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Fahrenhype 9/11

Fahrenhype 9/11

(2004)
3 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

[size=5][b]FahrenHYPE 9/11

[/b][/size]The world is being divided into two kinds of people -- Michael Moore people and Ann Coulter people. Well maybe not quite to those extremes ... yet, but you wouldn't know that from turning on the television or visiting your local arthouse theater. As of Tuesday, October 5th, we've finally heard from both sides on the subject of 9/11, terrorism, George Bush, and of course, each other. FahrenHYPE 9/11 went straight to video, strategically released on the same day as FahrenHEIT 9/11. "Hype" was constructed as the answer, rebuttal, and condemnation of Michael Moore's record-breaking Fahrenheit 9/11.

I'll be comparing both films often in this review, so to make it easier for you (and me), going forward I will refer to Fahrenheit 9/11 as HEIT and Fahrenhype 9/11 as HYPE.

HYPE begins by challenging HEIT about Bush's reaction during the tragic events of September 11th. As those of you who watched HEIT may remember, the president spent that time in a classroom reading with and to the children. After the second plane crashed into the World Trade Center, a Bush staffer approached him during his photo op and whispered in the president's ear. Instead of reacting with alarm, the president reacted with silence and continued with the photo op. Michael Moore basically used this footage to accuse Bush of reacting inappropriately and not presidential. He even counted the minutes for dramatic and comic effect. HYPE disputes the timetable used in HEIT, and even interviews the teacher who presided over the classroom that day. She had a completely different take on the story -- one favorable to the president. HYPE draws attention to a slow nod that Bush made during the reading, which was supposedly a gesture of acknowledgement towards one of his associates outside of the scene. Afterwards he made a short speech about the day's events and urged people to remain calm. While this doesn't completely discredit Moore's film, it does cast doubt on the way he presents his information, suggesting that he may be manipulating and exagerrating situations in order to lure viewers towards his viewpoint. Michael Moore, dishonest? Nah!

Most of HYPE is of this nature. They call certain facts that Michael Moore used in HEIT into question. Everything from the Carlyle Group connections, the pipeline contract in Afghanistan, to the headline showing that the 2000 election recount was in favor of Al Gore. HYPE does cast a great deal of doubt on Michael Moore's honesty, and rightfully so. Michael Moore is no stranger to dissent, having been accused of fudging the facts on most of his films, especially Roger & Me and Bowling for Columbine. Sometimes Moore does use images irresponsibly. Sometimes he does outright lie. We know this, but Moore claimed from the get-go that all of his recent film was 100% defendible truth. He even spent enormous resources to put together a fact check team that published sources and responses to allegations of falsehoods. While many of his claims may be technically true, he is quite guilty of misleading his viewers. When reading his "Facts in Fahrenheit 9/11" published on his website, you can tell that many of his defenses are mere technicalities.

HYPE points out many instances of where Michael Moore misrepresented images in order to present his truth. One example is when Moore shows children playing in Iraq, and then follows with images of destruction from American bombing. By doing this, he was trying to manipulate people into thinking that average citizens in Iraq led a peaceful life. Most Americans understand that this was definitely not the case. It is this journalistic irresponsibility that HYPE partially uncovers and this also happens to be when the film is at its best.

Another effective way the film discredits Moore is by interviewing people who appeared in his movie. Several people give the full story behind their appearance, mostly unaware that they would show up in a Michael Moore movie. All of them went on record saying that they did not condone Moore's message and did not appreciate being used to propogate his ideals (or lies, as they seem to believe). There was one lady in particular who was not only resentful, but subject to severe emotional pain because the funeral of her child was shown in his film. It would be one thing if she agreed with the intent, but she made it very clear that her son would not have died for Michael Moore.

While many of HYPE's counterarguments are effective and do cast doubt on Moore's methods, others fall short. One example is a scene where five recruiters are interviewed, a couple of which seem like they may have had a couple drinks on the set. They claim that the way recruiters are portrayed in Fahrenheit 9/11 is not how they were trained to do their jobs. They condemn that sequence and the entire film in general, making no secret of their political allegiance. Their argument is ineffective because we saw recruiters doing exactly that in Moore's film. This bunch may not choose to recruit in that manner, but obviously some do, hopefully a minority.

The panelists are also unreliable and implausible. Dick Morris just blames everything on the Clintons as he's been doing for the past near decade. People like David Frum (author of The Right Man) and Ann Coulter (author of Slander and Treason) just pile on the rhetoric, but don't add much other than their names to the film. Even those who offer something to the film undermine their own credibility by showing their politics. Dave Kopel who published the 59 Deceipts of Fahrenheit 9/11 online makes some valid points, but also makes some personal attacks which makes me question the motive behind his research. Is it to present the truth or to shed Michael Moore in a negative light?

If that weren't enough, this film spends way too much time preaching. There are far too many sentimental moments, too many speeches about American solidarity and appeals for patriotism. In this respect, the rhetoric kills the film. Sure, it discredits a lot of the facts in 9/11, but what about everything it doesn't mention? Trust me, there was a lot of meat in HEIT, much of which was not USDA grade A. By becoming preachy, the filmmakers stray from their ultimate goal, to refute HEIT. Why waste such valuable film time on bumper sticker material?

Most of all, what HYPE lacks is the same tool that makes Michael Moore such a successful filmmkaer -- a sense of humor. Michael Moore is liberal with the truth (pun intended), but so are the pundits in HYPE, if not to the same degree. While there will always be some dopes out there, I think that most discerning filmgoers do not flock to Moore for his unwavering and unbiased truth. Of course not! They enjoy watching him poke fun at Roger Smith, Charlton Heston, or George W. Bush. And why not use his own medicine? There's plenty of fun to be had at the expense of Mr. Moore. People respond better to parodies, and projects such as Team America or even that Fellowship 9/11 short on iFilm have already succeeded where HYPE fails. Isn't it ironic that the subject of Michael Moore's anger, George Bush himself, gets the best line in FahrenHYPE 9/11.

A wise man by the name of Chuck D once said: "don't Believe the Hype." In this case, you can believe it, but you won't enjoy it.


[size=5][b]Score: 5/10[/b][/size]

Breakfast with Hunter

Breakfast with Hunter

(2003)
4 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

They say that documentaries live or die based on their subject, and that is especially the case when it comes to cinema verite. While the director does exercise certain control over the film's look or feel and the editing process, he has little control over the actual content in the film. For the most part, the director has to pick an interesting enough subject and hope that something entertaining will happen to them. Wayne Ewing picked a terrific subject in Hunter S. Thompson, but showed that a great subject does not guarantee a great film.

In case you've been asleep for the past thirty-five years or so, Hunter S. Thompson is the famed author of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail, and most recently Kingdom of Fear. He has written for numerous publications, including Rolling Stone and ESPN. Through Thompson's writing, he has established himself as the ageless hipster, the spokesperson for America's counterculture, the rebel outlaw trying to shake up the system, and practically the poster boy for recreational drug use in America. He's cooler than cool and has the books, the feature film and now the documentary to prove it. There are few individuals in America, or maybe even on the planet, who are nearly as colorful, energetic, and of course controversial than Hunter.

Breakfast with Hunter takes place during 1996 and 1997, and focuses partly on the two most significant events in Hunter's life at the time, an impending DUI trial in Aspen and the upcoming film project for his classic book Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Most of the scenes, however, are five minute random slices of his life, ranging from him cooking breakfast on the farm, to his trying to teach Johnny Depp's bird how to talk.

We are supposed to get bite-sized tastes of Hunter's life, but most of the scenes seem to celebrate his celebrity rather than provide any insight into his life or personality. There are too many scenes where time is spent making speeches in his honor, reading passages from his book, or just namedropping celebrities or famous figures that he encounters. Instead of a penetrating picture of his life, we are left with an adulatory look at his character. In most scenes, he seems all too aware that the cameras are there, and he subsequently postures for them, which gives the film a superficial feel. Not surprisingly, the most engaging scenes of the film are when he reveals a side that someone might not otherwise see, such as the scene where he argues with Alex Cox, the first director assigned to his film project. Instead of continuing in this direction, they revert to making Hunter look cool, this time by watching a video of the same scene, laughing at how harsh he was.

Hunter himself is what makes this film worth watching, just because he is such a fascinating human being. His inarticulate and playful manner gives the movie some charm, which partly makes up for its lack of substance. He makes us laugh when he goes crazy with a fire extinguisher in Rolling Stone headquarters, or shows off his talent for throwing whiskey. He is a genuinely likeable guy and a pleasure to watch, most of the time.

Breakfast for Hunter is currently making its rounds on the festival circuit, and there may be a theatrical release in its future. If you can't wait, however, the DVD is already available from the website, and its loaded with special features.
[size=5][b]
Score: 6/10[/b][/size]

Heavenly Creatures

Heavenly Creatures

(1994)
8 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Those Axis kids are up to some wild, whacky stuff. Looks like it won't involve me, for the meantime.

I'm looking forward to what Raiders is doing, so I'll definitely be checking that out. Some of the notes and comments have been nice, flattering even, but I think it's time to move on. At least please refrain from doing anything because of my lil' situation.

I don't agree with cowboy/gestapo the methods over there, but most of the people who run the place are alright with me. This was just a case of someone acting on something he misinterpreted, which struck him emotionally, and then sticking to his guns to save face (pride can be wicked). We can just be thankful that this person only operates a message board, otherwise half of the world might already be obliterated.

So anyway, as I said, it's time to move on. I'll be updating this journal here a little more often.

-----------------------------

Those of you were following my [b]Top Performances [/b]thread can find a carbon copy of it here on RT:

[url]http://www.rottentomatoes.com/vine/showthread.php?t=445944[/url]

I'm up to #7 and hope to be completing the list soon.

-----------------------------

Recent flicks:

[b]The Devil's Rejects: [/b]To my surprise, I really liked it. It was odd watching the most sinister criminals imaginable as protagonists, but it was quite effective. In the back of my mind, I was even rooting to them to a certain degree. The movie was nothing short of grisly, and equally thrilling. It's been awhile since I've seen a new horror flick that was this much fun. [b]7/10[/b]

[b]Heavenly Creatures: [/b]This review has minor spoilers, so stop reading here if you haven't seen this.

As is often the case with Winslet flicks, this true crime movie boasted some tremendous acting, but Melanie Lynskey was the real standout here. Not to take anything away from Winslet, because she was suberb, and played this role with a theatrical quality that drew attention toward the instability. My only complaints, which are more just minor quibbles, are that the fantasy sequences drew the attention too far off of the true story, giving it an overly unrealistic fictional quality. I didn't feel the characters were developed enough in demonstrate what they were capable of. [b]7.5/10

Good Night, And Good Luck: [/b]

Considering my zeal for history and journalistic integrity, I am a little close to the target market for this film to review it objectively. I found it delivered its message adequately, while doing plenty of justice to the history, but more importantly it created that palpable sense of fear found throughout politics and the media. David Straitharn gave a slam dunk performance and really solidied the iconic status of his character. All the other elements found in this movie, most notably the nightclub jazz music interludes, contributed a great deal to the theme and to an extent voiced Clooney's sardonic approach. [b]9/10[/b]

Good Night, And Good Luck

Good Night, And Good Luck

(2005)
8 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Those Axis kids are up to some wild, whacky stuff. Looks like it won't involve me, for the meantime.

I'm looking forward to what Raiders is doing, so I'll definitely be checking that out. Some of the notes and comments have been nice, flattering even, but I think it's time to move on. At least please refrain from doing anything because of my lil' situation.

I don't agree with cowboy/gestapo the methods over there, but most of the people who run the place are alright with me. This was just a case of someone acting on something he misinterpreted, which struck him emotionally, and then sticking to his guns to save face (pride can be wicked). We can just be thankful that this person only operates a message board, otherwise half of the world might already be obliterated.

So anyway, as I said, it's time to move on. I'll be updating this journal here a little more often.

-----------------------------

Those of you were following my [b]Top Performances [/b]thread can find a carbon copy of it here on RT:

[url]http://www.rottentomatoes.com/vine/showthread.php?t=445944[/url]

I'm up to #7 and hope to be completing the list soon.

-----------------------------

Recent flicks:

[b]The Devil's Rejects: [/b]To my surprise, I really liked it. It was odd watching the most sinister criminals imaginable as protagonists, but it was quite effective. In the back of my mind, I was even rooting to them to a certain degree. The movie was nothing short of grisly, and equally thrilling. It's been awhile since I've seen a new horror flick that was this much fun. [b]7/10[/b]

[b]Heavenly Creatures: [/b]This review has minor spoilers, so stop reading here if you haven't seen this.

As is often the case with Winslet flicks, this true crime movie boasted some tremendous acting, but Melanie Lynskey was the real standout here. Not to take anything away from Winslet, because she was suberb, and played this role with a theatrical quality that drew attention toward the instability. My only complaints, which are more just minor quibbles, are that the fantasy sequences drew the attention too far off of the true story, giving it an overly unrealistic fictional quality. I didn't feel the characters were developed enough in demonstrate what they were capable of. [b]7.5/10

Good Night, And Good Luck: [/b]

Considering my zeal for history and journalistic integrity, I am a little close to the target market for this film to review it objectively. I found it delivered its message adequately, while doing plenty of justice to the history, but more importantly it created that palpable sense of fear found throughout politics and the media. David Straitharn gave a slam dunk performance and really solidied the iconic status of his character. All the other elements found in this movie, most notably the nightclub jazz music interludes, contributed a great deal to the theme and to an extent voiced Clooney's sardonic approach. [b]9/10[/b]

The Devil's Rejects

The Devil's Rejects

(2005)
8 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Those Axis kids are up to some wild, whacky stuff. Looks like it won't involve me, for the meantime.

I'm looking forward to what Raiders is doing, so I'll definitely be checking that out. Some of the notes and comments have been nice, flattering even, but I think it's time to move on. At least please refrain from doing anything because of my lil' situation.

I don't agree with cowboy/gestapo the methods over there, but most of the people who run the place are alright with me. This was just a case of someone acting on something he misinterpreted, which struck him emotionally, and then sticking to his guns to save face (pride can be wicked). We can just be thankful that this person only operates a message board, otherwise half of the world might already be obliterated.

So anyway, as I said, it's time to move on. I'll be updating this journal here a little more often.

-----------------------------

Those of you were following my [b]Top Performances [/b]thread can find a carbon copy of it here on RT:

[url]http://www.rottentomatoes.com/vine/showthread.php?t=445944[/url]

I'm up to #7 and hope to be completing the list soon.

-----------------------------

Recent flicks:

[b]The Devil's Rejects: [/b]To my surprise, I really liked it. It was odd watching the most sinister criminals imaginable as protagonists, but it was quite effective. In the back of my mind, I was even rooting to them to a certain degree. The movie was nothing short of grisly, and equally thrilling. It's been awhile since I've seen a new horror flick that was this much fun. [b]7/10[/b]

[b]Heavenly Creatures: [/b]This review has minor spoilers, so stop reading here if you haven't seen this.

As is often the case with Winslet flicks, this true crime movie boasted some tremendous acting, but Melanie Lynskey was the real standout here. Not to take anything away from Winslet, because she was suberb, and played this role with a theatrical quality that drew attention toward the instability. My only complaints, which are more just minor quibbles, are that the fantasy sequences drew the attention too far off of the true story, giving it an overly unrealistic fictional quality. I didn't feel the characters were developed enough in demonstrate what they were capable of. [b]7.5/10

Good Night, And Good Luck: [/b]

Considering my zeal for history and journalistic integrity, I am a little close to the target market for this film to review it objectively. I found it delivered its message adequately, while doing plenty of justice to the history, but more importantly it created that palpable sense of fear found throughout politics and the media. David Straitharn gave a slam dunk performance and really solidied the iconic status of his character. All the other elements found in this movie, most notably the nightclub jazz music interludes, contributed a great deal to the theme and to an extent voiced Clooney's sardonic approach. [b]9/10[/b]

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