War for the Planet of the Apes

 

 

 

First, allow me to say this; I own every Ape film starting with the original Planet of the Apes with Charlton Heston. These films are my guilty cult classic favorites. If all else fails, I will watch one of these films and I’m good. So this would beg to question how could someone mess up an Ape film with a huge built-in audience; well the answer to that question is scattered throughout this latest entry, War for the Planet of the Apes. Where on EARTH does one begin. This film is a bloody bore from beginning to end. It is a combination road-trip and revenge film and allegory all rolled into one. The only thing that is crystal clear in this film is that apes are good and humans are bad.

Now let’s get to the meat of the film. Ceasar, who is the ape leader, should have been a memorable character but instead, he was brooding and distinctly uninteresting. He was the reluctant hero trope seen in countless films, yet he was way too reluctant for this film to generate any real interest in what happens to him. Enter Woody Harrelson’s sterotypical bad guy who not only hated apes, but is also hell-bent on murdering humans who contracted some ape-virus that rendered them mute, which included his own son, thus becoming worthless in his warped sense of Nazi-level purity.

Oh yes, we had Nazi and American slavery symbolism all throughout this film in the way in which the apes were rounded up, put in chains and placed in work camps, with some literally being branded so that they could be subservient to the soldiers and being subjected to cringe-worthy and degrading taunts. These apes were also used as “overseers” to keep the captured apes in line. Oh and did I mention the multitudes of sub-plots, one in particular that involved the good “Northern” soldiers on the hunt for the I assume, “Southern” soldiers led by Harrelson, who’ve gone rogue and are pledging their allegience to a bastardized ideology of superiority, slavery and murdering those they deem inferior. The Civil War was also alive and well within this slow-moving cinematic snail.

War for the Planet of the Apes has gotten high marks on Rotten Tomatoes and has been lauded as “the best in the series”; “smart, thoughtful, confrontational and challenging”; “impeccable film of risky dramatic range” and a host of other wonderful reviews, but I don’t happen to feel that this film is any of that. I love intelligent films with an old-fashioned feel, but War for the Planet of the Apes is a slow-moving, schizophrenic snooze-fest that didn’t quite figure out what kind of film it wanted to be. It had no solid storyline and looked as if the writers and director decided to incorporate everyone’s cool sounding ideas, and as a result of that boundary-less direction, the director didn’t quite know how to piece all of those “fabulous” ideas together in order for the film to make sense. I have no doubt the film will be number one at the box office, but just because it comes out on top, doesn’t mean it’s a good film.

If you go see this film, just know that if you want some mind-blowing special effects, incredible battle scenes and an epic ending that will have you insisting on seeing it again…you ain’t getting it with War for the Planet of the Apes. But what you WILL get is a film aimlessly meandering along with a ton of political messages and imaginery, laughable dialogue, a hard to follow storyline with characters that weren’t fully developed and a waste of over 2 hours that you will never get back.

The Beguiled was Be Damned…

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The coach put me on the bench because I’m batting double OO with movies, the last string of films I viewed…All Eyez on Me, Transformers:The Last Knight and 40 Meters Down, were side-eye inducing without a doubt. But this weekend I saw the new Sofia Coppola film “The Beguiled“, which is based on the 1971 film of the same name starring Clint Eastwood and Geraldine Page. Before I go all IN on the film, here’s a little tidbit about Coppola. She just won the Best Director award at the Cannes Film Festival in May, and is only the 2nd woman in Cannes history to win in that category. Let that sink in for a minute. Now getting back to this film. Out of the gate, the pacing was extremely slow. So much so, that I actually started looking for which exit I could get to the quickest. But I’m a trooper, so I hung in there.

None of the characters were fleshed out, especially Kirsten Dunst and Nicole Kidman’s caricatures of repressed southern belles. By the way, Kidman, Dunst, Elle Fanning and one other character in this meandering nonsensical film, kept losing their southern accents. I could have understood better if this were their first film (nervousness and all), but Kidman is an Oscar winner, Dunst and Fanning have over the years, gotten critical acclaim for their acting. They simply phoned in their performances and looked as if they couldn’t have cared any less if they tried. Now let’s get to Colin Farrell.

His once promising career really hit an all-time low with this schlock. He hardly had any dialogue and the dialogue he had, was comical and it wasn’t supposed to be. THAT’S how bad this film is. His best scenes were off-screen after Kidman’s character amputated his leg and he found out. Why Coppola chose for the audience to hear his tirade instead of seeing it, was puzzling to say the least. That probably would have been great to see because Farrell is a good actor and he does a lot of his best work when he’s in meltdown on-screen.

Coppola’s choices with how she shot this film left me and I’m sure so many others who’ve already seen it, wondering WHY? But here’s one choice she made I’m in full support of…the choice to NOT put the female slave character in this film that was in the book. The Black actress who would have been cast, dodged a bullet thank goodness. No one needs this incarnation of The Beguiled on their acting resume. The long and short of it is basically…The Beguiled didn’t make any sense at all. It was a story without any substance or direction. How Coppola won in Cannes in the Best Director’s category for THIS film is another mystery. To say The Beguiled wasn’t her best work is an understatement, and it also begs to question the legitimacy of her winning that award.

Coppola has done tons of applause worthy work such as Marie Antoinette, The Virgin Suicides and Lost in Translation, did the judges in Cannes see the same film as the rest of us? Did they get their eyes dilated that day and couldn’t really see the banality of this film….what happened? As one critic noted about the film “it was so unnecessary” and no truer words could EVER be said about this film. This was a good idea gone horribly wrong and Coppola, the writers who helped her create this puerile piece of tripe and the actors, had no clue how to make this film compelling enough to where it would hold your attention and the audience would become emotionally invested. Instead, it had the audience holding their breath counting the minutes until the agony was over.

The Chatter, The Scoodie’s Sister Podcast was with Award-Winning Photojournalist Haywood Galbreath

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The Chatter, which is the sister podcast of The Scoodie,  was honored to interview Haywood Galbreath. He is the first African-American owned news photo service to have permanent credentials in a major court case and invited to participate in the court case photo pool and that case was the infamous “Crime of the Century”, the O.J. Simpson Murder Trial.

Haywood’s career has been spent working for the rights of media access for all qualified media organizations, especially minority owned media organizations that are often denied the privilege to cover events about minorities. He is also an advocate for the underprivileged and underrepresented in America.

A few more of his professional highlights:

First African-American owned news photo service to cover the celebrated Emmy’s from inside the auditorium. (1997)

First African-American owned news photo service to cover the prestigious Breeders’ Cup horse race. (1997)

First African-American owned news photo service to be pool photo in a major court case Geronimo Pratt the Black Panther member who was wrongly accused of murder hearings.

Only African-American owned news service to have a continuous field position for the Super Bowl.

Covered special events for the last five presidents of the United States including Presidents: Barack Obama, George Bush Jr., William Clinton, George Bush Sr. and Ronald Reagan.

Link to Interview: https://www.podomatic.com/podcasts/thechatter/episodes/2017-06-30T14_46_25-07_00

#haywoodgalbreath #OJSimpson #Photojournalist #Entertainment
#SydneyChandler #Publicist #Journalist #JenniferThompson

Spoken Word Artist, Jennifer Thompson’s “The Mission”

On the Scoodie, I will occassionally showcase new and established artists, poets, spoken word performers, actors, singers, musicians and dancers. Today’s talent is spoken word artist and poet, Jennifer Thompson with her poem, “The Mission”.

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The Mission

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Russia DOES Matter…You’d Better Understand Why

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I’ve seen countless interviews with Trump supporters, and even when confronted with his abundance of lies, blame-gaming, FACTS and treating the presidency as a reality TV show, they’re still 1000% in his corner. Unfortunately, we all must chalk them up to a mystifying loss; not worth wasting additional time, energy and brain cells on…they’re heading toward the cliff, so at this point, we should mercifully allow them to take the plunge.

I’ve also encountered those saying that while we’re focused on the Senate Intel Hearings and Russia, the Republicans (our real-life Sith Lords) are in stealth mode, drawing up a newer, more deadly plan for their Death Star of a Healthcare Bill. YES, I firmly agree that we need to keep our eyes on what they’re doing because whatever it is, it won’t bode well for the American people. NOTHING Republicans in this modern era, ever does.

But to insinuate that the intelligent among us can’t multitask, is insulting. Most of us know exactly what we need to do to keep the pressure on the Senate, House and this administration. However, RUSSIA is an immediate, dangerous threat, and this should scare and alarm the HELL out of people. They were able to breach our security grid to the extent that it probably affected our 2016 election and severely damaged our Democratic process. Without Democracy and the rules of law and order, the US would be reduced to being a combination 3rd world autocracy and kleptocracy.

What the American people need to desperately and IMMEDIATELY understand, is if a foreign government got this far within our once thought-to-be impenetrable system, especially a government that is and will more than likely always be, an enemy of the United States, they will continue to attempt to breach our security until they eventually find a way to succeed. If the worst case scenario happens, it will shut this country completely down and life as we know it will cease to exist. That is not alarmist thinking, it’s a very real possibility.

These “hackers” aren’t some disaffected youths sitting in their bedrooms, breaking into random systems just because they’re smart enough to do so. These operatives are a network of well-trained, well-educated intelligence and IT professionals, whose only job is to infiltrate and take-over every system in their target countries, and the “big fish in the pond is the US”. Mull that over for a second.

Russia has been interfering in government elections all over the globe, and being that the US is considered their equal in military might and intelligence, what better coup could Putin have than bringing this country to its knees? If his operatives are successful, they could shut down all of our communication and financial systems. Then turn their attention to aviation, utilities, government installations, intelligence and military operations…there are endless possibilities of what kind of havoc they could wreck, that will have far-reaching ramifications and repercussions not just for us, but globally. As the US goes, so does the rest of the world.

Hijacking our elections and healthcare would be way down on the food chain with what the people in the US would have to deal with in this apocalyptic scenario. NO, it does not sit well with me that 23 million people would lose their insurance and the disabled, seniors, veterans, women and those with preexisting conditions, would be negatively impacted by this inhumane and insidious Healthcare Bill. BUT, we are living in dangerous times and just as Angela Merkel said “Europe can no longer completely depend on the US”, and it is an absolute certainty that the American people CANNOT depend on this current administration to do what’s right for this country as it pertains to Russia or for that matter, anything else. We can’t even depend on our president to tell the truth. That is a testimony on just how far this country has fallen into the abyss.

I wish there were some gigantic mirror that could be held up so that each and every American could look at themselves and really see who it is we’ve become. There was a time not too long ago, that if 1/16th of what is happening in this country now had occurred then, the American people would clean house. If there was any hint that a foreign government and Russia being that government, breached our security and American politicians were perhaps involved in treason, collusion and obstruction of justice, the American people would be demanding, not asking, but DEMANDING either an investigation or swift and decisive action. Now we have heads buried in the sand, an abundance of excuses, rampant ignorance, blind loyalty and some segments of our society almost cheering for Putin. No words for that last one.

What happened America? You swore for decades you were better than this, only to find out that you actually weren’t.

Humankind Lost?

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We can no longer be sure who the heroes and villains are because they appear to inhabit the same space; coexisting as one entity to serve each other for personal gain and benefit. If good and evil have morphed into one, then what does that say about the future of humankind?

We’ve become a terminally destructive people who refuses to learn from past mistakes. We’re in a perpetual state of disruptive chaos and it appears that humankind is at its happiest when it devours the weak, destroys the helpless and decimates the human spirit. Why?

Are we simply genetically predisposed for mayhem or have we fallen victim to the constant indoctrination that tells us only the richest, strongest and most malevolent are fit to lead, because being kind and decent gets you nowhere? Has this way of thinking propelled humankind to create and lurch from one crisis or act of savage barbarity to another, in order for us to get some sick satisfaction with flexing our muscles and proceeding to destroy everything and everyone in our path?

It’s become abundantly clear that human beings apparently have no working on and off switch.  We don’t know how to maintain happiness, peace, calm and prosperity for very long. We say we want egalitarianism, yet our actions say otherwise. We say we hate war, yet will use any excuse to start one. We’ll tell anyone who’ll listen, that we want to save the planet, help the sick, the poor, the infirmed, the homeless, children and animals, but only if it’s convenient and we can benefit from our pseudo-humanitarianism and bourgeois charitable endeavors.

We look at good people either as those to fear, feel sorry for or take advantage of. We worship at the temple of money and excess, yet vilify the wealthy. We say we hate big government, yet we need everything that the government has to offer. We drone on and on about electing politicians that truly represent the people, but many will dismiss those who actually do and elect the ones who will do the most damage. We value our freedoms, yet will dictate to others about their personal choices and decisions.

So my question is quite simple: WHO ARE WE REALLY?

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I’m BAAAACK!!

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I’ve been on a rather long hiatus from blogging because sometimes life takes you in some of the most unexpected directions. But now I’m back at it; more energized, more opinionated and even more in your face than ever! So let’s do this and do it BIG!