Movie Review: Bob Roberts (1992)

Wrapping it in the flag and a folk song (9/10)
Directed by Tim Robbins

Original Review by Brian R. Wright, November 19, 2006

Bob Roberts is a timely movie about national political cynicism that was intended to satirize the Republican Revolution of 1994.  Others have contended the subject of the satire was the Reagan 80s, against the Gordon Gekko “Greed is Good” crowd.

But it could not be more appropriate to the rise and ascendancy of the Bush II clique.

Roberts, a Pennsylvania Senate candidate , is a rich, smarmy, guitar-strumming, media savvy corporate shill.  He sings folk songs about the joys of strip mining, stock-market success, and capital punish- ment for drug dealers.

The review on the IMDB site  states Roberts is eerily prescient of Rick Santorum, who won the 1994 Senate race in Pennsylvania by affecting the same style as Tim Robbins in the title role.  Like Bob Roberts, Santorum postured as a friend of the common man, yet was a front for powerful corporate interests (esp. the health insurance industry).

The cast is stellar, as writer-director Robbins skewers the lazy, posturing media—actors Fred Ward, Pamela Reed, and James Spader send up good roles—; malicious security hacks (Alan Rickman); and the gullible public itself. Continue reading

Movie Review: Martian Child (2007)

Man meets boy struggling with “alien nation” (8/10)

Martian_ChildMartian Child moves right along, you might say right out of the box, inasmuch as that’s where we first meet the boy Dennis (Bobby Coleman)… who thinks he’s been sent here from Mars.  Dennis is a resident, with several other apparently human children, at a Seattle-ish area foster home.  David (John Cusack) is a recent widower.  His wife was a passionate and loving woman who wanted them to adopt, since they couldn’t have children.  When David first shows up at the foster home, he’s informed by one of the other children that Dennis is the one standing inside an upside-down dishwasher shipping box (to protect him from the sun), with a peep hole in the side.

David, a successful science fiction author, does a lot of soul-searching—there are also a few charming scenes where we see David talking with Dennis and getting a handle on the Martian-child way of looking at the world—before he finally decides to go ahead.  David fills out the paperwork, satisfies the stern boss man of the state fostercare system Lefkowitz (Richard Schiff) then they go back to David’s modern, swank digs and start building a relationship. Referring to the house…

“Just think of it as a bigger box.”
— David Continue reading

Movie Review: War, Inc. (2008)

“When it comes to war, America means business.”

Written by Mark Leyner and Jeremy Pikser and John Cusack
Directed by Joshua Seftel

War, Inc.John Cusack … Brand Hauser
Hilary Duff … Yonica Babyyeah
Marisa Tomei … Natalie Hegalhuzen
Joan Cusack … Marsha Dillon
Dan Aykroyd … Mr. Vice President
John McLaughlin … Himself
Montel Williams … GuideStar Voice (voice)
Ben Kingsley … Walken / The Viceroy

Walken: Every empire is summed up in Rome. The Romans, Hauser, dudes of the human race, torchbearers of culture! You and I are centurions, on about to defend civilization against the barbarians!
Brand Hauser: Let’s cut the shit, Walken! I like killing people as much as the next guy, but I signed up to kill the bad ones! Health clinics, trade unionists, journalists, agricultural coops, Catholic liberation theologians, impoverished Colombian coffee farmers, these are the barbarians that are opponents of civilization? We turned Central America into a fuckin’ graveyard! Whoever momentarily interrupts the accumulation of our wealth, we pulverize! I’m just not feeling good about that anymore, sir! Continue reading

Movie Review: Pushing Tin (1999)

Fast-paced air-controller drama unto Zen _ 8.5/10
Review by Brian Wright

Pushing TinZack looks around at his colleagues, these controller-magicians who keep the skies safe by coming to work, day after day, and pulling rabbits out of their scopes. “This whole job is an endurance test, from the first day until you retire. And you know who holds the whole thing together? We do. We don’t do it for the FAA, and we don’t do it for the airlines. We do it for ourselves. We just keep pumping tin.” He turns to his scope and watches as it fills once again with blips—six jets from the south, four from the west, four from the north—American 1438, turn right heading 260! Traffic off your 3 o’clock!—planes and then more planes, no end in sight. — from New York Times Magazine, article by Darcy Frey, “Something’s Got to Give,” March 24, 1996.

TRACON air traffic controller: “You land a million planes safely, then you have one little mid-air, and you never hear the end of it.” Continue reading