Letters 08-24-2015

Bush And Blame Jeb Bush strikes again. Understand that Bush III represents the nearly extinct, compassionate-conservative, moderate wing of the Republican party...

No More State Theatre I was quite surprised and disgusted by an article I saw in last week’s edition. On pages 18 and 19 was an article about how the State Theatre downtown let some homosexual couple get married there...

GMOs Unsustainable Steve Tuttle’s column on GMOs was both uninformed and off the mark. Genetic engineering will not feed the world like Tuttle claims. However, GMOs do have the potential to starve us because they are unsustainable...

A Pin Drop Senator Debbie Stabenow spoke on August 14 to a group of Democrats in Charlevoix, an all-white, seemingly middle class, well-educated audience, half of whom were female...

A Slippery Slope Most of us would agree that an appropriate suggestion to a physician who refuses to provide a blood transfusion to a dying patient because of the doctor’s religious views would be, “Please doctor, change your profession as a less selfish means of protecting your religious freedom.”

Stabilize Our Climate Climate scientists have been saying that in order to stabilize the climate, we need to limit global warming to less than two degrees. Renewables other than hydropower provide less than 3 percent of the world energy. In order to achieve the two degree scenario, the world needs to generate 11 times more wind power by 2050, and 36 times more solar power. It will require a big helping of new nuclear power, too...

Harm From GMOs I usually agree with the well-reasoned opinions expressed in Stephen Tuttle’s columns but I must challenge his assertions concerning GMO foods. As many proponents of GMOs do, Mr. Tuttle conveniently ignores the basic fact that GMO corn, soybeans and other crops have been engineered to withstand massive quantities of herbicides. This strategy is designed to maximize profits for chemical companies, such as Monsanto. The use of copious quantities of herbicides, including glyphosates, is losing its effectiveness and the producers of these poisons are promoting the use of increasingly dangerous substances to achieve the same results...

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None - August 19th, 2011  

Another Earth (Drama, PG-13, 92 minutes).

A new planet four times the size of the moon, appears in the sky of Earth. Searching for it out her car window, a young woman (Brit Marling) causes a car crash, killing a mother and child and sending the father (William Mapother) into a coma. After he emerges from the coma, she contrives to work as his housecleaner, and they develop a fragile relationship without him realizing who she is. The presence of Earth 2 in the sky suggests alternative lifelines we could have lived. Marling makes an impressive debut, and the film is thoughtprovoking. Rating: Three and a half stars.

Captain America (Comic book action, PG-13, 125 minutes). Chris Evans stars as Steve Rogers, a puny kid who is transformed into a muscular superhero and battles a Nazi uber-villain known as the Red Skull (Hugo Weaving). With Hayley Atwell as a sultry WAC, Tommy Lee Jones as an Army colonel, Stanley Tucci as a scientist and Dominic Cooper as Howard Stark, who will go on to develop Iron Man. Rating: Three stars.

The Change-Up (Comedy, R, 101 minutes).

One of the dirtiest-minded mainstream releases in history. It has a low opinion of men, a lower opinion of women, and the lowest opinion of the intelligence of its audience. Rating: One and a half stars.

Cowboys & Aliens (Sci-fi western, PG-13, 118 minutes). Without any doubt the most cockamamie plot I’ve witnessed in many a moon. Daniel Craig is a stagecoach robber with amnesia, Harrison Ford is a tyrannical rancher, Sam Rockwell is a saloon keeper, Olivia Wilde is a pretty lady who’s not from around these parts. The aliens are throwbacks to classic bug-eyed monsters. Rating: Three stars.

Crazy, Stupid, Love (Romantic comedy, PG- 13, 117 minutes). A sweet romantic comedy about good-hearted people. Imagine that. No snark. No raunch. Steve Carell and Julianne Moore balance on the edge of divorce, Emma Stone plays a sweetheart, Marisa Tomei steals scenes, and Analeigh Tipton and Jonah Bobo are cute as an impossible teenage couple. Oh, and Ryan Gosling plays a lounge lizard and lady-killer. Yes. Ryan Gosling. And very well, too. Rating: Three stars.

The Devil’s Double (Biographical drama, R, 109 minutes). Uday Hussein, the eldest son of Saddam Hussein, was a vile and deranged man. This film sees him through the eyes of Latif Yahia, an Iraqi soldier forced to act as his double. As Uday indulges in cocaine-fueled depravity, Latif resists him and dangerously begins an affair with his mistress (Ludivine Sagnier). Dominic Cooper does a virtuoso job in a dual role, and the movie is undeniably entertaining in the tradition of Al Pacino’s work in “Scarface.” But questions remain unexplored. Rating: Three stars.

Final Destination 5 (Horror, R, 92 minutes).

One of those rare movies where the title itself is a spoiler. Yes, everyone in the movie dies, except for Coroner Bludworth. But you knew that because of the previous four films. The increasingly challenging task of the filmmakers is to devise ever more horrible and gruesome methods for them to be slaughtered. They do. Rating: Two stars.

Friends With Benefits (Romantic comedy, R, 109 minutes). Follows romcom formulas as if directed by an autopilot, but that’s not to say it isn’t fun. Mila Kunis plays Jamie, an executive headhunter in New York City. Justin Timberlake plays Dylan, the hotshot behind a popular website. They agree to have sex without emotional attachment, and you know how well that works. But they’re both the real thing when it comes to light comedy. Not a great movie, but I enjoyed them in it. Rating: Three stars.

The Guard (Comedy, R, 95 minutes). Brendan Gleeson is wonderful as an Irish cop with shaky standards; he steals drugs from accident victims, parties with hookers and deals in graft. But he loves his mother. Partnered against his will on a big drug case with an FBI agent (Don Cheadle), he rises to the occasion, but not before much dialogue of sly wit. A rich human comedy with a gripping ending and much humor along the way. Rating: Three and a half stars.

Horrible Bosses (Comedy, R, 100 minutes).

Very funny and very dirty, in about that order. Involves three horrible bosses and three employees who vow to murder them. The movie works because of how truly horrible the bosses are, what pathetic victims the employees are, and how bad the employees are at killing. Kevin Spacey and Jennifer Aniston stand out in a strong cast including Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Colin Farrell, Jamie Foxx and Charlie Day. Rating: Three and a half stars.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes (Sci-fi action, PG-13, 105 minutes). James Franco stars as a scientist who tests an anti-Alzheimer’s drug on chimpanzees and finds it dramatically increases their intelligence. After the experiment is called off, he brings a baby chimp home, and Caesar (a motion-capture performance by Andy Serkis) flourishes until he rebels after being sent to an unkind primate shelter. With Freida Pinto as a beautiful primatologist, John Lithgow as an Alzheimer’s victim. The movie has its pleasures, although the chimps seem smarter than the humans. Rating: Three stars.

Road to Nowhere (Thriller, R, 121 minutes).

The first film in 21 years by the cult legend Monte Hellman, whose “Two-Lane Blacktop” (1971) is celebrated. Imagine a jigsaw puzzle where you assemble as many pieces as seem to fit, but have pieces left over and gaps left in the puzzle. Shannyn Sossamon stars as an actress in a film within a film, Tygh Runyan is her director, and Dominique Swain is the blogger whose work may have inspired both the inner and outer films. Scenes in search of a movie. Rating: Two stars.

The Whistleblower (Thriller, R, 112 minutes).

A film to fill you with rage, based on the true story of Kathryn Bolkovac, a police officer from Lincoln, Neb., who took a job with the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Bosnia. She found direct evidence that underage girls were being held captive and bought and sold in a sex-trafficking operation. Her evidence was ignored by a male conspiracy. Rachel Weisz in one of her best performances. Co-starring David Strathairn, Monica Bellucci, Vanessa Redgrave. Rating: Three and a half stars.

New on DVD:

SOURCE CODE (Sc-fi thriller, PG-13, 93 m., 2011).

Jake Gyllenhaal plays a character who finds himself inside the mind of a man aboard a commuter train that will be blown up by a terrorist in eight minutes. By reliving those minutes, can he uncover the secret of a plot even larger and more cruel? Rating: Three and a half stars.

PAUL (Sci-fi comedy, R, 104 m., 2011). Two middleaged Brit fanboys (Simon Pegg and Nick Frost) travel to San Diego for Comic-Con and then rent an RV for a tour of America’s UFO sites. They strike gold when they encounter Paul (Seth Rogen), an actual alien, who comes along for the ride. The movie starts well but loses its way, perhaps because Paul is too much comic relief and not alien enough. Rating: Two and a half stars.

YOUR HIGHNESS (Comedy, R, 102 m., 2011).

A juvenile excrescence that feels like the work of 11year-old boys in love with dungeons, dragons, warrior women, pot, boobs and four-letter words. A promising cast (James Franco, Natalie Portman, Danny McBride, Zooey Deschanel) in one of the worst films of the year. Rating: One star.

JANE EYRE (Gothic romance, PG-13, 118 m., 2011).

A voluptuous adaptation of the 1847 novel that remains enormously popular, expressing a forbidden attraction between a powerless young woman and her fierce and distant employer. Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender embody Jane and Rochester with a firm sense of who they are; neither is unattractive, although the novel says they are, but then this is the movies. Directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, a rising star whose “Sin Nombre” was one of the best films of 2009. Rating: Three and a half stars.

SOMETHING BORROWED (Comedy drama, PG-13, 112 m., 2011). Kate Hudson plays Darcy, the lifelong best friend of the heroine, Rachel (Ginnifer Goodwin). Blond, rich and headstrong, Darcy’s about to be married to Dex (Colin Egglesfield), whom Rachel has had a crush on since law school. No good can come of this. Also involved are party animal Marcus (Steve Howey) and Rachel’s confidant, Ethan (John Krasinski). The movie is about how none of these people seem able to express their true feelings, and finally we can’t admire them enough to like them as we should. Two stars.

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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