Monthly Archives: March 2008

Yaron Brook’s OpEd on Forbes.com

I posted a comment after Yaron Brook’s OpEd on Forbes.com, regarding campaign finance restrictions limiting freedom of speech. I welcome any answers, here oron the Forbes page, tothe question I poseat the end of my comment.

The OpEd is HERE

Here is the comment I posted:

Yaron Brook explains well why this is not a small issue. Once we begin to lose freedom of speech, in small increments like this, the slippery slope becomes real. What will be left of the Founders’ Land of the Free? If America doesn’t protect its freedoms, where else can one go? One big question is raised by Brook’s comment, “A true crusader against political corruption… would seek to put an end to the government’s power to grant special favors to any group”: How do we put an end to the ever-growing powers that FDR, TR, Woodrow Wilson and others initiated in the early 20th century? Will it take new Constitutional Amendments restricting government power?

I would add now,  that a Constitutional Amendment won’t pass, and if it passes, won’t hold, until the American people more fully understand and embrace the idea of individual rights anda philosophy of self-interest and reason rather thanaltruism andpragmatism and majority-rule. So what is needed first is the full-scale education of the American peopleabout the only philosophy that corresponds to the nature of man and reality: Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism. Fortunately the Ayn Rand Institute is making enormous strides in getting these ideas taught in high schools and universities and known to many more people via the internet and other media. Please support them.

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Atonement Movie Review

Atonement is about to be released on DVD, and here is my review:

At first, every character we are introduced to seems either immoral, extremely unpleasant, a manipulator of others, or at best, simple-minded. After I saw Juno, which literally contains no villain, and where every character is decent and likeable, the characters at the start of Atonement made me fear I will regret spending the next two hours with them.

However, the film improves somewhat. The worst offender in the characterization department is Keira Knightley, whose performance as Cecilia makes her character far less likeable than actually written. If her character was presented in an admirable light, the story would have become more engaging and emotional.

In the end, the simple-minded, or naive, man, Robbie, played by James McAvoy, becomes the likeable and even heroic character, and as a result, the film becomes watchable and even slightly enjoyable at times. At one point, the story transforms into a war movie and at that time it improves.

Especially worthwhile are two sequences: the scenes of the nurses treating the wounded soldiers, which are based on the memoirs of an actual nurse of World War II named Lucilla Andrews, and the unforgettable, extended single tracking shot of Dunkirk after the battle has ended and the British prepare to evacuate. Horses are shot so that the Germans cannot benefit from their being left behind.

The story itself is ultimately about a youthful error whose impact spirals out of control; the theme is a dark one, but the resolution is somewhat emotionally rewarding in that it confronts how one might have to deal psychologically with such an error.

The production design, costume design and cinematography are superbly beautiful, and puts the viewer right into the period.

The first hour is only exposition; setting up the situation and relationships. I thought that if I could take the film and cut the first hour down to about 20 minutes–just get the important plot points and relationships shown–and recast the role played by Keira Knightley with someone warmer yet stronger, like Angelina Jolie or Kate Beckinsale, I could turn it into a good, short TV movie (by the BBC).

Overall, I would not recommend Atonement, as it adds up to an average film. (I added this lineafter reading Elizabeth’scommentbelow, to clarify my overall impression).

Here’s a link to an article by the author of the novel Atonement, Ian McEwan, and charges that he plagiarized Lucilla Andrews’ autobiography:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2006/nov/27/bookscomment.topstories3

Trivia:Robbie types an offensive word early in the film and I didn’t think that was at all necessary. Another word would have done just fine.

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