April 1, 2011, - 4:53 pm

Wknd Box Office: Source Code, Win Win, Miral, Certified Copy

By Debbie Schlussel

Most of this week’s new movies at the theater are okay, with the exception of the absolutely boring, messy Palestinian propaganda film.  I did not see “Insidious” or “Hop.” It is interesting to note that two of this week’s new films (half) are PC to Muslims and deliberately skirt the truth about Islamic terrorism.

*  “Source Code“:  The worst thing about this movie is that it goes out of its way to show you that a disgruntled White guy anarchist, and not an Arab Muslim, is the real terrorist.  Been there, seen that . . . except in real life, where the Muslim is usually the terrorist blowing up the train, and the White guy anarchist is usually at home reading the Turner Diaries.  But, hey, it’s Hollywood, where politically correct fantasies rule, and the Muslim is always the victimized innocent nice guy who just wants to be left alone.

Jake Gyllenhaal plays a soldier who thinks he’s stuck somewhere in Afghanistan, where his copter went down, but is actually part of a government experiment putting him, via the magic of computers and source code, on a Chicago train that is bombed and blown up by a terrorist.  His task is to repeatedly go back on the train in the exact same situation and try to figure out who blew up the train, so that the perpetrator can be caught and further attacks can be stopped.  Think “Groundhog Day” mixed with terrorism.  We see the same thing happen over and over again, as Gyllenhaal simultaneously has a conversation with a woman on the train who acts like she’s his girlfriend and he also tries to discover which of the passengers is the perpetrator.  In the bathroom, he sees a reflection in the mirror that is someone else and discovers he’s essentially been transmitted inside the body of another passenger.

If there’s one part I truly liked, it’s the patriotism toward American soldiers and a touching conversation between Gyllenhaal and his very sad father.  Yes, the movie was entertaining, while on the other hand making it look like the government engages in a horrible, unauthorized use of soldiers after lying to their families.  Still, it was interesting and a use of technology that I believe we’ll ultimately develop and be able to use in real life.  For now, though, it’s science fiction, and it’s not bad.  It’s almost like a modern day episode of “The Twilight Zone,” though there were lots of holes and things that didn’t make sense.

And while we’ll likely be able to develop this technology in real life, will we ever be able to develop the ability to tell the truth about Islamic terrorists on screen in real life?  Based on this movie, not likely.  Entertaining experiment in science fiction, but weighed down by pan-Muslim political correctness.


Watch the trailer . . .

* “Win Win“: If you like high school wrestling, you will probably like this, although it’s not about wrestling and is filled with a good deal of melodrama. It does, however, have its share of humor and good acting, while the ending is somewhat predictable.

Paul Giamatti plays a lawyer and high school wrestling coach, who is struggling to keep his family financially afloat. He develops a scheme to get his elderly neighbor committed to a senior living residence, and get himself–Giamatti–appointed the legal guardian of the displaced older neighbor. Soon, however, the older man’s grandson shows up, wanting to live with him, since his mother, a drug addict, is in rehab.

Giamatti takes the grandson, a high school student, to see his grandfather in the assisted living facility, and soon the grandson is living with Giamatti, attending his high school, and wrestling on his wrestling team, where he is a champion wrestler. All is well, until his drug addicted mother comes back into the picture with a lawyer.

There is nothing objectionable about this movie. I just found it a little boring and predictable. I laughed a lot, however, at the humor of Bobby Cannavale, who plays the divorcing best friend of Giamatti and his assistant wrestling coach.

It’s rated “R” because of the language, but other than that, I didn’t find it objectionable for teens to see. I just didn’t find it a worthy movie with any important point. It wasn’t bad. It just wasn’t great.


Watch the trailer . . .

* “Miral“: Read my complete review column on this failed, boring, waste-of-time Palestinian Muslim propaganda film. Yaaaaaawn.


* “Certified Copy“: At first, I didn’t like this movie and thought, oh, another boring, pretentious movie with subtitles. But as I watched it and figured out the enigmatic puzzle it presents, I grew to like it more. It’s definitely a chick flick and not for the average guy.

The question is: can a copy be an original? An English author and art expert (British opera singer, William Shimell, in his first film role) wrote a book about art and how some copies are originals to their viewers. A middle-aged woman French antiques dealer (Juliette Binoche) who attends his lecture in Tuscany, Italy (where she lives) slips the author her number and they meet to go out for coffee and chatting on the countryside.

They are strangers who share a love for art and disagree about originals versus copies. But at a coffee shop, the barista mistakes the woman for the author’s wife, and she soon assumes the role, very easily.

So, do they really know each other? Is this an original relationship or a certified copy? I have my theory about it, but you have to decide for yourself. It’s an interesting puzzle brought to us by Iranian expatriate director, Abbas Kiarostami.  I love this kind of movie where they don’t really tell you what’s going on and you have to figure it out for yourself.   Thinking always beats being spoon-fed.  Great acting, too.


Watch the trailer . . .

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15 Responses

Source Code. I knew it before I even read it. P.C. terrorist…which is a white guy with either racist or absurd anarchist motivations.

Golan Globus, where are you when we need you?

Jake's on a Train on April 1, 2011 at 5:36 pm

“Source code goes out of its way to show you that a disgruntled White guy anarchist, and not an Arab Muslim, is the real terrorist.”

…as you say that’s now the standard inverted reality for Hollywood. It’s everywhere – terrorists in so much fiction but never any more are they Muslims. In last night’s episode of V we ‘discover’ that simultaneous suicide bombings against civilian targets in New York and every major city of the world were coordinated out by …. Israelis:


Edgar Davidson on April 1, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    “V” as in vulgar.

    JeffE on April 2, 2011 at 9:49 pm

    The funny part is that the stupidly named FIFTH COLUMN terrorists were among the few who realized the Vistors were a sham and were the greatest threat to human civilization.

    So, it’s more real world analogy than the show’s dumb writers realized.

    Jake's on a Train on April 4, 2011 at 12:25 am

“V” as in vapid.

JeffT on April 1, 2011 at 7:26 pm

So, an Iranian director gets your approval while a Jewish one meets with scathing criticism. My father was right, the world has turned upside-down. And Deb, judging from your review I think Miral needs an Arafat to top it off.

Though Source Code and Certified Copy sound like my kind of movies I think I’ll be saving them for NetFlix.
Looking forward to your reviews of Hanna, Soul Surfer and especially Of Gods and Men.

theShadow on April 1, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    Iranian Expatriate….there are quite a few who are pro-Jew. One of my professors in residency was a high ranking Iranian official under the Shah. I met a fellow student of his recently (he trained me on the West Coast and the other MD on the East Coast, in between service to the Shah). Both of us were Jewish and Zionist, both of us loved him.

    Occam's Tool on April 2, 2011 at 1:00 am

Debbie says “Yes, the movie was entertaining, while on the other hand making it look like the government engages in a horrible, unauthorized use of soldiers after lying to their families.”
But is’nt this the reality of what is going on right now? Our government failed to get authorization (a declaration of war) from Congress before going to war in Korea, Vietnam, Bosnia, the first and second Iraq wars (the rubber stamp “open-ended authorization” for the second Iraq war does not count), and now in Libya. The current war in Afghanistan is also to be considered unauthorized for many years now from the time we started engaging in nation-building in that country. No doubt the coming war with Iran will also be unauthorized.
Before these wars were commenced, the government (in collusion with the media) had to lie to the American people and to our soldiers first in order to justify their wars and fool the people into supporting these wars.
Wars are always horrible unless they are waged under the “Rules of Just War” – see http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A644672 We owe it to our brave men and women in the Armed Forces to not put them in harm’s way unless it is absolutely necessary to defend our homeland and under a congressional declaration war (like when we were attacked at Pearl Harbor). Right now, the unauthorized use of our soldiers as mercenaries for the evil proponents of One-World government will continue unless the American people say “No More!!”

ramjordan on April 1, 2011 at 9:01 pm

“The worst thing about this movie is that it goes out of its way to show you that a disgruntled White guy anarchist, and not an Arab Muslim, is the real terrorist. Been there, seen that . . . except in real life, where the Muslim is usually the terrorist blowing up the train, and the White guy anarchist is usually at home reading the Turner Diaries.”

How’s the whole racist, stereotypical bitch thing working out for you? Seriously, it’s this mindset that makes every other country hate us. Please do us all a favor and shut the fuck up with your bigoted comments.

Spraynard K. on April 2, 2011 at 10:51 am

    Maybe you shouldn’t be here reading Debbie’s blog if you don’t like her comments. And the point she was making was not that all Muslims are terrorists, but that nearly all terrorism is carried out by Muslims. Ever seen the news? Maybe someday we’ll have someone in charge of making everyone in the world love us and you can be in charge of that.

    Brian on April 3, 2011 at 9:21 pm

The only bad guy not allowed to be shown in Hollywood Central Casting is the Muslim.

Its hilarious how Tinseltown bends over backwards to avoid showing us real life Islamic terrorists even as it whitewashes them and paints a halo on their heads!

As for “Certified Copy” – I think it raises an interesting philosophical question. Are people unique? Yes and that’s true even with identical twins – they do have very different personalities even if people think they look identical. There can never really be a copy in this world and its not necessary to get into a discussion of the Platonic Forms here.

NormanF on April 2, 2011 at 9:54 pm

    I have yet to see a recent movie that puts a halo over the heads of Islamic terrorists. I can think of several that show Islamic fundamentalism for the crime against humanity that it really is: “The Kite Runner,” “The Kingdom,” “A Mighty Heart,” “Body of Lies,” “Not Without My Daughter” and “Taken.” Yes, I’ve seen all of them. Maybe instead of nodding one’s head to the conventional anti-Hollywood “wisdom,” some of the culture warriors here can go out and see a few movies instead.

    Seek on April 4, 2011 at 11:29 am

      Seek, your basic argument would be more credible if it were less ambitious. If you’d conceded that there is generally a liberal bias in Hollywood but then had protested that you could nevertheless give a few examples to prove that the bias is not absolute, you might have at least appeared reasonable. However, instead of doing that, you compiled a measly string of films, one of which dates back decades, and concluded with a suggestion that “culture warrior” wisdom is just plain stupid. But not only is this suggestion weak, even your cherry-picked list has problems. Besides, Seek, we all all of us who read Debbie go to the movies ourselves; and when asked whether to believe you or our own “lying eyes,” we’ll choose our own eyes, thank you.

      It’s clear you missed a couple key features of Body of Lies. Russell Crow, who played the chief American intelligence officer, gave a portrait of a clumsily remote bully–a coldly professorial manipulator who lacks empathy for the soldiers on the ground. Just because DiCaprio, working in the trenches in the Middle East, was portrayed sympathetically, doesn’t mean that the filmmaker was sympathetic to our fight there; saying so is like saying Platoon was pro-U.S. military because we sympathized with Charlie Sheen, or Bourne Identity was pro-CIA because we liked Matt Damon. Furthermore, you must have left the film before the ending where DiCaprio decides to leave his career in intelligence and he goes off to marry the Middle Eastern pretty Arab woman. “Only that way can real progress be made in this region,” he states. Ridley Scott, by the way, who directed, invented this mawkishly foolish P.C. ending all by himself, changing the original source entirely so that he could be better friends with Roger Ebert, I’m guessing.

      As for The Kingdom, it did feature Arab terrorism, but all set in the Middle East where it could be presented in a more sanitized setting (it’s conventional P.C. wisdom that everything is a mess there anyway). The end of the film shows the F.B.I. agent looking smug because he solved the case and the “evil” grandfather was killed, but then we learn that the grandfather whispered “Kill them all” to the granddaughter, and later the granddaughter passes this message down to her offspring. Thus the cycle continues. The message: It’s the U.S. that perpetuates all this violence (just as in Syriana).

      As for Not Without My Daughter– please, it came out decades ago. If you have to go back that far, isn’t that a reach? Moreover, the film had more to do with women’s rights than terrorism, and as Sally Fields who starred in the film made clear in an Oscar speech: “Once women are in charge, there will be no more wars.” However, all of that said, I agree that this film was not a rabidly pro-Muslim one.

      Kite Runner did show a nasty Taliban, and that’s a positive; but again, it all occurred in Afghanistan and was not about terrorists who blow up Western civilians.

      As for Taken, when Debbie saw this film, she was so shocked by how politically incorrect it was that she gave the film a superlative rating and made a big point about how refreshing it was. So you can’t say Debbie ignores mentioning these films. Even in that case, though, it was not about Muslim terrorism, but more about Muslim misbehavior. Still, it is weirdly jolting to discover a film which does not rigidly follow the P.C. rules. Sometimes those independent French–in this case French auteur Luc Besson–act distressingly like they never received all the proper memos.

      P.S. “Culture warrior” is a Bill O’Reilly coinage. Here’s a hint about BOR (aka Ted Baxter); we conservatives loathe him because he’s a clueless, blustering, Obama-brown-nosing populist buffoon. Debbie is not that.

      Burke on April 4, 2011 at 3:35 pm

A lot of new movies were playing this week at the local multiplex: Win Win, Source Code, Insidious, Hop and Cat Run. Insidious was maybe my favorite.

I agree with your response to Source Code. Yes, the film was pretty entertaining, but the terrorist was nothing like anything I would realistically imagine. He looked like he just got off the Tea Party Express. Polite, dressed like a square, soft-spoken, with an oddly vague notion of wanting to blow things up so that we could “start all over.” No wonder Mayor Bloomberg thought the Time Square bomber was someone simply disaffected by Obamacare—he’s been getting ideas from going to movies like this one!

Other than that, as you wrote, on the positive side the movie began with several promising sci fi ideas, but the film’s ending turned into implausible fantasy. Duncan Jone’s last picture Moon was one of the best hard sci fi speculative films made in the last decade; this, though, in contrast was not a great film. It was sort of fun, though.

I also liked the patriotism and filial devotion of the Jake Gyllenhaaal character even while not appreciating the implication that military brass are slyly seeking to exploit soldiers for their own purposes. Ramjordan who comments above has a great point, though, about the way our current administration really does exploit our soldiers–what with forcing them to abide by Miranda Rule rules of engagement, for example.

I personally would categorize Win Win as an artsy movie for liberals. Giamatti who stars has been a liberal icon-antihero since his film American Splendor (the title is ironic) and draws that kind of crowd, the ones who thought Little Miss Sunshine was the best film of that year (another example is City Island). In the first minutes of Win Win, little Abby, age 8, is frustrated by a small task and says “sh*t!” I heard the audience laugh appreciatively. They were in their comfort zone, where children break conservative rules. From then on until the end of the movie, the words “sh*t” and “fu*k” were repeated non-stop in every situation in every scene for every possible reason. This maintained a comfortable atmosphere for the targeted audience.

The subtext of the film follows liberal mythology. Liberals believe there is a Natural Man who is calm, rational and uncorrupted. (This idea originally derives from Rousseau, the first and most important philosophical liberal.) In this film, that role was fulfilled by the boy, the grandson, taken in by Giamatti. Giamatti is definitely a “good guy,” because he works as a lawyer doing social work rather than chasing the almighty buck (according to the movie); but he’s allowed himself to be corrupted by petty lies and greed, the two liberal Original Sins. Luckily, Natural Man enters the scene as the uncorrupted boy who is mature way beyond his years. Natural Man helps lead Giamatti out the error of his corruption–a perfect resolution for a liberal comedy.

Burke on April 5, 2011 at 12:22 pm

the norvegian terrorist is muslim!! lol

momo on August 31, 2011 at 12:39 pm

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