Posts Tagged ‘Movies’

Gran Torino: a review

January 24, 2009

A film produced and directed by Clint Eastwood, distributed by Warner Bros. In cinemas now

Gran Torino is produced and directed by Clint Eastwood and he is also the star of the film, but this may be the last Clint Eastwood film.



Frost/Nixon: a review

January 11, 2009

Jenny Haines

A Ron Howard Film for Universal Studios starring Frank Langella as Richard Nixon and Michael Sheen as David Frost. Now showing, all cinemas

In this film Ron Howard brings to the screen a Broadway play about a series of interviews David Frost did with Richard Nixon after his resignation from the US presidency.


War on democracy

December 5, 2007

Jenny Haines

War on Democracy, a film by John Pilger

As a country whose own revolution was inspired by the principles of liberty, equality and fraternity, the US might be expected have more insight and understanding of the demands and needs of the peoples of Latin America and the Carribean.



August 14, 2007

Jenny Haines

Sicko, a movie by Michael Moore

Having swaited in eager anticipation for so long for Michael Moore’s new film, Sicko, and missing Moore’s wonderful, satirical sense of humour, I managed to get into an advance screening of the film. I was not disappointed. It was more, much more, than I had hoped for or expected.


Deepa Mehta’s Water

April 27, 2006

Water, a film directed by Deepha Mehta, executive producer David Hamilton

Jenny Haines

“Deepa Mehta’s Water is a magnificent film….unforgettably touching the heart.” — Salman Rushdie.

Water opened at the Toronto Film Festival in July 2005, much to the delight of its director, Deepa Mehta. The film is a timely reminder that although feminism may have made some strides in the West,  in the developing world a lot is still to be done.



February 21, 2006

Syriana, directed by Steven Gaghan, executive producer Steven Soderbergh

Jenny Haines

This is not an easy movie to review, but it is a very timely exposure of the US oil industry and the energy crisis facing capitalism. Made by George Clooney as one member of a team of executive producers, and directed by Steven Gaghan  Syriana is made in the same style as the much acclaimed and awarded Traffic, the excellent expose of the American drug trade and its winners and losers.


The Take: Argentina and the IMF

February 4, 2006

The Take, a documentary by Avi Lewis and Naomi Klein

Jenny Haines

Having missed the very short season of this documentary at the movies, I came across it in the video shop as a DVD. It was made by Avi Lewis and Naomi Klein for CBC Canada.


Good night and good luck

January 10, 2006

Good night and good luck, a movie by George Clooney

Jenny Haines

“We cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home” — Edward R. Murrow

It is obvious why George Clooney made this movie. He wanted to make a film that was a tribute to his father who worked as a journalist with Edward Murrow in the campaign against the McCarthy witchhunts. But anyone who doesn’t get the message of the movie for the current times just isn’t watching.


The corporation

November 13, 2004

The Corporation, a film by Mark Achbar, Jennifer Abbott and Joel Bakan

Jenny Haines

The Corporation has been around for some time, but it is still showing in various places and will hopefully come out on video for hire. It’s a long movie by current standards, at three hours, but well worth sitting all the way through.

It has won the the Audience Award for a World Cinema Documentary at the Sundance Film Festival, and nine other international audience choice awards.

At the current stage in the evolution of capitalism, we are told that the corporation is the peak of capitalist development in the arrangement of business affairs and production. But is it? Is the corporation the best way capitalism can order its affairs? What can we, the people, do to ensure that corporations and those who manage them are held accountable for their words and actions?

The Corporation is a film by Mark Achbar, Jennifer Abbott and Joel Bakan about the evolution of the joint stock company into the all powerful, multi national corporation of today. The film draws out the interesting point that in the US these powerful corporations require registration, and can be deregistered quite easily for a range of reasons.

Once deregistered they have no legal right to operate as a company and would be required to cease production. Corporations are legal persons at law. The film analyses what sort of people corporations are, and using a World Health Organisation Psychometric Test determines that corporations are in fact psychopaths, who have a distorted view of reality, no feeling, no guilt, and no ability to take responsibility for their actions. To determine this the film uses the FBI’s 10 top analysts of psychopaths.

Also interviewed are seven corporate chief executives, three vice-presidents, two whistleblowers, one broker, one spy and personalities such as Naomi Klein, Tom Friedman, Noam Chomsky and Michael Moore.

Michael Moore, among other contributions, is shown with a choir of ex-smokers who have had laryngectomies, using their voice vibrators to sing in the lobby of Phillip Morris headquarters. Moore originally did this for a program shown on SBS, The Naked Truth, but in the context of The Corporation it packs real black-humoured punch! Mike Moore is also seen interviewing the founder of Nike, who he discovers has never been to Indonesia to see the Nike factories in operation. On-camerat, the founder of Nike refuses Moore’s invitation of an all-expenses-paid trip to Indonesia, but then thinks about it for several weeks and rings Moore to say he may be prepared to go.

Towards the end the film draws out examples of communities and organisations taking power in their own hands and using communtiy action to limit and confine the power of corporations over their lives. For suggestions on how to join this international protest by acting locally, see The Corporation website.

The Corporation is entertaining, but it could also be used by schools, universities and libraries for education, because it is thought-provoking and challenging.


November 10, 2004

Outfoxed, a documentary by Bob Greenwald and others

Jenny Haines

Outfoxed is a documentary by Bob Greenwald and others — and made possible by the supporters of — on the Fox Network in the S and in particular the role Fox News plays as the adjunct to the US White House news team.

The main issue of the day in the White House is the main issue of the day on Fox News, which takes its orders directly from the White House.

As Walter Cronkite says on the Outfoxed website, he has never heard of any other news network doing that. Fox News in not just conservative, its agenda is far right.

Fox News is the Republican Party in power giving you the news in the chunks it considers digestible. The network’s motto is “fairness and balance” which is hilarious really, because nothing on Fox is fair or balanced.

Sure they get the token Democrat or liberal on, (mostly weak speakers from the conservative wing of the Democratic Party who are easily intimidated), but they will get a scruffy Democrat and a clean-cut, eager-eyed, ambitious Republican, and the anchor of course is as biased as hell, so it goes from there.

Anchors telling interviewees to shut up is a common occurrence. If you don’t agree with them, you shut up! The sight of the famous-in-America Bill O’Reilly berating, then losing his cool with, the son of a wharfie in New York who died in the Twin Towers was appalling and disgusting.

The son of the wharfie did well, he kept his cool and stuck to the point. He reportedly had to leave the building quickly after the interview because he was concerned that O’Reilly may become physically violent.

John Kerry copped a political beating from Fox News. Much of the disinformation in the US election campaign about Kerry and his war record was generated by Fox.

This movie is very timely for many reasons — the elections in Australia and the US, the war in Iraq, the current hegemony of the right-wing agenda, and the struggle of the left-of-centre for identity and a voice.

In Australia we face an impending struggle over media ownership and from what I read on the internet and email there is a call to arms among the liberal left for a last-ditch fight to save Fairfax from Packer and the dominance of our media by two major players, Packer and Murdoch, even though Murdoch has finally decamped, personally, to the US.

We may all wonder at the outcome of the elections in Australia and the US, but once you watch Outfoxed, it isn’t all that hard to understand why Howard won in Australia and Bush won in the US. With the impending battle over media ownership in Australia, Outfoxed is not to be missed.

You can find out more about how to fight the power of Murdoch and Fox by going to the Outfoxed website and the various links there. The one I like the best is headed Communists had Pravda, Republicans have Fox.

The Battle of Algiers, a review

June 16, 2004

Jenny Haines

Director: Gillo Pontecorvo
Stars: Brahim Haggiag, Jean Martin, Yacef Saad
Rating: M
Winner of several prizes at the Venice Film Festival, 1966
Based on a story by Yacef Saad

The Battle of Algiers is a moving film about the national independence revolt in the 1950s and early 1960s in Algeria, in particular the urban revolt in Algiers in the Arab Quarter, the Casbah. The film was shot on 35mm film and has been digitally remastered for current release. The black-and-white film emphasises the dramatic action and the grainy quality illustrates with traumatising clarity the grinding poverty of the Casbah. The movie maker has a fascination with faces. The close-ups of the faces of the actors give a feeling of sympathy and intimacy with those organising and participating in the revolt, and disdain for those opposing it.