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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

McCarthyism's Effect on Film

McCarthyism had a chilling effect on Hollywood and the entire movie industry. It was a black period in American history that should never be forgotten because we never want a repeat performance. There will be no encore for McCarthyism.

Joe McCarthy was the senator from Wisconsin from 1947 until his death in 1957. McCarthy saw a communist or a communist sympathizer behind every bush (no pun intended). In 1950, McCarthy was the voice and the face of what can only be called the anticommunism movement. According to McCarthy, the government of the United States was filled with communist sympathizers and Soviet spies.

McCarthy was particularly obsessed with the entertainment industry as a whole and the movies in particular. Because of his accusations, writers, directors, actors, and actresses were blacklisted and their movie careers ended.

Records of the subcommittee that Joe McCarthy chaired were released in 2003. Senators Susan Collins and Carl Levin wrote the following as a preface to the documents:

"Senator McCarthy's zeal to uncover subversion and espionage led to disturbing excesses. His browbeating tactics destroyed careers of people who were not involved in the infiltration of our government. His freewheeling style caused both the Senate and the Subcommittee to revise the rules governing future investigations, and prompted the courts to act to protect the Constitutional rights of witnesses at Congressional hearings....These hearings are a part of our national past that we can neither afford to forget nor permit to reoccur."

McCarthy wielded a great deal of power during those years. America was locked in the Cold War with Russia. Communism was a thing to fear and in the beginning Americans wanted Joe McCarthy to rid the world of the communist influence. Later, America turned against McCarthy when he was exposed as an incompetent and malcontent — but not before he had inflicted a great deal of damage on the movie industry.

Read more on the subject - Blacklisted by History: The Untold Story of Senator Joe McCarthy and His Fight Against America's Enemies 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Review - X-Men: First Class

Either I have been living under a rock or there was not a whole lot of advertising going on for this film, because I was surprised to see there was a new X-Men movie being released. It does fit Marvels current profile though, which has been revamping a few of their movie franchises lately, such as the upcoming 2012 release of "The Amazing Spider-Man". I enjoyed both  "X-Men" and "X2", but was not impressed with the crappy third act. They bounced back though with "Origins: Wolverine" and this latest installment is following that same route and taking us back to the beginning when Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr became Professor X and Magneto respectively. There are many new characters in this film. Most of them will be familiar, especially to the die hards, but not necessarily to the general public. The main roles were all extremely well cast, with a shout out going to Kevin Bacon for playing Sebastien Shaw, and the entire film was done with taste. Comic book fans can put down there weapons and rest easy with this one.

Pre-order your copy today and save! - X-Men: First Class [Blu-ray]
Movie Mouse Approved

Monday, June 13, 2011

Review - The Hangover part 2

There was a lot of hype leading up to the release of The Hangover part 2, and I myself was really looking forward to watching it. The whole cast was out doing the rounds of the late night talk show circuit promoting the film prior to its release, and judging by the box office numbers opening weekend I'd say it paid off. One segment on Conan(tbs talk show), director Todd Phillips half jokingly took credit for turning the cast of "The Hangover" into "A" list actors. However it's not often a comedy boasts a $90million premier. There are some laugh out loud moments in the latest sequel without a doubt, but for me it has lost some of the magic that the original still holds. Maybe I just relate to the first film better having had my own experience road tripping with the boys to Sin City and tearing up the strip. Either way I definitely recommend checking out "The Hangover part 2" in theaters if you haven't already. But be careful, once Bangkok has you she never lets go....            

Pick up the original - The Hangover (Unrated Edition) [Blu-ray] 


Check out the new soundtrack - The Hangover Part II: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack [Explicit] [+Digital Booklet]
Movie Mouse Approved

Review - Source Code

Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) wakes up on a train bound for Chicago to find that he is not quite himself. He has assumed the identity of a passenger on the train. The last thing he remembers is being on a mission in Afghanistan flying an American Army helicopter. Eight minutes later the train explodes along with Stevens and the other passengers. This time he wakes up in some kind of pod and is addressed by a woman named Goodwin via an audio/video feed. Goodwin informs him, he is now part of a project called source code, and he is being sent back into a memory of the final 8 minutes before the bomb explodes in order to stop an ongoing terrorist threat.

There are some good elements at work in this particular film. It's an action/thriller, that relies mostly on the story/plot to gain your attention instead of bombarding the movie screen with special effects, and there are good acting performances throughout, including the stunning Michelle Monaghan and Vera Farmiga. The soundtrack, gives the film kind of an old fashioned feel, which works, but almost makes it seem dated. It is not poorly written, but they tried to hard to make it seem smart, and landed somewhere in the middle. It is by no means a waste of your time, it almost made the cut, but overall I have to say no to this one.
Movie Mouse Rejected