Thursday, May 18, 2006


As of writing this post, The Da Vinci Code is at an astounding, 19 % on Rotten Tomatoes.

To put that in context;

Ashton Kutcher in Dude Where's My Car received 17 %.

Paris Hilton in House of Wax received 24 %.

Scary Movie 4 with Carmen Electra received 36 %.

Well reviewed films such as Narnia recevied 76 %.

United 93 received 91 %.

Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible III received 70%.

Now this number will fluctuate until Friday when all of the reviews are in, but the major critics have weighed the value of The Da Vinci Code and given it an overwhelming thumbs down.

It most likely will still be a hit financially for the Sony Corporation but it has lost a certain prestige now.

With a junk movie behind it, adherers of the Code will find it harder to defend the beliefs inside. Culturally, that is significant. At Cannes, when the films big revelation at the climax is given, critics openly laughed at the screen.

Incidentally, much has been made of how Tom Cruise has alienated his fan base over the past year with his religious beliefs.

Others have asked but it is relevant to say again; should Tom Hanks' box office post DaVinci fall off, will the fact that he has alienated so many Christians and Catholics around the world be taken into play?

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


Here is a very to-the-point article on The DaVinci Code by Pat Buchanan. I have not always agreed with Pat Buchanan but he makes some very good points in this article. What I find most fascinating is his last line...

"But that it will be a box-office smash, that it is the subject of lavish praise in the press, that it is the best-selling novel of the 21st century, tells us we live not just in a post-Christian era, but in an anti-Catholic culture not worth defending or saving, for it is truly satanic."

Most Conservatives and Republicans support the War in Iraq. They will use the arguments that we are either

a) liberating Iraqis or,

b) defending ourselves, our culture and our way of life against terrorism.

Buchanan, a staunch conservative is opposed to the War in Iraq. I myself have somewhat mixed feelings on the whole affair.

I do however think it is always wise to question oneself and his last line here, in context of the upcoming film and book upon which it is based does so perfectly. If Conservatives and Republicans feel that the War in Iraq is about defending our 'way of life'...what exactly defines the West's 'way of life' in the 21st century?

Are Conservatives/Republicans unwittingly defending a way of life that is based on the destruction of the family, abortion on demand, same-sex marriage, drugs and promiscuity?

An entertainment culture that produces films that mock and ridicule all that they hold dear such as The DaVinci Code, Brokeback Mountain or V for Vendetta?

A culture that vilifies the values and teachings of Christ and will not allow even the most basic of prayers taught to children in a public school system but gives them free condoms?

A culture of 'big government' that seeks to encroach in virtually every element of people's lives?

In the abstract, one could say that we are defending 'democracy', but then again aren't Conservatives/Republicans always saying that the our courts and educational systems are profoundly undemocratic?

I certainly do not agree with leftists who think the War in Iraq is part of a Machiavellian conspiracy for oil. I think President Bush and Prime Minister Blair are basically good human beings.

I have little to no time for the Cindy Sheehan's of the world.

I do however respect thoughtful conservatives or others who are opposed to the war for reasons of a philosophy that questions what culture and 'way of life' exactly it is we are 'defending'.

Here's a thought; perhaps we should allow all of our brave young men and women in the military to get some R & R for two weeks and send over a battalion to the front lines that includes Tom Hanks, James Loney, Jack Layton, Cindy Sheehan and Michael Moore.

I know, I know, they would be mowed down inside of twenty minutes. But hey, at least we could finally get Hollywood to produce a kick-ass USO show!

Friday, May 12, 2006


This first look at Ron Howard's The Da Vinci Code comes courtesy London via the excellent conservative film website Libertas.

Based on this brief description it would seem Howard has went further than expected and added additional scenes depicting the 'evils' of Catholics throughout history that were not in the book.

"Although the movie closely follows the book's storyline, Howard delivers something Dan Brown doesn't - dramatic recreations of events relating to the book's central inflammatory theory that for 2,000 years the Catholic Church has been covering up the fact that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene and fathered a daughter, whose bloodline has survived into present-day Europe.

As well as scenes of the Inquisition and of women being tortured, burned and drowned, Howard shows Mary Magdalene fleeing the Holy Land for France and giving birth there."

From a personal point of view, it has been something of a necessary pleasure for me to have to take the past year or so to revisit much of the history of Catholicism and see where much of what we 'know' and believe about Catholicism is simply based on ignorance, false history and The Black Legend.

Similarly, with modern day academia and hence culture filtered through the dual paradigms of radical feminism and neo-Marxism, it is more important than ever for those beliefs to succeed, that the Catholic Church and hence by association Catholics are vilified as the demons of history.

If one wants to strike down the heart of Chrisitanity in the name of "The Divine Feminine" and the "Pagan Earth Goddess", by necessity one must strike at the institution that is its most visible caretaker on the planet, the Vatican.

Sony Pictures Corporation, which stands to make hundreds of millions, has hid this film from critics until the rather late date of this Tuesday before showing it to critics at Cannes and around the world.

This has made many believe that it is because the film itself will not please fans of the book or that it will tempt Christians and Catholics to see the film out of curiosity.

Again, I suspect this film will be huge and will get a very positive reception out of Cannes. I can only hope that the average Christian and Catholic takes it upon themselves to study history. Ultimately, there is only so many 'fact' sheets that correct The DaVinci Code that one can read. One must ultimately immerse themselves in the history itself.

I have begun that journey recently. I have read some, but for every few pages of Tacitus or Josephus to read there are thousands more; it will be a long journey.

I hope more and more people, if if they have no choice, take this as an opportunity to educate themselves.

And for God's sake, if you must see the movie and you are in a large urban center, find your way to Chinatown. I'm sure by next week end The DaVinci Code will be very popular in those quarters.

I can say one thing positive about The Da Vinci Code; it is easily the best depiction yet of a modern, New Age, radical feminist, neo-Marxist, Catholic hating and biased university professor yet that I have seen.

Thursday, May 04, 2006


Carolyn Bennett's comments on Stephen Harper's budget if said while the Liberals were in power would have sent me into convulsions. Today however, with Prime Minister Harper at the helm, while read over my morning cup of coffee, just made me laugh...and hard.

"Calling the Conservative approach "spiteful," Bennett added: "There's actually no plan for early learning and child-care spaces. So it's a good job they're putting more money for prisons in the budget, because we're going to need them if we don't get this early childhood right."

Got that, mom and dad? If you two incompetents are left on your own to raise your kids, they're headed for prison! "

As most of you know, Bennett is a potential new leader for the Liberal Party of Canada. She used ot be off of my radar but a month or two ago I saw her as a panelist on Michael Coren's show.

Remember, the posts I wrote on my radical feminist university professors? The ones who thought the traditional family was was a form of 'Judeo-Christian patriarchal oppression' that needed to be destroyed; the ones who thought all children should be reared as pansexual creatures nurtured by the state. Y'know, the nutter ones who would earn the label 'feminazi'.

Bennett seemed totally cut from that cloth. As she stammered in a quivering voice and prefaced many of her points with the always welcomed phrase 'feminist theory states' I felt like I was an undergrad again.

She does not have a hope in hell of winning the leadership, but she will try to influence it. She will try to drive the leadership further to the extreme left (yes, that is possible).

It seems the left in Canada are finally coming unhinged just like their American counterparts...and not a moment too soon.

The Liberal Party of Canada, new home to the kook fringe.

Monday, May 01, 2006


My wife and I saw United 93 on Saturday afternoon at a screening in a small theatre in the heart of downtown Toronto that was about half full. United 93 quite simply is a film that is experienced as opposed to watched. This is not a film that one could view while munching on popcorn or whatever other concessions your local cinema sells nowadays to make money off of rentals.

As directed by Paul Greengrass, the film is shot in a cinema verite style that is the cornerstone of Greengrass’ previous experience as a documentarian for the BBC. As such the film is a faithful recreation of September 11 with many of the grounds people and air traffic controllers being played by the actual individuals themselves. There is very little in the way of score to help the viewer, but when there is, there is a foreboding sense of dread for what is about to take place. By filming in a 'neutral' documentary like style, Greengrass allows the viewers to judge the actions of all involved that day for themselves.

Contrary to what some may hope for, cinematically this is much preferable to a piece of jingoism where Matt Damon plays Todd Beamer as the music swells and we hear “Let’s Roll”. That type of film would too easily be able to be dismissed in film circles as propaganda and would not stand the test of time. Many of the WWII jingoistic style films, while entertaining, have much more of a kitsch value today and I am glad Greengrass does not follow their lead.

Similarly, this is also not a Michael Moore, George Clooney, Washowski style film either; where the terrorists are the 'good guys' and the ‘evil American’s’ get what they deserve. Instead, the neutrality of this film serves as something as a 911 Rorschach Test, and one can not watch it outside of the prism of one's own political pre-disposition. How one interprets the events graphically depicted will be a testament to the kind of person you are.

As for myself, the level of tension was harrowing and although I felt anger at the actions of the terrorists that day, I can only say in all honesty I felt more anger while watching at those who try to justify their actions; those who are 'proud to be out of touch'; those, cozy, comfortable well-to-do types who confuse right from wrong and up from down. Those who think America 'deserved it' (i.e. Noam Chomsky); or those that think they did it to themselves (the conspiracy brigades); those who sit smugly in Ivory Towers and those who stand at Hollywood awards ceremonies and laugh at second tier satirists while people die.

That perhaps was the most frustrating feeling of all. The fact that so many people seek to excuse the actions of the 911 terrorists in the name of their own outdated, sixties inspired ideology. This was nowhere more on display when at the end of my showing, just as the screen went black, a deep male voice cried out 'Death to America'. The man then ran out of the theatre. Why was I not surprised to find at least one person say this at a downtown Toronto theatre. A Jamaican woman then chastised him as having no soul or heart but he had already left.

During the credits I went over to her to ask a few questions. She said the man had watched the entire film and constantly mumbled to himself things like ('yes, we got the first tower etc.') as the progression of the films events continued. It angered her and afterward she talked to the manager. He obviously was a coward which is why he ran out of the theatre so quickly as we all sat in stunned silence.

Yet I was not angered by him. His comment reminded me that there are indeed people on this continent that want what happened to those souls on Sept. 11 to happen to all of us.
Greengrass has made a document that is cinematically neutral so it cannot be considered jingoist propaganda. But by letting the days events speak for themselves, he forces those that only see 'excuses' for the actions of the terrorists to confront reality.

His film is graphic not just in the level of tension or violence it shows, but also in how it depicts the utter chaos everyone felt that day; in depicting sequences at the opening of the film where we see the terrorists prepare for the day by praying in their hotel room and shaving all of the hair off of their bodies. These sequences lend a level of credence and realism that goes beyond the violent...into the truly disturbing.

No one should feel as though they have to see any film...but United 93 is a film experience that I think many should have; perhaps the ones that don't want to have it most of all.

This film is being praised right now by many on both sides of the political spectrum as a skilled and masterful piece of filmmaking. I predict by awards season it will be seen by the left as a piece of ‘right wing propaganda’ and many who gave it four stars now will rethink their initial enthusiasm (guaranteed Ebert will leave it off his top ten by January).

As far as awards go, I do not think it is even appropriate to judge this film by that standard. I have little taste for awards anymore and if this film wins none it means it will probably stand taller in cinema history for it. Greengrass' style was totally appropriate to the subject matter; he lets the actions speak for themselves.

I must also say that the actors who portrayed the terrorists should be commended for doing what could not have been easy. They humanized the one dimensional and as such found the truth that these individuals acted of their own volition...not because they were 'oppressed'.
I feel sorry for anyone who is so consumed by hate that they would feel compelled to act as they did; they have lost their souls for eternity. Yet there can also be no excuses for what they did.
These actors hopefully will continue to find work. What they did was probably just as difficult on an artistic level as what the actors playing the passengers did; maybe more.

Similarly, the sequence where Greengrass cuts from the terrorists praying that shows the bloody plane dashboard to the passengers saying the Lord's Prayer was one of the most gutsy and courageous I've seen in a film in years. In one sequence he takes away the notion that so many want to have that the terrorists did this because they were 'forced' to or that their 'faith' had nothing to do with it. I feel sorry for those majority of Muslims who have nothing to do with these events yet also have to live with them.

It is emotionally devastating to watch those final moments as the physical struggle ensues and you feel that the passengers almost...almost might make it to the cockpit in time. And that final struggle is brutal. The level of tension and chaos is unbearable and it lasts much longer than I anticipated. It is not a 'well choreographed' movie fight. It is animalistic in a way I did not expect. You keep hoping that somehow this will be a classic 'movie' and they will all live. When the screen cuts to black, you feel drained and morose.

The passengers of United Airlines 93 are rightly remembered as heroes. There is right. There is wrong.

Every step of the way Greengrass made the correct artistic decisions. This was courageous cinema at its best.

As much as the subject matter was very difficult to watch...on a cinematic level, I had not been this enthralled by artistry in a long time.