‘Moana’: Disney’s delightful tropical adventure sets sail | Soren Andersen – The Seattle Times

Movie review of “Moana”: Disney’s tale of female empowerment is told in rousing fashion, with humor and passion and grace. Rating: 4 stars out of 4.

“Moana” is a joy.

A feast for the eyes. From Disney, it represents a pinnacle of CG animation. Its colors are incredibly vivid. The screen is bathed in bright cerulean hues of the limitless ocean sparkling in the sun and the lush greenery of tropical-island paradises.

A delight for the ears. Songs by “Hamilton’s” Lin-Manuel Miranda, composer Opetaia Foa‘i and Grammy-winner Mark Mancina are at a “Lion King” level of excellence. The picture’s “We Know the Way” is an anthemic ode to exploration and self-discovery that has the hallmarks of an instant classic.”

Source: ‘Moana’: Disney’s delightful tropical adventure sets sail | The Seattle Times

‘News of the World’ review: Tom Hanks, tween in a Western big enough for the both of them – Chicago Sun-Times

A Civil War vet (Tom Hanks) agreed to deliver an orphan (Helena Zengel) to her relatives in “News of the World.”
 Universal Pictures

“There was an era — and that era was the 1970s — when a Time magazine poll named news anchor Walter Cronkite as “the most trusted man in America,” and Watergate investigative heroes Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein were largely responsible for the occupation of journalist regularly charting near the top of the rankings of most admired professions in the USA. (Even today, 99% of mainstream American journalists remain committed to delivering the truth, despite the delusional cries of “Fake News!” popularized by certain public figures.)

If we were to conduct a poll of the most trusted actors in America, I’d argue Tom Hanks would be near the top of that list — and Hanks is perfectly cast as an 1870 news anchor of sorts in Paul Greengrass’ gritty and visceral and deeply resonant “News of the World,” a rough-and-tumble Texas road-trip movie that plays like a hybrid of the John Wayne movies “The Searchers” and “True Grit” and even reminded me a little of George Clooney’s recent epic “The Midnight Sky.”

Hanks re-teams with his “Captain Phillips” director to play a very different kind of captain — one Capt. Jefferson Kyle Kidd, a Civil War veteran who fought for the Confederate Infantry and sustained injuries both external and internal, and has now carved out a unique way of making a living, i.e., he rides from town to town in the raw and rough state of Texas (where many haven’t fully accepted losing the war and racially motivated violence is lurking around every corner) and literally reads the news of the world to the townsfolk for 10 cents a head, bringing them the latest developments from near and afar, whether it be an outbreak of meningitis, a coal mine tragedy or a deadly ferry accident. (Hanks is such an all-American actor — and yet this is his first Western.)

Jefferson is a stoic man, a widower who keeps to himself, but his solitary, nomad life is upended when he happens across a 10-year-old girl named Johanna (Helena Zengel), who has spent much of her life as a captive of the Kiowa tribe and has been left with the authorities after her captors were killed. Jefferson takes on the responsibility of transporting the girl to her only surviving relatives in the far-off hill country of Castroville, and thus begins a long and arduous journey, made all the more difficult because Johanna is deeply resentful of this strange man, speaks not a word of English and doesn’t even understand the concept of a knife and fork. There’s a lot of learning to be had along the way.  . . . “

Source: ‘News of the World’ review: Tom Hanks, tween in a Western big enough for the both of them – Chicago Sun-Times

David Lindsay: Kathleen and I both enjoyed and were thrilled so by this new western, ‘News of the World’, nominated for best picture in the 2020 Academy awards, that we then watched the outtakes, and interviews, and then the next night, we watched the whole move and outtakes and interviews over again. There were plenty of precious moments in a very beautiful but ugly world in Texas in 1870.

Inherit the Wind movie review (1960) | Roger Ebert

“History repeats itself, the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.

This statement by Karl Marx admirably serves two functions: (1) It describes the difference between the two times the teaching of Darwin’s theories were put on trial in this country, in Tennessee in 1925 and in Pennsylvania in 2005; (2) Because it is from Karl Marx, it will automatically be rejected, along with the words to follow, by those who judge a statement not by its content but by its source. That is precisely the argument between Darwinism and creationism. Stanley Kramer‘s “Inherit the Wind” (1960) is a movie about a courtroom battle between those who believe the Bible is literally true and those who believe, as the Spencer Tracy character puts it, that “an idea is a greater monument than a cathedral.”

The so-called Monkey Trial of 1925 put a young high school teacher named John T. Scopes on trial for violating a state law, passed the same year, prohibiting the teaching of any theory that denied the biblical account of divine creation. Darwin’s theory of evolution was also therefore on trial. Two of the most famous lawyers and orators in the land contested the case. Scopes was defended by the legendary Clarence Darrow, and the prosecution was led by three-time presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan. Darrow’s expenses were paid by the Baltimore Sun papers, home of the famed journalist H.L. Mencken, who covered the trial with many snorts and guffaws.

In Kramer’s film, Darrow becomes Henry Drummond (Spencer Tracy), Bryan is Matthew Harrison Brady (Fredric March), Mencken is E.K. Hornbeck (Gene Kelly), and Scopes is Bertram T. Cates (Dick York). Another major player is the gravel-voiced Harry Morgan, as the judge. So obviously were the characters based on their historical sources that the back of the DVD simply refers to them as “Bryan” and “Darrow,” as if their names had not been changed.  . . . “

Source: Inherit the Wind movie review (1960) | Roger Ebert

Kathleen and I saw the 1960 movie Inherit the Wind on Saturday night, and were enthralled and moved. I was sure that some of the vital exchanges in the courtroom probably happened, but did the good, god-fearing people of Hillsboro really march while singing about lynching Clarence Darrow and the local school teacher Scopes. Apparently, that was all made up by the propagandist, Stanley Kramer. I’m sorry he made those lies, because he didn’t need them. His inaccuracies diminish the underlying truth of his brilliant work.

From Wikipedia:

“Historical inaccuracies[edit]

Being mostly faithful to the play, the film engages in literary license with the facts and should not be relied upon as a historical document. For example, Scopes (Bertram Cates) is shown being arrested in class, thrown in jail, burned in effigy, and taunted by a fire-snorting preacher. William Jennings Bryan (Matthew Harrison Brady) is portrayed as an almost comical fanatic who dramatically dies of a “busted belly” while attempting to deliver his summation in a chaotic courtroom. The townspeople are shown as frenzied, mean-spirited, and ignorant. None of that happened in Dayton during the actual trial. This is because the story is an allegory for McCarthyism.[12]

Because the judge ruled that scientific evidence was inadmissible, a ruling which the movie depicted, Darrow called Bryan as his only witness and attempted to humiliate him by asking Bryan to interpret Scripture. When Darrow, in his closing remarks, called upon the jury to find Scopes guilty so that he could appeal the verdict, Bryan was kept from delivering his own summation. The guilty verdict was overturned two years later.[13] Bryan suffered a heart attack and died in his sleep five days after the trial ended.[14]

Opinion | ‘All in All, the Worst Oscars Ever’ – The New York Times

“The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ pared-down pandemic version of the Oscars on Sunday could be described as either incredibly refreshing or incredibly awkward — depending on what you thought of Glenn Close doing Da Butt, among other moments.

What did you think of Frances McDormand’s howl? The meandering format, with few clips of the nominated movies? Yuh-Jung Youn’s gentle trolling of Brad Pitt? We asked readers to share their thoughts on this year’s Academy Awards — the highlights, oddities and innovations. A selection of their responses, edited for clarity and length, follows.

Give us your take in the comments section.


It occurred to me that this version of the Oscars was like the very first ceremonies, when it was an industry affair held in a hotel ballroom, with no thought of communicating with a mass audience. Eventually, the yearly show turned into entertainment, which this year’s was not. All in all, the worst Oscars ever, and that’s quite an accomplishment. — Glenn Lambert, Los Angeles”

David Lindsay Jr.

David Lindsay Jr.Hamden, CT | NYT Comment:

2020 was the worst Oscar I can remember. It had great moments, but I was repeatedly angry at the recipients: tell us about your documentary, animation, or even movie, most of us don’t know anything about it! You are talking about shows, show us clips and trailers, so we can see what the insider fuss is all about. Thirty years ago, I discovered that if a saw the Oscars, I could decide what movies to go find and seek out. I became a devoted Oscar watcher, even though I only saw a handful of movies a year, I picked them out at the Oscars. To my utter disappointment, there has been a slow slide into pathetic, uninteresting blabber, of one recipient after another thanking their team, their mothers and their third grade teachers. Every year is seems, there is less of the absolutely invaluable clips and trailers, and more of the utter boring gratefulness to teams, mentors and sex partners. This year, by my personal standard was the worst, because it had the fewest little hints and videos of the products under consideration, and an avalanche of pathetically boring speeches. There were some shining exceptions, like speeches by Chloe Zoe for best director, and Yuh Jung Youn for best actress in a supporting role. What I also remember, is not knowing what most of the shows were actually about, or what they looked like, and whether I might want to take the time to watch them. Time to quit? David Lindsay Jr. is the author of “The Tay Son Rebellion” and blogs at InconvenientNews.net.

Why millions of Dish Network’s customers have been cut off from HBO – The Washington Post

By Brian FungNovember 9, 2018 at 10:51 a.m. ESTAdd to listThe business dispute that yanked HBO off the air for millions of Americans on Nov. 1 is entering its second week — with no signs of a respite.As many as 2.5 million customers have lost access to hit HBO shows such as “Game of Thrones” and “Westworld” through Dish Network, America’s second-largest satellite TV provider.The blackout affects an additional 10.2 million Dish subscribers who aren’t signed up for HBO but who could be potential customers of the premium entertainment channel.It’s the first time HBO has ever “gone dark,” in the parlance of TV execs. Viewers are being caught in the middle, with potential consequences on both sides: An extended outage could lead to significant customer losses.

Source: Why millions of Dish Network’s customers have been cut off from HBO – The Washington Post

Dish Network’s Charlie Ergen Is the Most Hated Man in Hollywood | Hollywood Reporter

“In 1980, a few months before Charlie Ergen co-founded the company that would become Dish Network, he and a gambling buddy strode into a Lake Tahoe casino with the intention of winning a fortune by counting cards. Ergen, then 27, had bought a book called Playing Blackjack as a Business and studied the cheat sheets. Unfortunately for him, a security guard caught his pal lip-syncing numbers as the cards were dealt. The two were kicked out and subsequently banned from the casino.

More than three decades later, Ergen, now 60, again stands accused of cheating the house — but this time the house is here, nestled in the confines of executive suites from Burbank to Beverly Boulevard. And now, Ergen’s Englewood, Co.-based Dish Network, the nation’s third-largest satellite/cable TV provider, a public company that’s grown from a $60,000 startup to an empire with 14 million subscribers and $14 billion in annual revenue, is the entertainment industry’s Enemy No. 1. With increasing frequency, Ergen has engaged in ugly, high-stakes games of chicken with Hollywood. In his brutal battle over ballooning carriage fees with AMC, he dropped The Walking Dead and Mad Men network from the Dish system for months. He also has spent years fighting with broadcasters over the practice of distantly retransmitting TV signals without a license and even was caught violating a promise to stop that he made under oath — all while Dish was named “America’s worst company to work for” by a watchdog website. But all that was just preamble to the Hopper.”

” . . . . During the mid-2000s, when Ergen was fighting TiVo over who owned rights to DVR technology, not only did TiVo convince a court that Dish had violated a patent, but the judge in the case found it “distasteful” that Ergen’s company would “engage in an ad campaign that touted its DVRs as ‘better than TiVo’ while continuing to infringe TiVo’s patent.” In 2009, Dish officially was sanctioned by the court. (The parties later settled.)

Perhaps most notoriously, there were the irate judges who officiated Dish’s recent battle with Cablevision/AMC after Dish terminated a 15-year deal to carry the Voom networks, a suite of 21 little-watched HD channels such as Kung Fu HD and Film Fest HD. In the early days of the case, Dish was penalized for “bad faith” or “gross negligence” in the destruction of internal company emails. A visibly angry New York Supreme Court Judge Richard Lowe later threatened to launch an investigation unless Dish documents were turned over. The suit became so ugly that at one point, Dish executive Carolyn Crawford hit the father of the opposing side’s lawyer on her way out of the courtroom. She later apologized in open court.

In a sexual harassment case in Maryland in 2005, a judge wrote that “EchoStar [was] guilty of gross spoliation of evidence.” In a 2012 trademark dispute, a judge said of Dish lawyers that he had never encountered “such divisiveness or contentiousness” in his 17 years on the bench.

“Most corporations have an institutional bias against litigation and see it as necessary evil,” says one network insider. “But for Charlie, that’s how he likes to run his company. You’ll never see him suing in his home state, though. Their name is mud in Colorado. Judges are on to them.” . . .

Source: Dish Network’s Charlie Ergen Is the Most Hated Man in Hollywood | Hollywood Reporter

The long love affair between Fox News and Trump may be over. Here’s how it all soured last week. – The Washington Post

November 9, 2020 at 11:27 a.m. EST

“The last day of Donald Trump’s 2020 presidential campaign began just after 7 a.m., as polls opened on the East Coast, with a call to “Fox & Friends,” the television morning show that had turned the reality star into a U.S. president. He got his usual hero’s welcome. But it was no longer enough.

“This has been a very special show for me,” he told the hosts of this broadcasting safe haven where he had workshopped his birther message, shared gossip and conspiracy theories, and repeatedly set the tone for his entire administration’s day. “We’ve had a great relationship, and you have a great show. So, it’s my honor.”

But his remarks quickly turned pointed that Tuesday morning as he boasted about how well he had done in the job of president, despite unexpected challenges — not from China or Russia or North Korea, he said, but from the United States. And he mused rhetorically about what had changed the most for him since 2016.”

Source: The long love affair between Fox News and Trump may be over. Here’s how it all soured last week. – The Washington Post

Opinion | This Might Be the Most ‘West Wing’ Election of Our Lives – By Margaret Renkl – The New York Times

By 

Contributing Opinion Writer

Credit…David Rose/NBC, via Getty Images

“NASHVILLE — My favorite coffee mug is emblazoned with words of advice: “Lead like Jed. Advise like Leo. Think like Josh. Speak like C.J. Argue like Toby. Write like Sam.” What the mug doesn’t say but implies by its very existence: “Believe in America like a fan of ‘The West Wing.’”

Set in the White House of fictional President Jed Bartlet, “The West Wing” is an hourlong serial drama that aired on NBC from 1999 to 2006. It features the moral quandaries of President Bartlet — economist, Nobel laureate and Democrat — along with those of his family and staff. The show’s cast of thousands includes assistants and interns, journalists, political consultants, pollsters, White House attorneys, military advisers, Supreme Court justices, and congressional adversaries and allies.

The fictional West Wing of two decades ago doesn’t always hold up to 21st-century standards for workplace relationships and attitudes, but my coffee mug sums up the main characters pretty well. Imperfect though they can sometimes be — making colossal errors of judgment, sabotaging promising relationships, being rude to subordinates — they work collectively as a kind of role model for unstinting service to the country we all love.

Story lines on “The West Wing” include the usual grudges, hookups, missed opportunities and hurt feelings endemic to television drama, but the show is far more than a nighttime soap opera. At its heart, “The West Wing” is a multiyear civics lesson, and every episode is a parable.”

The 50 Best TV Shows on Netflix Right Now – The New York Times

By 

“Netflix adds original programming at such a steady clip that it can be hard to keep up with which of its dramas, comedies and reality shows are must-sees. And that’s not including all the TV series Netflix picks up from broadcast and cable networks. Below is our regularly updated guide to the 50 best shows on Netflix in the United States. Each recommendation comes with a secondary pick, too, for 100 suggestions in all. (Note: Netflix sometimes removes titles without notice.)

We also have lists of the best movies on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, along with the best TV and movies on Hulu and Disney+.”

‘Hamilton’ Review: You Say You Want a Revolution – By A.O. Scott – The New York Times

Hamilton
NYT Critic’s Pick, Directed by Thomas Kail. Biography, Drama, History, Musical. PG-13,   2h 40m

“The opening scenes of the filmed version of the Broadway musical “Hamilton,” which starts streaming on Disney+ on Independence Day weekend, pull you back in time to two distinct periods. The people onstage, in their breeches and brass-buttoned coats, belong to the New York of 1776. That’s when a 19-year-old freshly arrived from the Caribbean — the “bastard, immigrant, son of a whore” who shares his name with the show — makes his move and takes his shot, joining up with a squad of anti-British revolutionaries and eventually finding his way to George Washington’s right hand and the front of the $10 bill.

But this Hamilton, played with relentless energy and sly charm by Lin-Manuel Miranda, who wrote the music, book and lyrics, also belongs to the New York of 2016. Filmed (by the show’s director, Thomas Kail, and the cinematographer Declan Quinn) in front of a live audience at the Richard Rodgers Theater in June of that year, the movie, while not strictly speaking a documentary, is nonetheless a document of its moment. It evokes a swirl of ideas, debates, dreams and assumptions that can feel, in the present moment, as elusive as the intrigue and ideological sparring of the late 1700s.”

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