LENNY BRUCE-SWEAR TO TELL THE TRUTH (1998)

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If you have heard of Lenny Bruce but don’t know too much about him this is the perfect starting point. Narrated by Robert De Niro, which is rare and thus lends the proceedings a New York street gravitas.

Bruce was a true pioneer, a lone vanguard…busting through unspoken aloud societal constraints and constantly asking questions. A true seeker. A true anti-establishment. A true comedian.

He changed the definition of what comedy could be.

Always outspoken on stage, saying things that hadn’t really been said before, at least on a platform so exposed and it eventually got him into trouble, especially with the Catholic community, particularly a judge who took umbrage to some of his alleged comments.

Social comments done in a humourous way. This is what makes a great comic nowadays, the ones who say what no-one else will, not because it’s daring or controversial but because great comedians are able to hold a mirror up to society and speak the truth. Possibly the only profession that has this, right? This is mostly allowed now because of Lenny Bruce.

Brought up on obscenity charges because of a vendetta by certain offended powers, he battled with these charges for the latter part of his life. In the end he was so beaten down by the government that it killed him but the victories he paved the way for, as far as freedom of speech were seen in the comedians who came after him, Richard Pryor, George Carlin all the way through Bill Hicks, Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock. No comic has been arrested in the U.S. on obscenity charges since.

He painted a target on himself by taking to task the powers in place, he was a revolutionary, a threat to certain organisations and status quo; asking questions and stepping on toes will get you into trouble. Thinkers that question the powers and do so on a public stage need to be shut down by those powers, especially if it contradicts ways of thinking designed to narrow the minds of the masses, thus allowing the powers that be to stay in that position. It’s an age-old story, one that inevitably takes its toll upon the protagonist.

And there’s the cost, there’s always a cost, a trade off, whether you like it or not, this seems to be an natural exchange.

Directed by Robert B Weide this is fascinating insight into the mind of a maverick, a one of a kind and highly influential.

A must watch for all who appreciate the history of stand up comedy.

3.5/5

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EDGE OF TOMORROW (2014)

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This is a prime example of a Hollywood action film; big star, big budget, Hollywood director, Doug Liman, great writers-Christopher McQuarrie, Jez and John-Henry Butterworth, yet it still manages to fail as a decent film.

C.G.I. and actors or C.G.I. actors.

People talk about the fear of not needing actors in the not-too-distant future, as they will be digitally recreated and replaced, well, Tom Cruise is that in real life; a digital, computer generation, Soul-less, although not in a ‘he sold his sold to L. Ron’ or anything so philosophically placed or even anything that could be seen as an inherent evil, devoid of morality, more in the sense of a computer generated character that is not that well-realised, a bot, without the capacity to really feel human emotions or at least re-enact them in an honest, truthful, vulnerable way.

This is my problem with the Cruise-ster, it is that he hides.

Any great actor has the ability to portray real human emotion and to do this usually needs to tap into something truthful within themselves; the greats effortlessly allow the audience into their souls. A computer generated character has no soul and thus, can-not truly replicate the essence of this.

That is why I have a problem with T.C.. He hides.

The one time he truly opened up was for Paul Thomas Anderson and he was lauded for his performance and then on to the next one……back to basics.

There is always a wall surrounding him on screen and that, is not interesting to watch, in order to compensate he surrounds himself with actors of great depth and acclaim as if this will give him kudos by association. The robotic facial and body movement indicating sadness, joy, pain etc is just not believable, but look, there’s an actor of depth to offset the vacuity of the robot, and look at these effects/stunts/dramatics, they are bigger than the star, so enjoy and be stultified into ignorance and the usual opiated state. “Wow, that was a big film”. It will make a lot of money, it is a business after all and if you get a nod from the critics, then cool, but that is NOT why most of the industry are there. Dolla, dolla bill, yo.

So, I get it. It’s just a shame more people aren’t aware of the wool being pulled over the eyes of the consumer. The spectacular spectacle. Blinded by the lights. The ultimate magician’s mis-direct. Give the people what they think they want and they will come in masses and give over their hard earned monies to be part of it.

I get it, I just don’t like it and for years now I have shirked the Hollywood system, as much as I can. Hey, I love a big budget blockbuster when they’re done well as much as the next viewer, but do most of them have to be dumb? Apparently so.

I started hearing “I don’t want to have to think, I just want to be entertained” around the time that reality tv started kicking off and my question was always “what’s wrong with something that makes you think?”

Hell, you can be entertained and think at the same time, look at The Usual Suspects, Twelve Angry Men, all smart films that were both critically and commercially successful.

I think the problem is not that the execs don’t want that, it’s more the fact that they don’t know how to get it, less confidence in the artists and more in the suits

This is a film with all flourish and no pay off. Like Inception, it purports to be something greater than it actually is. It’s basically wearing glasses to try and make itself look more intelligent, but we see through the ruse, don’t we people?

Don’t we? C’mon, join the revolution and shirk these nonsensical, charlatanical, big shiny box/small, shitty presents.

A waste of time.

On a more positive note, the best thing in it was the soldier who gets to kick T.C. when he re-awakens with an “On your feet, maggot.” Played by Terence Maynard, this was a character I would have liked to see more of. Emily Blunt is rooted in her realty and is believable. Brendan Gleeson is getting paid to using his phone, Bill Paxton is also on the phone. The premise is great but the narrative is very messy at times, we’re just expected to be on board, well, I’m hitting the emergency stop. No more……..no more.

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2/5