Kite Runner, The

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Apr 132008

The Kite RunnerIn a divided country on the verge of war, two childhood friends, Amir and Hassan, are about to be torn apart forever. It’s a glorious afternoon in Kabul and the skies are bursting with the exhilarating joy of a kite-fighting tournament. But in the aftermath of the day’s victory, one boy’s fearful act of betrayal will mark their lives forever and set in motion an epic quest for redemption. Now, after 20 years of living in America, Amir returns to a perilous Afghanistan under the Taliban’s iron-fisted rule to face the secrets that still haunt him and take one last daring chance to set things right.

Directed by: Marc Forster 
Genres: Drama and Adaptation
Starring: Shaun Toub, Khalid Abdalla, Nasser Memarzia, Said Taghmaoui, Atossa Leoni
Running Time: 2 hrs. 2 min.
Release Date: December 14th, 2007 (limited)

Lay and I started to watch this Friday night, but were both too tired, especially it is extensively subtitled. We came back to it last night, and I’m glad we did. Lay, who hates subtitled movies even got into this story.

This was an excellent movie, and now I want to read the book. The special effects and cinematography was great, and the music provided a perfect accompaniment to an excellent story well told. There where many parts where I wanted further elaboration, but I recognize that as part of the limitations of the medium…hence my desire to read the book.

The characters all played their parts very well, and while it was a very sad story, I very much enjoyed being drawn in. This one definitely goes to the top of the list for me.

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Mukasey Says They Knew About 9-11 Call

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Apr 012008

Speaking at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco last week, Attorney General Michael Mukasey said one of the dumbest things ever to come out of this scandal ridden Administration. He was making a speech trying to stir up support for the FISA bill with telecom immunity, where he basically claimed that U.S. Intelligence apparently knew a call came from Afghanistan safe-house to a phone in the U.S.

Before 9/11, Mr. Mukasey said, “We knew that there had been a call from someplace that was known to be a safe house in Afghanistan and we knew that it came to the United States. We didn’t know precisely where it went. We’ve got” – here the Attorney General paused with emotion – “we’ve got 3,000 people who went to work that day, and didn’t come home, to show for that.”

Keith Olberman called him out on the statement:

The government knew about some phone call from a safe house in Afghanistan into the US about 9/11, before 9/11, and even though it had the same FISA courts and the same right to act against international targets in 2001 as it does now, you didn’t do anything about it? Well, this would seem to leave only two options. Either the Attorney General just admitted that the government for which he works is guilty of malfeasant complicity in the 9/11 attacks or he’s lying. I’m betting on lying. If not, somebody in Congress better put that man under oath right quick.

You could send him to Gitmo, I suppose.

How about a little Congressional oversight here.

Hat tip to Crooks and Liars.

Charlie Wilson's War

 Culture, Humor, Movies, Politics, War  Comments Off on Charlie Wilson's War
Jan 062008

Charlie Wilson's WarA drama based on a Texas congressman Charlie Wilson’s covert dealings in Afghanistan, where his efforts to assist rebels in their war with the Soviets have some unforeseen and long-reaching effects.

Director: Mike Nichols

Genre: Biography, Drama, War

Other: 1 hr. 37 min.; Release Date: December 21st 2007 (wide); MPAA Rating: R for strong language, nudity/sexual content and some drug use.

Starring: Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams, Shiri Appleby

We saw this movie last Sunday when Lay was feeling good enough to go out finally. I’ve always love Julia Roberts, and I don’t think Tom Hanks can make a bad movie, and Charlie Wilson’s War was not the exception.

It’s nice to see a film that shows flawed human beings rising above those limitations and doing important and laudable things. I was prepared for a simplistic “good guy, bad guy” treatment. I was entranced when that wasn’t the treatment. It also was refreshing that the stock “America is the bad guy” approach wasn’t taken. Mistakes get made. People are flawed. People have self interests and aren’t always completely altruistic.

Tom Hanks plays Charlie Wilson, a senator who in 1980 stumbled into a covert war to drive the Soviets out of Afghanistan. How he stumbles into it and the various parties who coerce and assist him comprise the meat of the movie. Julia Roberts, the film’s weakest link, plays a Texas millionaire who serves as the catalyst for the operation. I wasn’t remotely convinced by Roberts’ performance, and she seems too young for the part, but the movie succeeds in spite of her. Philip Seymour Hoffman can’t help but steal every scene he’s in as a CIA operative in league with Wilson. And Hanks himself manages his good ‘ol boy role with aplomb.

This is one of the “must see” movies.

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