September 25th, 2010

Movies

In Theaters: Machete

Due to a strange confluence of events last week, I had time to take off and catch Machete, and was duly rewarded. The movie is fantastic. I am pleased to see the grindhouse thing catching on, and much like recent winner Black Dynamite, this movie delivers on its promise and then some. Lots of fun, great action, great casting. No, it won't win any awards next year, but it's a highly entertaining time at the movies. Go see it on the big screen.

New trailers:
* Faster - Standard action-revenge fare, but the Rock makes things fun to watch. So, maybe. (Bonus: Mr. Eko.)
* Let Me In - I dug the original, so it's a bit sacrilegious in certain circles to mention that this might not be that bad. They definitely have the look down, and I am interested to see what they change (since they apparently went back to the original book for inspiration.) (Bonus: Hammer Films!)
* The Green Hornet - I'm still very uncommitted on this movie, which is a problem since I am in theory the target audience.
* Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps - I'm not sure I get why this is coming back. Sure, it's fun watching Michael Douglas play a charismatic jerk, but beyond that?
* Unstoppable - It's like Speed, but on a train. Yawn.

News

Laziness, eating veggies, and the Founding Fathers

SATURDAY NEWS:
* Ugh. White House invokes state secrets defense for targeting American for assassination without due process.
* "Rich people who complain about being vilified should be vilified."
* US military concerned about British defense budget cuts.
* Good read: a GQ profile of Rand Paul.
* "There is nothing you can say that will get people to eat more veggies."
* The new Republican platform: Stewart thinks it sounds familiar. Solid gold. Also, how it returns to old, terrible economic theories. And don't forget the main theme, the untouchables.
Colbert's testimony: Dana Milbank on the Republican reaction.
* David Brooks sees a responsibility deficit in government.
* Seeking a brand, American University gets wonky.
* Guidelines for making a good superhero TV show.

Politics

Interesting article on the Linda McMahon candidacy

"Things started to change in the 1980s, for reasons both cultural and economic. A new generation of politicians ascended to power — liberals and conservatives with sharply moralistic approaches to politics. At the same time, the manufacturing decline that was beginning to erode the nation's economic base, along with the 'white flight' that began in the 1960s, hollowed out Connecticut's cities and weakened its governing establishment. Outsiders tend to think of Connecticut as a collection of wealthy suburbs and rural horse farms, as portrayed in books and movies like The Ice Storm. That side of things does exist, particularly on the 'gold coast' that runs along the southwest edge of the state, where many hedge-fund managers and movie stars live. And yet much of the state is heavily industrialized, or at least it was until the 1970s. According to data compiled by the Brookings Institution that looks at the core cities of the 100 largest metropolitan areas, two of Connecticut's largest cities — Hartford and New Haven — are now among the dozen poorest in the country. Hartford, the capital, is the poorest in America.

"The effects of this kind of industrial decline, politically, were so gradual as to be almost imperceptible on a daily basis, but cumulatively they took a toll on the political climate. Fear of crime created political pressure for stricter sentencing guidelines, which drove up the state’s incarceration costs significantly. College graduates went off to other regions in search of jobs, leaving behind an aging population whose Medicaid costs are soaring. Public-sector unions replaced trade unions as the dominant political force, and soon the state was paying out unsustainable retirement benefits to its employees. The state budget has grown 60 percent in the last decade, sustained mainly by an income tax that everyone hates."