12 Years A Slave Posters Feature Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender; Lionsgate Will Recall

Posters for 12 Years A Slave featuring large portraits of Brad Pitt and Michael Fassbender with a small figure of  the film’s star Chiwetel Ejiofor are unauthorized, says the film’s studio Lionsgate; their Summit label is handling the film overseas.  A Lionsgate spokesperson told Variety:

The ’12 Years a Slave’ theatrical posters featuring Brad Pitt and Michael Fassbender that were recently released in Italy were unauthorized and were not approved by any of the producers or licensors of the film. Summit Entertainment, acting as exclusive sales agent for the licensors, is investigating and taking immediate action to stop the distribution of any unauthorized posters and to have those posters currently in the marketplace recalled.

Brad Pitt, who produced the film, plays a Canadian abolitionist who appears in last 20 minutes and speaks out against slavery. Fassbender is the sadistic slave owner. Chiwetel Ejiofor’s portrayal of  freeborn violinist Solomon Northrop, whose autobiography is the basis of the film,  has received rave reviews. In the U.S. and elsewhere,  Ejiofor is the central figure in the film’s marketing materials.

The Italian posters have pretty much rightfully upset a large portion of the interwebs, and props to Carefree Black Girl for really getting the word out.

I was at the movies the other day ( I live in Italy) and I saw the poster for 12 Years A Slave. I’ve been following the press for months and I can’t wait to watch it but REALLY?  I don’t remember Brad Pitt being the protagonist of the film or having such a pivotal role in the story to stay in the middle of the poster…

I sure don’t know anything about marketing strategy to appeal audiences but isn’t this going to far?

Pitt previously said of his taking the role of the kind Canadian who helps Northrup gain his freedom:

It helped get the thing done. I sit in a very fortunate position where I can help push things over the edge with difficult stories, and this was one of those instances. So it’s merely for that, not so much that I was certainly needed performance-wise.

Italian marketing company Fanatical About Cinema and Italian distributor BIM clearly have taken Pitt’s part too far. Fassbender, who has received a Golden Globe nomination for his role, is given the same treatment in posters with a portrait image. The film’s Italian trailer make it clear that the story is about Ejiofor’s character, so the decision to deceive moviegoers through the posters is troubling one.

Fanatical About Cinema has already removed the posters from their Flickr account, but there are images online.

Music & Murder: “Narco Cultura” Takes Viewers to the Front Lines of the Mexican-American Drug War


It’s 7PM when Shaul Schwarz, director of the documentary, Narco Cultura, calls from his Brooklyn office to discuss his film.  He tells me, “I kept feeling this hunger to tell the wider story of this war that’s affecting millions of people on both sides of the border and how we are all involved.  I was haunted by this story.”

Narco Cultura is a study in contrasts.  The subject matter is serious and violent while the film itself is an easy, engaging watch.  The footage manages to be as beautiful as it is horrifying. We’ve heard about the drug wars ravaging Mexico, but this movie finds a new lens to explore the crisis through bringing audiences two very different perspectives from the front lines.

The film splits its focus between Richi Soto, a crime scene investigator in the warzone that is Juarez, and Edgar Quintero, a narcocorrido singer in Los Angeles.  Narcocorridos, we learn, are the soundtrack of the drug wars.  This genre, which has been called the Latin Gangsta Rap, features songs that combine upbeat Mexican folk music with explicit, violent lyrics celebrating the exploits of the drug cartels. Narco Cultura tells the story of the drug wars from both sides of the border, effortlessly contrasting the on-the-ground realities of the violence with the pop culture fantasy world of the narcocorridos.

A veteran photojournalist, Shaul spent two years photographing the violence in Juarez before he began filming.  He explains to me, “As the pictures got published people would say, ‘Oh, the Mexican drug war’, which made it sound far away.  And I would say, ‘The Mexican-American drug war’.  People would ask, ‘Who’s killing who?’ I would start explaining but end up getting frustrated because it’s complicated.”

Los Buknas de Culiacan in "Narco Cultura." (Shaul Schwarz)

Los Buknas de Culiacan in “Narco Cultura.” (Shaul Schwarz)

Shaul, your film paints a complex picture of the narco culture. Depending on where you’re sitting the violence is treated as cool or it’s terrifying. Can you talk about the contrasts and connections?

The juxtaposition also comes from the contrast between the U.S. and Mexico.  In the U.S., Edgar can glorify the drugs and the violence through his music and as much as he lives in a hood he is safe to a certain degree.  The drugs move, but the people die south of the border. The money and the demand are here in the U.S., the money drives south, the guns go south, and the bodies stay south.  Right now I think more than 60,000 are dead.  Look at Juarez and El Paso.  You wonder how the contrast can be so big, especially when a large part of El Paso is either first generation American or Mexican.  You literally have families split on both sides of the border. I think as Americans we have this sense that the drug war is the status quo. We don’t know what to do about it and it’s not our problem.  But that’s not true and I wanted you to feel that in the film. I wanted to make a movie that was raw.

I’ve heard that during the editing process you consulted Richi and omitted information from the film he thought might put him at risk.  Talk about this process.  

I wouldn’t say that we consulted Richi.  He saw some things and gave some feedback, but we cut very independently.  For safety you have to make certain decisions.  With Richi and the Juarez story I always said that I am not an investigative journalist.  I’m not trying to see who killed who, or how drugs moved, or open any files.  That would have gotten us killed.  I quickly learned that in Mexico, forget publishing, even knowing things can get you killed.  That’s very different from most conflicts or most stories you do as a journalist where you always want to have big ears and listen to everything then decide later what to use.

Discuss the ethics of making a doc like this.  How did you balance your artistic vision for the film with the realities of trying to protect your subjects?  

As a journalist, you know there are things you don’t do to your sources.  If somebody gets hurt because of what you do it’s not worth it.  That’s what they teach you in school, but how do you practice that with such a complex story?  It comes down to each scene and each shot and common sense and going back and forth and thinking with editors, and sometimes with the protagonists, or sometimes with lawyers.  I mean you have the right to know and you have the right to publish, but there’s limits. Some stuff we knew we didn’t want to know, some stuff we didn’t dare ask, and we also saw a lot more than we could shoot.  When we went out in Juarez many, many times we just couldn’t shoot.  It’s not one of these places where you say, but wait, I’m on public property, I have a right.  Shit no.  Again, to me this film wasn’t about investigative journalism.  I wanted to show the reality of two people involved in the so-called drug war and where it has taken them and us.  In the editing, you find the balance that tells the story but won’t hurt anybody.  Each scene, each layer has its own rules.

This film contains graphic footage of the violence.  How did you approach the challenge of grabbing your audience’s attention without desensitizing them?

We needed to think about what’s too much versus what things were important to show.  I wanted to grab the audience’s attention because I feel we’re sticking our head in the sand and this is my way of telling you it’s right here, I won’t let you turn away.  But of course if you over do that, or do that incorrectly, you’ve desensitized your viewer and there’s no purpose.  It’s just grotesque.  It’s a line, mostly an editing line.  We tried to make sure that every scene where you see something graphic also has meaning.  For example, ok, there’s burnt bodies and that really grabs your attention, but it’s important and the footage has a right to be in the film because these people were burned with the intention that everyone would see them and that’s really narco culture- that’s the intimidation factor.  Almost everything in the film represents something.

What do you want people to walk away from Narco Cultura with? 

I want people to be upset because I believe it’s upsetting.  I want them to see the drug war like they’ve never seen it.  This is the cancer of Mexico and to some degree the cancer of the U.S.  I want you to care.  It’s too sad, we’re too involved, it’s not far away, and we’re all in it together.  If you’re angry maybe you’ll think about how to change things.  There are a couple of clear 800 lb gorillas – legalization, demand, and access to guns.  It’s also important to understand that this problem does not have a military solution.  You can’t just throw money and guns at it and solve things.  It’s never worked and it’s not going to work.  Things are getting worse and the collateral damage is tremendous. I want people to think about the bigger picture.

Narco Cultura is currently in theaters.  For more information visit: www.narcoculture.com.

The Wachowskis’ “Jupiter Ascending” Trailer

Jupiter Ascending looks amazing! I don’t really like sci-fi but I would see this in an instant. We’ll have to wait until July 25, 2014 for the Andy Wachowski and Lana Wachowski written/directed space epic to open, though. Jupiter Ascending stars Mila Kunis as Jupiter Jones, a Russian immigrant janitor with the same genetic makeup as the Queen of the Universe, which grants her immortality and other cool powers.

[Spoiler alert] Because of this, Jupiter’s existence threatens the Queen of Space and so she must be killed. Channing Tatum is Caine, a genetically engineered hunter, part human albino and part wolf.  (What is it about pointed ears that is so irresistible…. ). Sent to Earth to finish off Jupiter and preserve the Queen’s reign, Caine decides that Jupiter is indeed awesome and switches sides, becoming her protector.  The duo must then evade the other hunters sent by the Queen, who is understandably angry and frightened of losing her throne…

In this future world as envisioned by the siblings Wachowski, humans are a lower life form, and human genes are spliced with other creatures’ to make them “better.” Soldiers are crossed with wolves to create a pack killer mentality; workers have bee genes to increase the hive mind and make them work harder. Some humans are hybridized with peacocks, according the cast list which shows actress Alexandra Fraser from World War Z in that role.

Monty Python’s Terry Gilliam has a (mysterious) role in Jupiter Ascending. The film also features James D’Arcy and Sean Bean, so basically it’s eye candy in space (as if Channing Tatum with pointed ears wasn’t enough!).  And with both a female protagonist and antagonist, it appeals across the board (like I said, I don’t really like science-fiction and I want to see it), which is good, since it’s set to be a Warner Bros tent-pole.

(Side note: Jupiter Jones was the name of the main character in the Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators young adult mystery series which I read as a kid. Jupiter lived in a junkyard with his aunt and uncle, and I still remember details about the clues. Jupiter Jones is also band in Greenville, North Carolina)

Kanye West, Kim Kardashian “Bound 2″ Revisoned by James Franco, Topless Seth Rogen

Kanye West’s new video “Bound 2,” featuring his fianceé Kim Kardashian’s breasts and her breathless, knowing utterances of

Uh huh honey

is A) self-will run riot;  B) a brilliant self-parody; C) a sign of the  impending collapse of Western Civilization; D) all of the above. Sans narrative and set in Monument Valley and outer space (and perhaps Kanye’s subconscious), “Bound 2″  explores the rapper’s profound, passionate and complex relationship with Kim Kardashian, acknowledging the conflict between love and materialism that surface in the couple’s union, ultimately ending on a note of hope-or is it resignation?

I wanna fuck you hard on the sink
After that, give you something to drink
Step back, can’t get spunk on the mink…

And hey, ayo, we made it, Thanksgiving
So hey, maybe we can make it to Christmas
She asked me what I wished for on the wishlist
Have you ever asked your bitch for other bitches?
Maybe we could still make it to the church steps

Now James Franco and Seth Rogen have created their own shot-by-shot version of “Bound 2″ called “Bound 3,” which further cements the utter surreal perfection of Kanye’s Nick West-directed video. Kim Kardashian loves it tweeting:

You nailed  it!!! Sooo funny!

Rogen and Franco shot their homage, entitled “Bound 3″ on the set of their new political comedy/thriller The Interview, directed by Rogen and his longtime collaborator Evan Goldberg, and written by Rogen, Goldberg and Dan Weaver. Franco plays a a good looking, but vapid talk-show host and Rogen his long suffering producer who travel fall into the middle of  the CIA’s assassination attempt on the  prime minister of North Korea.

Rogen and Franco have starred before in Pineapple Express and End of the World. “Bound 3″ marks their first music video collaboration.  The song “Bound 2″ in now number 5 on the Billbaord Hot 100. It premier last week on Ellen. I’m sure her her audience was grateful for the tip

Step back, can’t get spunk on the mink.

It is a good piece of advice, and one I always make sure is followed.

With Thanksgiving only two days away, will Kim and Kanye to make it through the turkey, dressing and stuffing, all the way to Christmas, and to the church steps? Oh gods, please yes, if only to see the next video. And hopefully Rogen and Franco’s response.




Skip “Ender’s Game”: Geeks OUT Making an Impact

Thanks to Geeks OUT, the bad vibes on Ender’s Game are being felt beyond the LGBT community. Tonight I went to a signing at La Luz de Jesus, our local Los Feliz art gallery/alt.culture general store (books, candy, action figures, robots, stationery, statuary, shower curtains, rugs, blankets, stuffed toys, candles, flashlights, purses, clothing, tee shirts, make-up, perfume, soap,  CDs, jewelry, bones, taxidermy, Haitian sequined prayer flags–basically any thing you’d need to survive emergency gift-giving, lost luggage, a bad break up, or an earthquake) for Heavenly Bodies, Dr. Paul Koudounaris’ glorious photo book full of images of bejeweled skeletons, cult figures from a bygone time when  saints were believed to have worked miracles.

Matt Kennedy, the gallery director, and I were chatting about what we were going this weekend. Matt’s really into comics (he recently scored an original panel from Gasoline Alley, one that contains a pivotal plot point), loves weird history and science fiction (he and his wife play a drinking game centering around the TV show  Ancient Aliens–narrator says “alien” and you drink; narrator says “extra-terrestrial,” and you take three sips, etc.),  and has an encyclopedic knowledge of movies. In the midst of our geeking out I blurted:

Please don’t go see Ender’s Game!

He replied vehemently:

No way! No way would I see that. And I gotta tell you, a guy came in from the the film company, wanting to put up a poster from the movie and said, ‘Hey, maybe we could do a promotion with you.’ I told told him, ‘No, that’s not gonna happen,’ and he shook his head and went,”I know, I get it, I get it.’

Matt went to say that he did half-joking suggest to the film company promo guy that maybe he could try Lassen’s (the Mormon-owned health food store up the road that donated to support Prop 8–I won’t shop there, even though it’s the only health food store close by). The poster guy went away unhappily aware that the word was out on Ender’s Game–that the man behind the story, Orson Scott Card is a bigot.

Geek’s OUT has been the instrumental primogenitor in raising awareness about Orson Scott Card’s nastiness, his homophobia, his anti-equality activism through their Skip Ender’s Game campaign. In the Advocate, Patrick Yacco, a Geeks OUT board member writes brilliantly and passionately about why he is skipping Ender’s Game, and explains more eloquently than I what his group of sci-fi-loving queers has done and why. Their activism has shown what motivation and determination can accomplish. Geek OUT are true superheroes.

Since Geeks OUT launched this campaign earlier this year, we’ve faced a slew of criticism, ranging from “you need to separate the art from the artist” to “this isn’t big enough to make a difference.” To the first argument, I have to draw on my experience of being a queer geek and knowing that Orson Scott Card doesn’t respect who I am as a fan of science fiction. We’re not talking about someone who at one time or another made some stupid comments and is now apologizing for them, like James Gunn, director of the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy. Card actively works to target and undermine the LGBT community’s progress, and he’s quietly begun attacking people of color as well. To me, consuming any of his products is extremely problematic, and I’m addressing that in the fashion I see fit.

On the other hand, to say that the Skip Ender’s Game campaign won’t have an impact is completely moot at this point. Geeks OUT has pushed Card’s atrocious attacks on the LGBT community to the forefront of mainstream media, with nearly every outlet that reports on Ender’s Game commenting on his radical activism. Even if people weren’t aware of his views, they’re learning about them now. Regardless of Ender’s Game’s box office tally, Geeks OUT has helped raise awareness of Orson Scott Card’s fear-mongering, and no amount of ticket sales can change that.

Matt Kennedy isn’t the only straight sci-fi fan who’s skipping Ender’s Game. On Facebook and in real life, straight sci-fans have told me they are not going to see Ender’s Game, period, not even by paying for a ticket at the megaplex and sneaking in. That’s huge.  Geeks OUT are true superheroes. Their activism has shown what motivation and determination can accomplish.

Skip Ender’s Game!

Need something? La Luz de Jesus probably has it.

Left to right, Matt Kennedy, artist Christopher Ulrich, Paul Koudounaris PhD.

Koudounaris and two of his Heavenly Bodies.

First Thing to Do November 1: Skip “Ender’s Game”

There are many reasons why I’m not going to see Ender’s Game. Orson Scott Card’s homophobia; I don’t care for science-fiction; Orson Scott Card advocates government overthrow; no actors I care about; Orson Scott Card plays the victim; there are way better movies opening and in theaters already; Orson Scott Card, as a producer stands to make money from Ender’s Game, and if the film does well, from subsequent sequels and merchandising.

KSL anchor and reporter Carole Mikita on the “Deseret News Sunday Edition” interviewed Card this past weekend, and the author went for the victim move with a neener-neenr combo:

The only reason I’m being attacked for it is because ‘Ender’s Game’ is coming out as a movie, so that was something that was going to get a lot of publicity for the people attacking. I’ve had no criticism…

I’ve had savage, lying, deceptive personal attacks, but no actual criticism because they’ve never addressed any of my actual ideas. Character assassination seems to be the only political method that is in use today, and I don’t play that game, and you can’t defend against it. All you can do is try to offer ideas, and for those who want to listen to ideas, great. For those who simply want to punish you for not falling in line with their dogmas, there’s really not much you can do about it…

Actually Card, who was on the National Organization for Marriage’s board of directors, wanted to punish people who didn’t fall in line with his dogma, and he has been personal in his attacks. Via The Daily Dot:

1990: Card argued that states should keep sodomy laws on the books in order to punish unruly gays–presumably implying that the fear of breaking the law ought to keep most gay men in the closet where they belonged.

2004:  He claimed that most homosexuals are the self-loathing victims of child abuse, who became gay “through a disturbing seduction or rape or molestation or abuse.”

2008: Card published his most controversial anti-gay screed yet, in the Mormon Times, where he argued that gay marriage “marks the end of democracy in America,” that homosexuality was a “tragic genetic mixup,” and that allowing courts to redefine marriage was a slippery slope towards total homosexual political rule and the classifying of anyone who disagreed as “mentally ill.”

2009: He joined the board for anti-gay lobby The National Organization for Marriage, which was created to pass California’s notorious Proposition 8, banning gay marriage.

2012: He supported his home state North Carolina’s constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage by arguing that gay marriage “will be the bludgeon [The Left] use to make sure that it becomes illegal to teach traditional values in the schools.

And let’s not forget Card’s call to arms against the US Government:

Because when government is the enemy of marriage, then the people who are actually creating successful marriages have no choice but to change governments, by whatever means is made possible or necessary… Regardless of law, marriage has only one definition, and any government that attempts to change it is my mortal enemy. I will act to destroy that government and bring it down.

But they key, in his interview, excerpted in the Deseret Times is this:

[The criticism] won’t affect my work. Will it affect the reception of my work? Of course, but not in ways that they expect. My sales go up with such attacks.

So let’s join in solidarity and be the allies we would want to have, supporting the LGBT community, especially those in states still working for marriage equality, by boycotting Ender’s Game, and prove Orson Scott Card wrong, as the sales figures for Ender’s Game tickets go down.

Santorum Says Satan Controls Hollywood

Rick Santorum spat a frothy mouthful on the Trinity Broadcasting Network, plugging his first foray into film production, The Christmas Candle, due out this holiday season. The movie, from EchoLight Studio, is a period piece set in a Thomas Kinkade-esque village and tackles modernity vs (Christian) tradition as electricity and progressive thinking threaten the  town’s visit from a Christmas angel. Now the CEO of EchoLight, Santorum said, seeming a little uncomfortable:

This is a tough business, this is something that we’re stepping out, and the Devil for a long, long time has had this, these screens, for his playground and he isn’t going to give it up easily.

Shifty eyes much?

I’m not going to go into Santorum’s (il)logic about Satan controlling Hollywood which at some point will end up in a grand conspiracy, but ye gods and little fishes, if Satan controls the film business, why did the self-proclaimed White Witch of Los Angeles give a lecture about the film industry and how it controls the mind? Inconceivable!

And speaking of inconceivable,  Santorum’s position on  Satan in the film biz puts him at odds with fellow conservative Sen Ted Cruz who admitted that in addition to playing video games (also a tool of Satan)

I’m a huge movie buff. Love watching movies. So we’ll often go and watch a movie.

Cruz’s favorite movie? The Princess Bride which has a wizard bringing Westley back to life. Blasphemy!! Clearly Ted Cruz is thus a tool of Satan, which makes his opposition to the current administration a Satanic plot. But wait, conservatives think Obama is Satan, or at least the Anti-Christ…

Screw it, I’m gonna go watch an MK-Ultra produced, Illuminati/Satan mind control movie. Like  Chitty Chitty Bang Bang or Fantasia.

Julian Assange Media Rollout in Anti-Promotion for “The Fifth Estate”


Julian Assange is stirring a bubbling cauldron of interest that could result in The Fifth Estate‘s coffers running over, with the fair-haired boy of cyberspece delivering the Midas touch for the box office gold.  WikiLeaks founder Assange has been giving interviews to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association which will be publishing them this week, ahead of the film’s release, RT Spanish “Behind the News” host Eva Golinger, and weirdly, ABC’s “This Week.”

Why is it weird that Assange spoke to George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s Sunday morning news show? Because ABC is owned by the Walt Disney Company. Disney’s Touchstone is distributing The Fifth Estate, produced by DreamsWorks, which has a television distribution deal with ABC/Disney. Talk about corporate synergy.

Stephanopoulos announcing that Assange would be

 live from his London hideout

was a tad melodramatic, because we all know where Assange has been since June, 2012–in the Ecuadorian Embassy, 3 Hans Crescent, Knightsbridge, London SW1X 0LS, United Kingdom, the building with all the nice policemen ringing it to prevent the easy-to-spot Assange from escaping and going…where, exactly?

Here are some highlights from Assange laying out his complaints about The Fifth Estate to ABC and RT. In both interviews, Assange discusses the government surveillance and the dangers to journalists who cover whistleblowing and report on leaks are facing. He also discusses his future, and in the RT interview, goes into detail about the asylum process, concepts of sovereignty and freedom, Google’s involvement with the State Department, the Obama’s administration’s exceptionally high record of prosecuting espionage cases, and that it is

a linguistic abuse to call speaking to the media espionage. Similarly it’s a linguistic abuse to say that WikiLeaks as a publisher, when it publishes, is conducting espionage.

Both interviews make for fascinating reading. In the interest of Fair Use, and because La Figa focuses on the intersection of politics, entertainment and pop culture, here’s what Assange had to say about The Fifth Estate in both interviews. There are links to the full inteviews, which I encourage you to read. First up, ABC’s “This Week,” from their transcripts:

There was no approach to us by DreamWorks, in any formal capacity whatsoever, other than an informal approach by Benedict Cumberbatch just days before shooting began.

This is a film that is based upon my life’s work, the work of my organization; we have people in extremely serious situations. [UK citizen] Sarah Harrison, who accompanied Edward Snowden out of Hong Kong, now effectively in exile in Russia because of the terrorism investigation here.

We have (inaudible) an alleged media source, the 25 organizations including ours up for sentencing in under a month’s time, an ongoing grand jury investigation.

But what are the responsibilities for ethical filmmaking in that context? None of the suggested changes that we sent to participant media ended up even in the final text of the film. But there’s been a big cashing-in that has gone on….

This is a rich organization, DreamWorks. It’s making a lot of money and tries — is continuing to make a lot of money from this process. But none of — there’s no contribution to our defense fund, to the defense fund of our sources and so on.

Assange’s RT interview with Eva Golinger is a must-read. And yes, he is driving the conversation about the film, taking control of the PR. And insuring that once people have seen it–and they will, due in part of Assange’s PR blitz–they’ll be able to learn much more about WikiLeaks and its founder. Here’s what he had to say to RT about The Fifth Estate in response to Eva Golinger’s asking if the film is an attempt to discredit Assange and WikiLeaks:

I know the book that it was based on. The books were definitely an attempt to do precisely that. DreamWorks has picked the two most discredited libellous books out of dozens of books available for it to pick. But it’s coming out of a particular milieu about.. within Hollywood and that constraints, it seems, what scripts can be written and what things would get distribution. I don’t know if that was the intent of the filmmakers. It’s certainly the result, but it’s been doing quite poorly in the reviews.

I think the information we have published about it was pretty successful in knocking out any view that is inaccurate history. It’s interesting to see that in the America’s Disney, who’s responsible for the distribution there, has been putting up posters of me with the word ‘traitor’ emblazoned across my face*. You know, a laughable concept ‘cos because I’m an Australian, I couldn’t even be a traitor, in theory, to the United States. I mean it’s a type of libel.

I think ultimately people are starting to become immune to those sorts of attacks. There’s been so many as time is going by. And people who’ve been watching the WikiLeaks saga have seen many of these attacks, having seen that they’ve turned out not to be true. So I think our base is not going to be affected by the film.

More likely, WikiLeaks’ base will expand. Because as the film, which Assange so maligns, says:

If you want the truth, you should seek it out for yourself. That’s what they’re afraid of. You.

*A Google search shows there are several posters for The Fifth Estate. One shows Benedict Cumberbatch as Assange with the word “hero” across his face, another with the word “traitor.” The same is true for the face of Daniel Brühl who plays Daniel Berg, Assange’s  lieutenant who wrote the book on which The Fifth Estate is based.

Film Review: Kill Your Darlings

Kill Your Darlings, the directorial debut from John Krokidas, swiftly draws us into the creation of the Beat movement and the murder which thrust Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, and Jack Kerouac onto the path of literary and cultural revolution. Daniel Radcliffe stars as Allen Ginsberg, whose freshman year at Columbia begins as his mother’s fragile mental health deteriorates.

While the film takes some liberties with the libertine set’s involvement in the murder of David Kammerer, a compatriot of Burrough’s who was enamored with Ginsberg’s friend/crush Lucien Carr, the taut, painful coming age story lays bare the era’s anti-Semitism and homophobia, blowing apart the stultifying academic and social mores that the Beats–who originally dubbed themselves the New Vision–sought to overthrow. (It is worth noting that many cultural forces that cause change have sprung from the death of one of a specific circle: Stu Sutcliffe and Brian Jones come to mind–the energies unleashed postmortem propel societal change forward. Freaky? Makes me go all Golden Bough/Wicker Man). And Kammerer’s  murder was the explosion that thrust the Beats into their creative maelstrom.

Still, despite the shift of certain facts and chronologies, Kill Your Darlings–which takes its title from a quote attributed to William Faulkner, who repurposed it from Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch’s On the Art of Writing (1916)

Whenever you feel an impulse to perpetrate a piece of exceptionally fine writing, obey it–whole-heartedly–and delete it before sending your manuscript to press. Murder your darlings

–seduces and inspires with language, camera, production design, and the force of the actors’ talent. The ecstatic scenes in a jazz club, Ginsberg’s fevered writings and yearnings for Carr, a library break-in, Kerouac’s home life, and the collision of sex, death and drugs at the film’s climax, all unfurl in passionate vision.

At the start, and throughout the film, Carr’s murder of Kammerer weighs heavily. Kammerer is in love with Carr, and Carr is dependent on him to write his papers for school, as well as possibly for his life force. Perhaps Carr has drained Kammerer of his own originality and taken the older man’s ideas of literary revolution as his own, that concept is left bubbling beneath the surface. Carr is a tortured young man with ideas he cannot express and he turns to Ginsberg to help him shatter the prison walls of convention (and he hopes, prison).  Carr seeks new sensations, new words, new worlds, constantly pushing and luring Ginsberg to more and more dangerous adventures, then cajoling and manipulating him into writing his defense statement.

Played by Dane DeHaan, Lucien Carr is a young, half-formed Lucifer, damned forever, capable of getting others to do for him close to,  but never perfectly, what he wants, and is unable to do himself. (In real life, Carr served 18 months  in a reformatory after claiming an “honor killing,” that is, the mid-20th century heterosexual self defense against an obsessed homosexual, to use the terms of that time; he spent the rest of his life as an editor at UPI, an appropriate end).

The characters of Kill Your Darlings embrace sex, drugs, thrills, and emotional, psychological and physical violence as means to liberation, to break the circle. Breaking the circle, disrupting the cycle of life, is a theme that recurs throughout Kill Your Darlings, drawn from Carr’s fascination with William Butler Yeats’ essays in automatic writing,  A Vision (thus the name of Carr’s nascent literary movement, New Vision) And with Kammerer’s murder, Lucien Carr did break the circle, the circle of friends, the cycle of life. The New Vision circle  reformed as the Beats, fiercely birthing the counterculture, and within that restructured shape shattered the literary and societal norms through to this day.

While director/producer and co-writer (with Austin Bunn) John Krokidas told the Hollywood Reporter:

I want young audiences to know that the world is theirs and they can make their stamp. It’s time for them to start their own revolution

hopefully it will come without circle-shattering traumas like that which ended Kammerer’s tormented life.

Kill Your Darlings, rated R, opens October 18. Starring Daniel Radcliffe as Allen Ginsberg; Dane DeHaan as Lucien Carr; Michael C. Hall as David Kammerer;  Ben Foster as William Burroughs; Jack Huston as Jack Kerouac; David Cross as Lewis Ginsberg; Jennifer Jason Leigh as Naomi Ginsberg; Elizabeth Olsen as Edie Parker; Kyra Sedgwick as Marian Carr.

Citizens United Making Hillary Movie

With CNN and NBC/Universal having scrapped their plans to make Hillary Clinton TV movies (a doc and biopic, respectively), citing pressure from both political sides and lack of cooperation from sources, rightwing Citizen Untied is ready to jump in the fray.

Which seems seems pretty hypocritical, because it was the RNC that got all sandy-pantied when the two mainstream media pieces were announced–dropping the banhammmer on both networks sponsoring Republican primary debates. But I guess if a Republican-leaning group makes a movie about an opposition candidate, it’s okay and should not at all be seen as biased, even if the MSM films were predicted to be favorable from their point of view?

In 2008, Citizens United successfully sued the U.S. government over another Hillary Clinton movie, imaginatively titled Hillary: The Movie.   The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that blocking the airing of Hillary: The Movie on the grounds that it amounted to political advertising was an unconstitutional breach of free speech.

David Bossie, head of Citizens United has not yet revealed the title of the new Clinton movie, but CU is claiming it will be released theatrically as well as on TV and DVD, though no actual deals have been announced.  Bossie told the Hollywood Reporter:

This is why I went to the Supreme Court. Now that I won that case, I can do whatever I want with this new movie. I can advertise it on radio and TV, show it on TV whenever I want to — all the things they stopped us from doing with Hillary: The Movie.

The Hollywood Reporter comments:

Like Hillary: The Movie, the upcoming film is not expected to be a flattering portrayal of the presumed Democratic candidate for president, though it will primarily explore her life as secretary of state from 2009-13. Hillary: The Movie, on the other hand, was released prior to her appointment to the State Department and was about her roles as first lady of Arkansas, first lady of the U.S. and U.S. Senator from New York.

The CNN doc might not have been exactly laudatory. Director Charles Ferguson wrote:

In Arkansas, she joined the boards of Walmart and Tyson Foods. One of the largest donors to the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation is the government of Saudi Arabia. The Clintons’ personal net worth now probably exceeds $200 million, and while earned legally, both the money’s sources and the Clintons’ public statements indicate a strong aversion to rocking boats or making powerful enemies.

Biases aside, it feels really sleazy for the Republicans to bitch and moan and complain and threaten boycotts about Hillary Clinton movies, and then have one of their apparatchik PACs start crowing about its own hatchet job.

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