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00OA4YLCU/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

 

Arthur’s Fountain Abbey

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00O4PF7B4/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

 

Paddington Bear: Collector’s Edition

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00MNOLC8K/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

 

 

Honorable Mention

 

Suze Orman’s Financial Solutions for You

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00LF5GD64/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

 

Abstraction

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00PI97S7Q/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

 

The Remaining

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00P6TXD6I/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

 

Finding Graceland

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00OU4MSV6/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

 

The Color of Time

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00P2G1O20/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20