America: Freedom To Fascism

Provocative but also infuriating, this alarmist documentary argues that the levying of a federal income tax in 1913 was unconstitutional and set America on the road to fascism. Filmmaker Aaron Russo (Bette Midler’s former manager and the producer of Trading Places) shows no interest in the social, cultural, medical, or educational benefits of the income tax, or in the world outside the U.S., which he seems to regard as tainted by communism in the past and the international banking community in the present. He lacks the humor and polemical skill of Michael Moore as he ambushes some of his interview subjects, and he uses far too many intertitles and epigraphs. But his crude agitprop clearly identifies the threat to civil liberties posed by the Patriot Act, electronic voting, national ID cards, and implanted microchips, and his sense of urgency is contagious. 105 min. (JR)

Published on 28 Jul 2006 in Featured Texts, by admin

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John Tucker Must Die

Three teens (Ashanti, Sophia Bush, Arielle Kebbel) discover they’ve been sharing the same boyfriend (Jesse Metcalfe) and conspire to make him fall for a reclusive pal (Brittany Snow) who’s bound to break his heart. Betty Thomas, directing a script by TV veteran Jeff Lowell, seems uncertain whether to sympathize with her three heroines or with the title cad, but there’s something mildly charming about this cheerful revenge comedy’s lack of any straightforward moral agenda. PG-13, 87 min. (JR)

Published on 28 Jul 2006 in Featured Texts, by admin

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Hotel Des Ameriques

After an anesthetist in Biarritz (Catherine Deneuve) accidentally runs down a local layabout (Patrick Dewaere), the two edge uncertainly toward romance, though it’s periodically blocked by the former’s grief over a dead lover and the latter’s ambiguous friendship with a self-involved musician (Etienne Chicot). French director Andre Techine has called this 1981 feature his first to break free of film references and explore emotions directly; the bisexual issues and Bergman-esque psychodrama that characterize his later work are all evident here, though the characters’ novelistic backstories are less assured than in the magisterial My Favorite Season (1993) or Thieves (1996). The use of ‘Scope is resourceful, and Deneuve, in her first collaboration with Techine, is impressive. Techine cowrote the script with Gilles Taurand. In French with subtitles. 95 min. (JR)

Published on 28 Jul 2006 in Featured Texts, by admin

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Familiarity Breeds Contempt [SCOOP]

Please go to

http://www.jonathanrosenbaum.net/2006/07/familiarity-breeds-contempt/

Published on 28 Jul 2006 in Featured Texts, Featured Texts, by jrosenbaum

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