I have to say, I’m fascinated by the response to the Israeli sequences in World War Z. The anti-Israel set is really freaking out about the implications of those scenes while the pro-Israel set is cautiously embracing the picture. (Some spoilers below.)
As I noted in my review, the film is, on the whole, something of a mess. For the most part it never really lives up to its name—we globe hop, but the sequences set in South Korea and Wales could just as easily have been set anywhere else given the lack of local color. It almost never feels like a “world war.”
The one exception is the 20 or 30 minutes we spend in Israel. It actually feels like we’re in the Middle East (though the film wasn’t shot in Israel) and the shots of the endless zombie hordes that pour into the country—toppling buses and mounting walls through sheer mass—are the only sequences that feel particularly unique.
But maybe I just liked this sequence because I’m a perfidious Zionist.
Critics aren’t crazy about Man of Steel, the new Superman movie. It has a 56 percent favorable rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the site that aggregates reviews. But audiences love it; the Cinemascore poll gives Man of Steel a grade of A-.
Last night at the Kennedy Center concert hall, Oscar-winning director Martin Scorsese delivered the 2013 National Endowment for the Humanities Jefferson Lecture. He spoke of the importance of preserving film and lamented the studios' fixation with box office grosses. The end of celluloid saddened him, but he reminded us that there were exciting new developments in film technology we shouldn't overlook. But mostly Scorsese focused on protecting the old movies—90 percent of silent films are now gone. It's an important subject, don't get me wrong, but couldn't he have talked about Goodfellas or Casino a little bit? I mean, c'mon!
In testimony on Capitol Hill, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton brought up the movie Argo last month to help explain the terror attack against Americans in Benghazi, Libya. And now, with the Oscars tonight, the new secretary of state, John Kerry, is again plugging the film.
Actor Jackie Chan has committed to visiting the rogue Iranian regime, according to a report from the Iranian outlet ISNA. The story is headlined, "Jackie Chan: I will definitely come to Iran."
"International action superstar, Jackie Chan said he would definitely visit Iran," the report reads. "In his short interview with Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA) reporter in Malaysia, Jackie Chan said he had tried so many times to come to Iran in past years."
In response to a report that classified information had been leaked to the makers of the Hollywood movie Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal, Congressman Peter King, chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, says he's concerned.
In brief remarks about the movie theater shooting, President Obama led the audience in prayer and a moment of silence.
"I would like us to pause in a moment of silence for the victims of this terrible tragedy, for the people who knew them and loved them, for those who are still struggling to recover, and for all the victims of less publicized acts of violence that plague our communities every single day. so if everybody can just take a moment," said President Obama, and then solemnly put his down.
White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters this morning on Air Force One that, in regards to the Colorado movie theater shooting last night, "We do not believe at this point there was an apparent nexis to terrorism."
Every year, there is a movie that becomes an unexpected hit because it finds an audience among people the Hollywood studios resolutely ignore: the over-50 crowd. Last year, Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris struck a chord loud enough among those who still dream of arrondisement-hopping with Gertrude Stein to earn $149 million worldwide. In 2010, regular guys with AARP cards got to compare notes on retirement with CIA assassins Bruce Willis and Helen Mirren in Red ($199 million).